Arielle Egozi, Social Influencer + Speaker - @ladysavaj

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1. First of all, why are you "cool"?

Hahahaha — am I allowed to laugh as a response? I am not cool, and maybe that's why people think I am? I've definitely always done my own thing and somehow people have found that intriguing. I will say there is a lot of privilege involved. The more I've adhered to modern beauty standards, the more my radicalness and out-of-the-boxness has been deemed "cool". The times in my life when I've veered away from that (whether on purpose or not), my uniqueness hasn't been as openly embraced. I've always been honest and sincere and apparently that's like, refreshing or something. I also have a good eye and a good sense of taste. I'm not sure what that means but I know I have it. Putting those two things together I guess makes me able to navigate performatively "cool" spaces without necessarily performing... so then I'm just cool?? Idk, you're the expert on this.

2. Can you talk a little bit about how you got to where you are today?

Again — hahahaha. I did know literally no one a year and a half ago! I came to NYC for a job in media that I somehow managed to nab after eight interviews in between my shifts working at a retail store down the street from my high school. From the outside (and inside, let's be real), it was a shitty moment in my life, but it was also so important because I knew what I was going after, even when I had to hand former mean girls different shirts in the changing room.

I've worked really hard and really non-stop to get to where I'm at, wherever that is, because I believe so much in what I'm doing. I was writing about sexual trauma long before most publications would take a second look, I've been working to create safe spaces for the queer community long before that was seen as noble. Now people just happen to listen. I've also found my home in community here — there are *such* incredible women breaking down every barrier that I'm lucky enough to surround myself with, and the only reason I've been able to find a voice so quickly in the city is because people like you, Gabby, believed in me to do it. So here I am!

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3. What is the #1 thing you wish people who only know you from your social persona knew about you?

I really try my best to dispel any self-generated myths, so that if you've been following me for long enough, I do feel like most people have a pretty good sense of who I am and what I stand for. If you just take a cursory glance, then you probably think I'm a forever fierce sex goddess with no doubts about anything — and maybe somewhere deep inside me, yes that's true. But mostly I am awkward and confident and messy and learning what sexy means to me all at once.

4. You share very personal details on your IG (not just personal like “I had my period!” but personal like “I’m going through a breakup and struggling with self worth”). Do you have any insecurities that arise as you’re writing, or sharing, these posts?

Sometimes yes, but usually no. Also, the community that I have is so extremely validating and supportive that all I have to do is refresh the app, and I instantly know I made the right choice to share. I tend to feel pretty held by Instagram, which is such a lucky thing to feel on an app that is basically designed to not do that. I have a much scarier time sharing things on Facebook, for example, where I know my family is. By now on Instagram, people expect me to share that stuff, so it makes it easier.

The times when I feel most insecure are when I'm unsure about what I'm sharing. As long as I'm sharing what I know is my truth — whether that's heartbreak or constipation — I feel fine, because I know it's true to me. It's the times when there's a hint of performance or pretending like I know something I don't actually fully know that I feel some insecurity — like I'll be found out. I guess I actually play it safer than most. I'd rather everyone know up front how imperfect I am than go through the energy of building up everything around me to keep my story straight enough to make people believe I *am* perfect.

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5. Back when I used to put energy into my social presence, I used to worry that people would be disappointed by my real life personality (in comparison to my social one). Do you ever worry about this?

Once I started realizing people thought I was just having sex all the time or snapping my fingers in the face of any man I came across, I started sharing more of my process and actual feelings about those things, among others. I don't really do either in my actual life, but using my social persona is a good way to not just remind others, but myself, to practice my sexiness as well as my bitchiness. I am not bitchy at all, and it's something I'm working on getting better at! I used to feel a little shy, because people would meet me and expect a total badass bitch, and I felt like I was too smiley for them. But every day I become more and more of a bad ass bitch, and every day I understand more and more that me being smiley is part of that.

6. What are you most afraid of happening — both personally & career wise — in the next 5 years?

A few months ago, I was afraid I wouldn't be capable of making happen that what I knew needed to come true. Now I know that it all will come true and that I am not only one capable of making it happen. My biggest fear is not being ready to handle it. Already I'm having a really hard time balancing everything I need to, and for the first time in my life, I don't have the time or energy to even respond to my best friends' and family's messages. That's like, what I knew celebrities dealt with and sacrificed, not something I ever thought I'd have to consider. I want to keep pushing and creating and striving, but I recognize I have to be aware of balance, and the cost of building something at the cost of losing other things. On a personal level, I'm afraid of never healing my disassociation. I've been especially struggling with it for the last year, and although I'm too busy these days to even notice it, it's especially palpable in moments of stress or where I need to perform, like speaking engagements or high-stakes meetings or even on dates. Men still trigger me a lot, although I'm working really hard to heal that and it's working (??)

7. What are the 2 challenges you’re most proud of overcoming since you’ve moved to NYC?

God. Surviving being laid off five months after moving here and surviving a big break up 6 months after that? Those things feel trite to admit, but I feel like they've really just set the stage for me taking back my life here and creating it exactly as I want it. I wanted to leave New York until both those things happened. Now that I made the city mine, it's home.

8. Editor’s note: Those do not seem trite in the slightest. You’re a hero. Postmates canceled my order 15 minutes ago and it rattled me to the core and made me burst out into ugly sobs, so…yeah. I would know trite if I saw it. OK — Final question: If you could tell someone who wanted your life but thought they weren't "cool enough" just ONE THING, what would you tell them?

Bull shit. Buy yourself some fancy shoes and stare into your own eyes in the mirror. Shoes are for when you need to negotiate your salary or make a big decision. Staring at yourself every morning is so that you know that throughout the entire day, at least one person supports you and has your back — you. Also hoops. Hoops do wonders for the spirit.

Gabrielle Pedriani