She’s sweet, she’s smart, she’s sultry and successful. She’s Ms. Congeniality (America), Calynn M. Lawrence. At twenty three years young, she is a growingly accomplished ten-time award-winning serial entrepreneur with heavy involvement in the fashion and entertainment industries, as well as community service. As the Founder of The Fresh Faces Project, a nonprofit campaign that has provided free and discounted marketing/promo services to over 200 small businesses and talents, she has dedicated her time, energy and resources to making a difference in cities across her country and internationally. She is also the Executive Producer and Creator of the online reality series, Chicago Talent, that showcases local entrepreneurs and artists and has reached over 80,000 viewers online. Aside from this, she does a lot of community service work with organizations and nonprofits through her platform as a Media Personality and Pageant Titleholder.
In this interview, we are going to get SKIN DEEP with this Fashion Style Diva , Calynn, and get to the roots of some of her motivations. She allowed herself to be very open with us, and share some of her innermost thoughts.
What does it feel like to be so young and have made such an impact through your work and career?
Thank you. I am always grateful when someone thinks that my work has made a difference in somebody’s life. Truthfully, I don’t even know how to answer the question because I don’t feel all that young and because I always feel like I haven’t done enough. But, I can say that I am very grateful for the experiences that I’ve had in my career and in my personal life, and I have had to sacrifice so much to make the progress that I have, but I wouldn’t change it. My only goal is to keep on that same stride and continuously get better, stronger, faster with my work.
How did you get to where you are? What was your journey in life like to become the Calynn M. Lawrence who stands before people today?
I feel like it’s too cliche to say “Blood, Sweat and Tears” but honey please. I can’t even count the sleepless nights, how many times I’ve had to sacrifice and miss out in the pursuit of becoming this woman who I’m still striving to be. Growing up in a low-income neighborhood on the Southwest side of Chicago, I had two parents, Dawn and Tory, who loved their daughters and were considerably strict on us to ensure that we were successful and did not make some of the mistakes that we could have. In our household, whatever you pursued, you were gonna be the best at it. Honor roll all the time, seldom anything less. My sisters and I, Candyss and Camrynn, all graduated at the top of our classes in grade school, I was Valedictorian, and were able to get into very high-ranking Selective Enrollment highschools, and then all went to college. That was the standard.
So, my whole life I’ve been pushed to do well secularly and academically. All throughout high school, I was very actively involved in volunteer work at the school, as well as balancing my 3 years at Nordstrom as a Business Intern and my 6 months at H&M in sales advising. Things like school dances, extracurriculars, even Prom, were foreign concepts to me because I was always too busy doing things that were either for the purpose of furthering my career or making a difference in the community.
From there, I started The Fresh Faces Project and went on to study Business and Art in college. I freelanced all throughout school working as a publicist and a magazine editor for tens of publication. I eventually got the privilege to become a Cable TV Host for 2 years and host a live weekly broadcast that allowed me to meet and interview so many amazing entrepreneurs and talents from the African diaspora. From here, I started working my way up in office positions in Corporate America, and am currently the Assistant Director of a music school and a contracted Digital Marketing Manager for Chick-fil-A! Shoutout to my coworkers!
What’s the coolest part about having a career like yours? There must be some fun or glamorous aspects to your career, especially being in the fashion and entertainment industry?
There are some very exciting and “glamorous” aspects to my career. I’ve gotten to travel all over and work with some of the most exclusive events in the industry as a Media Personality and blogger. I’ve been to more red carpet affairs than I could think of. Being privileged to regularly attend such high-profile events such as New York Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week and even Paris Fashion Week last year has been nothing short of a dream. However, I still wouldn’t say those are “the coolest” parts of my job. The best part to me is the fact that I get to help people pursue their passions and chase their goals. I can’t even tell you the joy and inner peace that brings me.
When people meet you, what is their reaction? Do they compliment you on how your beauty or are they eager to chat with you about your experiences and opinions or do they shy away from you? Having won Ms. Congeniality (America), people must enjoy your company.
Thank you, again. I honestly couldn’t tell you a general first reaction that people have when they meet me. I do get some who will tell me how pretty or attractive they think I am and I do appreciate those compliments, but it doesn’t happen as much as people seem to think. However, my looks are not what I prefer to be remembered for anyway. Sex appeal fades, but a kind spirit is forever.
I’m truly not a shallow girl so people’s looks or money aren’t what really impress me, it’s what they’ve done in life and how have they worked to create change or better the lives of others, how they treat people. And, I want that to be the first and foremost thing that people praise me for, my huge heart and compassionate soul. Maybe that’s what people tend to sense about me and they can appreciate having someone like me in their corner. But, I’m no telepath so who am I to say?
Wow. That is so rare for a young woman who has so much to offer to have such a level head. That is surely a strength. What would you say is a weakness?
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that love is my Achilles’ heel. I think the first time I publicly spoke about it was when I was on the cover of Glorious Magazine in early 2018. I was in a pretty rough spot emotionally at that time due to a terrible heartbreak and was pretty candid about my views on love and relationships. I am a textbook hopeless romantic, and it was almost always my demise. My instincts in business are impeccable , but I’d always been bad at love. I’d give my all and everything to someone who wasn’t worth it (a few times) and literally ride or die for them to help them get to where they needed to be. Yet, in the end, I would be drained and unhappy because they weren’t giving me anything close to what I gave them.
You wanna talk about severe heartbreaks? I could tell you some real tear-jerkers because baby I have been through a lot and can speak to A LOT. People look at me on the outside and think I’m so put together, yet they don’t realize I’ve been reassembled a few times from being utterly crushed as a result of my last relationships. That’s why I’ve been single for a while now and will remain so until I find “the Joker to my Harley” who can appreciate and love me the way that I deserve.
Wow. That is so deep. With all you’ve been through, what kind of guy would you say is your dream guy? Who is your Knight In Shining Armour?
I love smart guys, especially those who are educated about things I don’t understand. I like a guy who can teach me a thing or two. I am crazy for creatives because I’m a creative and I love guys who are talented, passionate and artistic. As a strong woman, I really enjoy a man who is a natural born Leader. And, I also like guys who are funny because I can be a goofball! While I wouldn’t say that I’m in need of Prince Charming to sweep me off into Neverland and “save” me, I would say that I’m looking for a King who can rule alongside me. I learned a long time ago that “Waiting For Superman” isn’t anything but a Daughtry hit.
What’s next for you?
I’m not sure. I’m excited to see where my journey, i.e “My Living My Best Life Tour” will lead for the final destination. I just hope that it encompasses peace, joy and contentment.
Follow Calynn Online: @fairytalefacesbycalynn @calynnmlawrence
Check Out Her Blog: www.fashionthunderclap.blogspot.com