Pause On The Play Ep 26

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Hello, hello and welcome back again to Pause On The Play. As always, it is amazing to see you here where you are challenged to examine your beliefs, question your predisposed notions, and consider realities you may be unfamiliar with in order to understand that they too are real. I am your host and conversation MC for the day, Erica Courdae, here to get the dialog going.

Erica Courdae:                   So today, back with my cohost, India Jackson, of Flaunt Your Fire and we have decided for those of you that may not be as familiar with us we are going to step back into let me introduce myself I am mode. So I am going to start by saying, hi India, who are you?

India Jackson:                    Hey, Erica, before we get to who am I and how am I they missed out on your rendition of Jay-Z.

Erica Courdae:                   Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Hov. OHH!

India Jackson:                    Aye.

Erica Courdae:                   Don't get me started. Copyright, not mine. Copyright belongs to whatever label that would go under at that point.

India Jackson:                    Sean Carter?

Erica Courdae:                   I was going to say I'm like, "I don't know where he was at that point." So there's that. That was a quote. It was not mine. Yeah, this is what our conversations look like in real life. We are these people, we are actual friends and being a fly on the wall is actually pretty flipping hilarious with us.

India Jackson:                    I think that's a important thing to note for the audience because we get asked so many questions about that. I think sometimes people are more interested in how we know each other than they are in anything else. I'm like, "What? I don't even know that's a thing."

Erica Courdae:                   I know. It's like I didn't think we were that interesting or that much of an anomaly, but apparently we are.

India Jackson:                    Aye.

Erica Courdae:                   It is what it is. So tell us about who India Jackson is.

India Jackson:                    Ooh, such a loaded question. I feel like I'm on the spot.

Erica Courdae:                   Just a little bit.

India Jackson:                    I think it's good to start with like, gosh, what I do. So I started out as a model. I was doing a lot of beauty modeling. So basically, from the chest/neck area up. I saw a lot of things in that industry. Some things I loved, some things I did not like. Prior to that, I always loved photography and yeah, just somewhere along the lines it just clicked that I could create a safer space for women than I was seeing by picking up the camera and helping them take control of their brand back and own their image, and decide what did they want their image to be, what kind of work did they want to do and I created images to help them get to that next place based on their goals. I think it was around the time that I had just started to photograph humans, meaning I was a baby in photography. I was still learning how to use my camera because I had never owned a professional one. That I went onto this a website. Ooh, should I say what website that is? I don't know.

Erica Courdae:                   Well I don't know if it still exists.

India Jackson:                    It does. It does.

Erica Courdae:                   Then don't.

India Jackson:                    Okay, so we're going to protect the website...

Erica Courdae:                   It's terrible. No, but it's not innocent.

India Jackson:                    It is not innocent. Let's just say a girl at the time did not know how to do makeup. I knew how to draw. I knew how to paint. I was an art major. Did not know how to do makeup. Damn sure didn't know how to do my own hair or anybody else's for that matter so I needed somebody from my photo shoots and I tried working with a few different people. I landed on somebody that sexually harassed one of my models. I got into this for one thing and to not have these things and landed on the thing. I was like, "I'm going to try one more person and if that don't work out I'm learning how to do this stuff myself." And lo and behold, here comes Erica Courdae, owner of Silver Immersion. Ping, boom, boom. Not only does she know how to do makeup she knew how to do hair. She was a licensed cosmetologist. She could hook up my hair that was a little bit fried at a time from all the different colors I had put in it and, she had a full team of artists to support my photo shoots.

Erica Courdae:                   Look at that.

India Jackson:                    I honestly think that's pretty much the gist of how we met each other.

Erica Courdae:                   It is.

India Jackson:                    I don't think we had much conversation before that photo shoot.

Erica Courdae:                   But that's the thing. It was easy and the biggest thing I think that made it so that we work well, worked well then and then still do is that we had similar ideals around respect and professionalism, and a level of, "I'm not going to put out something I would not want to receive." That doesn't always happen. So we really had that in common and that made it really easy to evolve through all of the different iterations of what we do and how we work together, and how we click personally and professionally and have grown to be closer over the years.

India Jackson:                    Oh my gosh, growth is a major word. So much has happened since that first photo shoot and you guys don't know, you're just listening to us rehash a story but I'm talking about this was like 2008. So this is a little long time ago that we met on that first photo shoot and just like your team showed up, showed out, did an amazing job and everything that we did after that was just on point and so professional that it was just really interesting to just see each other grow so much in our businesses and also just as fricking human beings from then until now.

