“I’m deeply interested in the stories of others and how we all connect,” LaTonya Yvette Staubs tells us. Which is no surprise, considering how unabashedly real the stylist, writer, New Yorker, and mother of two gets on her site and on Instagram. Her candor on relationships and the lessons she’s learned as a mom are especially refreshing in a time when most people only share their highlight reel, leaving out the challenging moments that occur between the Instagram-worthy ones (okay, we love those too).
Eager to learn from the Brooklyn-based entrepreneur (who, by the way, has one of the chicest apartments we’ve seen yet), we sat down with Staubs to talk work ethic (she’s been working on her craft since she was a teenager), her ability to “squeeze lemonade out of anything,” and why she’s not waiting for her next big accomplishment to treat herself to diamond jewelry from the new Forevermark Tribute Collection. Her motto? “When you decide to work on yourself then you get to celebrate yourself,” she tells us.
Preach, girl. Now onto more wise words of advice…
LaTonya wears her own dress, Common Projects sneakers, Diamond Stackable Rings from Forevermark Tribute™ Collection, and Diamond Layering Pendants from The Forevermark Tribute™ Collection.
On Celebrating Yourself Often:
“Don’t wait for someone to throw you a party. Don't wait for someone to surprise you; [celebrating yourself] is not about that.”
On Self-Gifting Unapologetically:
“I’m only just getting to the stage where jewelry is something I invest in, and I think that has something to do with growing up and wrapping my head around the idea that I deserve to buy it when I want to buy it.”
On the Beginning of Her Career:
“My styling career started when I was a teenager. I went from retail to styling to assisting on set to doing my own thing. When I had my daughter, River, I started styling new mothers and other women who found themselves in the crux of a life transition—people who wanted to hold onto a bit of themselves or redefine themselves.”
On Her Day-to-Day Work:
"I’m creative, but the bottom line is that I run a business. I’m always spinning that wheel.”
On the Power of Treating Yourself to Jewelry:
“I think there’s so much value in [self-gifting], and jewelry is a reminder of what you did and how you’ve grown along the way.”
On the Type of Jewelry She Invests In:
“I love thin, meaningful, feminine pieces that tell a story.”
On How She Defines Success:
“I think because of the way I grew up, success is marked by just providing. I can provide a loving, beautiful, and balanced life for my children. I know this is a struggle for many women.”
On the Attributes She Credits for Her Success Thus Far:
“I grew up with a single mother (of five), so my hustle for sure. I’m a businesswoman, but I’m constantly hustling, and my work embodies the realness of that. And overall, my ability to see joy in wherever or whatever I’m doing.”
On How Her Friends Would Describe Her:
“I laugh a lot and am generally joyful. I’m crazy loyal and talkative.”
…And How Her Kids Would Describe Her:
“Touchy, busy, cool."
LaTonya wears a Helmut Lang Sweater, Nanushka skirt, Zara mules, Diamond Stackable Rings from Forevermark Tribute™ Collection, and Diamond Layering Pendants from The Forevermark Tribute™ Collection.
On What Surprises Her Most About Motherhood:
“I’m completely in awe of how much my children can test me and tire me out, and I can still love them so intensely, still cuddle them to sleep, and still miss them when we’re apart. They’re a part of my body in this indescribable way.”
On What She’s Most Proud of:
"I don’t want to glorify being overly busy, but when I add up everything I do in one day, I’m just like, What the fuck? How did you do all that? How are you paying attention to loving people and writing so big and still checking the contracts? I think that’s something worth celebrating.”
On Balancing Her Roles as an Entrepreneur and a Mother:
“I think this will always be the best and worst part of my jobs: I get to do both simultaneously. There have been days and weeks when I’ve worked nonstop but still pop into my daughter's school or bring lunch to my son… The juggling is constant.”
Oh How She Changed After Having a Child:
“I had my daughter River when I was 21, and I moved out on my own when I was 17. I think I was very much an adult by the time I had her, but I also didn’t develop a set position of who I was. My life changed a lot, but I also allowed that to happen and welcomed it.”
Oh How Her Children Affect Her Work Ethic:
“If anything, my daughter allowed me to look at the bigger picture, hustle harder, and have more of a reason to fight for my own role. There’s less romanticizing about work and life when you have children. It’s dollar and cents and minutes. It was glorious and painful, and I thank River for it.”
On the Quirky Quality She Loves About Herself:
“I have a distinct BS detector. It’s kind of funny and also terrible. I intuitively can sniff out a lie or sniff out someone coming from the wrong place.”
On What She’d Tell Other Women Wanting to Work for Themselves:
“Keep going. Keep in your lane, head to the ground. Keep going. It works out just as you feel like you’ve hit the wall—push passed it.”