Denise Vasi has it Maed.
The actress (lead on the hit show Single Ladies) mother to Lennox Mae, wife to director Anthony Mandler, and founder of Maed, the soon-to-be launched lifestyle site committed to impact. Self-care tops her list of priorities. As does fostering open and honest convo, whether that's with Lennox, or her hundreds of thousands of IG followers. Denise is constantly dolling out her truth with her own spin on old adages.
"One day, or day one. You decide."
"The past is a place of reference. Not a place of residence."
"Be soft, kind, and loving. But also take nobody's shit."
She doesn't settle and she doesn't want you to either. She has it "made" because she made it herself. A Brooklyn native, Vasi signed to Ford Models at the age of 12. "For modeling they said I was too tiny, I wasn’t Caucasian enough, I wasn’t African American enough, I wasn’t Latina enough. They kept saying no but I kept moving forward and fighting my way in everyone’s door."
And we're glad she did.
More from Denise below.
Name: Denise Vasi
Where do your drive and passion come from?
Launching Maed has always been about creating impact. Surely there will be shifts while the brand evolves but Maed strives to inspire others and that will always remain the heart of my brand. Being impactful is the force that drives me.
When you run into a career obstacle, what drives you forward?
I used to be easily stymied by obstacles, so I had to change my way of thinking. Knowing that any challenge at hand was actually an opportunity to educate myself, a chance to dig deeper, ask myself more questions and that ultimately from it all I would grow--- holding on to that is what pushes me through.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who don't deliver all that they say they will.
What are your biggest fears about running a business?
Letting my mind get in my way of my creative process.
What's something you'd like people to know about your job that they probably don’t?
That it's not a job it's a passion project. I love what I am creating and I love the community that I'm creating it for.
IYO-- How can we stay original when we are so saturated by other people's work?
I think because of the access we have today, it's hard to say 100 percent that we are not somewhat informed by others. That's not necessarily a bad thing. I do believe that the past informs the present and that to be great at what you do, you should study those that came before you. That being said there's a slippery slope between being influenced by and imitating someone's work or style. For me, I stay original by sticking to what I immediately gravitate to and staying true to my creative eye. When something does inspire me, I look at how I can dig deeper or build on the concept. Adding value to something is the most positive way to pay homage IMO. Also, you should always give credit where credit is due!
Being impactful is the force that drives me.
What about your career makes you feel the most complete?
That the path laid out for me is my own.
If you had to trade jobs with anyone else in the world, who would it be and why?
OPRAH... need I say more?!
At what point in your career did you find the confidence to really take charge and become the woman you are today?
I've always been on the journey to becoming the woman I am today whether I knew it in those exact moments or not. Things definitely changed after I gave birth to my daughter. Soon after, I figured out I wasn't ready to go back to acting. While I didn't exactly know what was next for me I felt so incredibly empowered-- I knew I could do anything.
What's the best advice you've ever been given? Or your favorite piece of #realtalk?
Build meaningful relationships and look at others in your space as potential partners. Rather than viewing them as competition try to create dynamic ways to collaborate.
When you hit a big bump in the road, how do you find a new road or a detour?
I sit back and evaluate the situation, then I make a list of all the possible solutions. Writing things down really helps me work thru things. I also have a group of 3-4 people that I reach out to when I need to brainstorm.
What song do you sing in the shower when you’ve had a bad day?
Whichever nursery song I listened to 72 times the night before while putting my daughter to sleep :)
Photo Credit: @davisfactor