Erica Courdae:                   Yes. Yes. And I will say that while I don't always understand why people are like, "Wow, how are you guys two women that work together and you've been friends." And I'm going to dispel the myth. Women can work together and actually be friends long-term. Don't let anybody tell you that it's not possible, it is. It is absolutely possible but it's just been very seamless to support each other and to watch the growth, and for it to really come from a place of support and cheering each other on and there's not this competition and, "Oh, you have something so that means I can't have it or you're taking something away from me." We don't operate like that and we never have and it just doesn't even cross our mind. So it's just like when these kinds of what a lot of people consider as typical female behavior comes up. It's like, "No, I don't do any of that stuff."

India Jackson:                    So I want to hear your backstory, Erica. Tell me about you and then I think we can catch it up to why that typical female behavior was never us, which might have led to us being friends beyond just the business space.

Erica Courdae:                   Yes. So for me, basically I have two businesses. I have Erica Courdae, which is my ... Hello, phone. I have not shut you off. That is my fault. See, look at that people. That's what happens. I have a beauty business called Silver Immersion that I've had a little over 10 years now and Erica Courdae is my coaching and consulting business, which is newer for me. Silver Immersion was what made it so that I came in contact with India and for me, I never planned on having it and I've been a cosmetologist for now over 20 years. I never wanted a salon, didn't really think about it, had no intentions of having a business. I'm like, "I don't want these things." It just evolved into this thing where I'm like, "Okay, well it looks like I can't find a place to work that I can best support my clients in the way that feels good to me." And when I started doing weddings and things like that I'm like, "Okay, people are giving me money so I guess this is a business so I'm going to go with this."

Erica Courdae:                   So Silver Immersion is my foray into what I call being an accidental entrepreneur. The beauty of me doing that was that was what gave me a foray into being on the radar to meet India. So that's one of the beautiful bonuses of what I've done, and me having been a cosmetologist I've always been someone that loved conversation. I've always been a talker. People felt comfortable talking to me. Before I started driving when I was a teenager I remember being on the bus and I'm like, "Why are these weird people telling me their stories? I don't know you. I don't understand this right now." So people, they just feel comfortable to talk with me and I'm being a hairstylist pretty much any woman will tell you like you will come in and lay all your burdens down. You feel comfortable in a way that this person is close enough yet not right there where you have to feel like, "Well, you know enough but yet I don't have to feel like Oh, if I tell you that or you going to say something or ..."

Erica Courdae:                   It's far enough removed that somehow there's this trust and comfort and vulnerability that they show when they come in that is just like, wow. So I've been in a position of supporting people, helping them through making choices and decisions and just listening and supporting. So when I decided that I wanted to actually do my coaching and consulting it's like, "Well, this is a very natural next step. I've been doing it. I might as well now do it officially and be paid for it." Let's be real. We have businesses to be paid. Just saying.

Erica Courdae:                   The beautiful thing is that over the years Silver Immersion continued to evolve, and when it moved to a place that I rebranded I brought in these ethics and values and beliefs that I held very dear and had always been a part of who and how I am that are around diversity and individuality, and just I felt like in my beauty business beauty wasn't shown enough when it came to women of all colors. Women of all sizes, women of all ages, same-sex marriages, which is a huge part of the platform of equality for me. I felt like beauty was shown in a very homogenous and singular way and I'm like, "Fuck that. I'm blowing holes in all this shit." So I rebranded and I was very vocal about who I stood for, how I stood for them and that if you did not agree with it I literally said, "Kick rocks." That was real for me and I still stand by that.

Erica Courdae:                   So when I started coaching it became very obvious that this was a part of my personal ethics and so it made perfect sense to bring diversity, and individuality, and equality, and empowerment and those types of qualities into the lens through which I coach. All of these evolutions that my professional life has taken over the years I've been extremely fortunate to have friends that have stuck with me, and India and I have both evolved greatly professionally and personally and it honestly just brought us closer and it's really been this amazing thing to watch how ... We complement each other very well and we're very fortunate to have each other. At least that's my take on it.

India Jackson:                    Ohhh, mushy.

Erica Courdae:                   See now.

India Jackson:                    This feels awkward.

Erica Courdae:                   I'm a mushy person. We don't tend to be mushy with each other though. That is accurate. I am a mush bucket. I will be the first to say yeah, I'm definitely warm fuzzy. However, as I just said, kick rocks. I have no problem pulling that out. Just saying. I will pull that out. So I think as you are showcasing what flaunting your fire really means I think that sharing with the audience what that means and what your mission is with that would be great because that gives some insight into who and how you are as an individual.

India Jackson:                    Yeah, definitely I totally agree. Even just thinking on some back story it's funny how we've completely supported each other fawning our fires in our own way. When you finally like broke down what a coach was for me because years ago I had no idea I was like, "Well, duh. You are doing this unpaid behind the chair listening to all our problems."

Erica Courdae:                   I know.. I know.

