Gisele Milan isn't afraid of being bold - in her style, and in her life. She strives to create a space for Black (especially Black female) professionals and creatives in her industry and continuously educates herself, both professionally and personally to make this goal a reality. Gisele is colorful and unapologetically herself, much like AMERICAE and the AMERICAE woman.
What do you do?
I’m a fashion and beauty PR specialist at Small Girls PR in New York City. Currently, I’m Senior Account Executive at the company and I work with clients such as Billie, Mejuri, Outdoor Voices, Betsey Johnson, and Saucony just to name a few. In February, I launched a pop culture podcast called I’m Screaming! that analyzes the intersection between celebrity and culture. I also create content on my Instagram page - but that is mostly just for fun and to stay creative.
What do you love about what you do?
There are many things I love about what I do. First thing is that I get to be creative every single day, both in my day job and side hustles. Also, something that is extremely important to me is advocating for diversity and inclusion in both the fashion and beauty industries. My job allows me to do that for my clients, and my podcast and Instagram allow me to do that for myself!
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Arizona, Chandler to be exact - it’s a suburb of Phoenix!
I graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a minor in Business Administration.
I am a fiery and proud Aries! I definitely do have some water sign traits though, with my moon being in Pisces. But overall, I identify most with the energy and enthusiasm of being an Aries.
Who do you think embodies the AMERICAE woman and why?
I would have to go with none other than writer, director, and advocate, Janet Mock. Not only is Janet stunning, she is extremely intelligent, fierce in her beliefs, and unapologetic in her convictions. As a Black trans woman, she is continuously fighting for her communities, amplifying the voices of not only the LGBTQIA+ community, but redefining what it means to be a strong Black woman in today’s world. Her work on Pose and her revolutionary deal with Netflix are groundbreaking, and following her along on her journey pushes me to be the best I can be and to continuously challenge the status quo.
Describe your style and why is it authentically you.
If there are two things to know about me and my style, they're that I love color and I’ve never met a pattern I didn’t like. I am definitely in the camp that fashion and personal style should be fun. I don’t believe in fashion rules, unless it’s to break them. Pattern clashing is my M.O., and the brighter the color, the better. My personal style has always been my security blanket. When I was in high school, it gave me confidence as it was something I could control. And now, the loud patterns and rainbow of colors are just part of who I am.
What drives you?
In my industry, there is so much to be done when it comes to authentic diversity and inclusion - especially when it comes to creating and maintaining more spaces for Black women to succeed. I am driven by that need. My mission in life is to continuously work to bridge the gap for women, more specifically, women of color wishing to advance in their careers without discrimination and without barriers brought upon by the color of their skin.
What's on your bookshelf?
In true Gisele fashion, I am currently reading three books - why read one when you could read them all? I started the summer with Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, then I started reading my queen Janet Mock’s second book, Surpassing Certainty. Finally, I’m reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for a book club! The common theme on my bookshelf is Black authors, especially Black female authors.
Next or favorite travel destination?
Before COVID-19, my girlfriends and I had a Europe trip planned for April. We were going to Copenhagen, Madrid, and Lisbon. Once things calm down. I am itching to get that trip back on the books! In terms of my favorite place, I studied abroad in a small town in Italy called Orvieto - it is a real life storybook town and no other place makes me happier.
What's next for you?
This year I began many new and exciting projects so I am thrilled to continue with those and keep building them up. All in all, I want to continue to amplify the voices and stories of people of color - through my day job and what I do on my own.
What's your personal motto or what message would you like to share with women?
One thing that I have said for years and that I believe in wholeheartedly is that “education inspires change.” No one is perfect and we all have things to learn. Continuing to do the work and normalizing changing opinions when new information is learned are invaluable skills that have helped me in every aspect of my life.