Here we are again, striving to inspire and motivate our readers by connecting with successful people in our community, those passionate, motivated and determined individuals who are not afraid of success.
Our SRM this month is Leah Vernon, a blogger, writer, activist from the Metro Detroit area. Leah and I met a couple of years ago at Naturally Flyy Detroit (an annual natural hair meetup hosted by two sisters, Etta Fly Espy and Jennifer, check them out) where she was giving head wrap tutorials. She was confident, stylish and rocked a mean head wrap! I wanted to know her.
Over the next year we tried without much success to connect for lunch. FINALLY, we were able to meetup at Anita's Kitchen in Ferndale and have a great conversation over some really yummy food and surprisingly tasty lemonade. Initially I was a little nervous, in my eyes she was a social media success and an intriguing writer, her demeanor was very confident, cool and strong. She spoke very frank and honest, that can be a bit intimidating to some...I was inspired! What started out as an desire to photograph her turned into wanting to interview her beautiful mind.
Let's waste no more time and dive into Leah Vernon...
Enjoy and be inspired!
For those who may not know exactly who you are and what it is that you do. Please introduce yourself and explain what it is that you do?
My name is Leah V. and I am a writer, author, plus-size model, style blogger, and body-positive activist who also happens to be a proud Muslim.
How did you get started? Tell us your story.
I've always loved writing stories and reading them. I wrote my first story at six years old. I also had a very vivid imagination and I loved playing different characters. Everything I do is a story. Whether it's modeling or blogging. My whole life has been a journey, one failure and success leading to the next phase. Four failed attempts of blogging over the span of eight years led me to the blog I have now, Beauty and the Muse. Which is doing well. I started this current blog in 2013 and have never stopped. So, now readers follow me through my old and new journey of life and style.
Do you have a Daily Routine, a specific way that you start your day every day? If so what it is?
In the morning, I eat breakfast, and after that, write for about two to three hours. I check emails, edit, and/or blog afterwards. I also run four different social media accounts so in between life, I'm always checking those and responding to questions and comments. I go to the gym almost every day to clear my mind of the craziness of my schedule and demands.
What habits do you feel attributed to your success?
Perseverance. I don't stop. Like ever. I may put things on hold since no one can do it all, but I pick whatever it is right back up. And, I push hard. I go that extra mile when others are giving a small percentage. I give 110% each time. I pride myself in excelling in ways that people don't expect from someone like me. I'm constantly educating myself, conjuring ways to reinvent myself or use my time more efficiently.
Are there any habits, fears, insecurities, etc., that you've overcome in order to become successful? What are they? How did you overcome them?
There are always fears and insecurities. I had a sort of traumatic upbringing as well as documented mental illnesses which exacerbates certain habits and ways of thinking. I don't think one can ever fully overcome a certain insecurity. It will always be in the back of your mind. Now, that you've seen it, the next step would be figuring out how to lessen it, how to acknowledge it but not allow it to manifest. One of my fears is never being good enough. I grew up feeling sub-par and helpless. But if I was perfect, if I could never, ever do wrong then I'd somehow regain control. What I hadn't known was that perfection is a fairy-tale and not attainable.
How do you push through your worst times?
A very sturdy support system. In the past, I'd retreat into a mental cave and just simmer in my own disgust of myself and these toxic situations. Now, I can call on a friend, my readership, or supporters for assistance when I'm not sure of something or have self-loathing thoughts. It's very cool.
What is your super power?
Wow. I had a lot of time to think about this. I'd say the power of influence. When I'd speak as a child or even in college, people would be quiet and listen to what I had to say. That was very mind boggling. I didn't get it. I hadn't thought I was special in anyway. But these strangers, they saw something in me that took me years to figure out.
How important is Time to you and why? How do you schedule or use your time?
Time is very, very important. I make sure I use mine very wisely and not on just anything. I don't know when this breath or the next will be my last. So, I have to spend time with the ones who enrich my life, not the ones who devalue it. Man or woman. I make sure that I make time for me. Fun stuff. Relaxing stuff. I also make time for friends and loved ones. But, I do work a lot, so I just try to squeeze it all in. Sometimes it goes smooth and other times, it goes horribly wrong. But it's life so it's all good.
What were some of the biggest lessons that have impacted the way that you work?
To not allow people to take ownership of me. When I thought that I owed it to all these people to do everything, whenever they wanted (and usually, unpaid) it started to affect the quality of my work. I didn't have a sense of pride in what I did anymore. So, I stopped doing it all. And started doing things that mattered to me. Which meant, that I had to say NO a lot of the time. And I still do. People look at me sideways, but they'll be ok. LOL.
What is your motivation? Do you have a quote, video, saying that you would like to share?
I'm motivated by the sunlight. Sounds weird, but I get all kinds of inspiration and energy from the sun. I like to look out the window as I write and it just invigorates me. I get inspired by odd, little things. A puffy cloud, a nice melody, a bird, quotes, a dope photo. All kinds of stuff.
What is one thing that not many know about you?
I have a touch of OCD. I hate the snow. Don't like romantic comedies or books. I don't like to share my food. Deathly afraid of spiders.