We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Londyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I think anything worth doing requires some risk. I am the first in my family to earn a doctoral degree. I moved far away from family and friends and spent seven years becoming the best pianist and teacher I could, not knowing if it would pay off in employment—music is a notoriously competitive field! But I did end up getting a job right after graduating. That first risk paid off. However, I became disenchanted with the extreme demands of the job and decided to take another risk: starting a YouTube and Instagram account. While it was something I always had wanted to pursue, I was very worried I would be viewed negatively by family and colleagues. But I began the journey despite my doubts, and the rewards have been incredible. I’ve gained confidence, learned so many skills (editing, photography, search engine optimization, and others!), met amazing friends across the globe, and now see more beauty in the everyday. I still have many more dreams I want to pursue, and I look forward to continuing to take the risks needed to achieve them!
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about balance? When I first started my main career in music, I was working 70+ hour weeks. It was miserable! I was constantly irritable, frustrated, and while I was proud of the work I was doing, I was honestly drained and unhappy. I knew I had to make a change, so I started saying no to projects that did not excite me. At the same time, I started my YouTube and Instagram accounts as a creative outlet. I wanted to share my love of makeup and fashion and, hopefully, meet female friends. Over time, however, these accounts morphed into something much bigger. They helped me gain confidence in myself and my ability to steer my life in the direction I wanted. Now, balance equals agency to me—the freedom to choose the projects I agree to, knowing that each one is a steppingstone toward my long-term goals. And, it means that I have time each day to recharge and spend time with the people I love while pursuing work that inspires me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
All of my professional pursuits, as well as my hobbies, are rooted in the arts. I have loved the arts since I was a little girl. I took piano lessons from the age of 7, was always reading, and my mom (who is an artist) instilled in me a love of all things beautiful. I chose to study English and music for my bachelor’s, and then completed two advanced music degrees in piano performance. Despite earning a doctoral degree, I always had a nagging feeling that I didn’t have much to contribute to the classical music profession. I felt it had all been done—what could I possibly add? Then, I started my content creation journey via my Instagram and YouTube accounts, and for the first time, I felt truly creative. I was completely in charge of orchestrating the vision I had for each post. I found my creative voice and the confidence to share my true self. In turn, this completely changed the way I approach my music career, too. I now feel like I have something to contribute to the arts through both my content creation and my music pursuits. It is a joyous feeling!
It is my hope that my writing, photos, videos, and performances help others see more beauty in the world, whether it is in themselves, in others, or in the world around them.
Social Impact: How does your business help the community or world? I believe every person deserves to feel beautiful and confident. I started my social media channels because I wanted to share everything I had learned about beauty and fashion. I spent years teaching myself about makeup application, color theory, and fashion trends. I figured that if I struggled with these things, others did, too. While my YouTube channel is still devoted solely to beauty tutorials and reviews, my blog (https://elegantlypetite.com/) and Instagram account have transformed into travel accounts, as well. It is my hope that my writing, photos, and videos help others see more beauty in the world, whether it is in themselves, in others, or in the world around them.
How do you know whether to keep going or give up? I’m not sure I’ve ever given up on something! If I’ve made the decision to pursue something, I give it my all. However, I have learned that changing course is not a bad thing. If something is no longer bringing me joy or contributing to my long-term goals, it’s ok to move on. The work I’ve done is still part of me, and I can still be proud of all I’ve accomplished. Changing course makes room for new dreams and life journeys.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’d take them everywhere in northern Arizona! Sedona would be the first stop. We’d hike Cathedral Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and Airport Mesa. I love all of Lisa Dahl’s restaurants in Sedona, so we’d be sure to stop by Butterfly Burger (best burger in Sedona!) and Mariposa (best Sedona views with the most exquisite food!). Then, we’d head up to Flagstaff. We’d grab brunch at Tourist Home, head up to Arizona Snowbowl to see the Aspens (or ski, if it’s winter), and finish off at Lowell Observatory to view the night sky. And then, we’d head north, either to the Grand Canyon (a must-see!), or to Page, where we’d visit Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell. There’s so much to see in Arizona!
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?
My husband! I could never have done any of this without his encouragement and support. Even when I felt unsure or scared along the journey, he never stopped believing in me. I wouldn’t be successful without him!
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@michellelondyn