#SWAAYthenarrative

These Four DJs Are Making Music Their Business

Culture

A DJ’s responsibility is to impart a mood, a sonic embodiment of their surroundings coupled with the vibe of the eclectic attendees. The transitions are premeditated and feel effortless, making you forget the egregious line you just waited in outside. Likely waking up in a haze of second-hand smoke and cheap vodka the next day, you might not remember the way-too-expensive cocktails (as any New Yorker will understand) or the crushed velvet love seats in the lobby you Instagrammed, but a good night of music stays with you long after the party’s over.


Turning away from the musical milieu and confronting the politics of the industry, one cannot help but wonder why the DJ community is still a relatively difficult one for women to break into. Society's outdated perception of gender in the workplace - among many other things - derives from the belief that men are better at pretty much everything than women are. It’s not a secret that women are generally seen as unequal to men, far beyond entertainment sphere. So, the question is, why is it so much harder for female DJs to professionalize their career and break through to music star status? Is their success less meaningful? We’re acutely aware of the facts, yet the percentage of women who actually reach stardom is mediocre at best in comparison to their male counterparts.

Fortunately for our ears (and inner activists), you’re about to meet four women who decided to keep it pushin’ and overcome whatever myriad adversities arose along the way. These women have subsequently gone on to sell out shows and become the entrepreneurial boss babes we all aim to be.

Ashley Haenel/ SHLIZK

Location: New York, New York

Music style: Open Format

Go to song: Firestone by Kygo

Trademark: lightning bolt ⚡️

For SHLIZK, it hasn’t been an easy road to get to where she is today. “Being a female DJ in a field that is pretty much dominated by males has been a pretty interesting experience for me,” said the New York native. “A lot of times, people think that since I am a woman I can’t do the job as well as a man. I always knew that music was my life and when this field emerged as I was coming into young adulthood, I started to encounter different roadblocks that not many other young females may have faced when pursuing their dream. As each show and event passed, my confidence rose. I was good, better than a lot of the guys I was playing a show with. Dealing with others who thought they were better than me was a challenge, showing them up was easy.”

Samantha Duenas/ SOSUPERSAM

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Music style: R&B, Hip Hop, Future Bass

Go-to song: Kelela "Rewind"

Trademark: freckles

Having opened for the likes of Erykah Badu and Little Dragon, SOSUPERSAM is no stranger to success. However, her family wasn’t always on board with her career choice. “At first, my parents did not approve of my DJ career. They didn't see any stability or security, and my mom regularly sent me job listings for about two years straight. After a while she realized I was able to pay my bills with my unconventional job, and she started to be a bit more supportive. I understand, it's sort of a nutty job.” She also notes that, “In 2016, it is still uncommon to see a woman behind turntables commanding a large audience. I feel pretty special to be in this position and definitely encourage more women to give it a shot.”

Nicole Stillings/ DJ Rosé

Location: Manhattan

Music Style: Dance, Disco & Modern Day Hits

Go To’s: All fresh remixes... September, Stayin' Alive, One Dance, I Want You Back, Countdown, Girls Like, Cool Girl..

Trademark: Always in a bright, red lip...usually with a glass of rosé ;)

A regular at NYC hot spots like Lavo and Marquee, DJ Rosé opened up about the stereotypes she faced growing up with braniac parents (literally, her parents are brain doctors). “Many people scoffed at first- commenting on my “$200,000” degree from Emory, etc. Most people (maybe rightfully so for most DJ’s) pointed out that this career change didn’t have the longevity of my old path where I was already a Marketing Director at 23. DJs are perceived as creatures of the night, less professional and intelligent than most (albeit creative). And being female throws a whole new layer of elements into the mix.” She adds that her most daunting challenge has been, “Honestly, patience. Being a good musician takes practice, practice, practice. And I’m an impatient, get-it-done-now kind of bitch. Overnight success doesn’t exist in entertainment but showing up daily with a smile and some feel-good tunes will go a long way.”

Milan Stoute/ Miss Milan

Location: New York City

Music style: Open format (Hip hop, R&B, EDM, House)

Go-to song: Kanye West "Father Stretch My Hands"

Trademark: My trademark is "The Milan Experience"

Unlike many of her musical peers, as an entrepreneur, Miss Milan keeps it simple. “I handle my own brand and business, I created my website (DJMissMilan.com) so people can get to know who I am and also contact me and book me directly. Management will come when it's right, I never want to force something like that, it has to be organic. My main vehicle for growing my supporters is social media, every outlet helps people follow my journey and see what I can do.” In regards to climbing the DJ ladder to success, she asserts, “I've dealt with sexism where guys think that because you're a pretty girl you should get paid less than anyone else or they try to boo you to date you and I'm just here to make my money and have a great time.” That’s definitely a mantra we can get behind.

3 Min Read
Health

7 Must-have Tips to Keep You Healthy and Fit for the Unpredictable COVID Future

With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.

When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.

Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan

Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.

Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.

The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.

Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits

The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.

With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.

Tip 3: Start slow and strong

If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.

Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.

Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize

In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.

When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.

Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness

From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.

Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.

Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.

A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.

Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition

In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.

If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health

While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.

For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.

While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.