Interviews

Why Media Maven Bevy Smith Wants Women to Start Loving Ourselves As We Are

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In The Path™, we spotlight different women making a difference in the fashion, beauty, wellness, and medical aesthetics industries. Here, media maven Bevy Smith shares her road to success.

Whether the cameras are on or off, Bevy Smith is consistent in keeping it real. With a résumé that includes roles such as Page Six® TV host and former host of Bravo’s™ Fashion Queens, you might assume the entrepreneur is all about glamour and drama. Yes, she loves fashion and beauty (including Tom Ford® lipstick and Chris Collins® fragrance), but Smith’s true nature is one of authenticity, not the smoke and mirrors of reality television.

The 52-year-old Harlem, New York native is so true to herself that at the age of 38, she left a successful career in magazine advertising. Instead, she chose to follow her calling as a television personality. And due to her significant success when switching gears, she’s also taken on another role: life coach. Smith has made it her personal mission to help others reinvent themselves to find their true purpose.

After years of accommodating requests from social media followers to meet in person and help guide them towards a more fulfilling existence, Smith started a series of seminars called Life With Vision™. During these sessions, she coaches attendees to design their best lives. They receive the support and make the connections they need to meet their life and career goals.

Here, Smith shares a few of the most important lessons she’s learned along the way, including the value of sharing all sides of her on- and off-camera personality, her future life goals, and why aging is not something to fear.

Spotlyte: Tell us a bit about your career history before television.

Bevy Smith: I was an advertising executive for many years. I started out as a media director at an advertising agency and then I became a fashion and beauty advertising director at Vibe™ magazine, and from there I went on to Rolling Stone®, where I was the senior director of fashion advertising.

Spotlyte: You’ve shared a lot of personal insights about reinventing yourself. How do you think you were able to do that successfully?

BS: I was successful at transitioning from working in advertising to being a media personality, because I had become very successful in a field that wasn't expected for a brown girl from Harlem. At the height of the '90s and in the early 2000s, I was in Milan, Paris, London, and New York, front row at all the best fashion shows and a part of that culture. Even before that, I worked on luxury advertising brands like Bill Blass® and Shiseido® Cosmetics, and worked with Vanity Fair®.

I’d done so many things in my career where I would enter rooms and I would be the only [woman of color] — and it wasn't lost on me that I had beat what some would assume were insurmountable odds. Coming from those wins gave me the confidence to reinvent myself at the age of 38.

Spotlyte: You've established yourself as a brand well before personal brand building was a thing. What advice would you give to someone looking to reinvent themselves?

BS: If they look back into their childhoods, most people have a brand. When I was very young, my brand was that I was a really nice, shy girl. When I got into high school, my brand was MC Bev Ski — I was a freestyle rapper in the bathroom. And in my early twenties — it was around the ‘90s, the great golden era of hip hop — I became Big Bev From Uptown. I've always had a brand outside of being a corporate person. There are certain things that we're all known for, even if it's just in our families.

I've always known how I was perceived and how I wanted to be perceived, and that's a big part of it. It's important to make sure that whatever you decide is your brand is authentic to who you are. Otherwise you're going to fall short, because you're not going to remember your talking points. If you actually live your talking points, then you don't have to worry about forgetting them.

Spotlyte: Tell us a little bit more about the Life With Vision seminars that you do and how that came about.

BS: Life With Vision really stems out of my Twitter® account. Back in the early days, when you could actually meet people through Twitter, people would write to me saying, "I would like to meet you for coffee and talk about your ascension, I need advice.” I realized that there was no way I could meet with all these people . . . so I simply created a seminar wrapped around me discussing my journey from an advertising executive to a media personality. I give really tangible, helpful stories that people can connect to.

Spotlyte: How can people join in on one of the workshops?

BS: You apply, and you have to answer three questions before you're allowed to attend: Who are you at your core? How are you perceived? And how would you like to be perceived? A lot of times, I'll send responses back. People assume that I'm looking for the fabulosity of it all. But for me, big, bold mission statements like, "I'm a born leader, people admire me for my fabulous style” are surface-level — we aren’t getting anywhere with that.

I make them dig into the depths of why they're wanting to change their lives, or have a life with vision. Then, I host a luncheon for about 50 to 75 people and everyone is assigned tables based on their interests and those of the people around them, and their goals. This way, you are connecting, talking, and helping to facilitate your dreams, goals, and aspirations.

