Tori Green: Who are you? What do you do?
Brianna Nicole: My name is Brianna and I am a full time grad student, influencer, and model.
Tori: What was your first business (including running your own business)?
Brianna: How long did this last or are you still involved in the same business?
I would say my first and truly only business is my Instagram. I became Briannanicolexoxo in Michigan with hopes of creating an income through social media. I was doing a lot of shoots in Michigan for fun, worked a few car shows as a model and a few runway shows. When I hit 10k followers I decided to take my passions seriously and move to California. I started taking influencing seriously in 2018 and it became lucrative in 2020. A business I am putting time into is Mental Mondayz. I started this in hopes of using my passion for social media and psychology to create a mental health platform.
Tori: Biggest challenge? How did you get through it?
Brianna: My biggest challenge is I had an obscene amount of self doubt and wanted approval from so many people. There was no confidence and I cared so much about what everyone had to say. I was scared to get uncomfortable and I was scared to ever upset anyone. Truly it was a lot of self reflection I had to do and even therapy. I had to pay attention to the company I kept around me and how they made me feel. I had to be selfish with my time and cut a lot of people off but truly it was one of the best things I ever did.
Tori: What is something that you wish you could go back and tell yourself before starting this journey?
Brianna: That it is okay to get uncomfortable and it is okay that not everyone loves you. I have let my discomfort and my fear of others' opinions hold me back so much over the years. What I would give to invent a time machine!
Tori: What did you do before owning your own/running your business?
Brianna: I was living in Michigan going to Michigan State University studying nursing, but eventually switched to psychology. Worked in a hospital for awhile as a Project ASSERT coach and did some modeling on the side!
Tori: What/who made you take the first leap?
Brianna: My first photo shoot and first serious instagram post. My first photo shoot was so much fun but at the same time it went so bad! I had no idea what I was doing and I was terrified. But I kept planning these fun shoots and it helped me develop this confidence and just love it. I did decide while in California that as much as I love photo shoots and Instagram that it was not a forever thing. This is when I reminded myself how much I love school and science and I applied to grad school in 2020.
Tori: Who was the first to believe in you and give you real support (financial/sweat equity)?
Brianna: I would have to say my grandma on my mothers side. I remember shaking and calling my grandma telling her I was moving to California in three weeks to pursue modeling and social media. I cannot stress how much her support lifted this weight off my chest. She constantly reminds me that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks of me and to just keep doing what I am doing. She helps me keep my “fuck it,” mentality alive and well.
Tori: Was this your dream job? If not, what was?
Brianna: As a kid my dream job was to be a marine biologist, but growing up in Michigan that quickly became something that seemed unfeasible. Then I thought I wanted to be a surgeon, which then translated into a nurse. I knew even when I was young that I wanted to help people so in a way becoming a therapist is my dream job. When I turned 19 I developed a dream to be a successful model till I am about 27 and then be a very successful therapist with my own practice.
Tori: Why did you get into this field?
Brianna: Modeling and influencing I got into because I love the adventures, the photo shoots, all the glitz and glamor. I got into Psychology because I love the brain and I love human behavior. If I can take that and be able to help people, I was all in. Specifically sex therapy and helping family and couples I can’t say exactly why, it was something that seemed right to me. Sex is always seen as such a taboo subject and I think so many men and women struggle with communication on what they want. I think sex is important and a huge part of marriage, I would love to be able to help couples communicate better and help mend that part of their relationship.
Tori: What is your biggest failure that you turned into a success?
Brianna: Probably getting rejected from nursing school. My little dream of the white picket fence, a husband, 3 kids, and my nursing job seemed ruined. But now I am beyond happy with this path I am taking. Failure can breed success, and I learned a lot about myself with that failure.
Tori: If you could change one thing about your life today for the better, what would it be?
Brianna: I stared at this question for a really long time. I wouldn’t change a damn thing. If I changed anything I would not be who I am today and I do not like that thought. I am where I am today because of my failures and my success, because of the good and bad people I met. I didn’t let the bad things from my past define me, if anything I developed a sense of resiliency and I learned valuable lessons that are valuable.
