Chingona Revolution is hosted by Erika Cruz, a rebel who left a 6-figure tech job to pursue her own unconventional path to success by following her passion that led to her purpose. Every week, Erika will bring out of you that BADASS LATINA through her experiences to overcome self-doubt and family expectations and lead with COURAGE.
Have you ever wanted to be the writer of your own story? Just pick up a pen and create this amazing life for yourself? Media Director and Author Arianna Davis did exactly that by choosing to live a bold life. And now she’s here to teach you how to do the same.
Arianna Davis is the Editorial Director of TODAY Digital. She oversees editorial and strategy for TODAY.com, and is also a frequent guest on the broadcast show, serving as a digital expert sharing the latest stories trending online. She was previously Senior Director of Editorial and Strategy at Oprah Daily and has worked at Refinery29 and US Weekly. Arianna is also the author of What Would Frida Do? A Guide to Living Boldly, inspired by the life of icon Frida Kahlo. Additionally, she has served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Digital & Print Media Master’s program, teaching writing and editing for digital.
In this week’s episode, Arianna shares her experience in the creative field, how living boldly connected her with an amazing network of friends and colleagues, and how she found the confidence to write not one but two books (coming soon!)
How to work with Erika:
Join the waitlist for Courage Driven Latina here.
Arianna Davis is the Editorial Director of TODAY Digital. She oversees editorial and strategy for TODAY.com, and is also a frequent guest on the broadcast show, serving as a digital expert sharing the latest stories trending online. She was previously Senior Director of Editorial and Strategy at Oprah Daily, and has worked at Refinery29 and US Weekly. Arianna is also the author of What Would Frida Do? A Guide to Living Boldly, inspired by the life of icon Frida Kahlo. Additionally, she has served as an adjunct professor at New York University’s Digital & Print Media Master’s program, teaching writing and editing for digital.
A Penn State alum, Arianna has appeared on TV as an entertainment expert everywhere from Access Hollywood to the Tamron Hall show, and her writing has been featured in New York Magazine, Glamour, MarieClaire, and more. She lives in New York City, where she can be found working on her upcoming novel with her dog, Leo.
Erika Cruz: Ariana Davis, welcome to the Ch*ngona Revolution Podcast!
Arianna Davis: Thank you for having me. I’m so excited. Ever since you and I, got to really kiki in Puerto Rico, I’ve been so excited for this.
So, I’m ready.
Erika Cruz: Yes. You know, I think it’s, I was actually reflecting on this yesterday when I was walking my dog because I was thinking about what I wanted this conversation to be. And I was just reflecting on, I really believe that the universe kept trying to bring us together because we were both at We All Grow.
You were doing the book signing. I was speaking for storytellers. And then we both saw each other in New York. For the travel fest, the Latinx travel fest. And we briefly spoke there, but didn’t really connect. And it wasn’t until we were in Puerto Rico at the Armonia Power Conference, when we really, I mean, we really got to know each other, you know, all the chisme from my life.
We had the tea circle when we would share like chisme and different things like that. And then the amazing dinners that we shared. So I really feel like the universe was trying to bring us together many times. And it wasn’t until Puerto Rico that we actually were able to really sync up. And I mean, I’ve been an admire, an admirer for a long time and even.
I was more familiar with your book before I actually had met you in person.
Arianna Davis: I
Erika Cruz: love it. Yeah. So I’m just so excited for this conversation and I really do feel like we were meant to meet. So let’s jump into this. Because I have so many amazing questions for you. And I’m sure that based on our conversation, I’m just going to have additional questions, but can you give us a little bit of background to like, so who was little Ariana, like when you were a child, tell us a little bit about that because we see you as this badass ch*ngona who’s on the Today Show and who was leading a huge team at the Oprah magazine and all of these different, you know, amazing accomplishments.
But tell us a little bit about. Who you were
Arianna Davis: when you were younger. I love this question because when I think about little Ariana, I just get very emo because, you know, little Ariana was definitely, I don’t think she would even be able to believe like the things that I’m doing now because, I grew up really extremely shy.
Like I was like one of those kids that like my parents had to tell me to speak. speak up to adults because I always would get like very shy and, I think a lot of that came from, I grew up in Maryland, I grew up like in the suburbs right outside of Baltimore and my dad is black, he’s African American and my dad, my mom is Puerto Rican.
So I grew up mixed kid in the suburbs of Maryland and I was the middle child so I was just kind of like the shy bookworm who was always like a little bit of the nerd and like the different kid at school. but the one thing. about that and kind of feeling other is that I always was drawn to like just escape in books and I was a huge bookworm or huge reader and that led me to wanting to write.
And so when I was like eight years old, I wrote my first, little chapter book that I wrote for my mom. It was about like a skeleton and a monster who become best friends. But it’s funny because I’m like, I just feel since I, I feel very blessed that since I was literally probably around eight years old, I think I’ve just always known my calling and felt like.
Something within me drew me to like writing and words. And so, yeah, that was me,as like a little girl, just a little bit shy, a little bit nerdy, and someone who was just like, always had her nose in a book.
