Marielou and I met in college but didn’t really become friends until about ten years later when I was visiting Los Angeles. I asked Facebook friends who wanted to hang out and she messaged me that she would show me around. We drove all over the city that night hopping out of the car at random intervals to take pictures along the way. From that day on I directly associated Marielou with the word ADVENTURE (yes, in all caps). In an industry that thrives on FOMO, envy is its currency, and aspirational is a dirty word, Marielou demonstrates how hard work, genuine gratitude, and a sense of humor makes you more than just your follower count.
Q: Origin story time – what were you doing before and what led you to this?
A: I grew up as a military kid that went six different elementary schools and experienced almost all types of natural disasters, including but not limited to hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanos! This kind of upbringing gave me the ability to talk to anyone, be flexible in any situation, and diverse AF. Lack of consistency led me to pursue a theatre major and two minors (mass communications and women’s studies) in college. This, in turn, drove me to move to LA to chase ‘the dream’ without really knowing what that dream was. I knew I loved entertainment and being in front of people so I pursued acting, hosting, and modeling for a long time. While I very much enjoy these things, the industry relies so much on other people’s opinions of you and I am not about letting other people decide my fate. Because of this, my side hustle game was strong. Let’s be honest; it always has been. To survive, I have done all sorts of jobs including server, casting assistant, agent assistant, retail associate, product sampler, demonstrator, tv/movie extra, pageant girl, stylist, dance studio manager, and brand ambassador. I am the type of person that is always looking to better myself and move up in the world.
Q: What resources and tools helped you grow your business/brand? (i.e. Self-learning, school, books, mentors) What would you recommend?
A: YOUTUBE!!! THE INTERNET!!! Beginner level learning is available to us at any moment! I’ve learned so much from wandering around the internet.
Q: What are some of the hardships and realities of being a female creator/owner in your industry?
A: People assuming the man on my team is the one in charge when I specifically introduce myself as the one in charge.
Q: How do you grow your network and community of clients/fans and collaborators?
A: Participate in the community! Feed the network, and the network will feed you. How do you do this?
1. Keep putting out content
2. Seek out other content you like and ENGAGE
Q: Time management – how do you fit it all in?
A: Oy. I do my best. Prioritize. And when things feel difficult, I keep telling myself ‘This isn’t hard, it’s easy!’
Q: What are some key personality traits needed to do what you do?
A: Problem-solving, patience, confidence, humility, creativity.
Q: Name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experiences.
A: Recently, a project that I worked on for basically free has turned out to be one of the things I am most proud of. I styled a flatlay shoot for Z-Palette that they used in their products. I was in Sephora and saw that my work in Sephora. Being a makeup junkie, I had a very emotional moment in that crowded store.
Q: If you were given $100 million, would you run things any differently? How so?
A: Aside from initially paying off the debt from previous business investments (all that gear!), I would use this money to create a dedicated creative studio to utilize myself, but also serve as a space to cultivate a community of creative females. I imagine it has a film studio, editing bays, work stations, meeting rooms, prop workshop, wardrobe, makeup, anything you might need to create. I would want to create a mentor program to empower and develop girls that want to work in production.
Q: In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
A: Remember that you must do it. Your creative journey is your duty. Your ART is not for you; it is for the world. If you put your work out there, it could potentially inspire one person. If you don’t put anything out, you have inspired nothing. You must do it!
Q: What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting out? (Or a piece of advice you’re glad you ignored?)
A: 1. Stop pretending and actually do it.
2. You may not fly today, but you will fly eventually.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first starting out?
A: I would have started sooner. I would not have allowed other people around me to deter my mission. I would have cut out negative influences sooner and just got to work! Do the thing! Whatever that thing is that keeps you up at night, that haunts your dreams, that nags you every day to start doing. Just start doing the thing. You probably won’t fly today, but you will fly eventually, but you must start doing.
Marielou is not afraid of whatever hard work is involved to “do the thing” because it means being in charge of her fate every step of the way. What extra work have you had to put in to achieve your goals that make your victory your own? Or better yet, what difficult tasks are you avoiding because it seems like too much? How are you going to go about breaking down those tasks to conquer your fate? Let us know in the comments below.