Meet Our 20-Something Senior Managing Editor, Tiana Lewis

Hey, it’s James here. I felt it highly appropriate to write the intro to this next Meet Team Bleu installment. Tiana has been with me for a little over two years now. She started out as an assistant while I was nose-deep in my last media venture, and over time she has carved a pertinent career path for herself with Bleu that is both impressive and inspiring. She’s seen me through thick and thin and has held me up as I navigated several of life’s curve balls. She helped me bring my big Bleu dreams into reality and was an invaluable piece of the puzzle, since inception. She knows my family like her own and has become so much more than just an employee; she is a comrade and a cherished and valued friend. She is the backbone to everything that moves here at work, and is the life force that keeps our team organized and sane. Not to mention, she’s one of the kindest, most genuine, and thoughtful humans I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, which shines through her writing and the many other hats she wears so gracefully each day.

I am lucky to have her by my side, whether it’s heads down at our desks buried in content or cheers-ing over margaritas and dreaming about what the future holds. She’s a team player, she’s loyal as hell, and she’s getting married this Saturday! I introduce to you Tiana “TT” Lewis, our Senior Managing Editor. Read on to learn a little more about this beautiful being, and maybe congratulate her on her upcoming nuptials while you’re at it.

Location:  “Nashville, Tennessee.”

Occupation:  “Senior Managing Editor at our very own Bleu.”

Tell us a bit about yourself.  “I was actually born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. I love to start with that little nugget of information because it’s typically met with one of two responses: a glazed-over expression and polite nod, or a question about cows/tractors/corn/Huskers/farms. Spoiler alert: I’m not super well-versed in any of those topics. I received degrees in Advertising/PR and Graphic Design from TCU before following my high school sweetheart (husband in T-3 days!) to Nashville. After four years of doing the long distance thing, I was finally fed up with having to take not one, but two flights to see him. I worked various jobs — freelance, customer service, you name it — before finally connecting with James as her PA/Assistant Editor. ”

How did you land your job at Bleu?  “I like to believe that it was all very kismet! I had just moved to town and received an e-vite to the grand opening of Draper James, the first flagship location for Reese Witherspoon’s brand. I heard distant mumblings that Reese was going to be there, so I took off work and stood in a line outside of her store amongst an array of bloggers and media and high-profile people, seriously questioning how I got the invite to begin with. James was there and having followed her on IG since college, I casually strolled up to her and sparked conversation. I like to think I played it cool — asking what she did, making small talk —even though I knew damn well what she did. It must have worked, though, because the next day I received a DM asking if I could model for a shoot she was doing for a story about beauty at every age (see, kismet). I couldn’t go because I had already taken off too much work – ha! But, I told her that if she ever needed any help in the writing/design/photo world, that I’d love to assist. A few months later she had an opening in her company, and here we are today, nearly three years later.”

Coffee or tea?  “Tough choice! But, if I had to choose, coffee with a hefty dose of almond milk and a packet of Sweet’N Low.”

What’s your sign?  “Libra sun, Sagittarius moon, Scorpio rising. I love astrology! James always makes fun of me because it’s one of the first things I ask people at our shoots, just ask Alyssa.”

Breakfast or brunch?  “Another tough decision, but probably breakfast! There’s little I love more than early morning get-togethers with loved ones (on vacation or when everyone’s reunited) accompanied by a big breakfast. Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast — I want it all.”

Fill in the blank: I can’t start my morning without _______.  “Putting in my contacts! I’m blind as a bat.”

Everyday uniform?  “I’m such a plain Jane when it comes to what I wear.  I recently had to clean out my closet and couldn’t help but laugh at the sea of neutrals. I had one yellow shirt, one! Thankfully, all the stylish women at Bleu are helping me break out of my mundane purchasing habits. Nine times out of 10, you’ll find me in a vintage pair of Levi’s, a fitted black tee, LoQ or MNZ sandals, and my leather jacket because I’m always cold.”

Heels or flats?  “Heels! I may be plain Jane with my daily ‘fits, but ya girl loves to get fancy.”

