Balancing Your Way To The Top With Draya Michele
Posted On Jan 14, 2016
It’s not an easy task, showcasing your life through the lenses of reality T.V. or being able to brand yourself outside of the stigmatized limitations that unfortunately come with the territory. But then again Ms. Draya Michele is a different story. Stepping beyond the status quo of being considered just a “reality television star,” the soon to be mommy of two has cemented her status as a bonafide business woman. The designer, actress, and entrepreneur has triumphantly catapulted her career to dynamic heights. With two successful clothing lines, Fine Ass Girls and Mint Swim under her belt, several acting credits to her name, this social media maverick has turned her passions into profits.
The balancing act of being a mom and being a boss isn’t as simple as it seems but Draya insists, “It’s a matter of time management because my family comes first.” So how exactly does she prove to be the heroin of her own story? By establishing generational leverage and ingraining a deep-rooted legacy for her children because this is what she strives for day in and day out.
New You had a chance to personally speak with Draya about her ever-expanding resume including adding Mint More [Plus Size Collection] to her swimsuit line, cutting through the clutter of negativity in order to succeed and how she seamlessly bridges the gap between beauty and brains by utilizing her knowledge and skillsets to spearhead her personal eminence. Additionally, she shares with us a few entrepreneurial gems when staying focused on the results of building an empire, leaving an indelible mark and of course accumulating your coins in the bank.
How has your Mint Swim line developed since it first launched? Do you undertake all of the work yourself?
It’s essentially a one-man show because I am the only designer and the only person in charge at Mint Swim. I do not have any partners, investors or anything of that nature within my company. The development since its launch has been amazing! I launched the company with four diverse swimsuit designs and now I have more than 50 uniquely designed styles. Honestly, it’s grown tremendously and I’m truly blessed.
Were there ever any doubts in pursuing fashion and becoming an entrepreneur?
Absolutely! In the beginning, I believed people weren’t going to take me serious because of my presence on reality television. I personally had a lot more to prove than others because not only did I need to produce quality swimwear but I also had to prove that I am really, truly a designer.
You have an eye for fashion, who would you consider your style muse and why?
I love Victoria Beckham because her style is very timeless. If I had the same bank account as she does, I would definitely have her entire wardrobe.
What are some challenges you’ve had to face or overcome to get where you are today, both personally and professionally?
Personally, I had to deal with a lot of naysayers and a lot of hate from nonbelievers. I eventually developed tough skin although it took me awhile.
Professionally, I had to overcome the stigma that is attached to being on TV. I needed to truly brand myself and separate the two. Once I was able to pursue my passions such as designing and acting, I had the ability to begin adding new titles to my name in order for me not to be recognized as just one thing.
Would you consider being on television as a stepping stone that helped you transition to acting (etc.) and getting your name out to the masses?
Absolutely! Being on television was definitely a stepping stone in achieving a lot of my goals and gaining recognition. It also helped me grow my social media presence which I utilize as a marketing tool to promote my brand.
Congratulations, I know you recently announced your pregnancy! Now that you’re pregnant are there any foods you can’t seem to live without?
I’ve been asked this question by numerous, friends, family members, complete strangers and just everyone in general. I’m almost six months now and I recently figured out my food craving. It’s 100 percent citrus fruit! I’m definitely on the citrus wave (laughs).
Can we take a step back, you’re six months?! You look absolutely amazing.
Thank you so much. I’ll be six months on Thursday [today]!
Can you tell us how you were able to prepare when auditioning for your upcoming role in the film True to the Game?
Usually, I work with an acting coach for about four weeks prior to landing a role. However, once I received this role, they were ready to begin shooting within the following couple of days. I didn’t have much time to prepare but luckily the role of Cherelle is not too far off from my very own personality. I kind of took this character role and made her like myself which really didn’t require me to change much at all because it was easy to relate to the character.
What would you say is the motivational force that drives you to become better at something?
It’s a combination of a few things. I’m extremely determined to be the best I can be to create a legacy for my children because I want to have something I can pass down to them. The second driving force is the money. I’m motivated by waking up each day and figuring out ways that will help increase my revenue and add more commas into my bank account.
You’ve made a tremendous transition since coming on the scene, can you describe your journey in one sentence from starring on Basketball Wives until now?
I had to be dragged through the mud and I ended up coming out clean.
What is a piece of advice or something today’s Draya would tell her younger self?
(Laughs) Oh, wow! I would first tell myself the hot pink lipstick I used to wear was not it. I would definitely tell my younger self to please throw it away because it’s just not the wave. I would also tell her to get ready for some exciting things coming up! A lot of them are going to make you think it’s time to give up but you have to do the opposite when you’re faced with challenges and adversity in order to overcome the roadblocks.
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