The Thrive Questionnaire With Brooklyn and Bailey McKnight

These twin YouTube phenoms are creating their own healthier alternative to “hustle culture,” proving you can turn your passion into your profession without the burnout.

Courtesy of Brooklyn + Bailey McKnight
Courtesy of Brooklyn + Bailey McKnight

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

At 19, twin sisters Brooklyn and Bailey have a successful media empire, a budding music career, launched their own beauty line and capsule collection with ARIZONA at J.C. Penney — all while attending college at Baylor University. These women are two to watch as they continue to spread positive messages to their audience of over 12 million engaged Gen Z followers. Here, they share with Thrive what motivates them, how putting their phone down can alleviate negativity and outside pressures, and how not to be afraid to speak up.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Brooklyn + Bailey: The honest answer? Jump out of bed and put my contacts in! It is impossible to feel awake when you can’t see the world clearly!!

TG: What gives you energy?

B&B: Doing spontaneous and adventurous things… or laughing! These are things that help us relax, have fun and gives us positive energy to accomplish what we need to.

TG: What daily habit or practice helps you thrive?

B&B: Listening to music. There is an incredible effect music can have on your mood, and just a few minutes a day can change your whole demeanor and attitude.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.

B&B: Is the Bible too cliche? We actually love reading, so this is an impossible question for us to answer because there are a million different books we would choose.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?  

B&B: Our phones do sleep with us. *cringe I know* It’s a terrible habit but we leave my phone on the nightstand next to us so if it buzzes in the middle of the night we can grab it if there is a need. But, there are some times when we leave our phones, or turn them off. One way is our family has a “no phone policy” during family dinners or family meetings.

TG: How do you deal with email?

B&B: We check our email everyday. We try our best to stay on top of that because if you go one day without checking it, you are probably going to miss something important for either work or school.

TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?

B&B: I look at what can and what can’t wait to be done, realistically, and make a list of what’s due first, then work from there. This way I won’t miss a deadline.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

B&B: One of three things: Hangout or chat with a friend; spend time with our family; or read a book / watch Netflix.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?

Brooklyn: The end of this last semester. We had traveled to a few conventions and work events the week before finals, so as a result, missed a lot of the prep and study time. We were also moving out at the time. A lot fell on our plate all at once and was due at exactly the same time, so that was stressful. But, we made it though.  

TG: What advice would you give your younger self?

B&B: We would tell our younger selves to be more adventurous. Not everything has to be taken so seriously all the time. And, we would also tell them to not be afraid to stand up for what they believe in and to share it with others.

TG:  How do you balance your work and school?

B&B: It is all about effective time management! We have been doing this for most of our lives (since we were 9) so we grew up learning how to prioritize and not procrastinate so that we could always get things done! It essentially just means less time to watch TV and lounge around the house and more time being productive!

TG: How do you feel about the concept of “hustle culture”?

B&B: We, by nature, are the kind of people that enjoy having a busy life and like moving from thing to thing with hardly any pause, but  it can be tiring for some people. We love everything we do and have learned how to balance the fun side with the work side, since they often go hand in hand. With school, it’s all about knowing your limits and not pushing yourself to be perfect when it sometimes doesn’t matter — this way you can enjoy a few nights off here or there. It’s important to also kick back and relax!.

TG: What is your advice for turning your passion into a business?

B&B: If you are passionate about it, people will see that. Do what you have a genuine love for and it will never feel like work. And if you see a hole in the market, something missing that you wish you had, fill it! Never wait for someone else to do it; that’s how businesses are made.

TG: Do you have any advice for finding your passion?

B&B: Sometimes it can take a bit of time to figure out what you truly are passionate about. Don’t feel discouraged if you have to explore a little or if it takes you longer than others. Just have fun, and keep yourself open to different experiences and ideas. You will eventually find yourself drawn to some over others.

TG: What are the biggest issues you’ve seen and/or experienced around mental health and well-being?

B&B: It is extremely stressful being a student in today’s society, and with everything being global, there can be a lot of pressure to be perfect. We’ve seen it have many different effects on students from anxiety to depression and eliciting even harmful actions. We wish many people realized how hard it can be to live when the world is watching [through social]. We wish that kids in our generation were more lenient to others when they make mistakes and were slower to hate and judge. For us, if we start to feel overwhelmed, stressed or under pressure, we tend to take time off from everything. We put our phones down and just have some genuine fun/relaxing time with friends or each other where we can laugh and let those things fade away!

TG: How do you prioritize what is most important to you?

B&B: When we began building a business on our platform, we created a “brand bible.” Within this bible we made a few pillars that highlighted what was most important for us and what we always wanted our messaging to follow. This was an easy way for us to make sure everything we did was centered around something we found important, and made it easy to prioritize.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

B&B: We have two:

“Don’t pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.” —Bruce Lee

“The beauty of a girl is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a girl is in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.” —Audrey Hepburn

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