We had the good fortune of connecting with Vanessa Santos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Vanessa, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is a necessary evil. Growing up I was very much risk-averse due to the own limitations I put in my mind. Whenever I get asked what would you tell your younger self, it would be, “Do what you want & take more risks”. Now I use risk as fuel. A potential fear of failure stops us from taking risks – which is crazy. We are fearing outcomes that we don’t know will happen and base our decision on whether or not to take that risk on ‘what if’s. So I flip the question back and say to myself, “What if you succeed though?”. In doing that, I push past the fear that the ego has created in my mind and take that risk. I’ve taken risks such as applying for jobs I didn’t think I was qualified for, or moving to a new city, or starting a record label, or getting paid to consult, trying a new recipe, or even following through on an idea. Risks are necessary for moving forward and evolving. Lessons are learned when you take risks and today the role that risk plays in my life is that of a silent motivator telling me to keep going and not to give up.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a first-generation Latina, born and raised in NYC to an ambitious & musical Dominican father and a loving, hardworking & creative Ecuadorean mother. Growing up, I loved telling stories. I dreamt of having my own tv show (write & direct it too!), sing, and act. I was never confident enough to pursue those dreams and went to school for journalism and business instead. I channeled that energy into the business world where I’ve developed & launched award-winning strategies to amplify the presence of startups and corporate brands. With my deep love for telling stories and wanting to share career learnings, branding expertise, and lessons from my personal life, I created La Vida Glamour, a community for women looking to thrive in their careers, own their personal brand, and nourish their evolving self. Under the La Vida Glamour umbrella, I also freelance consult brands and entrepreneurs on their brand story and strategy. I also co-founded Bodega Records, where we write, co-produce and self publish all of the music for my partner and recording artist Derik Fein. Our record label allows me to fulfill my love for music.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m so lucky that through my 9-5 job at Mastercard, I’ve had the opportunity to see so much of the world. As a vegan, it’s very hard finding food that isn’t just bread, salad, or pasta! So when I discovered TVC in midtown, Miami, I was hooked. TVC is owned and run by the most adorable couple who wanted to bring their love of travel and cuisine to everyone but 100% vegan. Every friend I bring there is shocked that the food is so good! This is a must when you visit Miami, also I love that it’s not overpriced and you will be supporting a small business. If you find yourself in Nashville, where I live part-time, I highly recommend Graze in East Nashville. The food is out of this world, delicious and nutritious! What more can you ask for? 🙂
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There are so many people and things that I can credit for my success. First my mom, tia and Abuelita. Here you have 3 women who came to this country not knowing the language with all obstacles against them, yet they always looked at the glass half full. They have taught me to look at obstacles as opportunities and face them head on. It is certainly where my motivation comes from today. Second, I’m so grateful for my partner and husband Derik, he has shown me to open up emotionally which has made me a strong business leader. Why? Because when you are tuned into your emotions and the feeling of others you can be empathetic. Empathy is a much-overlooked quality necessary in the world we are living in today. The book ‘You are a badass’ by Jen Sincero and the Netflix special ‘The Call To Courage’ by Brene Brown changed my life. It helped awaken a part of me that I was too afraid to release because I was way too worried about what other people think. Finally, it takes a village of support whenever you launch a business and while my husband and I bootstrapped and continue to do so as a two-person team, the love and encouragement from our friends & family is what keeps us going.
Other: Tik Tok: @lavidaglamour
Vanessa Santos, Ashtin Paige