Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what inspired your specific career path?
Being a dyslexic, awkward, and shy adolescent inspired me to find other ways to be heard.
Makeup transformed me into someone else. Someone bold, powerful, and brave who could stand up to bullies. Or even better, someone who did not care if she was bullied. My secret superpower was putting on a tiara whenever I could. Since we had uniforms in school, I couldn’t wear one until high school. But in middle school, shoving it in my backpack and wearing it on the bus going home helped me to keep my head held high. (Hot tip, keeping your head held high stops your tiara from slipping).
I started a YouTube channel doing makeup transformations when I was 12. I focused on Disney princesses whom I considered to be very brave considering the many challenges they had to face. In high school, I was a finalist for a Shorty Award for a Cinderella transformation I did. And the following year I won the Shorty audience award for my Wonder Woman (empowering women) makeup transformation. Makeup is my passion. At 17 years old I was obsessed with creating the perfect tiny lip gloss that could be placed in the tiniest evening purse. I created five colors of the most moisturizing and saturated colored lip gloss and started selling the collection online. I was written up in Wharton Business Magazine as a young entrepreneur. The additional publicity found me with thousands of followers and a social media presence both on YouTube and on Instagram. I finally had a voice. My followers and their continued support have saved me during my most challenging times.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career path?
About four years ago, my mom and I were having dinner outdoors in West Hampton. A bunch of young girls started whispering excitedly. I overheard one of them say “Is that Sasha Anne?” Finally, one of them came over to ask me. It was a very exciting moment!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes! I am preparing for my first role in a TV series called Very Frightening Tales. So I’ll be working hard with an acting coach and I’m very excited to finally dive into acting after focusing on my academic degree. I believe that when people read my story and understand who I am and the many challenges I have faced in my 21 years, they will be inspired by how I approach my projects and my positive attitude.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
There are so many people to whom I feel a tremendous amount of gratitude. My extremely supportive parents were always encouraging me to explore the different avenues of creativity that I was interested in such as singing, dancing, makeup artistry, film, and editing. The support they provide continues to give me courage. My middle school drama teacher, Ms. Hooper, believed in me and my ability to belt out “Suddenly Seymour” from Little Shop of Horrors. That was the first time I started believing in myself.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family-related challenges you are facing during this Pandemic?
Being the youngest of seven siblings, I am used to large boisterous family gatherings where no one can get a word in edgewise. My six siblings and their spouses plus my very young nieces and nephews take over our NYC apartment and there are cheerios, slime, trucks, and Legos everywhere. My dad carries our 6 lb dog around so that no one accidentally trips over her in the chaos. I miss all of it. I miss seeing them. I miss the noise. I have not seen any of my siblings for an entire year. None of them live in New York City. Our holidays were so lonely and Zooming with a noisy bunch is frustrating.
Can you share what you did to address those challenges?
We text a lot. We FaceTime. We are planning for a family gathering in April if the more vulnerable of us have the vaccine by then. We keep ourselves busy with work and hobbies. Most importantly, we appreciate family even more.
Can you share your advice about how to best work from home and keep your life balanced?
My best advice is to set your alarm, get up, take a shower, get dressed and make-believe you are going to leave your home. Put on fresh clothing, not something that is lying on the floor from the day before. Set up a place that is a work area. It could be the corner of your bedroom. But know that is the place that you do your work. Schedule a time to do work. A time to eat and some downtime is important as well. Stick to the schedule and you will get a lot accomplished.
Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place for long periods with your family?
It’s important to remember that everyone is much more stressed than usual. Plus, if you’ve moved back home as I did, it’s hard to feel independent when you’re back in your old room. It’s easy to revert to childish habits such as waiting for your mom to make you dinner. (A huge perk by the way!) A strategy that works well for me is doing some fun activities with my parents such as baking cookies or having a movie night. Doing something nice and unexpected for a member of the household, such as buying them a cozy pair of socks as a surprise, puts everyone in a better mood.
Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
My 5 reasons to be hopeful during Corona Crisis:
1) There is a vaccine available. Earlier than expected. If we continue to practice social distancing and wearing our masks, we will overcome.
2) President-Elect Biden gives me hope. From everything I read, I believe he is taking this crisis seriously and together with the federal government and funding will aggressively combat the virus.
3) People are being kinder to each other. There’s a community spirit that is contagious and spreading worldwide. An example of that would be worldwide applauding for healthcare workers. I live in New York City and during the worst months of the pandemic, people clapped and sang from their windows and fire escapes, banged pots, and yodeled every night at 7 pm to acknowledge the dedication of nurses, doctors, and first responders. That gives me hope.
4) Internet and social media give me hope. Being isolated would be even more devastating without social media and the ability to connect with people all over the world. Imagine what it must have been like in the early 1900s when the flu pandemic occurred.
5) Medical knowledge, technology, researchers and their dedication gives me hope. Even now, more and more people are recovering because of new drugs and medical interventions.
From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to your family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?
Exercising is a great way of alleviating stress and overcoming the panicky feeling many of us experience when listening to the news. I do crunches. Or dance. I put on my favorite dance music and make-up moves and have fun with it. Thinking positively instead of dwelling on the negatives is very helpful. Think of how lucky we are to be living during a time where we can connect with others through social media and that there is excellent medical care. If we follow the rules of social distancing and wearing masks and washing our hands, we will be ok. And it will end soon. Embrace what you can do. Find a way to make a difference. Being in control brings a sense of calm to us All.
Can you please give us your favorite ”Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
When I was a little girl, my mom read all the Winnie the Pooh stories to me. One quote that always stood and which is very relevant to me is: “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” That was my mantra and helped me get through many difficult moments. I believe many of us could relate to that quote, especially during these challenging unprecedented times.
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