My “Why” Behind Queens Conquer

When I graduated college in 2015 from Texas State University, I wasn’t quite sure where my path would lead me, but I knew it was time to take a leap of faith and step into a new phase of my life hanging onto hope and creating life on my own terms.

I received a degree in Mass Communications with a focus in Public Relations. After graduating, I quickly learned that majority of the jobs in my field required at least three years of PR experience, which was pretty discouraging. So, instead of going through the dreadful job hunting process with little to no experience, I decided to bet on myself and actually put my degree to work. I noticed that many women I knew started their own businesses, but didn’t have the time or tools to build their brand, so I wanted to create a solution for them to be successful. I was compelled to help women build their brands, create a community to share resources and remind women of their power. . . and from that Queens Conquer was born.

As we embark on the last 3 months of 2020, I want to share my journey and my “why” behind Queens Conquer to be reminded of my purpose to get back to investing in my brand, as well as encourage you to go all in and conquer your dreams.

Studio 512 Fashion segment on KXAN news featuring Evelyn Beltran, Brittney Denson, Claire Saldana and the former host, Amanda Tatom.

Ever since I could remember, I loved to make my own money and I have worked various jobs from retail to customer service. After college graduation, I knew I wanted to stay in the Austin area so I decided to reach out to an old employer, a family-owned fashion boutique called Young & Fabulous. They were looking to grow their business and their current PR consultant wasn’t providing what they needed, so I sent them my business proposal and they hired me one month after graduation! For two and a half years, I did everything from advertising, event coordination, social media, content production, public relations, wardrobe styling, creative direction to even rebranding the entire business. As I look back on this job, it helped me learn all the various aspects of Public Relations and the many aspects of building a successful business. Little did I know, it was a crucial stepping stone in my journey that prepared me to take on future roles and responsibilities.

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote “It’s not what you know, but who you know” and that’s so true, especially when building a personal brand or career. Being that I was a recent graduate and new to Austin, I wanted to connect with my local community to expand my network. So I utilized social media and immersed myself in the Austin community as much as possible. From attending weekly happy hours, networking events, coffee dates and volunteering with young girls. When I think about each of these experiences I’ve had it’s a testament to the power of a strong and diverse network and the relationships I built along the way.

A night to remember and of course I showed up in true royalty attire and wore one of a kind Shavanthe dress, designed by Theo Andrew, to celebrate the beauty of the African Diaspora.

In 2016, I was the PR director for the Miss Juneteenth pageant where I worked with an amazing team to highlight the history of Juneteenth and the beauty of Black Austin to empower young women. We raised over $10,000 to provide the winner with a scholarship to further her education. This experience gave me an opportunity to conquer my fears by doing live TV and radio interviews, plus it reminded me the importance of confidence and serving the community with a purpose.

The powerful team of women that brought the inaugural Urban Health Expo to life including Sharla Pierre, Terry Pierre, Naomi Onyebuchi, Tonya Brown, Maria Brown, and Ashton Lynne Haywood.

Another community event that I am proud to be a apart of was the inaugural Urban Health Expo hosted by the City of Austin Health & Human Services in January 2017. In only a few months we created a community event that attracted over 400 people for a day filled with powerful conversations on the importance of mental health, living a healthy lifestyle and prioritizing self-care with chefs, professional athletes, trainers, dancers and health experts. This multi-functional event really challenged me to take my PR game to the next level by recruiting talent, creating talking points for the speakers, and moderating panel discussions to highlight the importance of conquering the taboo thoughts surrounding mental health, especially in the Black community.

One of the very first professional photoshoots for NaturallyCurly shot by one of my favorite photographers, Brio.

I had no idea that the Urban Health Expo would lead me to an opportunity at NaturallyCurly.com in February 2017, but it’s a testament to the power of community and the relationships you’re able to create along the way. Working at NaturallyCurly, was my first full-time job and I had the opportunity to touch every aspect of the company to learn the ins and outs of a media company. From writing articles, interviewing hair stylists, covering the biggest hair and beauty moments at New York Fashion Week, partnering with clients to create unique campaigns and managing the overall company strategy; that job exceeded all of my expectations and reminded me the importance of perseverance and creating a strong work ethic.

After several internal changes, an acquisition by ESSENCE and a never ending uphill battle in the workplace- my journey at NC has come to an end, due to the ongoing pandemic and unprecedented changes. Although, it challenged me in ways I can’t even fathom it helped me understand the power of shifting my perspective to conquer any obstacle by embracing change, learning how to pivot to make it happen and leading with intention. Now that I reflect on journey, each opportunity has given me invaluable experience and taught me powerful lessons that I will carry with me on my journey.

NYFW 2019 at a rooftop hotel in Manhattan celebrating Naivaisha, celebrity hairstylist, brand launch and living my best life.