India Jackson:                    And I think when I came to you and was like, "So had this epiphany. We're not a photography business anymore. We're providing marketing and stuff. We should rename this. I think it's a visual marketing agency." You were like, "Duh."

Erica Courdae:                   Yeah, you've been doing it. You might as well do it.

India Jackson:                    Yeah, and I think that that's one of the things that I can say maybe it is the reason that people look at us as this unicorn is that it's very rare to have other people around you that can see these things and point them out and be like, "Hey." And there be this open environment to have that dialogue, to give each other constructive feedback, no hard feelings, no drama. I think it goes completely against what people are made to believe about females being friends with each other. That it has to be this catty, backstabbing, all this other stuff, jealousy.

Erica Courdae:                   Yep.

India Jackson:                    Yeah, it doesn't have to look like that.

Erica Courdae:                   No, it doesn't and the beautiful thing about it is that we have been very fortunate in that we are now in these circles that are still very woman-centric, but the level of support and just like, "You got this even when you don't see the possibilities for you. I see them for you and I will help you see it." I have never felt as supported and I hope that I can continue to say that because that would mean that it continues to grow, because I was someone that was raised to believe that women weren't friends, women weren't supportive, women weren't ... Everything was about competition. It was never just like, "Oh, this woman wants to be your friend just because." It was never given to me that way. So to be in this place of having all of this support and then to say that this person that is probably the only person short of my family, immediate family that I ... This is probably the only person that I pretty much talk to you every day and you know me well enough to know what's going on and when you need to put it bluntly when you need to put your foot in my ass because I need to get out of my own way. The-

India Jackson:                    For the listeners, there's not too much abuse that happens over here. I promise.

Erica Courdae:                   It's just a beautiful thing to see women empowering women and for us to do this with each other and then to step into these other circles, and to be able to continue to grow our relationship and then to just see what this can look like. That's why when people are like, "Oh, you guys are friends?" And we're like, "Yeah, we actually like each other. That's not fake." So it's nice to see that it's real and I think that it's a beautiful thing to understand that you can evolve and still maintain your core values, the things that matter to you. Because even though we are definitely the same people that we were when we initially met the things that actually make us not people that we are, it's either stayed the same or it's grown in a way that is parallel.

India Jackson:                    Yeah, I have to agree 100%. We're not necessarily going through the same things at the same time and I think that that can be a misconception that like, "Oh well, you have to be on the same level." So not true. We've grown at different spurts and in different ways, but I think there's always been a level of acceptance and openness and it really just being a judgment-free zone. That's been the biggest thing because we both had that story, for those of you that don't know mine, I also got the backstory that women are only out to get you, or they're going to be catty and all these other things. And I think we've really done a great job of proving to ourselves that that's not true separately and independently, but then also together.

Erica Courdae:                   Agree. Agree. So I feel like we get asked a lot maybe what is it that we're doing differently? I don't necessarily see that we're doing anything differently. Do you feel as though there's something that maybe makes our dynamic different that would stand out and maybe explain why our dynamic does work?

India Jackson:                    I think the biggest thing is just being judgment-free.

Erica Courdae:                   I can agree with that.

India Jackson:                    I would also say this should be the standard. I'm shitting on it intentionally, but-

Erica Courdae:                   Yeah.

India Jackson:                    But I think that a lot of relationships out there, whether they're familial, romantic, and even friendships have a certain level of expectation and obligation. I just think that we both have had a no bullshit, no tolerance zone about that with each other where it's never even needed to come up. We make agreements and if there's no agreement, there's no expectation and it sounds so simple. I wish it was easier to take that from one area and smear it to all the other relationships in life but somehow or another that's how we started it and that's where it's at now today almost what? 11? 12 years later?

Erica Courdae:                   Yep. Yep. And I-

India Jackson:                    Those seem like simple things, but they're huge.

Erica Courdae:                   Right. And I think that's why I really enjoy the things that we do together because it doesn't dilute what we do separately yet it gives us this space to allow these things that do overlap and intersect to bloom in this beautiful and very organic way. But it's ... People, I really wish I could give you some formula to make it this crazy thing that we did. It literally, it just is. It just is.

India Jackson:                    We might have to come back to this one because I feel like I should be giving some amazing friendship advice and I'm just like, "I don't know. We just show up."

Erica Courdae:                   And it's true but I think that that is a part. I think sometimes people are ... They're afraid of being judged. So showing up is not always that easy and being able to just be open, honest, authentic it's sometimes a struggle with yourself, let alone with someone else. So I could see how sometimes that is tough and you don't always know how things are going to work. We had no idea that this was what it would evolve into but I think that's the gift and the curse for both of us, because in a lot of ways we try to be open and just let things be and see what that happens and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work so great. But this is how we operate and so we choose to not lose that and let that go because, "Oh, this didn't go great. So I need to shut that off."

