“Success is not always going to be what you envision it to be. If you allow yourself to be open, it really helps you in the long run.” — Phoebe Robinson
Infectious energy, unwavering passion and a smile that lights up the room–those were my first impressions of Phoebe when we met. With a wealth of incredible stories and a beautiful presence, she was the perfect guest at IGNITE’s International Women’s Day event this year.
Before she hit the stage with YouTuber and host, Jouelzy, we chatted with Phoebe on her comedy career, overcoming challenges as a female in the industry and finding confidence.
Here’s what she had to say:
For a lot of women, it can often feel as if we’re just not enough. Not enough for that job, that piece of clothing, or another person. But this mentality is incredibly damaging. For Phoebe, International Women’s Day is a time to brush off the negativity and applaud our fellow females. “Any time women can be shouted out and celebrated, I’m down for that,” she said. While social media is a great outlet for women to express their power and establish themselves it’s easy to forget it wasn’t always this way. “I think beyond the ‘ra-ra’ and the t-shirts and the good feelings, a lot of times, women’s contributions aren’t fully acknowledged.”
After all, they aren’t just women’s issues, they’re everyone’s issues.
Thankfully, the rapid development and return of new technologies such as podcasts, publications and web series have stripped the veil and provided safe platforms for many women. “I think there’s a lot that needs to happen, but I’m very inspired by how technology has levelled the playing field,” she said.
As a seasoned writer and comedian, Phoebe experienced the ups and downs of the industry firsthand. The need to always be hustling is a common feeling for a lot of us. Grind mentality is no joke. Yet often it’s easy to get lost in the blind pursuit of success, which can at times burn out as pipe dreams.
For her, taking a step back and confronting the big picture was game-changing. “I had to take the timeline away, focus on the craft, have patience, and be positive and do the work,” she said. “Success is not always going to be what you envision it to be. If you allow yourself to be open, it really helps you in the long run. And you can accomplish things that you didn’t dream of initially.”
Of course, her success as a two-time writer, podcast queen, and Netflix star did not come without tireless nights and a whole lotta WORK. After a conversation with a friend, Phoebe realized she may have been spreading herself too thin by saying ‘yes’ to as many opportunities as possible. “As a workaholic, that’s really hard, because you want to do everything,” she laughed.
These days, Phoebe is actively trying to balance her fiery passion with efficiency. “I want to be able to give everything I do 100% of me, rather than just being fully distracted.”
Since adapting to the industry culture and carving a place for herself, Phoebe feels right at home. “I would say I’m more confident for sure,” she said.
But in an industry flooded with straight, white men she often felt unworthy and inadequate. With persistence and experience, she slowly settled in. “I think I have more fun now,” she said. “I’m less in my head and more in the moment. And I think that comes from finding your voice. It comes from trusting the process and remembering that the audience is showing up to feel good. So, if they feel your anxiety and they feel your stress, that’s going to put them on edge.”
Not only is she absolutely stunning and hilarious, but she has a positive mind that speaks volumes. Nearing the end of our interview, I asked if she had any mantras she lives by. Quickly scrolling through her phone, she came across this post she had screenshotted from Instagram: weak people revenge, strong people forgive, and intelligent people ignore.
“I think we’re in such an age where everyone’s gotta clap back, and if someone says something catty to you, then you have to shut them down and embarrass them,” she said. “But I’m trying to be in a place where I move forward as if I didn’t read whatever petty comment tried to come my way.”
From crowd surfing with Kevin Bacon and podcast partner, Jessica Williams in LA to writing You Can’t Touch My Hair (And Other Things I Still Have to Explain) and Everything’s Trash, But It’s Okay, it seems there’s no slowing down for this self-made sensation. For the latest from Phoebe Robinson, make sure to follow her on Instagram.
Keep shining, you Dope Queen!
Check out our interview with YouTube sensation, Joulezy.