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Sometimes lipstick is more than lip color. How Discomfort Improves Your Content

Left to my own devices, I’m not a daring red lipstick kinda girl. I gravitate to berry hues: those reddish plums and velvety merlots are my automatic comfort zone. It’s not that I’m a risk-averse person. I wasn’t paying attention and, eventually, I taught myself to play it safe with lip colors. My day to day life is filled with business meetings for my media platform Vanichi.com, press interviews, speaking engagements and consulting clients on branding, media, publicity and messaging. It’s busy and to get through it with grace and sanity, I go on autopilot with certain things so that I don’t succumb to decision fatigue.

If I’m modeling in a photo shoot, I’m open-minded to the mood board. We can do gold lips, bright pink lips, even feathers. Perhaps that’s why I hadn’t noticed I was stuck in a rut with my personal lipstick choices. A visit to a beauty event is what enlightened me.

Chanel Beauty brought a pop-up experience to Los Angeles the week leading up to the Academy Awards. Dubbed Chanel Beauty House, The House on Sunset was converted into a ‘by appointment only’ modern exploration of Chanel lip colors that would have made Coco herself proud. Enticing attendees to try on a variety of Reds and Corals, Pinks, Berries or Neutrals, it was an opportunity for guests to test new shades as well as create new content.  

The Chanel Beauty House was an Instagram fantasy drunk on an entire bottle of 1996 Bollinger. It welcomed selfies, videos, livestreams and as much publicity that bloggers, celebs, influencers and media professionals could possibly generate. The house was fully equipped with:  

  • a pearl-filled tub,
  • a mirror that allowed digital artwork with the stroke of a lipstick,
  • neon signs that quoted Coco Chanel and featured her in silhouette,
  • a photo booth that automatically switched your lip colors for you
  • a photo booth swing fashioned to resemble a classic Chanel handbag, plus
  • a garden with hue-specific makeup stations where experts applied your color for you.

After taking in all the attractions, I sat at the lip station to play with colors. Yet, without any self-reflection, I found that I had tested not 1, not 3, but 5 shades of berry. While the colors were stunning, I was getting frustrated and disappointed. I was giving myself the same ole same ole. I was missing a risk-free opportunity to dare myself to be different. This wasn’t about what others expected from me. This had become a conversation into what I expected from myself and fences I had created in my mind.

Because sometimes you need to bathe in pearls. #chanelhouse #chanel #welovecoco #pearls

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I always advise clients against accepting boredom with their content and messaging. When building a legacy through media, it’s vital to keep a vibrant energy flowing through what you put out into the world. But there’s also the fact that life is constantly creeping in. We get tired. We get busy. We get overwhelmed. That’s when we start negotiating with ourselves and rationalizing turnkey muscle memory. Don’t think. Just do and get it over with as quickly as possible.

Next thing you know, your content and outreach to your target audience is just surviving on life support. To treat it like triage was never the point. Your message and mission needs to thrive.

Whenever a client sits before me bored to tears with their own content, I tell them that the cure for boredom is imagination. The boredom doesn’t mean you should throw your hands up and walk away. It’s a sign that you need to ignite your creativity and grow. It’s a challenge to flip your own script and if you flip it right, you’ll grow beyond your wildest expectations.

Often, what’s holding us back are the narrow lenses through which we view ourselves and the opportunities for vibrant change that we negotiate away, put off, put aside or never acknowledge. Discomfort improves your content. All you have to do is channel it.

I acknowledged the restlessness inside me and asked the makeup artist to surprise me with Coral Red. I explained I needed to escape my comfort zone. She took a glance at the coral accents in the J. Laurence ‘Peacock’ scarf I was wearing and matched my lips to those details. She combined three elements: CHANEL Rouge Double Intensité Ultra Wear Lip Colour 47 Daring Red, CHANEL Le Crayon Lèvres Precision Lip Definer, 98 Séduction and CHANEL Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour 99 Pirate.

I asked the MUA at #chanelhouse to help me step outside my comfort zone of berry colors for my lips. So she matches my lip color to the coral accents in my J. Laurence scarf. It’s when we push our boundaries that we discover we’re boundless. Scarf by @jlaurence.designs via @lionluxeafrica Necklace + Bracelet by @adeledejak via @luxelionafrica Hair Poppin via @wolfcolourmagic Eyewear by @jinseyewear Lip Color by @chanel.beauty . . #womensupportingwomen #womeninmedia #beauty #lipstick #lip #changeyourlife #change #loveyourself #selfcare #selfcaresunday #sundayfunday #chanel #welovecoco #africanluxury #consciousfashion #bosslady #selfcare

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I literally started giggling. I shocked my system so well and so delightfully that I’ve actually been more creative in all aspects as a result. When we push our boundaries, we discover we’re boundless.