Dayna Bolden is someone who thoroughly embodies the concept of “living good.” As CEO of Bolden Creative Media, she presides over a platform she began developing six years ago as a natural-hair blogger, and which now encompasses her popular fashion and lifestyle blog, 100k-strong Instagram presence, and her newest project, a fitness community. Bolden is also a wife and mother of two with an enviably elevated sense of style, from her wardrobe of sleek neutrals, to her elegant home reminiscent of a chic hotel lobby, white couches and all. Far from the cliché of the chilly style influencer, Bolden exudes warmth, positivity, and realness whether she’s spilling her home DIY tips, dishing out her favorite cocktail-hour recipe, or dispensing advice on growing a business.
In partnership with Grand Marnier, we spoke with Bolden about how she built her grand life from the ground up, and she gave us a trove of wisdom about the value of authenticity, supporting — and being supported by — her community of Black women, and, appropriately for the woman with “bold” in her name, how she took the “big leap” of leaving her hard-won corporate career, and found even greater success on her own. “If you do the work and believe in yourself, amazing things will happen,” Bolden says, and for her, they already are.
What do you think has been the most important element of your success building an audience and business online?
Definitely number one would be authenticity. Staying true to who I am as a woman and showing up every day as my true, authentic self, quirks and all. It’s helped me build a level of trust so it’s not just, “oh, she has followers” — it’s a real community of women that supports each other, and trusts my word.
I loved your recent post where you spoke about how Black women support and hype each other up. Is that something you draw strength from?
Absolutely. In that situation, it was so pure because this woman didn’t know who I was, she just saw me out here killing it and said, “Yes sis, you look great!” It put a huge smile on my face — like wow, she sees me. I share myself online and get hundreds of comments, sometimes from women who don’t know me, but they’re cheering me on and rooting for me. I try to do the same, because we all need to be encouraged, I’m sure even Beyoncé needs it some days! It’s so important to continue to uplift and inspire other Black women.
What does “the grander life” mean to you?
For me it isn’t materialistic — it’s feeling happy in my own skin, taking care of myself, doing things I enjoy. It’s also inspiring other women to take care of themselves because as moms and wives, we want to give, give, give. Or as a business owner, you can get burnt out really quickly. I’ve had times in my life when I put myself last and other areas in my life suffered because of that. I realized that in order to be the best I can be to my family and community, I have to be good to myself. It’s so important to live grand by taking care of yourself first.
What are your favorite ways to nurture yourself right now?
I love going to the spa, getting a massage, a facial — that’s one of my favorite ways to treat myself. And it’s so important to spend time with my girlfriends, have a nice glass of wine or cocktail and just unwind, laugh and spend time together. I also try to work out at least four times a week, either with my trainer or on my own. Staying active is so important to me because it helps me feel good mentally and physically.
Do you struggle to find time for those activities as a wife, mother, and business owner?
Sometimes, but taking that time for myself is something I try to prioritize, especially this year. I’m a huge advocate of self care — yes I have a million things going on, but nothing’s going to stop me from getting my workout in or spending time with my friends. You can be all these different roles, but you have to remember that you were your own person first. You weren’t born a mom! It’s so important to remember that and take care of yourself first.
What’s your favorite way to kick back after a long day?
I love to host and have friends and family over for a casual get-together on the weekend or for happy hour. We sit out on the deck, have hors d’oeuvres and a great cocktail. I love serving a Grand Collins — it’s a spin on the classic Tom Collins with Grand Marnier, lemon juice, soda water, orange zest, and a raspberry garnish. It’s a beautiful, refreshing drink, a little fruity but with some depth to the flavor thanks to the Cognac in the Grand Marnier. It’s just a great drink for the summer. I might serve it with chicken skewers or grilled shrimp and stuffed mushrooms, put on some music, light candles to set the mood. Good vibes and good energy — it’s all you need.
You’ve spoken about the role of self-belief in your success. Was there a time in your life when you took a leap of faith and it paid off for you?
When I quit my corporate job to do this full-time. I’d been there for eight years, I’d worked my butt off to get that college degree. I thought I would work my way up the corporate ladder and be there forever. But once my personal brand started to grow, I decided to quit and pursue my career as a lifestyle blogger. It was one of the biggest choices I’ve ever made, but I decided to be bold — to bet on myself and leap. It’s been the best decision ever. I’ve been able to have this dream career that I love, and to inspire other women that look like me for the last four years. When they see me being a business woman, a mom, a wife, they know they can do it too. That’s what I try to share on my platform every single day.
I love that. You bet on yourself, and it paid off.
Absolutely. Every single time I’m going to bet on myself. Of course sometimes I doubt myself and have to give myself a pep talk: remind myself that I deserve something, and that I’m going to work hard for it. But I always say that if you continue to do the work and continue to believe in yourself, amazing things will happen.
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