“For me, work-life balance is about leaving New York and having other things to look forward to outside of work. And it also seems to change my relationship with rest.”
Shelby Ivey Christie is a fashion and costume historian, and a recipient of the Forbes 30 Under 30 award, with a passion for the way Black History intersects with fashion. Alongside her full-time career, Christie is also currently working to complete a Masters in Costume Studies at NYU, and she regularly shares leaks of her wealth of fashion knowledge on Instagram and Indonesia.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Kick-off: “I do my meditation videos in the morning. I have ADHD, so it helps me focus and calm my mind…and then soon after that I have to shower and drink coffee. If I don’t drink coffee, I’m not the same person.”
Not-so-average average day: “I am a brand activation manager for a luxury brand and I usually receive calls from 7:30am to match EU time, as many luxury clients are based in Europe…[After work] I have a call with me [publicist] to discuss engagement and programming in my secondary role as a costume and fashion historian, or we have a call with my agent at CAA about a script we’re writing, a TV show we’re launching.”
In the device: “I am a recorder. I have a checklist for my checklist for my checklist. So I use the standard Apple Notes app… Pinterest is probably my second organizational tool. I love Pinterest because I have ADHD, and social media can overwhelm me. Whereas Pinterest is like a social media platform where there are no constant updates or alerts…My email goes to my manager, but we collaborate to manage it.”
Setting goals: “I set very aggressive goals for myself, and I place a lot of demands on myself and my team. And that probably comes from working in a fashion environment [and] posh neighborhoods, where there were only one or two black people. Having to work at a higher level of excellence has forced me to function that way…In my personal life, it’s the same…Something I talk about with my friends and family is [buying] a house, maybe in the next three years.”
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Prioritize relaxation: “If I am very, very stressed [and] really need a good rest, I’m going to take a shower…And I like to cook; that’s my quarantine hobby. So I try to cook every night if I can… That’s my time of the night after I close.”
Bring help: “Working full time, it was a workload issue… I knew I needed help. And also just being a strategic person. Working on the fashion side of the business, I know how to raise my hand, and I know what functions I have, and what functions I don’t. PR is not my function. But also, it’s important to me as a black woman to have a barrier… You want to have rep to defuse those difficult conversations. You don’t want to be the one arguing about fees and rates, and then you have to show up to sit down with the same team.”
Room for improvement: “Work-life balance is an ongoing process. We never really got it right… This year was probably the first time I had a real work-life balance, because I left New York. In New York, we always go and go and go; we never really stop to think about our goals or rest our minds to even process what we went through that day. I’ve also done better about shopping…my self-care used to be, since I killed myself this week and set myself on fire, I’ll be buying myself something. But now that I’m getting better with self-care, I’m like, ‘Okay, you had a healthy, balanced week, so you don’t have to buy yourself anything.’”—MW