Words Can Take You Anywhere with Arianna Davis
if we see our lives as pieces of art, the question then becomes how do we make our life a masterpiece. That is the through line on today's conversation here on the Chase Jarvis live show on creativelive the conversation with Arianna Davis. Now, if you're not familiar with the arena's work, she is the editorial director of the Today Show and the author of what would free to do an incredible book about the legendary artist, Frida Kahlo. Now, in addition to being those things that I described, Ariana is an adjunct professor at new york University's digital and Print Media Masters program. She also oversaw digital editorial direction and strategy at the Oprah magazine and she launched Oprah dot com back in 2018. In this episode, we cover the fact that words are so important to the creative process, whether you're an author or not, even for visual artists, words are powerful and knowing how to use them will help your creativity regardless the media. We also talk about why it's important to ...
talk about race and culture. She tells the story of getting her foot in the door at all those places that we shared earlier on in her bio, we talked about how difficult it's been to prioritize work life balance and we explore. Is that a myth or does it really exist or is it more and more of a harmony. It's a fantastic episode. I can't wait to hear what you think, enjoy this episode yours truly in conversation with Arianna Davis. Mhm Yeah, Bill Ariana Davis, thank you so much for being on the show. Welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It's I'm very excited for this status is going to be awesome. Excellent. Well, I often not always, but often like to invite our guests to share a little bit about themselves in their own words rather than me, you know, labeling you with something as I probably will in the in the intro that people just have listened to. But I'm curious how you describe yourself your work, um how you spend your time and your energy. I appreciate you asking the question because I think, you know, obviously we're usually defined by what we do in a lot of ways, but I guess I would describe myself as a storyteller. Um so I by day and the editorial director of the Today Show, which means I oversee all things editorial on our digital platforms, websites, social, all that good stuff. Um I'm also an author. I published my first book last year, What would free to do a guide to living boldly inspired by the life of the iconic artist Frida, Kahlo. Um so, you know, words and telling stories has always been my jam, whether that's through books or it's through um journalism and digital media. So yeah, I think that's probably the biggest label other than dog mom to leo my puppy who was a year old who's who if I'm not mistaken, is sleeping at your feet and we may or may not desperately hoped that leo makes an appearance for those who are for those who are listening, you wanted to see see it, but we've got our fingers crossed for those of us who are watching or on video. Yeah, he he will most likely pop up. He's very like, he's like attached at the hip, so don't worry, I feel like you'll be seeing him soon. Yeah, awesome. Well, one of the first things I would like to explore is creative process and different creative modalities. You listed about 10 things, right? Editorial director, your program for TV digital and your storyteller, which comes in many forms, right? There's lots of different media type to tell a story, whether it's a written word or a moving image or a still image. Um do you have a favorite? And if so how do you, again, the listeners and watchers of the show are identified as creators and entrepreneurs and and the creative process is something I'm fascinated by. So which do you consider your primary medium? And then talk if you can a little bit about extending that into these other areas, Is it fun? It is a challenge. You know, why why do you choose choose to do that? Great question. Um, I think my you know, I'm a word girl, I've always loved, I've always my whole story starts with reading, it starts with being a bookworm. It starts with being obsessed with books. It all started with the babysitter's club when I was like 78 years old. Um and you know from there, I think I I've just always just I think I've always been obsessed with the idea that like just words can transport you anywhere they can tell you a story. I feel like I've grown up to be a very empathetic person. And I think so much of that empathy comes from the fact that I've always been someone who reads other people's stories and you know, can see myself in other characters as I'm reading. And so that's always kind of been I think where where it began and so um you know, eventually that love of reading turned into a love of writing, I was, you know, writing little books for my parents and english teachers telling them, you know, I think that she, you know, is a is a writer, like she this is her thing. Um So I'm lucky in that, in that sense, I think, you know, I know so many people, I have so many people in my life who still, you know in our mid thirties are figuring out their passion or their purpose or what they want to do and I recognize that, you know, I'm very privileged and and extremely grateful for the fact that since I was a kid, I've always known like words is my thing. Um So yes, I think, you know now nowadays fast forward a few decades um I think the art of just, you know, storytelling through words, whether that's, you know, at the Today show now, what that means is, you know, as editorial director, um we're publishing dozens of stories every single day. And so it's thinking about in this world of digital media, you know, how to make those stories voici and fun and you know, if we're writing a story about news that everybody else is writing about on the same day, what makes our story stand out, what's our, you know, whats your point of view, um what's the headline that or angle that's maybe a little bit of a different take than what everybody else is doing. So that's always that's like where I ended up and how I landed in digital media is um you know, I really started in media as a writer and now I'm in more of a of a senior level role where I'm kind of overseeing and editing and helping to shape um those stories and those words. So I think that's like my primary medium. And then, you know, I also wrote a book and writing a book is the ultimate form of storytelling and of like, just wordsmithing and getting it all down on paper. So yeah, I guess you're to answer your question of like the primary medium, it's just it's just words and writing that's it Well, the application, that's one of the things that I love