An in-depth Q&A with mommy, tv personality, global brand educator for Wander Beauty Danielle A. Lewis.
Can you describe exactly what you do in the industry?
I work for a beauty startup so I wear many hats. As Global Brand Educator I train people all over the world on how to use our products. I also do on-air tv appearances. When I'm not wearing my educator hat, I write creative copy, manage social media marketing and work on building partnerships. The beauty of the startup environment is that you get a taste of all facets of the business. Long story short, I work in various types of marketing :)
Did you always know you would be doing this type of work?
I always knew I wanted to be in the people business but didn't know I'd have the opportunity to merge my love of marketing with my love of beauty.
How did you get started?
I went to college for Mass Communication and focused on marketing & advertising. When I graduated, I went right into working in corporate America as a Marketing Manager. I did a stint as an elementary school teacher but, after having my daughter, decided that I wanted to pursue beauty in a meaningful way as an artist. I've been in the beauty industry for over 10 years in one way or another. Nowadays I'm able to merge my experience from the corporate cubicle with my experience behind the brush so its the best of both worlds.
What’s your most proud moment or project?
As a freelance artist, my proudest moment was working on a beauty story in Essence Magazine. I remember very vividly pulling a tear sheet from an Essence magazine when I first started doing makeup and to do work that was printed in the magazine was a huge moment for me.
In my current role with Wander, I am most proud of my on-air appearances because Logan gets to see what mommy does for a living on tv.
What do you think you would be doing if this wasn’t your current career path?
I would definitely be working with people. I love being close to the viewer or consumer. I’ve also been really leaning in to more writing so maybe I’d be writing for television. I’m secretly developing show ideas all the time ;) I really just love using my imagination. I’m a creative through & through.
What are challenges you have faced in your career path? How did you get over those hurdles?
As a freelancer, money is always a challenge in the beginning. How to get it and how to keep it. And staying the course while you figure out how to keep the lights on is definitely a challenge. Maintaining momentum is also a muscle that has to be developed over time. Overcoming objections & making sure that you hear the “not now” in every “no”.
In my current role, it can be challenging to come up for air. I work with an amazing team of women & we all take ownership of our role within the company so coming up for air is tough when you’re laser focused.
How has someone helped you in your career? How do you plan to help the young women after you?
I have been presented with some amazing opportunities disguised as hard work. I’ve had people farther along than me exposing me to what ‘could’ be & that exposure is the most valuable asset. Seeing what is available to you makes you reach for it with more vigor. Early on I was invited onto sets that I would have otherwise never been on. That pushes me. Like, this is within my grasp. I plan to expose as many young women as I can to what is available to them. Through talks, events and me taking them with me where I go. Exposure is so powerful.
Who inspires you?
Anyone who puts work behind their vision inspires me. Oprah, Steve Jobs, Viola Davis, Issa Raye
Name a song that motivates you?
My Shot from Hamilton is one of my faves. I always remind myself that I’ve got a shot every single day and imma take it every single day too! I also love Empire State of Mind by Jay Z & Alicia Keys. It reminds me that I live in a city where things happen when you make them.
What app makes your work life better?
Google cal saves me everyday. Everything is there. And turbo scan too. Helps me sign docs & upload them as PDFs super quickly.
Is there a book or podcast that has changed your life? Or simply added value?
Some of my favorite books are:
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker
I love Myleik Teele’s podcast and Jess Lively too. I also LOVE Dear Sugar with Cheryl Strayed and Big Magic with Elizabeth Gilbert
What should we be watching on Netflix? Or the best thing you recently watched ?
This is Us! Hands down. Obsessed with that show! And Grace & Frankie because it’s hilarious. And Kimmy Schmidt because Titus is a STAR!
Do you feel there is a need for inclusivity in the industry? What can be done to change this?
Absolutely. Everyone who exists should be able to find images of themselves. Period. How can we change it? By saying it. With enthusiasm. Over and over again. Being honest wherever you are about what matters to you. Speaking for yourself and the others who didn’t make it into the room you're standing in.
Is there a time in this industry when you ever felt discriminated against, left out due to your gender/race or both?
I’ve been the only person who looks like me in the room many times. I've been on sets where colleagues just don't understand what is and is not appropriate. It’s always interesting to look around and realize that no one shares your point of view simply because they haven’t lived their life in your shoes.
How has your experience been with women/ women of color in the industry? Have you ever experienced “mean girl” behavior? What can we do to bring more community over cattiness?
I’ve been in spaces where women and men of all backgrounds had no idea what to do with me. And that’s on them. The biggest lesson I’ve learned (and am continually reminding myself of) is that catty behavior and prejudice has nothing to do with me. Cattiness is not about me even when it’s directed towards me. It's about the other person. Always. That helps me to not personalize anyone's else behavior. How can we change this. By leading with love and understanding that everyone comes in with baggage. Is the baggage your problem? No. But, at any given moment, most of us are doing the best we can. We should just meet people where they are and bring the vibes you want from them. Catty + catty = catty. Catty + love = a little less catty lol
How do you balance your personal life and work?
I don't. I prioritize. I believe balance is a myth. It doesn't exist. When I'm traveling for work, I'm not home to be with my child. I can't get that time back to balance things out with her. But, I can make it a priority to come home early from business trips with enough time to tuck her in. And I can stay at her school later the next day to ensure that I'm in the mix with her and the other parents. I stopped focusing on balance long ago. It's been easier for me to acknowledge what I have to do and what I want to do and to prioritize things out from there.
What are ways friends and family can support their loved one in the industry?
By being an ear and listening. By supporting people’s dreams. By keeping your fears to yourself.
How would you like to see the industry change for the better?
Diversity. Opportunities. More content that speaks to more people.
What’s next for you? How can we support your next endeavors?
More writing. More creating. More life ;) Let's support each other!