#005: Twice Social Founder & CEO – Emily Sandberg Gold

Wednesday April 14, 2021

Your personal brand means everything in digital marketing, especially on social media. But, do you know who your audience is? From her years as a top fashion model, Emily Sandberg Gold knows that building a personal brand takes understanding first yourself, then your audience. Emily combines this balance with the need to listen before speaking, an attribute that has led her to success in both her modeling career and as the founder of her digital marketing agency, Twice Social. Emily attributes success to her never-ending drive and her ability to form meaningful relationships.

She joins Fran Racioppi on the podcast to share her whole journey – from the glitz of the runway to the shadows of depression and anxiety – and how she took what she learned from modeling and entrepreneurship to help others build their brands and leverage social media to achieve growth.

Listen to the podcast here:

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About Emily Sandberg Gold

TJP 5 Emily Sandberg | Personal Brand

Emily Sandberg Gold is the founder and CEO of Twice Social, an innovative social and brand marketing agency based in Nashville, Los Angeles, and New York. Born in Rochester, Minnesota, she first made headlines as a top fashion model, serving as the international face of Clinique, Donna Karan, Versace, Fendi, and The Gap.

Her success in building her personal brand through social marketing inspired Twice Social, which provides strategic marketing services to top clients in fashion, skincare, health care, entertainment, nonprofit, and online learning.

I have never been on the cover of a magazine but Emily Sandberg Gold grace the world’s magazines and runways first as a top fashion model and now as a Founder and CEO of a digital marketing agency. Emily joined me on the show to explain her theory that the best leaders must learn to show up prepared, then shut up, listen and do what’s asked of you. Emily spoke about the importance of defining your audience, developing meaningful connections and producing clear content in social media campaigns. She also shared her battles with anxiety and depression and how making her bed every morning sets the tone for a productive day.

Emily Sandberg Gold is the Founder and CEO of the digital marketing agency Twice Social. As an international fashion model, Emily was the face of Versace, Fendi, Clinique, Donna Karan, and the Gap. She was featured on the cover of five Vogue magazines. Her success in building a personal brand through social marketing inspired her to provide strategic marketing services to companies, senior executives, industry stars and up-and-coming talent. Emily is a proud mother, wife and a former mind who is well-versed in face paint.

Emily, thanks for joining the show.

Fran, I am beyond happy to be here. Thank you for having me.

I have to tell you the story about how we met. I haven’t told you this yet so it’s going to be new. We were introduced in 2020. I needed to build my personal brand. I received this info that says, “Put me in contact with you.” We then had a set phone call. I took this phone call with you on a construction site when I was helping my mother do some work for her construction company. I was out there in the pouring rain literally standing under a one-foot eave talking to you because I thought I would be on the phone for about five minutes and the person on the other end was going to try to sell me some stuff. I was going to get off quickly and say, “Thanks for your time but I’m not interested.”

I did not research before we’ve got on the phone. I didn’t look you up. I didn’t do anything. I start getting off and see what happens. An hour into this conversation, I realized that I had told you my entire life story. Somehow you still talk to me even after hearing that but I gave you everything and you just got it. I couldn’t believe it. The whole time, my mom’s yelling at me. She’s like, “We’ve got to go.” I was like, “I can’t go. I’m still on the phone. You have to wait.” She’s sitting there in the car.

You didn’t judge me. You didn’t tell me what I should have done. You just listened. You found an opportunity and you talked about the future. You said, “Call me in a month. Let’s see what happens.” I called you in a month and we talked for another hour. After that conversation, “Call me in another month,” and I called you in another month. We have spoken every month in 2020 and we have had these amazing conversations but I did not look you up until the third time we’ve got the phone.

I said, “I should probably look her up because I don’t know who I’m talking to.” I then said, “I have been talking to this legend, pontificating all my problems, telling her all these things that are wrong in my life, giving her all my dreams about what I want to do.” At no point did I know who I was actually talking to. I have been probably making an idiot of myself but yet, you listened. Every month you called me and we have built this great relationship so I’m honored to sit here with you. Truly, a modern-day Jedburgh.

Same here. I was excited when it’s a mutual friend that we have, a publicist, that turned me on to you. When I did my research because that’s what I do and how I operate, and I saw parts of your history, I completely related. It is not easy doing what it is that you have done and it is not easy to navigate those waters. It is not easy to make sense of relationships and who’s on your side and who’s not on your side. When the people that you thought were on your side go in another direction, then double down and do harm, it happened to me, that sends most people down a spiral of questioning, “Did I mess up? Did I insult this person? Did I have any control over the circumstance to get a better outcome than what it was that I was thinking that we were mutually working towards here?” I have learned that from those experiences that the people and the circumstances that can harm or do damage psychologically are exactly where I have found that I need to double down and investigate. Doing that has brought me to the next stage of what it is that I’m meant to be doing with my life.

It has been a big part of me in building a relationship with you. Let’s talk about how you’ve got here. You are eighteen and you go to New York City. You knew one person at one agency. You had a vision or maybe you didn’t. What I have to know is how does a small-town girl from Rochester, Minnesota, fly to New York City and become a fashion model?

I will give you a brief version of the story. Essentially, I had done a couple of years of college while I was in high school. I had that under my belt for fun and for free. I planned to take a year off, go to Minneapolis, and get used to the city and the University of Minnesota. I had a place to stay there. I had my uncle and his partner, who were downtown and had access to everything. I was going. That was the plan. What happened was my brother got a postcard in the mail from John Casablancas, “Sign-up for this modeling course.” We all looked at it and we are like, “This is dumb. Who’s going to pay money for a modeling course?”

There was an audition process. My mother and my grandmother said, “You might want to consider auditioning for this.” I have never been one to turn down a challenge. Why not? It’s an afternoon so I went and I auditioned. Of course, I’ve got accepted into the school as long as I had the money to pay to go there. I said, “In exchange for this money, it will give me access to an agent who can give me access to a better paying job, hopefully. During this year, my plan is I will be able to save up, at least enough for one year of college,” then I can figure out the next step from there.

That November, a friend of ours had a daughter living in New York at the time. She was a ballet dancer. She came home and she had lost her roommate. I purchased a one-way ticket and a month’s rent and took off for New York. Three days later, I found out. I saw the opportunity and I jumped on it. I moved to New York. I called my agents in Minneapolis and said, “I’m in New York. I applied at Bebe’s,” which was a clothing store at the time. “Who should I go talk to? Where should I go to make money now?”

They had one contact at Next Model Management. I went there, met with them and they flipped out. The previous summer, my mother had also taken me to the Mall of America, which is in Minneapolis, for a contest, which is essentially a scouting operation. It’s one of the ways that agents find talent. I was 1 of the top 10 contenders. My youngest baby sister at the time was answering the phone and she probably would have been four at the time. She kept answering the phone and saying, “She doesn’t live here anymore,” and hanging up. They thought I was dead to them.