so many people want to ask that question, you know, they'll wander in the woods a little bit and it often comes back to what to words, even visual storytellers, like they start off, you have to write a script before a script become usually you write a script before a script becomes a television show or a tv or a movie or you know, and all those things like it's fascinating to me. The difference, you highlight the difference between say out putting a dozen or so digital stories to that of a book. Now. We have folks who would listen to the show who consider themselves writers is a book, just a collection of a lot of articles or is there something much greater and grander And I want to then transition into specifically writing what would free to do, which is an incredible piece by the way, received all kinds of accolades for those who don't know, named best gift book of the Year in style, Oprah Daily Business Insider, Squire, boston globe, read book, the list goes on. But was it just, did you just sit down to, to create that book as a series of all the other things you've done or was it a completely different process in itself? Well, the book is really interesting in that the book kind of fell into my lap. So I've always dreamed of writing a book I always knew, as I mentioned, big bookworm, you know, writing a book was always a dream. But um, so my story is that you know, I started my career at Oprah magazine. Um I was there for many years, I started as Gayle King's assistant and then I left and then I worked my way up to being an editor um I left and worked at us weekly and I also worked at Refinery 29 then I came back to Oprah which is owned by hearst magazines um to launch the website for the magazine, the magazine had never had its own website. So 2018, I was like, you know, started from scratch with zero users for the website and had to hire a team and just like figure out, You know, small tasks, small challenge of launching a website for Oprah Winfrey. So that was a very crazy, intense time of my life. I was working 24/7 and then one day I get an email from Steel Press which is an imprint of Hachette books and they reached out because they had been talking about um you know, in this kind of time of women's empowerment and really in encouraging women to tell their stories and to be bold that they felt there was an opportunity for something that might revisit the story of Frida, Kahlo and they were, you know, looking around for writers who might be interested and they heard from a former colleague of mine uh you have to talk to Ariana Davis, she's obsessed with freedom. So I was like, you know, you're a really big Freedia fan when people, you know are like word on the street is she loves Frida. Um so you know, they reached out and it was a very crazy time as they said, I was already like not getting any sleep and it was, it was a really, it was a whirlwind. But again, a dream of mine was always writing a book I do am and be obsessed with Frida. And I just was like, you know what, I, there's no way I can turn down an opportunity like this, like I have to see where this goes. And so from there it was, you know, some meetings and some idea waiting and just talking about, you know, there's been so much done about Frida, what could I do that would be different and what would I bring to the table with, you know, a new project about her life. And that was how this idea of what would free to do was born, which was you know, introducing her story somewhat biography style for anyone who isn't familiar for the younger generation. Um, but also examining her life and her legacy and why she's just, you know, still on murals and tote bags and just everywhere you look. Um and doing that through the eyes of someone like me who's afraid of super fan. So sitting down for that process was a just like in addition to my day job, kind of crazy. A very crazy task to take on. But um it was a lot of research, it was a lot of outlining, it was a lot of just thinking about, okay, I want to tell her story and offer something new to her story in a fresh way. Um so yeah, it was a lot of research, it was a lot of writing on the weekends and late at night after my day job and I also took a week off for my for my day job to go to Mexico City, which is her hometown. And that was where I like, I did like my own writer's retreat and just completely just lost myself. I went to her house, I went to, you know libraries in Mexico City and I spent a lot of time just like writing writing and writing. So it's kind of a culmination of of writing and researching and doing it all in between this other job. Okay, wow, Well that's one of the things that I find um fascinating about words is they it seems like I think I heard this somewhere that, you know, writing something down helps you organize your thoughts because this, you know, so much of the human condition is oriented around language and being able to communicate really well, can have its foundation in writing. And so whether you're, I think this is maybe a note to the creators out there that being able to write your ideas down is a powerful, is a powerful tool. Did you pursue anything specifically around writing outside of the desires that you had, you know, M. F. A. Did you just sit there and, you know, it was it was it in creative writing, how did you practice? If indeed my my hypothesis is correct, I want to, you know, give a little insight for people how they can help formulate their ideas through writing. What did you do? That's a great question. Um I think for me, you know, it's interesting, I came of age during the like earlier days of the internet, and I remember I was when I was in high school, that was like the very, very early days of blogging, and I had like a little, I think it was called like Live Journal, it was like one of these like kind of early online blogging platforms and I think honestly that was really where I found my voice, I was like, you know, very emo teenager who was kind of just like writing about this crush or this thing that happened to me and that was kind of, I think the first early days where I started writing um in a way that wasn't just like in my diary, but it was like, you know, as a storyteller and telling stories and sharing them with the world. Um and then, you know, I went to college and I studied journalism and obviously learned the craft there as an undergrad at Penn state um and then you know it was really, I think where I got my writing chops was working in media and working in journalism, I started as I mentioned at Oprah magazine and you know for anyone who isn't familiar with the magazine, the magazine is really known for, its, it's like lots of really beautifully written, intentional