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“Talk to yourself with kindness.” With Ming Zhao & Gilda Joelle

Each morning I start my day with a daily devotional followed by a morning briefing from The New York Times. It’s important to stay informed with the news, but I prefer to have an uplifting devotional be the first thing that I read in the mornings. Attimes it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well-being, […]

Each morning I start my day with a daily devotional followed by a morning briefing from The New York Times. It’s important to stay informed with the news, but I prefer to have an uplifting devotional be the first thing that I read in the mornings.


Attimes 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 Gilda Joelle Osborn.

Gilda is a Southern girl from Alabama living her dream as a Fashion Model in New York City. With over 60,000 Instagram followers and an impressive list of fashion clients including Lilly Pulitzer, Revolve and Moosejaw Clothing companies she is certainly leaving a mark on the notoriously rigorous industry.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Gilda! 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?

Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I’ve always had the desire to pursue modeling, but it was important for me to finish my education before giving it a shot. Long story short, during my final semester of my master’s program for occupational therapy, I did a three-month internship in Miami in 2015. In typical Miami fashion, I got really into exercising and healthy eating, so I decided to set up a few shoots to start building my portfolio. I graduated that December, and I moved back to Miami in early 2016, hoping to get signed.

After hearing no after no from agencies, I was on the verge of giving up and moving home. I decided to go in one more agency before calling it quits. At that last meeting, nine months after moving to Miami, my first agency offered me a contract on the spot. The rest is history!

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 mom — She raised me by herself, since my father passed away when I was three years old, so the importance of being independent was instilled in me from a young age. She has always encouraged me to go after what I wanted, so I never felt pressure from her to fit a certain mould.

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?

Well, this isn’t necessarily a mistake, but it’s something that I find pretty funny about some shoots I’ve been on. I find some of the things I’ve been requested to do for a shot pretty funny / not safe at times. For example, I’ve been asked more than once to jump from rock to rock — rocks that are high enough that I had to climb up. Recently, those rocks were slippery because they were covered in moss. I’ve learned to say no if I don’t feel safe doing something for a shot! Also, if you don’t look comfortable doing something, most likely the shot will not turn out as good as it could be.

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?

First off, you never want to look back on your life and wish you could have done more to reach that certain goal or career path. You never know what could come of something unless you try. Second, you have to put in the work to reach your goals. You cannot sit back and just hope that something will happen. My favorite quote is “Dreams don’t work unless you do.”

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

I find that posting consistently is one of the best tools to keeping your followers engaged.

Also, I’ve noticed that people enjoy “real life” content — not just the styled photo shoots. I love posting genuine content about my day to day life on my Instagram stories. I love to cook and exercise, so I enjoy posting about those hobbies.

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 love doing some sort of movement every day. I tend to love exercise that are high intensity, then following up with something more low-impact like pilates. Lately, I’ve been loving jump rope and sprints. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, the feeling I get after completing that exercise sets a positive tone for the rest of my day.

I love my night time skin-care routine. I take off my makeup with One Love Organics Botanical B Cleansing Oil. I then follow up with a few spritzes of Marie Veronique’s Pre + Probiotic Daily Mist. Next up is Marie Veronique’s Gentle Retinol Night Serum, followed by Ayuna’s Cream II Rich and Goop’s eye cream. Last, I apply Marie Veronique’s Barrier Lipid Complex. This whole routine is very relaxing to me, so it’s the perfect way to wind down before going to sleep.

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.)

Cooking is very therapeutic for me. When I’m in the kitchen, no matter how I’m feeling, my mind is eased. It also brings me such joy to cook for others. Preparing healthy foods for my loved ones (and myself!) is so important to me. It’s a great feeling to know that you put a lot of love into whatever you are preparing for someone.

Each morning I start my day with a daily devotional followed by a morning briefing from The New York Times. It’s important to stay informed with the news, but I prefer to have an uplifting devotional be the first thing that I read in the mornings.

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

  1. Choose your circle wisely. The people you surround yourself with will have a profound effect on your attitude about yourself.
  2. Talk to yourself with kindness. What you say about yourself has much more of an impact on your mindset about yourself than what you may think.
  3. Have confidence. People will always have their eyes on the most confident person in a room.
  4. Eye contact, good posture, and good conversation go a long way.

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?

One of my favorite books is The Untethered Soul. It’s a book about transformation, and it helps you really understand who you are and how to be truly free. You have to choose happiness and choose a larger perspective on reality than the narrow focus on problems. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is looking to live in the present moment, instead of dwelling in the past or worrying about the future.

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

Honestly, I haven’t done any wellness treatments that I would consider bizarre, but I am up to try just about anything in the wellness world!

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.

-If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this business, you can very quickly become judgmental about your appearance and succumb to unrealistic expectations. I would love to find a way to empower young girls to develop and maintain a positive body image. I do my very best to be a great role model to younger girls. On social media, I think it’s so important to portray a positive image. I want others to be healthy, confident, and most importantly, an advocate for themselves.

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’d love to have a chance to talk with Gwyneth Paltrow one day. I have subscribed to her newsletter, Goop, for years. I love that she has launched a wellness empire. I feel like I could talk to her for hours.

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

The best way to follow me is on my Instagram. That’s where I enjoy posting most of my content! My handle is @gildajoelle

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

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