Q: What was your teenage style like?
A: Oooooh, teenage Julee. She was sassy; I've always been sassy. I think I've always had my own kind of distinct personal style, so I never really went with trends; I kind of went with whatever made me happy, and what worked with my body. I tried everything whether it was in or not. I just wanted to learn how to use fashion to kind of express my personality.
Q: What do you think that you have bragging rights to?
A: I've done a lot in my career that I'm very proud of, from writing cover stories to interviewing just really amazing people, but I think I'm proudest of creating life because you can't tell me that women aren't badass for actually birthing. Like, that was traumatic on so many levels. So, the fact that I could even carry a child, bring them into the world, and then for them to be as cool as Orion... I did something.
Q: What is something that you have yet to check off your bucket list?
A: There are so many things on my bucket list. My God. I feel like being cradled in Michelle Obama's bosom and telling her what a queen she is would probably be really high up on the list. Don't you want that? I don't want to just meet her and be like, "Oh my God, you're a queen. And, Oh my God, your husband." I want to be like, "Can we just sit together, commune, and can you just hold me? Just for a second?" It's gonna happen. I'm manifesting as we speak.
Q: What is your favorite scarf memory?
A: My favorite scarf memory is definitely swaddling my newborn child in an Echo scarf. When I found out that I was pregnant with my son, I asked Lynn if I could put some scarves aside because I did not want his first pictures in a hospital blanket; I wanted him in Echo because their designs are everything, and he was clearly going to be this fierce, and fabulous, and dope child, so he needed his first pictures to be swaddled in Echo scarf. And I still hold it close and dear. I wear it sometimes. I'm not precious about it like, "he was swaddled in that," and I put it away. I really want to celebrate it.
Q: What is your best style advice?
A:My best style advice I think would be definitely confidence. I mean, everyone can't wear everything. I think that, do you and just be confident in what you're wearing. And, if you are wearing it like you're a queen, then everyone around you is going to think that you're a queen.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: I think the best part of my job is that I get to focus on celebrating the dopeness, magic and excellence of black women. I've worked at a lot of places that I love. I think that Essence has been super special in the fact that I get to wake up every day and focus on women that look like me, women who are having the experience of being a woman of color in this world, on this planet.
Q: What or who inspires you?
A: I think what is driving me right now, is this sense of what's the legacy I'm gonna leave. I work a lot. I'm away from my friends and family a lot because it's work. That's all we do in this country is work, work, work, work, work. And so, I want to make sure that while I'm working, and while I'm pouring into my career, that I'm actually leaving something that's of significance. I want to make sure that my words and my work leave a lasting impression and actually make some change in an industry that I truly love. And so, that I think is the thing that inspires me the most. Making sure that my time and my seat at the table is not in vain.
Q: What is the legacy that you hope to achieve?
A: I want my legacy to be the fact that I told really amazing stories; stories that changed people, changed industries. And, as someone who celebrated people. I love the fact that the stories that I tell or the work that I do uplift entrepreneurs, people that are working in different spaces. I want to be seen as someone who really knows how to celebrate people and push them, and encourage them, and support them with my work.
Q: Is there a story you feel needs to be told?
A: I tell a lot of stories about the lack of diversity within the fashion and beauty industry. I think that I just want to keep doing that and on a bigger level. I just did a story highlighting a bunch of black women executives in the beauty industry, which I think is really important and something that is close and dear to my heart, 'cause I want people to know that there are companies out here that are doing the work, and black women and men who are behind the scenes making sure that we are taken into consideration when creating products. So, I just want to keep pushing that agenda that we deserve a seat at the table and really pulling back the curtain, and making sure that the people who are doing it the right way are getting praise for it.
Q: What is your life mantra?
A: I have a lot of things ... I do this thing where I put my intention up every day on Instagram. I take a picture in front of the mirror so I can have a moment to see myself, and then I put, "today's intention." I like to say, "Stress less, twerk more." My mom used to always say to me when I was younger, "Pretty is as pretty does." So, you know, I work in such a superficial industry that what's most important is how I treat people and how I treat myself. It's not about what I'm wearing or who I'm partying with that night, or whatever it might be. Yeah. I think... Stress less, twerk more. Pretty is as pretty does.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge is being a woman, being a black woman, and being mother, and also being a director of a big magazine, being a strong advocate? How do you handle all of those things?
A: It's really hard juggling everything that I have to do, whether it be my job, being a mom, being a wife, being a sister, being a daughter, being a black woman in this world. I think that I have a lot of cocktails and even more prayer. It's like Jesus and tequila, like what can you do? You just have to pray everything goes well, have some fun here and there. Twerk; I mentioned twerking. And also have a dope village. My friends and my family are like my lifeline. I can't do this without them. So, I think it takes a village, it takes some alcohol, it takes Jesus, plenty of prayer, and lots of twerking.