Photo by: Moe Alyasini
Hannah Berner -- comedian, entrepreneur, and cast member of Summer House -- is the epitome of what it means to be a HarperSage "Duo." She played competitive tennis at the University of Wisconsin and a took a leap of faith post-college to pursue a path and life outside of tennis to become her most authentic self.
She always keeps it real -- saying what's on her mind unapologetically -- but she is soft, too, and is a strong advocate for normalizing everything from bodily functions to mental health conversations. Read on to hear more about her day-to-day as she navigates life, work, and style as a Duo We Admire!
How do you get into a creative mindset?
Work brings me joy because I love to create. However, being in a creative mindset doesn't happen at the snap of a finger. The only consistent part of my week is my weekly podcast, Berning In Hell, that I book, produce, and edit, my nightly 10pm EST Instagram live show, Giggly Squad, and I also will be a guest on multiple podcasts each week. With the rest of my time, I create a list of all the creative things I need to do, and I act on them when I feel inspired. This includes new tweets, TikTok videos, stand up jokes that I'm writing, photos for Instagram, and branded campaigns I'm working on. I realized that I can't force myself to do these creative endeavors unless I feel motivated and excited for it, or the work will be shitty for lack of a better term. To get in that creative mood, sometimes I just take a break, work out, watch reality tv, or get lost in my phone looking at other people creating content to light a fire under my ass.
Describe the mentality you have going into each new job.
Every job I go into trying to be as authentic to myself as possible. I stick to my voice and don't try to replicate anything else that has been done. If the brand likes who I am, they will work with me again, and if they don't, other brands who like my authenticity will notice. Never try to copy anyone else in the industry. Be yourself and you will stand out. Sorry, that was corny, but it's true.
How do your morning and night routines differ?
I am not a morning person. I don't wake up with a hot lemon water and meditation. I normally wake up violently after 6 snoozes and only because I have to feed my cat. I was a collegiate athlete who had to wake up at 6am almost every day, so I think I'm traumatized by that. I really only start functioning around noon and then get a second wind at around 11pm when I should go to sleep. I've actually thought of my best tweets while just lying in bed trying to fall asleep. When you are an entrepreneur, you can set your schedule. It's also very important to have a routine where you give yourself time off, because it's easy to feel like you're always working, especially when you work at home.
What word summarizes your week-day style? Weekend style?
Week-day: A graphic t-shirt and wide-leg jeans with a thin cat eye and mauve lip.
Weekend: Pajamas all day and then if I go out, all black at night. Don't overthink it!
Compare yourself now to what you thought you might be doing?
Ever since I was 7 years old, I wanted to be a professional tennis player. I was always goofy, loved to act, draw, paint, and create, but I decided to commit 100% to becoming the best athlete I could be around the age of 10. I stopped being creative and put all my energy into tennis. After briefly playing professionally, I got a full scholarship to play for the University of Wisconsin.
After playing 4 years, I was burnt out and didn't have anything left to prove to myself. I could start traveling the world alone to try to make it on the pro tour to make my friends think I'm cool, or make my parent's proud, or make my 7 year old self happy, but I wasn't her anymore. Now I'm a comedian creating funny content for a living, and that's something that I didn't know I could even get paid for. I'm doing a job that I almost feel guilty that I love so much, because I'm a masochist. Sometimes I miss tennis, but just because I was good at it -- didn't mean it was going to bring me joy for the rest of my life.
What skills do you think every female entrepreneur should embody to succeed?
Hard skill: Research social media platforms
I think it's essential to understand every platform that allows you to market yourself and your brand. Spend time seeing the trends and viral patterns of content on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and even Facebook. If you know how all these platforms work, whatever you create has a higher success rate. Granted, you can hire someone to do marketing for you, but in order to evolve your brand, it's important to understand how social media is evolving with it.
Soft skill: Be a sponge
It's important to be a sponge, no pun intended. Don't let your ego stop you from admitting to yourself what you don't know or what you're not that great at and ask questions to all kinds of people from all verticals and skillsets. As an entrepreneur, there is no way that you will be great at every part of the business. Don't be hard on yourself when you inevitably make mistakes because those moments are the best way to learn for the future.
Name an iconic duo!
Depression and anxiety!