Current Location: Harlem, Manhattan Hometown: Los Angeles, California Professional Position: Creative Marketer
What kind of person is a New Yorker?It takes a certain degree of scrappiness to thrive in NYC. You really have to be able to roll with the punches, because every day here you’ll come across unexpected things that can throw you off balance, but being a New Yorker you can’t let if phase you. At the same time though, it’s also a city of so much energy, opportunity, culture and great, interesting people, which is why most people like me love living here.
Why put up with the hardships of living in the city? Is it worth the rent?
I have a love-hate relationship with NY every single day. It takes a lot to live here—whether it’s money, energy or time. However, for everything that NY takes, it also gives back just as much. My friends are here. I have great career opportunities. There’s always something fun to do or explore. I never have to be bored. Those are the things that keep me here and make it worth any hardships.
How do you contribute to your community?I’m really big about each one, reach one, teach one. I volunteer with a women’s organization called Step Up, a non-profit that helps high school girls from underserved communities fulfill their potential—empowering them to be confident, college-bound and career-ready. For the past three years I’ve also been executive director of ColorComm in New York, an organization empowering professional women of color in communications, marketing and media—ensuring we get recognized for the work we do, providing opportunities to connect and network with one another, and helping create relationships amongst us that’ll help us all get to the next level both professionally and personally.
Why do you think your contributions are helpful?Why are you here if you can’t give back in some way? That’s what we’re here for, right?
How can other young women take ownership of NYC?You can’t expect NY to be easy, because there are no easy days in New York. Come here ready to work hard for whatever you want. Also, spend time working to cultivate a community. If you don’t come here with friends, you have to get out there and meet new people. Having a community of friends around you makes New York so much more manageable.
Is this your home, landing pad, a transitional space, or a place you’re ready to move out of?This definitely feels like home to me. I’ve taken very careful steps to make my house feel like a true home. All around my apartment are little pieces that have special meaning to me. This is where I come to relax and recharge, so the décor and energy I create in my home reflects that.
What is the most sentimental piece in your house and why?My blue dresser. I saw a dresser like this at a nice furniture store, but the store’s version was over $1500 and I didn’t’ want to spend that much on it. So, I found a vintage plain wooden dresser on Craigslist, went to Home Depot and got some paint, ordered some new handles on Etsy and completely transformed it into the better version of the $1500 one I saw in the store, for only $250. I also have these three custom-made photo albums that showcase some of my pictures from my international trips over the years. I created them through a site called Picaboo and they’re like little conversation pieces that would go on a coffee table if I could fit a coffee table in my studio…
How does your apartment represent who you are?It’s a happy place. I’m a pretty joyous person most of the time. The way I set up my apartment and the colors I used represent that joy I try to embody daily.
What’s your approach to designing/outfitting a room in your apartment?
It’s a studio, so creating space for everything that doesn’t run into another area of the apartment is important. Having an area just for the bedroom, or space in which I can lounge, and of course a space where I can do work and eat. I like creating compartments within my studio that feel like different rooms of a home, even if it is just one big box.
How’d you land on the colors you chose to represent throughout your home?I’ve always been attracted to Tiffany Blue Teal. I don’t wear it as much but I’ve always been attracted to it in living spaces. I just try to use colors that open up the space and those that lift your mood.
What’s different about Harlem than any other place in New York?There’s just so rich much history. It’s a great neighborhood filled with so many progressive black people.
What’s your favorite Harlem gem?
Harlem Cycle is a new black-owned spin studio right on the Strivers Row block of Harlem that I’m loving. It incorporates Harlem’s musical roots with a popular workout and it’s just so much fun.