Name: Myah Hollis
Current City: Los Angeles, CA
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
Occupation: Writer, Founder of Holli Baker and Co-Founder of Pretty Thing
Myah is the founder and editor-in-chief of Holli Baker, as well as screenwriter & lifestyle blogger based in Los Angeles, CA. Combining her love for the arts and her passion for holistic living, she established Holli Baker during her senior year at Temple University in 2012. After that, Hollis created the series Or Die Trying and the co-founded Pretty Thing, a female-driven production company. She is also an aerialist, having recently partnered with Athleta for their 2018 campaign.
Between founding Holli Baker, co-founding Pretty Thing and creating Or Die Trying, you're the true definition of a slasher. Let's start by diving into Holli Baker, a millennial lifestyle and wellness brand devoted to finding the balance between life and art. How has it grown over the last 5 to 6 years and what are your goals for it going forward?
The site has intention now, in a way that it didn't when I first started it. It originated as a college project and became a creative outlet for me, but it wasn't until the end of 2016 that I really cultivated a voice and a brand that I felt represented me completely. The name Holli Baker is a combination of my parents' last names, so the branding feels very personal now, given that creativity and wellness are the two halves of what I believe to be my purpose. Moving forward, I want to continue to grow and collaborate with other creatives and people in the wellness space. I want to bring on more writers with different perspectives, and make this a space that feels nurturing and inclusive.
Next, you created Or Die Trying, a series about women in film, by women in film. Can you tell us more about the project?
Or Die Trying is the story of four millennial women trying to find a sense of balance between their personal and professional lives, while living and working in LA. The show was written, produced and directed by women, with a mostly female cast and crew. We shot season one in 5 days, with less than $15k. I still don't even understand how it came together, but I'm so proud of it and proud of my team. We premiered season one in 2017 at The Academy, which was a surreal experience.
How has working with these women inspired you?
With ODT being the first project I produced, it set a precedent for what I should expect from a set and a crew. I don't know anything other than working in a space that is overwhelmingly female, and the dynamic was magical. I don't think I'd tolerate anything less, to be honest. It was empowering, and not just for the women on set, because everyone knew that each person felt like they belonged there and that their voice was being heard. It made it an incredibly collaborative space. I couldn't have been more in awe of my team.
Lastly, you co-founded Pretty Thing, a female production company launching this year. We'd love to have you reflect a bit on what that process was like? What were the highlights and speed bumps along the way?
Founding Pretty Thing was a strangely spiritual experience. My business partner and I had all of these responsible and reasonable plans because starting a company is terrifying and you want to make sure you're doing it properly. We wanted to be prepared, but it became a test of faith, courage and obedience. Everything in life seemed to be conspiring for us to do this sooner than we planned, and even though the choice to make that leap was hard, it's paid off more than we could have imagined. We couldn't have foreseen how well things would work out, but that's God for you. Everything seems to have fallen into alignment this year.
Do you have any other projects/collaborations on the books you'd like the readers to know about?
Things are constantly happening with Pretty Thing and Holli Baker. We have a ton of projects planned for this year, so stay tuned.
Walk us through how you balance your personal and professional life.
Balance is so key for me, primarily because I went through a period last fall when I was really off balance. I was so exhausted and felt so helpless about it that now I know what my threshold is, and I'm careful not to cross it again. I've disabled all notifications on my phone so that I don't feel the need to be constantly plugged in. I have a daily ritual I follow that keeps me grounded and focused on what I want and what makes me happy. I'm more mindful of what I'm investing my time in and who I'm spending my time with. For me, it's become about recognizing when I don't feel right and prioritizing the things that I need to prioritize to feel okay again.
Where is your favorite place to escape and clear your head?
I love my home. I'm very introverted, so I've spent a lot of time making sure that my apartment feels restorative. The outside world is chaotic, and that's to be expected, but my space needs to be calm with good energy. I'm really protective of that.
Discuss the importance of female friendships in your life.
I'm very intentional about the people in my life. True and authentic friendship is something that took me a long time to find, so it's very special to me. My friends are an extension of myself. They're like body parts; I don't really know how I'd function without them now. My best friends are scattered across the country and I don't always get to see or speak to them often, but there are few things in life that I am as sure about as I am about them.
Who are some of your greatest influences?
I have people who I look up to professionally, who I've learned from and who have contributed to the person that I am now and the person that I want to be, but my greatest influences are my parents. I can trace every good thing in my life back to them. People come into your life and they leave pieces of themselves with you. I'm partially comprised of those pieces, and thankful for each one, but my parents are the foundation on which they are stacked. It's a really solid foundation. I don't know what I'd do without them.
If you could have dinner with any woman in history, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
I'd have a dinner party. Shonda Rhimes would bring wine and tell us what it's like to have invented television. Oprah would bring fresh produce from her garden, and allow us to try to absorb some of her Oprah-ness. Gwyneth Paltrow would juice the fruit from Oprah's garden, and teach us how to be our best physical and emotional selves. Chrissy Teigen would cook foods that would make me abandon my vegetarianism. It's a vibe.
What are you grateful for?
I'm grateful for peace. I'm in a very peaceful place right now, and I can appreciate that because my twenties have been so turbulent. I've started keeping a gratitude journal, and through that, I've become even more aware of all of the things I have to be grateful for. I think that's really necessary because it's easy to forget.
Do you have a personal mantra or quote that inspires you?
“Do what you love.”
I have this quote tattooed on my wrist. I think that, along with being a good person, is really the most important thing you can do.