stories and storytelling, it's one of the things I think that sets it apart from many other magazines and so that was where, I mean I was going through rounds and rounds and rounds of edits from an editor who was just like you know really teaching the craft of writing and it's interesting now that I you know fast forward some years working digital media and it's a little harder I think to have that kind of hands on writing editing experience um but yeah, I think for me the craft was really learned through you know working in media and magazines, um having editors who worked really closely with me eventually working my way up more and more, I worked at refinery 29 eventually and I was a senior writer there and that was where I got to just have fun and right about everything from like Beyonce to um you know the the effects of what it's like, you know as a black woman working in in media to like I was writing about everything and that was where I kind of learned to hone my voice. Um so that was like the professional way but I think you know in my own time I've always been someone who likes to write just for myself um and who just likes to have a little fun and I think that the best writing is when you can feel the U. In it, whoever is writing it, I think if you know there is anyone can write I think and you know there's so much writing out there especially with the internet now, but what makes the story a story and what makes it unique is the person who wrote it and what they're, what they're injecting into it. So I would say you know anyone who's looking for advice on holding that craft just the more you can write for yourself, the more you can write for fun. I always like to just like reread things. I've written like a couple of days later and it's always interesting to be like wow the me 33 days ago really were used the word like a lot and you know just kind of reading with your own words and thinking like here's how it would change this now, here's how it edited, here's how I perfected sharing with friends, having friends, give you feedback and um I think that that is also really key in in the craft of writing for sure is it? It's not ironic your, I'm making an assumption, your passion for Frida and her fierce spirit, I can feel that in you in your writing in ah clearly the work that that you did at Oprah for example and now the Today show uh is there something, do you feel uh akin in in in orientation or passion or in what ways rather does the work that you did writing, you know about Frida, mirror your own vision of yourself or does it at all? I think um I mean I think that there was so many differences and so many similarities in that I think at the core of both of us, there was definitely this this passion for storytelling, the buzzword of the hour. Um I think that she did it visually through art and I think that she also was someone who didn't necessarily think that like the traditional ways of thinking should be applied. So she was, you know a woman, she was married to a very famous artist, Diego Rivera. She was someone who had many accidents in her life. So it was always dealing with health issues. Um and she was mexican, she was latin american. So you know, there was cultural roadblocks there and yet still she was, you know painting the story of her miscarriage and painting the story of what it was like to catch her husband cheating on her and um really just breaking barriers in, you know, and not really caring about the expectations of what it meant to be a woman, what it meant to be a latin woman, what it meant to be, you know, um all the labels that were, that were given to her, so I think we definitely share a similar want of just like you know, thinking outside the box and also a similar love of just creativity and passion um but you know there's many ways that freedom is way bolder and way more fierce than I am and you know where there's a lot of, you know a question I get a lot from people who have read the book is about Frida and Diego and how you know, she just put up with so much from him, including he cheated on her with his sister, he cheated on her with her sister um and you know they still ended up getting back together and people are like how, and I'm just like you know that's one way, I think Frieda and I are probably very different um but you know at the end of the day, I, I still admire, I still even admire her in her decisions that she made when it came to Diego because she was very unapologetic, like he was known as not being attractive and he was a womanizer and he treated her, you know in different ways, but at the end of the day she was like this is the man that I married and I made this decision and I'm sticking by and I don't care what anybody says. And so she was very bold and unapologetic in that way. And that's something that I think I am as well or at least aspire to be incredible. I read an article that you wrote online, I'm black and Latina, how I embrace both sides. I would love to hear a little bit about, you know, the genesis of the article you've referenced, obviously this is uh there's a justifiable awakening that is happening. It is not enough and it will, there, there is much work to do. It's the piece was incredibly inspirational and you mentioned the sum identity of latin X. Um with Frida, I'm wondering how you take that responsibility in your own life and it's clearly, you know, you articulated so well in the article, I'm wondering if you can share a little bit about it here in the podcast for those that haven't read that piece. Yeah, thank you for for bringing that one up. I yeah, so, you know, my mom is Puerto Rican and my dad is black and um, you know, I grew up in the suburbs of Maryland where, you know, it wasn't the most diverse of places and I went to a private school. So, you know identity is something that from a very young age I've always, you know struggled with and always been very aware of just knowing that I look different than other people and you know, my sister and I both, you know, to most people look like black women, but we would be with my mom who is Puerto Rican with blond hair and it would be like, is that your nanny, is that your babysitter? Um and then, you know, with my dad and his side of the family, we, you know, we would get like jokes and just get teased and you know, there's always kind of this feeling of not necessarily always fitting in and that's still something even to this day, you know, I I still think about a lot and and have had to evolve my thinking around identity as we're as a culture and in general in this country, um also evolving conversations about identity. So um you know, it's it's always been something that I've been aware of, but the older