Natasha Mayne, Esq. is a powerhouse not only at practicing law, but practicing the art of authenticity. The esteemed esquire dubbed by her growing following as “The Vogue Attorney” can be found in South Florida courthouses adorned in the likes of Gucci, Prada, or Louis Vuitton. More impressive than Mayne’s avant-garde style is her larger than life personality; inspiring thousands of women on social media to take charge of their lives. Her encouragement lights a fire in the hearts of her followers, often sharing messages on keeping the faith, pursuing happiness, or navigating the tumultuous waters of relationships.
In a special Pretty Birds interview, our Editor-in-Chief Tamu McPherson virtually sits down with her friend, Natasha Mayne, unpacking the upbringing that forged such a remarkable woman. Read on to learn more about The Vogue Attorney’s Caribbean roots, ever-evolving career path, and a sneak peak into the value system that has kept her focused on authenticity.
“The Vogue Attorney” to Many, a Friend to Me: Introducing Natasha Mayne
Tamu McPherson: Where did Natasha Mayne get her start? What is the origin of your creativity?
Natasha Mayne: I grew up in the inner cities of Miami and it was a very beautiful, but also a dark time period where Jamaicans – all Caribbean people – were frowned upon greatly. As a young child I was subjected to bullying and anti-immigrant jokes. It was overwhelming and cringeworthy for a child like me who was already “different.” It felt like I was an alien.
Then something magical happened. My mother moved me from my neighborhood to a magnet school by the name of Norland Middle School. It was incredibly artsy and diverse where a majority of the students were Caribbean and the kids who were bused in were pretty much all Jewish. It was where I decided “Hell no, I am proud of who I am!” and there was a drastic change on how I viewed life. I was proud of my heritage. I was confident, and I was surrounded by amazing artsy children who were thinking out of the box. If mommy did not send me to Norland Middle School, I promise you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
TMP: When I met you at Binghamton University, you were already a legend. I took a lot of the classes that you had taken. I remember our professors respected you so deeply. What was the lasting impact of your interaction with your professors?
NM: My professors from undergrad and law school have been instrumental in my life. As early as I can remember, my teachers instilled in me the tenet of “sticking with your decisions” and so I did that. I always knew I wanted to be a lawyer and have always stayed on that track. Even when I went to high school, I was in a pre-law program and was clear of that trajectory.
I remember at one point, my professors including Carole Boyce Davies from Binghamton, encouraged me to become a writer. They were very keen on me attending a phenomenal writing program at the University of Miami. However, I felt that I grew up too poor and needed to pursue a career that offered instant financial stability. I knew that law was a guarantee, whereas with writing, you could be the best in the world and not get any recognition until after your death. Growing up as one of five children I saw how hard my parents worked to provide for us. There was no luxury of being ‘the artsy person’ that I really wanted to be. Although I am a lawyer, I am still creative because that is who I am deep down.
Now my children can pursue these creative pathways.
TMP: Why did you decide to become a Family and Matrimonial lawyer?
NM: I can tell you it wasn’t me seeking family and matrimonial, but family and matrimonial sought after me.
At Law School, my specialty was commercial lending and commercial litigation; it is a pretty typical practice area that everyone pursues in law school. Ultimately, I had a client that I was working with and he loved the ground that I walked on. He said, “Listen to me, I’m getting a divorce, but I don’t trust anybody else to do the case except for you.” And I said, “But, I don’t do divorces and I wouldn’t really know how to maneuver a divorce case!” He said, “I’ll pay you whatever it is for you to figure it out, but I want you to handle my divorce case.”
So, I did it, because I love a challenge and I made sure he understood that it was the first divorce case I would do. And then I did it and I loved it. Ever since then, I tell people all the time, you must learn to trust the process. We must be obedient to whatever God wants us to be obedient towards.
TMP: It is definitely a process surrendering to God’s plan for us. There is no blueprint for us, and as you said there is no turnkey for success. What are your thoughts on this?
NM: I tell people all the time, it’s okay that you did what you had to do. God will guide you; the problem that I think paralyzes people is that we want concrete answers. People want assurance instead of going through with choices and learning along the way. Work hard to be the best at whatever you are at and be obedient to God in the process. This will lead you to your purpose.
TMP: People are uncomfortable, because they need certainty. It can be scary, but you have to just go with the flow. How did Covid-19 impact your practice? Is there a silver lining in catering to a client base that often faces loss?
NM: South Florida is a very busy metropolitan center so there is always some kind of ‘family law’ underway; whether it is child support or a paternity or divorce case. We are in a state that deals with so much infidelity and people constantly moving. There has always been a buzz. Notwithstanding that, I did see a slight influx of clients coming in since the Covid-19 pandemic started.