India Jackson:                    Yeah, I think it can be ... I don't want to look past the fact that we've had some very challenging conversations with each other that I don't even know if I would've been able to have with people I've dated in the past, or relationship I've had and different things like that. So I will say that that's probably a part of it, is that things can be challenging or uncomfortable, but we'll still talk about it anyway. I think that the more that we started stepping into that place of just living our truth out loud with each other and being willing to have the conversations, which is totally your thing.

Erica Courdae:                   It is.

India Jackson:                    It is. I think that the stronger our friendship got because I do think that many times people are afraid of having certain conversations with their friends because they think that they'll judge them. Maybe they're judging themselves, whatever it is behind that. But I think that when you can get past that there's a certain level of self-acceptance that can come from it, but also a strengthening of that bond.

Erica Courdae:                   I agree and I think sometimes the being able to admit it to somebody else has to come after admitting it and acknowledging it to yourself, because there's been things over the years that it would be difficult for me to go to India or anybody else with until I had wrapped my head it. I've had that happen and I think there's something to be said about having your own reconciliation before you share it with another and I think that that's a big part of our friendship. But I think we actually bring that into what we do professionally because we both are in a position of facilitating people to step into their light in and them actually acknowledging, and realizing, and acting on their full potential in these different areas. And you can't do anything for anybody else or out loud until you've worked on it within yourself for yourself.

Erica Courdae:                   So having that grasp on that I think gives us a good place to be able to be of support to others because we know what that looks like. We know what that feels like. The giving and the receiving end. We know what it is when it's not easy, when it's even painful, difficult as fuck. So, therefore, we have that insight of, "I know, I understand. Not because I know it all, but because I've been there. I get it."

India Jackson:                    I think one of the things that you said that stood out me too that I don't want the audience to miss is that when you needed to take some time for yourself and to really unpack some thoughts, I didn't push on it. I didn't probe, I didn't make you feel guilty because you're not sharing with your best friend. I gave you the space you needed and you knew that you had that and that if you wanted to talk about it, when you're ready to talk about it I'm here. So I think that that's a valuable piece too, is not pushing people. Letting them come and say and do things when they're ready.

Erica Courdae:                   Same. I think that that's something that we both benefit from within each other with how I've seen people that have friends that are like, "Well, what's going on? Tell me. I need to know." And it's like, "But this isn't about you. And that's something that we don't deal with. We could be on the phone for two hours and not ask the question, and minute one hour and 59 minutes and all of a sudden it's like now it all comes out and it's like, "Okay, there we are." Now we can go there because now this is the time to do it. Before was not the time and this isn't about me. I'm here to be supportive and it's whatever that looks like at that moment. If it's just a conversation that's completely unrelated to maybe whatever you're feeling at that moment, then so be it. So you have to allow space for things to unfold as they need to and I think that that's an important part of life.

India Jackson:                    Wow. So many takeaways on that. So I guess maybe we are unicorns than some way. I don't know. I think that these things should be standard, but I realize now that they're not.

Erica Courdae:                   No. Well, and we all have our work to do. So I think it's also worth acknowledging that it doesn't always work that way with everyone. So I think I want to challenge everyone to consider where is your space that you feel safe yet brave? I want you to think about that and embrace that, and acknowledge that person if you find that it is with a specific person in your life. Give people the flowers while they're here.

India Jackson:                    I agree completely and maybe even be open to strengthening that relationship.

Erica Courdae:                   Agree a hundred percent. Hundred percent. So I want you to take that. Again, think about it, toy with it, talk about it, journal on it, whatever is going to get you the awareness and takeaways that you need. If you want to come back and share with us, by all means, feel free but know that this is for you. So I like being able to share a little bit of that backstory. If you want more you can let us know, but as always I appreciate having India here with me. I appreciate having you, the listeners here. Thank you.

India Jackson:                    Thank you, guys.

Pause on a Play is one iteration of how we use conversation to create connection. Our one on one calls, is another. This is where you can get support on how your beliefs and values around diversity, equity and inclusion, are showing up for your business. How you vote with your dollars, how you are sharing your message to let people know that you curated a space with them in mind, that you want to talk with them and hold space with them to have a seat at the table.

Hop on over to today, and register for a complimentary tea time chat. These are our connection calls, so we can hop on, discuss your needs, and create a plan of action that's personalized for your brand to further it's evolution.

The conversations we have here are to normalize the challenging things and make them a part of your normal exchanges. This is how we remove stigma and create real change and connection, cross lines and recreate boundaries to support, not separate.

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I love being here and creating the bridge for you to walk over to become the change that you want to see. Join us next time, and until then, keep the dialogue going. Bye.


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