Bevy Smith is a hoot, even in the morning. “I’m divine, darling. I’m a morning person,” she sings in her distinct New York accent. With that kind of spirit it’s not hard to tell how this brown-skinned, curvy chick from Harlem worked her way from the boardroom to TV, and now radio.
Ten years ago, Smith, 48, left her mid six-figure job as a Fashion Ad Director to pursue a career as a media personality. In an attempt to live her best life, she created her Dinner with Bevy series to connect influencers with celebrities, launched her Life With Vision event to help people tap into their passions and make their life goals a reality, and she started her own podcast, Bevy Says. Her popularity skyrocketed as the host of Bravo’s Fashion Queens.
Closet Envy: Fashion Insider Beverly Smith
Most recently Smith has teamed up with SiriusXM for her very own radio show, Bevelations. We’ve got the tea on what to expect, how she maintains her fabulous lifestyle and the lessons she’s learned on her journey.
Congrats on your new show! Bevelations is under Andy Cohen’s new venture, Radio Andy. How did your show come about?
Bevelations came about because Andy Cohen is my mensch. You know what that word means? It’s a Yiddish term and it basically means someone who is like a caregiver, someone who watches over you. Kind of like a fairy godfather. Since I met him eight or nine years ago he has consistently tried to work with me on so many different levels. He gave me Fashion Queens, but before he gave me Fashion Queens he had me in a pilot for another show and out of that show came a segment called Bevelations, which he actually created the title. The show didn’t go anywhere, but I kept the name. So when he gave me the show he was like, ‘Don’t you think we should call it Bevelations?’ And I was like, ‘Hell yeah!’ That’s how the show came about. It’s kind of an amalgamation of my social media. When you look at me on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook, I don’t have one cylinder that I’m firing on. I’m talking about fashion, pop culture, politics, sex, health and wellness and motivational speaking. Bevelations is really my social media come to life. Bevelations is truly a big part of my journey. You’re really getting the core of me. Bevelations is allowing the listeners to have the relationship with me that my friends have.
You’re known to give it to the people straight, no chaser. Will anything be off limits?
Oh no! Finally. Whenever I’ve done daytime TV they always want to get into your personal business and I always tell them, ‘I’m saving that for my show, I’m saving that for my book.’ Now that I have my very own show I can go anywhere I want to go because it’s my choice.
Give some examples of what we can expect.
You can expect me to have great celebrity interviews and to have interviews with celebrities you won’t hear on other outlets. Pharrell was my first celebrity guest and we had an amazing time. We got to talk about his upbringing in Virginia Beach and how he would be inspired by riding around with his family in a car going from Norfolk, Virginia to Virginia Beach. He said there would be an aroma in the car and he’d be listening to Earth, Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder and it would make him dream and feel a certain way. That’s the first time he realized he was touched by music. When you look at Pharrell interviews you don’t really get that information somewhere else. That’s what I’m looking to do. Today I have Don Lemon on the show. Don Lemon is a friend, and he’s a very controversial. We’re going to touch on that too. I’m giving it to you straight, no chaser and I’m giving you insight into these people.
Who are some of your dream guests?
I have a lot of dream guests. I really want to have Jane Fonda on my show. I absolutely love Jane Fonda. Some of the people that I can’t wait to interview are people like Lee Daniels, he’s a friend who’s outrageous in every single way. We’ve been friends for about 10 years now, so again, I’m going to be able to get the juice out of Lee that other people won’t. The lovely J. Hud said she’ll come on the show. Misty Copeland. I have a lot of great people lined up.
You definitely believe in having a fabulous social life. Does your social life ever suffer because of your work life?
Oh no, baby. Bevelations was initially gonna be two hours and I said, ‘Oh, I can’t do two hours of work, darling. Every single day, darling. ‘Cause you know I have a life, darling.’ Listen, baby. Little Brown Bevy is going to get hers. And all work and no play makes Little Brown Bevy a very dull girl so I can’t have that. I make sure I balance. We can all make these choices in our lives. Do not let pressure, do not let work, do not let anything derail you from getting your true pleasures and experiencing life to the fullest.
For those who don’t know your story, give us the brief rundown of how you were unhappy in your Fashion Ad Director job and left it all to follow your passion.
I was very blessed to have a really incredible career as a Fashion Ad Director at VIBE and then at Rolling Stone magazine. Going to Paris and Milan six times a year and making a very nice mid six-figure salary is nothing to sneer at, especially if you’re a little brown girl from Harlem. I was very aware of how blessed I was. However, at a point when you find yourself medicating by being a shopaholic—one of the worst things in the world is women thinking that being a shopaholic is cute—that’s not cute. You’re masking something. I arrived in Milan one day and I realized I was surrounded by opulence and I was miserable. I vowed that day that I was going to change my life. I didn’t really know how I was going to, but I decided at that moment that I was not going to allow people to call me Beverly from VIBE. I was going to make people start introducing me as Beverly Smith. And then a little while later I decided I was going to change my name to Bevy because Beverly Smith was so synonymous with that part of the business and I wanted to morph into a new character. That was a whole interesting experiment in itself.
From there I went to Rolling Stone specifically to make a lot of money and that was going to feather my nest so I would be able to move on to my next part of my journey, which is what I did. Here’s the thing: I quit my job at Rolling Stone in February 2005. This has been a 10-year journey. I got Fashion Queens eight years into the journey. But immediately upon quitting my job, taking the acting lessons and taking writing courses and improv, within six months I was writing for Paper magazine. I was on TV as a fashion and pop culture expert. I stepped out on faith and then the universe kind of rolled up and gave me a high five and co-signed everything I was doing by showing me that it was a viable idea. That doesn’t mean I didn’t go through trials and tribulations because I did. There was a really bad period when I was horribly broke and I’m someone who cares for her parents. That’s how I created Dinner with Bevy because I took what was at my hands.
I love that when you quit your job you were in your 30s so it’s never too late.
Chile, I was 38-years-old! I’m very blessed because I have older parents. By the time I was 12 my mom was 50. Right now that’s not odd, but growing up in the 1970s everyone’s parents were in their 30s. My parents were in their 50s. But my mom is fly and real snazzy so I understood that age did not determine your validity or ability to be connected to pop culture or connected to something other than yourself.
What do you know now that you wish you could’ve told your 20-year-old self and your 30-year-old self?
I wish I told her that it’s ok to be a nerd. I suppressed my nerdiness for a very long time. That’s something Pharrell and I talked about on Bevelations. He was always very comfortable being a nerd. He enjoyed being “other.” For me, I didn’t enjoy that. I was big in the hip-hop community in my 20s and also in my 30s. I was friends with Tupac and Biggie. People had no idea that I actually had a career. People thought I was a dancer and the hanging out girl. It wasn’t until I got to my 30s that my two lives kind of merged.
My 30s were divine — my rude awakening. One of the major ways I changed my life was because I had a bad breakup with a guy that I thought I was going to marry. When that didn’t work out I finally got the memo that I was going to be responsible for my own happiness, which was a shocker to me. It was the age of 33 that I found out that he, no matter who he was, was not responsible for making me happy.
What do you hope your legacy will be, or do you even think about that?
Of course, darling. What I know for sure is that I am a connector. That is my greatest gift. I am a conduit. One of my greatest abilities is I am to bring people together and really foster the incredible connections and relationships and I’m going to continue to do that. I am going to continue to be a facilitator for people that don’t ever dare to dream. I’m going to teach people to dream and then I’m going to teach them to manifest. That will be my legacy.
You can listen to Bevelations daily on SiriusXM’s channel 102 at 6PM EST.