TMP: Are there any gems of wisdom you might offer to followers in pursuit of similar career pathways?
NM: At the end of the day, I am a lover and a lover of people. I love this area of law, because I want to help my clients, hug my clients, inspire them and tell them that this too shall pass. I’ve been through a divorce, myself. When you sit there and tell your story and they see you as somewhat of a bright light, the common response is usually, “Well if you can do it, so can I!” That’s a beautiful thing.
TMP: After the Covid-19 pandemic began, you launched a life coaching practice independent of the services of your law firm. How did this pivot come about?
NM: You know when I started doing the Instagram thing like three years ago I would get hundreds of inboxes where people would stay ‘thank you for this message’, and ‘I would really like to speak to you’. I felt like it was a calling from God who was telling me, “you need to do this, you need to be able to communicate with these women all over the world.” There is a yearning for people to communicate with somebody who is non-judgmental, who will offer positive advice that helps them regain their personal spark. When I thought about what this work would look like, I was thinking to myself ‘they can’t come into my law firm – I have to create something else’. Not to mention, I didn’t have much free time to dedicate to another activity.
After the pandemic started and life outside of work slowed down, I had a lot of quiet time to think about one-on-one coaching, and how I could structure the experience. It immediately became clear that it was time to officially start this work and connect with the women who needed the service. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and it is precisely what I want to do for the rest of my life. I truly love it.
TMP: You have created an inspiring community on Instagram and have extended the uplifting message you offer there to your one-on-one coaching service. What is the most important point for new followers to understand about the platform you are building?
NM: A lot of people feel so hopeless in this world. And I always try to encourage people to know that this is a temporary feeling you can change at any point in your life. We have options. There is the option to click on the light or we can choose to click off the light, and it’s up to you to do that.
TMP: What themes best capture the interest of your audience?
NM: The two most common themes are “Who am I?” and “What am I here to do?” They always feel like they are here to do more. And because they get caught up in ‘what mommy wants me to be’, or get caught up in ‘what I think I should be doing’, they don’t know that they have strayed away from who they really are.
TMP: How has resilience played out in your life as a Black woman in a white male dominated industry and society?
NM: It was a bit intimidating when I first started litigating before and against white male judges and opposing counsels. At times I overcompensated. I didn’t know when to shut up; I arrived overly prepared; and I overthought matters. I felt that my white colleagues would look down at me and treat me condescendingly, because I am a black woman. I’ll never forget one day when a judge called me to his bench after a case and said to me, “Listen, you’re a very smart young lady. You need to learn when to end. When a judge has told you you’ve won, you’ve won. You don’t need to overcompensate, you are perfect the way you are.” And that statement sticks with me to this day.
It led me to realize that all I had to do was come prepared, listen to myself, and as long as I was me, I would soar in my career. So as far as racism, sexism, and any other isms go, I don’t let them bother me. I’m here to advocate for my clients, and I’m always going to do that to the best of my ability.
TMP: In addition to your deep faith in God, is there anyone here on earth that inspires you spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually?
NM: My dad is a soldier. I inherited his work ethic. He stepped in to help his mother when his own father died when he was 10-years-old. He was the breadwinner of our immediate and extended family. After he moved from Jamaican to the United States, he brought over family members and provided a roof over their heads until they got their feet on the ground. He never complained or made excuses. He was an electrician, worked hard to raise five kids, saved his pennies and was able to help anyone else who was in need.
TMP: We cannot conclude this lovely conversation without talking about your exquisite style and taste. The runway pieces you wear in your daily inspirational posts always leave me screaming.
NM: People always ask me, “Where did you get your fashion sense from?” I always tell them that from the time I was born, I knew how to put things together elegantly. My mother was a seamstress when I was young and she taught me about beautiful clothes. When she did have an extra dollar or whatever she would go and buy me the most beautiful dresses.
After I started my career, I became a big shopper and created great relationships with the retail associates all over town. Over the years they have kept me up to date on all the season’s best sales. In fact, It’s gotten to the point where I never pay full price for even my most extravagant pieces. That’s been huge in curating the collection of beautiful clothes I have today.
TMP: Do you have a banner message for 2021?
NM: 2021 is about seizing the word focus. We get side tracked by so many things; bad relationships, rejection, closed doors, career failures, etc. When you focus on what you desire and not get caught up with the naysayers you will accomplish plenty. That’s how I’ve been able to maneuver into who I am today, because I’ve always just been so focused. I tell my clients that all the time. You have to learn how to be focused and accomplish what it is that you’re trying to do. When focusing on identifying and achieving what we are born to do, so many doors open. We just have to be focused enough to see it.
Images courtesy of Natasha Mayne, photographed by @williambeauplant.