Voices: Michelene J Wilkerson

Michelene J Wilkerson 

(PC: Emily Hlavac Green @Emilyhvlacgreeen)

Michelene J Wilkerson, is a passionate curator dedicated to showcasing and expanding black culture through digital media. She is the Brand Partnerships Coordinator at The Wing, a network of work and community spaces made for women. She is also the developer behind Dropt, a platform created for emerging artists to drop their creative projects. Check out our Q&A with her below.  

What is one word you'd use to describe Governors Island and why?

Tranquil. When I’m on Governors Island I feel at peace. It’s an escape from all
the skyscrapers, the funky subway odors, and the non-stop action of NYC. I can reconnect with nature without having to go far away. It’s my minimalist getaway.

Describe the first time you visited. Was it different than what you expected?

The first time I visited, I was shocked at the beauty of the island! I was equally
shocked that on a normal day it is never crowded (did I mention it only costs $2). I felt like I found my little secret garden. The lush, rolling hills sort of bring me back to South Africa.

What are your favorite activities to do on Governors Island?

You can find me sitting on a patio chair spacing out by the water (it’s the Cancer in me. Solange is my mom). It sounds boring but for me it’s essential. I used to love to take doing photoshoots on Governors Island, but it’s surprisingly large so lugging camera equipment can get tiring very quickly. But you can actually camp out on the island now, so hopefully, I can do that once this summer.

You're a busy woman, currently working at The Wing on Brand Partnerships
and developing Dropt, a platform that will allow artists to showcase and
monetize their best creative projects. Tell us a little bit about a day in the life of
Michelene.

The days are long, but they speed by quickly. There’s always something new
happening. At The Wing, I feel like there’s a surprise at least once in the day. For instance, when I first joined Brand Partnerships, the first project I was assigned to was Instagram. Just two weeks ago I was traveling with my boss as we went to execute an event series we had started with Saks Fifth Avenue. After work, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m in Newark at Digitalundivided’s incubator working on Dropt. During those sessions, I’m either building my project, or I’m getting coaching from mentors. On those nights I don’t get home until 11:30 PM. Plus I take care of my mom.

It’s overwhelming, but I’m learning to manage it in a much healthier way! I’m
currently taking full advantage of summer Fridays, and I fiercely protect my
Saturdays from any work (both The Wing and Dropt). I treat those times like my
Sabbath. There’s nothing worse than being mentally, emotionally, and physically burnt out. Been there and never want to do it again. As a society, we have to stop celebrating this sleep-when-I-die mentality, and we have to stop celebrating businesspeople who sacrifice everything to gain their success. So I’m pacing myself and taking my time. I don’t need to rush. Thanks for listening to my Ted Talk.

What holy grail beauty product(s) are always in your handbag?

Growing up, my mom was au naturale. She wore one thing and one thing
only---lipstick. I’ve taken after her footsteps on that. So here’s what you
can find in my bag: Mented’s Dope Taupe lipstick, Too Faced’s Lip
Injection, sunscreen (I don’t sunburn but I develop sunspots really easily),
and Mario Badescu facial spray. To all my women with full lips, don’t ever
let haters tell you you can’t use lip plumper!!!

Which Mented lippie is your favorite?

I needed Dope Taupe my entire life. I got Dope Taupe in my bag, swag.

Keep up with Michelene @Michelena__