The creative entrepreneur Destiny Anderson on Creativity, Spirituality, and Revolution
Destiny Anderson just turned 24, but she calls herself more things than most will in a lifetime: model, filmmaker, singer, rapper, and now, owner of her own skincare+ brand, bbyg.xyz. She moved to LA at the age of 19 to pursue a modeling career, but has since returned to her hometown of Buffalo, New York to focus on building a skincare business. Because “it’s important to start at home.” A jack and master of all trades, Destiny was first introduced to the creative world at age ten, when she auditioned for the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts by performing Alicia Keys’ If I ‘Aint Got You. She was surrounded with creative outlets: from sewing to dance, and filming and directing. At the Academy, she became a creative sponge, soaking up each skill she came across, never wringing herself dry. And now, Destiny is in a state of cleansing herself, ridding of bad energy, and pushing away anything that’s not real. She is orienting herself towards her destiny, determined to follow where it leads her.
Kenna McCafferty: You’ve worked in a wide array of creative fields. Where did you first start?
Destiny Anderson: Music was probably the first thing that I felt came naturally.
Her voice is kind and smooth, filtered over the soft sound of 90s-2000s hip-hop playing in her room: a time and aesthetic she draws inspiration from…
Destiny: I have to try more at the technical things. Things like dance moves, I sit and study the technicalities. But, I’m pretty good with my hands, when it comes to sewing and crochet and things like that. I can’t really paint or draw, though. That’s something I always wished I could do… But I started out filming. I started out filming and directing, and honestly, that’s my favorite creative outlet. And now it’s figuring out how to band together all that I do. I do my filming, I still do my crochet. I do my skincare, and I do music. I do a lot! It’s difficult to package and brand myself.
Kenna: How did you get started setting up the bbyg skincare brand?
Destiny: Honestly, it really just started with a need for products. I was living in LA, in the middle of K-Town, and there weren’t a lot of beauty supply stores near me with the skin stuff that I was used to. I’m used to beauty supply stores, like, in the hood, with the soaps, the shea butter… And I don’t know, this line came from me wanting to create and use my own stuff, to research and create my own brand. I spent time figuring out the aesthetic of everything I wanted, to make sure everything’s on the same page. I wanted to make sure that my message and vision would come across clearly.
KM: What is the message of bbyg.xyz?
DA: Everything black! I’m a black woman, I support black people, and I feel like my products are a voice for people who look like me, and for those that want to start their own business. I want my products to be a source of inspiration for other people to go out and make things for themselves.
KM: What’s the next thing you want to do?
DA: This is a really, really fresh thought that I had, and I haven’t even done all the research and studying that I would need to do but—
She looks up and chuckles, but keeps her mouth closed. She’s in on some joke I don’t know about.
DA: I wanna do stand up.
She lets out a HA! and immediately covers her mouth with her hands, letting the moment land. Comedic timing, already impeccable.
DA: I wanna do a set. I wanna do a stand-up comedy show. I wanna take a crack at it, and see if I could do it.
KM: I want to know what’s going on in your head.
DA: Craziness! Craziness!
She draws loops around her head with her fingers. Black and silver acrylics graze her heart-shaped hoop earrings.
DA: I, just, haven’t really been speaking. I haven’t really been using my voice, voice. I’ve been using my hands. I’ve been using my mind. I’ve been writing. But, I don’t really… I don’t really talk that much. I want to, but I feel like there is more journey to be had, of me going deeper into myself so I can feel more comfortable and solid in myself, so that I can speak more freely.
KM: How has your creative expression evolved?
DA: I don’t know, I just feel like everything really is a journey. I’m just trying to figure out where I’m meant to be, and to prosper in it. I model and am signed to an agency in LA. That was a really big dream of mine. All through high school, it was America’s Next Top Model, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show… I was watching all of that! I wanted to be there! So I was really excited about being signed. It’s a part of finding out what I want to do and be for myself.
KM: What do you want to do for yourself?
DA: I want to inspire people to create amazing things. I want to be known for great energy. For my laughs, for my love. You know, regular shit. Nothing too crazy. Money, you can get money. You can grind. You can work hard. You can be hard. You can be successful. You can do all of that shit, but how people feel about you and who you are as a person… that’s what is important.
KM: How do you balance success as a model and an entrepreneur, and success within yourself?
DA: I mean, money is important and money’s good, but money is always flowing. Money can’t really make me do too much. When the whole world blew up after George Floyd was murdered, all these brands were trying to show that they cared about black people… I turned down jobs…. Like, no, I see what this is for. I see what this is about. And it’s not just the money for them. It’s also my image. I don’t want to be associated with brands over money.
She shakes her head and scratches behind the thick white crocheted headband she made herself to keep her ears warm through Buffalo winters.
