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Hey, I'm Santeka!

I'm a New Jersey based content creator who lives her life out loud as I travel, grow my business, and navigate the world as a millennial Southern Baddie. 

 

Over the past two years, I've built a successful brand, organically grew my social media following, and founded The Creator Parlor®.

My hope is to empower you to live your life out loud as boldly and colorfully as I do!

 

LIVING OUT LOUD IS ABOUT SHOWING UP AS YOUR AUTHENTIC SELF WHILE BEING UNAPOLOGETIC AND FEARLESS IN CREATING THE LIFE YOU WANT

Background Story

I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and raised in Grand Prairie, Texas - a suburb about 20 miles west of Dallas. Growing up I always looked forward to helping with the events my family hosted. My first successful event was my eighth birthday party. I had all the necessities for my guests and I came in on budget (with my mother’s help of course). My passion for seeing my ideas come to life never escaped me. So, when I was assigned a project in an undergraduate communication course that allowed me to research careers, I knew I wanted to focus my efforts on event planning. I was fortunate enough to land an internship at one of the top event consulting companies in Austin, Texas.

 

I received a BS in Communication Studies (Corporate Communication) and a BA in Ethnic Studies (African and African American Studies) from the University of Texas at Austin. I studied American Sign Language while immersing myself into the community. In 2011, I studied abroad in Brussels, Belgium where I explored European culture and studied the French language. The following year, I was selected to study abroad in Bluefields, the capital of the Southern Atlantic Autonomous Region in Nicaragua. After graduating, I worked for a year as a Professional Elite Matchmaker and Coordinator for It's Just Lunch. During that time, I decided to finally listen to the call of my spirit to New York City, which led me to apply to graduate school.

 

I got accepted to New York University where I earned an MA in Africana Studies through the Graduate School of Arts and Science. The plan was to live in Harlem, but rent prices was giving, "she's going to be poor for a zip code." So I chose to live in Newark, New Jersey instead. After graduating, I landed a role at Rutgers University - Newark with Office of the Chancellor to spearhead the development of the P3 Collaboratory. I worked there for just under fiver years before quitting in 2021 to pursue entrepreneurship full-time. After calling Newark home for five years, that same year, my boyfriend and I got purchase our first home. 

This is a long story short...for the details of it all, read on! 

The Launch

In 2018, I decided to step out on faith after I realized my knack and love for planning trips. This part of my journey all began after I went on a trip to Europe. After hours and hours of searching the Internet, I was able to plan a four country trip for my birthday, but it didn't come without hiccups. I searched generic travel sites and blogs looking for information about hotels, flights, and cultural experiences and couldn't really find what I was looking for. So while sitting in the airport in Santorini, I jotted down notes (i.e things to remember, things to do) to share with family and friends that would often reach out for travel tips and help planning their trips. I didn't just jot down notes, I mapped out a business plan for a travel inspired company...or so I thought.

 

I originally envisioned my company would be a way for me to share travel experiences and get back to my love of coordinating events through a travel and event planning firm. Truth be told - once the process of building my idea into a business got underway, I wasn't happy and struggled to move things forward. While this was happening, I discovered the world of Instagram. I learned I could share my travel experiences and make money while doing it as an influencer. I had no clue "regular" folks were out here working with brands. So I went to work learning the ins and outs of social media, website development, photo editing...the list goes on, but you get the point. I built my online presence from NOTHING! Not only was I not active on Instagram...I was, in a sense, anti social media. Oh, the irony is not lost upon me.

On February 29, 2020, I officially launched my blog. Then, BOOM! Coviana herself hit the next month forcing me to pivot because I was no longer able to travel. The Panini presented the perfect opportunity for me to create content in other areas. I used that time to learn as much as I could about how to earn an income as a content creator.

Woman poolside
Woman in rollerskates

My Exit 

During this time, I was also experiencing challenges at my job, which really just added on to the problems I had been facing beforehand. My anxiety was through the roof and I was having debilitating stomach problems. I thought I was dealing with burnout and needed a break. I ended up taking a month off to reset. I was back in the office for about two weeks and I put in my resignation.

Those first few months of 2021 were a whirlwind. I put my notice in towards the end of January and we closed on our house in February, and in March, I officially left my job, we moved into our house, and I landed my first paid brand deal.

To be totally honest, I didn't have a clear plan of what I would do after I quit. Here's what I did know: My health and happiness were more important than anything else; I knew I would find a way to earn an income; and that "I'm scrappy as hell and I will always land on my feet."

Present Day

I'm a content creator, influencer, DIY chaser (hello fixer upper life), and serial entrepreneur. I also founded The Creator Parlor -a  signature program designed to help entrepreneurs, business owners, and creators leverage their table to build and sustainably grow their business. I've had the honor of partnering with major brands like Sam's Club, IHG Hotels and Resorts, Instant Brands, and Urban Skin Rx. 

It took me a long time to feel confident being myself and betting on myself. I'm grateful for this moment. I'm excited to see what the future holds. There are so many dreams of mine that got deferred along the way. I feel extremely blessed to see my dreams through and live my life out loud!

 My website is dedicated to my grandfather, Albert Williams

In 2008, my grandfather took my mother and I on our first international trip. At that time, I didn't know him that well because he spent 30+ years in Angola Penitentiary, but it was really important for him to make sure we got our passports and an opportunity to see the world. This gave me to the chance to develop a relationship with him. He planted the seed that has now blossomed into a love of travel and exploration. 

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