Why I Do It

Like You, Taylor Cassidy Is Best Friends With The Snooze Button

Welcome to Refinery29's Why I Do It, a series where we ask inspirational, successful people 29 questions about what fuels them on and off the clock. Because, let's face it: life is about so much more than chasing inbox zero.
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Taylor Cassidy is a 19-year-old content creator who uses their platform of 2.3 million followers to advocate for and celebrate inclusion and representation. They rose to fame thanks to their ongoing TikTok series, "Fast Black History," and "Black Girl Magic Minute." She earned a Creator Honour at the 2020 Streamy Awards, hosts Sirius XM's new TikTok Radio Channel, and has been featured on TikTok’s 2020 Top 100 list and Teen Vogue’s 2021 21 under 21 list. And she's just getting started. Here's why she does it.
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What’s the very first thing you do when you wake up? I pray! I start my day giving thanks that I've woken up. I find that doing this even before I put my glasses on helps me to recognise that even if there's a lot on my plate, I've been given a new day to find more solutions and learn more lessons.
What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed? I journal every night. I started a daily journal in the beginning of high school and I've been doing it ever since. It's a way for me to release thoughts and ideas that have been in the back of my mind. It's also been a great reminder for me to look back on journals from years ago and see how I was able to conquer struggles and even predict amazing things I've been able to experience in my career. 
Power nap or power workout? I'm not going to lie, I used to be a power nap girly. However, over the past year I've enjoyed power workouts to get me out of afternoon lulls. If I don't want to complete a full workout, a friend of mine inspired me to simply do one song on Just Dance, the video game, before I start my next task. Once I started doing that, I realised it's an amazing way to break out of a procrastination mindset.
Early bird or night owl? Night owl all the way. Most of my best ideas have come at midnight. Plus, the feeling of being able to sleep in after a day of productive and fulfilling work is amazing.
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How many unread emails do you have in your inbox right now? I have over 8,000 emails I haven't read. Just typing that is crazy! However, I promise most of them are clothing promotions and reminders for the next Fenty Beauty sale.
Iced coffee or hot coffee? I love a good hot drink. Whether it be coffee or Matcha, I usually ask for it hot. I'm not a fan of how ice waters down the drink over time, and I feel like drinking it hot lets you taste the flavours more!
What’s your favourite thing that you keep on your desk or workspace? In my old workspace, I had a BMO on my desk. If you don't know what BMO is, it's a character from the show Adventure Timewho is basically a small sentient game console. For my 18th birthday, I bought myself a functional BMO with game controls, so that during breaks I could play a game or two right at my desk.
When was the last time you felt like a success? The other day I was remembering how hard of a time I had in a history class in high school, but how that frustration eventually led to me making the series that jump-started my career, "Fast Black History." If I hadn't gone through that frustration, I probably would have never had the perseverance to handle everything I do now. I was literally standing in my room looking out the window like an emotional movie scene grateful at how far I've come. 
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What do you do on those days when you don’t feel that confident? I usually spend the day completely offline. If I'm having trouble speaking kind words to myself, I don't need anyone else's words echoing in my head. I then usually turn to the journals and notebooks I mentioned earlier to remind me of previous times I felt less-than, and how I picked myself back up again. 
What’s one thing you do every day, without fail? I use Vaseline. It's not a deep answer, but I use Vaseline every single day. I used to be the only thing that wouldn't break out my face or lips. 
What’s something you wish you did every day? I wish I woke up at the first alarm every day. I have always been best friends with the snooze button, but one day I want to break that habit and get out of bed without the extra five minutes. 
What’s your favourite piece of advice that you’ve received? My mum has said this to both me and my sister since we were little: "Your talent will make room for you." By saying this, she encouraged us not to focus on other people's opinions, but on pouring love and effort into bettering ourselves as people and as creatives. 
What’s your least-favourite piece of advice that you’ve received? My least favourite piece of advice is something many other creators have told me on how to be a successful creative: Make sure to keep up with trends. It's absolutely not bad advice. In fact, it's great advice for growth online. But it's my least-favourite, because it's easy to put so much of your energy into staying relevant that originality loses its place as a priority. I felt so much more at peace with myself when I had more original content than [trendy videos]. I heard a quote one time that describes it perfectly: "Create the art you need to see in the world."
