Lizzy Mathis Talks "Dinner Party People"
Exclusive: Cool Mom And Lifestyle Maven Lizzy Mathis Shares Easy Hosting Tips From New Tastemade Series ‘Dinner Party People’
BOSSIP’s Sr. Content Director chatted it up with Lizzy ahead of the premiere of “Dinner Party People” to discuss being a Black woman in the lifestyle space, perfecting the guest list and de-cluttering.
Check out their Q&A below:
Where are you from?
Lizzy Mathis: Originally I’m from Detroit, born and raised, Midwest girl. You either have friends from Detroit, or a cousin or a distant relative. Somebody is connected in some way. I’m in L.A. now but I lived in New York for many years.
How did you find the lifestyle space, or did the lifestyle space find you?
Lizzy Mathis: I’m going to be honest, it probably found me. Let’s see, the lifestyle space was born out of me becoming a mother. I can’t even think of it any other way. Before that I was traveling a lot, I was knee-deep into my career and I wasn’t forced to really think about cooking and kitchen and home life because I was always on the road.
After becoming a mom I was like, ‘You mean, in order for us to eat, I gotta figure out some things. And in order for this to feel like not just a house but a home, I gotta…’
After I started my site I started focusing on becoming a voice in a diversity-driven space, an all-inclusive space for moms. My site the coolmom.co is a space where we really have the intersection between womanhood and motherhood and all the things that I liked pre-becoming a mom – beauty and fashion, meeting with what I now love. Juggling all these things with career and knowing how to navigate a kitchen – very effectively by the way – and time management, it really was a space that I wanted to highlight. So I found myself not wanting to travel as much all the time as a model and an actress, and really wanting to be intentional about my time, moving into the lifestyle space, and really being excited about now being able to share my voice for women.
One thing we struggle with when hosting events is the challenge of the guest list — it’s so important to get the right guests together and it can be a delicate feat to not offend people who aren’t invited. How do you handle the guest list situation?
Lizzy Mathis: You have to invite who you want to invite because this is your dinner party. You have to invite a mix of people so you’re not always bringing the same crowd together, which is what makes for great conversation and [for] people to meet new people, that’s what it’s all about. For anybody who feels left out, you just have to explain to them, ‘hey this time, this is for this group but next time you’ll definitely be included.’ You just always have to mix it up. And hey listen, we are adulting, so for anyone else, it’s kind of like hey, ‘I don’t expect to be invited to all of yours and you don’t expect to be invited to all of mine.’ Let’s mix and match when we can and bring it together when we can, and I think that’s what it’s all about. It’s about having a good time. As far as energy, you come in with positive energy and make sure whoever you invite has positive energy and from there on out, there’s no way you can lose.
That sounds like diplomatic mom advice.
LM: No let me tell you what the mom advice would be, ‘You tell your friend that unless they are putting in the money to throw that dinner party, don’t even worry about it.’
The premiere episode of “Dinner Party People” featuring Jamari as a host actually coincides with the timing of Atlanta Black Gay Pride Weekend. Tell us more about working with Jamari.
I feel like Jamari is the best representative of that. Our first episode, I knew he was going to be a good time. But from his house and all the little pieces he has around the house and all of his dinner party guests; it was such really great energy, a good time and it was great learning about how he defines family. So I thought that was such a really great interesting piece. It was great bringing in really great twists on Jamaican food, little design twists. It was a great time and I loved the way he incorporated his friends as his chosen family.
We loved how you even put yourself out there, learning ballroom moves.
I want to try things. That is the best part about going to a dinner party. Be open-minded. Try new things. Try that dish you haven’t tried before. Try that dance you haven’t tried before. That’s where you walk away with the best experiences and that’s why it’s best to invite different types of people. It’s all about learning from each other. Jamari was the best host to come in with. He taught me all these things, him and his family members. They taught me how to walk and do the dances. There’s so much footage that y’all don’t even get to see.
How did you choose the different hosts for “Dinner Party People”?
We had a casting process and we just really wanted to highlight different people. We really didn’t want any two people to be the same. It was really important to show there are so many different ways to host a dinner party so we just varied it up. We have Jamari, we have a biker, he lives on acres of farmland with horses. There was a woman really into spirituality and meditation. It was very zen. So there were so many different types of people and that was really important to us because we wanted the audience to be able to relate to whoever it was.
You’ve got so much energy! Was it a challenge getting zen and meditating for that episode?
Meditation is something I’ve gotten into recently. It’s something I do at least once a day. I’m trying to push myself to do it in the morning and at night. But meditation isn’t something that’s about not being lit because I’m lit and I’m energetic. I’m lit because I’m excited to talk to you. I see a new face, I’m excited to hear about you. I’m lit just on life and being able to do things that I’ve always wanted to do, and this is one of things. But meditation is one of the things that I’ve found I love to do because it just calms and centers you, and it really makes you remember and take time to focus on what’s important.
We’ve got a real-life challenge for you. What’s the best way for someone who has a lot of things and clutter to improve their space?
I think the first thing you have to do is identify the clutter, not to Marie Kondo, but you’ve got to figure out what is bringing you joy, what makes you happy [and] what you need in the space. Create those piles. The stuff that you aren’t sure about and don’t need anymore, figure out who in your life would like these things. I create gift boxes all the time. I create gift boxes of the things I’m not necessarily using or I have in abundance like okay, I really think this person would like this. I’ll create a whole box, even if I have to go get another candle to make it look pretty. I give them to friends and family. It’s one of the things that brings me joy, to be able to give to the people I love. I think donating is obviously really important too. Even if you donate to women’s shelters and people who really need it and can feel really good about having it in their lives. Now that pile that you have, you’ve got to organize it because organization is key to everything; it’s key to success, it’s key to life, it’s key to everything. Even getting little things, you can buy on Amazon, the Container Store, little things to organize, like this is beauty, this is hair. Use your wall space. Use the space under your bed.
What do you want viewers to get from watching “Dinner Party People?”
For me, I really want “Dinner Party People” to be a place where people can come and have a takeaway. That’s important to me. I want people to see how dinner parties can be thrown and see the beauty of it, the fun of it, and how much fun we’re having on the show but I also want you to leave saying, ‘Okay I can do this this weekend,’ or ‘I can do this for my dinner party.’ Or ‘This gives me an idea of something I can do for myself.’ It’s really about making it real for people and letting them know that it’s nothing to be too stressed about it.
Really we’re in a space now, post-COVID where we can have people in our homes, people over again, and we really can create that community again that I think we lost for awhile. That’s what I really hope “Dinner Party People” inspires people to do. For me, I’m growing, I’m thriving, I’m really excited about all the things I have coming up. I have another home design show with my best friend coming up. I have a podcast that I’m working on that I’m really excited about. And of course, theCoolMom.co is something that is always there [and] I’m always excited about. So I’m really happy. Keeping busy for me means I’m taking little steps toward my dreams and my goals. I think that’s what it’s all about. Know that every milestone is a success. Success isn’t a grand bigger thing, success is the little steps along the way.
“Dinner Party People” will debut Wednesday, August 31 at 7 p.m. exclusively on the Tastemade Streaming Network and on demand on the Tastemade app.
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