Get to Know Tai Beauchamp, Style Expert and Host of TLC's "Dare to Wear"
Tai Beauchamp's passion for uplifting young women through style is the key to her success and glow — but an A-list worthy skincare regimen helps, too. With New York Fashion Week well underway, the former editor at O, The Oprah Magazine and Essence grabbed a latte with Levo to dish about her professional journey, her advice for millennials who aspire to work in fashion, and even some real talk about freezing her eggs in preparation for IVF.
Q: "Dare to Wear" is a hit. What makes it such a fan favorite?
A: It takes two women with completely opposite styles, brings them together, and says, "You know what? You've been in this funk and this style shit show, right? You need to mix it up." And I have them swap clothes. It's powerful because our clothes say so much about who we are and what we want to communicate, and it’s a real learning experience for the women.
Q: Can you think back to the first time you knew that clothes and style could be powerful?
A: My grandmother, who is one of my greatest inspirations, raised three kids, went to college, went to grad school, helped raise me because my mom was a teenager when I was born, and always looked fly. I saw how dressing was her power — maybe because, in some ways, she was dressing up for when she felt like shit. That was when I first saw how transformative style could be.
Q: What are some of the building blocks that helped you achieve success in your career?
A: A lot of young people tell me they want to be a TV personality, and I'm like, "Listen, being a personality is not about having something to say. It's more about having a real voice, and the way you develop your voice is living." I think understanding my voice and how to present it to the world is what really did it. I also recommend improv classes — they're not only great for TV but also for public speaking, interviews, and sales because it teaches you to be fast, responsive, and reactive.
Q: his time last year you had a "coming out" of sorts. You confessed to Essence that in 2013, as a 35th birthday gift to yourself, you had ten of your eggs frozen. What was that like?
A: It was more just being thoughtful, because I know I want to be a mom. I have some older friends who are really powerful executives, and when I was 28 and working in publishing they said to me, "You're on this fast track professionally. You have to freeze your eggs." And I was like, "What?" I said when I turn 35, if I'm not tied to anyone, I'm going to do it. It's just insurance. And I really do believe that in 10 years, we're going to be living in a time where it's standard.
Q: Agreed. Companies like Facebook are paying for IVF.
A: Obviously when you look at international policy and how women, parents, and families are really supported and treated in other countries, it's unfortunate that we have the expectation of women to hurry up and get pregnant, when [egg freezing and the coverage] should be standard. But also I wanted this to be a conversation starter and check-in moment for women — and young women, especially — to look sooner at their lives holistically.
Q: Where are you in the process now?
A: Trying to date, and being very, very intentional about that. It’s interesting.
Q: What do you mean by interesting?
A: I was the beauty director at Seventeen by the age of 25. Back then, I didn't exactly know how to be vulnerable in my personal life because I always had to have this armor, like I always had it together. Now that I'm more mature, it's like in order to get to the place where I'm really partnering with anyone, there needs to be understanding that there's a value for partnership. That requires some vulnerability. That requires a lot more effort and attention and focus on it than being cavalier and thinking, "He's just going to pop up some day."
Q: What helps you remain that centered and focused?
A: It's important to figure out what your impact can and will be. Impact is your opportunity to be in service to others and to yourself. What can others extract from my experiences? And then will I feel empowered and good at the end of what I’m doing? If your boss assigns you a task — What will my impact be here? What can I learn and extract to feel empowered for myself? When you do that, you're able to really feel a lot better about the task at hand, even if it's the most mundane thing. That's one thing that I try to do with projects that I work on.
Q: What advice would you give your 25-year old self or young millennials?
A: I would tell my 25-year-old self that this is only the beginning, so don't treat it like the finale. You're just getting started. You're 25 years old. If you approach life understanding that this is a setup, it is a building block time, then that's an opportunity.
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Photo Credit: Levo, Courtesy of TLC