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Jillian Danford: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help”

The movement that is happening right now with Black Lives Matter is the movement that inspires me the most and I hope it will move mountains. I’m invested as a Black woman to make sure that my voice and our voices are never silenced or bullied into silence by anybody or anything. If we don’t […]

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The movement that is happening right now with Black Lives Matter is the movement that inspires me the most and I hope it will move mountains. I’m invested as a Black woman to make sure that my voice and our voices are never silenced or bullied into silence by anybody or anything. If we don’t speak up and we are unhappy with a situation, then how will anybody know what we desire. Therefore, this movement is most dear to me as it has been long overdue, and we need more examples of Black powerful people in powerful positions with a fair scale salary of their counterparts. I know it will take some time to see changes, but it will and can be done.


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 Jillian Danford aka Auntie Jillian.

Jillian Danford is a YouTube, Television and Social Media personality who creates lifestyle vlogs about her outgoing and hilarious family: The Danfords. She is known by millions as “Auntie Jullian.” Her YouTube Channel has more than 100K subscribers and more than 13 million views from a culturally diverse audience while her Instagram has 66.6K followers. In 2018, Jillian signed a deal with Bell Fibe TV1 to produce the reality show, Auntie Jillian for its 2M+ viewers. Season 1 was released in the Spring of 2019 and Canada’s First Caribbean/Black Family Reality Show captured the attention of Bell Media’s main network CTV. The show was picked up by CTV for a summer run.


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?

Well, my back, backstory is that I went from Courtroom Registrar to YouTube then to Television. I was doing a little dabbling in television when I worked for the courts and thinking about pursuing acting. I made some appearances on The Shopping Channel as a presenter and also started doing some commercial work. I was hooked. I knew it was now or never and decided to take the plunge and take my dream seriously. I took acting classes, I got an agent, I went on auditions and started getting roles and commercial spots. The YouTube Channel and reality show happened by accident, but truly nothing happens by accident. Everything I’m doing works with my overall brand and goal to promote positivity.

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?

My niece, LaToya Forever is a YouTuber and TV reality show star, she is the one who helped launch my social media career. She started a YouTube Channel for me after people kept seeing me on her channel and wanted to hear more of my great advice. My channel got 11, 000 subscribers without me posting any videos. I started to build from there with the support of my family and a close circle of friends who gave me tips and assistance. I had to learn about social media and how to keep people engaged and also build my brand authentically.

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?

Not so much humorous, but more frustrating. I was learning to edit on a fancy editing system. Instead of just learning the program first, I went ahead and made all sorts of complicated edits. I spent five hours on the project and when I went to upload it, it didn’t save!!! There were so many lessons learned from that experience. Lesson number one is to always save your work throughout the process!

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?

Stay consistent, stay focused, accept that you will have many setbacks, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Keep a small group of like-minded people to keep you inspired. When your brand grows, so should your team.

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

I find topics that the viewers want to hear about, watch and/or talk about. Most of what I do is all relatable. I try to post videos on the same day and time every week. I’m always engaged with the audience and answer as many questions as possible. I keep it real with the viewers so they can see their similarities through me. It’s why I came up with my catchphrase: It’s a real ting!… I always have to put a little Caribbean flavor in everything I do. (laughs)

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 exercise at least 3 times a week to ensure that I get a great sweat. I believe that a good sweat helps rid impurities and rejuvenates your body and skin. That being said, I keep hydrated with lots of water. I prefer room temperature water but drink hot water for digestion. I like to exfoliate my face. I think it’s so important shed the dead skin and keep yourself looking fresh.

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.)

Never did I imagine that I would challenge myself with an exercise that I dreaded in high school. I couldn’t stand long distance jogging unless I was actually competing in a race or sport. With the pandemic this year, I took up jogging and realized that I really enjoy it. I think it’s easier now because I simply follow an app to earn each step of the way which challenges me. I also think that it’s the music in my AirPods that takes me to the finish line. I run to the beat and sweat it out!!

First thing in the morning I grab a cup of hot lemon water. It cleans out the acid in your gut and helps with digestion throughout the day, plus a hot drink in my stomach seems to set the day on the right path for me.

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

1. Positivity: keeping on top of your positive thinking and get to really know yourself. Call out what you want into the universe and own it.

2. A great hair day is like perfect weather. When my curly hair, or whichever hairstyle, is behaving and I look my best, I can’t help but feel cute (laughs). Therefore, a good hair care routine is the foundation to great hair days. I trim my hair frequently to keep the shape and the curls poppin.’

3. Make-up that enhances your beauty without changing your features to an unrealistic you. For me, it’s all about the eyes. I love playing with different mascaras to see which ones give me the most lashes. I like watching make-up tutorials on applying eyeshadows. I also have a hundred lipsticks, but they all seem to be around the same neutral colour. When I get excited about a smashing colour and I go to buy it again, 9 out of 10 times it was a limited sample colour and so I just buy one similar to it to add to all the similar lipsticks that I own. They all look like the same colour!!!

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?

When I was much younger, I read a book called, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It’s a practical guide to help with everyday problems but focuses on doing so with positivity.

I love reading quotes from the great late Maya Angelo. This woman left the world with valued wisdom and one of my favourite quotes from her is: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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

My pain tolerance is generally high, but I cannot tolerate the pain of waxing or threading. I once went for a Brazilian and after the technician pulled that one strip off me, I told her to leave the rest. The same thing for threading, the pain gets to every corner of my soul and I end up gasping for air. I feel like they should put me under for these treatments.

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.

The movement that is happening right now with Black Lives Matter is the movement that inspires me the most and I hope it will move mountains. I’m invested as a Black woman to make sure that my voice and our voices are never silenced or bullied into silence by anybody or anything. If we don’t speak up and we are unhappy with a situation, then how will anybody know what we desire. Therefore, this movement is most dear to me as it has been long overdue, and we need more examples of Black powerful people in powerful positions with a fair scale salary of their counterparts. I know it will take some time to see changes, but it will and can be done.

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. 🙂

There are a few women in each category of life that I would like to sit down and have a meal with. This is hard, but it would be such a treat to sit down with Michelle Obama and talk about sisterhood, advice, food…everything…LIFE!!!

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

IG: @askauntiejillian

Youtube: Auntie Jillian

Twitter: @auntiejillian

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

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