Tori: How is your life/work balance? Body, mind, and soul weekly routine?
Brianna: One of my biggest priorities is to work hard and to feel healthy while I do it. I went a long time thinking that only my physical health mattered and I was working out like crazy, basically drinking all the green juice in southern California. Yoga, breathing exercises, and journaling have now become a part of my daily routine and I think it has made an impact on my mental health but also my ability to work. I have become more productive than I ever have. I also have recently made the switch to microdosing mushrooms 6 days on 2 days off. This has helped immensely with my depression and my creativity levels.
Tori: Do you say/write out affirmations?
Brianna: I'll write them down!! I write down things that also scare me and what these fears make me feel. Then I rip up that page and follow it up with writing down all the things I could achieve without those fears.
Tori: When was the last time you tried something new/ Stepped out of routine?
Brianna: I would say it was when I flew to Costa Rica alone, got on one of those small 6 seater planes, and then stayed in a hostel with my friend Bridget. Now I am comfortable going out and doing things alone. I was never someone that was able to do things alone, let alone travel by myself. Actually, just recently I decided to travel by myself and spend time in the Virgin Islands. I was there for about 3 weeks. This brought back my passion for the water and had me even think about getting into marine biology again.
Tori: Favorite book that changed your life?
Brianna: You are more than you think you are by Kimberly Snyder. I will admit I have not finished it yet but it is a book that has helped transform my mindset.
Tori: Do you think your gender gives you an advantage or disadvantage in today’s world?
Brianna: I mean I think there are aspects that being a female help me, especially with influencing and modeling. Being a female has opened up so many opportunities when it comes to social media, not saying a man can’t do it but I definitely have advantages in the industry being a female. Science I am completely at a disadvantage with the worry of not being taken seriously or men thinking I am not smart due to my appearance and sex. Part of me loves it, whenever you underestimate me I work harder and come out on top.
Tori: Have you experienced different treatment from your peers of the opposite sex?
Brianna: Oh one million percent. Being considered an attractive, young female working in a hospital or being in my program I have had male professors be different around me or not have respect for me. I could not tell you how many times a man has told me that they are shocked I am remotely smart. I was at a seminar over zoom with a doctor who was a man discussing telehealth and there came a period where questions were asked. I was one of the first people to have the flag up that I had a question and after so many men went before me, he then goes “What could you have to ask?” It genuinely felt so condescending and after I asked my question he looked in disbelief that I was even remotely intelligent.
Tori: Thoughts on the glass ceiling?
Brianna: Break the shit out of it. I believe in influencing or modeling there isn’t as much of a glass ceiling that needs to be broken compared to in science. But in science and wanting to open my own practice and to be successful I do think there is a glass ceiling. I hate the idea of a ceiling or a cap on what I can do, so I will always say break the damn glass ceiling.
Tori: What advice would you give your children/ future children about succeeding in a patriarchal society?
Brianna: You cannot ever give someone the opportunity to make you feel less about yourself because of who you are. I am hopeful that we are moving away from such a patriarchal society but there is no doubt that the patriarchy is still alive. Teaching my daughter to never back down, even if the odds are against her and there are men not taking her seriously. And teaching my future son to never ever estimate a female, and that you respect everybody.
Tori: If you could talk to a young boy/girl from your hometown neighborhood who aspires to have your career/job/focus what would tell them? Advice.
Brianna: GET OUT! Get out and get uncomfortable. Take that risk. Do not give a flying sh!t. You need to remember that someone else will always have an opinion about what you are doing and there will always be someone that does not want you to succeed. You can not let that bring you down. Invest in yourself and your energy. If you do not invest in yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?
Tori: Fun fact about you?
Brianna: I am scared of butterflies. Haha while this is true I would say something interesting about me or a fun fact is that I rescued two dogs.
Tori: Number one piece of advice you remember?
Brianna: Love yourself, not the idea of others loving you.
Tori: Where can we find you online?
Brianna: Instagram baby!! Find me at briannanicolexoxo and while you are at it take a look at my mental health page @mental.mondayz