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Akilah Ffriend - Strategic Partnerships & Business Management - Apple

When did you realize media is your passion? 

I've always known media was my passion - from writing play as a child that I would have my family act out while I directed to mimicking hosts I saw on E! news. As a first-generation American and black woman, I think it is especially powerful to see images and stories that take into account our experiences as it plays a role in your idea of self-efficacy and place in society. Strangely enough, I didn't realize it was something I could do as more than a hobby until I went into management consulting out of undergrad and started getting an inside look at a number of these companies in the entertainment industry from the business angle. Currently, between working as a media executive, blogging, and on-camera hosting - I've found my trifecta!

What does ‘back to essence’ mean to you?

I think the true meaning of authenticity is centered around times of adversity or unsureness. Most times we already have the answers to our life's dilemmas- it's more so about believing in your inner self and being confident about going "back to [your] essence" . You can never lose when you're authentic to who you are.

How do you stay true to yourself when going about your day-to-day life? Any daily routine that helps you to stay centered and authentic?

Call me meticulous, but I love a good list! Sometimes the key to staying centered is all about writing things down and realizing that you have a handle on life after all. When I especially need a boost, I'm either calling my confidants or rapping/singing my favorite lyrics. While more of an effort during these times, another daily routine I try to incorporate is to dress the part I want to play in life. When you look good, you feel good and when you feel good, you do good!. 

Most rewarding aspect about working at Apple?

I love the opportunity to work directly with major film studios and tv networks to bring content the masses.It goes back to my "why media" and my personal mission to ensure diverse stories get told and are proven to be equally, if not more of, a revenue driver for the industry as well. I get especially excited when a tv show or film I negotiated and vouched for gets amazing placement on our platform or is heavily watched by consumers.

Tell us a little about your side hustle Color Me Boss?

Color Me Boss started as a television show idea I had while in business school. Through conversations with and insights from various black professionals and entrepreneurs, Color Me Boss would bridge the black movers and shakers of tomorrow with the executives of today to create transparency, ownership, and standardization in the community. Fast-forward to spontaneously pitching the idea at a conference and winning the grand-prize, I thought well- if this isn't a sign to get going, I don't know what is! While recent events surrounding Black Lives Matter changed the immediate scope of this to more of an daily inspirational and empowerment page on social media, I'm looking forward to the evolution. Follow us @ColorMeBoss on Instagram to keep updated on the development and get daily inspirations and resources to level up! 

Favorite pieces to pair your SE dress with?

Because this dress is such a solid color and wearable fabric, it makes it easy to pair with just about anything year round. I love pairing this dress with showstopping sunglasses and wearing open-toed block heels. It completes the effortless look and wearability in sunny LA. 

Akilah is wearing Back-to-Essence 100% Silk Dress in Night Sky in Size L and Back-to-Essence 100% Scrunchie in Night Sky.