Girl WITH PURPLE Gucci's
FEATURING ADAIR SMITH & AFTER SCHOOL ACTIVITIES
by TOBI GBILE
2021 HAS ENTERED THE CHAT
What's your handle? Dibs on @princesstobig!
HELLO NEW YEAR!
Not gonna get super emosh about everything we endured in 2020 . . . because we did just that.
And while things are looking up (hello VACCINE), who knows what TF this year has in store. IDK about you all, but I just thank God every day that I'm still here to chat about it, and that I still can look back on 2020 and smile at all of the good memories, trips, and conversations, and nod my head with a raised brow at all of the BS (some of it, self-inflicted) that dragged my ass and brought me out a stronger, wiser, woman than I was before.
Since it's the only time of the year where every single one of us is making a conscious effort to look forward, be positive, and plan out the next 12 months (or the next 5 years if you're a checklist hungry freak like me), I think it's my DUTY as editor in chief of this online publication (yes, I am claiming this title) to set us all off on the BEST foot!
That's why this year, I am happy to start off the season with a feature from a friend-of-a-friend TURNED friend (S/O TO OUR BESTIE NATALIE) who I have a great deal of respect for, thanks to her tenacity in turning her dreams to goals, and making them her reality: ADAIR SMITH!
After indulging in all of Adair's career secrets and insights (for free, give thanks), check out what's on my radar for the months to come, and what I will be listening to in the meantime. Hope you're as hopefully amped as I am for what is to come!
And before you leave -- I challenge you to ask yourself what you're standing on in 2021. And is it firm? If last year showed us anything, it showed us just how much it takes to knock us off of whatever is our base. For me, it's my faith, and my confidence in myself and my abilities . . . and when the going got tough, I fell right off on my ass at times. It took tons of rest, prayer, and thinking over December to give me the hard reset I needed to be ready to hop back on a plane to Germany and face whatever was waiting for me. Are you ready to do the same?
PHONE A FRIEND
She's fresh, she's cool, and she's FABULOUS (would she be here if otherwise?!)
Please welcome ADAIR SMITH to the site, a multi-talented, kicking a$$ and taking names type of WOMAN whose career thus far as proven that she's a gift to the industry many of us are a part of.
Curious as to what all of the buzz is about? Click/tap right to indulge in our conversation around how she's gotten to where she is, and what she's learned along the way.
First job—how’d you start, and what’d you learn?
"I never know where to begin with this one! Technically, my first job was an intern for a stylist when I was a sophomore in college.
After that, I went to a fashion and music magazine for about a year and a half, then went to Milk for two years, doing content, editorial, and creative strategy. Honestly, every single job I’ve had has been so different that it almost feels like every one was the “first.”
I’ve been really fortunate with all of the companies I’ve worked for, working with amazing creative people who taught me so much. They really trusted me and let me kind of create what I wanted to in a sense — which was, now looking back, incredibly rare and I feel so lucky to have had that opportunity to experiment and find not only my style, but also what I even wanted to do in my career.
Having such a diverse background of experiences has truly benefitted me so much — not only in terms of my skillset, but also the people I’ve been able to meet and relationships I’ve formed."
What made you realize “oh sh*t, I need something new"?
"I’ve always been really driven, and constantly want to learn, grow my skills, and develop new ones, so I think a lot of opportunities stem from me craving more.
As I have grown personally and professionally, I always want to experience new things, and whether I’ve found the opportunity or it’s been presented to me, I always try to keep an open mind and explore it."
What’s your advice to anyone who might be going through something similar?
"I think what’s important for people to hear when they’re going through something, or just living their life (also something I remind myself of every day) is know your worth, know your boundaries, surround yourself with good people, and every experience is an opportunity for growth."
As the main character, what role did/does your community of friends and network play in all of this?
"I’ve been so blessed with the friends I have, the people I’ve met, and the relationships I’ve developed.
I think every single relationship I’ve had with my friends, peers, coworkers, etc. have not only opened so many doors for me, but also pushed me through those doors when I didn’t think I was ready, or even shut doors that I wasn’t supposed to walk through.
I’m a firm believer that you are who you surround yourself with, so I credit a lot to the people around me who’ve helped shape me and my career."
What is after school activities and what made you start it?
"After School Activities is a brand that started as a mood board maybe two years ago.
At the beginning of 2020, I started getting that feeling again, like I was ready for more, so that’s when I started exploring what After School Activities could be and it kind of developed from there."
What’s the influence behind THE BRAND?
"The name After School Activities came from the idea of both working hard and playing hard while doing it, the idea that you can have both and do both — well, thats the goal at least."
What role does/will your personal style play into it?
"I like to be comfortable, effortless, and want to feel good in what I’m wearing.
I wanted to create something that I could experiment with. Something cool, something me and my friends would wear. Something that was simple and would make me feel good wearing it."
What do you want people to think of when they think of you and brand Adair?
"When people see me, my work, After School Activities, I want them to feel comfortable and confident, I want them to see endless opportunity, I want them to feel like they can do whatever they want to."
You heard it here first folks. This is a glimpse into what I'll be listening to all winter long. Standouts include TGBEAM, Carlie Henson, and glaive.
SZNL TO WATCH
DISCLAIMER: Let's be clear, blackness and the expression of it isn't a trend, it's a lifestyle that I, and those below, were born into. However, the new expression of it is inspiring current trends and ones to come, hence the section name ^^^. What I love about the artists below is that they're confident in every aspect of who they are creatively, and don't feel the need to explain their blackness and their expression of it to their audiences. Instead, they let their work do the talking.
