Many associate Arianna Davis with the powerhouses Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King through her prestigious position as digital director for O, The Oprah Magazine. There she directs all of OprahMag.com's editorial, social, and video content and strategy.
However, this is only part of the 33-year-old's stellar résumé.
While working with Queen O is as dumb as Megan Thee Stallion's knees, stopping it would mean you've missed a huge chunk of who Davis is as a person and her evolution as a writer. Davis recently published her book What Would Frida Do: A Guide To Living Courageously, and it could not have been given to the world at a better time.
Dreaming while waking guarantees realization
Always a bookworm, Davis knew as a child that she wanted to be a writer.
"I grew up at The Babysitter's Club and got my nose in a book and I think that translated into a love of writing," she shared.
Davis also liked magazines, but due to a lack of representation in their early years, he didn't think working for one was an option. A native of Maryland, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and began her journalism degree from college with the aim of doing an internship with the New York Daily News after graduation. "For me, especially as a woman of color – I'm black and Puerto Rican – I haven't really seen a lot of people who looked like I was working in magazines or getting those coveted, glamorous internships in magazines. I never thought they would Is the world for me, and I have chosen newspapers by default. I studied print journalism. "
However, if we take a step, even a small one, towards our goals, the stars will find a way to align and show us where we want to be. In Davis' case, these stars referred her to a scholarship dinner during her spring semester last year. Speaking at that dinner was Jayne Jamison, who was the editor of Seventeen Magazine at the time.
Arianna Davis' bold Frida-like move
After the editor of Seventeen Magazine gave a great speech about her career, Penn State alum followed Jamison into the bathroom, where she pretended to wash her hands, thanked her for the talk, and asked for her business card.
“I left with my gut feeling. Something inside me realized that you can't let this person go without at least making sure they realize who you are. And I'm really glad I followed that instinct. It was definitely risky and brave and she could very well have said, "Please leave me alone, I'm in the bathroom." But luckily she was nice and it worked out for the best. "Davis remembers.
Shortly after the bathroom meeting, Davis moved to New York and began an internship with the New York Daily News. While that opportunity was a great experience, she remained curious about the world of magazines and met Jamison for coffee at Hearst Tower.
“She was incredibly nice and super helpful as Penn State alum and we just kept in touch. She always took care of me and when I saw a few months later that there was a postgraduate internship at O, The Oprah Magazine, another Hearst publication like Seventeen, I asked her if maybe she could help me find the best Contact. She put me in touch with someone, and that's really how I got my foot in the door to this world of magazines, ”says Davis.
However, imagine if Davis admitted the fear of possible rejection to keep her from following Jamison to the bathroom that night. That one brave move shaped the rest of her career. We can all benefit from wondering how we can be more courageous in our lives. How can we channel our inner Arianna Davis or our inner Frida Kahlo to get closer to where we want to be in life?
"I always think it's worth taking risks. The worst that can happen is no," Davis reminds us. For her, living boldly and authentically is a lifestyle that is reflected in her words .
"I always try to be as vulnerable and real as possible when it comes to my work with O and this book too."
What Would Frida Do?
Frida Kahlo, née Magdalena Carmen Frieda Kahlo and Calderón, was a Mexican artist best known for her beautiful self-portraits, catchy quotes, and unibrow. She was a feminist too. A force. A woman before her time who endured a lot more than caught the eye.
Davis knows that many books and biographies have been written about Frida over the years. The "Gold Standard" biography was published in 1983 by Hayden Herrera. With that in mind, Davis knew that she didn't want it to be just another biography, but that she wanted to bring something new to the table with a book that was part of the biography (for anyone unfamiliar with Frida's story) . and part of self-help guide (to inspire readers to live their lives courageously).
"Not necessarily a blueprint for how you should live exactly like Frida, just get inspired by how far ahead of its time it was, so that you can be inspired to boldly live your own life in your own way," she said Author explains.
Arianna Davis successfully accomplishes this mission. What would Frida do is not only educational, but also ridiculously self-reflective and inspiring. It was worth taking a week off to write in Frida's hometown in Mexico. “Frida is one of the most famous people in history. She is an icon. She is someone who is so well known and an Oscar-nominated film has been made about her and countless books have been made. This was all definitely intimidating … I wanted to make sure I really did the research and got it right. "
Definition of our self
There is so much good that can arise from self-reflection and identifying our truths. In Davis' Jewel of a Book, she shares a quote from Frida: “I am love. I am pleasure, I am essence, I am an idiot, I am an alcoholic, I am persistent. I am; I am simple. "
When asked what her “I am”, Davis replies, “I'm definitely a dreamer. I think I've always had my head in the clouds and I've always been someone who isn't afraid to dream big am also ambitious and know that women are not necessarily encouraged to do this. I am someone who has always loved what I do and has always been passionate about my work. I think that I am nice and generous too and definitely a writer too . "
Being able to confidently identify who we are enables us to boldly approach our dreams and inspire those around us to do the same. Davis hopes her new book will reveal the way Frida lived her life – very authentic to her. She would love it if readers were touched by Frida's bold choices and her apologetic nature.
"I'm not necessarily saying, live your life exactly like Frida. She grew up in the 1920s and 30s. She made many decisions in her life that I don't necessarily have to agree with, from her communist ideals to her relationship with Diego. You know, there were a lot of things there so I don't say exactly the same as Frida … I just hope that whoever reads it takes away some inspiration or motivation to live their life just as wild and bold on their own way. "
How To Learn To Live Courageously
In Davis' What Would Frida Do book, she writes:
"Frida's fearlessness in the face of her mistakes can inspire us to overcome our own cheat syndromes – whether we feel in a boardroom or inadequate
I can imagine that she would tell us – even if we don't quite believe it ourselves – to always be our greatest cheerleaders. We may not be able to control how we feel, but we have complete control over how we project ourselves outward. And if we show off ourselves well enough, we may believe it inside too. "
Get your own copy of What Would Frida Do anywhere books are sold. If you'd like to support an indie bookstore (yes please!), Find one here.
You can also follow Arianna Davis on her brave journey: @ariannagab on Instagram and @AriannaGDavis on Twitter.