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3 Women on the Joys (and Challenges) of Loving Their Jobs
04.24.18

In partnership with YOOX.

Man Repeller’s Operations Manager Crystal Anderson often remarks that experiences are the new luxury good. In the current age of entrepreneurialism, backslash careers (e.g. writer/astronaut or ballerina/firefighter/comedian) and self-started success, I’m starting to think the prospect of turning a personal passion into a sustainable profession qualifies as one, too: Doing something you find wholly fulfilling day in and day out is a new iteration of opulence, not necessarily in a material sense, but certainly in an emotional one.

While reaching this objective is broadly encouraged, perhaps even glorified, the hard work that goes into it, not to mention the challenge of leaping into the unknown in the first place, is perhaps the most interesting part. For the third installment of Man Repeller’s three-part series in partnership with YOOX, I spoke with three women well-versed in both the challenges and rewards of turning a passion into a career. I also styled them in luxurious looks from YOOX, because even though the biggest luxury is doing what you love, an occasional elbow-length glove never hurt anyone. Read their answers and peep their outfits below.


Quiana Parks

Quiana is a contemporary artist and DJ. 

What do you do for a living, and why do you do it?

I am an artist and a DJ. I do what I do because it’s what makes me happy.

Tell me about the moment you realized this was the right path for you, and what it felt like to embrace the decision.

I’ve always been a painter. I don’t think there was a specific moment when I realized I wanted to do it. I’ve always felt like it’s my birthright. With deejaying, it was different. For my third gig, I opened for The Misshapes and Chromeo. I was playing Azealia Banks and Stevie Wonder when Pee-Thug from Chromeo came to the DJ booth to compliment my sound. As a huge Chromeo fan, I was truly honored and thought to myself, “Damn, I may be on to something.”

What is the most challenging thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

My emotions. What can I say? I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my sh*t! I love what I do, but it’s not always easy dealing with clients, social media, finances, expectations and disappointments. I have an art show coming up, and I’m trying to communicate the best way to display my work because it is so personal to me. It’s challenging when not everyone understands my vision. That’s why it’s important to have people in my life whose perspectives I can trust. I’m super fortunate to have a great support system. They help me keep my head up when I’m feeling down. Like Cardi B says, “Knock me down 9 times, but I get up 10.”

What is the most luxurious thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

I don’t have to ask for permission to do the things I want to do – I wake up and ask myself how I want to start my day, and I make it happen, no excuses. I tell myself what to do, and I hold myself accountable. If that type of freedom isn’t a luxury, I don’t know what is.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t feel fulfilled by his or her job?

Find what makes you happy, then figure out how to get paid to do it; where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Change your perspective on failure and understand that mistakes or obstacles are lessons on how to do things better. Never be afraid of learning how to improve.


Chloe Kernaghan

Chloe is a yoga teacher and the founder of SKY TING YOGA

What do you do for a living, and why do you do it?

I’m a yoga studio owner, yoga teacher and I still do freelance choreography in my spare time. I do these things because of the support and insight that yoga and dance have given me through the years. I always joke that I speak body language better than I speak the English language, but in all seriousness, I’ve been attracted to working with physical form from a very young age. To teach from my experiences brings me great joy, and I consider it an honor to be a teacher and run a business supporting other great teachers.

Tell me about the moment you realized this was the right path for you, and what it felt like to embrace the decision.

I was leading a sailing/yoga retreat in the British Virgin Islands (tough life, I know) when my best friend and now-business partner Krissy Jones proposed the idea of opening up a yoga studio together. At that point I had been teaching yoga a few years and dancing all my life, so movement and working in the body was already my chosen path, but the idea of branching out and opening our own business really flabbergasted me. Beyond simply being scary, it would also tie me down in one place, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to that.

One morning, though, I got up before anyone else was awake and sat on the deck to meditate and found myself having a sort of “if not now, then when?” inner dialogue. I realized I was projecting so much on what the future might look like that I wasn’t living in the present. I told Krissy I was in, and haven’t looked back since!

What is the most challenging thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

The most challenging thing is not letting the career side overpower the passion side. The first two years after we opened SKY TING, it consumed a lot of my personal time and energy. My whole world became SKY TING, and thinking about how to keep building the business and improving programming/operations. There were many moments where my personal yoga practice suffered because I would put work first. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much of a better teacher, boss and person I was when I was able to consistently practice. That time with myself is also often when I come up with new ideas and opportunities for where our business can grow.

What is the most luxurious thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

The luxury for me is getting to take classes from some of the best teachers in New York at SKY TING. It’s part of my job to know what everyone is teaching, but it feels more like an indulgent, daily “treat yourself” moment. I really do love yoga and most especially being a student of yoga, so getting to practice as part of my job is THE BEST!

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t feel fulfilled by his or her job?

Having a passion is important. I think your passion doesn’t always have to equate to your job right away, or at all. When I first started teaching yoga and doing freelance choreography, I worked in a restaurant and an office job to make ends meet. I know many yoga teachers who have full-time jobs and teach yoga in their spare time, not for money but because they love it! There is no one-size-fits-all formula that works for everyone, so I think if you are feeling unfulfilled with work, identify what actually inspires you and set aside sacred time in your week to indulge. Perhaps a hobby that isn’t initially for financial gain will turn into a business that can support you, perhaps not. But I truly believe we all have a purpose on this Earth, and it is your responsibility to discover what that is for you! Living with a purpose helps me show up for myself and everyone around me.


Adriana Urbina

Adriana is the executive chef at De Maria.

What do you do for a living, and why do you do it?

I became a chef because I love eating and cooking for others. I am currently the executive chef for the chic, female-led restaurant, De Maria.

Tell me about the moment you realized this was the right path for you, and what it felt like to embrace the decision.

Ten years ago, I was living in Venezuela and very sad about something I was going through. During that period, I started cooking a lot more than usual, and I started feeling better and better. I realized it wasn’t a coincidence. Cooking brings me to a happy place that is unlike anything else. The joy I get from it is unconditional and always there for me.

When I decided I wanted to become a professional chef, my sister supported me from the start. She helped me convince my parents to let me do it. My parents were scared because becoming a chef at that time in Venezuela was very hard. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but that only gave me more determination to prove I was making the right the decision. It was, and is, very important for me to inspire others to follow their dreams like I followed mine.

What is the most challenging thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

Taking criticism is one of the most challenging things about this job. I put so much thought and love into everything that I create, so it is very tough when someone critiques my work. My parents have always been my biggest critics. At the beginning of my career as a chef, I frequently got angry with myself because I wanted everything to be perfect, but I came to realize that this mentality was not helping me grow as a chef. When my parents gave me critical feedback, I started listening to them and trying to understand why some flavors were not working. I also began reading more and practicing recipes whenever I could.

What is the most luxurious thing about having a career that is also a personal passion?

The fact that my career isn’t just a means to an end feels incredibly luxurious. I live to work instead of working to live.

What advice would you give to someone who doesn’t feel fulfilled by his or her job?

I would say to them that life is too short and that taking the risk is always worth it when you get to do what you love every day of your life.

Photos by Edith Young. Styled by Harling Ross.

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