DA: The first time I was signed, I was definitely asking “What’s the box they want me to be in?” I was hungrier. But trying to squeeze myself into some box is just not good for me. I feel like people don’t know where to put me because I do so much, and I’m also a lot of energy. I’ve even been told to scale back my Instagram so photographers can see how to shoot with me better. And while that may make sense for the industry, I’m not trying to only be a model. It’s Destiny first, and I know where to put me. I definitely work to get to the core: to do what’s real. Everything that’s authentic will resonate with me.
KM: What’s real to you?
DA: Love feels real…
She cuts herself off laughing and covers her face again. I catch a glimpse of a red gem on her tooth, another one of her recent creative endeavors.
DA: It’s corny, but love is real. Creation is real. How you feel is real.
KM: How do you practice love for yourself and others?
DA: You have to pour it into yourself before you can try to give it to someone else. I feel like when you’re giving to someone else from a place of lack, it’s not really giving. It’s not coming from a good space, so you’re not really transferring any good energy. I really feel like making sure you’re at your personal best is how you show up best for other people.
KM: What do you do when you feel like you’re not at your best?
DA: There are days when I just lay in bed and think, “I need to get up. I need to get up.” Those times when you don’t want to do nothing… you just feel that feeling of…
She breathes out a deep sigh, letting her lips buzz against each other.
DA: …heaviness. It’s about staying conscious of where your energy is, and not dwelling too long when you’re in that low space. Feel whatever you feel, and then let it pass.
KM: What’s making you feel heavy lately?
DA: Police brutality. Corrupt government. All of it is corrupt. Everything is really showing itself to the world, of how it is, how it’s really been. That’s something that I feel like I have to work through. Because, even talking about it now, I feel it, in—
She puts a hand to her chest and tenses her shoulders. The rhythm of her speech slows and her cadence strains under heaviness internalized.
DA: I see things happening in the world- to people, to my people, to people who look like me. That’s the most important thing. I’m trying to lighten spirits or help by educating. I feel like right now, that’s the most important thing.
KM: How have you been feeling about the resurgence of Black Lives Matter?
DA: I have a lot of questions. I think something’s getting confused along the way. Like, I am definitely for it. I do believe that protesting is a good means for getting our voices out. I believe it’s necessary. But I also think, I don’t know, it’s an organization thing… I wish it was more militant. I feel like it’s been hard to get everybody on the same page. And it’s a little confusing, even for me. The media has taken the Black Lives Matter tag and are using it, having it laid out in streets. I just feel like we’re straying away from what’s real. Our lives have always mattered. It’s nothing really new. We are just seeing it more now. We see these disturbing videos on a regular basis, because of social media, so now we all know. But I’m black. I live like this every day. You have got to cleanse all of this imagery out of you, because you don’t need it. Plus, I feel like it’s a very disrespectful thing to do, anyway, to record the dead.
KM: How do you take care of yourself amidst all those images and stories of brutality?
DA: Me and my boyfriend talk about this all the time. We talk through it, we watch stuff on YouTube, we know that what our people need is more love and education. I try to stay sharp in my own mind so that when I encounter people in need, I can pass that onto someone else who may be needing it.
KM: How do you hope to pass on what you learn?
Her face lights up at the sound of the name. As if she’s calling back to herself. In a way, she is, having named the brand after her Instagram handle @baaabygiraffe, a name she gave herself that stuck.
KM: What does skincare routine mean to you? Beyond just good skin?
DA: It’s about taking an extra step for yourself… Even when I simply wash my face, I say affirmations in my head. I speak sweet to myself. I feel like that’s necessary. If you speak sweetly to other people, why not speak to yourself in a loving way?
KM: What are some affirmations you use?
DA: It depends on what feels right to me at the time. I have a phrase that’s just always been in my head: Everything is always magically working out for me… Everything is always magically working… I believe in magic.
KM: How do you notice when something isn’t working for you?
DA: My intuition and my feelings tell me. I’m very sensitive. If I have a bad feeling, it will present itself in my body. When something doesnt feel right, I will get real stiff. Like I am getting choked. I think my throat chakra gets blocked a lot.
She cinches her shoulders up around her neck, and rocks into a little wiggle: a physical manifestation of unease. She laughs through it, and I do too. The motion is both too ridiculous, and too familiar, not to.
DA: The chakras are frequencies of the angelic realms. The sounds of heaven. Very calming. I meditate and sing.
KM: Do you feel a power or presence in your chakra, meditation, or manifestation practices? How does it feel to align?
DA: It’s all one power. Manifestation is you tuning into the frequency, and aligning within the vibration of the world that you’re trying to attract. That’s it! It’s you aligning with what you want for yourself. While in meditation, I feel connected. I feel at peace. I feel understood, and like I know what I’m doing. I feel like my feet are on the ground. I feel like me.
KM: To close out, is there anything you want to get off your chest? Let into the air?
She breathes in heavily, rolling her head side to side, opening her throat chakra, letting her final words move through her, bridging an urgency with ease.
DA: End SARS. End police brutality. Fuck the pigs. Rest in peace Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, George Floyd.