- Author: Jazmine Boutte
If you haven’t heard of Abstract Nola and the creative work Ms. Antarah Leilani has been putting in then you may be living under a rock. She has taken the charge of spreading the culture that is New Orleans and putting it on a major platform to the world. Sis does it while remaining authentic and true to herself. Check out our interview with this bomb dot com woman and learn a little more about the creative herself and Abstract Nola.
Who is Antarah Leilani?
I am a black woman, mother, wife, organizer, holistic wellness advocate, creative director, and event producer.
What makes a creative a creative?
To me, a creative is someone that uses their imagination and instinct to manifest their ideas.
Why is holistic wellness important? Why should more people practice it?
Holistic wellness focuses on the health of an entire person: mental, emotional, & physical health. This is important because so often when we think of our health we relate it to physical wellness only. Most times, as people of color our first intro to the healthcare system is via the emergency room or once something is already wrong. Most treatment cures the symptoms, not the true source of the sickness. It is important that we take a holistic approach to health because we are complex beings with so many more factors that contribute to our well being than just the physical ones. Stress and depression can be just as deadly as poor eating habits. Don’t sleep, we have the power to heal ourselves from the inside out!
What is Abstract Nola and what prompted you to start it?
Abstract Nola is a creative agency committed to creating platforms for artists in all mediums. We create spaces where artists & entrepreneurs can flourish socially, professionally, & holistically. Our first event was ‘The Art Party’, started with the intent to create an experience that did not yet exist in the city, a space where creatives could not only network and vibe with other creatives, but also showcase their talents and sell their products/services in a party type setting.
Why is Abstract Nola needed and what has been the response from the community?
ANO was needed to create an environment/scene with quality experiences for creatives of color to express themselves and share their artistry in the city. From day one the creative community has embraced us with open arms by showing overwhelming support. We’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with over 100 artists/entrepreneurs and produce over 150 events for more than 5000 attendees + since our start in 2016. In addition to creating a brand new event lane in NOLA and inspired countless other events for creatives. We are focused on creating a solid foundation for the entertainment industry pipeline here in the city, producing larger scale events and activation’s, continuing to support our local visionaries, and keep doing dope shit!
We understand that your husband is your business partner? How is it working with your spouse?
Yep, we have similar but different approaches to completing tasks. I’m more of the creative and he’s more logistics/operations, but we match really well together. It’s great to have a supportive partner (both personally and in business) that understands my work flow and thought processes. It isn’t always easy though, sometimes the lines blur and we have to remind ourselves to turn off our business brains and just enjoy each other.
Do you have any advice for couples looking to start a business together?
I heard this saying once, ‘to be an entrepreneur is to jump off a cliff, and build a bridge on the way down.’ If you’re going to get into business together: trust each other to make the best decisions on behalf of the biz, separate your personal feelings and always give 100%. It ain’t for everybody!
What has been your proudest moment while operating Abstract Nola?
Honestly, I can’t just pinpoint one! We have accomplished so many things in our short 4 years of operation that I take pride in! Every experience no matter how large or small gives me the same good feels. If I had to choose, some of my favorites were our official Grammy Party, the show at Tipitina’s, and one our of client’s landing a feature in Teen Vogue magazine.
Your son is adorable! Has motherhood changed your outlook on life in any way?
Thank you! It has for sure. Having that little set of eyes watching my every move has definitely made me 1000x’s more motivated to accomplish my own goals and be so much more conscious of the value of time and how I spend it. I’m so inspired by his eagerness to learn new concepts and I try to keep that same energy in my creative approach.
How do you find balance for work and family life?
It can be hard at times, sometimes the lines blur- especially because there is no set schedule as an entrepreneur. I’ve learned that I have to be deliberate about both things equally, I make time for both. If that looks like time to spend with the family with no phones or computers, or conversations about business, then I do that. On the other hand, if i need to focus on a particular work task or project, I schedule in the necessary time for that, too.
“As women we tend to put the needs of others before our own, but we can’t pour from an empty cup! We must nurture ourselves first… the hardest work is self work.”
Do women run the world? How can women find their power?
Women run the universe! WE ARE DIVINE. As women we tend to put the needs of others before our own, but we can’t pour from an empty cup! We must nurture ourselves first… the hardest work is self work. We must eat well, exercise, practice positive mental health techniques, remember to be gentle with ourselves, create a plan for your goals, then go after them!
Your style is great and seems effortless. What goes into planing an outfit?
When getting dressed I like to factor in a few things: where I’m going, my comfort level, the color palette, a signature piece, and my favorite -ACCESSORIES!
What do you love most about New Orleans?
Our city has so much soul, its embedded in every aspect of our culture. You can see/feel it in everything that we do, from the food, to the music, we have a unique authenticity that no other place I’ve ever been to, heard about, or read about has.
Describe a perfect Sunday in New Orleans:
A perfect Sunday in the city involves crawfish, a snowball, friends, and catching some vibes at an Abstract Nola Art Party!
You can learn more about Abstract Nola at www.abstractnola.com