Erika Cruz: And what kind of books were you drawn to?
Arianna Davis: I think, that’s a good question to me.
At that age, I loved The Babysitter’s Club. That was like my jam. I loved, but and I’ve always really loved fiction. I’ve always just loved stories that like, helped me to escape. But I think that the biggest thing that like also really drew me to wanting to write was that one thing I think I noticed until it wasn’t until I got a little bit older and I started to discover authors like Sandra Cisneros or like Toni Morrison, that I always felt like even with reading something like The Babysitter’s Club as a kid, I would have to rewire my brain to imagine that the characters could look like me because most characters and most authors didn’t look like me.
So I think that was like one of the things that as I got older, I started to feel really passionate about What would it be like if, someone who looked like me could write these books, or if some of the characters in these books, you know, were Black or Latina or you know, mixed like me, so, I’ve always been drawn to fiction and just, this idea of just getting lost in another world, but I think the thing that I’ve really realized as I’ve gotten older is, I would love to experience reading books like that, but, with people who look a little more like me.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, definitely. And this was one of the last questions I had for you. But as you’re talking about fiction, you’re in the middle of writing a novel,
Arianna Davis: right? I am. Yeah, I’ve been working. I’ve been working on a novel pretty much since the pandemic. I would say during the pandemic and not long after the world started to open up again, I got 70% of the way through like my first manuscript and then you know, life happens and I got a new job.
And so, but I’m almost done working on my first drafts and I want to, you know, start shopping it around. So hopefully, like maybe by the end of this year, I’ll, I’ll be able to see what happens next. But, yeah, it’s been really fun. And my first book is nonfiction, what we’re free to do. So it was like a whole different experience than just like writing something completely from my imagination.
But that’s always been my first love is fiction.
Erika Cruz: Okay, great. So the last question I had for you was, you know, you’re working on a novel, how exciting? What is the difference between writing something like a self-help? book, right? Or it’s almost like history self help y. And then a novel. So what is that difference?
So what are you, from the writer’s perspective, do you have to, is your process different? So just shine a little bit of light on
Arianna Davis: that for us. It’s totally different. It’s been really interesting because so Frida, you know, what would Frida do guides living boldly, which is my first book. you know, Frida kind of fell into my lap, the process of that book, you know, happening in my life.
I really feel like it was God because, I had at the time just started my job as the digital director for Oprah magazine. So I was, literally from the ground up launching a website for the magazine. It was a really crazy time in my life. I was working like crazy. And then. I don’t know where I get an email from an agent who reached out and said that she was working with a publisher who was interested in publishing something fresh and new about the life of Frida because there were like so many people, post about her on social media.
Her quotes are everywhere. There’s still murals about her, but people don’t necessarily of this generation totally know the story of what a badass she was. so they were asking around if anyone knew of any writers who might be interested in something like that. an old colleague of mine, what was like, you have to talk to Ariana Davis.
She is like a Frida super fan. so I would say I think it’s just so funny that I had this like reputation on the streets as being like a Frida super fan, but it’s true. so you know an agent reached out and she was like if you have any ideas if you would be interested in writing something about Frida, let’s talk.
So that was how like that whole kind of Frida book came to be. I was like if I’m gonna write something I don’t want to write just another biography because so many have been written about her. There’s a movie starring Salma Hayek about her. So I wanted it to be like part biography but also hopefully something that was a little bit more fresh.
So I literally just shared in addition to a very well-researched, straightforward biography, like the lessons that I’ve learned on how to live a bold life from this amazing badass woman. So for me, that book was like, there was definitely a lot of creativity involved, and I definitely put my own spin on it.
And I went to Mexico City and did some writing and research while I was there, which was like my favorite part of the whole process. but ultimately it was a lot of research and it was a lot of just like reading everything I could get my hands on. Versus fiction. It’s literally just like you’re sitting in front of your laptop and it’s just your brain and it’s whatever you’re coming up with and you know my process it’s like it’s up to me what I want my process to look like versus researching and outlining and like getting all the details and fact-checking myself.
It’s like a completely different world.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, definitely. So, we’re so in alignment right now because my question for you was going to be why did you write What Would Frida Do, but you already
Arianna Davis: answered it. I’m like skipping ahead of all your
Erika Cruz: questions. No, it’s all good. I love it. I love it. So, let me ask this other question.
Who is What Would Frida Do for? Who should pick up this book? And actually, wait, before you answer it. I was out with my friends at brunch. this must have been not even a year ago. It was earlier this year. And… Maybe it was before you and I saw each other in New York, but we ended up, we went to go have brunch and we didn’t have reservations.
So of course we had to wait and there was a bookstore next door and we were like, well, let’s go there. And as we’re walking around, your book is on the counter and my cousin and I are just drawn to it. And my cousin was like, I feel called to buy this book. So she bought the book. And. And then whenever I like walked into her house, I forgot she had bought the book when we were together and I was like, Oh my gosh, I just met her at a conference.
