Through the Lens of Harmless White Lies: Malika Reid & Shareina Chandler, GS&P

da Dasha Ovsyannikova

Malika Reid
Art Director GS&P
Shareina Chandler
Copywriter GS&P
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Advertising/Full Service/Integrata
San Francisco, Stati Uniti
See Profile

Tell us a bit about yourself and your side hustle.

Malika: I’m Malika Reid and I’m an Art Director at GS&P.

Shareina: And I’m Shareina Chandler, a Copywriter at GS&P. Malika and I have a podcast called Bag of Lies, in which we explore identity, community, and aspirations through the lens of harmless white lies. We focus on the small innocuous lies and try to understand what they say about how we interact in the world.


What inspired you to start your side hustle? How long have you been doing it?

Malika: We’ve been doing Bag of Lies for about a year. The idea for it came out of a coffee catch up. I confided in Shareina that I have a “coffee name” that I give to baristas (Emma), because people get my name wrong. 

Shareina: I lit up when she said that because I like going into high end stores and pretending that I’m related to Serena Williams. It sounds a little out there but I think part of the reason I tell this lie is because it explains why I’m there. Like I understand this is a bougie store, I’m not a lost, I’m Serena Williams’ niece. 

Malika: I think we both realized in that conversation that our lies were a way for us to avoid uncomfortable situations as Black women. An ordinary name in a coffee shop, or a famous distant relative in a high-end store were ways that we created comfortable spaces in unknown environments.


Does your side hustle benefit the community in any way? If not, do you plan on using it to give back at some point?

Malika: I think personally the fact that the podcast is hosted by Black women benefits the community, because it’s representation. So many people have told us that listening to the podcast feels like listening to their fun, messy, smart friends talking over wine. We’re helping people find community.

Shareina: I think the way that we tackle topics is important. We approach even the most serious topics like race with a good dose of humor. It’s refreshing because there are so many representations of black women suffering, but not as many where they are laughing and just being happy.


What motivates you to keep hustling?

Malika: Honestly for me it’s the work. I love making things and I want to keep doing it.

Shareina: Samesies. That and it’s a chance to just make something that’s completely ours. We run this podcast. We make the decisions. 

Malika: It’s very liberating.


Were there any specific skills you needed to start this project? Has your day job helped in developing those skills? 

Shareina: I’ve always loved audio and have made podcasts before but my editing skills have definitely improved from working on the podcast. Being a copywriter has for sure helped with that because editing and copywriting are just different ways to tell a story.

Malika: This was my first podcast so I was completely starting from scratch, but being an art director in my day job has definitely helped. I love building the brand and learning how to use a medium that isn’t visual to tell stories. At the end of the day, our job as creatives is to make things, and whether it’s a spot or a podcast episode, it’s a similar process.


Does your side hustle benefit your day-to-day work?

Shareina: I think less the podcast, but more just working closely with Malika for this has definitely impacted the way I approach work. She cares a lot about craft and I think that’s definitely rubbed off on me.

Malika: Aww, thanks! I think the biggest way the podcast has impacted my work is confidence. Making something that I have complete ownership over has really impacted the way I approach my work.


What have you learned since you began your side hustle? Has it evolved it evolved the years?

Shareina: I think we’ve definitely gotten way better at crafting our episodes. We’ve become so much more polished over time. I’ve also learned so much time management. Doing this kind of project with the hours we work in advertising has made me really good at just getting things done quickly.


Is there any advice you’d give to young creatives & executives on how to pursue their passion projects on the side?

Shareina: There’s never a good time to start a side project. Never. There will always be something else to do, so just start making it and stop waiting for the right time. You will make time once you commit to it.

Malika: Inspiration for side projects can come from anywhere. Be consistent with your side project and you’ll see results sooner than you think. It’s ok if things don’t come out perfect at first, imperfection can be beautiful.