I've gotten, the more comfortable and confident in my skin I've gotten and the more I've realized that, you know, it's a blessing to come from two cultures to have, you know, my mom's side of the family and to go to spend time with my grandmother here in new york and and to really, you know, celebrate that culture and then the same goes with my dad's side of the family and I've always embraced both of those sides, which I wrote about because you know, for me if I were to just say one or the other, it's like picking a parent um and you know, it's very, it's also very complicated because it's like there's race and there's ethnicity and there's nationality and it's like there are black Puerto Ricans and there are, you know, it's it's it's all it's all very layered and I think that the conversation is evolving, but um as I continue as a storyteller and someone who now is in a position of power where I can higher and I can open doors for other women and other people of color in in this industry. You know, there's not a ton of people of color working in media and there's still a lot of doors that need to be opened. So it's also something I felt as, as you mentioned, you know, I do feel a responsibility to try to open those doors more and to also try to educate as much as possible whether that's through the work that I do or through conversations like this one, or um just through mentoring and advocating for more, you know, people who are younger than me to get there to get their foot in the door. So something I'm thinking about all the time. Well, yeah, that was where my thinking was going, or my questioning rather, you know, as um the world of the diversity and the inclusiveness that our culture has had and where it needs to go, There's so much work to be done, and would you say that's a central pillar to the work that you're doing is that just a byproduct of who you are, you've mentioned identity. Um I'm, I'm curious if you could share a little bit more on that. Yeah, I think um you know, it's interesting. I think last summer, right, when the Black Lives Matter movement started to have a resurgence and after the death of Brianna Taylor and George Floyd and Ahmad are very, there was a lot of conversation in newsrooms and at companies, you know, like the one that I used to work for about, you know, how do we get more diverse? You know, people were coming to me asking, you know, you've hired a really diverse staff, how did you manage to do it? Or, you know, the content they were putting out through Oprah is really diverse. How do you do it? And for me it was just like, it's just second nature because it's, you know, it's who I am and it's, you know, I come from the perspective and and this is why I do think it's important in media in any story telling, you know, business or any business really, but I think if you want diverse perspectives in your workplace, whether that's, you know, a website that you produce or you're an editor looking for authors or you're an entrepreneur and you want, you know, your product to resonate with all audiences. Um you know, I think the people who are working for, you need to be diverse too and that doesn't even just necessarily mean race. You know, I always, you know, wanted to make sure that we had queer perspectives on my team and that, you know, I had writers that I could go to if we wanted a plus size uh, perspective for style stories. I mean, there's just if you have a team who all look the same or you're surrounded by people who all look the same, you're not going to have diverse perspectives and diverse stories. Um, so I think that it's just like intrinsic for someone like me who, you know, is a person of color and has grown up always thinking about race and always thinking about what it means to be other. Um, and you know, realizing that that's not necessarily how everyone thinks was a an aha moment as I got older and realized like, wow. So you're really just not like race doesn't even cross your mind or you know, people who say they're color blind and it's like, you know, there's really no such thing. So I've even had to learn on that, on that, on that end of things. And um, you know, I think to your to your question, I definitely think it's part of who I am and it's it's always intrinsically part of the work that I do. Oh, and that last comment that you shared reminded me, uh I can't say friend, I'll say acquaintance and former guests on the show Emmanuel. So I'm not sure if you're familiar with the manual. But yeah, he talked about actually, no, it's it's actually uh antithetical to the, to the preferred solution to try and teach your Children to not see color. It's actually about seeing color embracing it and understanding it. And I was wondering if um if you know how that manifests in your work is that, would you agree with that statement? And and if so how and if not how I definitely agree. I think that, you know, it's it's at the end of the day, race and culture, it's all part of who we are and I think celebrating that is important. I think, you know, I'm incredibly, I'm incredibly proud to be a black woman and I'm incredibly proud to be Puerto Rican. Just like, you know, I'm sure Emanuel is proud to be a black man. And it's like if everyone around you kind of talks around the issue or never acknowledges that, that's who you are. You know, that's not being authentic and that's not being realistic. And you know, if you have, if, you know, for me, being a person of color who has had white friends and we never ever talked about race, but as I just mentioned, race is something I always have to think about and it's something that's, you know, part of the work that I do. So if we're truly friends and we truly have a connection if you're never, you know, if we're never actually talking about it, it's kind of like we're just ignoring a big part of who I am just like, you know, if um you know someone that I'm friends with is really proud to be italian like, well I'm probably gonna be like, hey, like I wanted in Italy, like tell me about it. Like, you know, I just, I think that it's, it's just normal and so I think that this, I do recognize that people who say they want to be color color blind or that they don't want to think about race. I think what they really mean is that they, they don't want to believe or see, they don't want to believe or perpetuate the idea that if you are of a certain race that you are less than others or that, you know, um you know, or that they believe in any stereotypes and they don't believe in the problematic things and that's one thing at that time, but not being racist doesn't have to be, you know, being color blind. I don't think the two have to go hand in hand awesome, thank you