Essence Festival and NOLA was absolutely amazing. It has probably been my favorite trip of 2017 and that says a lot. This year has been teaching me all about risks. Some of you might remember back in February when I took 2 weeks off of school in my last semester of my senior year to work fashion week. Well, Essence Festival was a risk too, in a very different way.
I have some amazing mentors who have watched me grow from an Essence College Ambassador to a college graduate chasing my dreams. I have been asking them for a few months about working the festival, and I found out exactly a week prior that I could work it. There I was, sitting on my bed and wondering how I would get there and where I would stay. All of the logistics came into play.
I slept on it and woke up the next morning and I came to the decision that I just wasn’t going to go. I spoke with my big sister from Hampton and she asked me, "If you don’t go, are you going to wonder what it would have been like?" That question there made up my mind. I knew that if I didn’t go I would be looking at it on social media all week regretting my decision.
I found a reasonable flight and booked it. Then, I needed a hotel. One of my social media friends (yes, those exist and I love them) was going and didn’t have a room yet. She actually won my book giveaway a few months ago and she’s supported me from the beginning. We talked it over and booked a room together. A day before we took off, one of my friends that I worked at Hot 97 with found out she was also working and she ended up rooming with us.
There we were. 3 girls, who had never travelled together staying together in NOLA and working. Some of you might think I'm crazy for that. But, sometimes we do crazy things when we're hungry for opportunity. It was the best experience ever! Every night it was a group of 4, we partied with Kayline, one of my mentor’s nieces. We all were there to work, but play just as hard. We hit Bourbon Street, ate beignets, had daiquiris all night long and networked our behinds off!
I say all of this to say, if you’re thinking twice about doing something that will be beneficial to you, DO IT! I don’t know if I’ve ever been that happy. Take risks. Do what makes you happy. You may be broke when you get back. You may not know anyone at all. Make new friends. Grind. Lastly, never be afraid to ask for an opportunity that you know will be beneficial to your growth and career.
Thank you DaVaugn, Nialah and Kayline for making my first Essence Festival amazing. And, thank you to the team I worked with who trusted me with tasks that I didn’t know how I would handle, but I did. I’m so grateful for this experience, and thank you to my readers who have been supporting me along my journey.
FYI — I was featured in 3 Essence articles during the festival and I was their 'Look of the Day' on their Snapchat Discover Story! Find the articles here:
See some of my NOLA trip photos below!