“Smile at yourself in the mirror.” With Ming Zhao & Allison Sanders

Smile at yourself in the mirror, even if you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. ESPECIALLY when you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. Changing your face from a frown to a smile can brighten up your entire outlook. At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to […]

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Smile at yourself in the mirror, even if you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. ESPECIALLY when you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. Changing your face from a frown to a smile can brighten up your entire outlook.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, 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 Jamie Allison Sanders.

Jamie Allison Sanders spends her days as a fashion and beauty copywriter. After 12 years in New York City and a brief stint in Pittsburgh, she (finally) relocated to Los Angeles in 2015. She’s created, shaped and written copy for some of the world’s leading companies, including Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Henri Bendel, American Eagle Outfitters, Sugarfina, JustFab, Fabletics, HUM Nutrition, Splendid, Ella Moss and Ralph Lauren. She has also written for Harper’s Bazaar, Allure, Glamour and Woman’s World, among others.

By night, Jamie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the beauty blog, The Beauty of Life, which she started in January 2007. As she looked around her bedroom one fateful night, her eyes alighted on the Illume Violet Rose Candle … and, just like that, the blog was born. But Jamie really have a lifelong passion for beauty. Playing the Youngest Royal Child in The King and I at 4 years old (complete with a full face of pancake makeup and loads of black eyeliner) was just the beginning. Over the years, she’s cultivated my obsessions of bold nail polish, candles, Bonne Bell Lip Smackers and gel cream moisturizers. And yes, she still has her two Caboodles from 1991!

A few fun facts about Jamie:
She was born and raised in Cleveland — and even though she moved away when she was 18, it’s still home. And she is a diehard Cavs fan! 🏀
She grew up doing musical theater and love it to this day! Her all-time favorite roles were Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, the Narrator in Joseph…, Jack in Into the Woods, Kim in Bye Bye Birdie and the title role in Annie.
She has a Disneyland pass and goes at least a couple times a month!
She’s pretty sure she’s seen the first Twilight movie over 100 times. Yes, she was obsessed. Mainly with Robert Pattinson.
She hates melted cheese. It’s a texture thing. But she will eat every kind of cheese off a cheese plate.
Speaking of cheese … She lives for cheesy romantic comedies. Even the terrible Netflix original ones.
She has a bit of a nail polish “problem” — she owns over 600 bottles.
She can quote every line from Friends and Sex and the City.

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?

Ialways knew I wanted to be a writer. When I was 10 years old, I said I was going to move to New York after college and become the Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen. (If 13 Going on 30 had existed back then, I definitely would have said I wanted to be Jenna Rink.) I majored in journalism at Indiana University (Go Hoosiers!) and did indeed move to New York to work in magazines, with my very first job being the Editorial Assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. While I will always be immensely grateful for that opportunity, ESPECIALLY for the opportunities it awarded me to begin pursuing my passion in fashion (yes, that rhymes, #sorrynotsorry), I ultimately wanted to be more creative. There was a copywriting role open at Ralph Lauren, I applied, I got it … and it’s like the heavens opened and said, “This is what you should have been doing all along.”

I’ve spent the better part of my career juggling both the copywriting side and the blogging/influencing side. I started my blog in January 2007, mainly because I wanted a way to write for myself in my own voice. Back then, we didn’t share every detail of ourselves on the internet — things like Instagram and Twitter didn’t even exist yet! But I knew early on that I wanted to work in the digital space, and I’ve evolved over the years to build out my Instagram and other social followings in addition to continuing to write in my blog when time and creativity allow.

These days, I’m full-time freelance — something I’ve worked toward for the past few years in LA! I write copy for a variety of fashion, beauty and lifestyle clients, and then I also still curate my own content for my social channels and blog.

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 think we’ve all had some really great bosses … and some NOT so great bosses. I have one boss in particular who was the BEST. During my time as Senior Copywriter at JustFab, my boss was the VP of Marketing, Monica D. She is so smart, creative and business savvy, and I felt inspired by her every single day. She also pushed me forward in my career in very positive ways, encouraging me to take on new responsibilities and think about life beyond just copywriting. I credit Monica with helping me learn new skills in marketing and open up my creativity.

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?

During one of my first times backstage at Fashion Week, I had the chance to interview a celebrity hairstylist — I’m keeping his name quiet. He’s only one of the most major hairstylists in the world. For anyone who hasn’t gone backstage at Fashion Week, it is CRAZY backstage. All the hairstylists, makeup artists and manicurists are back there, plus the models, plus the PR people, PLUS all the journalists/bloggers/influencers. It’s INSANE. This hairstylist is notorious for being difficult backstage, and being extremely reticent, not to mention his work has been featured in every major magazine and show you can think of. So I was already a little freaked out and nervous, but tried to keep my composure, asking him the same questions every journalist asks backstage (i.e. what was your inspiration behind the look, how did you create it, what products did you use, etc). He was so unfriendly and so quiet that I just ended up escaping as quickly as possible — I think our entire interaction was only about a minute and a half. And, after that, every time I saw him backstage at a show, I ran the other direction!