She was like, wait, you were with me when I bought it. I was like, you’re right. So I’m telling you, I feel like your book had been speaking to me even before. So, and then another friend just posted a photo of your book. She had no idea that you and I even knew each other. And she’s this was such a good read.
And I was like, I’m interviewing her on Thursday. So, Yeah, I just want to tell you that you are. I mean, I’m sure you hear this all the time, but like you, you still get to hear it from me. You are such a talented writer. Like it really felt like I was there with you in Mexico City when you were writing this book, when you were at brunch and Frida kept popping up everywhere and you really do have a gift of writing.
And I’m just like very happy that you’re here. your parents were supportive of you following this career and that you’ve ended up in the path that you’ve ended up. So
Arianna Davis: kudos to you. That makes, that gives me like goosebumps, especially because, you know, one of the things that I always acknowledge is that I do think I’m really lucky that I had those parents because there was definitely a time when my parents were like, are you sure you don’t want to be a doctor or a lawyer?
Like writers don’t make money. Journalists don’t make money. and I think that’s true in a lot of you know, Latino and like minority households. Like I think our parents tend to kind of really push us down the path of what’s going to make you money. But I think eventually my parents really just saw like this girl since day one has just loved, you know, this like art of writing and reading and anything with words.
So they were really supportive of me, but you know, it wasn’t always easy because not a lot of people look like us, you know, who are either authors or who are writers or who are journalists. So, you’re so right that it’s a privilege and I’m very blessed that my parents were supportive.
Erika Cruz: And you can’t undeny, you can’t deny the talent you have for it as well.
So kudos to you. And who is this book for? Because I asked the question
Arianna Davis: and then I went on a tangent. So honestly, I think, I definitely think the book is for. It could be for, if you’re a Frida fan and like you love her, I think that you’ll enjoy the book because hopefully you’ll relate to just, you know, the fact that I’m a fan and so I’m sharing a lot of the things that I love about her and some of the lessons I’ve learned and that I think we can all learn from her.
but I also think it’s also for people like if you, there’s so many people who tell me that they had no idea who Frida was or they only knew Oh, she’s that artist with the unibrow or like they kind of maybe remembered seeing the movie, but they didn’t really know who feel like they learned a lot from just getting to know her story So I would say it’s for anyone who’s like in need of a little bit of a dose of inspiration or creativity And or anybody who just loves freedom and loves anything freedom wants just a little bit more
Erika Cruz: Love it.
So you talk about how we can learn confidence through Frida. Can you tell us a little bit more about how Frida and the person she was and her legacy has helped you tap into confidence?
Arianna Davis: Yeah, I mean, I just think that Every time I think about Frida, even still like years removed now from having written this book, I just think about the fact that this was a woman, she was Mexican, she was, she didn’t call herself queer because we didn’t have the same language and labels at that time, but she was, for all intents and purposes, was a queer woman, she was married to an artist who was like world-renowned and she at that time was a nobody, this was way before the feminism movement, way before all these things, but in the 1920s, she’s, you know, out here talking about things like, you know, her political beliefs.
She’s painting about the fact that she experienced a miscarriage and telling her story and her pain. She’s, doing interviews with, one of my favorite Frida stories is she was getting off of a, I think she was getting off of a plane with Diego, her husband, who was like, you know, the famous artist at the time.
He was world-renowned. And so the interviewer was like, what’s it like to be married to Diego? And she was like, yeah, Diego’s fine, but it is I who am the great artist. And whenever I think about that and I think about here was this like 29-year-old, young Mexicana, like in the 19, like 1928, 29, who had the balls to say something like that to a reporter.
I just feel like I, every time I think about her and just how far ahead of her time she was, how bold she was, the fact that she just did not care, didn’t care about what society had to say about her based on Who she was or where she was from and just was her most authentic self. That’s what always really inspires me and just reminds me like, if Frida at that time, given all the obstacles that life had thrown her way, could be that confident and that bold, then what’s stopping any of the
Erika Cruz: rest of us?
Love it. Oh, that’s so, so good. I have such a random question. Do you ever dream with Frida?
Arianna Davis: Oh, yeah. I mean, I used to a lot more, especially when I was writing the book, I think that there was a point where it was just like my whole life was Frida, it got to the point where now it’s gotten to the point where I’ve had to just like gently tell my friends and family, I don’t need anything else, Frida, like I’ve like ever, like I have Frida earrings, Frida, you know, totes and posters.
And I, like literally I have a lot of Frida in my life. but especially when I was working on the book, I, she was like, you know, I would just be dreaming about scenes that I was writing or like things that I had read and like different biographies about her. it’s my whole brain for a while.
There was definitely Frida, even when I was sleeping.
Erika Cruz: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, I bet. I bet. So let’s switch gears a little. we’ll move away from Frida. I’m just. curious now about just the process of writing a book. So I run a program called Courage Driven Latina, where people take action on something that they’ve been wanting to do.
And for a lot of people that’s starting a business, for other people that is dating after a divorce, and for, at this point, about, Five, like a handful of my clients have either already written books or they have a desire to write a book. So with these clients that I have, what advice do you have? So I have two questions under this category.
