Building a brand based on trending topics and news can be tough, but Janee Bolden (Bossip), Stephanie “Eleven8” Ogbogu (BallerAlert), Talia Oliver (The Shade Room), and Rea Davis (AllHipHop) are living proof that being yourself while doing what you love can turn your life into a success story.
Boss women in media are hard to come by. Elite roles are predominantly given to males, at times overlooking and overshadowing capable women.These individuals have proved they can hang with the big boys through persistence and by staying on top of their game.
Staying abreast of what’s trending, while competing with other publications reporting the same thing can be hard, but what makes these women stand out and have their audience coming back for more is their perseverance and originality. This is part four of our four-part series.
Meet Talia Oliver, CEO, Not Your Mother’s Closet; and writer, The Shade Room
How did you arrive at this career choice? Was it a deliberate decision or a gradual and natural evolution?
No, it was not a deliberate decision for me to become a writer, however, when I began writing for TSR, I discovered a gift that I didn’t know I had! When God gives you gifts, you use them or you lose them, and I’m “forced” to use my gift every day now, so it just feels amazing to be doing something that doesn’t feel like work.
I must say that I never, ever thought that I would take up writing as a career nor did I imagine I’d be writing for The Shade Room! Being selected for the position that I have here was a product of me being where God had instructed me to be at the time, so I look at it as being rewarded for my obedience. It’s a blessing.
What separates you from others in your field? What is unique to the experience that you create?
I believe that my kindness separates me from others in this industry. I am told this fairly often by people I’ve interviewed or meet at events and I didn’t understand why because it should be second nature to be nice, right? I guess it’s obvious that I am not phased by the lifestyles that I’m around because they can be taken away so quickly, so I wish to stay that way. My only concern is writing well and being where God instructs me to be because it’s up to hHim how I am to be used in the media industry.
Do you think that there are any widely held misconceptions about what you do? If so, what are they and how do you work to dispel them?
When it comes to being a blogger or journalist, celebs and reality stars think that all of us are out to get them just to have a story to tell which is certainly not true. It gets annoying when they try to downplay our craft when all they have to do is take the time to build a relationship with us. In reality, unless we’re talking about them, no one cares or has any idea of what they’re up to, so I just feel that we deserve a little more respect than we receive.
Name two of your top role models: one from your industry and one from outside of it.
My number one role model in this industry is Oprah. I mean, she is the definition of a Jack of all trades–actress, producer, news anchor, talk show host, media maven, etc. This woman’s story is so moving! She came from almost nothing to being a billionaire off the strength of her refusal to succumb to her fear of success. That is so inspiring to me because people let their fear kill them before they’re even dead. Just go for it! There really is no such thing as failure if you decide to learn the lessons from things not going your way the first time (or the first two hundred times).
… And then Beyoncé? She’s the epitome of hard work, dedication and “how dare you!” I don’t think that people take the time to consider that in addition to her gift of being an excellent entertainer and businesswoman, she makes time to be a good wife, mother, sister, daughter and friend. You can learn a lot from Bey just by how she moves. I mean, everything she does is calculated for an appointed time and place, you know? I saw a meme once that said, “We all have the same 24 hours as Beyoncé” and all of a sudden, everything was put into perspective for me. If she makes time to do all of that then I’m not doing enough with my life and time. Ever since then, I am always writing (whether it’s for The Shade Room or my own book), I started a t-shirt business and I even write songs … Muva Bey has taught me the importance of time management and that is invaluable.
How do you stay connected with fans?
If any of you follow The Shade Room, then you’ll know that we call our fans “Roommates!” At the end of the day, I’m a fan of TSR, because I’ve helped build it in some way. I started when there was only Angie and one other editor on the platform, so in order to keep up with the Roommates, I continue to be one! I always try to chime in on certain stories or memes to interact with whomever I can, because it’s just fun and you can learn to appreciate different perspectives on stuff in those comments. You’ve just got to get through the trolls first!
What affirmations do you repeat to yourself that contribute to your success?
Every single day, I have an alarm set for 10 a.m. letting me know that it’s time to say my daily affirmations. The tongue is so powerful, I can’t say it enough. You can choose to speak life or you can choose to speak death, but I choose life and fruitfulness! Here are a few of my affirmations:
I declare and decree that I am a success in every area of my life.
I walk in authority.
I am a sought after author and I have more money than bills and expenses.
Making money is easy for me and my family.
Favor is active and strong over my life.
Goodness and mercy follow me everywhere that I go.
What Scripture(s) are you leaning on?
I recite Isaiah 54:17 often which reads “No weapon formed against you shall prosper and every tongue that rises against you in judgment shall be condemned.” This scripture is so powerful because no one can come against you if you’ve got God! Nobody!
Another Scripture I reference is Matthew 6:25-34 which basically speaks on how the Lord will always provide for you if seek Him and all his righteousness. He’s got your back so you don’t have to worry about bills or food or shelter. This passage inspired the design for one of my t-shirts which reads: “We good over here, fam!” I truly believe that, because I’m living proof.