Juggling a full-time career with a part-time job isn’t easy. But New York-based model Tanaye White makes it work. The 30-year-old mental health advocate and businesswoman graced the pages of the coveted Sports Illustrated swimsuit problem since 2020, but she maintains that the turmoil doesn’t stop because she’s found success.
This month, White was recognized in the first-ever Uber Yearbook, Class of 2022 for having the coolest side-hustle while working as an Uber Eats delivery person. She also shared her side gig in a recent TikTok. In life, she says, “No matter what, always be nice. It’s a motto I live by as a courier, model, businesswoman and Uber Eats friend.
EBONY recently caught up with the multifaceted millennial, who is advocating for mental health awareness and for more women in unexpected careers. “It’s not an industry that’s just for men,” White says of being a courier. “As women, we have the ability to work just as hard and earn as much.”
EBONY: You’ve been juggling modeling and your UberEats side for several years. How does it feel to be amplified in their very first yearbook?
White Tanaye: I’ve always been an Uber consumer in more ways than one. I started working for the company in 2016, then fast forward to now, as a Sports Illustrated model, I’m still an UberEats driver. So I’m very happy to be part of this yearbook because it’s something special for me and I feel like a lot of people don’t know about me. The thing is, I have a hustle and bustle that requires me to go door to door and deliver food. And I think sharing that with people kind of reduces the stigma that role models are that special guy. As a model, you can have so many different interests, and it doesn’t have to be about modeling.
Something more people have realized after 2020 is the importance of having multiple streams of income. And you practice that as a model and Uber Eats driver. Why was it important for you to have this second income even if you succeeded in another field?
I originally started with UberEats because I was working full time for the Department of Veterans Affairs and my student loans were about to kick in. I absolutely didn’t want to feel the burden of that monthly bill, so I thought of ways to bridge that gap, while not conflicting with my full-time nine-to-five. After doing some research, I saw that being a courier for UberEats was something easy and flexible to do. I did it late at night. I did it on New Years, I did it on the holidays. I did it early in the morning. I really appreciate that. And so quickly, the pandemic of course, threw everyone on a loop. The modeling industry was at a standstill, and honestly, Uber Eats was how I survived the pandemic. And I appreciate so much that my secondary activity has been able to become my main activity during this whole period. I honestly don’t know where I would be today if I didn’t have my UberEats gig back then, because the pandemic has really affected not only me, but all of us deeply. I think we can all relate to that.
You have a new company called Feel Good Babe launched this fall. What is it about?
Feel Good Babe is a combination of different mental health endeavors I’ve done over the years. It first started as an advice column while I was in college to support depressed young people, then after college I settled on a website, then I started using the media like Instagram to promote reality on social media with the hashtag #letsgetreal. I showed people what it’s really like to live. Social media especially Instagram only show highlight reel and it is not realistic. We rarely show the bad side. We only want to show the good. And it can harm our mental health, as well as the mental health of others.
As I got into modeling, all of these businesses I had over the years resulted in the formation of a women’s mental health community providing resources for therapy, products that make you feel good and everything that goes with it. I think that’s why I really wanted to focus on women, because women just have a unique experience of living in this world. I want Feel Good Babe to focus on our experiences and be a safe space for us to come together, share our ups and downs, ups and downs, and find ways to navigate this typical life journey. Life is not always easy. And I’m very open with my own struggles with depression. I lost a close friend of mine at 16 to suicide, so helping people navigate their struggles has always been near and dear to my heart.
There has been a lot of attention on mental health lately. And the pandemic has made people realize, even more, how important it is. What do you hope the women who have joined this community will gain from it?
First and foremost, I want to make sure women know they’re not alone. I have felt this many, many times. I can even tell you last week, I felt that. A lot of times we might feel a little embarrassed or ashamed to point out that we’re not in the best headspace or that we’re not doing well negatively. Even with such professional success. You can still struggle, you can still be insecure, you can still have those moments of doubt. I really want women to understand that they are not alone. That there is someone in a safe space for you and there is always an ear to listen.
As black women, we tend to overwork ourselves. As a career woman, juggling modeling, UberEats, a new platform, what are your tips for still taking the time to take care of yourself?
I have always been an advocate for work-life balance and good mental health. When I was working for an aerospace company before moving into full-time modeling, I got to a point where I was responsible for two jobs – my own job as well as that of my supervisor who had just left the company. So for about a year and a half I had two roles, and I can tell you it was such a challenge to manage both roles, while maintaining a personal life with my family and friends, and my own personal care. It got to the point where I decided I needed to be more upfront about how much time I needed because there were days I just couldn’t get through the day without crying in the bathroom. bath or have a nervous breakdown. I started saying directly to my supervisor, “I really need a mental health day today.” I do not feel good. And I’ll be back tomorrow to catch up on all our priorities.
I have had to send this email several times over this year and a half. And what I really appreciate is that my supervisor was willing to listen and understand. I started encouraging my close friends and colleagues to do the same. You don’t necessarily need to go over the details of how you’re feeling, just let them know, “Hey, I’m uncomfortable right now and not able to produce my best. work”.
It can really go a long way and it makes people respect you more for being honest and standing up for you. I was kind of pushed into a corner where I had to start being so open about it, but I really encourage others, if you’re not feeling your best, own it, share it, because it helps with conversations around mental health and also helps you achieve some of your personal goals, whether it’s maintaining a better mental health balance or being able to spend more time with your family at home.
What’s your advice for people who want to have a side hustle, who’ve thought about it, but aren’t sure if they can juggle it?
I would say the first thing is to do some research. Do your research thoroughly to make sure you don’t have any questions about the requirements to maintain that side hustle, whether it’s an online business, being a courier, or perhaps babysitting. the weekend. Always do your research.
Second, I would say set a goal for yourself. As an UberEats driver, I set myself the goal of reaching a certain dollar amount by the end of the day. So I dedicate some time to achieve this goal and if I don’t, I add an extra day in the week to make up for the money or time I lost.
Lastly, I would say save some of the money you earn. Don’t spend just because you have extra income. If there are new shoes you want, of course you can treat yourself, but always try to save. Ultimately, we all have side hustle for a reason: you want to earn more. So don’t be reckless.