A friend once told me that rejection is a friend of our goals, and that when we our chasing after our goals; rejection will pop up to muster fear into our hearts. In order to push past the fear of rejection, we must become mentally tough.
With that being said, today I have the honor of sharing powerful experiences from a woman that is beyyyyond mentally tough, my friend, Chandia Brennen. Chandia is a fashion editor that I met back in 2013 while sitting front row at a fashion show. We instantly clicked and started sharing wayyyyy more personal information than we probably expected to share with each other. lol
That night, I knew Chandia was one of the most driven individuals I had ever met, and each year she continues to grow and build her empire.
Without further ado, here is my interview with Chandia Brennen.
How long have you been working in the fashion industry?
I’ve worked in the industry for almost nine years. When I first graduated from college, I moved back home with my family in Florida to prepare myself for law school. While studying for the LSAT, I recall sitting in the living room looking at my framed Bachelor’s and Masters degree and fighting feelings of emptiness. I accomplished so much but felt unfulfilled. I prayed and hoped that my interest in law would satisfy me…but that process proved to be challenging. I applied for 12 law schools and got denied from every single one (Even with a solid LSAT score). In my frustration, I started writing. I created an inspirational blog that I used to process my feelings while interjecting the word of God. I was on a journey of spiritual growth and my joy for writing increased. Eventually I started looking for publications or blogs to contribute to and luckily I found an incredible home at Hope for Women Magazine. I started as a blogger and rose through the ranks before ultimately becoming the Fashion and Beauty Director of the publication. During that time, I was accepted to a law school in Los Angeles and decided it was time to relocate to LA to pursue my fashion and legal career. It has been the best decision of my life.
What made you realize that you wanted to be a fashion editor?
After arriving in LA, I decided that the best way to discover what worked best for me was to become a freelance writer. I figured that if I wanted to grow and build a name for myself, I would have to expand my portfolio. So I started networking and building relationships with various media outlets. To date, I’ve contributed content to over 14 publications. I attended the hottest industry events; fashion shows and VIP launch parties. I fell deeply in love with my career and discovered my passion for the fashion industry. I later started working with The Los Angeles Post and eventually was given an opportunity to start my own fashion column, entitled “The Dia Diaries”. My title as a fashion editor comes with a wealth of responsibility but it is a role that I believe God orchestrated and led me to. If I was accepted to a law school in Florida, I believe my life would’ve been drastically different. I have no doubt that my steps were ordered, and I obediently followed.
The fashion industry is very cut throat. How do you continue to progress within the industry?
Extremely cut throat, but it’s the price of passage. I’ve always had a mentality that “What God has for me, is for me” so the truth is…I’ve progressed by providing opportunity to others. It was important to me to hire interns for my column. I wanted to provide other young people an opportunity to experience the industry from an inside perspective. So each semester, I take on a new group, allow them to attend fashion shows and exclusive events on my behalf. In turn, they have the time of their lives and they provide outstanding coverage that the column also benefits from. Last year, The Dia Diaries was introduced aboard because I hired interns from other countries to represent my brand. I was invited to attend events in Paris, Rome and Milan that I allowed my interns to attend in my place. The expansion to an international market proved to be successful. We built a relationship with Vogue Italia and attended the Vogue Fashion Experience in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
If you don’t mind, please share a time where you had to use mental toughness to overcome a situation.
Outside of my often-consuming fashion career, I was juggling law school, in a long distance relationship, struggling to build my consulting business and unexpectedly diagnosed with uterine fibroids. I battled with feelings of depression; I questioned my work daily and everything in my life. I was extremely overwhelmed. The benefit of my career at the time was that I worked from home. It’s funny how something that initially felt like a luxury, can eventually fell like confinement. I was home 6 days a week and only left for church on Sundays. I felt out of control, I had no motivation to create or progress. I fell into the trap of seeing other fashion editors doing so well on social media and started to measure my success to their highlight reel. At that point, the only thing I had was my faith. I would lay in the dark, with hot tears streaming down my face…staring at my vision board. I convinced myself that God would honor everything on that board. I prayed and got the courage to fight against my feelings of inadequacy. Weeks later, everything turned around. Blessings overtook me and new chapters commenced.
How has choosing to be mentally tough effected your life?
I became the woman I always wanted to be. I never took “no” for an answer and I chased the vision, despite the pain along the path.
Please finish the sentence:
Mental toughness is pushing past obstacles and fighting for the life you deserve.
I choose to be mentally tough because I always want to evolve and walk in purpose.
What is the hardiest part about being mentally tough?
People assume that because you’ve overcome so much that when another obstacle arises that you’re “ok”. I had to explain along the way that my frustration is warranted and that I’m allowed to have a moment to process difficulty, whether it’s shouting a few profanities or crying…I’m human.
What is the first step to becoming mentally tough?
Boldly choosing faith over fear.
What advice do you have for those that are struggling with mental toughness?
Don’t allow it to consume you. Keep a journal, release your thoughts and prepare a plan. Whenever I write something down, consider it done. Most importantly…pray.
Thank you Chandia for being open and honest!!! Please check out her articles on the Los Angeles Post and follow her on Instagram @itsgood2bdia
Mental Toughness is a process that starts the moment we decide to move forward in life.
Each life experience can strengthen or weaken our mental toughness. It is up to us to decide how strong we can become. When we choose to be mentally tough, we choose to build, we decide to overcome and we live to grow!
(Cover photo is the day Chandia and I met 🙂
I hope this post inspires you to be the best you can be!
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I hope that sharing my experiences and sharing your experiences that we both grow to reach our full potential!