for sharing that. I want to shift gears and talk a little bit about career. Obviously you are on a Meteor, you've covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time and um I think there's, if I was to survey the listener ship of the show, there are, everyone feels like they're not doing enough myself included, like, oh, I could, you know, I should be doing more, I could be, you know, how have and I'm I don't know if you feel that way as well, but you know, hopefully in your answer you can share, as I'm sort of meandering around the question, here's the punchline. You have what has been your central instinct, because it seems like most folks that I have had on the show, there's two steps forward, one step back, and you can sort of see that in their career a little bit, or if you can't see it on the surface, you know, a simple question will reveal that, oh no, no, we're I'm not superhuman, I'm just like you were were all sort of um figuring our way through this, but I don't I'm struggling to see that. It just seems like you went from, you know, as your self proclaimed uh Bookworm, or bruckner, don't remember how you described it, you know, and, you know, now the editorial Director of the Today Show, which I don't even know the reach and the impact that that, you know, that position or the show has. I know it's significant, so can you help us make you seem human? And no, I was gonna say I have, I have no problem doing that, because I can tell you, and I think this is really important conversation to have, and one of the things, you know, as I've surprised, surprised myself and finding a small social media following. And I think that the reason, one of the reasons that I think I enjoy social media is that I do think that so much of social media is just only showing the highlights and it is only showing the good parts. And I try my best to show both and to be open throughout my journey because I do think it's really misleading, especially in this like social media driven culture that we're just seeing highlight reels of people's lives. And it's like, you know, you listen to a podcast episode about somebody and it's like, wow, they like listen to all the great things they've done, but you know, that's not that's not realistic or real. Um I think for me, I mean I've definitely encountered a lot of challenges, but I would say the biggest ones that I'll, that I'll talk about here is that um yes, I started my career at Oprah, which is like dream job, which is amazing. And it's funny because I thought I was going to be in newspapers when I was at Penn State. Um I, you know, heard about interning at magazines, but it was always something, you know, my family couldn't afford to send me to new york city to pay extra for summer credits so that I could pay new york rent and internet a magazine and everyone I knew who worked in magazines was to be frank, you know, white and knew somebody who knew somebody and you know had a certain level of privilege that I didn't have and so my second choice was always newspapers because that was a little bit more accessible and um it felt like it was an easier road of journalism to break into. So I actually actually started my career at the new york Daily News as a post grad intern um as part of a scholarship program that I got into and the only reason I got my foot in the door at Oprah was because there was, I went to Penn State and there was a scholarship dinner where the publisher of magazine was speaking and I afterwards was just like so enamored and was like Oh my God this one works for 17 and I want to work in magazines and like this is my shot and something within me just pushed me to follow her into the bathroom and pretend I was washing my hands next to her and I asked her for her business card, looking back, I still really don't know what overtook me, I think it was probably a crazy thing to stop someone in the bathroom um but you know she was perfectly nice and she gave me her card and so when I moved to new york and I was interning at the Daily News um you know I reached out to her, we had lunch and she you know luckily didn't think I was crazy and became kind of a mentor to me and then when I saw online that there was a job opening for a postgraduate internet Oprah magazine Um which is also under hearst where 17 is. I reached out to her and she was like, let me find out who the best contact is and she was able to connect me and that was kind of how it all started. Um Again it was you know, it still was a who, you know, it was like I lucked out that I was at the scholarship dinner and then, I mean it's just crazy when I think about it. So anyways that that was kind of how I've broken into into the business and how I got into into magazines, but I mean when I tell you there aren't a lot of people that work that that looked like me in this industry, that there are so many meetings over the years where I was like how did I end up here? I don't know what I'm doing, I you know, feel like I'm speaking up about ideas and no one understands me because you know, I'm black and they're not and I don't understand what I'm talking about or like you know, for a million other reasons um that was a struggle and it was very lonely and I was meeting, you know, when I first started as an intern, I was making like minimum wage in New york city living here for the first time and none of my friends were here and you know, it was, it was a grind and it was a struggle. I think my early years in new york really taught me a lot, and that was um kind of the make or break of realizing, you know, you don't get into this business to make money, you don't even, you know, magazine sounds glamorous and I know, you know, all the places I've worked, sound glamorous, but you know, if you're not in it for the money, a lot of my friends became lawyers and doctors for a reason, and um I think that, but that also really taught me about passion and taught me that like, if I really love storytelling and love words and I love that, that passion that I'm going to have to be willing to grind it out for as long as I can. So there was a lot of late nights, there's a lot of eating ramen, because in order to afford my rent, there was, you know, a lot of that of that kind of stuff, and, you know, the other thing I'll mention is just that through the years, as I was grinding and as I was working my way up the ladder slowly but surely there was a lot of knows there was a lot of dream jobs that came along that I interviewed for, that I got to the final stage, or I got two references, or I had my heart set on them, and then, um there were nose and so there were a lot of times where I felt like, you know, this is the perfect next step for, this is what I