Band from Kansas City, MO, USA
Hailing from my home city, this group of teens is breaking stereotype on stereotype by mixing their influence of childhood heroes like various pop punk bands, and icons like Britney to create a sound that is truly one of a kind.
Clearly, the music industry feels the same due to their recent signing to Dirty Hit (home of The 1975), and addition to the Billboard's Top 20 Pop of 2020.
As a child of indie pop myself, it has been so refreshing to hear music from people whose background doesn't fall from a tree too far from mine, creating music that people were often shocked we were into growing up. To me, they sound like HOME!
Alt-Pop artist and singer from LA
On a similar vein as BLACKSTARKIDS, but make it solo and sprinkle in a little more alt, and you have Jean Dawson.
The best way to describe his sound is a sick track you would search the internet for after hearing on Tony Hawk Pro Skater or Jet Set Radio, but in a 2020 kinda way.
My favorite songs from his sophomore album Pixel Bath are the two opening tracks -- "Devilish" and "Triple Double" (the latter having that A$AP Rocky feature and co-sign). Give him a listen, you won't regret it.
Grammy nominated song writer based in LA
It's no secret to anyone here that I am one of the biggest pop junkies alive, and Nija Charles is already on track to becoming one of the biggest behind the scenes gurus in the years to come.
This year alone, she's already taken the industry by storm, by co-writing Ari's lead single from her album Positions, and one of the biggest collaborative efforts of the year (second only to WAP in my eyes) with Rain on Me performed by Gaga and Grande.
That being said, it should come as no surprise that she is nominated for 12 Grammy's in 2021, for songs performed by Queen B, and the other two queens above.
I am so scared, in the best way, to see how this woman takes over in the years to come. And to think she's my age. Lord have mercy.
I couldn't decide which of the new pieces of goodness I wanted to feature this season, so it's a mix of three different areas that have been taking a lot of my quarantine time.
Like many of you, now that the majority of our work hours are spent at home for the time being, that leaves plenty of time for new music to be the soundtrack to our lives, to prevent rinsing our favorite playlists. That being said, I'll clue you in on an old find with a new sound that I'm super into lately.
Unlike many of you, I'm super late to the advanced skincare game. I used to brag that my routine was a super basic face wash and Cetaphil moisturizer, and when people would compliment me for my skin, I would say "thanks but I'm wearing makeup". As you fight the urge to come for my inability to accept compliments about my appearance, I'll let you in on a few of the products (new and old) that make up my new and improved skincare routine that'll ensure I'll keep this youthful glow y'all rave about for decades to come. <3
Lastly, my trip home to KC resulted in some vintage finds that I am so excited to add to my closet in this season to come. In an effort to be more conscious about who I am buying from and WHAT I am supporting with my purchases, I'm trying to focus on buying more timeless pieces that fit into my style long-term, rather than fleeting trends that I'll wear for a season and never touch again. So happy that I'm finding pieces that fit this M.O.!
Hope you all enjoy . . .
NEW MUSIC JANUARY
I first stumbled upon the young songstress over a year ago with her dark, "emo but make it pop" song Numb that stayed on my playlist for time.
In December, Spotify did it's thing and recommended I listen to her debut EP, and I'm so glad they did.
Her opening track Fires is a certified banger, and one of the follow up tracks Side Effects starts out unpromising, but wins you over with a catchy AF chorus that secured it's spot on my playlist.
If you're like me and walk a fine line between hating radio pop, loving the angst that made pop punk a thing, and the balance of melodic rap, then she is for you!
CLINIQUE PEP START EYE CREAM
EYES ARE THE WINDOW INTO THE SOUL
I'm sick of highlighting under my eyes friends. Especially since, for now, I wear makeup max 3 times a week, I don't have the patience for it anymore.
When my friends put me on eye patches and creams, it woke my tired ass up on how simple it is to brighten my whole face without wearing makeup.
I first started with the pixi DetoxifEYEing eye patches, which are fun, but not 100% it for a daily routine (especially post-lockdown). When I went home to the US for Christmas break, I stumbled upon the Clinique Pep Start Eye Cream, which takes the crown.
It's easy to apply, packed with Vitamin C, and shows results in 3-5 seconds. Using it twice a day has already, in a month, proven to have lasting impact on my face, securing this product's spot in my skincare routine.
OH MICKEY WHAT A PITY
So excited to put this knit vest to work all season long. Smart but make it cute.
I'm a jean fan through and through, add an all-over-print with an embroidered finish, and I am yours.
PINK, BUT PALE IT
Last year at this time, I copped this shirt two sizes bigger and in green, and now, I've found its pink suede twin.
Its obvi to cold to put this one to work this season solo, but where there's a will, there's a way to layer.
BACK FROM THE ARCHIVE
If you knew me as a college student, then you know this raincoat was one of my closest friends throughout the springs in Chicago. It's BAAAAACK!
Shots I've taken of myself, my friends and family, and other things I like to look at around the world <3
What am I sayin?
Did I mention that I am a published author? Click the links below to purchase my first teenage fiction novel: "The Stunnerz"!
Amazon (kindle/ereader versions available)
Barnes & Noble (kindle/ereader versions available)
© 2021 Tobi Gbile