She Wears Many Hats
What is “I Am Zuri,” and who the heck is Zuri? Well, this is my story, my metamorphosis to become “I Am Zuri,” as they say. I have traveled far, expanded my palate, created my look, and unleashed my voice. Throughout my journey, I have been guided by my principles, one of which is simple… Be the beautiful you. I’ll explain some background on my various roles, explain what’s behind some funny nicknames I’ve been given, share with you the hats I’m currently wearing, how these hats led to the birth of I Am Zuri, and what you can expect on this platform. Now, I love me some hats, but I’m talking about my metaphorical hats. The hats I’ve worn are the roles I had to play. Some hats I wore for things that piqued my curiosity and others were worn to meet whatever challenges came my way!
I’ve been fortunate to wear a lot of hats while growing into this role. I come from a diverse, Brady-bunch style family, and have traveled the world both for work and play. My mom is a yogi and my father is an organic farmer/activist/author. I’m the only child from these two lovely beings. However, between the two, I have many half and step brothers and sisters. Coming from my family’s crazy dynamics has led me to wear a lot of interesting hats.
Check out these hats:
- Grocery clerk
- Restaurant Manager
- Gallery Show Curator
- Event Coordinator
- Grassroots Organizer
- Director of Advertising
- Production Assistant
- Business Owner
Shall I go on? Nah, you get the point!
The hardest thing I’ve had to learn is that some hats just don’t fit on this head. And if the hat doesn’t fit, you must ____? (Insert bad O.J. Simpson joke there.) Speaking of jokes, I have been called a triple threat amongst the comedic souls in my life. Not because I’m a singer, dancer, and actress; there’s nothing funny about that. Heck, half of Southern California’s female population claims to be that kind of a triple threat.
I’m a triple threat because comically, these stereotypical hats actually fit my head:
- A Redheaded stepchild (Born a strawberry redhead. Mom married 4 times, Dad married 3 times- that makes me a redheaded stepchild.)
- The farmer’s daughter (Dad is an organic farmer)
- And I was actually born in a barn (My parent’s hippie phase led them to turn a barn into a house and raise goats. They had a home birth, thus, I was born in a barn.)
Go ahead and laugh! It’s funny. It is hashtag #truestory and you literally can’t make this shit up.
Currently, I wear two types of hats; business and party hats.
My business hats include
- Singer-songwriter (arguably this could be in both sections)
- Lifestyle coach
- Social media vixen
- Citizen’s rights activist
- Marketing consultant
- Creative manager
- Clean living expert
- Tribe builder
My party hats include:
- Culinary enthusiast
- Parent (both sections)
- Family girl
- DIY junkie
- Eco-fashion freak
- Fitness girl
- Interior design lover
- Adventure enthusiast
One night, I put on all of my hats just before falling asleep. That night, my mind birthed a vision to start my own lifestyle company called, I Am Zuri. I wanted the platform to house this company, that allowed me to feature all of my passions and pursuits in one place. While the concept of I Am Zuri was forming, I recorded my second and third studio album, toured various countries as a singer-songwriter, remained a citizen activist, and movement leader in the good food space, and the clean beauty world. At the same time, I was endlessly studying new social media strategies for my expanding clientele. I continued to support and consult some amazing friends, activists, and celebrity clients through my social media and marketing business. I had to prepare myself to share my voice and vision right here with all of you on I Am Zuri.
I mapped the concept out repeatedly for months. In many cases, this was some of my happiest, and most fulfilling work I’ve done so far. Friends and colleagues noted how I shined when I talked about I Am Zuri. But at that point, it was just “talk.”
- One of my favorite quotes: “I Am: two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.”
- The word Zuri means beautiful in Swahili, (you can thank my hippie parents for that one).
Deciding to use my own name for this company required me to do a lot of soul-searching, and really define what beauty means to me. I feel that my namesake comes with weight, purpose, and a sense of responsibility. A by-product of all of this self-discovery, responsibility, and pressure, was the need to serve. An intense desire to be the change I wanted to see, and ultimately, empower people to do the same. By helping myself and my clients, I recognized that these teachings should be shared on a MUCH larger platform.
So I had it all figured out, (so I thought), and then came the process of putting it together. At the same time, my social media business was growing, and my attention was split between doing what I wanted to do, and doing what I had to do to wear all these incredible hats. These two quotes below helped me get through the VERY long process of seeing my vision through. Getting over self-doubt, fear, frustration, overwhelm; balancing work, play, passions, parenting, and a bunch of other hurdles, called upon every hat I’ve ever owned.
I’ve conquered some fears. I’m getting better at getting out of my own way. I’ve learned when to take off my perfectionist hat, (this is my worst hat. I don’t recommend it to anyone. Leave that one in the hat shop, or burn it if it’s already in your closet). LOL!
In early 2015, I committed to sharing the parts of myself that had to be a part of I Am Zuri. Those sections are listed here and make up the I Am Zuri platform:
- I wanted a music section with exclusive access for my LOVER tribe, to get behind the scenes fun from my songwriting journeys. I’m featuring interviews, playlists, songwriting hacks, and artist activism to protect our rights as performers and creators.
- I had to have a beauty section, featuring safe beauty and glamour hacks, products, eco-fashion trends, get the looks, industry interviews, and activism to protect us, glamour girls, and a section drawing attention to the toxic beauty industry.
- Of course, there had to be a food section, so I could share my recipes, hacks, food facts, and food movement interviews with my colleagues; and of course activism to help us shape a better food future.
- I required a love section, to share my efforts in the self-love and equality movements. I wanted to share love-inspired ideas like parenting with love, healthy relationship hacks, poetry, DIY, crafting, decorating, and interviewing people who have inspired me to love this life.
- Of course, I wanted a social section, sharing my social media hacks, how and why we all need to get social, tribe building, entrepreneurial stories, and interviews with social influencers.
- I definitely wanted to inspire jet-setters with an adventure section, featuring travel, destination reviews, daily adventures, and interviews with adventure enthusiast.
- In order to really help people and share my journey, I’d need a health section, featuring fitness tips, nutrition hacks, daily mantras, well-being resources, environmental and emotional health inspiration, and health advocate interviews.
Once I had the framework pulled together, I invited my partner in crime, Michael Kanter Star, to join me. Michael is a writer, a poet, a certified yoga instructor, photographer, culinary enthusiast, and fitness buff. Slowly, I am building out this space with other contributors who have a commitment to living a beautiful life.
My hope is that the tribe that forms around I Am Zuri is inspired by this unique collection of passions, all with the intent to guide people into living a beautiful life. “I Am Zuri, Be The Beautiful You,” is an invitation for all of us to live the most beautiful version of ourselves.
I have big plans for my tribe and for this new venture. As things progress here at I Am Zuri, and my hats change, I’ll keep you updated. For now, I want to say thank you for wearing your supportive hat! Thank you for reading, thank you for sharing, and thank you for being YOU. I’m honored to be in this role and to wear all of these hats.
My most important hat will always be to share my big heart with all of you!
Question Rampage: Do you love the “I AM” idea? Tell us what you’d like to see on I Am Zuri? Do you have a story idea? Is there someone you want me to interview? Did I leave something out? What are you most excited about reading? Tell me in the comments.
Photo credits: Images by Michael Helms, Hair and Makeup by Angelina Butera. Styling by Zuri.
Check out my “She Boss Hustle Playlist!” This is what I listen to when I am wearing one of my entrepreneur hats!