We had the good fortune of connecting with Debra Oh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debra, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is definitely something I struggle with since my schedule can get very demanding but it’s something I’ve prioritized more now as well. I used to go days without eating or sleeping locked away in my room just trying to make sure I could be the first when it comes to breaking news. But I will never forget September 2019 when I literally fainted at a friends birthday activity because I hadn’t eaten or slept the night before …barely that week in general. I remember I woke up on the ground and I had badly injured my mouth and chipped a tooth. I knew from that day forward that I would prioritize my work life balance more intentionally. At the end, you can’t work at your best if you aren’t at your best and I had to learn that the hard way. Now I make sure that every Friday I do something for myself in the self care department. Whether it be going to get my nails done, get a massage, exercise/hike. I tune out the world and just solely focus on energy that brings relaxation and positivity. I definitely travel a lot more now too because traveling is also therapeutic for me and my creativity. It has definitely helped me tremendously with my creativity and just my peace of mind.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I love being a writer/creative because I love storytelling and I love telling my own stories. As an African woman, our stories are sometimes told in spite of us not for us. I grew up tired of seeing the same storyline when it comes to the dark skin Black women or just Black people in general. I developed a world for myself I could escape from and created it to be everything I wanted it to be. Because of this I have been able to sustain longevity in this industry because of the passion I have for it. I currently work for HipHollywood where I work as the Social Media Director and what I love about this platform is I’m surrounded by real journalists who also understand and respect my craft as a digital creative. I also get to wear many other hats which includes producer, interviewer, and editor. I get to be at award shows like the SAG and Academy Awards … places I never thought I’d be allowed in as a Black female journalist. I am also able to have full control over the content I produce as well. Although the pandemic has changed how I work on a day to day basis, I am also happy because the virtual world is a world where I thrive in. I now want to move into other sectors of entertainment journalism world which includes having my own podcast and writing/producing for TV and film. I’m also getting in acting and travel as well which are loves that have been reignited during the pandemic.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m the type of person honestly I love to just allow the world to take me in the in direction it sees fit. I’m also still learning LA believe it or not but I can definitely say the beaches especially Santa Monica and Malibu are definitely must sees. I love to go hiking at Fryman Canyon also, not as much foot traffic as Runyon but it has great views and trails as well. Since LA is so widespread it’s always hard to really name a specific go to spot because there’s something always going on! I would definitely say Inglewood for the best variation in cultural food. DTLA and Hollywood/ The Valley are probably the best areas for drinks and a good time. I can’t say I have any favorites but for Brunch definitely Castaway in Burbank! 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?
I would definitely love to say thanks to my mom. Even when things are rough, she has always been in my corner helping me whenever I need it. She is definitely somebody I can say without her I wouldn’t be where I am today.