Aligners, Meet Shauntay!

Align Magazine got the chance to catch up with Millennial influencer, Shauntay, to discuss her recent book release and her journey into creativity and entrepreneurship. Here is what she had to say….

So Shauntay, tell our readers a little bit about yourself:  My name is Shauntay Dunbar. I’m a Bronx, New York native, HBCU graduate (Shout out to Morgan State University)! I’m an author, creative writer, relationship expert, dating coach, poet, blogger, podcaster and an event planner for a luxury publisher. I am also a Sister, Daughter, Auntie, and Bestie (lol) I wear a lot of hats.

That sounds pretty interesting.  Now, we want to hear about your business ventures and creative pursuits.  Well, in 2017 I self-published my book Diving In Stilettos First: Memoirs of Dating Mr. Right Now, which is a dating memoir of my actual life after my annulment. I speak of me diving back into the dating scene of NYC and all the shenanigans I get myself into on a quest to find love again.

From that book launch, I have appeared as a guest speaker on many platforms promoting self-love and women empowerment by offering perspective and humor.   I started a podcast called HerView with my cousin where we discuss relationships and life from a black women’s point of view.  Recently I am 1/3 of a women’s empowerment group called Femme Diaries. We tour different cities providing safe spaces for women to openly discuss relationships, health and sex in a judge free zone. I have my blog Tales from the Single Relationship Expert where I offer perspective on various dating scenarios and what I’ve experienced when it comes to relationships with significant others, family, co-workers and friends.

Big ups on all your accomplishments, you have much to be proud of! Has your journey been an easy one so far?  My journey has not been easy at all but, I have learned to appreciate the journey none the less.  The biggest challenge I had to get over was the fear of being judged. This is my work that I have protected and now it’s out there for the world to critique.  You realize quickly that other people’s opinions of you is none of your business. 

Self-publishing takes a lot of work; it’s all you, from book style, cover, font, finding an editor, to marketing and brand building, etc.  You have all these expectations thinking people will love what you are doing, embrace you with open arms, automatically like you, cut a big check and the reality is you are not rated E for everybody.  Just because you are genuine doesn’t mean others will be. I’ve had people tell me they could get my book to people in high places… it never happened. I’ve shown up in prestigious places and have gotten the “how did you get in here” face. All you can do is keep showing up and hold your head high knowing that GOD has placed you right where you are supposed to be.  I’ve learned that, it’s not always about you being seen.  Sometimes you’re put in position to see others for who they really are.  I truly never really embraced the saying “Why try to fit in when you were born to stand out” until I began this journey.  I’ve learned so much and I’m still learning but, I never hesitate to share what I’ve learned. It helps others and helps me evolve as well.

Amazing stuff! You sound like you’ve learned much from your experiences.  What’s one thing we should know about you? I don’t judge and I always want people to feel comfortable and confident when expressing themselves. I like to encourage people to share their story. Not only is it therapeutic but, they also realize they aren’t alone. That their story is relatable and can help someone else.

What sets you apart from competition (if there is any)? I try my hardest not to compare myself to others but, I’m human and have my moments. What I can say is I knew I was different and I learned to be completely comfortable with myself, I learned to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously.  I knew I was different and had an advantage. I can find the humor in just about anything without being disrespectful.  I’m optimist and I believe what’s for me is for me.

“The biggest challenge I had to get over was the fear of being judged. This is my work that I have protected and now it’s out there for the world to critique.  You realize quickly that other people’s opinions of you is none of your business.”

Shauntay Dunbar

Looking back over your experiences, what has been your fondest moment thus far? I would have to say it was during my book signing at Lord and Taylor.  There was so much love and support in that room as I signed copies, read an excerpt from my book and had a Q & A session.  A friend of mine brought her younger sister to the event and explained to me that she wanted her to see what can happen when you decide to follow your dreams.  She told me that It’s all possible and you are proof of that.  I teared up, I was so taken aback by that because I had no idea the impact I was having just from me wanting to keep my word to myself.  I said I was going to write a book and I did it. Just another reason to always do your best because you never know who you are inspiring.

Looking forward, where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?  In the next 5 to 10 years I see myself having true financial freedom, doing Ted Talks, traveling the world for speaking engagements and workshops. Maybe 2 or 3 more books under my belt, a couple of movies based on my books.  Helping people become the best version of themselves and being madly, happily in love with my life.

That sounds awesome! What about a role model? Who has been the most influential person in your life?  I would have to say the most influential person in my life is my mom. As I have gotten older she really has become my best friend.  One thing I have learned from her is you’re not going to do everything right all the time and that’s okay. You learn from it and do better. You take responsibility over what you have control over and you keep going and growing. You hold your head up and you never lose your integrity.  People may forget what you’ve said but, they never forget how you’ve made them feel. My mom has the ability to make a person feel like they are on top of the world no matter what they are going through. I aspire to do the same.

Explain who Shauntay was as a child? As a kid, I was honest with no filter and very bossy.  I’ve always enjoyed my own company and when I wanted to learn something I would watch, stay focused, be quiet and teach myself. I’ve always liked to write and read a ton of books so my imagination is still out of this world.

Cool, do you believe New York City is a good place for all you’re aspiring to do? Absolutely!  I honestly have tried to consider living other places because it’s so expensive here but, I’m a native, you just work harder.  There’s inspiration everywhere you just have to stop and take advantage of it.

What are a few things that you want people to remember about you when you’re gone? I want people to remember me for my kindness and making them feel like they can accomplish anything. I want people to remember my laugh; that is was loud and genuine and I also want them to remember that I am a woman of my word. When I say I’m going to do something I do that shit!

Give one piece of advice that you can share with fellow Millennials One piece of advice? That’s tough to pick just one. I’ll say be kind. No one can take away what is for you and you have to know by doing the work you will get there but don’t let the actions of others change your character. People will do business with you because they like you and want to see you flourish.  Stay kind and when you are in a position of power you will do better than those who came before you because you know what its like and you’ve made your experiences teachable moments. Like I said before people may not remember everything you said but they definitely remember how you made them feel. 

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