For the first installment of the “Young Moguls” movement, I want to introduce you all to someone who I feel is changing the game in the fashion and media industry.
And, get this… she is only 20-years-old!!
I met Asia last year during my time as an ESSENCE College Ambassador, and as we began to build a friendship, I quickly noticed how proactive and ambitious that she was. I mean the girl is a downright hustler through and through! She has had internships,with the likes of ESSENCE magazine, Hot 97, College Fashionista, and she has recently launched her own personal brand.
I wanted to share her story with you all because I feel that it is important to show someone who is relatable, and proof that if you increase your grind, you can accomplish anything.
I had the opportunity to chat with Asia Milia on life goals, career moves, and personal branding. This is a conversation that you definitely should check out! So, pop your popcorn, get a pen and pad, and take notes from our very first Young Mogul
What do you want the world to know about you?
I’m a hustler. I know the word, “hustler” has a negative connotation to it, but I want the world to know when I talk hustle, everything is positive. I’m a go-getter and an ambitious girl, if I want something I do everything I can to reach that goal. I want the world to know I’m so much more than my Instagram page and my résumé— I’ve been blessed to work with some of the best and I know how to brand myself, yes. But, Asia Milia, as a person is so much deeper than that. I’m a humble, 20-year old girl hungry to reach my goals, every single one of them.
What’s a dream of yours that you’re working on accomplishing?
A dream of mine that I’m working on accomplishing is having my OWN voice, and I’m creating that through my website right now. I love writing for other brands, but there’s nothing like having my own voice, straight Asia Milia, no filter if I don’t want one. Stay tuned, that dream is coming true in a few weeks.
What habits of yours do you feel enable you to be successful?
I think there are three main habits that I have that enable me to be successful:
- I spend time with myself to write and evaluate all of the positive things in my life, even if the negative outweighs the positive.
- I use “No” as motivation.
- I workout to keep my mind on the right track.
These habits didn’t come overnight; I had to groom my way into making a habit of these things; especially turning my No’s into motivation. I think what separates me from most is my optimism, I look at the good in every situation and that leads me to being more successful. Spending time dwelling on an issue is time wasted, time that could be spent on bettering myself. My habit of writing keeps me sane, when I see something on paper I HAVE to cross it out and say I’ve succeeded at it, if I don’t I failed, and I’m not a failure. Also, I fell in love with working out 3 years ago— I think that habit enables me to be successful because it allows me to step away from the laptop, the stress, and everything else to only focus on me, finding what works for you is extremely necessary when on the road to success.
What are some important steps that you feel one needs to make to successfully brand themselves?
Branding yourself is so important, and it’s simpler than people make it. The first step to successfully branding yourself is knowing what you want your brand to be and what you want to represent. If you don’t know what you represent, you’re already off on the wrong foot. After analyzing what your brand is, it’s simple. Stay professional and be credible. I think what’s helped me successfully brand myself is that I am professional. If you’re trying to brand yourself as a young professional and you want to be taken serious, posting a picture at a kickback with a bottle of Hennessy in your hand isn’t smart, unless that’s what you want to be associated with. Being credible is something that comes with building your brand; you have to earn credibility that stems from your professionalism.
How do you motivate yourself?
That’s a tricky one…Because, I find myself needing motivation ALL THE TIME. It’s ironic because so many people look to me for motivation so I feel as if I always have to be on top of my game. But, most of the time when I need motivation I go look at my old screenshot messages. Sounds crazy, I know. I have hundreds of DM’s, text messages, snapchats, or Instagram comments from young girls or older women telling me how much I mean to them or how much I inspire them and that lights a fire under me. It’s a crazy feeling knowing that I can inspire others, so reading those messages over pick me up and motivate me— it reminds me that I’m not just doing this for myself.
What’s one mistake you’ve made in your career? How would you change it?
