Starting at the age of 25, Tai Beauchamp made history in the fashion industry as the youngest and first African American beauty director for Seventeen Magazine. Beauchamp has then become a spirited media personality, moving seamlessly with the changing landscape. She later went on to be an editor for Oprah Magazine, Good Housekeeping, and Teen Vogue. Whether it is being a style expert, public speaker, entrepreneur, or media persona, Beauchamp is always making a name for herself.
In 2015, Beauchamp launched her own website called The Tai Life, which aims to inspire women to be their full selves while holistically connecting style and empowerment. We talked to the multi-faceted media personality about femaile empowerment, entrepreneurship, and celebrating your inner and outer beauty.
According to Beauchamp, landing the job at Seventeen Magazine happened almost entirely because of her dedication and hard work. “I landed that role because I interned, which is pretty standard and expected for the media industry now,” she says, underscoring the importance of interning when seeking a dream job. As we all know succeeding in the media industry relies on much more than interning experience, and Beauchamp advises it comes in the form of work ethic. “Not only was I working really hard and showing up on time, but I also had this incredible and insatiable desire to learn, which I made known to the people I worked with and my bosses,” she says. As the beauty director, Beauchamp was working 16-hour days and running between two departments. Talk about a busy day!
Because Beauchamp graduated college with such a clear-cut vision for her future, she gives some advice for college students who might need guidance in finding their passion. “I think that interning is very important because it is not solely about discovering exactly what you want to do, but it gives you the opportunity to do process of elimination and find out what you don’t want to do as well,” she says
Courtesy of Essence
Another important aspect of succeeding, whether it is after college or while working, is surrounding yourself with mentors and like-minded peers.
“Building relationships is very pivotal because at the end of the day, those relationships will help guide where you want to be and can help you get there,” says Beauchamp.
To succeed in the media industry, one of the main goals is to connect with your audience. Beauchamp emphasizes this multiple times, because in today’s society, people are constantly relying on media.
“It is all about your ability to authentically connect to the audience,” Beauchamp states, “And as a media person, I recognize the responsibility I have to connect to consumers and audiences.”
While building her company and brand, Beauchamp realized that her goal is to help young women see themselves in the best light possible.
"I gave up trying to be like anyone else a long time ago," says Beauchamp. "I realized not being me was not only too hard but too great a risk and lost to the world. The same goes for you. This isn't vanity, it's truth! You are more than enough."
“My empowerment is rooted in the fact that I went to an all woman’s high school and college, was raised by my mother and grandmother, and through my philanthropic work,” she says.
Beauchamp on YouTube
To wit, Beauchamp’s website celebrates and nurtures all sides of women. Not only does she aim to provide inspiration, but also tools and resources empower women to live their life fully. “The goal of The Tai Life is to become a destination that takes women to another level- in that it meets you where you are, but also inspires you to another level,” Beauchamp says.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.