What advice do you have for somebody who is struggling to finish a book and staying accountable?
Arianna Davis: I definitely think this is important because people talk about writing as this, beautiful act, but at the end of the day, nothing is written if you don’t have yourself on some type of schedule, and so I definitely think, You have to think about how you can stay accountable.
So for me, one of the things I did with this novel, because it is fiction and I wasn’t on a deadline, with Frida, I had a deadline. So I had a book deal, I had a publisher that was like, checking in, and was like, hey, we need this by XYZ date. So like, when you have a deadline, when you have something to keep you accountable, it’s a lot easier to kind of be like, okay, I don’t feel like writing, but I have to, because I have a deadline, or I’m not gonna get my book advance back, or I’m not gonna make the publishing date, or whatever it is.
But if you’re just writing a book, you know, either because it’s fiction or you’re deciding that you want to self-publish something, I think you just have to kind of give yourself your own goals and just figure out little things that are going to Help you stay accountable. So like one thing I did With the novel was that like for the new year?
I was like, okay My new year’s resolution is I’m going to finish this manuscript and I want to you know get this book out this year. that’s my goal. I but for me it was like just like finding the time So I decided to give myself a 30-day writing challenge and I was like for 30 days I have to write at least, for an hour every single day, for 30 days straight.
just gave myself, that deadline. And then, whatever happens after that, it happens after that. But, I will at least know that, for one month straight, I found the time to write every single day. there was another, there was a writing, there’s, a newsletter that’s great called, it’s called 1000 Days of Summer.
Sorry, 1000 words of summer and this newsletter, it was like for two weeks every single day. You have to write a thousand words, even whether it ended up being in your book or not or whatever ended up happening to it. and so I joined that with a friend of mine and we were kind of each other’s accountability partners.
And every single day, like there were days where I was working really late and it would get late and I would just be like, you know what? I think I’m gonna just sit on the couch and watch Vanderpump Rules instead of writing. And then she would text me and be like, Hey girl, I just finished writing. Like, how’s your thousand words coming?
And that’s when I’d be like. She did it. Now I have to, I also so I definitely think having an accountability partner also helps and kind of goes a long way. but even outside of like challenges and accountability partners, I think that Thinking about when you feel like you’re at your best as either a writer or a creator, like you feel like you have your best energy, if that’s in the morning or if that’s at night, like whatever time it is, just trying to find windows of time where you’re, where you can, you know, make yourself just be accountable and say, okay, for one week straight, every morning, I’m going to write.
Like no matter what happens, like I’m going to have this like scheduled time. cause otherwise I think it can be kind of hard to just like.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, you know, if we wait for like creativity to hit or to feel inspired, we will not get things done. So I think there’s, yeah, there’s a difference between allowing, you know, I think that discipline has gotten a really bad rep with this idea of hustle culture, but there’s a difference between hustling and being disciplined.
And what I’ve learned is we tend to have more, if we’re disciplined and structured, we tend to have more ease and freedom in other areas of our life instead of just you know, you know, Sitting on the couch when you’re probably sitting on the couch thinking about those words, right? It’s not even like you’re enjoying your time on the couch.
You’re like, oh man, I still need to write today.
Arianna Davis: Yeah, exactly. No, 100%. And I think that’s I think the romantic idea is that okay, inspiration will strike and then I’ll just be in my computer and all the words will come to me. But life doesn’t happen that way, especially if writing a book or writing is like your side hustle, or it’s something that you want to do in addition to if you’re a mom, or if you have a day job, or you know, all of the many responsibilities that we have.
You know, and also I think another really important thing for me is always, I always either put my phone in another room while I’m writing or I put it on airplane mode or another thing that I, when I was doing my little 30-day challenge that I did for myself, I literally recorded myself while I was like writing and did like a time-lapse.
And because I was like one day I’ll make a tick talk about this or something, which I haven’t done yet, but it was like one day I’ll have all this great footage of the 30 days straight that I spent writing. And then it was because I was recording myself, I literally. Couldn’t touch my phone.
So I think also in the social media era and like the era of being addicted to our phones, I think also unplugging completely while you’re like focusing on writing goes a long way.
Erika Cruz: Are you tired of struggling with procrastination? Do you find yourself putting off the things that you really want to do, only to feel shame and frustration because they’re not done yet? I totally understand because I’ve been there too. And that’s why I want to invite you to my free workshop, From Procrastination to Purpose, Kick Off Your Courage Project in 90 Days.
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Yes, I could agree. I couldn’t agree with that more. I think especially when you are running businesses or a lot of your brand requires social presence, it’s easy to justify Oh, I’m just going to go Respond to a DM, DM or do this, but the moment you’ll, you open your phone, it’s kind of like when you walk into the kitchen and you’re like, what did I come in here for? Phones are so distracting that even if you have an intention for opening your phone, chances are you’re going to go down a rabbit hole.
So it’s best to just keep your hands away. Exactly. Yeah. So the other question I have for you about, I have another client. So one of them is having a hard time with accountability. So thank you. Another question that I have is what advice would you have for somebody? who already has published a book and they’ve self-published and now they’re at the stage where they’re like, what do I do with this?