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Who inspires you the most? My mum! She has endlessly taught me how to love and protect my peace. I've learned from her how to enjoy life without regard to others' judgment and her work ethic and ability to dream without boundaries continues to inspire me.
Who, if anyone, do you try to emulate? Elaine Welteroth. A friend bought her book More Than Enough for me in high school and it changed the way I thought about success and happiness. Ever since then, I've admired her and how she stays true to herself while navigating the world of fashion and entertainment.
What’s something people ask you for advice about often? As I've made more friends who are also creators, I've been asked for advice about how to make it a profession. I'm not an expert, but I'm always open to share my experience with them on how to find a manager, ways to organise a posting schedule, and keeping view count and analytics out of their personal self-esteem.
What’s a piece of advice you felt proud to give? Write down your goals and plans. Putting your dreams into writing is the first step in making it official. Almost every exciting opportunity that I've had, I had already written down a version of it in a notebook or vision board.
What is your most-used app on your phone? TikTok! Behind that is probably Spotify. I'm mostly on TikTok because of work, but I use Spotify while I cook, shower, even while I read.
Where do you put your phone while you’re sleeping? Currently, I put it on the end of my nightstand so that when I wake up, I have to sit up to grab it. In the past I've made sure to put it on the opposite side of the room.
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What do you do when you feel yourself burning out? Every few weeks, I'll cut out time in my calendar to go completely offline. When I feel symptoms of burnout, I make time to distance myself from anything putting pressure on me to perform. Usually I cut out a week, other times I cut out an entire month. I use this time not to work on projects or videos, but to spend my time on hobbies and anything else I don't usually get to do. This time helps me centre myself in what truly makes life good and worth living.
What’s something you consider a secret weapon? If I told you it wouldn't be a secret anymore! Just kidding. I have this mini light I use for videos. It's my secret weapon because it can change to any colour, adjust brightness and temperature, and it's even magnetic. The best part: it's travel-size. Lighting can make or break videos and this gadget has saved me on numerous occasions.
Where are you, compared to where you thought you’d be at 12 years old? When I was 12 years old, I thought I would be in either one of two places: attending fashion school or working as a YouTuber. The latter seemed too unrealistic to me, so I poured all my effort into fashion design all throughout high school, but deep down becoming a content creator is what I wanted more. Remembering that dream I had makes me ten times more grateful that I am where I am today.
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If you could change one thing about your professional life, what would it be? I would add about three more hours to the day dedicated to spending time with friends and family. Often, I create videos and work on projects from the time I wake up to the time I go to sleep, so I'm not able to FaceTime or talk to my friends as much anymore. But, if there was a moment of time made for socialising, I could give more time to my friends.
What’s been your biggest pieces of support, helping you get where you are? My biggest support has been cultivating my spiritual life. Without it, I'm completely sure I wouldn't have been able to develop my confidence as a creator. I also believe I would have lost sight of my initial mission to simply make someone's day lighter, or bring them education they wouldn't have known before.
What do you do to start your workday? I usually start with written work in the morning. I like having breakfast while answering emails, writing or researching for videos, etc. This also lets me have time to fully wake up before I have to be on camera.
What do you do to end your workday? Ending my workday looks like shutting down my laptop and playing Bossa nova music while I cook my dinner in the kitchen. Cooking has been very therapeutic in my daily routine.
What’s the last song you listened to? "Fine Azz" by Kamillion. It's the theme song to A Black Lady Sketch Show, and it hypes me up every time I listen to it.
What’s the last photo in your favourites folder on your phone? Myself. It's a little odd, but if you look in my favourites most of them are myself. I use my favourites folder for picking out photos and videos for content planning, so it's mostly just me!
If you could go back and do one thing differently in your career path, what would it be? Nothing. There are absolutely things I regret, but I believe if I had never done it, I would have just had to learn the same lesson later in a much harder place.

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