Happy Monday Fam!
Ok so at my event in July I unfortunately didn’t get to meet or hold lengthy conversations with everyone and Demetria was one of those people. So I was glad when my friend introduced us at a book signing party a few months later. That same night I ran into her again at Vanessa Simmon’s party. Then I ran into her again that night and we rode the subway back to BK and had girl chit chat. Found out we are both cancer’s, both only children, and both bloggers LOL. Anyways since then I have gotten to know her a little better and I think she is amazing. She is a great writer, has a good heart, and a genuine spirit.
She-blogs: What inspired you to start your blog “A belle in Brooklyn?”
DM: I read and watched a lot of stories, but I didn’t see myself in the tales. I’d watch TV or read books, but the characters were either culturally unlike me or they were older (most of Black women’s fiction is about 35+ women.) I was sitting around waiting on someone to tell my story. Like where were the stories about Black girls who got track glue everywhere or ran from the rain because their hair was fresh. Where were descriptions of the girls who only did squats and sit ups because they wanted a fat ass and flat stomach? I finally realized since I was a writer, I might as well write those stories.
She-blogs: I read your latest post entitled “I Need A May-yann!” and am so happy that you brought up this issue of single women needing to let go of the mentality that being single and over 30 is doomsday. What is your suggestion for women who have this mentality who are trying to break it?
DM: Love doesn’t come by an age. It comes when it comes, whether that’s 25, 35, or 75. 30 is another number. That’s it. It’s not 16, 18, or 21, or 25 where you can drive, vote, drink, or get cheaper car insurance on rentals.
She-blogs: Did you write when you were younger and did you go to school for it?
DM: I wrote short stories when I was young, like 10ish. My senior year of high school I had to do this big project, an independent senior thesis. I wrote a series of short stories on love and relationships. I fancied myself a wannabe Terry McMillan. I majored in English in college with the intent of being a lawyer (glad that didn’t work out). Then I went to grad school for journalism.
She-blogs: The question I’m sure that many aspiring writers would love to know is how did you land your position as the Relationships Editor for Essence?
DM: It’s kinda random. I was in book publishing–romance novels– for 4 years before ESSENCE. I was always reading about relationships and I definitely was interested in the subject matter. I would blog on MySpace about my observations and conversations and gained a nice following. I was at an event with the former EIC of HoneyMag.com, Suzanne Burge, and she mentioned she was looking for bloggers. I suggested doing a Black Carrie Bradshaw themed blog, which she liked. It gained a pretty big following pretty fast. Four months later, an editor at ESSENCE told me there was an opening for my current job. I applied and voila.
She-blogs: What is your average day like?
DM: Long. LOL. There is no average day, really. Some days I’m scouring NYC streets looking for Black men to answer questions about women and sex. Other days, I’m on photo shoots getting the pictures done for the single man of the month page, or even being photographed myself. I could be interviewing a sexy celebrity for an upcoming story, or just hunting around the Internet for great sex and dating information to share with the Essence reader. Or I could be at my desk editing stories about men and sex. (Hear any themes here?)
She-blogs: What story are you working on right now?
DM: Can’t reveal that Putting together a super juicy story with single men for the December issue. It’s very A Belle in BK meets Essence.
She-blogs: Tell me about one of the biggest career obstacles you have faced and how you worked through it?
DM: I have my hand in a lot of pots-the 10-6, the blog, speaking engagements, TV appearances, and working on a book. Just finding the time to juggle everything at once can be tough. Managing my time is still a work in progress, but I sleep less (yes, I know this is unhealthy), IвЂ™ve stopped beating myself up if everything isn’t done (I don’t update my blog everyday anymore) and I’ve learned to prioritize.
She-blogs: Word on the streets of Brooklyn is that you are working on a book. Can you share any juicy details on the status?
DM: LOL! Cute. The book will be a compilation of blog posts mixed in with as yet untold stories. There are “director’s cut” versions of most of the posts, so there will be a little more about me and my friends, and my dates. There’s also some wrap-ups with a few guys readers have wondered, “whatever happened to….?”
She-blogs: What advice would you give to a woman who is reaching for her dreams? Do you suggest internships or finding a mentor?
DM: Internships and mentoring are a given. It’s near impossible to become successful otherwise. I would tell her to work daily toward putting in 10,000 hours toward whatever she hopes to achieve (It takes 10,000 hrs to be an expert at anything, according to Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. Oh, and ask a lot of questions. You can never know too much about your profession.
She-blogs: Why do you think it is important for women to stick together and genuinely help one another?
DM: Because I honestly believe in the proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
She-blogs: Where do you see yourself in five years?
DM: Such a tough question because life is so unpredictable. Five years ago, I never would have guessed I’d be where I am now. I’ve learned to do my best in life so that I’m making great opportunities myself even when I’m not trying. If I have to answer: a bestselling author.
She-blogs: Name one place that you have never been that you want to travel to and why?
DM: Tokyo. Because when I was living in London, a guy I met told me it was like New York, next to New York, on top of New York. I love New York, so I figure I should love Tokyo 3x as much.
She-blogs: What is your mantra on life?
DM: To thine ownself be true.
She-blogs: When was the last time you laughed so hard you couldn’t breathe?
DM: Earlier today I was searching for movie quotes and wound up on a verysmartbrothas.com (one of my fav sites) reading Black movie quotes. I spit my juice out when I read, “Is it just me? Or is every woman in New York emotionally scarred?” It’s an Eddie Murphy line from Coming to America. Two minutes before, I’d just finished reading an email from a Belle reader who was a very dysfunctional woman and from New York.
She-blogs: What do you do to stay balanced?
DM: Get up @ 7:15 5 days a week. 9:00 most weekends so I have more time to live. Oh, and run on the treadmill to sweat all the angst out.
She-blogs: What do you like the most about the way you look?
DM: My hair. If I wasn’t a writer, I would have been a hairstylist (or a photographer). I like playing it, cutting it, dyeing it, watching it grow. It’s strong and does whatever I ask 90% of the time.
She-blogs: What do you like to do for fun?
DM: I sit in a bookstore for hours and read magazines some weekends. I’m a bit of a loner so I also like to just walk and think, usually around Prospect Park or the Brooklyn waterfront or Governor’s island.
She-blogs: Is there anything else you want the she-blogs readers to know?
DM: Follow me on twitter /abelleinbk