I showed up at the agency and there are a lot of, “What are you doing here? We can’t believe it. You have to come upstairs.” My pictures were on the wall and they were like, “We have been trying to track you down.” It was a surreal experience. I still didn’t trust the modeling world and I didn’t trust competitions of that sort. I certainly didn’t trust having to invest money into what I viewed as an unsustainable career.

Anyway, they wanted to represent me. I asked for a list of all the other agents in the city and they gladly handed that over. When I walked out the door, they said, “Please come back in two hours.” I did and they took me out for lunch. They had a contract. I took it over the weekend and went ahead, signed and started my career. It took off from there. It was fast. I didn’t have a vision for where it was that I was going and where I wanted to be. I did not know anything about the modeling industry, which is interesting because a lot of competitions are set up to scout new faces.

At the time, I was told that they probably go through about 10,000 girls a year or a season scouring all over the world. They typically sign about 10 to 50 girls a year. It is a large pool of applicants that come in the door. For me, I didn’t have a vision and I didn’t know what I was doing. I hit the ground running and learned as much as I could, as quickly as I could and did everything they told me to do. I was exhausted but I did it.

I want to ask you about that lack of trust that you brought up. You have admittedly said that you had no idea about the protocol. You entered with a chip on your shoulder. You used the term ballsy. You had this ballsy attitude when you went in but that gained support. I have had a couple of conversations in prior episodes of the show with Peter Cancro from Jersey Mike’s and Jerry Remy from the Boston Red Sox. They had similar experiences early in their career who were about the same age where the naivety that they had in their industry, whether it was baseball or buying your own business at seventeen years old, and then growing it into a $2 billion company. That gave them confidence and gained their support because there was no fear in their eyes. What was it about that attitude that you walked in that people looked at and said, “I’m going to support Emily and I’m going to invest in Emily,” in this industry?

Not knowing what to expect or who to trust and going with the flow doesn’t that push you into your street sense? Here’s what gave me a leg up. I didn’t know and because I hadn’t been “groomed” from the age of thirteen to become a model working at that level so I did not know that you had to wear heels. I didn’t know that a certain size in Minnesota does not translate to a simple size in New York. I didn’t know how to dress and how to do my hair. I walked around in Adidas track pants and a North Face jacket like what you would wear in Minnesota. Doc Martens and I would take my hat off. That was my hair. They chopped it off and dyed it red so it was all over the place.

Seeing someone who hasn’t done the trips to Japan or spent three years in Paris or Italy, building their book and learning how to do this, I don’t know. I have never asked their opinion. I know Steven Meisel called my agents immediately after I left and said, “This is a breath of fresh air. Can you please send her to the tanning salon and shoot her back my way?” As if that was going to help anything. When I’ve got back to him, I had to ask him, “What’s with the request to go to a tanning salon? I’m not going to be tan after one session and I’m certainly not going to be tan after ten. Why is everybody sitting in this dark room wearing sunglasses and drawing Xs over the photos?”

I had no idea that I was speaking to one of the top model makers in the industry. He created Cindy Crawford and there’s a whole list. That attitude and not knowing is what made people want to step in and help. Right before you trip and fall, there’s someone that says, “Watch out for that.” There are a lot of that happening. “Emily, Dolce Gabbana wants you to shoot their perfume campaign. You need to be comfortable with a little bit of nudity.” “I don’t want to do it.” “This is a quick education on Dolce Gabbana.” It’s the same thing when I turned on Louis Vuitton. “Emily, this is what Louis Vuitton is. This is what it does. This is how it can build your career.” There were a lot of people jumping in for their own reasons as well because the more successful I became, they benefited as well. Also, “We need to save this girl from herself. Let’s be honest.”

You become an instant star. Within six months, you are on the cover of Italian Vogue. Within the first year, you are the face of Fendi and Donna Karan. You are on the international runways. Later on, you become the face of Versace and Clinique. Elite performance is about precision execution. When I think about a fashion model on the runway or in a photo shoot, I think about the intense pressure of that moment. There are a lot of preparation that goes in there but when you are sitting at the point of execution, it’s all on you. I think about pitchers in baseball who have to perform at that moment. In sports, they called it the zone. What’s the zone for a fashion model?

It happens during the process of hair, makeup and wardrobe. I was not briefed on most of the shoots that I showed up for. During that process, I could see the vision that everybody had that we were putting together. In fashion, it’s not well planned out like a movie set or other industries. A lot of the time, it is, “Show up and here we go.” A lot of getting in the zone happens during that process of the brushes on your face. You get familiar with the different massages, how you look up when they put on the mascara and the conversations that you do and don’t have.

When the time comes to do the clothing, that is a model’s worst nightmare. It’s a shared experience of, “Will these clothes fit now?” Taking the focus off of the clothing, fitting or not fitting, and placing the focus on the stylist who has an experience was incredibly helpful. It allowed me to have a moment to be silent, keep my opinions to myself, listen, see what other people were doing and notice how the lighting was getting set up. Notice if they were doing backdrops or what was the set dressing. By the time the stylists had found what’s going to fit, what looks right and what matches the hair and makeup. In the meantime, they have spoken with a photographer and we’ve gotten his vision, and then it’s go-time. The second you step on that set, everything else falls away. All of the fears and insecurity fall away. The focus for me got placed solely on the photographer.

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With fame often comes ego. Elite performance requires people to keep that ego in check. Sometimes they fail and sometimes they get it right. You see the whole spectrum of it and a lot of times in people’s careers, you have both where they’ve got it right for a long time, and then when it gets to them, there are these elements of failure. That requires a tremendous amount of humility to stay grounded when it’s easy to get caught in the moment.

If I think about how I would interpret being a fashion model, I would think that there’s an element of it’s on you and it’s all on you to perform. You probably go in and at times, you think, “Everybody is here to see me,” but then there’s also an element of what you are representing. Whether in the actual product and the design that you are presenting, it’s still you presenting that. How do you maintain that ego and that humility when it’s you on that runway and the world is watching what you are doing?

I can’t speak for every model’s experience. When I hear the word ego, my brain immediately jumps to pride. It’s an overabundance of pride that gives you a sense of entitlement and security that may or may not actually exist. In my circumstance, I had the reverse of that. My pride was turned inward. I felt inadequate and I felt as if I didn’t belong. Instead of voicing those concerns because I assumed that I was the only one feeling like that, I didn’t voice those concerns and I kept my mouth shut.

I noticed that as long as I kept my mouth shut, people would project themselves onto me and they would do the talking for me. I didn’t have to sell myself. They sold me to whomever. I didn’t have to say, whether or not I had an opinion on the hair, makeup or Polaroids because we were shooting Polaroids at that time. Eventually, I did develop a voice. The more confident I’ve got, the more experience I had under my belt. To be perfectly honest, there are not a lot of successful models that have huge egos.

That takes an incredible amount of maturity. If you look at the spectrum of ego, at first, you gain confidence. You gain confidence in yourself and confidence in what you are doing, and then you can tip that over and it becomes hubris. Where you can operate in the middle of that spectrum is what brings you success. That’s a great point that you bring about how you have to think about it in terms of, you are there and you have to be focused but if you open your mouth and you start to inject your opinion, it will become detrimental. The value that you bring is a representation of what others want you to do.

