Women Who Write: Natalie Bounassar
Natalie Bounassar lives a dynamic life as a comedy writer and fashion aficionado, which has led her on a journey to find what we could all use a little more of – balance. Since working sixty hours a week in the television industry is the norm for Natalie, finding that balance is easier said than done, but it’s something she strives for every day. “It's a constant process,” she says. “I'm learning to set boundaries for myself in order to avoid burnout.”
To help find that much-needed harmony in her life, Natalie created the blog Sunday Mornings where she shares pieces of her life and, to our benefit, her wardrobe. “I have a special place in my heart for shoes and purses - much to my wallet's dismay,” she admits. Sunday Mornings is Natalie’s way of keeping up with life outside of work, and is also a place for “anyone trying to find balance,” whatever that might mean to them. While there isn’t a secret formula to finding that perfect stability in life, Natalie says that being your own cheerleader is a good place to start. “I think learning to celebrate small successes is key,” she says. “We have to acknowledge that we are good and capable.”
Do you think you've found that balance between work and everyday life yet?
“I wish. I'm always trying to find balance between work and life, but I don't think I've mastered it yet. I'm a fairly intense and driven person - I like the thrill of new challenges, and I'm sometimes not the best at relaxing. My fiancé has really helped to teach me the importance of finding moments of quiet. I truly believe that we function best when our lives are in balance - this means our professional lives, our personal lives, our spiritual lives, our recreational lives, and whatever else fills and satisfies you. If one or more of these things are out of balance, the entire scale can be tipped. I think we have to be continually aware of it though - it's very easy to lose balance!”
I know that you're also a comedy writer, so can you tell me what you're working on now?
“I grew up on traditional network comedy - I Love Lucy was my bread and butter. My favorite thing about comedy is that it's a subtle catalyst for change dressed up in a bunch of great jokes. I truly believe in the power of comedy to change minds and hearts. Think about it - Lucille Ball changed the landscape for women in entertainment. They didn't have to be housewives and ingenues. They could have drive and character and personality. I'm Middle Eastern, my dad is from Lebanon, so my goal is to use comedy as a platform to bring Middle Eastern people to mainstream television. Let's laugh about hummus and hairy arms. Let's chuckle about the falafel guy down the street. Let's humanize people that have so long been demonized - and then let's dig into the issues that affect them. I mainly write about my experiences as a Lebanese American and as a daughter of a successful immigrant.”
When did you become interested in writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
“I credit my dad for my drive and my mom for my love of writing. When I was a kid, she made me write - all. the. time. I had to complete writing workbooks during the summers. I had to journal on vacations. Anytime I wanted something - a new pet, a raise in my allowance - I had to write persuasive essays. Clearly, she was a horrible mother. :) I hated it then, but I'm so grateful for it now. My mom always told me that if you could write, you could convince people of anything. Writing was always a hobby for me, but it wasn't until recent years that I began pursuing it full time.”
You’ve got an eye for fashion, so what's your best beauty tip?
“I had a friend teach me the art of high/low fashion. She would combine Louboutin shoes with a Target skirt with David Yurman bracelets and Forever21 earrings. I stopped knowing what was designer and what wasn't! Learning to mix and match high and low priced items has been key to my wardrobe. I'll buy a pair of shoes on MAJOR discount at DSW and wear them with a Valentino dress. It all starts to blend together. I also think it's important to spend money on staple items that won't go out of style in a year. A sturdy black tote, nice nude heels, a good pair of pearls - timeless pieces that you can wear over and over again.”
On your Instagram you talk about the importance of not comparing ourselves to others. It's definitely not an easy task, but do you have any advice on how to work on becoming a better version of ourselves rather than trying to compete with other people?
“Before I became a writer, I was actually a Musical Theater major. As you can imagine, there's a lot of rejection in the performing arts. For every successful audition, you may have five auditions for roles for which you're passed over. You have to learn to protect yourself from that rejection - you have to build up a certain resistance to outside voices and a confidence level that reassures you that you are enough. Our professors used to tell us to embrace our "YES" moments. If we nailed a double pirouette (turn) for the first time in dance that day, we needed to take time to celebrate it - not immediately wish we could do triples. We have to take time to celebrate growth - not brush past it or immediately wish it were more. Try identifying one YES moment each day - perhaps then, your successes will overshadow your perceived shortcomings.”