Brana Dane: “Focus on being unique”

Focus on being unique. Everyone is different, that’s the beauty of life. Learn to embrace and show off your most unique features in a flattering way because that’s what makes you stand out! Be it a crooked nose, a large forehead or a curvy body, confidence goes a long way. Turn even your “faults” into assets. At […]

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Focus on being unique.

Everyone is different, that’s the beauty of life. Learn to embrace and show off your most unique features in a flattering way because that’s what makes you stand out! Be it a crooked nose, a large forehead or a curvy body, confidence goes a long way. Turn even your “faults” into assets.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well being, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brana Dane, a notable influencer and model with a reach of over 80k followers across multiple platforms. She has worked with some of the top international brands in fashion, beauty and wellness such as Redken, Maison Margiela, Ling Skincare and more. Brana promotes a holistic approach to beauty by inspiring us to evaluate how we are shaping our world every day.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

Fashion was my gateway into the vast world of social media. I was scouted at the age of 14 by the top agent in Canada to be a model, but I decided to focus on my schooling instead. It was only later that I thought again about modeling and moving to NYC. Subsequently, I began my journey on social media to promote my career as a model. I started with Instagram and quickly gained a following. This led me to explore other platforms as well; I now have over 80k followers with 50k on my main channel, Instagram. I still remember my first dedicated fan from years ago. What a feeling!

Realizing through thousands of direct messages and many comments how much attention my followers were paying to my posts and captions, I decided early on to have a positive impact through my presence on social media. I create content around my career and personal life; I promote empowerment, wellness and living a more sustainable lifestyle.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I’m grateful to so many people; I would not be where I am today without the kind help of many individuals. In particular, I’m grateful for my late friend Bridget Bernhart. I only met her once during a pivotal moment in my life, but thereafter she became my biggest cheerleader on social media. Positivity and encouragement can make a huge difference in someone’s life. She understood this, and I’ll always appreciate her memory for giving me motivation when I felt like giving up in my career.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

I didn’t find if funny at the time, and it’s embarrassing to admit now, but a friend called me out — big time — for posting a blurry picture to Instagram.

My biggest mistake was probably not taking social media seriously enough. Until you enter this world it’s hard to appreciate all the details that go into building and maintaining an engaged audience. It seemed to me all a matter of luck. It’s deceiving. There’s a lot of strategy that goes into building on social media, even for the biggest celebrities.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

Where there’s a will there’s a way. It’s possible with regular work for anyone to become an influencer. Try different platforms and play to your strengths. If you’re great with static visuals maybe Instagram is for you. If you’re political and a wordsmith perhaps give Twitter a try. If you’re a comedian and have a lot of time to make videos, you’re sure to be a TikTok star.

Furthermore, the audience is there, and they will find you. For example, I just recently started a small blog with DIY, wellness and sustainability tips. I’m still working out the best formatting and all the small details, but the most important part is starting. In fact, I have almost 300 new users visiting my site monthly just from the few posts I’ve already published. Since I promote my blog to my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, it becomes a synergistic pursuit. Synergy is extremely important in building your social media brand as well.

Whatever you decide to do, make sure you can tie it into your daily life, so it will be authentic and easier to produce regular content.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it. It’s important to learn your platform and what performs well within your niche. Every account is different, but some universals remain. It’s vital to produce high-quality images, words and videos. Social media can be heavily visual so it’s wise to develop your artistic side as well.

Letting your true personality shine through is also a great tip. Always add value with authentic content and don’t be afraid to fully use your words via the captions.

Lastly, engage with your audience. Gone are the days of posting and leaving the app. It takes real effort now to be seen. One way to do this is through engaging with your audience directly, through comments or even polls and other interactive features.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart.

You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

I’m a big proponent of regular meditation. Increasing mindfulness through meditation enhances all the other choices you make for your body, such as exercise and nutrition. It’s my secret weapon to combat stress and stress-related aging!

Kundalini Yoga is the most beneficial form of meditation I’ve tried so far. In fact, I’ve organized several pro-bono Kundalini Yoga events in New York City to give people the chance to try it for themselves.

Another easy and pleasurable practice is to take an Epsom salt bath. This is probably the quickest and easiest self-care routine to implement in your life right now. Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin and can help to increase Magnesium levels. Many of us have a subclinical deficiency in Magnesium. This puts us at an increased risk for various health problems including insomnia and severe menstrual symptoms. Furthermore, Magnesium works on the brain to promote a relaxed state.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

Human connection is vital to happiness. For better or worse, we are social creatures. It’s important to connect with others every day. If possible, this includes physical contact like hugging or cuddling which increases oxytocin in the brain.

My other mind-body tip is to start focusing all your attention on what you’re doing in the present moment. This can be very calming. Practicing this during an activity that doesn’t take very much focus, such as cleaning, can even become a form of meditation.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. Move your body!

Practice dancing and moving sensually! Even if it’s just alone, it will connect you with your body in a way that nothing else can.

2.Figure out your style.

Experiment with fashion. Sometimes the styles we gravitate towards aren’t the styles that ultimately flatter us best. Get outside opinions on what suits you since it can be hard to figure out for yourself when you’re so used to one way of dressing.

3. Focus on being unique.

Everyone is different, that’s the beauty of life. Learn to embrace and show off your most unique features in a flattering way because that’s what makes you stand out! Be it a crooked nose, a large forehead or a curvy body, confidence goes a long way. Turn even your “faults” into assets.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

A friend recently gave me the book, “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a great read about regaining your personal power and diminishing needless suffering. The words inspire you to rethink how you view reality and to appreciate the subjectivity inherent in living. I think anything that can increase your peace will also increase your outer beauty.

Bestselling author and happiness expert, Mo Gawdat also has a very inspiring podcast with a great range of topics. In 2020, I was honored to be a guest on an episode of, “Slo Mo”. I recommend checking it out.

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

As an influencer and model, I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to try a multitude of up and coming beauty treatments! Some are nicer than others…

One strange treatment I can advise against is dermablading. It’s a trendy skin treatment with a lot of possible downsides. It involves an esthetician taking a sharp blade to your face and removing all the protective small hairs from your face. It also removes the first layer of skin and leaves your face vulnerable to inflection and acne.

A bizarre treatment that I actually love is cryotherapy. It is said to help with muscle recovery after exercise and also with sports injuries. You hop in a machine that has been cooled to -240 degrees Fahrenheit for around 3 minutes. It’s exhilarating!

I post videos of these cutting edge and trending treatments to my Instagram and TikTok accounts regularly.

As an influencer, you are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

On my Instagram and Twitter accounts, I place a large focus on encouraging self-reflection and self-awareness. The world can make us feel like our only value is in our productivity, but that’s simply not true. Life has a way of changing us in beautiful ways when we let ourselves remain open and become grounded. Ultimately, I believe this is what will improve the world the fastest.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

I would love to have breakfast with Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. I’m always trying to grow myself internally so I can show up better in the world and perhaps he could give me some (or many) tips!

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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