Neither end of the spectrum is healthy. Since I have stepped away from the career, it has been a balance of, “How do I find myself right-sized? Where is my right-sized? How can I stay in my lane? What’s my role here? It is not my job to do X, Y and Z so I shall do what it is that I am here to do and do it as best as I can.”

You said that models who make it are some of the smartest women that you know. What do you think are the top characteristics that are required to become a successful model?

The ability to form relationships, the willingness to put in the work and the choice to maintain a sense of humor. There are a lot that’s outside of your control. Allow yourself to have the experience of trusting your inner guidance. A lot of people call it street smarts. The girls who do it best are the ones that rise to the top. There are two that always come to mind. One is Carmen Kass. She’s from Estonia and she ran for the European Parliament. Her father was a chess player and a chess teacher. She was the President of the Estonian Chess Federation for many years.

That’s not something that gets talked a lot about. What gets talked about more with her is that she was the face of Michael Kors for six years and people assume, “It must be nice and life must be easy.” What they don’t see is the running around of 12 to 20 castings a day. I always had agents saying, “Thank you so much for going on these castings. Thank you so much for showing up for this job. Thank you for getting out of bed at 6:00 AM. Thank you for not complaining when the shoot got into 10:00 PM, 11:00 PM, 12:00 AM.”

Those thank you’s were a bit shocking to me because I assumed that everybody was putting in the work. I started asking around. During runway season, that’s when all of us girls connected. I started asking questions like, “Did you guys do this? Did you guys put in the work?” I noticed quickly that the ones that were on the A-list were working hard. Modeling has so much more to do than stand being in front of a camera and being able to create a moment for the photographer and everyone to capture. Most people that have experienced success in their life and most people that are working towards success are quickly finding that the lesson of, “Show up and do the work.” You’ve got to show up.

There are a lot of girls. The ones that were on their A-games, shooting an American Vogue, and getting the six-figure million-dollar contracts were the girls that were in the gym, eating healthy, hiring the trainers and hiring the nutritionist. If they didn’t have the money to do it, they were figuring it out anyways. They were enrolling themselves in Columbia University, one class at a time so that they wouldn’t be in school full-time but they would be able to start working towards a degree.

Sara Ziff is another one. She grew up in Soho in New York and she runs an organization called the Model Alliance. They are an advocacy group for models. Not only does she go out and point the finger and say, “You need to be more inclusive or you need to make that sample size a little bit bigger for the people that are 6’1”.” It’s not natural to fit a size two when you are 6’1”. I’m not but other models were. She takes another step forward and goes in and starts talking to the leaders that can change legislation and start protecting the models. She’s made a lot of progress in that area in terms of protecting models. That didn’t exist when she and I were running around the streets together. That’s a long answer to your question. It’s imperative. Models are some of the smartest people I know and have gone on to achieve many great careers.

There’s a shelf life on this career. One of the things that have always impressed me of you in our conversation is there’s always a sense of realism and how grounded you are. Some of that may come back to the fact that you had to accept early on in your career that this wasn’t going to be forever. This was going to be a time. There’s going to have to be something next and you stayed focused on what those opportunities were. Accepting that it’s over when you are at such an elite level is not easy. You see people who spend much more time in industry than they should except for Tom Brady who is famous. We all have something to learn there. How did you come to the decision? How did you come to internalize that, “This period of my life is over? It’s time to go to that next thing.”

First of all, agents have no issue letting you know that you’ve got a max of three seasons in you. Every season takes about six months. You’ve got 1.5 years, and then they are moving on to the next stage. At that point, every single photographer was like, “Give us the new girl.” Gisele came on the scene, then it was, “Give us all the Brazilians.” After all the Brazilian models went through, it was the Eastern Europeans. “We want only Eastern Europeans.” If you survive those waves of models coming in and going back out, it was clear to see who had the opportunity or the ability to have an extended career and who all of a sudden disappeared off the map.

It’s not that people don’t tell you that it’s going to be a short career. My agents told me that it was going to be about four years if I’m lucky. In my fifth year, I was burnt out for many reasons. I had an okay New York season for the runway. I went to Milan and I had a good season for Milan but it wasn’t people banging down my doors and it wasn’t agents throwing me a list of 40 designers and saying, “Pick twenty that you will walk in their shows.” I knew that that was the downward trajectory. As gracefully as possible, I made a move to get away from modeling as much as I could because I knew that girls get sucked back in. That was another coming on.

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Let’s talk about that because you ran for five years and you talked about being burned out. This trajectory that you were on wasn’t always what I call up into the right slope where every day is better than the next and there’s no downturn. You brought it up and I want to talk about it because you have been open about the battle with depression and anxiety. You had to take time off and step away. Can you share what happened mentally and emotionally? Why do you think that happened? Once you were able to step away, did you reset your mind and your spirit to be able to refocus?

I experienced an incredible amount of isolation. One of the goals for models is to get to a single-model shoot so you are the only girl for a twenty-page story in Italian Vogue or whatever. You want to get away from those group shots as quickly as possible or have strategic alignment. “Emily, you are shooting this with Gisele. We are excited. Let’s do a double girl story.” I’ve got pushed into single girl stories right away, which meant a lot of traveling around the world by myself and meeting new sets of people that did not speak the language that I could barely understand. Going back to my hotel room and not sure what to eat and what not to eat. Where do you find food in Paris? Where do you find food in Spain? I’m figuring this out on my own. I had my agent and I could phone home.

You are young. You are still 19 or 20.

It was isolating. I had a thing where my pride went in reverse and I felt like, “I am doing something wrong.” I assumed that everybody else felt this sense of ease, comfort and security in the world that I was not experiencing. It gave me a lot of anxiety. Although my career was externally focused and it still is, I happen to be an introverted person. It is exhausting to put myself out there day after day for scrutiny and all the rest.

When I left at five years, I jumped into finding solutions to a lot of these problems that I was experiencing. I knew that I needed to take time off. I just hadn’t gotten to space yet where I could take time off. That was my opportunity and I jumped at it. Everybody thought it was insane to do it and I may have been. I walked away from a whole other career. I knew that it was the right time for me to get out and get some help.

What did you do during that time off?

One of the first things I did was I moved to Los Angeles to get away from New York as much as I could. I didn’t want to leave the industry and move back home but I did need to get away from the modeling industry. I moved to LA, got a place there and got an agent. I don’t remember the timeline exactly but I checked myself into a rehab facility because I noticed that there was a drug problem. It wasn’t raging out of control. Most of the people were surprised when I called them up and said, “I’m in rehab.” They were like, “What?” No one knew that there was any problem going on but I knew. I knew my inability to control it and I knew that it was getting worse. I also knew that I was carving out time that I could be alone and check out for days at a time. That was the first step I took, and then immediately I’ve got into therapy. I followed the advice that I’ve got from that therapist as well as from the rehab facility and I started trudging that road.

Having lived in New York and LA, I would imagine that being on the Coast in LA was much better, better weather and easier to disconnect from than the craziness of New York.

