In Conversation with The Lady Deja
EVERY THURSDAY AT 8PM ET, HEAD OVER TO THE AFROPUNK IG LIVE CHANNEL FOR THESE WEEKLY CONVERSATIONS CURATED BY HUMBLE BLOOM'S SOLONJE BURNETT WITH THOUGHT LEADERS AND ENTREPRENEURS IN MUSIC, AGRICULTURE, BEAUTY, MINDFULNESS, NUTRITION, SUSTAINABILITY, SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT AND MORE.
The Lady Deja, or Deja Smith is an Emmy Award nominated makeup artist from New York, NY. She began her career as a dancer in Long Island, NY. Deja began her training at the Venettes Cultural Workshop and Long Island High School for the Arts, followed by The Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet School and Dance Theater of Harlem. She later attended Southern Methodist University where she obtained a BFA in dance performance.
After a short performance career, Deja made a milestone decision to make her gender transition which also resulted in a career change. Deja now works professionally as an A-list celebrity makeup artist. Her work can be seen in editorials, on red carpets, in film and television. Her client roster includes a host of brilliant artists, changemakers and most recently, the cast of POSE on the FX network. She is also the proud co-owner of the concierge hair and makeup team, DDPRO (Double D Production).
What's your current theme song? If you have a reason, please share.
Grace Jones, "Pull Up to the Bumper" because Miss Rona has forced me into an abstinence that my fwb are not very happy about.
What is DDPro?
DDPRO (Double D Production) is a concierge hair, makeup and creative content producing company. We specialize in providing glamorous experiences for all people. Especially for LGBTQ+ focused projects and community members.. with an emphasis on the "T."
Tell me about your journey to now. What impactful moments led you to your work?
The experience of transitioning pre "The Transgender Tipping Point" was raw and real. I experienced the loss of everything from family to livelihood to shelter. I also experienced how much fight it takes to rebuild a life under the gaze of a society that consistently devalues the existence of Trans people. Through the struggle I found my mission, to shift the paradigms of beauty and value for the betterment of the Trans community.
Who and/or what motivates your passion each day?
Initially it was fear. Today it is the possibility of having a legacy.
How do you define Radical Self Care?
Doing, creating and living in a way that elevates my inner queen goddess above all, except my higher power.
What rituals do you have to help maintain homeostasis of mind, body, and spirit?
Home is my safe space and I have several nesting rituals that center home life. Believe it or not, the normalcy if cooking and cleaning can ease any anxiety that I have. Also a great smoke, stretch and sketch session help me yo get the artistry rolling. Last, great sex and sexy time relieve any stress hiding deep in my root chakra.
How do you incorporate plants into your well being routine? How is the cannabis (THC, CBD, CBN, etc) a part of your plant ritual?
All of the women in my ancestry are amazing gardeners, except for me. So my main interaction with plants is from the grocery store and my cannabis connection. THC was my anxiety medication throughout survival mode. Now that I have reached some level of security I roll up to heighten the experience of rest and artistry. Whether brainstorming with my business partner, sketching concepts or networking with like minded people, cannabis is always a welcome and effective tool.
Who would you like to experience an altered state (dream elevation + discussion) with and how would you achieve this flow state?
Good question with too many potential answers.
Love the phrase "slow down to speed up", what does that mean to you personally and within the present global pause?
Like in meditation, the answers to life normally rise to the surface during stillness. This is the perfect moment to allow our next steps to reveal themselves What is the gift you bring to community? Truth, transparency and an example of new possibilities in life. What has been the most challenging for you during this time? Reconciling the loss of life.
What is the gift you bring to community?
Truth, transparency and an example of new possibilities in life.
What has been the most challenging for you during this time?
Reconciling the loss of life.