How do I promote this? How do I tell people?
Arianna Davis: Yeah. So it’s so interesting that, you know, the world of like self-publishing, I would say, I mean, I definitely think that obviously social media is your friend. So as much as you can kind of, I think that. The best, you know, the best like tool that we have, I think when it comes to reading and books is word of mouth.
So I think that the more that you can definitely, I would say, even if it means sending free copies to like people that you know, influencers, getting people to post about it, I think really tapping into social media, you know, look at Colleen Hoover. If you have it, if you’re listening to this and you’re not familiar, Colleen Hoover, she wrote it ends with us, which is you know, best selling novel.
She has I think eight out of the top. 20 New York Times best-selling novels right now, and she started out by self-publishing, and literally, her audience just kind of grew because of, I think, Reddit and, just, kind of, different, fan boards and stuff like that, and then eventually, She just kind of through word of mouth got so many people interested in her books that like a publisher reached out and they offered to like officially publish it and that’s when she finally blew up and, but it’s interesting because she’s really kind of changed the way that people think about book publishing, which is like people used to think, oh, you had to have a book deal.
And that was the only way to go about it. But now I think because of. Instagram and tiktok and just the fact that people care less about Oh, I found this on a bookshelf in a bookstore more about like somebody posted about this on tiktok and they said that they couldn’t put it down and it was amazing and it changed their lives.
I think that, word-of-mouth currency is a lot more valuable now. So I would definitely say that, word of mouth and tapping into social media is a really great place to start.
Erika Cruz: Yes, I can second that because I have a friend who wrote a book, called Why Not Chica? It’s all about manifesting.
And I, when I was consistently posting on TikTok, guilty, I have some posting on TikTok too. Now I’m running a business. It gets busy. But when I was consistently posting on TikTok, I created a video with the, Three books every ch*ngona needs to read. This is before the podcast even existed. Apparently, I’ve been using this word for a long time and the video went pretty viral.
I think it ended up with over 300, 000 views or something like that. And that was one of the books that I recommended. And my friend sent me an email from her publisher that said, Hey, did you do any speaking engagements or TV segments because the sales from your book just spiked up and my friend was like, it was your TikTok video that went viral.
And I was like, Oh my gosh, so crazy how one video can just, you know, change so much. And yeah, I mean, I could also attest to the power of social media because that’s how my business grew as well. That’s where all of my clients have found me. That’s how the podcast has grown. And yeah, it is as much as, to your point where.
we live in this digital era as much as we can be really addicted to our phones. There’s also a lot of positivity that comes from this ability to be connected in a way that in Frida’s time, was not possible, right? Oh
Arianna Davis: yeah. 100%. And one of the interesting things for me was that like, I always dreamed that when my book came out, I was going to be like at Barnes and Noble with this like book launch event, signing books.
And then my book came out during the pandemic. So everything that I did and all my promotion and like launch events and stuff like that were all virtual. but it ended up really being a blessing because I think a obviously like people were at home and I think like reading more and then also like people were actually tuning into Instagram lives and joining like zoom events with authors and like doing, you know, things that they may not have normally otherwise.
And so I think that like now there also is more of a precedent for like people to engage online and on social media and just say you know, oh, because I listened to this podcast or because I like saw this girl on Instagram live, I think that people are also a lot more open to Getting book recommendations or hearing about books or just like cool things to read from social media.
Erika Cruz: definitely. And, you know, as we’re talking about social media, I think there’s also an importance of just overall community and what I was thinking about earlier when you said that a former colleague was the one that connected you to the publisher, like how amazing to have a community that Yeah.
Yeah. And you’ve built this community. You’ve created the people around you, but can you maybe just talk a little bit about the power of networking and connecting with people and putting yourself out there because a lot of times we hear the phrase of it’s not what you know, but who you know. And I think that.
Yeah, it’s what you know, but it really is also who you know, because those are the people that are going to recommend you and open the doors for you. So for maybe people who feel a little introverted or maybe who were like you when you were younger and were more to themselves, like what advice do you have for people to put themselves out there, whether it’s on social media or networking events?
Arianna Davis: me tell you something, like one thing that I think about. Almost all the time. It’s just, I feel like my career, my trajectory would have never happened if it wasn’t for people I met along the way who, who, helped me or helped me get my foot in the door. The number one story that I think of is, so I went to Penn State and I studied journalism there.
And while I was at Penn State, you know, I had decided with the support of my parents that I wanted to be a journalist. And because it was okay, you can’t just be an author full-time. That’s not really a job. So journalism was like the way that I decided to go. And so I studied journalism, but for me, my dream was always to work in magazines.
It was like this glamorous world that I was like, you know, only ever saw on TV. But I was like, I never saw people who look like us working in magazines. So I decided I was going to kind of go the newspaper route. So, I was getting ready to graduate and I had an internship lined up through this, the, through this internship program called at the New York Daily News, the newspaper here in New York.
