A hustler in every sense of the world, Simone “Boss Lady” Amelia is a walking brand. Being a mover-and-shaker in the industry since before she was 18, the lady who has become synonymous with DrJays.com has carved a name out for herself through interviews – including Diddy, Usher, Yo Gotti and Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur – and being a co-host alongside DJ Green Lantern on their Sirius/XM Radio program.
Aside from those distinctions and a slew of others, the Australian beauty has taken her grind from the journalistic front and also spread her wings over to the fashion industry and, more importantly, philanthropy. Boss Lady recently sat down with me to discuss her newest shoes, in conjunction with Reebok, as well as her charitable efforts.
About how long has the plan to have your own shoe been in motion? What was your initial reaction when Reebok suggested the idea?
I first met with Reebok well over a year ago, so I had to be truly patient waiting for the shoe to finally drop! The brand brought the idea of the “Classic Beat” campaign (which my shoe is part of) to me after we’d brainstormed various ideas, so my initial reaction to the fact it was actually happening was one of happiness, excitement and gratitude.
You’re a well known business woman. What do you think having the opportunity to have your own shoe says about your brand?
The concept behind Reebok’s campaign was to spotlight five women from around the world who are not only perceived as ‘cool’ and ‘tastemakers’ in their respective worlds, but positive role models also. This speaks to the Boss Lady brand I’ve built and will continue to build; it’s all about entertainment meeting empowerment.
How much input did you have into the design and thought process behind the sneaker?
I was hype that I was going to be so hands-on with the sneaker’s design, but I was definitely a little nervous as I’d never undertaken a project like this before. I stayed true to something that represented me and that was the inspiration of Princess Jasmine from Aladdin.
Being a Middle Eastern woman, I was always drawn to the character’s strong and vibrant personality; she was a sexy female with dignity and independence. I traveled to Reebok’s headquarters in Canton, MA with her image in mind and worked closely with their incredible design team to make my vision come to life.
Is this your first time focusing in on the sneaker industry or have you been a sneaker lover your entire life? If so, what would you say is your favorite pair of shoes of all time?
I’ve been a sneaker lover my entire life. If you grow up in the inner city, sneakers form your identity from a very young age. I was one of those kids who grew up wearing the latest and greatest sneakers and did whatever I needed to do to get them, if you catch my drift! My all-time favorite sneaker is Nike Air Max 90s, but I also have a soft spot for Reebok Pumps!
You gave $10,000 to the New York Youth at Risk charity. Is there one specific story that sticks out in your mind as to why you felt that passionate about that cause? Or is something that moreso a culmination of events you have seen over the years?
I work so closely with New York Youth At Risk because I honestly could have been one of the girls in their Woman 2 Woman program. I had a rough time during my early-mid teens and if it wasn’t for my mother, I could have lead a very different life.
The majority of the girls I work with have little to no relationship with their mothers and just knowing and understanding how crucial my mother’s role in my life is, I do what I can for them in providing a positive influence where there was none before.
How important is it to you that people see you’re not only donating money to your charity of choice, but actually working with the people the money helps?
That’s THE most important part. Donating money is greatly appreciated and always needed, but nothing compares to spending time with these kids. I always say the coolest thing about ‘making it’ is giving back. That’s the ultimate pay-off for someone as blessed as I am, who’s able to do what I love for a living.
Working with at-risk teenagers is far from the easiest thing in the world; it takes endless perseverance and dedication. But when you make that one small breakthrough with the kids, when they finally realize you’re not going to up and leave them like damn near everyone else has, it’s all worth it.
With a sneaker already added to your portfolio, what is the next “dream accomplishment” on your list and how do you plan to accomplish it?
I’m looking at similar branding opportunities now, each hopefully with a non-profit component to them also. I’m expanding my BossLady.tv brand and looking at developing more in radio and hopefully one day, television. From the beginning of my career back home in Australia with my magazine till now, all I ever wanted to do was be a credible journalist who’s blessed to hear and tell great stories and aim to make a difference for the better.