There’s never been a better time to check in on our friends, Pretty Birds. Life in the time of COVID-19 is full of uncertainty and stress, but no matter how we’re coping, we can all agree it’s a time to be grateful for the people in our lives who show up for us. Checking in With Friends is dedicated to touching base with our fabulous friends all over the world. Today, we chat with Tia Taylor as Milan has entered the second phase of lockdown.
Checking In With Tia Taylor
Tia Taylor is a half-Jamaican, half-Nigerian, American-born girl living and working in Milan as a content creator and digital talent as well as Digital Strategist at La Piazza Group. She graduated from Bocconi University with a degree in economics, which she is putting to work in her new YouTube series on personal finance “Una donna che conta (i soldi)”. You may have seen her name before here on ATPB, as she helped to launch the Digital Creatives of Color article in a huge way! We are so excited to share our chat with you all today.
All The Pretty Birds: How are you? How are your loved ones?
Tia Taylor: I’m alright and everyone is hanging in there. Luckily or unluckily many of my family members are key workers and so they’re not in any imminent financial trouble. Everyone is still healthy and taking precautions to stay that way. My dad was unfortunately laid off but he’s taking it in stride as early retirement… He’s got savings and investments so he’ll be alright. In short, we’re definitely feeling the effects but we’re all just trying to stay positive and optimistic about whatever comes our way.
ATPB: Where did you complete the first phase of lockdown? Where are you now?
TT: I was in Milan Italy for the first phase and I’m still here 🙂
ATPB: Have you been outside since Italy lifted its quarantine? What is your observation about phase 2?
TT: I went out on Monday, so the first day that they started easing the measures. I think phase 2 varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. Mine is a bit less central and more residential. I didn’t see more people out than usual, everyone had a mask and the people out were either in line for the groceries or walking someplace else with a purpose. Meanwhile, friends in other more central areas told me their parks and streets were packed.
ATPB: How did quarantine affect your work and personal life in phase 1?
TT: Well work-wise it was kind of weird. I have a couple of different streams of income. My 9-5 wasn’t affected luckily but a lot of my influencer work has. Sponsorships have dried up as brands are trying to figure out what to communicate. I’ve been spending more of my time trying to pivot my content and strengthen my brand to hopefully pick back up as the lockdown lifts but in essence, I’m working just as much if not more than before but the money doesn’t match the effort quite just yet. My personal life is good, I’ve been keeping up with my friends just as much as usual and my boyfriend and I have been compatible housemates for over 3 years now so the quarantine wasn’t that big of a change for us in the end.
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Mood: checked out 🧖🏾♀️ No actually I’m currently putting on the finishing touches of Una Donna Che Conta Ep 3 which will be up tomorrow morning! That said, I hope this picture reminds you that you should take a break once in a while and treat yourself—It’s important! _____ #relax #selfcare #quarantineandchill
ATPB: Have your friends started contacting you to meet up since the lockdown has been lifted?
TT: Just one has asked to meet up at the park. I will— she’s in the country alone and has been alone the whole quarantine. I’m actually excited to see her and keep her company. It’s been so long since we’ve been able to just ‘chill.’
ATPB: What’s the most important thing you learned about yourself during this phase 1?
How will you implement it now that we are on our way to discovering our new norm?
TT: I’ve learned the importance of taking the time to listen to my body, take breaks when my body and mind need them. The only way to survive the lockdown mentally was to have a strict routine… keep myself productive but giving myself downtime to recharge. I focused so much on adhering to my personal routine that the reality of what was happening outside felt distant… it didn’t sink in until after the full lockdown was over.
ATPB: How does self-care fit into your routine? Tell us about anything you’ve been doing to relax, unwind, cope.
TT: It’s a big part because when we have to come up with new routines out of nowhere it can be hard to strike the right balance— all relax and no productivity is wasted time but all productivity with no relax is the recipe for burnout. I try to unplug from work every evening and settle in to do something completely thoughtless. I watch trash reality tv, I listen to podcasts, I read a book.
ATPB: What’s something you hope to take from this experience a year out from now?
TT: Perspective. I realized that though I didn’t notice it I was falling into the trap of all work no play… I’m in my early twenties, financially stable, and living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world… but the years are passing fast and the lockdown just made everything I could do but “never had time to” stick out even more.
ATPB: What are some things you’re grateful for?
TT: I’m grateful for my boyfriend, my family and friends, and also my coworkers. I have good people around me and that helps a lot.
ATPB: Is there an album or playlist that you’ve been feeling lately?
TT: I actually created my own afrobeats playlist on Spotify: Tia’s Afrobeat Classics. They aren’t actually classics, just my favorite songs from the genre and not to toot my own horn but it’s pretty great!
ATPB: Do you have a poem, quote, article, and/or image that you’d like to share to inspire others?
TT: I took this photo over the weekend. It’s the Madonnina—a symbol of Milan next to an Italian flag flowing in the wind above the duomo. In the moment it gave me a lot of hope in the sense that we will overcome this tragedy as a city and as a country.
Feature image by Tamu McPherson.