For the next 3 months of 2020, I’m dedicated to putting my energy into things that will actually matter 5 years from now. A few things that come to mind include: being more consistent in every aspect of my life mentally, physically, financially and spiritually, investing in my brand and growing my business by creating intentional content and partnering with brands I value, loving the people in my life unapologetically, serving my community and using my voice to be the change I want to see.

The relationships we build along the way are more important than any job title or position. Sometimes you have to look back to see how far you’ve come. It’s amazing to reflect back on my journey to see the growth and how it’s all connected to my purpose of serving my community and empowering women. I have met so many incredible women along my journey and I’m eternally grateful for my tribe who remind me the power of sisterhood. Here’s a beautiful quote that certainly resonates that I’d like to share with you, by Nikita Gill, “Fill your life with women who empower you, who help you believe in your magic, and help them believe in their own exceptional power and incredible magic too. Women who believe in each other can survive anything. Women who believe in each other create armies that will win kingdoms and wars. Remember always, the only people who can save us are each other, the only people who can love us are ourselves.”

My journey is far from over, but I hope I can inspire you to take a moment to celebrate every season of your life and move forward with courage while becoming the woman you were created to be. Don’t let fear hold you back from tapping into your gifts God has for you. Conquer from within and let go of the idea of perfection and choose progression. Here’s to finishing the year strong, staying focused and faithful.  Let’s get it, Queens!

Much love & many blessings,

Alexandra

Living on Purpose and Leading an Intentional Life

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It’s so invigorating sitting at a table surrounded by fearless, bad-ass, creative and multi-talented women who are breaking barriers. Lately, I’ve been reminded the importance of living on purpose and being intentional, so it was only right that I lead the discussion with that topic at my  Queens & Conversation brunch. This past Sunday, I was joined by a group of inspiring women including Olivia, Karyn, Rekha, Ashton, Desiree, Rochelle, Donnet, TiyeSydney, Kara and Keisha. We met at Hanks, a woman-owned restaurant that is definitely Insta worthy, not to mention they just released a delicious brunch menu just in time for our gathering.

We had an enriching conversation that centered around the power of being intentional from creating opportunity for people that are underrepresented, owning our narrative, being aware of what we consume in our mind and bodies, what we’re sharing on social media, and consciously investing in our community. The more intentional we strive to become, the universe will align in our favor.

“Never underestimate the power of intention. Your thoughts, words and actions are the keys to your future.”

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What’s interesting is that most of the women didn’t know each other before this brunch, but once we began introducing ourselves and sharing our passions we immediately noticed how much we had in common. One of the beautiful aspects of hosting this experience that I enjoy most is bringing women together from a variety of backgrounds and industries to gather and grow through fellowship.

When I decided to create this brunch series a year ago, I knew that I wanted it to be an intimate experience where women could share their professional and personal experiences, while discussing ways we can collaborate to serve our community in a meaningful way. From intentionally hand-picking the guests to determining where we would gather, it is based off intention. I’m so grateful that I’m able to use my gifts to create opportunities for other women to be seen and reminded of their power.

As the year slowly comes to a close, I want to remind you that you still have time to finish strong. I encourage you to take advantage of the time you have and use it wisely. Prioritize what matters most and start working towards it. There is no better time than now. Live everyday with intention to learn something new about yourself and others, take on a new challenge that will bring you closer to your goals, surround yourself with those that bring out the best in you and encourage you to keep going.

Surround yourself with energy that takes you up. Be around people who make you feel good. They’ll help you manifest what you want. 

Much love

Alexandra

 

 

 

 

Boss Up Season: Seizing Your Moment & Living with Intention

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Last week I traveled to New York to kick off Fashion Week with NaturallyCurly. As you may know, I’m a full-time editor there where I edit and write articles about all things curly, partner with haircare brands to showcase their latest products and feature visionaries who are leading the textured hair community. Each year NaturallyCurly hosts, Texture on the Runway  and this year was beyond the biggest one yet. From having over 900 attendees to Amara Le Negra co-hosting the show, the event was nothing short of amazing. Being that it was my second year attending/working it, I knew I wanted to make this experience memorable by being intentional in all that I did. From getting my hair done by Tara to staying  a few days after to explore New York, I made sure that it was out of pure intention.

With pure intention comes pure opportunity.

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When I started working at NaturallyCurly two years ago, my main role was to edit articles and manage contributors. Being that I was new to the team, I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes and at times I found myself dimming my light to make others feel comfortable. As time went on, I was asked to be a part of video projects, but I was so afraid of speaking on camera that I cringed at the thought of doing so. Over the past several months, my role as an editor has expanded. I’ve challenged myself to conquer my fears and take on new projects such as being a part of video campaigns, covering live events and interviewing people on camera and leading meaningful conversations in person. All of this lead me to being prepared for moments like the picture above where I had the chance to go backstage at the Cushnie show to interview the lead hairstylist, Ursula Stephen. In case you don’t know, Ursula is the Queen of hair! She has worked with celebrity faves such as Rihanna, Zendaya, Serena Williams and many more. Having the opportunity to meet her was confirmation that everything that I’ve been challenging myself to do was preparation for unforgettable moments like these. To be in a room full of boss women who are dominating their industry and walking in their purpose was a reminder that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be and it all started with intention and being confident within my ability to show up and own my greatness.

