Welcome to my new interview series featuring some of the brightest and most hard-working women I know. My goal for this series is to collect stories from women in all levels of their career. The hope is that their journey and their advice will trigger something in you, and help you take the jump you need to achieve your personal level of success. Whether they are freelancers, founders of their own business, corporate employees, or students, this #LadiesWhoHustle series will showcase their unique talents and help you unveil yours.
A passionate creative and visionary, creator of Yes Queen, award-winning playwright and content creator, a viral spoken word artist, and former BuzzFeed producer, Daysha Veronica was an obvious choice to be featured in my #LadiesWhoHustle series.
Daysha's latest project, Yes Queen, is a self-confidence building blog and website for women. As someone who suffered from a serious lack of self-confidence for many years, and who often saw that lack of self-confidence hinder her from obtaining many valuable opportunities, Daysha is now extremely passionate about helping other women, just like herself, discover what self-confidence looks like for them.
Prior to creating Yes Queen, Daysha is most well known for being a viral video "powerhouse", both in front of and behind the camera at BuzzFeed. She produced over one hundred well-known, viral short-form videos that focused on gender, race, identity, health/wellness/fitness and body positivity. Her videos collectively generated over half a billion views globally in just under 3.5 years.
Daysha has been featured in Huffington Post, Bustle, and Refinery29, among other prominent media outlets, and she has been featured as a guest speaker for CreativeLive, BLOGHER, Hubspot Academy, YTH Live, Project Ava, CSI West, USC's Below The Line, and more. She has also been featured as a guest on various podcasts such as Do Not Disturb with Jade, Project Ava's Unheard, and Power to the Hustle with Sara Grey, as well as co-hosting her own podcast, Real Talk Love Therapy.
Wow, she's done it all! Read below to learn more about her journey and hustle, and to see how she's managed to do it all!
Writer/playwright, grad student, social media entrepreneur, digital video consultant and educator, self-confidence coach, and social media personality/influencer.
Why do you do what you do?
Because not enough people, and myself included for a very long time, are living up to their fullest potential. So many people are giving up important choices on how to live a life that is meaningful to them because of outdated regurgitated societal norms. So I created my platform to give people more agency in deciding who it is that they want to be.
What was your dream job at 10 years old?
If you could have anyone's job, whose job would you choose and why?
I don't think there's any other job I'd want because I'm the type of person where if I wanted it, then I'd be going after it.
What is one thing people outside of your industry get wrong about your job?
That we don't do any work. And I guess in some ways that's a compliment because it means we're doing our job really well. But when you work in entertainment there is way more work going on than people would ever imagine even when it looks like we're having all the fun in the world. And don't get me wrong, we have our fun. But I definitely think people underestimate just how much work is actually happening behind the scenes.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
So I totally understand the purpose of these kinds of questions, but as I've started to hone in more on my meditation and mindfulness practices I actually try not to think that far into the future because the only constant thing about the future is that it always changes. And I think when we get too stuck on our 10 year plan it makes us inflexible to the signs that say that maybe this isn't the right path for us. But I can tell you that I hope to at least be sitting on the queendom with lots of money, love, family and amazing experiences under my crown.
What has been your biggest career struggle so far?
Procrastination. As an entrepreneur, I pretty much set my own schedule. And going back to school has given my day a little bit more structure, but sometimes I like to believe that I have more time than I actually do. I would also say monetization. When I left BuzzFeed everyone made it seem like it was going to be a piece of cake to monetize my social media following. But I soon realized in the process that I don't want to sell people things just because I need to make money. I want to make sure that I'm sharing stuff with my audience that will make their lives easier, better, more bearable. So that means I turn down a lot of paying opportunities because I just don't think they're worth my audience's time. So towards the latter half of 2018 and into 2019 I've really been strategizing/planning on how to create other sustainable sources of income through the YQ brand.
And what about your biggest career win?
Finding my life passion. Even though this is probably the most I've struggled financially in my adult life, I've never been happier with the work I am doing. And it is with that passion that I always find motivation to work through my financial problems and fears.
What is the best piece of career advice you've received?
Don't be afraid to experiment and to fail. And to be honest, I don't really see failure as a factor in the equation. To me, it's either I win or I learn. I think the worst thing you can do is to believe that after you failed it's over for you. There's always something to be learned that could make you better or stronger in other ways. So I guess you could also say that I learned to never let your failures be in vain. Always let your failures have a purpose.
Let's talk about bad career advice. What's the worst piece of career advice you've received?
So it wasn't career advice but I remember when I was trying to decide my major in college and a family member told me that I was going to have to drop doing theater and consider a major that was serious in order to make money. So for my first two years in college I primarily focused on trying to go into HR, and had my first panic attack during a summer internship in HR. I think the worst thing that anyone could tell you is to drop what you're passionate about because of money. Sure you might not make money off of your passions right away, which is why having a day job is important. But I think you have to keep in mind that the ay job is just paying your bills. It doesn't have to be your life. Don't ever stop investing in the talents and skills that make you excited to be alive. Just make sure you also have a game plan to get your bills paid.
What are you most proud of?
My ability to walk away when enough is enough. I'm very patient but I'm also not afraid to admit when I think something isn't working. And I value my ability to move on especially when I've given something my all.
Who motivates you the most?
My Yes Queen ladies. Every Friday, I host a livestream called the Feeling Myself Friday (YAAASS QUEEN) livestream where I invite people to share moments out of their week in which they were very proud of themselves. When I started it, I just thought it would be a great engagement opportunity for me and my fans, but it has actually become a huge source of motivation for me. To see the way that people have grown and made progress in their goals over the course of revisiting every Friday, it constantly keeps me in check and forces me to ask myself, "What are you doing each week to grow as a person and to make your goals come true? How am I making choices throughout the week to be a better version of myself every Friday when I see them again?" They motivate me just as much as I motivate them.
What advice do you have for those looking for a career in your field?
Know what you want at all times, and truly be honest with yourself about what that is. And if your vision shifts - that's totally okay. But the only way you'll find success is really knowing what it is that you want and being unapolegetically clear about that.
When do you feel the most confident?
When I'm talking about something I love, or when I'm writing.
How do you relax?
Meditation and mindfulness has become pivotal in how I relax. Reading is also super important to me, and dancing with myself in the mirror.
Daysha's final piece of advice:
So, I've always been really insecure about my age because I'm pretty young and for a long time I always used to add this disclaimer that I was young, so what do I know? But to be honest, as I've gotten older, I realize that I actually really knew a lot, and I shouldn't have sold myself short just because of my age. I've always been working on trying to be better connected with my inner voice and my gut feelings, and that is something that you can be in touch with at any age. So, I guess my advice would be to always do what feels right to you, and don't let someone who's older than you tell you that you don't know anything just because of your age.
Favourite way to sweat: dancing!
Favourite book: this is like asking me to choose between my kids! I would say it's in between The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.
Morning bird or night owl? I'm a little bit of both. I love early mornings, like 5am when it's still dark, and getting to see the sun rise.
Favourite '90s jam: Anything by Aaliyah.
Favourite city: Hmmm... I would say it's a split between Clique Terre in Italy and Seattle, Washington.
What's your spirit animal? Lion.
Stay in touch with Daysha:
Join the Yes Queen community!
Facebook: Day Shav
LinkedIn: Daysha Edewi
Know anyone that would be great to feature in the #LadiesWhoHustle series? Connect with me on Instagram to nominate them - or yourself!