I’ve got my first car in LA. One of the things I didn’t realize about moving to LA is that it’s a car city. Your car is your second home.

You can’t go anywhere without a car.

I trek New York uptown, downtown, left and right on foot. When I first started, I didn’t pay for cabs. When I finally could afford it, I took the subway. Los Angeles is completely different. When I moved there, I spent the first 2 or 3 years completely confused. I’m confused about where to go. I would get lost all the time and I’m stuck in traffic. I didn’t realize that if you left at a certain time during the day, then that meant that you would get trapped.

There’s no discussion of distance in LA. It’s all about time because you can go three miles and it can take you five minutes or you can go the same 3 miles at a different time and it can take you two hours.

It’s all about timing, which is frustrating for anyone that holds being on time of value.

That’s why I always rode my motorcycles in LA because you can weave in and out and you get there faster, then time doesn’t matter.

I eventually got a scooter and I would blast Lady Gaga. I wouldn’t weave in between cars when we were at a red light, I would pull up to the front. You know the drill.

In three years of being there, I’ve only got one motorcycle accident so I consider myself lucky because somehow, somebody told me, “I have never verified it but I will make this claim that the longevity is eighteen months.” It takes every person on motorcycles eighteen months, and then they have motorcycle accidents. I made it about 2.5 years before I had mine so I thought of myself as lucky.

My mother drilled it into me, “No motorcycles. I have seen too many people die without wearing a helmet.” This was when helmets first became a thing.

I always wear a helmet. That’s not negotiable. Thank you for sharing that. You find your way back. You go to LA and everything settles back down. You take some time away and as a leader, that’s important. I had a general that I worked for at one point and he used to say that leaders need time to think. I remember the first time he said that. I’m like, “What is this guy talking about? Do leaders need to think now?” No, you keep going and you keep executing, and then eventually it figures it out. As you mature, you realize, “I need to disconnect, stop and think about things.” Stepping away is an opportunity to do that, even if it comes at the cost of possibly some other opportunities. When you come back, now you created a chance for you to have increased opportunities or the right opportunities. You came back and you went into this opportunity with Gap.

That came about after six months of doing internal work. I wrote letters to my supporters, the select few people that had supported me from day one and said, “I would like to come back but not full-time. I just need to step my toes in the water.” They hired me back and I’ve got the Gap campaign. I’ve got a couple of other large jobs. At the same time, I started doing some acting work. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I was not in the right position for myself. I needed to getaway. I realized quickly that acting is similar to modeling in a lot of ways and at the end of the day, there is no sense of control that those industries can provide for making your way up the food chain. I found myself dependent on people who are more successful and more experienced than me to pull me up along with them. While that was great for building a career, it certainly wasn’t great for sustaining a career.

You decided to move away from both. You had the realization that acting wasn’t for you and the modeling had run its course despite an amazing amount of success. You go to Nashville and get a job as a salesperson at Nordstrom but that grind-and-drive attitude is something you took. I want to know the story.

I moved to Nashville and this was my “big opportunity.”

This is a big change. You have gone from the runways of New York, Paris, Milan, and then you are at Nordstrom as a salesperson.

This was an opportunity for me to “have a real job.” Before the rest of all of this, my only job experience was working in a coffee shop for three months and lifeguarding for a couple of years. I showed up for my first day at Barnes & Noble and walked out. I was like, “I can’t do this.” I walked out and regretted doing that. This was my big opportunity to like, “Let’s take it all the way down to basics. This is the thing that people do. This is the job that people have that they are running away from.”

There were a couple of things that I was questioning. One was, “Why do people want to run away from this?” Certainly, the money isn’t the best but what’s bad about it? The other thing that I wanted to do was to reinvent myself without knocking down all of the walls and the identified factors that I had built up to support my new sense of self. All of that needed to be knocked down. I needed to start fresh and I knew that. One of the first challenges I gave myself was that job. I had fun. I killed it. I’m competitive.

As soon as I found out that there was a leaderboard for who had sold the most, you better believe I put my nose down. If they said, “Come out with three boxes of shoes,” I came out with six. The last pair of shoes that I would put on them was the Jimmy Choo or the Manolo Blahnik or the Chanel flat. I was like, “Try everything in the store. If this is your opportunity to invest in a shoe that’s going to last, maybe a Chanel flat that’s going to last you an entire generation is a way to go.” That’s a $750 sale versus a $100 sale or a $50 sale.

I learned quickly how to upsell and how to read people. It’s like, “Not everybody is showing up because they have $750 to spend on a Chanel flat.” I would have to read immediately, “Are they in this department because they want to look? Are they in this department because they want to dream?” I would have to assess out immediately what it is that they wanted and find a way to provide that no matter what.

I knew the importance of networks so on my breaks, I would go to the coffee shop, talk to the people there and find out, “What department are you working in? Do you like it? How’s your clientele?” I needed to know if these people had a clientele or if they were newbies on the floor. I ask those questions and start up a partnership like, “I will bring my clients to you and if you will help me pick out the right Jo Malone fragrance, I will help you sell them a pair of shoes when it comes a time to sell those. I networked the entire store and built those relationships.

Eventually, in Nashville, when I first moved here, they had a Louis Vuitton store. When Nordstrom came, which was a big deal, they had a Chanel and a Gucci store. You would see everybody walking around with the Louis Vuitton bucket bag or their Chanel bag or a Gucci bag. There was this entire other department that had all the cool stuff and they said, “Emily, do you mind going over there and sell in that department?” By talking to a few people, I could see that they were browsing but it was going over their heads on what it was that they were looking at because they had been taught elsewise.

I started educating people on, “This is the person who’s currently designing for Balenciaga. This is the person that’s in charge of the House of Lanvin. These are why it’s important to pay attention to them. This is how the brand has transformed itself over the past 20 to 30 years. Here’s why it’s important to be a part of that trajectory.” I would pull up examples because some people are visual learners. It’s like, “As you can see, people are buying this Balenciaga bag but they are also buying the mini to put inside the maxi.”

They would because they understood that although we were in Nashville, you could look at the celebrities and the people. Models started this trend of, “You buy the big bag. You put the mini bag inside the big bag so that you are not walking around with junk. You can put your heels in there. You can put everything in there.” That trend was around before the celebrities picked up on it but showing them like, “You can put all your stuff in here. When you have to go someplace cute, grab your small bag. Leave all your junk in the car and walk in with your small bag.” That sold a lot of handbags.

It started picking up and eventually, that department was competing with Chanel and Gucci. It raised the region from the bottom of the barrel to now, it was competing in the top three. I felt like, at that point, I had been there for 1.5 years and I felt like I had done my job. I had educated the people that I could, set up the networks, and done what I set out to be my personal goals, which was to be the number one department in the store because that was celebrated at every opening. Before we open, that was called out and celebrated. I wanted to be there. The highest in the region was a bonus.

That’s where I started. “Can I sell? Do I have the experience to sell? Never mind my face.” We know what my face is worth. We know that my face can sell merchandise based on people hiring me back over and over. Can I sell if my face doesn’t have any makeup on it, doesn’t have my hair done, if I’m wearing a normal outfit and nobody knows anything about me? If I’m a normal person, can I do it? I needed to know if I could and what I could learn in that process.

