3.10 Edition What I Did Last Week (and what I’m looking forward to)

What I Did Last Week

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this week in 1 sentence?

For me, it was:

Representation matters.

Many years ago, a woman recognized me from television.  I had left the industry to run my business, but she remembered me for the 20+ years I had been piped into her living room.

 “You looked like me. You sounded like me.” she said softly.

“Representation matters.”  

I didn’t understand the gravity of what she said. 

I had wanted to be an anchor since I was 4.  

I wanted to write.

I was just “doing Joya.”

This week,  I finally understood what that woman had said to me so many years ago.

Ambika Mod stars in the popular Netflix series “One Day,” now airing on Netflix

Speaking on stage at BAFTA, she explained that she had turned the role down initially.

She didn’t see women who looked like her as romantic leads.

But, eventually, as she sunk into the role of Emma Morley, she realized something:

Even as a woman of color, often marginalized, her hopes and dreams and failures weren’t that different from Emma’s, who is a white character in David Nicholl’s 2009 book.

Although the producers had concocted a back story, Emma existed in “One Day” without all the typical South Asian tropes. No overbearing parents. No pressure to be a doctor versus a writer. No pressure to get married.

She had her friends. She had her career. She had a great love interest

That’s it.

Mod concluded “I hope that…..young brown women, other women of color, find confidence in it. You deserve to love. You deserve to go after your dreams. You have the right to fail.” See video at 33:36

This month, I am featured in a photo series that will be on exhibit at a NYC Gallery for Women’s History Month. It’s a project spearheaded by photographer Priyanca Rao. It’s an invitation to the world to see us as we are—complex, ambitious, revolutionary.  

This is my lightbulb moment: I hope that every little girl who looks like me, sees herself —not just as a character in someone else’s story, but as the protagonist of her own.


What I did last week

  • Saturday. My grandmother once told me she had read a book by Rabindranath Tagore. Each time she read it, once at 16, then at 30, then at 60, she took away something different. Saturday, I went to see “Madame Butterfly” at the Met with friends. It was the third time I saw the production, and I finally “got it.” I was too new to opera the first two times to truly grasp the gravity of the storyline. Afterwards, we enjoyed a beautiful Lambrusco at Fiorellos.
  • Monday. There are days that I feel like I have accomplished nothing. But when interviewed on podcasts like this on Spotify, Apple and IHeartRadio, I am reminded of something else. My favorite moment was talking about doing standup at Caroline’s on Broadway.
  • Wednesday, I caught up my old producer when I was in NY1 at the Beekman Hotel bar.
  • Thursday. I did TV in the morning and then loped off to the 3rd Annual Women’s History Month Summit at Luminary. Speaker Beatrice Dixon talked about the evolution of her business The Honey Pot Company, which just raised $380MM and getting to a team of 50: “Get comfortable with how uncomfortable change can be.” Your problem isn’t confidence. Your problem is comfort.


What I’m looking forward to

  • Saturday. These are times I feel really lucky to live in New York City. Saturday, I’m seeing Lucy Prebble’s play, following its acclaimed run at London’s National Theatre this past fall. Prebble was a writer and an executive producer on Succession. As a couple falls in love during a clinical drug trial, they wonder if its real or a side effect of the new antidepressant they’re taking.
  • Paris. Sometimes I forget that the best part of having my own business is that: it’s my own. I don’t do it the same way as anyone.
  • I don’t bring my clients to a boring boardroom to do storytelling strategy. I work in Lisbon, Paris, Barcelona, New York City.
  • The next time you get triggered or jealous by someone else’s business wins, take yourself through this simple two-step process:
  1. Figure out your core values. Build a business around that. I promise, it will make you the most money.

  2. 100% responsibility. What are your non negotiables? And stick by it. Even if it means “leaving money on the table.”

  • What are you not WILLING to do right now? Don’t know? Come work with me in Paris this December and we will figure it out. Fill out this form.

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