And, it was my senior year and at that, at a scholarship dinner that I was at, the publisher of Seventeen Magazine was the guest speaker. She was a Penn State alum. And as she was talking, like the whole time I was just super starry-eyed and I was like, Oh my God, how can I be like this woman? Like she’s amazing.
Like she has the dream job, like working for 17. Wow. and so after she got off the stage, something just literally came over me and I literally saw at some point that she went to the bathroom and I followed her into the bathroom and I was just like pretending that I had to wash my hands and I was just happened to be there at the sink and she was there next to me and.
We just started talking and I was like, you know, I’m actually going to be moving to New York after graduation I’m gonna be at the New York Daily News. I would love to let if you would consider having coffee with me some time She gave me her business card fast forward when I moved to New York I followed up we ended up having lunch and she kind of became like a mentor to me and at one point there was an internship opening at Oprah magazine and that it’s owned by the same company as 17 and So I reached out and I was like, Hey, if you, I applied for this, if there’s any way you could put in a good word, I’d really appreciate it.
Which she did. And, you know, I’ll never know for sure, but I’m pretty sure that helped get my resume to the top of the pile. And I ended up getting an internship at Oprah magazine, which. literally kickstarted my whole like media career and just like getting into magazines and the trajectory I was on and it was literally just because I found the like courage even though I was super nervous to go up to this person and stalk her in the bathroom and have to go for her business card but I think that like I have a lot of stories like that I think it’s just like kind of I think sometimes when an opportunity presents itself or a person presents themselves we can be shy or we can feel oh I don’t want to come across as like Icky, or I don’t want to come across as like I’m trying too hard, but it’s also like you never know when that opportunity is going to come again.
You never know if someone like that is going to cross your path. So I definitely think that What’s the worst that can happen? She thinks you’re crazy or she says no or she doesn’t want to give you her card Okay, then like you move on with your life So, I think for me like anytime you feel that like you want to try to connect with someone or there’s someone you admire Like reaching out to them whether it’s on social media or in person or at networking events Just putting yourself out there can really like truly go a long way
Erika Cruz: Definitely.
Yes. Oh, I love that story, following somebody into the restroom.
Arianna Davis: I mean, I don’t recommend, don’t stalk someone in the bathroom all the time. I don’t know if that’s, always the advice, but I think the, moral of the story is that, I think there was something within me that was like, I cannot let this person leave without trying to at least make a connection.
And so I saw my window and
Erika Cruz: I took it. And I’ve done that too. When I worked in tech, I saw somebody who I, and at that time I was in sales and I followed this lady into the bathroom. And when we were washing our hands, I was like, hi. And I just kind of sparked the conversation. Of course, I’m like trembling, which, you know, as I think about your trajectory and I think about the different choices that you’ve made in your life.
I also, I’m not sure if you shared this at the conference or if I heard this elsewhere, but you also interviewed Hillary Clinton, right? For a long time, we’re just behind the scenes and behind the camera. And you’ve, I guess my point is that as I’ve seen your trajectory, you’ve always really led boldly.
And when I think of my trajectory, I’ve always really led with courage, which now I run a program called Courage Driven Latina. So all of this to then ask you, people will look at you as the author of this book and all of your accomplishments and maybe think Oh, being bold is easy Ariana, it’s not a big deal.
So tell us a little bit about that because to step into boldness. It’s not that it’s difficult once it keeps being difficult. So can you shed a little bit of light on that?
Arianna Davis: I think for me, a lot of it was like, I just had to kind of do some mental trickery with myself, which is I think that I think a lot of it was just kind of almost like coaching myself and just realizing like when things When opportunities would put themselves in front of me, or I would find myself in certain situations, I think that one of my favorite lessons that I have learned from Frida that really just, Stuck with me is, you know, on her the last painting that she painted before she died.
She knew she was dying She wrote on this painting Viva La Vida and like she even still she knew she was dying She was like very like on her way out the door was dealing with so much pain. She still was All about like just celebrating life in this one life that we get in this like one opportunity that we have to be here.
Right? So for me, I think I’m always just thinking about yes, I could be shy. Yes, I could turn on the opportunity to interview Hillary Clinton or yes, I could say Oh, I don’t know. I feel very intimidated. I don’t want to write a book or, you know, yes, I could. There’s like a million ways that I could.
Just opt out of things because I feel shy or I get a pit in my stomach or I get butterflies. But I think for me, the driving force has always just kind of been like, you get one life. And I think that, you know, if there’s a dream that’s within you or something that you see for yourself, not giving yourself every single opportunity and chance to go after it while you are here on this planet.
I think that’s the greatest gift that you can give to yourself. So I definitely get nervous. I definitely get shy. I definitely sometimes I’m like, how did I end up here? I get imposter syndrome, all those things. But then I’m like, you know what? I’m here like Hillary Clinton’s in front of me So I’m gonna do the best freaking job that I possibly can even though I’m hella nervous
Erika Cruz: Yeah, yes, and you know, I think sometimes we look at we avoid the nerves and we avoid the scary feeling But a lot of times there’s magic in that too because that means that you care and so if something scares you Let that be kind of that guiding force of oh, I should do this because I’m terrified
Arianna Davis: Yeah, that’s such great advice.