The industry knowledge obviously comes with you.

Isn’t that how we all become successful?

You’ve got to take what you learned.

Not everybody jumps up to the top right away but everybody learns by experience.

In 2015, you started Twice Social, another highly competitive space. You are taking your experience in building your image and the brand that you developed through your days of modeling and all of your fashion experience. You say, “I’m going to build other people’s personal images and personal brands.” What’s the vision behind that?

It started as service work, helping other friends and family build their profiles online. “What am I supposed to do on Facebook? There’s this new thing called Twitter. What is it? What are people doing? How do I use it? How do I manage it?” I lucked out. I went into Twitter and I’ve got the concept of a hashtag. I started searching those hashtags to find the leaders and started talking to the leaders. They taught me so much about what it is that I know about social media now. That’s where I started.

I had a blog and that was mainly doing similar to what I was doing at Nordstrom. “Here is what is going on in the industry. Here is my perspective on that. Take what you will and we will talk to you later.” I wrote a couple of pieces that got some national attention, and then it took off and I was starting to be able to monetize the blog. I was able to take that information and start teaching people how to monetize their presence online.

It grew from there. People started seeking me out. It was mainly industry people. Jennifer Lopez wore the dress when she went with P Diddy. That broke the internet and everybody wanted to see the image so Google Images was born. Everybody and their mother, the fun thing was to go online and google, search Yahoo or Explorer and see what they could find out about people. People started to find me, like DMs, by email, through the blog or my agents and said, “Can I hire her to help me do this?” I was like, “Sure. I’m down. I will give you everything I can give you. I will teach you how to do this. You can pay me to teach you, and then go with God and run with it.” People started doing that. I launched Twice Social in Nashville in 2015 and that has been a slow and steady climb.

Why start your own business? It’s tough in any industry, especially a competitive one like this. You have the experience. You have the contacts. You have all of the backside set up on there. When you are faced with that decision of, “Can I take all these skills and go work for somebody or can I take the skills and work for myself, what was that conversation that you had with yourself where you said, “I’m going to do this?” What are those first steps that you took?

The first step that I took was to take on a role at a marketing agency here in Nashville. I was there for about six months. I looked around and I understood what was happening. I looked at the people working on the projects. I knew what they were charging and I knew what they were paying. I said, “We can do better than this.” I want the control back. I know that there is no control in life. The only thing that we can count on is change. For once in my life, I wanted to be able to utilize all the skills that I had and be in control of them. I get to choose the clients and I get to choose those clients based on the relationships that I have.

I want to work with A-level people. I want to pay people appropriately and I want to charge clients appropriately. I called that Twice Social because I was like, “I will pay these contractors twice as much as anyone else is paying them and I will charge the client half as much. That’s where I can compete. I can compete on a team and I can compete on price.” I have contacts in the fashion and beauty space but now I had an avenue where I could go out because people were interested. Nobody wanted to work for $16 an hour, $24 an hour or $50 an hour so we found a way and a business plan of how to make that work.

One of the first things that were decided was that there would be no physical space. I immediately slashed overhead. If I have been running a business for myself off the internet, making money on the internet, I was like, “I can rent out a room if they need it to be fancy or I can meet a client at a coffee shop and we can have a conversation. I don’t have to impress anybody. The work will speak for itself.” If we are getting results, then there’s nothing to complain about. Most of our clients have stuck with us.

Let me ask about the clients. You are working with fashion brands, models, and high functioning corporate executives but branding requires a deep understanding of the subject. A lot of agencies get this wrong because they don’t invest the time to deeply understand the client that they are working with and truly partnered with. If you don’t adopt that mentality in marketing and you see it more as a service provider, you miss the opportunity. I use the term partnership to discuss that relationship for a specific reason. What do you look for in your clients to figure out if they are a good fit and determine, “This is an organization, a person that we, as Twice Social, can bring value to?”

There are a couple of key questions that I have to ask indirectly and get the answers to before I can take someone on. Are they interested in the number of followers they have or are they interested in the quality of the followers that they have? Would they be excited to show up and speak to a room of 300 people or are they requiring to be the Rolling Stones and rent out a stadium with 50,000 or 30,000 people? First, I have to find out that. I need to know what am I dealing with? Do I need to do education? If I do need to do education, how willing is this person? How interested or how invested are they in the process to build a brand?

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That leads to the second question, “Are you building a personal brand because you have something to say, impart or is there a service that you want to provide? Are you building a personal brand because you think that you deserve to have a Wikipedia page, be on page one of Google, everybody’s mother needs to know your name and be one of the most sought out leaders in the industry?” After I have those two questions answered, when it comes to personal branding, I can filter out who’s serious? Who understands it? Regardless of, whether I understand it or not, it goes back to question number one. “Are you serious? How long are you willing to be invested?”

I want to talk more about this audience piece because that’s a conversation that we have had in the past. You have given me a lot of advice but the one that stands out is that your audience is not everybody and you have to identify who that is, nor should your audience be absolutely everybody. You have said, “If you have a ton of followers and there’s no commitment and meaningful connection, then it’s isn’t an audience.” Defining who that specific group is resonating with them puts you in that room with, whether it’s 10, 100, 10,000, or 100,000 people, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s your audience that is there who you define them and they resonate with you. Can you talk more about what that means? How then do you create genuine and meaningful content that gets you your audience?

It’s a process. You have to find your audience. You can make educated guesses or you can base decisions on best practices and combine them with those educated guesses and hire the best people to produce content for you. It’s then a matter of, “Does it perform? Who is it performing for? Who is it responding to?” You can cast a wide net and narrow it down from there or start with where you know your audience is. If it’s the mindfulness community, we are not going to reach into Christian or other religious belief systems and try to get people to change how they think, feel, conceive and understand mindfulness and what that means.

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In the last few years, the definition of mindfulness has been changing. Before that, you were speaking to a niche audience but that audience has grown. If you were there at the beginning, you probably stood a good chance of growing along with it. Trial and error through the content that you create. One of the things that a lot of people come to us with is, “What content should I be producing?” There’s Bill Wurtz and he has a YouTube channel. He has been producing content of hundreds of songs and weird stuff. It took him six years and now, he has millions of subscribers. He’s still creating the weird content that made people fall in love with him in the first place.

He uploaded videos to YouTube for 3 or 4 years and he had 12 to 20 subscribers but never more than that. It took a while. All of a sudden, it started to take off. People understood the weirdness, the weird comedy. The talent behind this guy not only was filming himself but he was storyboarding it and doing all the music for it. He’s like you, Fran. He does everything. It takes time. That’s the point of it. It takes time to find your audience and then define who that is. Not everybody is going to be excited about you. For me, it was like American Vogue versus Italian Vogue. You can’t explain to people that Italian Vogue is what you want and American Vogue is a step-down. In the United States, it’s the exact opposite. No one has heard of Italian Vogue and everybody wants to be on the cover of American Vogue.

