#QTPOC+ Of The Week | Diandra Marie, Media Personality & Content Creator
My name is Diandra Marie and I am a Media Personality and Content Creator. It's "weird" having to describe myself because I don't put myself into boxes. People have even told me I'm an enigma because you can't pinpoint me as easily as you think. And I get that--I'm outgoing, yet shy. I'm open, yet private. Not to mention, I pride myself on being sophisti-ratchet (sophisticated & ratchet). What can I say? I like my life to be well balanced. What is clear is that I am also a proud Black queer woman whose passion is creating web shows and getting to know people through interviews. Right now, I create content for my website, ItsDiandraMarie.com, where pop culture and lifestyle meet Black Girl Magic.
What's your background?
As far as my personal background, I'm from New Jersey, but I love going to NYC (even though I get lost EVERY time I'm in the city). In elementary through middle school, I grew up primarily around Black people. It was hard for me to fit in at first because my parents sheltered me from some the real-life situations my classmates were facing as pre-teens. Once I got to high school, my surroundings became more diverse since I went to a school outside of my town. College was the same way. I highlight my school experiences because it opened my eyes to so many life experiences outside of my sheltered bubble. I love getting to know people who aren't like me because they broaden my scope of the world.
For my background in entertaining, I’ve been “putting on a show” since I was a kid. From dancing, to acting, to rapping, to internet radio show hosting, I never wanted to feel limited with my creativity. A highlight of my college career was when I interned at SiriusXM. I first worked on OutQ—a station geared for LGBTQIA audiences. I interned on the Frank DeCaro show where I gained soundboard experience and learned more about talk radio. Then I had the opportunity to intern on Sway In The Morning with Sway Calloway, Heather B, & Tracy G. That was super dope because I was immersed in a fast paced, celebrities-as-guests, music programming show. I was able to take what I learned at my previous internships to be a stand out. If you watch some of the older videos, you might see me in a couple of them! Since then I've been working to make a name for myself on my own platform, interviewing the likes of comic Kia Comedy, Grammy nominated writer Gizzle, renaissance artist Fiyabomb!, Vin Rock of Naughty By Nature, and more.
What do you enjoy the most about "what you do"?
I genuinely love entertaining people and making them feel good about themselves. It's so easy to feel small and insignificant in a world with over 1 billion people, but I believe everyone is special and needed on this planet. I know what it's like to feel like an underdog and a pariah, so I always want people to feel the opposite. Whether I'm interviewing someone or have a viewer for one of my web shows, the point is to have that person smiling by the end or considering my perspective. Either way, I love when my content resonates with people to the point where they like, comment, or share with others.
What is the most challenging thing about "what you do"?
For me, it's getting my message across as clearly as possible. I believe we live in a world where everything and everyone is connected in some way. I also love connecting with different groups of people because I refuse to be one dimensional. With that being said, I have so many ideas and concepts that I want to share with the world, I sometimes link them together. It becomes a challenge for me when people try to pinpoint exactly what I do because I do (and say) so much. It doesn't help that I have the gift of gab, so I can literally talk about so many different things that my message can get lost. My remedy is A LOT of pre-planning and writing to make sure I'm being clear and concise. It’s one of those things I have to work at consistently in order for people to understand where I’m coming from.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
My inspiration came from a super disappointing situation. I developed a stronger relationship with God and started going to church regularly going on 3 years ago. At the time, I had an ex who basically hid me from her family, even though they really loved me as "her friend." Over the course of time, a couple of family members found out and her mom came for my ENTIRE life on multiple occasions because of my sexuality and relationship with her daughter. That was a super tough time for me because her family made up the majority of the church I was a member of. When things started really hitting the fan, I realized the "love" her and her family had for me was artificial. The experience was traumatic because I was made to believe something was wrong with me and God didn't love me.
I'm not the one to go for the "He said, she said" stuff, so I decided to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation to decipher how God really feels about me. That honestly changed my entire life and how I view the world. It took me about a year to complete, but to read for myself how much God loves ALL of His creations equally allowed me to finally become comfortable being a lesbian (which might sound like an oxymoron to some). Prior to that, I was only proud when I was around people who identified as LGBTQIA. That experience not only allowed me to realize and experience true love from God, but made me proud of my identity. Being that I want to increase my clout and platform, I can't allow myself to get caught up in every little negative thing people say about me. And when you can know who you are and love yourself, the outside world can't shake you so easily.
What is your dream project?
My dream project is creating an outlet for people who feel like they’re too insignificant to have a voice. In elementary and middle school, I was picked on a lot and never fit in with the "cool kids". I want to show people who have experienced the same thing that they are special and have a place on earth. I want to give voices to those who were told they don’t matter and won’t accomplish anything. While the process to gaining confidence starts within, there is still an interpersonal aspect I don’t want to ignore. How we treat others can shape how they view themselves and the rest of the world. With that being said, I want to bridge the gap between different groups of people to show that we have more in common than we like to admit. We live in a world where everyone has their own group or people and don't venture too much outside of them. I want to change that. I want to show people there's more than one way to live and experience life. While we may not all agree on everything, the point is open up the minds and hearts of people to encourage them to do better and treat people better. That's the ultimate goal of my platform.
What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
Two come to mind that parallel one another. The first came from Heather B when I worked at Sirius. She told me to “always give back to your team”. Granted, this was when I didn’t even have a website let alone a team of people working with me, but her words still play in my mind. Giving back to your team isn’t always money or huge fancy dinners, sometimes it’s going out of your way to buy a pizza for everyone. Sometimes it’s supporting their projects as they support yours. Letting people know they’re appreciated goes far and motivates people to continue working with you.
The other I got from Kevin Hart when he was on Sway In The Morning a few years back. He wasn’t talking to me directly, but I felt like he was. He was explaining how he was able to put his friends in positions to win so they could make their own money. That’s exactly what I want to do with my brand. I can’t pay my friends and family who help me right now, but I always think about the types of jobs they could have as things start picking up. I’m not the one to give handouts, so my people have to work hard, but I want them to grow with me so they can eventually get offered their own rates and be prosperous without me.
Name something you love outside of "what you do", and why.
I love to golf and read. I started learning how to golf a couple of years ago and it’s one of my favorite things to do. I’m no Tiger Woods, but I find solace in going to the driving range and practicing my swing, putting, and chipping. Last year I slacked and allowed my brand to take me away from practicing, but this year I’m going full force! With reading, it allows me to clear my head. It’s also another medium where I can learn about the world since I’m too broke to travel at the moment. One point I want to make about both of those things is that they allow me to be alone with my thoughts. I’m a naturally social person, so I’m around people a lot, however I love having moments where I can disconnect from my phone and enjoy what’s right in front of me.
What should we look out for and how can we keep up with you &/or your work?
I recently just completed a mini-series for Women's History Month titled #POW[H]ER. Each week, I released a new interview with remarkable women who are killing it in their industries. Amongst the four women is a clinical psychologist, a professional body builder & trainer, a Chief Claim Officer (CCO), and Digital Editor/Radio Show Host. I made sure to interview women in various industries so viewers feel represented and empowered regardless of their professional background. This show, along with my other web shows, can be found on ItsDiandraMarie.com.
Feel free to follow me on Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook @ItsDiandraMarie to keep up with new content I'm developing!