Vivica A. Fox opened up about her illustrious career in Hollywood, running a business, and her unbeatable hustle earlier this month at the Enterprising Women of Color Forum, an event powered by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and Essence magazine.
The forum, which served to empower women entrepreneurs with wealth-building resources, was held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislature Conference. The half-day event included an interactive workshop facilitated by Irene Walker, the program manager at Facebook’s Level Up, and a panel discussion moderated by reality star and entrepreneur Robyn Dixon of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Potomac.
Fox closed the event with an invigorating TED talk-style speech where she shared gems from her book, Every Day I’m Hustling. The part memoir, part inspirational book focuses on her career and relationships to help other women to live their best lives.
“Learn a very important word, ladies: ‘no,'” Fox told the audience. “Get your dream squad,” said the movie star at another point, stressing the importance of developing a close network of friends who add value to your life and cutting off those who don’t.
The talk show host also mentioned her hair line, the Vivica A. Fox Hair Collection, which she launched in partnership with Amekor Industries in 2008. She told BLACK ENTERPRISE that a key part of her success in selling the high-quality wigs and extensions for the last decade has been marketing.
“When I first got there, some of them wigs–I said umm, come on now, y’all!” said the actress and producer. “I want[ed] to make this brand a must-have [for] the everyday working women to the rock-and-roll girls. I want[ed] to make it affordable, but also current. So we had to go through a lot of growth.” Fox added that “we took the brand to another level” by taking a page from Sean “Puffy” Combs’ playbook.
“I learned from watching Puffy, how he took Cîroc and he sold people [a] lifestyle. This is how you feel when you drink Cîroc. This is what it’ll be like, [you’ll] party with hot girls, you’ll be on jets,” she told BE. In comparison, “when people wear the wig, I want them to be like, ‘I’m going out tonight and looking like Vivica Fox. I feel like a movie star when I go to work. I feel like a chick-in-charge like Vivica does. So it was by setting examples.”
At this stage in her career, Fox says she wants to pour into others who aspire to run a business and/or work in the entertainment industry. “I try to share that message to people that are wanting to start a business or get in show business. Some trends may not work for you,” she said. “Figure out how you can fit in that is comfortable for yourself and good for your brand. Pay attention.”
Jetheda Hernandez, MBDA Enterprising Women of Color Initiative Program Lead, called the forum a total success. “The Enterprising Women of Color Forum combined the right amount of networking, useful resources, and access to opportunity,” she told BE in an email. “This mix created the perfect backdrop for attendees to foster business opportunities and equip them with tools to grow strong businesses.”
The MBDA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in the U.S. Back in May, the organization partnered with BLACK ENTERPRISE to expand the flow of information and resources to African American entrepreneurs. The three-year agreement seeks to use technology, social media, and events to provide comprehensive information and businesses services for black-owned companies.