How do you explain that to people? How does that get communicated that you still have value even though you have never been on the cover of American Vogue? It takes a lot of content, talking to people and spending hours talking to your followers. If you have four followers, fantastic. That means you can wake up every morning, log onto Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or wherever it is that you have chosen to hang out and you can say good morning to each of them. There are four of them. It will take you fifteen minutes at most to say hi.

Those four people are going to go out and tell their friends about you, “You’ve got to hear about this guy. He’s so personal. He will talk to you. He knows about this, that, and the other thing. He responds to DMs and he’s creating this great content.” Those people will come in. There’s a well-known meme artist on Instagram who had 300,000 subscribers and came to us a couple of years ago. The same principles applied. He couldn’t go to all 300,000 but his friends could jump in and they knew him well enough to start responding to every single comment. He would spend hours responding to every single comment.

Meanwhile, he was trying to get a comedy act up and running, a comedy career going and he was working a full-time job. He would go home at night and he would produce this content, and then he would interact. His channel has a little under 3 million subscribers. At that point, he was able to go and do what it is that he wanted to do, which was to give someone a moment for humor and a moment in their day where it doesn’t suck.

He was able to open up another channel called Take Good News and which has 3 million subscribers. Now he doesn’t do his day job. He’s no longer having to scrape by on standup routines every here and now, again and once in a while. He’s doing okay and he’s still looking for ways to be of service. That took time to build and it took hours to find his audience. It’s okay if not everybody loves you. They can walk away from you. That’s okay. Let people go.

That’s a hard thing to do, especially if you have the small numbers and you watch it like, “I lost two followers. What did I do wrong?”

“What did I do? Is it me? Is it my hair? Is it my personality? Do they hate my face?” Many things. In Hamilton, one of my favorite songs is when King George enters the stage and he’s almost like the abusive boyfriend that won’t let you go. His song is like, “You will be back. Wait and see. You will remember you belong to me.”

It’s okay to go find the right one and bring them over.

Go through hashtags. See who else your friends are following. Go to your inner circle and invite all of them to like your Facebook page but then go on and look like who they are following and talk to those people. Once you are talking to those people, see who else they are following and talk to those people. Search out and keep a list. Keep an Excel document of the interesting people that you have found that you want to continue a conversation with and refer back to it. Go back to them and check in with them 2, 3, 5 times. Start a relationship. That’s what social media is. It’s relationships.

Each one of the different platforms on social media and we talked a bit about them all, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok all interact with people a little bit in a different way. You have been great about talking about frequency and how you can’t jam things in people’s faces. You have to allow them to come to you. You have to embrace that meaningful relationship. I want to ask you about Clubhouse. Is Clubhouse here to stay or is this a quick fad and Facebook and Twitter are going to replicate it in 72 hours and kick something out that’s going to take it down? At least the idea of what Clubhouse is bringing, is that here to stay?

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Yeah. More will be revealed with Clubhouse with their security issues. There are numerous things that people can point to and say, “You’ve got it wrong.” However, they are still in development. There isn’t a version available for androids yet. It’s still invitation-only, which by the way, people are selling those invites online. I’m like, “I’ve got six of them. I will let it go for a low price. Don’t give me much money.” When you want to gamify it like, “How do I get more?” Similar to TikTok where it was like, “I don’t know if this is going to be a thing. How are people going to make money?” I’m sure you experienced that with the channel, the social platform that you were with before like, “How are we going to make money? How are people going to use this? What features are they going to use? What do they care about?”

We are getting every single client we have set up on Clubhouse. Not 100% based on, “We believe this is going to be the next great thing.” It’s more based on, “There’s another audience and people are talking. It’s fairly well moderated.” In some of the industries with people that we are working on, those spaces haven’t been infiltrated yet. We can set up clubs and rooms. We can set up consistent moderating and invite groups in. It goes back to sometimes they are talking to two people and sometimes they are talking to a room of 100.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. There’s a concoction of people who are in two camps and some are like, “Ah.” There are going to be all sorts of verification issues and you are not going to know. “Is there actually Elon Musk there or not?” They are talking to you, but then there’s the other side and they are like, “If you are not in four rooms a day, you are not relevant in social media.” I’m like, “I’ve got another job and seven other things that I’m trying to do. It’s not like I can pop up on Clubhouse for the next four hours and talk about this as much as I want to.”

I left all my channels in the dust. If you have to be in four rooms a day, that’s a ridiculous rule. People come up with these rules. They are just testing them out to see what works and what doesn’t. In the meantime, Clubhouse is on the other end of the spectrum is trying to figure out what is important and what isn’t important. How do we rank this? I am personally of the belief that everybody should be verified. This is just my opinion but you should know that you are talking to a real person. With Elon Musk, “Is that him?” “Yes, it’s him.” “How do you know?” “We don’t know.”

If you go on Twitter, people don’t want to just spend their time talking to and listening to celebrities, well-known speakers, authors and people that are most likely going to respond. How about talking to the people that we know are people and they are not bots? That’s a huge problem. That’s a larger problem than worrying about, “Can I get a blue checkmark next to my name?” Everybody who signs up for the platform should have a blue checkmark and certain requirements should be made. If those requirements are not met, goodbye blue checkmark. You are no longer verified as a real human being who is doing the things that you say you are doing. That’s it. You are done unless you want to play along.

I’m on Reddit and that’s my jam. I go on Reddit and I can be anonymous. I can say and post whatever I want but it’s infiltrated by bots. How do you know if you are having a conversation with real people or if you are having a conversation with an algorithm? It’s hard. We can set up ads on Facebook that can target you, go directly to your inbox and have a conversation as if you are talking to a real person based on what we have learned about that audience. We might not know that jumping out the gate but if you give us 1 year, 1.5 years or 3 years of advertising, we can have a full-out conversation with someone and they will never know that it was fully pre-programmed.

Do you think that’s a good thing or a bad thing?

It’s awful. We don’t do it. We don’t run them. It’s terrible. Why would you deceive people? It’s shady. It’s a gray area. I would rather err on the side of a white cap than a black cap. Our team doesn’t run those ads.

There are a lot of people on the other end who are trusting and they fall into it. It’s easy to just sit there and look at it and say, “This is obviously a person who I’m talking to here and we are having this conversation.”

It’s the same question you have to find out from people when they come to you with personal branding of, do they want to be famous or do they want to provide a service? Do they have a message? Those are the things that you have to find out. The other thing that you have to find out when weeding through clients that come on board is not just what it is that you are selling but how much of that do you want to sell and who’s going to benefit from that. You can trick a lot of people into making a purchase and clicking that Buy Now button. Social media channels are making it easier and accessible to put an ad in front of you at the right time. When it’s 11:00 PM and you are tired, falling asleep and want some me-time, there’s an ad for Allbirds and you have been reading about them. It has been coming up on your radar. This was a few years ago.

They still do. They shame you. Clubhouse shames me every day. I get these notifications like, “These are the people talking about this topic.” I sit there and I’m like, “I should be on there talking about that topic but I have things I have to do.”

I have a life to live.