want to do next, or wow, this is like, this is an incredible opportunity. And then, you know, that rejection happened. So, I guess that all of that is to say that, yes, I I've been really blessed and I've had an amazing career and I thank God every day for it. Um, but there's been a lot of hustle behind the scenes and a lot of grinding and a lot of loneliness and a lot of no sleep and a lot of, like losing friendships and losing relationships, because I've had to be so obsessed with my job. I mean, you know, there's been a lot of sacrifice there too. If I say the words work life balance, especially, especially juxtaposed, especially juxtaposed to that sort of final sentiment of, you know, losing friends and making the decision of, you know, you're going to prioritize your career. And just to disclosure, like, I don't know Of the say there's 500 people on the show, it's probably less than 10 that we're able to articulate any sort of a work life balance. Harmony is one thing that I can identify and understand, which is like for every time your way over here, you can make a little bit of time where over here, but it doesn't happen on a, you know, a small sign wave basis, it's not predictable and simple. So if I say work life balance, um you know, for someone who is aspiring to hit the same trajectory that you have or to take a similar path or if there's someone color who's inspired by your story, like, you know, what do you have to say about work life balance? I mean, it is really, it's the real, let's be real okay. No, I will, I will always be real and I will say, I think, I think that now I'm at a place because, you know, I've, I feel like I know you're not really supposed to say this, but I'm going to say it, I do think that you have to pay your dues and I do think that at least for this is coming from my perspective and this is coming from, you know, where I work, I do think and what I've been loving to see, I do think that especially gen Z and I think people who are just now starting out in the workplace are a lot more vocal about work life balance in our, you know, there's so many places that are unionizing, you know, unions in in magazine and digital media didn't really exist until like the last couple of years, so I think a lot of people are a lot more vocal now about like, no, it's not okay to overwork us or to expect to stay late in the office or to, you know, um have expectations of these crazy hours. So I think that things are changing and I think the idea of paying your dues is not going to always exist forever, but I do think to an extent when you're, especially when you're just starting out or if you really, you know, want something and you know that there's a lot of building that's going to be required, whether that's starting your own business or you're, you know, entry level out of job. Um I do think that setting yourself up and realizing that like for, you know, a certain amount of time, you're going to probably lose sleep and you're probably going to be, you know, obsessively figuring out whatever it is that you're doing, I think that's just part of it and I think that um anything that you really want does require some sacrifice and um you know, I'm a big fan of therapy, I'm in, I started going to therapy in the pandemic because you know, I live alone and it was a crazy time. Um but my therapist talks a lot about, you know, the different domains of your life, there's your professional domain, there's your personal domain, there's your uh your your relationships domain and so, you know, I kind of think of it a little bit like a scale, like sometimes, you know, work is gonna weigh more and then like, you know, your relationships do and then there might be times when finally work slows down a little bit and you have more time to dedicate towards your time with your partner or your kids or whatever it may be, but I do think that like balancing the scales is tricky and I don't know that there's ever going to be, you know, a perfect balance of, of everything. Um but one thing that I do that, I feel like it's very helpful for me is that I always try to find a little bit of time every day where I just like put my phone down and do not look at it, like that's like just a little bit of time. I think if you are constantly working and whether that's whatever you do, if you're constantly working, that means you're constantly plugged in, you're constantly on the screen, you're constantly like your brain just going, going, going. Um So for me to have a little bit of that balance and to feel a little bit like I have some me time is really, really key. Um and I also like, I actually just posted about this on instagram, I like to take, if I can like a day or two at least once a year, if not more where I just take myself on a little solo retreat and I turn my phone off and I take my dog and I walk in nature or I like wander around in the city or even if it's like, you know, here in new york, I'll just go for a day on saturday and I'll just put my phone on airplane mode and go to a library or somewhere I've never been. But I think if you can have a little bit of solo time to just completely unplug and not think about work, take a break from your partner or your kids if you can and just have that time to yourself. I think that that goes a long way well said, it's so true, unplugging. Especially, I'm uh there's, you know, the idea especially that was accelerated during the pandemic could work from every from anywhere. And, you know, when you can work from anywhere and then you take that literally I can work from the kitchen table, the couch, my lap, the floor, that, you know, it sounds um great. But what I realized is that, you know, my work is I can like literally swipe up and then I'm at work and that can be very, very dangerous for, for all of us to be able to do that, you know, instantly. And I found that I can't, it's not natural to program against that my nature is to do that. So I have to work expressly hard to, to get out of it and you're talking about, you know, a few days to do this and I'm sure that that's the, that's the bare minimum, Right? My gosh, we should probably have a lot more than that. Yeah, I mean, I I think like especially, I mean this is a creator, this is everyone listening to, this is a creative and at the end of the day, any of us who are in a creative field, we're not curing cancer, right? So it's like, you know, I think that any crisis or emergency or breaking news moment or whatever it is that pops up. It's like, of course the expectation is that you need to be on it immediately. But it's also like, you know, if you miss an email and you don't get back to it for three hours, it's gonna be okay. It's gonna be fun. But