Hi friends and thanks for joining me for my second GirlBoss Squad feature! If you’re new to the series I’ll give you a little spoiler alert – it has absolutely nothing to do with Sophia Amoruso. If you didn’t get that reference I highly suggest you start binge watching Netflix a little more often. 😉
What this series does have to do with is a little more personal. As a young professional and blogger in the Big Apple, my days are spent like many other New Yorkers… going to a 9-5 office job, working on a passion project on the side, shooting content for Instagram, attending various fitness classes, and connecting with friends (new and old), family and my boyfriend.
Believe me when I say, living in New York is a hustle. It pushes you, not only because it’s tough to survive here but also because you’re surrounded by ambitious people who are all chasing their dreams. What I’ve learned is you can either let the constant high energy bring you down or you can feed off it to fuel your own fire.
I’m choosing to do the latter and one of the best ways to do so is to surround yourself with inspiring women who are doing the same thing. That’s how this Girlboss Squad was born and I can’t wait to see how it grows each month! Without further adieu…
I’d love for you to meet Gillian O’Brien of “GillianOnIG“
She’s a bubble-tea loving, wellness obsessed Digital Marketer. She’s graduating from NYU with a degree in Nutrition and is pursuing a career in Social Media Marketing here in New York City.
Gillian and I originally met via Instagram (surprise, surprise) and connected in real life after she was sweet enough to ask if I’d like to collab back in January. After grabbing some coffee at Greecologies, we headed to a little studio to do our very first partner yoga shoot… and the rest was history! We’ve been pals ever since.
Gillian is quite a bit younger than me but I really respect her intelligence, ambition and overall positive energy. I remember watching one of her Insta Story talks about how she chooses to wake up at 6AM almost every day in order to be productive. Talk about #goals. I instantly flashed back to when I was in college and thought, “Damn, I’m pretty sure I never rolled out of bed before 9AM.” 😂
It’s these little tidbits of inspiration and overall passion for staying healthy while balancing a freelancing gig, interviews, and final exams that makes Gillian an amazing GirlBoss. Keep scrolling to read her interview and see some more pics from our yoga session at Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
PS – In case you’re wondering, our chic, matching attire is from JUJA Active!
Q. What is your favorite way to stay healthy?
A. Getting my heart rate up and sweating makes me feel the healthiest. I have a dance background so I really enjoy yoga, pilates, and barre. The movements in these workouts are more graceful, and incorporate flexibility. It feels very natural to my body.
Q. Describe your typical day
A. For right now – every single day is different! This has it’s pros and cons. Since I am a student still (ughhh), I don’t have a regular schedule like that of someone with a full time job. At the moment, the things I can count on daily are: working out + yoga, answering emails, nutrition-related school work/projects, coffee, content creation, and then seeing a friend or two. If I’m lucky, I’ll also squeeze in reading/writing in there somewhere.
Q. When and why did you start your Instagram?
A. I started my Instagram page and then my website as an experiment! When I was 20, I started working with a yoga startup as their social media manager. I didn’t have a lot of experience in digital marketing, but I found myself picking up on a lot of online behavior habits that I was just really fascinated by. At the time, I wasn’t very into social media and had about 300 followers on my personal Instagram page. I wanted to do a better job of creating beautiful content and story-telling, so I decided to use my own page as a grounds for experimenting with what I’d learned. After a few months, I was growing an audience on my personal page, and had picked up two other social media positions with companies. I started to really enjoy creating my own content and having conversations with people in the community. It’s been great to have my own page as an outlet and a means for trying different things – a personal page is much more low stakes than a company page! And since wellness is my (other, non-digital) passion, it only made sense that my page be wellness based 🙂
Q. How do you manage to balance college, freelancing and passion projects?
A. I don’t. Just kidding. It can be tough! I thought I had it all figured out a few weeks ago – now with graduation steadily approaching, I’m finding it a little difficult again. A lot of my time has gone back into school where I wish it was going into digital marketing. I think that I have to use selective attention and really be focused on the things that are immediate and high priority. I have a tendency to procrastinate by doing other work. At the end of the day though, the thing that helps me maintain any level of balance is to-do-lists and self check-ins. I have at least five ways of keeping to-do-lists. And as far as a self-check-in goes… if I’m not happy, if I’m physically restless, if I haven’t really taken care of myself… then I’m not going to do good work. I let myself see friends or go to the gym if I’m hitting a wall, mentally.
Q. What is your favorite fitness studio in NYC?
A. I have been really, really loving Pop Physique. I also love Sky Ting Yoga!
Q. What is a quote that you live by?
A. “I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
Q. What can people expect when they follow you on Instagram?
A. A little bit of yoga, a little bit of fashion, a lot of NYC, and probably a bunch of podcast recommendations.
Q. What do you think it means to be a #girlboss?
A. Being a girlboss means going above and beyond what is expected of you. Not settling for mediocrity. As a college student – no one expects me to work full time. But I do it anyway. No one asks or expects me to create content – but I work on that every day, anyway. I try to pass the mark of what other people expect of me and even what I expect of myself. I believe that I owe it to myself to exercise my abilities to their fullest extent. I hold the value that life is about people (and girlbosses) reaching their full potential.
Q. Any tips for other women who are hustling and trying to balance a busy schedule + their passions?
A. Make sure that whatever you are doing, you really, truly feel passionate about. That will carry you through all of the hard days. And once you’ve really decided that this is what you want to do, and you feel good about it – you have to tune out everyone else’s noise.
I hope you’re all feeling fresh and inspired after reading this post! Be sure to show Gillian some love by following her on Instagram. And if you work for a company that is in need of a kickass Social Media Manager you know who to contact. 🙂
I’m so happy to have connected with such incredible ladies here in NYC and I hope you’ll all come back next month for my next featured GirlBoss. For now I’ll leave you with this quote that I recently stumbled across and I think sums up everything that this “squad” is all about:
“No matter where you are in life, inspire and empower the women around you. Success is never reached alone. And wisdom and wealth are sweeter shared.” ~ MizzFIT
*Note: This post (and the amazing outfits we’re sporting in it) was sponsored by JUJA Active. Check out their website to shop our outfits! You can use discount code HHEELS15 for 15% off your purchase.