Let me ask you about 2020 and talk about COVID because the industry has evolved. One of the statistics that I heard was it’s evolved 3 to 5 years in 2020. I’m going to throw a couple of quotes at you that I pulled out. I don’t know if you get the Morning Brew but they are taking off as a publication. The Morning Brew had four quotes from social media managers and here they are. The first one, “I’m incredibly burned out and exhausted.” The second one, “It’s like 24/7 crisis management.” The third one, “We need an oil change.” The fourth one is, “We are doing our best to keep up.” How is it going? This has become everything in 2020.

Pre-pandemic, we were already marching down the street of, “I am working 24/7 and I am burnt out. It’s getting harder and harder to find my audience without having to place ad dollars behind it.” I’m a part of a few groups that we can be completely transparent with each other. No one is alone. Every single one of those quotes, I was like, “That is exactly what’s happening. That’s exactly what happened.” No longer can you just post, put up a caption, throw down some hashtags, and expect for it to perform. You need to spend 3 to 4 hours a day on one platform just working that system.

People don’t realize that influencers, celebrities and corporations have teams of people that are online all day long and this is what they do. Individual freelance, social media managers, ad managers, graphic designers, web developers, everybody all of a sudden needs a new website. They are burnt. It has jumped ahead. I find that an interesting statement. Now that you say it, I believe it because I and my team have found ourselves re-entering the new process of re-educating our clients. What matters? Why does it matter? How do we achieve the goals that we need to achieve using the tools that we now have and how those tools operate?

How do you stay ahead of the trend? It’s going somewhere but do we know where it’s going?

No one knows where it’s going. It’s a mess. Who knows? Was it a Hail Mary to kick our friends off for good to gain back support of their base? There are a lot of inputs of, “How can you tell? How can you predict the future? If I could predict the future and you could predict the future, we would have so much money now.” I would be figuring out with a financial advisor, not just my family but my friends who have supported me from the beginning, which I probably have 5 to 10 friends that I can go to. How do I keep them all alive and go in now?

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I don’t think you can predict the future but what you can do is observe and listen. Every other day, there’s a new play being taken. There’s a new move that a company has taken. There’s talk of zombie retail stores re-entering the market and pulling up new debt. Brooks Brothers are coming back. JCPenney is making a play. These are brick-and-mortar stores but they are all making a play to come back into the scene. Right before the pandemic, when everybody was losing customers and there were talks of liquidating and bankruptcies, nobody knew the pandemic was going to hit. The pandemic played out well for them because they were able to take a moment, step back, and needing to pause, pontificate and figure out what the next move is.

It forced their hand into the realization that now is the time to go into chapter eleven, restructuring, given the excuse.

The people that I see that are rebounding, it’s hard to say because how can you hold anyone responsible for things outside of their control like their business going down 26% or having to let go of their entire staff? Now, who do they hire back? Do they have to retrain all those people? There are a lot of challenges. I don’t think anyone can predict the future. When it comes to social media, it moves so fast. People are coming down hard on Google and Facebook for running the media and in my opinion, as they should but can you predict what’s going to happen with that? No. You could probably guess that Zuckerberg will go in front of people and he will do his robot thing. They will all question and be confused and try to wrap their head around technology. He will walk out the door and continue down the path of whatever it was that he was doing in the first place that they tried to stop him from doing.

With the unknown is opportunity. I truly believe that and I know you believe that. How do you identify opportunities?

What is the thing that I’m angriest about now? I’m not angry at the people that I normally think I’m angry about. Let’s take that a step back and look at me and say, “What am I angry about?” What I have learned is that a lot of times underneath that is people are afraid and scared and they are masking it with anger. The next step is to go a little deeper and say, “What is it that I’m afraid of?” Take that fear and start the conversation and do the thing we all do, “Have you ever felt this? Have you considered this?” Start feeling that. “Are other people experiencing this?” 9 times out of 10, they probably are and that’s your opportunity to find a solution. I could share some of those opportunities that I have had in terms of the pandemic but I can’t talk about them yet. We have to have a follow-up and we shall discuss.

Tell me a little bit about you as a leader. Specifically, you have built this team around you and you have built a highly successful career before this. Now, you have come on and you have built this team of 3 to 4 people who you rely on to get things done every day. How do you define your leadership style? Why does it work for you? Where does it come from? What does that look like?

This takes us back to the beginning of the episode where you show up, listen and take instruction. For me, being a leader, I have followed the same playbook and it’s probably not going to change. That is to shut up and listen, do what’s in front of you, get that done and educating yourself as much as possible on what it is that you need to learn. The most important thing is to listen and pay attention to like, “What are they complaining about?” That’s a big one. An easy thing to do is to complain.

They are telling you exactly what to do.

Running teams, I can do that in my sleep. I was trained years and years ago of like, “How do you manage an agent, a lawyer, business manager, personal assistant and trainer?” How I manage a team and keep everybody on the same page working towards the same goal is easy. For me, I have always gone about it through consensus. Talking, listening to feedback, internalizing it, going with my gut, and then talking to the next person before I make that decision, all the way down to the assistant because the assistants know everything.

In the madmen days, they were like, “If you want to know what’s going to sell to the customer or what’s going to get this guy to buy your product, you are going to have to listen to the wife.” It’s like, “Who is he talking to, the pillow talks?” I found out that if you listen to the assistant, the assistant will tell you everything, then you can walk in and place yourself in the shoes of the person that you are talking to. Now you know, “I understand that you are having a difficult time with this and I would like to help with that. Here are some things that I have gathered in the past week or so. Here are some thoughts that I have. Here are some actions that we could take to remedy this.”

Sometimes, it comes down to like, “It’s time for you to jump off and do your thing.” You have reached a point where you want to have your own thing. You get it. You don’t want a job anymore. You want to be that person that owns the business. Go and do that. “How can I help support making that transition?” Some through consensus, a lot of empathy, a lot of listening and not a lot of swag. Don’t walk into a room thinking that you know what’s up and try to sell it. You don’t know who these people are. You might think you know who they are but you don’t know what their morning or evening was like.

Mentorship is a big part of how you approach life in general, not just work. You have remained involved in the fashion industry and you are a mentor to a lot of young models who are looking to make it in the international scene. What do you tell the small town Nashville girl who wants to be the next Emily Sandberg Gold?

Number one, it’s possible. Number two, it’s not about becoming a successful model but it’s about building relationships. The first relationship that you build is with yourself. The end game may or may not look like a modeling career. Maybe it’s about falling in love with becoming a stylist and you end up becoming an editor. I always look at Tabitha Simmons. She was an assistant to a well-known stylist, and then she went on to start styling her own stuff. She became an editor at Vogue magazine, then she launched a shoe line.

She started in Japan modeling at the age of 14 or 15, in London, in Europe, and then finally came to the States. She pursued a modeling career and ended up in a similar industry but in a completely different career path from where she started with. That’s important to tell people. Especially when they are young, 16, 17, 18 years old, having dreams of becoming whoever it is that they think they want to become or emulate. Remind them like, “You don’t have to end up there. Where you are right now being the beginning.”