And I think that’s something I’ve always thought of too. even when it comes to like your career and work and like a lot of times people feel very fearful about taking a new opportunity or leaving their job to do something else, or they’re afraid to like, you know, expand their family or whatever it is, but I think that if something is.
scary to you. It’s probably because it’s something that really is exciting to you. And there’s a lot of unknown, but there’s a beauty in that too.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, definitely. Okay. Another question that I actually had at the beginning and I totally skipped over it, but, so are you a journaler? Do you journal or do you do creative writing?
I’m curious if you have any daily writing practices that you do maybe in the morning or in the evenings.
Arianna Davis: I don’t I it’s one of those things that I would love to do but I think because for my day job and also like kind of my side hustle of writing books. I think that like when I do have free time to myself, I end up kind of just not wanting to read and not wanting to journal.
But one thing that I have been trying to get more into is meditation because I do feel like, you know, from, you know, I oversee a website that I’m in news. I’m in media. And so I’m constantly in addition to like my personal life and just liking to be on social media. I also am like always plugged into what’s happening in the world.
So for me, it’s more about just like I’m trying to be better about in the mornings, especially just like taking a moment for like gratitude and to just like completely turn my brain off. Yeah. and I also feel like one of the reasons I love reading so much is that I feel like reading is also kind of like meditative for me because it’s like completely just escaping into another world and just like enjoying that act of reading versus seeing what’s happening in the news, working, scrolling through my phone, like all those things.
So I’m not a journaler. I don’t really have a writing practice other than trying to, I feel like I try to save my creative energy towards like my book that I’m working on.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, no, that totally makes sense. And, I mean, I’ve never been in your shoes with your type of job, but not only are you plugged in, but I assume it is very high pressure.
So how do you manage stress And you oversee a lot of people as well. So how do you build? the confidence and keep your nervous system regulated. I mean, maybe it’s what you just mentioned, the meditation, as well as reading, but how do you unplug from such a demanding job?
Arianna Davis: Yeah. I mean, it’s definitely, it is high-pressure.
I’m not going to lie. It is. And I think that, Especially the more senior that I’ve gotten the more it’s you know At the end of the day like the book stops with me and if things go wrong or something happens So I think that for a while in my career I definitely struggled a lot with that like work-life balance and like always feeling like I had to be on and always feeling like Even on the weekend or if I was out with friends, I would just constantly check email and all those things so some of it is that I think that i’ve had to Just even in work situations, try to build my teams and hire people that I know that I can trust and just make sure that I have a really good infrastructure in place where everything’s not falling on me.
So, for instance, when I was at Oprah, I had a much smaller team and because I myself had launched the site, I just had so much more invested. And so it was like. Every waking moment, I was just constantly checking in and constantly like worrying about numbers and what’s happening and on all the things versus now I feel like I have a bit of a bigger team and I have like number twos that I really trust and they have their own teams that they have their good systems with.
So, it’s, I feel like just a really smart setup where I feel like. I can read a little bit easier. but that being said, I mean, you know, I think the pressure is always going to be real and that kind of like high stakes. But, my, my big like ways that I unplug and just try to, keep my mental health together.
I take long walks with my dog, love my dog, Leo, lots of cuddles and walks with my puppy Leo. And then, yeah, reading like really helps me to escape and, Just turn my brain off and just remember that there are worlds out there other than what’s happening with me myself and then I also I’m a big sleeper I love if I don’t get like my eight hours of sleep like it’s a wrap for me so I feel like sleep is also something that’s just so underrated but really important if I get like a good night’s rest you I had a little bit of time to read before I went to bed.
I like unplugged a little bit. Then I’ll feel a lot better and centered when I wake up in the morning.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, definitely. It was earlier this week and I was like, why am I so irritable today? And I didn’t know why. And then I looked at my app that tracks my sleep and I was like, no wonder I got six hours of sleep.
And that night I got a good night’s rest and I just felt like such a new person. So you’re right. I think in this hustle culture, where people are just looking to get. To places as quick as possible in their career and as young as possible in their career this we almost discount the sleep like, Oh, I could be, I could function on four hours of sleep, but it’s do you want to, you’re not working at your highest capacity.
Yeah. So I think prioritizing sleep, you’re right. It’s so underrated, but it’s so it’s really.
Arianna Davis: Yeah, 100%. And I recognize that. I’m like, I feel like I have that privilege because I don’t have kids yet. And I’m like, you know, it’s just me. So, you know, I’m also just recognizing too, that I’m trying to make the most of where I am in my life right now in my life.
you know, I’m in my mid-thirties and my biggest responsibility is my dog. But you know, I’m trying to also just like really lean in this moment that like, I love my career. I have the time now to like work on a book, maybe in a few years, that’ll be different. You know what I mean? So I’m also, I think that always just kind of aware of just Thanks.
hustling, but also like enjoying this time and the space that I am in my life currently.
Erika Cruz: Yeah, exactly. So when can we, not to put any pressure on you, but when can we expect your novel?
