A moment of despair turned to determination for Destiny’s Child’s former employee, Danika Berry.
The 46-year-old turned the pain from her recent divorce into purpose in hopes of helping women feel beautiful inside and out. With her beauty company, Glam Body, Danika became an advocate for mental health and wellness for women of color.
Before Glam Body, Danika started out as a T.V. producer for the Deborah Duncan Show where she booked the world-renowned musical group Destiny’s Child. Impressed by her determination and work ethic, Mathew Knowles then hired her as a product manager at Music World Entertainment, the management company for Destiny’s Child.
Under his fierce guidance, Danika learned to not take no for an answer. This experience propelled her into starting her own consulting firm. She took on stars such as Tami Roman, Rasheeda Frost, and Quad Webb-Lunceford.
After over two decades of tireless work, Danika learned to prioritize self-care and family. She preaches for women to seize what they want while setting boundaries and taking care of their mental health.
Her Agenda: You have accomplished so much in your career. You were a publicist, a T.V. producer and now you own a business. How did you get your start?
Danika Berry: I was a television producer for a local talk show in Houston called the Deborah Duncan Show. I used to intern there when I was in college. I was the first intern to actually get a job there. Before that, I was a radio DJ in Austin, Texas. But I moved back to Houston and became a television producer for the local talk show and that’s where I booked Destiny’s Child. I booked them on the show and from there, Mathew Knowles hired me to work for him, because he liked the way everything came together.
Her Agenda: So you stalked Beyoncè’s father, Mathew Knowles until he finally hired you?
Danika Berry: Well, until he came on the show! Because, you know, it was Destiny’s Child. They were pretty big in the late 90s. I thought that they felt maybe it was too local. They were used to being on Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, and MTV. So I literally would figure out [Knowles’] schedule, or find out where he was at, and I would literally show up with a cameraman. I’ve always been a hustler and a go-getter, so I would just pop up where he was at. And he was like, “Dang, this girl keeps harassing me!” But he liked it.
It was right in the middle of the girls splitting up. There was quite a lot of controversy surrounding it. I just wanted them to tell their hometown their story. That was their first time talking about the situation. [Knowles] really liked the way things turned out, then he was like, “I want you to come work for me.”
Her Agenda: Something like that takes a lot of confidence. Where did you find that confidence, and how can I get some?
Danika Berry: Oh my God, that is so funny! Well, I’ll say this: I had two remarkable grandmothers. And my great-grandmother, also. She was really steadfast and strong. And so was my mom’s mom. My grandmother didn’t take nothing from no one and she was scared of no one. And then my dad’s mom was super sweet. So I had these generations of women in my family who were very, very alpha females. They were hustlers in their own right, for their generation, especially my great-grandmother. Her parents were slaves. She would speak at universities. She was the go-to woman in the city of Waco, Texas, and everyone admired her.
I mirrored her. Everything about her. From her personality to her being so strong, for wanting more for her life. She was extremely successful in her own right, and people respected and looked up to her. I’ve always wanted to be like her, and be this strong woman. At the age of 10, I started writing contracts for my chores. Because I wasn’t going to do all that for free.
At the age of 10, I started writing contracts for my chores. Because I wasn’t going to do all that for free.
Her Agenda: Isn’t it such a blessing to have such strong women in your life that you can look up to and shape yourself after?
Danika Berry: It really is. My mom is too. My mom always told me you can be whatever you want to be in life and you don’t have to work for anybody. She said success is easy. It’s just making a plan and executing that plan every day. And that’s what I go by. If you just take advantage and make the best out of your life, you can be who and whatever you want to be. You have to be hungry. You need to create a new reality for yourself and don’t be conditioned to the fact of your circumstance that you may have been marginalized or dismissed, or your sense of self has been dismissed. Because I’ve been marginalized before. I’ve been dismissed, by people, by companies. At the end of the day you don’t have to continue to [hold your head up high.]