Best beauty habit?  “I’ve always been religious about washing my face! I never (no really, NEVER) go to bed without at least washing off my makeup. Besides that, exfoliation and retinol literally saved my skin from the environmental/stress acne that I experienced when I moved from Nebraska to Texas, and then again to Tennessee. I’ve never looked back.”

You’re getting married next month. How has the planning been going?  “It’s a bit chaotic, but I think that’s how it is for everyone, right? ….Right? Jokes aside, it hasn’t been too bad! We hired a wedding planner who is an actual godsend. I don’t know how I’d manage to navigate all the big decisions and keeping all the balls moving at the right pace without her. I’ve also had so many friends and loved ones support me in ways that I never knew possible. It’s really hard for me to ask for help. Call it pride, call it being stubborn, call it what you want. But, to have them step in without any direct benefit to them has meant everything to me. The only part that’s been really challenging is the constant battle to block out everyone else’s opinions, and to keep the day centered on Sam and me, and the love story we’ve been writing for the past 11 years. At the end of the day, we’ve had to remind ourselves that we can’t operate in fear of what people will think, we don’t have to live up to any sort of Pinterest standard, and that it isn’t about anyone else but us.”

Tell us about Pete.  “Pete is the rescue pup we adopted a little over a year ago! Truth be told, I was totally against having a dog. But, my roommate and fiancé were constantly plotting behind my back the various ways they could bring one into the house. One day, they said we were going on a surprise road trip that ended up at an adoption center. I took one look at Pete’s tiny, little face and knew he was ours. We left the center with not one, but two dogs! He is the sweetest, cutest pup you will ever meet. And, such an extrovert!”

Any beauty advice passed down from your mother?  “I’ve learned just about everything I know from my mom! She’s one of the smartest, most hard-working women I know. Heat your eyelash curler with a blow-dryer before use, so the curl stays longer; apply sunscreen liberally and every day to avoid dark spots and damage; look surprised for a fresh-faced license photo (that one can really backfire, actually).”

Strangest habit?  “I sit down in the shower, does that count? I don’t know when it started, but I find the whole ordeal easier — shaving my legs, washing my face, letting my deep conditioner sink in — if I’m sitting. Gross, but true.”

Favorite books you’ve read to date?  “A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara, Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, and Between The World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates — just to name a few.”

Something you are currently coveting?  “Some vintage dining room chairs a la Home Union, a Cold Picnic area rug, and some Parachute Home bedding. We just moved into a new place and are currently looking for our forever furniture pieces. ”

Last purchase?  “A trash can. Like I said, new homeowners here!”

Best meal you’ve ever had?  “All of the tacos we had on a street food tour with Club Tengo Hambre in Mexico City last August. I dream about one with green chorizo!”

Fill in the blank: Aging is_______.  “More time to design the life you love.”

Guilty pleasure?  “Hot snacks! Hot Cheetos, Hot Funyuns, Hot Puffs, Hot Popcorn, Takis. I seriously can eat an entire bag (or two) by myself in one sitting and I don’t hold back.”

Saturday or Sunday?  “Saturday. I love the feeling of waking up and knowing I have the entire day to not worry or stress about the day to come. I can be leisurely. We can take Pete to the dog park, eat at our favorite restaurant, whatever we want. I have zero worries or cares.”

How you spend a day off duty?  “In an ideal situation, I’d wake up slow and have all the time in the world to get ready, for I loathe being rushed. I’d grab my favorite local cup of coffee (currently the iced coffee with half-sweet vanilla at Zolli), then Sam and I would take Pete to the dog park and grab a beer somewhere outside, likely the local Filling Station. We’d drive with the windows down. We’d listen to Mapache. We’d eat Thai food (my absolute favorite) for dinner, and end the night watching Before Sunrise for the umpteenth time.”

To keep tabs on Tiana and spy her upcoming wedding photos follow her on Instagram.

Written by: James Kicinski-McCoy

James Kicinski-McCoy is the 30-something Founder and Editor-In-Chief of The Bleu. She likes tequila, picks fights with her husband so she can have the bed to herself, and is trying to figure out that work / life balance.

2 Comments

  1. Kelly

    May 15, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    Love this! ❤

    Reply
  2. Rae

    May 15, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Sitting in the shower is like the ultimate luxury that I indulge once in a blue moon.

    Reply

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