Arianna Davis: We’ll see. I mean, yeah, I, let’s hope, let’s be ambitious and say sometime next year, but we’ll see. Because the way it kind of, yeah, the way it kind of works is that I’m working on a manuscript and then I basically will have to work with my agent to try to see if we can sell it.
And then most likely if it does get sold, fingers crossed, then it’s like a whole editing process with your publisher and it’s a whole thing. So fingers crossed for sometime next year, but maybe I’ll come back on the podcast when it’s, That’s exactly what I
Erika Cruz: was going to say. We’re going to invite you back
Arianna Davis: as soon as that is.
I invited myself back.
Erika Cruz: You are always welcome. Is there anything that I did not ask you that you might want to share with the listeners?
Arianna Davis: you know, I think like the only other thing that comes to mind, like when you were talking about just and just like putting yourself out there and connecting with people.
One of the things that I have found that I think it’s just so, and I think this is like how you and I connected is that I find that there is nobody more supportive than Latinas and women of color. I feel if you. Want to feel good about yourself. If you want to feel if you need some encouragement, if you want people who are going to support your projects or help you get the word out there.
I just feel like anytime I’ve needed support or you know, wanted to get the word out or needed a favor, like asking someone if they would post about my book or whatever it is. I just feel like I it’s always been like a yes from whether it’s somebody that I met once or somebody that I only know from Instagram.
So I just love that. I feel like in our communities, like we’re just so supportive of each other. And I would just encourage anybody who’s listening to. Not be afraid to reach out to that badass Latina that was on your podcast or that you’ve been following for forever or Who you’ve noticed like loves the same type of books is that like you’re writing about and want to see if they’re interested I feel like that the community that I feel like we’re a part of and that we can lean on it’s like that Is just such a treasure and something that I think people should really just think about and lean on
Erika Cruz: I could not agree more.
So for those of you listening, don’t be afraid to slide into somebody’s DMS. That’s how so many of my friends now, and I got acquainted, I feel like I built some of the strongest bonds through the pandemic and didn’t meet these people in real life until a few years later. So yeah, whether you’re at a conference or especially like at the amazing conferences that, that we were both at, where it was very focused on women of color, but you’re right, we’re the biggest advocate.
for one another. So I couldn’t agree with that more. So where can people connect with you and find you? Yeah,
Arianna Davis: so the best place is probably Instagram. That’s where I’m always on. It was just at Ariana A. R. I. N. A. G. A. B. Ariana gab. and I’m also on TikTok, Twitter, all the places. And then what we’re free to do is available wherever you buy your books.
Erika Cruz: Amazing. Well, we will have all of that linked down below and I can’t wait to see you in person again so we could have another T Circle episode and catch up on all of the stuff
Arianna Davis: going on. I know you, whenever you’re in New York or I’m in LA like it’s going to happen one of the two sooner rather than later.
So I’m going to, I’m going to hit you up. Yes,
Erika Cruz: exactly. And then once your novel is out, if there’s anything that we can do, please. Let me know because,
Arianna Davis: Let me this is giving me good, this is giving me good inspo to go home tonight and get some writing done, so.
Erika Cruz: But I’m really looking forward to it. I think for a long time I was really stuck on, obviously, I’m into self-development, so I was very stuck on the self-help books, but the more that I’ve gotten into reading, and I actually, now I’m going on a tangent here, but I think I am, undiagnosed, slightly dyslexic, and that has prevented me from writing, but I am a journaler and I actually really like writing.
And when I was a kid, I would write poetry. So now I’m, you know, you were on the podcast. I also had a few other authors on the podcast. And I’m like, I feel like the universe is just nudging me to Erica, start writing again. So not only have I started writing a lot more, but also I’ve gotten into reading.
fiction. And so I’m just novel as well because you us into another world and imagination and I think o as well. Yeah, I feel
Arianna Davis: like the greatest lessons I th
Whether I realize it or not, just like books and characters that I’ve read and then I’ve gotten to know on the pages of a book. So read, if you’re listening to this and you don’t, read some books. Yeah,
Erika Cruz: exactly. Even if it’s the audiobook and yours is available in the audio
Arianna Davis: version as well. Yeah, and it’s also available in Spanish or if you’re, if you speak Dutch, it’s available in Dutch.
It’s in Portuguese too.
It’s in English and Spanish. So yeah.
Erika Cruz: Amazing. Okay, great. We will link all of your links down below. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule and spending some time with us. And I’ve just got to say, we talked about a lot. You were very concise and to the point, and you were just such a good speaker as well.
So you’re a great
Arianna Davis: interviewer. I was literally going to say I’m like, I love your podcast. I think I told you after. We hung out in Puerto Rico. I like went back to the archives and I think your podcast is so dope. But also you, I was like, I love being interviewed by you. We could just talk all day.
It’s just like a little coffee
Erika Cruz: chat, a little coffee. Amazing. Oh, thank you so much. I received that. Thank you. I appreciate you so, so much. And I can’t wait to see you in person
Arianna Davis: again. Me too. Let’s do it. Bye guys.
Erika Cruz: Bye.