October is a special time of year––a unique time of transition and change. It’s the beginning of the end in a lot of ways, and you can literally feel it in the air. A crisp and refreshing feeling. We couldn’t have picked a better person to interview for this month’s newsletter than Poplinen friend, Simone Boyce, nationally recognized TV host and journalist whose work has been featured on MSNBC, Access Hollywood, MTV, the Today Show, and Nightly News (just to name a few). She’s a creator, a do-er, and an amazing mom. We don’t want to give too much away, but Simone’s career journey is an inspiring story of transition. What can happen when one decides to embrace ambition, but on their own terms with contentment leading the way. Enjoy!
POPLINEN (P): Hello, hello! Simone, could you share with our readers a little bit more about yourself and where you're from?
SIMONE (S): I moved around a bunch growing up, and those experiences definitely shaped the woman I am today. I was born in Los Angeles, then lived in Miami and Memphis as an adolescent before returning to LA to begin my career. I also spent several years in New York working as a reporter. Thanks to my two supportive parents, I really didn’t grow up having many limiting beliefs about myself or my potential. That came later, of course! Our home wasn’t perfect, but we had a lot of love and that makes all the difference.
(P): That's the core of what any family needs to thrive. Speaking of family, what has your career journey looked like as you transitioned into motherhood?
(S): I went from working in an incredibly fast-paced, high-pressured environment at one of the biggest media companies in the world, to being a part-time working mom in the suburbs of LA. My life has slowed down a lot, but it was my choice and I wouldn’t have it any other way. After having two kids back-to-back during the pandemic, I really felt returning to my job (one that required a dizzying amount of travel) was no longer an option for me. I didn’t want to miss out on these precious, fleeting, early years with my kids. Now I’m self-employed, and working as a correspondent and creator on my own terms. I’m doing less – and making less – but I’m so much happier and at peace with my work-life balance right now.
(P): I love your honesty and transparency about what the process has been for you. Definitely some hard choices there, but you prioritized what matters to you, and that's what's important here. What's something unexpected you've learned in that process that's been surprising or delightful?
(S): It’s delightful witnessing your world expand when you decide to live authentically and unapologetically. For the first time in a long time, I’m calling the shots. I’m honing my own voice as a creator and stepping out of the shadow of the legacy media corporations I once worked for. I’m not gonna lie––it is a messy, scrappy existence. It can be really hard to find the time and energy to work on my professional projects as the primary parent who watches the kids, cooks, cleans and handles drop-off and pick up. The self-employed life requires a lot of discipline, vulnerability, and proactivity, but I’d rather work for myself than some vanilla exec in a suit.
(P): Lol, love it. Where do you take inspiration from with your life's work?
(S): I’m inspired by other moms, high-achieving women, and the female friends I admire and respect. I definitely have a soft-spot for ambitious women who are trying to figure it all out. Community is essential for career advancement, particularly for women. When we unite, research shows we can help each other overcome things like imposter syndrome and bias in the workplace. I’ve also been really obsessed with Everest lately, as in the mountain in Nepal. I watched one documentary on Netflix and now I’m hooked. I’m super inspired by the dedicated and courageous mountaineers who attempt to reach the summit knowing they could die trying. It’s WILD!
(P): Super fascinating. It takes a certain kind of courage and person who wants to embrace that kind of risk. Who do you see as a role model or guiding light in life?
(S): As a broadcast journalist, my day one role model is Oprah. She’s touched so many lives by being such a powerful communicator. In my immediate circle though, my mom made some really courageous moves when she was a young working mom. I have even more respect and empathy for her now as I walk through similar experiences. Also, my aunt Kimberly is such an impressive entrepreneur and someone I look up to.
(P): Such a gift, you have some incredible women in your life. Ok, so when you've hit a wall or need some rest, what is something you do to retreat and relax?
(S): I love taking advantage of all the natural beauty California has to offer. I’m an outdoorsy, wellness-girlie so I love hiking, going to the beach, and working out.
(P): Those are all great options. Ok, a serious question, but also you don't have to get to serious on it. What's a time you missed the mark or "failed", but that experience turned into a great opportunity?
(S): I’m trying really hard to think of a specific example, but it’s tough to pick just one because there are hundreds of failures to choose from! I work in a highly competitive field, so I’ve been rejected many, many, many times. Collectively, all of these experiences helped me develop a thicker skin. The real test is not the rejection itself – it's how fast you recover from it. You just have to keep going.
(P): Amen to that. On that note, do you have a piece of advice or an encouraging word you'd like to leave for our readers?
(S): You are the writer, director and main character of your story. YOU control your thoughts, your happiness and your direction. If you’re not happy, make some moves! Life is too short to stay in a situation that’s misaligned with your values.