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How To Monetize Your Food Obsession

Career

According to Bon Appetit, tastemakers hold power in the form of social media accounts. You no longer have to be a well-established food critic to be treated like one; all you need is a camera of some sort and a social media following. Different tastemakers have different policies, as the realm of social media tastemakers is still very new.


Some people take advantage of this, while others don’t. Be the one who takes advantage, but don’t overdo it. In fact, a higher following doesn’t necessarily grant you better treatment or even access to the goods. Restaurant PR firms have become weary of the arrogant self-proclaimed Insta-famous divas, and they will opt for those with a more modest following (between 10k and 40k).

Code #1 in The Career Code, entitled Find Something You Love to Do, and Then Figure Out a Way to Get Paid for It” is arguably one of the more disputable codes in the book. What if what you love to do is illegal? What if it’s self-destructive? What if the amount you get paid for it isn’t enough? Hillary Kerr, herself, added a caveat to this code. She loves food, and her friends urge her to turn her love into something she could monetize – because she easily could – but she won’t. “I love food, but I don’t ever want to look at it from a work perspective.”

However, for those of you who who wouldn’t mind turning your lifestyle into a steady cash flow, keep reading. You, too, can join the ranks of New Fork City and The Infatuation. The best part is that people (like your mom) can no longer tell you to stop thinking about food because thinking about food all the time is your job now.

Your objective is to become a tastemaker or what 2016 refers to as an “influencer.” Put simply, “a tastemaker is anyone who can influence the way you eat.” According to David Sax, the tastemakersaved the deli.

The best part is that people can no longer tell you to stop thinking about food because thinking about food all the time is your job now.

That being said, the ones who act like divas do it because they know they can get away with it. Not only can tastemakers – particularly those on Instagram – save a business, but they can also help a business flourish. And restaurants know this – going so far as to hire architecture firms to design their spaces to achieve peak “Instagrammability.” Even I have an entire board on Pinterest filled with pictures of menu items from restaurants I want to try in New York City. All of them are pictures I pulled from tastemakers on Instagram. I had no intention of ever going to Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer or Emmy Squared until I saw pictures of the food on Instagram. That’s no coincidence.

But why stop at restaurants? “Each of these Instagrammers has amassed a group of loyal followers, often parlaying that success into cookbooks, TV shows and brand partnerships.” One ‘grammer turned her “Instagram pics into an e-commerce business that prints the photos onto phone cases, tote bags and stationary.”

You need to take an epic photograph. Go beyond epic, for good measure. You need to geotag. You need to hashtag. You need to tag(your sponsors).

Most importantly, do not to lose your footing as a tastemaker. You must be on top of the food trends. According to David Sax, “the most successful food trends reflect what’s going on in society at a given time.” If you see that juicing is in again, strike a sponsorship deal with Organic Avenue (before they die again). If there’s yet another national tragedy, make yourself available to the well-known comfort food brands and restaurants before anyone else does. Pay attention, and stay with the times.

Right now, it’s a culture, but it won’t be long before it’s a full-fledged industry. Strike while the iron is hot. Then, when it cools down, monetize another obsession.

6min read
Health

What Sexual Abuse Survivors Want You to Know

In 2016, I finally found my voice. I always thought I had one, especially as a business owner and mother of two vocal toddlers, but I had been wrong.


For more than 30 years, I had been struggling with the fear of being my true self and speaking my truth. Then the repressed memories of my childhood sexual abuse unraveled before me while raising my 3-year-old daughter, and my life has not been the same since.

Believe it or not, I am happy about that.

The journey for a survivor like me to feel even slightly comfortable sharing these words, without fear of being shamed or looked down upon, is a long and often lonely one. For all of the people out there in the shadows who are survivors of childhood sexual abuse, I dedicate this to you. You might never come out to talk about it and that's okay, but I am going to do so here and I hope that in doing so, I will open people's eyes to the long-term effects of abuse. As a survivor who is now fully conscious of her abuse, I suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, quite frankly, it may never go away.

It took me some time to accept that and I refuse to let it stop me from thriving in life; therefore, I strive to manage it (as do many others with PTSD) through various strategies I've learned and continue to learn through personal and group therapy. Over the years, various things have triggered my repressed memories and emotions of my abuse--from going to birthday parties and attending preschool tours to the Kavanaugh hearing and most recently, the"Leaving Neverland" documentary (I did not watch the latter, but read commentary about it).

These triggers often cause panic attacks. I was angry when I read Barbara Streisand's comments about the men who accused Michael Jackson of sexually abusing them, as detailed in the documentary. She was quoted as saying, "They both married and they both have children, so it didn't kill them." She later apologized for her comments. I was frustrated when one of the senators questioning Dr. Christine Blasey Ford (during the Kavanaugh hearing) responded snidely that Dr. Ford was still able to get her Ph.D. after her alleged assault--as if to imply she must be lying because she gained success in life.We survivors are screaming to the world, "You just don't get it!" So let me explain: It takes a great amount of resilience and fortitude to walk out into society every day knowing that at any moment an image, a sound, a color, a smell, or a child crying could ignite fear in us that brings us back to that moment of abuse, causing a chemical reaction that results in a panic attack.

So yes, despite enduring and repressing those awful moments in my early life during which I didn't understand what was happening to me or why, decades later I did get married; I did become a parent; I did start a business that I continue to run today; and I am still learning to navigate this "new normal." These milestones do not erase the trauma that I experienced. Society needs to open their eyes and realize that any triumph after something as ghastly as childhood abuse should be celebrated, not looked upon as evidence that perhaps the trauma "never happened" or "wasn't that bad. "When a survivor is speaking out about what happened to them, they are asking the world to join them on their journey to heal. We need love, we need to feel safe and we need society to learn the signs of abuse and how to prevent it so that we can protect the 1 out of 10 children who are being abused by the age of 18. When I state this statistic at events or in large groups, I often have at least one person come up to me after and confide that they too are a survivor and have kept it a secret. My vehicle for speaking out was through the novella The Survivors Club, which is the inspiration behind a TV pilot that my co-creator and I are pitching as a supernatural, mind-bending TV series. Acknowledging my abuse has empowered me to speak up on behalf of innocent children who do not have a voice and the adult survivors who are silent.

Remembering has helped me further understand my young adult challenges,past risky relationships, anger issues, buried fears, and my anxieties. I am determined to thrive and not hide behind these negative things as they have molded me into the strong person I am today.Here is my advice to those who wonder how to best support survivors of sexual abuse:Ask how we need support: Many survivors have a tough exterior, which means the people around them assume they never need help--we tend to be the caregivers for our friends and families. Learning to be vulnerable was new for me, so I realized I needed a check-off list of what loved ones should ask me afterI had a panic attack.

The list had questions like: "Do you need a hug," "How are you feeling," "Do you need time alone."Be patient with our PTSD". Family and close ones tend to ask when will the PTSD go away. It isn't a cold or a disease that requires a finite amount of drugs or treatment. There's no pill to make it miraculously disappear, but therapy helps manage it and some therapies have been known to help it go away. Mental Health America has a wealth of information on PTSD that can help you and survivors understand it better. Have compassion: When I was with friends at a preschool tour to learn more about its summer camp, I almost fainted because I couldn't stop worrying about my kids being around new teenagers and staff that might watch them go the bathroom or put on their bathing suit. After the tour, my friends said,"Nubia, you don't have to put your kids in this camp. They will be happy doing other things this summer."

In that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have friends who understood what I was going through and supported me. They showed me love and compassion, which made me feel safe and not judged.