Vena E, also known as Pretty Vee, is as business savvy as she is funny. The Miami native has ascended to new heights by successfully, and strategically, positioning her roles as comedian, host, brand ambassador, and actress. A graduate of St. Augustine University with a degree in mass communications, Pretty Vee utilized her education along with the confidence to be unique and original to pursue her dreams.
Pretty Vee got her first experience in communications by spearheading her own radio show, Lounge 22 on WAUG Power 750 AM. Lounge 22 featured smooth and sexy R&B from the ’80s and ’90s. Following graduation, she interned at Atlanta’s V-103, ‘The People’s Station’, and then got the opportunity to relocate to North Carolina as a personality on 107.9, The Link.
Fast forward to present day, and Pretty Vee has grown her career and on-screen talents. From Wild ‘N Out to the Zeus Network show You’re My Boooyfriend, and headlining the 2019 Millennial Queens of Comedy Tour, Pretty Vee isn’t slowing down. Most recently she launched her beauty and electronics line with CitiTrends, which is available nationwide.
Black Enterprise had the chance to speak with Pretty Vee about her career moves, creating different avenues for success, the current climate in America, and advice for women to pursue their dreams and passions.
Pretty Vee beauty and electronics are in 500+ CitiTrends stores. Why did you choose to partner with them?
CitiTrends has been around for years and is a part of the culture. They represent affordability, authenticity, and quality. It is truly a one-stop-shop that allows the community to be a part of the store because they speak the language of the people purchasing from the store. I was already a brand ambassador for the company so it made sense to pursue a deeper partnership through my products. I truly feel the culture of the CitiTrends brand.
How important is it to align with a brand that shares the same value as the Pretty Vee brand identity?
I never want to be like anyone else. If people cannot take me for who I am but want to make me who they want me to be then it isn’t a place for my brand. When I sat at the end of the table, I asked what can I bring to the table that describes Pretty Vee? I wanted something that represents and speaks Pretty Vee. Every meeting the key decision makers for CitiTrends showed up and they gave me the realness of themselves. This was important to me because they could have sent the buyer, the merchandisers, and other people within the organization but the heads of CitiTrends were present.
What was the strategy behind making Pretty Vee products affordable?
I want my supporters to be able to purchase a $15 brush set or a $10 speaker. I truly wanted my supporters to be able to come into my world and be able to be a part of what I am doing. If my prices are set at a luxury price I will alienate the people that have helped to make me who I am. I do not want to have an item that a working mom cannot afford or a working dad has to say I want to support but I cannot afford that right now.
When did the opportunity to be on Wild ‘N Out happen?
I auditioned for seasons 9 and 10 in New York and did really well during my skits. When it came to their games, I had no clue and wasn’t picked up for the season. I was hurt because I wanted it but after reflecting on my audition it was a good thing that I didn’t make it. I needed to grow and be myself. I needed to know if this platform was really where I wanted to be at. I continued to develop and work on my craft and then I got a call that they wanted me to be on season 11.
How do you feel about the current climate in America?
I first want to say RIP to George Floyd, his family, and all of the other families that have been affected by police brutality in our community. I am praying for God’s covering over all of the world. Right now as influencers we have to be mindful of what we say because these are sensitive times now and we need to come together not divide. We are in an unprecedented time right now. Be a vessel in any way, shape, or form that you can. We all need prayer and guidance.
What 3 key pieces of advice do you have young women of color.
- Always be uncomfortable.
- Be determined, be hungry, be consistent, and always be the hardest worker in the room. Know that you are enough.
- A delay is never a denial. Reach for the stars, keep pushing forward, and let God align you for greatness.