I do think that, you know, culturally we're just trained, especially with having a phone and having your laptop and working from home. It's like everyone can access you at all times, but it doesn't always have to be that way. You can take breaks and you can't unplug truth. Uh, you spoke, you spoke about being inspired by Frida, there's something I'm really aware of, especially in this time and culturally it's emerging and it should be obvious, but it's difficult to be what you can't see. It's so I'm wondering who are people that inspire you clearly Frieda is one, but who are people in your career, that you look to and who gave you a sense of inspiration, a belief um a maybe even a set of values that you that you've taken to heart and used in your life. I'm always looking for to find out who were the inspiration behind um what has been obviously an amazing, amazing trajectory. Well, I mean, you know, the obvious answer is Oprah obviously, but you know, I think a lot of people don't really, so I um so for anyone who doesn't know Gayle King, she's Oprah's best friend, she's also an anchor on CBS this morning and she is also the editor at large of Oprah magazine. And so my first job as I mentioned after, I was an intern at oh I was gilles assistant for about four years and Gayle King is I mean she wakes up at three o'clock every morning to get ready and go over to CBS and anchor CBS this morning. She then comes to the office. This is pre pandemic times, obviously she doesn't now because they're back in the office, but um but pre pandemic, that was her schedule after the show and after her post show meetings at about 11 a.m. She was going to the magazine every single day, taking, you know, lots of meetings, you know, she she essentially is editor at large was in every single meeting and was kind of the essentially like the Editor in Chief and then at like seven PM, she would go to this event or that event or this philanthropy philanthropy philanthropy thing or do this, you know late night interview for cbs and she did it all with a smile, she knew the name of every single you know doorman or security person, she never got snappy or rude, she was you know always just like the sunniest kindest, nicest person and she was ambitious and a go getter and she's just I mean I I couldn't even tell you all the lessons that I learned from working with her um and witnessing firsthand just like that kind of drive and work ethic and you know she's got a place financially and age wise where she probably could just retire and like you know live her life and enjoy being a grandma now and like go hang out with open hawaii and like just do her thing but she also loves storytelling and she loves you know being on the news and she loves the magazine and you know she loves meeting people and um I think that I learned a lot in that I saw so much of myself in her and wanting to you know having that same kind of passion and drive and dream but also doing it all with a smile and being nice and being kind, there is a lot of people in my industry who are not very nice and not very kind and who think that the way to get to the top is trampling over other people or being really mean when you're editing a story or you know, using your ego to like get on top or be competitive and that's never been gail. And even a lot of people are like, oh, being Oprah's you know, best friend and you know, she must be an Oprah shadow, but that's never bothered her. She's never cared about that. She has her own career, she does her own thing. She's not bothered by being called Oprah's best friend. Um she just is who she is and she loves life. And I've learned so much from watching her as a powerful woman, a mother of two amazing grown Children, someone who's who's done so much. So I will always scream from the rooftops how much I learned from Gail and how much I admire her. And also just how much I think she's underrated as a journalist and as just a human being in the world. It's amazing how far that goes, being a kind person, yep. I mean, it's it's small, it's it's very small things where I I think I didn't really come to appreciate her in that small thing so much as when I left Oprah. Um and I worked at other places and I saw like how there were people in positions of power who were just not nice people and who, you know, didn't who mixed up people's names or didn't bother to learn people's names or who, you know, just where you could tell using their positions of power to make themselves feel better about, you know, any issues that they may have, and so, um, I think just that small, it sounds very cheesy, but I think that's small, just goal and that that idea of just being kind and being nice and you know, not obviously in business, sometimes you have to make not very nice decisions, and there are moments where we have to be cutthroat and you have to be straightforward, but I think that there's a way to do it while still being respectful of people and being respectful of your colleagues and always remembering that, you know, everyone that you work with is a person at the end of the day, what's what's an unexpected challenge for being you? It looks, you know, what's an unexpected challenge. And I think you've done a great job of helping us understand the grit required to that you have put into pursuing your dreams, and, you know, you've talked about it in the sphere, you know, journalism degree and, you know, media, and I think the same thing applies to ostensibly any industry or any Vision one has for one's self yet, you know, we're often everyone's got their own stuff. And so what is, what is it a challenge that wouldn't you wouldn't see from your instagram, Well, your dog is very cute by the way, you know what, he actually just woke up. So you're now before I talk about challenges, he can say hi, he he just woke up from his nap. So he was like half asleep, okay, you can go back to sleep, you can go, that is very cute. He's like half knocked out, but okay, and the next week's challenge, that's a good question. And I think, I mean the first thing that comes to mind is, you know, although of course it's a dream job and it's amazing. But working for a brand like Oprah or for a brand like today, there's a lot of pressure, there's a lot of weight on my shoulders. There is a lot of, you know, things that keep me up at night, there's a lot of um, you know, the expectation that, you know, I'm the boss. So if something goes wrong, you know, the exact said NBC or, you know, back when I was working at Oprah, Oprah herself, you know, they were calling me or there was, you know, if if there was a story that had an error there, if there's a story that has an error in it or um, you know, we get sued because