What this world needs right now is a little...well, A LOT bit of joy. Personally, I am beyond frustrated with our current events. It's affecting my personal and professional life beyond my control and It's maddening. I immediately knew who I needed to introduce to brighten everyone's day.
Roughly 6 months ago, I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across a viral video of a woman who had put on "Tom's of Main" deodorant. She had purchased and used the deodorant only to discover that she was putting out odor. Her plea was for "Toms" to head back to the lab and figure out how to make a deodorant that actually did its job. Between her quick witted one liners and her southern drawl, I was rolling. I decided to see if this was a one time video of someone who had a 5 seconds of fame or if she was a comedian. I clicked on her page and discovered she was known primarily for her vegan influencing but she was also a talented actress and mother of two. In her videos, she would have guests or be solo making delicious vegan dishes in her kitchen. Over the next few months I continued to watch and laugh. I felt like this was a woman who oozed joy and I found myself making better choices when I would eat. There was never any judgement for those who were not vegan when she would cook or share products she had received-only the gratitude of its positive affects on her well being and her family. I loved watching and I loved the individual she was portraying when she filmed her vignettes.
One day out the blue, I thought to myself "What if I sent Tabitha Brown a message and asked her to take part in my project?" I was nervous. But then I said "Why not?" She genuinely seemed like a lovely human...but seeing as though I just saw her on "Will and Grace" I hardly thought she would have the time to participate in my little project. Who was I? I honestly didn't think I would hear anything. Imagine to my INCREDIBLE surprise when I received a response within minutes that not only did she love the project idea, she thought it was serendipitous that I had messaged her. She was looking for a photographer-specifically a woman photographer for a shoot for her and her daughter for a magazine article. It was a was a win-win AND I could interview her daughter too. I was beyond excited. I got the feeling in my tummy whenever I learn I've booked a commercial-absolute joy, excitement and gratitude.
She invited me to her home for our shoot. I wanted to showcase her in her element-cooking. I was nervous as I made my way up the front porch. You know the stories where people talk about meeting an idol or someone they have watched for a long time only to be horribly dissapointed or just not at all what they expected? I'll be honest, that was one of the many hundred thoughts going through my head. She had seemed like the best person ever...but keeping it real, I had never met her and I didn't know what to expect. I took a deep breath and knocked. There she was, just as vibrant in her purple and just as joyous as she was on my 4 and half inch by 2 inch screen. "Hey Honey!! Come on in!!" She gave me a huge hug and said we were now family. She ended up being everything I would have imagined her to be and more. I met her daughter Choyce and for the next two hours, I would laugh and be in the presence of bonafide sunshine. I couldn't feel more grateful or appreciative that I had the opportunity to work with Tab and Choyce. Since our initial meeting, I've been following a more vegetarian lifestyle, started juicing on the regular and find myself choosing Beyond Meat products over the real thing. I haven't missed it...the alternative options have been just as great. Thank you Miss. Tab for your light, your love and your friendship. You are royalty and I absolutely adore the human you are. (Sidenote..Can I come over for "Guess Who's coming to Wednesdays? And help you cook? :)
What is your name and how do we know each other?
"Hey Girl! I’m Tabitha Brown. We know each other from IG. You slid in my DMs."
How old are you?
"41! Happy Birthday!" (Her birthday was the day before)
What are you currently doing with yourself?
"Always parenting. Always wifing. Career-developing a show. Developing products. Developing and creating content. And cooking amazing Vegan food. And writing a book."
Are you where you hoped you would be? If not/ Why? If so-what do you love about it and could you see yourself doing anything else?
"I am where I could have imagined I would be. It’s more than what I hoped for. It’s more what I imagined. Everyday I love it. Everyday I am blown away by it. I feel like I am just living in my purpose."
Women are becoming a resilient sound that cannot be silenced. What are you doing to contribute that sound?
"Honey, being my authentic self and never apologizing for it. That’s the most powerful thing we can be-especially as women."
What is something you learned from a younger age that has stuck with you?
"So many things. I was always taught at an early age that you get what you put out. So I have always worked really hard at being good to people and just putting out that good energy. I try to stay positive. Mom and Dad both taught me that ”Life is what you make it”. If you put out good energy, that’s what comes back. If you put out bad, that certainly finds it way back. I try to put out good. We deserve that."
Who is an individual who made a profound impact on you and why?
"My mom. She made so many different impacts on my life. When she was diagnosed with ALS, they gave her six months and she lived three years. She never accepted the diagnosis of six months. She said, “I'm gonna keep going until God says it’s time”. Don’t let anyone have more control over your life than you have for yourself. That’s an impact that will never go away, girl. Watching her fight to live every day, she was so happy with that. She never complained. When it was her time, she told us and she left in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen in my life."
What is a weakness or something that exposes your vulnerability and what do you do to combat/embrace it in order to grow?
"A weakness? I have to listen to what my husband says. (she laughs) Not taking time for myself. I really, really enjoy people. I pour a lot out and I don’t necessarily get that back. So I have to say- taking that time for me. I get exposed to a lot and I get sick. I love people and being on this mission of life but It gets tiring and exhausting of the mind. I tend to always be putting others before myself."
What is something that you want to accomplish and what are you doing to get to that place, if anything?
"I would love and I WILL accomplish having my own show. I am developing a reality show, 'Meet the Real Browns”. The other is a scripted comedy. I am Claire Huxtable meets Rosanne..and I want to be right in the middle. I want to be Americas mom."
And now..a few questions to lighten the mood...
Dogs or Cats?
Cheeseburgers or Salad?
"Depending on the day...I like them both. But I try to eat my salad on the side, instead of the fries."
Beach or Mountains?
"I like both. I love hiking. If I could end the hike at the water...I love the ocean. It’s one of things that reminds you that something is bigger than you. It knows how to stop, and where to go."
Sweet or Salty?
Lose all of your old memories or never make new ones?
"Never make new ones."
Disney..or is there any alternative?
"I’m not a huge disney person. I enjoy it. I love disney movies...so I guess Disney"
What is a fun fact that someone may not know about you?
"My middle name. In the Black community it's 'Benita'. In the Spanish community 'Bonita'"
And the final two important questions...
What is a common misconception about you that people make based on your appearance? What is your truth and how do you personify strength?
""People take my kindness for weakness. They don’t know that Benita exists. (She laughs. Benita is her alter ego that she keeps hidden away.). The truth is am very nice but I am nowhere close to being weak. I stay grounded. Foundation is everything that brought me to this path- my family...my past...hardships. Everything that happens in our life is part of our foundation. That’s what brings us strength. I rely on that.""
You have inspired me. What about yourself do you hope to put out in order to inspire other young people?
"Just continuing to do something I love and be consistent. It’s a big part of what I want to do to inspire people. Consistently being who I am. Being consistent is rewarding."