Creating Your Life with Vision: A Conversation with Bevy Smith
Hailing from Harlem, Bevy Smith is TV's go-to personality for on-air commentary that's honest, engaging, and always authentic to who she is — little brown Bevy. From her SiriusXM radio show to being a panelist on Wendy William's Style Squad, to her upcoming Page Six show, Bevy has created her [own] happiness through having the career she wants, and living life on her terms. When Bevy left her [very] luxurious, and comfortable Fashion AD Director career at 38, she started Dinner with Bevy and Life with Vision.
The first introduction to Bevy came through TV, and we later connected via Twitter; what she didn't know is that she was mentoring me through her morning inspirational stories, and when she opened attendance for a Life with Vision brunch – I knew I had to be there. It was early Fall of 2014 when I had the opportunity to [officially] meet Bevy at this brunch, and this meeting changed the course of my thinking and the direction I wanted to take my life. Bevy and I have stayed connected, and I recently had a conversation with her about what it means to have a clear vision for your life and how she used her story to create hers.
Congratulations on your upcoming Page Six Show; how did the show come about?
It came about because my agent sent me into an audition, but what was interesting about this [audition] — I wasn't interested in going. I'm always interested in meeting new people, but because I work with many celebrities, I can't [really] gossip about people. So with Page Six, I thought; I will not be able to do much on the show because of those [celebrity] relationships, and that goes into my Dinner with Bevy and my SiriusXM radio show, Bevelations. If I'm tearing them to shreds on TV, they're not going to want to come on my radio show. So, I went in to meet with them, and when I got to ABC Studios, I walked into a room filled with six or seven people, and we began to talk about the show.
I told them about me, and here's the thing: I give people the full scope of Bevy Smith, meaning; I take them from the beginning — my family, being raised in Harlem and how they shaped me, my career in fashion, quitting my job and believing in myself, and how I went from making [good] money to making very little money, and staying the course. I take them through the career trajectory of Bevy Smith, and at the end of it, we had a great time. My agent called, and they brought me back in for a chemistry test with different TV personalities that were auditioning. I got the job; we did the three-week test, and this Fall we will be full on.
Page Six is known for covering New York scandals and celebrity gossip. Can we expect the same from the show?
Page Six is a lot more than just that; they deal with real estate, international news, and if you go to Page Six today, you'll see a [wide] range of stories. So yes, gossip is the cornerstone, but it will be a great amalgamation of pop culture and what's moving the culture forward.
With your radio show, Bevelations, you cover a wide range of topics from fashion, and pop culture to politics, sex, health and wellness and motivational speaking. Why was it so important for you to cover these topics?
It's great because it's my show and Andy [Cohen] has given me full autonomy. I'm free to talk about whatever I want; we don't follow a structure of; today we're going to talk about XYZ. We look at what's going on in the news and what interests me or if we get a caller that needs dating advice or bra shopping advice, then we'll talk about that – it's an open forum type show. I'm having the most fun I've had since starting in entertainment just by doing Bevelations.
You had a very luxurious and successful career as a Fashion AD Director. If you stayed, do you believe you'd have the opportunities you have now?
NO! The business has changed so much; magazines are existing as platforms for the events and conferences they do. People aren't running out and buying them like they used to; they'll look at the website of a magazine or attend a conference they're putting on, but it's a dying breed.
Take me back to the day that you were in Milan when you realized that you were unhappy and knew this wasn't the life you wanted to live. What were you feeling?
I was feeling like I've done it and I've done it with great success; it was like treading water. I thrive on challenges, and I was at a point where I was not [challenged]. If I'm not satisfied in Milan after getting off a first-class flight with gifts from designers, then clearly I'm not happy in this space anymore; it was time to start plotting my escape. I was 33 then, but I didn't quit the business until I was 38 — it took five years of me trying to figure out how to go from point A to point B.
You knew what you didn't want to do, how did this guide you to what you wanted to do?
You know what's funny, I never thought about being an entrepreneur or being on TV; I pitched a few ideas to Vibe's President, and they were turned down; after that, I asked myself why was I waiting for permission to live the life I wanted to live. I kept going back hoping I would be granted permission – permission I didn't need, so I created my [own] way.
How did you create a clear, intentional vision?
I mapped out what I wanted to do and decided I wouldn't do work that didn't fall into those categories. I knew I could go back to a magazine, but that would be a signal to the world that Bevy's back, but I didn't want to put myself in that position — I made the decision I wasn't going back. Once I decided that, all the work I did from there would have to benefit me, and lead me to be a TV personality.
You learned from your parents how to love yourself and own your happiness. What do you do today to own your happiness and love every ounce of who you are?
My parents nurtured me as a little girl; they are older, which means they [really] wanted us and were happy to have us. We grew up in a household being doted upon, so when you go outside, you know there is something great about yourself because people love me. I understood very early on that I was attractive and deserved a seat at the table.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would love my legacy to be someone who always reached back and pulled people up. That I was a credit to the black race, to the female gender, and the human race; I [really] want to make sure people remember me at the core of who I am, not just my accolades. •
You can listen to Bevelations daily on SiriusXM's channel 102 at 6PM EST, and her upcoming Page Six show will premier this Fall.