We had the good fortune of connecting with Mia Brabham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mia, how do you think about risk?
You risk something every time you put out a new piece of art. An essay, a short film, a short story, a book, a web series, a song, a painting. You risk your time, your energy, sometimes even your money. You risk your heart, your mind, your talent. I would even go as far in saying (on a really hard project) we risk our sanity. What a lot of people don’t realize about artists in any medium is that we are truly wearing our hearts on our sleeves. Some argue that we are our work, some argue that our work is an extension of ourselves — but either way — we’re offering up our vision, our stories, and sometimes our deepest darkest secrets for people to give their unabashed opinion, thoughts, and judgements on. We are putting it out there with our highest hopes, with the possibility (and probability) that people may not like or resonate with it at all. To me, creative work *is* risk. It is only now as I type this that I realize I don’t think about “risk” in the traditional sense of the word because risk truly is the creative work itself. And it only ever becomes crystal clear to me that it’s all risk when I’m about to release it out of my palms and into the world. Right before I launch any project I work on (in the past two years, I’ve released a web series, a book, and a podcast) — I definitely get a little nervous, because that’s when the real risk kicks in for me. My thoughts usually fall in this order: will anybody watch/read this? Will people like it or hate it? But at this point, I’ve already done everything I can to combat the negative risk. I’ve thought strategically about when is the best time to put it out, what kind of cover art is the most appealing, what to title it, and a ton of others factors. The key is to let negative risk drive you to make what you think are the best business decisions for your art, but to never let it drive the creative. My personal philosophy is that you should always make art for you. Because you have something to say, because you believe in what you have to say, and because, finally, you think it has the possibility to impact or move others. In most cases, I think it’s a bad idea to alter your art to make it “something people will like.” They are reading or watching or listening because they want to know what YOU have to say. Let them decide if they resonate with it or not. There’s nothing worse than unauthentic art… believe me, I’ve been there. I’ve given into negative risk instead of just contemplating it. Don’t do that. Let it drive you, not define you. My advice, based on my own experience, is this: risk it all. But never let the risk stop you.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been putting my life online since I began making YouTube videos in 2007, at the age of twelve. Now, at the age of twenty-six, I’ve garnered an audience of over 25,000 people through my videos, blog, book, and other creative ventures. I left my dream job at E! News at the age of 24 because I wanted to get back to telling my own stories and making content on my own time. Now, I’m a freelance writer and entertainment host by day, and a dreamer of all sorts by night. I write my heart out. I film it, sometimes. More recently, I pour my mind into the mic for my new podcast, Two In The Morning. My best friend, Michael Galfetti, and I explore the questions that keep us up at night when the chatter of the world ceases to distract us and we’re left alone to think. Without one another knowing what it is prior to the show, we each bring a specific life question we’ve been pondering and take turns discussing our shared and differing queries and desires — and more importantly — finding comfort in conversation. We talk love, relationships, friendships, career, culture, pop culture, social media, spirituality, and more. We don’t hold back. It’s like a live improv show. Except there’s no drink minimum, we cry on occasion, and we’re only ever funny on accident. I think what sets my art apart from others is that people never know what to expect next. As a kid, you’re told you can do anything. As you grow up, the world tells you to pick a lane. But that’s never sat well with me. I’m exploring what it looks like to be whatever I want whenever I want, whether it’s a podcaster one day, an author the next, and a director/producer the day after that. I feel like for the first time in my life, I’m a true creative. People can’t pin me down, and that’s fine with me. But what’s consistent is my storytelling: I’m always authentic, and I’m always honest. But I’m not talking about the honesty that cuts. I’m talking about the precious, delicious honesty that is whole and self-revealing in the process. My truest belief is that you have to be willing to give a piece of yourself to inspire anyone or change anything. I wouldn’t say anything to someone else that I wouldn’t first tell myself. I will gladly put myself on the spot. That is my power. I just want people to feel understood, seen. and inspired. I want people to think differently and critically about themselves and the world around them. I believe that comes through in whatever medium I’m tackling.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Malibu. Always Malibu. Just for the views, my goodness. I love how small you feel there in the midst of the mountains, the ocean, the coastline. The drive up is one of my favorite things in the world. A favorite, though, is Aroma Cafe is Valley Village. I take every single of my friends there when they come to visit. For breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, you really can’t go wrong.
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?
First and foremost, my parents are the driving force behind my drive, my ambition, and my goals. They were the first ones who gave me permission to dream big. I love them so much! Right now, my most present creative endeavor is my podcast, Two In The Morning, with my amazing best friend and co-host Michael Galfetti. So shoutout to him and the long hours we put in, as well as our producers and first season editors, Jamila White and Mbiye Kasonga. We hold each other up!
Other: Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/two-in-the-morning/id1541428840
For the main photo with the coffee, please credit Jordan Jones. For the one with the black tank top and notepad/pen, please credit Olivia Butler-Taylor.