Her Agenda: So flash forward a couple of years and you’ve started your beauty and wellness company, Glam Body. You were going through quite a bit at the time. How did you turn your pain into ambition, and how did you turn that ambition into success?
Danika Berry: I eventually developed a level of self-awareness, mental resolve, and inner strength. I know I’m different. Everyone else is different. But the thing about me is, I never settled in my environment. I want to create the life that I desire, that I deserve. Regardless of what I’m going through, I’m the superpower. I am the money. People come to me to help their brand, to get them in different publications, to create that hype around them or to give them the blueprint. People ask me for advice on how to make millions of dollars. I’ve been doing this every day for 27 years.
So I said I can do that for myself. I never allowed my situation to define me. And I’ll never let anyone deny me. I just kept going and I refused to be denied. This didn’t happen within 24 hours, but I eventually had to figure out what my purpose was. Which is why I went into beauty and wellness and self-care. The number one thing that keeps people from succeeding, that keeps people broke, is accepting what they’re dealt in life. Then eventually you’re 50, 60, 70 years old wondering what the hell happened. Imma tell you what happened: you talked yourself out of your purpose. I did not want to talk myself out of my purpose. I know what my purpose is and I didn’t want to have a what-if story. Don’t ever have a what-if story.
Her Agenda: Did you ever have any self-doubt while making these decisions?Danika Berry: Never. My faith is strong, and I stepped out on faith so many times. And God has not let me down. I believe in what my purpose is in life, and I know that I’m taking the step in the right direction, and I’m super excited about it. I don’t stress out. I know how to control my anxiety and I don’t allow it to run my life. You have to be strong enough to think about pleasant things or to pivot that your thought process. You know that the dark time doesn’t last forever and that you’ll get through it.
Her Agenda: Since you were a publicist and a brand manager, you put so much energy into other people and their success. I feel like a lot of folks can relate to that. We put so much time into friends and family and making sure they’re okay that we forget to take care of ourselves. Was there a time when you realized you needed to take a step back for your own sake? And how did keep from feeling guilty about it?
Danika Berry: When I didn’t have a vacation for seven years. Because whenever I go on vacation, it’s like all of my clients panic. I talk to them every day. I didn’t have a social life. I had clients calling me at like three, four in the morning. And I would be a therapist because, with the job, they’re telling you their problems, their emotions, and just literally throwing everything on you. It takes a toll. Publicity is not an easy job, and you can ask any publicist, it’s a thankless job. After a while, you just get tired of not being appreciated.
I got rid of those clients [who pushed boundaries]. And I’ve garnered so many great friendships of like-minded women, mothers, who have families who are respectable, and they call me a decent hour, and they know when to bother me when not to bother me, and vice versa. We have boundaries.
Her Agenda: You’ve shifted your career path a few times. What advice do you have for women looking to do the same? What’s something you wish you knew before you switched careers?
Danika Berry: I am a big advocate of stepping out on faith because you only have a small window of opportunity. It’s a certain period of time that you need to make things happen in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you need to get a mentor, get that mentor. Do a lot of research, but don’t wait because you’ll miss your turn.
I made a lot of mistakes. Oh, goodness, I made a lot of mistakes. I didn’t know anything about work-life balance, nor did I know anything about boundaries because I just wanted to make everyone happy. Right now, I’m seriously all about self-care. I have an intention journal, and I always tell people, “Get you an intention journal.” You need to be intentional about everything that you do in life. Write down everything that you’re supposed to do every single day. That keeps you on track and in case you’re extremely successful.
I would have been more into self-care. This is why I preach it now. Wellness is so huge for me; doing yoga, meditating, affirmations, manifesting, all of that. It’s so real. Prayer. Prayer is huge for me. Delete the negative out of your life, all that bad energy. I used to try to make people happy, even when they did me wrong. You don’t have to deal with that.
Her Agenda: What is your motto?
Danika Berry: Make it happen. I got that from Mathew Knowles. Because if there was something that I did not know, that man would say, “I don’t care. Make it happen.” And I had to figure it out. Make it happen.
[Editor’s note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]