The fact that I had to really sit back and think HARD about this question says a lot. I’m an extreme perfectionist, but I’m not perfect at all. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I regret none of them because they’re all learning experiences that continues to build my tough skin in the industry. I think one mistake I’ve made is not knowing how to balance my time right. At one point all I knew was work, work, work! That type of grind can get you far, however, I learned that my hard work meant nothing without balancing my time efficiently and having a life outside of work. I changed it by pushing myself to go to more events, stepping outside of my comfort zone. Never focus so much on your career that you forget about your life, especially when you’re young. I’m 20, most of my college experience excluding my Spring Break I went home to work and barely went out. You need to give your body and your mind a break.
You’ve had a lot of amazing internships! Do you have any advice for readers on how to secure internships in the fashion/entertainment industry?
Thank you! I always get this question, and I always tell everyone the same thing. Be you, be authentically you. I wouldn’t be where I am if I wasn’t Asia Milia all the time, I never tried to be anyone else at any point in my journey and that’s where a lot of people mess up. They think they need to be a certain “type” of person to work in the fashion industry or they have to tweak their résumé and lie to land an internship in entertainment. No! Trying to be who you think they want is exactly what they don’t want, and it shows. Also, my advice is to use your network. Social media makes life a lot easier. No, don’t slide in anyone’s DM’s, but if you see their email, shoot them an email and tell them you’re interested in working with them. Lastly, you have to be willing to work for free. If you’re doing it for the money neither the fashion, nor entertainment industry is for you. You have to work your way to the top, I’m still working, I’ve just reached a point where I get paid for internships now, but I’m still humble and willing to work for free if I need to. I’ve had 7 internships and 2 were paid, I think those numbers say enough.
Why do you feel that you are a “Young Mogul”?
I think I’m a “Young Mogul,” because at 20-years old I’ve accomplished a lot more than most young professional my age. I’ve worked with brands that people DREAM of working with, and I don’t say any of that to toot my own horn. I say it to motivate you, I’m a young mogul because I worked to get here and I’m no where close to done, I’m a young mogul because I see opportunity and I jump to get it. I’m a young mogul because I ask no questions; I just do what I’m asked and I make my presence known. In Diddy’s newest campaign video for Ciroc he says, “Everything I’m living now I dreamed about it, I knew that I had to work hard to get it and I wanted it.” The first time I heard that I got chills because I felt like he was speaking my exact life. Working hard has made me a young mogul and will make me the successful Asia Milia that I am in the future.
What new projects are you working on?
I’m working on my website, AsiaMilia.com— it’ll be everything from my style, to fitness, to women empowerment, career/internship opportunities, I want put all of the answers I have in one place and hope to inspire many and share my thoughts, my style and more. I’ll also have some styling opportunities on the site. In the near future I am hoping to launch a series, Asia Milia TV, a series of interviews on my website since I’ve recently found my love for being on the microphone for interviews, hosting, and more. All of the logistics for the series aren’t figured out yet, but it’s definitely something to follow the site.
What books/ sites are you reading?
Currently, I’m reading Angie Martinez’s, “My Voice,” and Khloe Kardashian, “Strong Looks Better Naked.” Martinez’s book is so inspirational because I can relate to a lot she says since I spent my summer interning at Hot 97, where she spent most of her career. Khloe’s book is a different one for me, I enjoy reading about her journey and it inspires me. I know the Kardashian’s may not be everyone’s favorite crew, but I’m all about seeing what other women are doing positive, so reading her book shows me a Khloe that’s not in the blogs or on my TV screen. FashionBombDaily is my go-to site, I read it almost everyday because everything about it is innovative fashion journalism and I am obsessed with the founder and editor-in-chief, Claire Sulmers; I call myself baby Claire (we have the same birthday). Also, Gia Peppers, entertainment journalist and on-air personality just launched her site, GiaPeppers.com, I go to it a lot just for a little extra inspiration. Gia has worked with some of the same brands as myself and I remember meeting her for the first time and being so excited. She inspires me to enjoy every bit of my journey. When I met her she told me, “If your brand is good, you’ll always be good, if not, you have a problem.” Her website is new so there’s not an extreme amount of content up, but I read her posts over and over for instilled motivation.
Asia recently launched her blog site asiamilia.com check it out to keep up with her, and also get tips on fashion, fitness, and career advice.