Last week, I had the opportunity to sit and talk with Anissa Rochester, CEO of Beauty Within TV. We decided to meet during fashion week so she could not only tell me about herself and BWTV, but to fill us in on Fashion Week. Our meeting place was at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.
I started the interview with getting a better feel of who Anissa is. She has been in the entertainment industry for years. Since the age of 19, she’s been a fit model, actress and toured as a dancer. So she’s no stranger to the field of entertainment. Anissa graduated from LIU with a degree in media arts. When she decided to pursue her love for acting and dancing, she received a scholarship to NYU’s theatre program. When Anissa found out she was pregnant, she decided to go another route. Somewhere down the line, she mixed her knowledge of beauty and fashion with her media skills and created Beauty Within TV.
Here’s a deeper glimpse of the interview:
Miss Jones: How would you describe BWTV for readers that may not know?
Anissa Rochester: Beauty Within is an outlet to inspire women, ages 18-30, to believe and fulfill their dreams. I’m passionate about helping others to pursue their dreams and finding their inner beauty. BWTV started out as a television program on public access, where we interviewed many celebrities. Ranging from Kerri Washington, Kim Kardashian, Tina Fey, Miguel, R. Kelly, Sherri Shepherd, Iman, and several others. BWTV also had the opportunity to cover red carpet events, including the TLC Story and The Best Man Holiday. About two years ago we relaunched with an entertainment website.
MJ: What was one of your most memorable interviews?
AR: I would say that my interview with Iman was the most memorable and inspiring. She was so nice and classy. She treated us with respect being a small unrecognizable name. There are many celebrities who don’t take the time to support your passion. However, she was the complete opposite. Iman was very welcoming as well as professional.
MJ: How have you applied your passion for helping others rediscover their inner beauty as well as fulfill their dreams?
AR: In my experience of business and fashion, I’ve done a few workshops in schools for young girls. We split them up in different groups and gave them their own fashion houses and taught them about the business of fashion, rather than just the model aspect. There’s more behind a pretty face. All the groups were given the task of creating a name and an idea for a logo. After that was done, each of them were assigned a specific task. For example, one of the girls may have been a stylist, while another was on the financial end. They were given paper dolls and asked to design different things. Then they had to write a proposal showing how they planned to be successful based on their ideas.
MJ: What grade/age group did you work with?
AR: This particular session was with 4-6th graders. I also did another program with 12th graders on their way to college, it was the Beauty Within mentoring program. We came at the very end of the year, they’d all been gotten accepted into college. We partnered with another organization that prepared them for school. My segment was to do makeovers, and we posed the question “what makes you beauty within?” We also asked what motivates and inspires them. I was very surprised by the answers I received.
As we continued on with this topic of mentoring, I saw this as a great opportunity for these girls at such a young age. I’m sure it will most definitely lead them down the right path. Anissa plans to continue to do more hands on activities and projects with young people as soon as the next phase of BWTV has launched.
MJ: What’s next for BWTV?
AR: BWTV will be launching a magazine in October. It will be another outlet to deliver what we cover on the site. With something tangible, it’ll be a faster way to reach and build our audience. We will have fashion content, as well as various celebrity interviews. On the cover of our first issue will be Fifth Harmony, an all girls group that started on XFactor.
MJ: What are some of the struggles you had to face in this industry?
AR: One of my biggest struggles were finances and funding. As entrepreneurs starting out, we just don’t have the money. Which can lead to frustration. I’m still an artist, so as artists, we get frustrated easily because we want to live our passion. I didn’t just want to work at any mediocre job. Even if it was a job on wall street, I didn’t necessarily want to do it because it wasn’t my passion. But I had to work jobs that I didn’t want to work in order to make money and still do this at the same time. Funding is very difficult. But you have to have perseverance and resilience. I could’ve quit a long time ago when we were just a program on public access. I had camera guys not show up for interviews and hosts that would argue with me and not show up. I didn’t have much money and most of them were working for free. Working on a zero budget, everything came out polished. Even my team now is comprised of interns who only receive a stipend or credit for school. It’s been a struggle, but when people see my work, they know it’s polished. My work speaks for itself, therefore people believe in it. This also shows my leadership skills, to have as many people as I’ve had work with me with no budget says a lot.
MJ: What are some of the results you began to see thus far?
AR: I would say completion and growth. To see how far I’ve come, close to completing and accomplishing my goal is the most fulfilling thing. The connections that I’ve made are also great results. It’s all about who you know. I’ve learned not to burn bridges. My network is my net-worth.
MJ: What would you say your ultimate accomplishment would be?
AR: My ultimate accomplishment would be for BWTV to be known nationally/worldwide. I hope to gain more finances to expand my company, build my team and create jobs. I ultimately want to grow.
MJ: What advice would you give a young person that desires to go down the same path as you?
AR: I would tell them to make sure they have a great support system to surround and encourage them. If finances are an issue, don’t let that stop them. Continue to pursue your dream. Also sit back and reflect, make sure this is really what you want. And don’t be afraid to try different things until you find exactly what fits you.
MJ: So let’s talk Fashion Week
AR: I thoroughly enjoyed this week. I attended many shows, but the Michael Castillo show was my favorite. David Tlale’s show made me feel like I belonged with the African rituals. However, Castillo’s designs were amazing. My favorites were the long gowns.
Lovely Miss Jones is just as passionate about helping others, so I commend Anissa and BWTV for the work that she is putting forth and look forward to working with her soon. To stay up to date on the upcoming magazine as well as other exciting ventures coming from BWTV, visit the website, beautywithintv.com and follow on instagram @beautywithintv. You won’t be disappointed!