Women are often asked how we "do it all," a somewhat frustrating question that boils down to one easy answer: because we have to. The thing is, women are still fighting to break the glass ceiling — especially in the entertainment industry, which is just one of the reasons we totally *love* shows that are female-driven and made by brilliant boss ladies, including Lifetime's UnREAL.
UnREAL and other female-centric shows all have one important thing in common: They all center on the challenges and triumphs of badass #GirlBosses. Which is a sign of the times: These days, tons of amazing businesses are women-run and, more significantly, women-created. Which brings us to ultimate IRL girl boss, Umindi Francis.
After climbing the fashion PR ropes at Louis Vuitton and Bottega Veneta, Umindi decided to take the reins herself. She launched her consulting group, UFCG, in 2010, where she works with high-profile clients on everything from brand development to digital marketing to public relations. (Let's just say she's *super* busy during Fashion Month.) Flash-forward six years, and Umindi's learned how to juggle her business, her clients (including fashion-editor-faves like Chloe Gosselin and Gianvito Rossi), and her personal life. Here's a peek at her daily diary.
6:30 am: Wake Up, Meditate, Go
"It's important to start my day on a positive note. Everything in New York City and my business moves so fast, it's a time for me to reflect and center myself. I'm known to be a pretty chipper person, probably because I take a few minutes in the morning to appreciate life and be grateful for my blessings."
6:45 am: Food + Fires
"I either make a small cup of oatmeal or have a banana. Then, I scroll through my email for five minutes to see if there are any fires."
7:00 am: Phone Home
"Calling my mom is a huge part of getting my day started. A work-life balance is really important, which is something I learned that very early on in my career. I typically call my mom every single morning on the way to the gym. She's one of my biggest cheerleaders."
7:10 am: Gym Grind at Equinox
"Fitness is really important for peace of mind and to relieve stress. It's a nice way to start off the morning. Most mornings, I work out for an hour (strength training plus some cardio), then I head back home to shower and check email again."
8:00 am: OOTD
"If I'm in the office all day, I'm typically in a menswear inspired pair of slacks, some Stan Smiths, a blazer, and a scarf. That's my comfy look!"
8:30 am: Hop in the Car, Hop on the Phone
"I take an Uber from home to the office because I can usually get two conference calls en route from Greenwich Village and Midtown. And I order breakfast!"
9:00 am: Call Europe and South Africa (It's Casual)
"Many of my clients are on a different time zone; I call them early so we can align ourselves and discuss strategy. I would spend 30 hours a week on calls if I dialed into every single one, but I'm on as many of them as possible — especially when it's about strategy!"
10:30 am: Brainstorming Session with the Team
"A big part of our success is that we have a think tank going on, and we like to have innovative, out-of-the-box, and disruptive ideas that really propel our brands forward. We work with a lot of emerging labels, as well as legacy brands that want to re-launch, and they appreciate our hands-on approach."
11:30 am: Work, Work, Work, Work, Work
"There's always something to get ready for. Last week we had a big launch for Armarium, a new platform where you can rent current season ready-to-wear from high-fashion brands like Prabal Gurung and Anthony Vaccarello. It launched in the Apple App Store, and we had a 700-person event at 583 Park Avenue [a landmarked event space on Manhattan's Upper East Side.] We managed the PR and the red carpet. Things can get really hectic, so I typically spend the afternoon giving my team direction on strategy."
1:00 pm: Family Lunch (AKA Salad with the Team)
"If it's a good day, it's a salad. If it's a really good day, it's a burger and fries. When it's really busy, like during the Cannes Film Festival, Fashion Week, or the MET Ball, we have office family lunches and order salads from Better Being."
2:00pm: Empire State of Mind
"I often have meetings in showrooms to discuss strategy or present ideas that we pitch. Donald J Pliner's lovely showroom is in the Empire State Building, so I'll head there to go over strategy."
3:00pm: Cupcake Hour (Yep, That's Right)
"My staff and I have what we call Cupcake Hour. We have in-office cupcake wars—we have Baked by Melissa fans, we have Billy's Bakery fans, we have Sprinkles fans....The other funny thing about my office being full of New Yorkers is, while we have the most fantastic Keurig machine here, we still like to go downstairs to the deli, and instead of a cigarette break we'll have a coffee break just to get a classic New York coffee from a deli."
4:00 pm: Board Meeting for MoCADA Gala
"I'm the chair of MoCADA's [Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art] fundraising committee to raise funds for community programs and a new building that will open 2018. I'm planning the annual gala on May 19 at BAM [the Brooklyn Academy of Music.] It's a huge party."
7:00 pm: Drinks at Omar's Member's Only Supper Club
"It's a really fun place where I kick back some evenings when I have nothing to do, or I'll entertain and host industry events there. Omar will text and say, 'Hey are you coming over, so-and-so is here tonight, you should come by!'"
8:00 pm: Disconnect and Unplug
"It's OK to go out for four hours and enjoy yourself at dinner and not be chained to your phone for business. In order to be creative, you need time and space to feel fresh."
12:30 am: Zzzzzz
"It's a late bedtime, but I sleep on the weekends!"
Tune in to the second season of UnREAL, premiering on Lifetime on June 6th at 10/9c.