You could go there and stay for two weeks. You could go to New York and stay for two weeks. You could immediately realize it is a concrete city and it is dirty. You want to come back to Nashville, where there’s Percy Warner Park that has 4,000 acres. That’s where you live, hang out and do your thing. You take all of the experience you had working hard in New York to try to make this thing a go and bring it back with you. Now you don’t have to be afraid to walk into a room because, at this point, you have walked into probably 60 to 100 rooms of people that don’t know you that you have placed yourself in front of. You have given them test shoots that maybe a friend of yours did. You are praying to God they see your potential.

Balance is a big part of your life, too. You have two kids and your husband is extremely successful as a music producer. I have always been impressed with how you multitask on our calls. We are having a conversation and there are kids in the background doing homework and demanding ice cream but you still stay focused and you are handling them. You have also said that you are not a stay-at-home mom. What does balance look like for you? 2020 has been extremely difficult. Even though you don’t have that overhead in the office that you talked about, the kids are now home in the office essentially all day. How have you gone about that? How do you prioritize things? How do you get through that?

The kids and the marriage come first and everybody says that. My way of acting on that is to make sure that when I sit down for work that I am prepared, focused and not wasting anybody’s time, you will be amazed how much can get done in a 3 to 10-minute conversation. Business can get handled and people can move on. There is no need to spend 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours in a meeting. Rarely is that necessary. This show is absolutely necessary.

I learned this from my father, who’s a hard worker and has his own law practice. Part of making that priority is like, “If I’m going to do this thing that takes me away from my family, show up prepared and leave the office and walk away. The job will be there for you tomorrow. If you have done your job, you can walk away.” I walk away but I don’t do it perfectly. My goal is 5:30 to 6:00 PM but nowadays, it’s 7:00. I have to come back after dinner and sometimes, I’m working until 11:00 or 11:30. Sometimes, I’m in my bed reading over the things that I need to be prepared to speak on the next day.

It’s bleeding together with a pandemic and the kids being home all the time. Essentially, once I’m off work, the phone goes down. I do dinner and spend an hour hanging out with the kids, and then I spend a solid hour with each one of them, putting them to sleep, which sounds insane. It allows them to develop a relationship and know that they are valued in my life, and then sometimes, I check in with my husband and say, “What’s up?”

Now go back to work.

No. Those are few and far between. A lot of entrepreneurs are trying to impart that hard work means that you have to spend hours and hours doing what it is that you do. I don’t. If you work smart, there are a lot that can be accomplished.

In the Army, they used to say, “Work smarter, not harder.”

We will do a throwback. I’ve got paid a lot of money to do the Banana Republic shoot one time. This was by the time that I had an established career under my belt. I looked at the makeup artist and I saw the set. I heard the music. I knew who was shooting. I knew the photographer. I worked with her many times before and said, “What do you feel about a clean face with just a hint of blush right after you have had an orgasm and a little bit of mascara, and then pull the hair off the face? What do you think about that?” She took it to the photographer and the photographer was like, “Awesome. Let’s do it. Let’s also throw in a lip.” We threw on a lip, did it and shot it. I was in and out of there in 1.5 hours. We were done with the whole shoot. I made so much money in 1.5 hours.

That’s an extremely high ROI.

That was not my experience every single day of my life. In that particular instance, in 1.5 hours, we were able to get it done. In part because based on experience and based on the relationships that had been built, known to walk into a room. At this point, I no longer just kept my mouth shut and observed. I now walked into a room and was able to say, “What do you think about X, Y, and Z?” Get their opinion first. We did it with H&M once. One time, H&M did a campaign of white t-shirts and we were done. They were like, “We want a dewy face and skin and your hair pulled back.” Everybody wanted the hair pulled back. We put on a white T-shirt and we were done in fifteen minutes. They had spent a lot of money because this was all of the top models and the photographer was expensive. It was shot at Milk Studios, which is expensive. The photographer looked at me and said, “We are done. Can we mess around? Can we do an hour or maybe two hours and make sure because the client is here and it’s lunchtime?”

Pretend to be busy.

One of the things that’s difficult is when the client shows up and they see the thing in the process, and then all of a sudden, they want to insert themselves into that process. I’m sure you have experienced this numerous times. It can go well and it can go way off the rails, and then you are hitting the 10:00 PM having to redo an entire 25-page story because the client walked in and said, “Instead of black with white backgrounds, let’s paint everything neon,” which did happen once. We had to repaint everything neon and then redo the whole shoot. They were like, “We liked what you were doing before.”

I was going to ask, did it turn out better or did you have to go do it the original way?

We took it straight to the editor. The editor of the magazine came to the studio, looked at it, and we said, “We need your help.” She looked at it and said, “This is brilliant. Bravo.” They were speaking Italian so I don’t understand exactly what was going on. All I know is that when they walked away, the client was happy. She was happy and the photographer was happy. Everybody was happy. I was exhausted and we called it a day. There are different tricks you can do to get it done.

In World War II, Jedburghs needed to do three things every single day to be successful. They had to be able to shoot, communicate and move. If they could do these three things every single day, whatever challenge came their way, they could find a solution. What are the three things in your life every day to be successful and win you need to do?

Number one is something that I learned many years ago when I was making my way out and trying to rediscover. Wake up in the morning and make your bed because doing that gives you an immediate sense of confidence that you can bring into picking up the telephone and calling three people. Now, pick up the telephone and text three people. You are not only out of bed but you are feeling accomplished and confident. Three people in your life know where you are and what’s going on with you that morning.

The last thing is something that I do. While I’m getting ready or making my coffee, sitting down at my desk for the first time to open emails, I do a brief check-in with myself and I ask, “Do I want to give now or do I want to get? What’s the deal here? Am I looking to be of service or do I need to find a way to get something?” Usually, it’s given. Sometimes, it’s like, “I need to get this contract signed so I can get it off my plate and move on.”

That changes your perspective in how you tend to approach the day.

It focuses my day. I have been working in this office for so long and I’m not working solo anymore. The people in my life know what I’m doing. If I don’t accomplish anything now, this show has given me a sense of accomplishment. The opportunity to talk to you, the conversations we have had in the past, you being open and vulnerable in sharing your story, all of that has given me perspective.

I appreciate you coming on. I’ve got to close because, in Special Operations, we talk all the time about the nine characteristics of success. The nine things that Special Operations Forces use to recruit, assess, select, and develop their talent are drive, resiliency, adaptability, humility, integrity, effective intelligence, team ability, curiosity and emotional strength. I have to sum you up in what I believe your core trait is and its effective intelligence.

You have taken all of these experiences that you have had in the past and you have applied that as knowledge to the situation at hand. You demonstrated that as a model because modeling taught you to act. Modeling and acting taught you how to build a personal image and a personal brand. You took how you built that for yourself and you transitioned that into Twice Social doing that for other people. You are truly an inspiration. I have loved the opportunity to get to know you, talk with you more and tell your story here. I look forward to when we get on again and talk.

Just the two of us. One day, maybe someone else will and listen, too.

I hope so. Thank you.

Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity.

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