Tell us what you do!
I’ve been a full-time writer at MTV News for over three years. My beat is hip-hop — although I often cover pop as well — so I write breaking entertainment news stories, and do a ton of artist interviews. I’ve spoken to everyone from Pharrell and Drake, to Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj. I also had the chance to co-host a show called MTV’s RapFix Live with Sway Calloway, which aired on MTV Jams and on MTV.com.
Did you go to college? If so, where?
Binghamton University in upstate New York.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I had ridiculous dreams of being an astronaut, because I still can’t think of anything cooler than chilling on the moon, and looking down on Earth — what better perspective could you really have? But then I remembered that I’m terrible at science, so I gave up that dream, and moved on to my next favorite thing: Writing.
How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!
The word “internship” still makes me cringe, because I thought I might intern forever. I did a few internships during college at the local Binghamton newspaper and several magazines (including Teen Vogue and Redbook) to decide exactly what kind of writing would be best for me. My last internship was at BlackBook Magazine. At the time, they weren’t big on hip-hop coverage, and it’s my favorite music, so I took the opportunity to pitch and interview artists like Kid Cudi and Wale early in their careers. I used those clips to land a full-time freelance job writing for AOL Music’s hip-hop blog, TheBoomBox.com, for about two and a half years. Eventually, I returned to BlackBook for a year as an editorial assistant, and worked up to Assistant Editor over the course of a year, while still writing part-time for AOL. In October 2011, I interviewed for a position as the editor of MTV’s RapFix blog (rapfix.mtv.com), and landed the job. I managed a team of writers, and also the Twitter account (MTV Hip-Hop). Earlier this year, everything merged into MTVNews.com, and I’ve continued to write, conduct interviews, and manage the RapFix social media accounts. For a year (Jan 2013 – March 2014), I appeared on MTV’s RapFix Live with Sway Calloway, where we interviewed various artists and filmed specials (including a pre-VMA special at the Barclays Center in 2013).
Any obstacles along the way?
Where to start? Getting a writing job in this industry that pays well was definitely difficult. And being a female rap writer isn’t an easy thing. There are very bad days, but you just have to shake it off. Working on RapFix Live was also my first time working on a TV show, and there was very little prep. I’m a pretty shy person, so being thrown in front of a camera was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done.
Who is your idol?
My mom. She’s the epitome of the hustle, and I’ll be forever grateful to her for making me tough as nails. There are people whose career I admire, like Oprah, Sway, etc., but I’m determined to make my own path.
What are three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are?
Perseverance: I’d be lying if I said there haven’t been many days when I wanted to quit. I still have those days — today, as I’m writing this, was one of them — but something in me never gives up.
Diligence: I take pride in my work. I’m not always great at networking and putting myself out there, but if I’m doing something, I need to give it my best. People notice even when you don’t think they do.
Graciousness: I am forever thankful to the people who have looked out for me along the way. No matter how hard you work, you can’t do it alone. When I “make it,” there are a few of my former editors who will have it made for life.
Where would you like to be in five years?
This one is tough, because I’ve learned that there’s no point in putting a limit on my dreams. There are a lot of things I thought would “never” happen, and they have! In a general sense, I’d like to be at a point in my career where I have the freedom to work on multiple, different creative projects without being bogged down by the mind-numbingness of day-to-day office chores. Maybe one day, HBO will let me re-write a much better version of How to Make It In America. My Brooklyn friends and I would represent the hustle so much better! (No offense to anyone, ha).
Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.
A girl boss finds and creates opportunity where there seems to be none. She’ll be gracious, kind, and well-put-together on the outside, but there’s a lion lurking underneath.
Describe your style/fashion sense:
My style is very much influenced by hip-hop and growing up in Brooklyn, and also by my love for travel and picking up eccentric pieces in different countries. Vintage floral skirts, gold sneakers, leather jackets — maybe it’s where hip-hop meets indie.
Fav clothing item/accessory right now?
I’ve been collecting odd gold rings for the past year. My collection is getting pretty amazing.
What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?
Sephora cream lip stains are the best beauty product to ever happen to me. No worries about my face melting off during an interview. And I love those tiny tubs of vaseline.
Go-to nail color?
Sally Hansen “Heart to Heart” is the perfect orange/red. I’ve tried all of the OPIs and Essies, but this is my favorite.
Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?
I’m embarrassed to admit that, since I spend so much time on the Internet, and have been biking all summer, I’m far behind on my reading list. But #GIRLBOSS, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind Of Girl and Nice Girls Don’t Get The Corner Office are sitting on my nightstand.
No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?
Red wine. In a giant glass. When I want to implode.
Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?
I’ve been listening to Jessie Ware’s new album ‘Tough Love’ on repeat.
What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?
Beyonce’s “Grown Woman” gave me a nice boost this summer, because I can do whatever I want.
What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?
So many Drake lyrics to choose from, so little time.
Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?
“Take it one day at a time.” My mom always tells me this, and it’s super irritating, but I guess it helps, because sometimes I feel like I’m running out of time to do everything. That’s the kind of thing that makes you go insane.
Advice to future girl bosses:
It’s important to keep it moving through the difficult times. Even though it feels like you might be stuck, it’s only temporary, because nothing lasts forever. Remember that you can still be productive during those hard times, and see it pay off later. (I tattooed some form of that on my rib to remember it).