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Meet Megan Hysaw of Lentils and Lashes

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Hysaw.

Megan, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was born and raised in Orange County, California. I am African American, Korean and Dominican. Food has always been a major part of my life—it’s one of the many ways my family expresses love, and most of the traditions we followed and places we’d travel revolved around food.

Education and seeing the world has always been important to my family, as well. I went to USC for my undergraduate degree in Business Administration because I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do; however, I did know that having an understanding of business translated to every industry. After college, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer, and panicked when I got into law school. I would find peace in making my meals when I was studying for the LSAT but thought nothing of it. One of my friends suggested I go to culinary school and that idea really hit home for me.

I convinced my parents and went to the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. 3/4 way through culinary school, the students had to complete an externship, so I flew to New York and interviewed with Food Network and got it. Once my externship ended, work was aplenty, so I just never left.

I quickly realized that social media was the future and decided to share more of my adventures, as well as foods I like to eat and make. My following began to increase, so my approach and style had to grow accordingly, and, thus, “Lentils and Lashes” was born.

“Lentils and Lashes” embodies who I am—it signifies food, beauty and wellness. One day I was running around New York grocery shopping and decided to come home to unload before heading back out. I was on the phone with my friend and told her to remind me to purchase “Lentils and Lashes,” and she laughed and said that would make a great blog name. And the rest is history.

Initially, I was going to wait until everything was perfect to launch my blog, but after thinking about it more, I felt it would be nice for people to see and be apart of my journey. It’s motivating, fun, and humbling all at the same time to see how far I’ve come. I love what I do, and feel extremely Blessed.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It absolutely has not been a smooth road, by any means! During the transition from graduating to trying to figure out what I wanted to do was not an easy one. I went through a period of depression as I watched my friends go off to various graduate schools and start their careers. I envied those who had a clear path.

Even when I began culinary school, although I was over the moon to start my journey, I felt intimidated by the other students who had been in the food industry and had advanced knowledge and skill-set. I had to remind myself not to compare, and often times felt discouraged, but I tried my very best every day. Culinary school is no joke–it was physically and mentally taxing, so if you do not have an absolute passion for food and learning, it becomes apparent that this world is not for you. This experience, however, prepared me for the next chapter, which had its own set of difficulties.

The world of food styling, as well as blogging, are quite competitive. It’s imperative that you have good relationships, are confident in your skills, and are hustling. Initially, I longed for stability, but since I’m focusing more on my own brand, I find it has been easier to create a balance. Although it’s exhausting at times, as new partnerships form and you begin to see an ROI from the sweat equity, it’s all worth it at the end of the day.

Please tell us about Lentils and Lashes.
“Lentils and Lashes” embodies who I am—it signifies a lifestyle that emphasizes food, beauty and wellness. It is my hope that “Lentils and Lashes” will one day be a go-to for modern and millennial-ized takes on classic dishes, as well as a place to learn non-conventional and oftentimes holistic approaches to beauty.

What sets me apart from others is that I am a woman of color who has accomplished quite a bit for having recently entered the food industry as an Influencer. I feel as if people are fascinated by my journey, excited about the recipes and meals I showcase and feel comfortable and relatable engaging with me. I am so proud of the content I create, and that it is well received by my audience.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
It’s hard to pinpoint one memory as being my favorite, but I will say that I loved all the family trips we’d take, as it was a chance to experience new and exciting foods, as well as be immersed in history with the people I love.

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