Spotlyte: Let's talk beauty. What's your anti-aging philosophy?

BS: First of all, as a black woman, I don't fear aging. My mother is 91. She's fabulous and gorgeous. I also don't fear telling people my age. I was just featured in Woman's Day® in a segment about aging and it was like, “Yes, I'm 52.” I don't have an airtight aging philosophy, because I believe getting older is a blessing, and all I want to do is make sure I'm healthy and I'm well put together.

Spotlyte: What's your skincare regimen like?

BS: I definitely wear sunscreen now whereas when I was in my twenties, I did not. [I use] one for my face and one for my body. I'm not playing.

I am really very simple. I like to be super moisturized, and for my skin to be really soft and supple. I found this wonderful cream, Mama Sita's Miracle Buttercream®, and I'm obsessed with it. When I'm on TV and I don't wear hosiery, I like for my legs to glisten. This gives me a glisten — not greasy like a piece of fried chicken, but just a shimmer. I also use Shea Moisture® shea butter. Also, now that I've decided to go fully natural with my hair, I've been using their products and Hair Rules®.

Spotlyte: Did you transition or do a big chop?

BS: I decided to not get a weave anymore, and to wear my natural hair out. I like myself with short hair. I've never had long hair because it never interested me. That's not my idea of what beauty is. If I had to say anything to women about beauty, it’s that we've got to start loving ourselves as we are.

As someone on TV, it's very important for me to show people the way I look without all the TV magic. If you go to my Instagram® feed, you'll see me on vacation or on weekends without the hair weave, makeup, and lashes. That's especially important when you do any kind of business that's based around artificial good looks. You can start to really hate the way you look without that stuff.

Spotlyte: Tell us about your hair routine.

BS: So, my goal is to end up in an oceanfront home. I will only wear two types of attire: Workout clothes, because I'll be phenomenally fit, or I will be nude. Every Sunday, my lover will shampoo my hair and grease my scalp, and then I’ll braid it up into plaits. We’ll cook dinner together on our deck or the kitchen, and then we’ll have sex and go to bed. That's every Sunday.

What I'm currently doing in real life is a lot of that. I don't have a oceanfront home, but I wash my hair every Sunday. I put vitamin E oil in my hair. I braid it up into little braids. I make myself a beautiful healthy meal of branzino with some vegetables, no starch. I maybe have a glass of wine or, more often than not, I have some wonderful seltzer water. I watch my Sunday TV and I go to bed. So, I'm halfway there to my life with vision.

Spotlyte: What's your makeup routine when you're not on television?

BS: I love my skin. I have really good skin. Honestly, if I did not have dark circles, I would never wear makeup. But I have dark circles, so I wear concealer. The concealer that I absolutely love is by MAC® because it's pretty sheer.

I love color on my lips, and I love my lips. I love that Rihanna red by MAC [Riri Woo™, discontinued], and a Tom Ford red. I also like fuchsia, coral, and a great Chanel® orange that I use a lot. I’m obsessed with the COVERGIRL® Queen Collection™. I swear by that, especially when I've left a fancy-schmancy lipstick at home, and don’t want to buy another $45 lipstick.

Spotlyte: Is there anything that you must have in your bag?

BS: I do wear a lot of Dior®. There's something by Dior called Lip Glow. It's sheer and it feels so good on your lips. I love the Chanel Rouge Coco® gloss and have them in various colors.

Spotlyte: What beauty product do you splurge on?

BS: I splurge on my fragrance. Right now, I'm in love with Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat™ Rouge 540 and Tom Ford Black Orchid®. I just met a wonderful young man, Chris Collins, a black perfumer whose products are sold in Bergdorf Goodman®, and he has a Harlem scent that I love. I'm trying to be really cognizant of finding people of color that are doing things in beauty, and wearing [their products], promoting them, talking about them — like Chris, Supa Cent™, Mama Sita's Miracle Creams, Shea Moisture.

This is coming from a girl who worked in luxury all her life: I get that there's something about the way you can feel when you're strutting in with your Dior or your Ford. I'm not saying that you have to let that go. [However], as a people, we have to start supporting each others’ brands so that we can get to that point. So one day, maybe I'll walk into a mall and there is a Supa Cent superstore that looks like Sephora®, or I’ll go into a Chris Collins store and he's got everything from candles to fragrance. We don't get there if we don't support each other.

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