Direct experience is the only valid confirmation.

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Once work was done, I made it a point to explore New York and I stayed at a cute and cozy Airbnb in Woodside to get the real New York experience. If you follow me on Instagram you know that I’ve been prioritizing my health and wellness and it truly has been the best investment I’ve ever made. Earlier this year one of my writers featured a Latina woman who is changing the fitness industry for people of color, Samantha Ortiz. She is the founder of the Triple Threat Boot Camp in Brooklyn and was named the best fitness instructor of NYC in 2017. She invited me and my friend Kiana to attend her class during our visit and of course I had to take her up on her offer. As we walked into the beautiful fitness studio and heard the music bumping from the speakers, I was immediately inspired by the energy in the room. It was the toughest workout I’ve done, but it was well worth it. It was so amazing to be led by a woman who is truly invested in changing people’s lives through fitness. I’m glad I was able to finally meet her and witness her passion in person.

Show up for yourself in ways that no one else can.

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As my NY trip came to a close I wanted to be sure to be intentional with every minute and I spent the day surrounded by beautiful fearless women at the Fanm Djanm brunch. I met the founder of Fanm Djanm, Paola Mathe, a few months ago in Austin for a shoot and I’m extremely inspired by her creativity, passion and boldness. She has attended NYFW several times and this year she wanted to be more intentional by bringing women together for an intimate brunch. She hosted an exclusive brunch at the Refinery Hotel in Manhattan and it was filled with good vibes and great conversation. I believe there’s so much power by gathering women in an intimate space to share our experiences, lessons and celebrate one another because when one wins, we all win!

Be around the light bringers, the magic makers, the world shifters and the game changers. They’ll challenge you, break you open, uplift you and elevate you to rise to the occasion. Your association determine your destination.

New York can be daunting, chaotic and exhausting, but it’s a reminder that we have the power to create a meaningful life everyday that we’re alive, so make it count. Be intentional with the time you have. Seize the moment and be present in all that you do. I encourage you to conquer your doubts, insecurities and fears. Challenge yourself every chance you get to become better and learn something new. Practice discipline and remain to your purpose. Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant. Trust your intuition and own your greatness. Show up for yourself and watch God work.

Much love and many blessings

Alexandra

 

 

 

 

Self-care is How You Take Your Power Back

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I’m still in awe of how fast this year went by. I’m even more in awe of how much happened this year. Lawd. This has been a hell of a year. To be honest, 2017 was mentally challenging, emotionally draining and filled with countless acts of terror and hate, yet it still provided growth and opportunity for lessons. As I reflect over the year, there’s a few lessons I learned I’d like to share. Even when you feel like the world has let you down, remember who you are and what you stand for. Be gentle with yourself, you’re evolving even on the days you don’t feel like it. Healing comes in waves. To whom much is given, much is required. Rest. Reset. Climb on.

“When life feels like it’s trying to break you, don’t focus on your problems. Focus on your blessings. Take a moment to be thankful for everything you’ve gotten through. You’ve prevailed. You’re blessed & highly favored Queen.”

Yesterday I hosted my last Queens & Conversation brunch of 2017 at Caroline Restaurant with Brenda, Riley, Ishia, Mica, Angela and Alexis. Being that this was a tough for year us all, I wanted to utilize this time to be transparent, vulnerable and supportive. I felt it was important to focus less on what we endured and more on what we learned and overcame. We each shared one thing we learned about ourselves this year which included life lessons such as: Remember, our timing and God’s timing are not the same – trust the process; You are much stronger than you think – believe in yourself ; Offer yourself the same forgiveness you give others – you are deserving;  Listen to your body and give yourself permission to heal, grieve and push forward.

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It’s interesting because most of the women didn’t know each other before this brunch, but once we began sharing our stories and experiences we immediately noticed how much we had in common. That’s one of the most beautiful parts of this experience I enjoy most is bringing women together from a variety of backgrounds and interests to gather and grow through fellowship.

We also shined a light on the importance of self-care and how vital it is especially as women because we’re constantly loving, supporting, nurturing and giving to others that we forget to provide that same care for ourselves. I encourage you to take your power back and make yourself a priority. Do what you love. Surround yourself around those that feed your soul, help you grow and make you happy. You are worthy.

Much love & many blessings

Founder & CEO

Alexandra