The lesson I learned from this experience, though, is that it’s okay not to interview people you know won’t give you the story. Just because they’re famous doesn’t mean they’re necessary. And especially when you’re creating content for your own channels and your own website, it’s all about what YOU want to feature!

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?

The influencer space is definitely EXTREMELY oversaturated now. I think for anyone who wants to be a blogger or influencer, it helps to WANT to do it. To really be passionate about your subject, not just someone who wants free stuff or a bigger following. You have to be content with creating content simply for the sake of creating, even if you only get 5 likes on a post. You also have to be very dedicated to growing your business completely on your own. Connect to other like-minded people in the industry. Reach out to brands you want to work with. Create real, GENUINE content. And know that it takes time and perseverance.

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

We all know liking and commenting on people’s posts helps. But, more than that, it’s liking and commenting on people’s posts for REAL. Not just leaving a comment like, “Cool outfit, girl!” But really reading their caption, looking at their images, saying something that matters in response. I’ve also made genuine connections and friends through Instagram simply by reaching out via DM and saying, “Hey, I think you’re cool! I want to get to know you better.” Or, just responding to their stories with more than an emoji, but really commenting. It helps to make the space more genuine. And the more genuine YOU are, the more genuine people will be in return.

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.)

  1. I am admittedly not someone who works out consistently! But I do try to walk at least 2 miles every day, WITHOUT looking at my phone. I put on music or a podcast and just walk around my neighborhood. It helps me to disconnect from any stress or big things happening and be present in the moment, while I also get my steps in!
  2. I am a big proponent of self care in all forms — massages, facials, nail appointments, doing a face mask at home, yoga, therapy. Anything you can possibly do to put your mind, body and soul at ease. I do all of the above pretty regularly (although my nail appointments are me doing my own nails at home, since I have 600 bottles of nail polish!). I love getting massages and would do that at least once a week if my wallet would let me! Ole Henriksen in West Hollywood and Squeeze in Studio City are my go-tos.

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.)

  1. I’ve actually gotten into lighting candles from House of Intuition recently. All of their candles have different themes or intentions that you set. At the beginning of the year, I lit their Creativity candle and set some very specific intentions for it (I’m keeping those secret, shhhh) — and I have to say, it really works!
  2. I’ve been playing piano since I was 7, and I sing. I like to play piano and sing a few times a week just to give myself a little time to be creative in a different way and also disconnect from everything else happening around me.

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

  1. Painting your nails is such an easy way to change your entire attitude! If you like the color or design on your fingernails, I guarantee you won’t be able to look at them and stop smiling.
  2. I LOVE getting blowouts. I can do my own hair, sure — but there’s just nothing like having someone wash and blowdry your hair for you. It’s so indulgent, and there’s just nothing better than a good hair day!
  3. Smile at yourself in the mirror, even if you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. ESPECIALLY when you’re feeling sad or having a bad day. Changing your face from a frown to a smile can brighten up your entire outlook.

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?

My therapist. In no uncertain terms, she changed my life. She has given me so many tips, tricks and tools to survive any possible situation that’s thrown my way. I credit her with bringing new purpose to my life, with helping me to see things in a different way, and for becoming an even happier and healthier person than I ever could have dreamed possible.

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

I will try anything once! When I lived in New York, I once went to Sphatika for a treatment that combined massage with a sweat tent and singing bowls. Yes, it was bizarre — yes, it was also incredible! I’ve never sweated more in my entire life, and that includes the times I’ve done hot power yoga. But my body and mind somehow felt awakened and relaxed simultaneously once it was over.

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.

I would want to pay it forward. Yes, this can mean monetarily, but it can also mean through actions. We all have someone in our lives who we can help in some way, whether it’s buying them a meal, listening to them talk about something concerning them, or giving them mentorship advice. I would want to inspire people to help those around them in whatever way they KNEW those people needed it most.

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. 🙂

Sarah Jessica Parker. I have been inspired by her for more than 20 years! From her time on Broadway to Carrie Bradshaw, from the way she connects with her fans and followers to her genuine love and understanding of fashion, she is the person I think would be the most fascinating for me to meet.

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

Blog: thebeautyoflifeblog.com

Instagram: instagram.com/beautychick101

Twitter: twitter.com/beautychick101

Facebook: facebook.com/thebeautyoflife

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

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