Vivian is the go-getter I aspire to be. She is the youngest on BuzzFeed’s “Top 5 Black Female Entertainment Journalists Under 30 in Hollywood” and was previously a correspondent with Access Hollywood. Her vivacious personality is magnetic. Anybody who is lucky enough to meet or know her will instantly feel better because of her presence. But beyond that, her work ethic is extremely admirable. She leaves her legacy behind every opportunity she takes on.
I first met her years ago in pageants, as she was always one division above me. I remember when she was Florida’s International Junior Miss Teen, I was in awe of all the charitable events she took part in. Later on, I had the incredible opportunity to be Florida’s International Junior Miss Junior Teen, so Vivian was able to be my sister queen throughout the rest of that year. To this date, it was one of the most precious pageant sisterhoods I was a part of.
For our Florida IJM Christmas party, she bought me Size 11 slippers and headphones because she remembered me talking about my feet being too big and my house being so loud. As a teenager, she gave me the opportunity to take part in her blog Poise Posh Polish and in college, she introduced me to the Emma Bowen Foundation so I could get my start in journalism. She is one of the most thoughtful ladies and sister queens I had the pleasure of knowing. Over the years, I have seen her conquer the entertainment industry on Facebook and Instagram. So I’m thrilled to have her as our guest on Lady Code today!
E: What do people know you most for?
V: That depends on when and where you met me really. If you knew me growing up in Florida, then it was for pageants, weightlifting, and student government. In college, it was for student government and interning at the Olympics. Post-college, I’m “most known” for working at NBC’s Access Hollywood right out of school.
E: What inspired you to get into pageants and journalism?
V: I was a huge tomboy growing up and very shy, but I always had a competitive streak. A little girl appeared in our neighborhood newsletter with a pageant trophy and my illogically competitive 9-year-old self had to sign up! My poor parents were so confused. That first pageant was terrible, but eventually years later I competed again and it became a way of building my confidence. It had an enormous role in my chosen field, because the skills I was taught, to prepare for personal introductions on stage, speech, one-on-one and panel interviews, and even how to walk, they all play in to what you need to be a quality journalist. A lot of pageant girls enter in to broadcast journalism or hosting, because we are groomed for it earlier than most people. Luckily, I actually love it too.
E: What is one thing you need to share with all the young ladies reading this article?
V: You can do anything if you can learn how to be confident in yourself and not just your looks or your abilities. You need to wake up every day and fully believe you are capable of achieving anything you want to do. Self-esteem issues or trying to be polite or wait our turn, all of that can keep you away from your dream if you aren’t careful. Be humble, work hard, work smart, network, help and support other women, and play the game better than the boys. Play it so well that the boys want you on their team. When you support women they support you, and when you play the game better than men they respect you…then you win.
E: How do you deal with people that try to put you down?
V: Kill ’em with kindness and don’t let them see you sweat. That’s what I try to remind myself. I deal with that more frequently now than ever before in my life. When people are intimidated by you or your confidence, they will try to make you feel small. Recognize their insecurity and be kind, but don’t be an idiot about it. Always make mental notes, because when you blow up and they want to be your best friend (they will) you’ll need to reference those moments where they belittled you.
E: How did you reach this level of success?
V: I’m constantly hustling and work really hard, but what has helped me the most is having mentors and being social. I go out multiple times a week and some people mistake that for being a socialite or God forbid a party girl. The truth is that you need people to know who you are and like you to get far. Credentials aren’t everything, which is a lot coming from someone who has more credentials than people twice her age. You don’t know what opportunity you could stumble upon by being friendly and getting to know people, and building a relationship. Follow up with folks through e-mail or social media after you meet them. That doesn’t mean you’re instant BFFs. Be polite, comment on their stuff on social media, invite them out, remember things they like and care about, help them out with something, good people bring good karma. But don’t be a hungry tiger.
E: What do you plan to do in the future?
V: Adapt. Media, journalism, TV, and entertainment as a whole is rapidly changing. I’m not sure what the future of entertainment news is honestly. All I can do now, while I follow my dreams, is to try to adapt and create cool stuff that can ride the wave of whatever is next. Entertainment news on TV may not be around in a few years and that’s a sad reality. That doesn’t mean my career is over. I’m way too young to let an industry destroy my dreams. My dreams just need to adapt to the current and future landscape. They need to be bigger.
E: What advice would you give to someone reading this article?
V: Start something of your own right now. A blog. A YouTube channel. A business. Something. I’ve stopped and started stuff for years and I wish I had been consistent at one or two of those things this whole time. I know big name people who are starting to create their own platforms online. I see my friends who have built their own see success…quick. Amber Scholl is a huge YouTuber with over 2 million subscribers. She’s a formal pageant girl pursuing journalism as well. I met her way before she even thought of a channel through other pageant friends. In less than 2 years, she’s created a life bigger than any she could have applied for on a careers website. You can too.
E: What is a typical week for you?
V: All over the place. I resigned from my job at Access January 2018. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t fully doing what I wanted to and there was no room for advancement or better compensation. I chose my dreams over what looked from the outside like a “dream job.” All that glitters isn’t gold. So now as a freelance TV host, pop culture & diversity expert, and glam lifestyle influencer every week is different. Every day is different. I’ve had so many tough months, but I am more fulfilled and in control of my future. I’ve had many wins too and those are both validating, rewarding, and financially worth all the hustle.
E: Did you think you would be doing what you do now when you were a kid?
V: I didn’t know I was going to be doing this just 5 years ago. As a kid I never thought much about future jobs, I just wanted to be great at something.
E: Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
V: I am re-launching everything! My website VivaciouslyVivian.com has been re-modeled to show what I do, but also to share more advice and tips then I can fit in to an Instagram caption, tweet, or single YouTube video. So check that out and my YouTube channel “Vivaciously Vivian” which relaunches in January with a curvy girl fitness & fashion series, vlogs about life in LA & the Hollywood hustle, glam beauty & skincare tips, and video clips from my new podcast DiversiPOP.