of some libelous statement that we did that I didn't catch or that my editors didn't catch that falls on me and, you know, there's a million perks to working for a high profile brand and names and I'm so grateful for those opportunities, but it is a lot of pressure and there is, you know, this idea of unplugging is very hard for someone like me who I feel like I'm constantly having to keep my eye out for like every little thing, whether it's a typo or an error or it's like, oh shoot, we didn't cover that story and that story would have been perfect for us or um, you know, there's, there's a lot of that pressure and those are the kinds of things that can keep me up at night. And uh, there's been a lot of times where I've been out with friends on a saturday and everyone's drinking and like just like laying, letting loose and then it's like, you know, the middle of the day and I'm getting a call from someone about something that happened and it's just like, sorry guys, I gotta go, you know, um, I gotta go deal with this crisis and put this fire out. So again, I'm always grateful for the challenge is a good problem to have, but you know, it is, it is a challenge and it, and it is, it can be hard and um, sometimes I have to make decisions just based on gut without knowing if it's the right thing or without having any precedent. Digital media is moving so fast and there's just so much change and there's no real rule book or playbook. And so um, a lot of times I'm just crossing my fingers and hoping that I'm that I'm doing the right thing and making the right decisions. But you know, it's a lot, it can be a lot of pressure for sure is your intuition something you trust? 1000%. I think we're not gonna win. I'm like, let me not, but but so far so far so good. You know, and listen, there's definitely been times where I've second guessed the decision or second guessed something, but at the end of the day, I try to look at it as any decision that I that I make that maybe wasn't the right decision. Hopefully I'll learn something from that in the end. And you know, there's been people have hired or stories that have green lit or stories that I've written. We're looking back, I'm like, maybe I wouldn't have made that decision or I wouldn't have done that, but or people that I didn't hire where I'm like, shoot, like that person would have been great. But um, at the end of the day, all you can do is trust your gut. I think that that's, that's all any of us can really do. I'm very grateful for your time. Last question before we let you go and in in what would free to do book, it's her paintings have earned admirers from around the world ah, and you know, taken from the, the marketing on the copy the back of the book, but perhaps her greatest work of art was her own life. So if you could, um, articulate if what's currently missing from the work of art that you are making of your life and and you know, is there, what do you what plans do you have to to address it? That is a really good question. Um I'm a professional, you've done this before a time or two, I can tell um you know, I don't feel like anything is missing right now. But I do think, I think that I I think what's really exciting is that I don't know, I really don't know what the story in the art of my of my life is going to be. And I think that that is really I mean when I even first started when I graduated from school and I was trying to get into magazines like the job of running a digital website didn't even exist. I mean, it was like, you know, I had no idea that I was eventually gonna, you know, pivot to digital journalism and that I would be running the website for the Today Show. I mean you're kidding me, like that wasn't even a thing. So it's you know, it's it is really sometimes for someone like me who is very like, I know I love to know what's next, but I do want to plan out my plan. Um it's also exciting to think like 10 years from now, who knows? You know, what, what what what there could be, but I do know what one of the big goals that I have, you know, is, as I mentioned several times now I'm a bookworm. I love reading, but fiction is my first love. I love I I mean if you could see my apartment, there's books everywhere. Um so I've been like, you know, dabbling here and there with working on a novel and I would love to to publish um some fiction sometime within the next few years, because, you know, as I mentioned, I love being a storyteller, but I've mostly been doing that in journalism and I would love to just have a little fun and tell some stories. I think a lot of the kinds of books that I like to read don't normally star protagonist who look like me, the like, light romantic comedies that are just fun and escapist. Um so I want to I want to dive into that a little bit, but I'm like, okay, let me just, you know, focus on the Today Show for now. Enough enough like to you know, big time in a book. Like, I can't do it again. I can't. So I need I need I need a little time. Fair enough, thank you for sharing your time. Speaking of time, thank you for sharing it with us, grateful to have had you on the show. Uh obviously our our the listeners will pick up what would free to do if they're anywhere else on the worldwide internet universe that you would send people who want to know a little bit more about you or have admired your career path or your take on life. Where would you steer people? Sure, yeah, I'm a big instagram girl, always on there, so feel free to follow me. I'm at Ariana with two ends. Um Ariana got G A B and um yeah, I'm always there. I love connecting with people. I'm such a fan of the podcast, so I really appreciate you having me on. And um yeah, I'm looking forward to listening to future episodes, awesome. Thank you so much, appreciate your time. And for all those out there on the internet. You've got a couple of homework assignments to pick up that book internet fetus. I mean, you've got to see this dog. I mean this is, he's he is very cute. Do you know Roxane gay or Debbie Millman? They have a dog there, a couple. They have a they have a dog that looks just like, just like he yeah, he does my pandemic puppy. He's a pandemic puppy. And he, I got him in like the peak of the pandemic last year. He's now my best friend, he's not, he just fell asleep again. He's on my lap. But he's he is the best, I mean cute overload here. What kind of dog is he? He's a cava poo and he's a year old and he is just, he's super sweet but also like, got a little mysterious, mischievous side. So you gotta love it. Who doesn't, Who doesn't Thank you so much for being on the show and everybody out there in the universe. Thank you for tuning in until next time we bid you adieu. Mm hmm. Yeah. Mhm.