Renegades are a tribe who get shit done. We’re not about the easy road. We turn our pastimes into our full times. And we do it on our own terms. “Rule Breakers” is a series of renegade creatives who have strayed from the status quo, but not without hard work, self awareness, and some serious elbow grease. Chasing your passion is one thing, but wrangling it is an entirely different beast. These renegades are breaking rules and barriers, and redefining what it means to be successful by writing their own rules.
The first time I came into contact with Chiara Mazzucco was four years ago when LA Family Magazine contacted a handful of twenty-somethings to write a column about life after college. They asked us to each submit a vlog so the readers could put a personality to the articles. The first time I watched Chiara’s vlog I remember thinking, “This girl is a TOTAL BADASS.”
Chiara has this “work hard, play hard, love hard” vibe, which I dig, because…SAME. She is unapologetically Chiara, no holds barred. I was stoked when she branched off to start a magazine called The Indie Chicks, which made its way to print, into Barnes and Noble, and even overseas. Her most recent masterpiece is a new site called “Bold Self” heralding the urgency to make the most out of your life, whether it’s being with someone who respects you or not wasting your days at a shitty 9 to 5 that you hate. (PREACH!!!)
There’s nothing I dig more than the wage everything bravery that spills out of a person who owns their story and shares it with others. We all have paths ripened with twists, turns, and tumbles. But Renegades know when to rise (always) and how to keep going. It’s why I started this very blog, and it’s why I’ve chosen Chiara as the first Rule Breaker in a long line of creative renegades I’ll be collaborating with.
TRR: I’ve followed your story from ChiaraSays, to LA Family, to The Indie Chicks, and now to Bold Self. For those who aren’t familiar, can you give us a peek into your journey from past to present?
CHIARA: Oh, what a journey it’s been! I started my first blog, ChiaraSays, in early 2011. I made a name for myself as a dating and relationship blogger and at the end of that year published my first book, The 9 Mirages of Love. The following year I launched The Indie Chicks, which was an online magazine focused on empowering women. The response to the online was incredible, so in 2014 we launched a quarterly print version that was picked up for national distribution. As the CEO of the company and sole designer, I taught myself InDesign and buried myself in my room for weeks at a time for each issue. It was challenging, fun, and completely terrifying. We stayed on the shelves until the end of the year, when we decided to pull the print and focus on the digital. 2015 was also a great year for us, as we grew our writer network to hundreds of talented millennial writers. But when 2016 came, we were ready for a new adventure, so we decided to part ways and venture off into our own worlds. I launched Bold Self on April 25, 2016 and I couldn’t be more excited to start the next chapter.
TRR: Closing a chapter can be terrifying, and often times it’s the very thing preventing us from moving forward or taking a necessary leap. What did it feel like to close The Indie Chicks? How did you know it was time, and how did it affect you?
CHIARA: Honestly, I was a wreck. I had known it was time to shut down for a while, but it took me months to bring it up to my partners. That was my baby. We all poured so much of ourselves into it. Ending things felt like one of those terrible breakups you see in the movies. We felt it was time to walk away because we had exhausted ourselves. We had taken an idea and shifted it so many ways, our brains were burned. It wasn’t about the mission of the brand, and it wasn’t about its success, either. I think we were all ready to be excited about something new and knew that if we tried to rebrand The Indie Chicks, it would evolve into something that would be a disservice to the magic it had been for the last 4 years. It was definitely hard to let go. At the end of the day, we are here to do ‘stuff’, and it’s not how we do it but the fact we do it at all that counts. These projects are just extensions of a bigger purpose, and my purpose is to help people find their inner strength and design a life they love.
TRR: What can we expect from your new brand, Bold Self? Tell us all about it!
CHIARA: Bold Self is a place for anyone ready to look within and make a change. It’s a place to strengthen one’s connection, to build confidence, and to really plan out a life to be proud of. I love the features I have lined up for this brand. In addition to the constant flow of empowering, enlightening, and thought-provoking articles, I’ll be rolling out Bold Academy in May: for those really serious about self-growth. I’ll also be launching lifestream Q&As, one-on-one sessions, and courses. I’m also working on my next book, But First, Me.
TRR: What does a day in the life of Chiara look like? I’m avoiding the words “typical day” because as a fellow creative, I know no day is “typical”.
CHIARA: Haha, what a mess, right? My days are a combination of work, self-love, and play – though, I admit, it’s been mostly the former lately. I’ll devote a chunk of time to the state of being of my project – i.e. writing articles, doing graphics, scheduling, etc. I’ll also focus on growth, which is my favorite part. I listen to audiobooks, research, watch videos, and take a lot of notes. Aside from work, I also have the gym, and I have my sweet little 4 year old who takes up a lot of my day!
TRR: How has social media helped you spread your message? What are the pros and cons?
CHIARA: I’m a big fan of social media, mostly because I choose to see it for its benefits, rather than its shortcomings. It’s so easy for an idea to pick up and spread, especially when you’re dealing with positivity and empowerment. Ironically, it’s shown me how willing people are to relate and empower others, which is really important when you’re building an online presence. I’m grateful for it, really, despite how fast it grows and how much you have to keep up with!
TRR: What would you say to someone who is afraid to pursue his or her passion full-time?
CHIARA: There are two thoughts that have helped me leap. The first is that you’re setting your own obstacles. No one else is paying attention to your life – they’re all too busy with their own. You’re just sitting in the corner, coming up with reasons why you shouldn’t pursue something, when you know damn well you could get hit by a bus this afternoon. The second, and most powerful thought is that if others can do it, so can you. That’s all there is to it. If someone found a way, you can too. If someone figured it out, you can too. You have to shed those limiting beliefs, look fear straight in the face, and realize that YOU are in charge and that YOU deserve to pursue the life you want.
TRR: What does the word “Renegade” mean to you?
CHIARA: It’s one of my favorite words. It’s daring. It’s rebellious. To me, it’s one of the most powerful words out there. It’s a statement. It is the renegades who succeed. It is the renegades that others admire and wish they could be.
TRR: What’s a rule you love to break.
CHIARA: The selflessness/selfishness rule. The idea that I must sacrifice myself in order to make others happy and that if I don’t, I’m being selfish.
TRR: What’s a rule you’d replace it with?
CHIARA: To put yourself first. When you empower yourself, you’re empowered to help others. When you’re strong, you can hold others up. When you’re happy, you can make others smile. So instead of worrying about meeting the needs of others, make sure your needs are met first. And the irony is that this new rule of selfishness is actually not selfish at all: it all comes down to being better and more equipped so you can be better in the lives of others.