Interview By Matt Gottesman, Originally appeared on hdfmagazine.com
“Whether it be a business, pose, or product, it is important that I’m expressing my true self through those creations. I pour my heart completely into my work.”
Lacey Jones + International Poker Player + Entrepreneur
Creator: Lacey Jones
Company: Lacey Poker (@misslaceyjones) and Complete Skin Makeover (CSM)
Location: Hong Kong & Macau
Words of Wisdom – Don’t be afraid to fail. Do it now. Do it often. Embrace your failures because, after all, they aren’t really failures if you learn from them. That, and make a plan. Having visions of where we want to go is vital. But, we need to have strategy and tactics that we use in our day to day lives to get us there.”
My journey to discover the world’s talented uprising stars has actually led me back home. Lacey Jones, a long-time childhood friend of mine, has been building and managing her brand for as long as I can remember.
That, and she’s always been quite the entrepreneur. I’ve always stayed connected to Lacey throughout the years, mostly through social media, so I had the opportunity to witness her grow numerous brands and companies. In short, everything she does, turns into a success.
Let me paint just a glimpse of how awesome this woman is. A gifted student, turned model, turned professional poker player, turned international TV host, turned philanthropist, turned health and wellness expert, turned entrepreneur.
And Lacey is just getting started!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARNE REYNEKE FOR LACEY JONES
What I admire most about Lacey, and she may not be aware of this, is her unprecedented nature to take risks at every single turn, yet be so focused on the bigger picture of the role she plays in society. It’s not enough to create a profitable business. It’s equally as important as to how that business affects others, customers and community.
This is no surprise given that Lacey was smart enough to ask herself at a very young age what kind of life would be fulfilling to her, and even more importantly, how can she contribute.
I have always wanted to make a difference in this world and modeling high fashion clothes wasn’t filling that hole for me. I still remember one night where I sat down trying to map out a plan for my life. I declared then that my life would have true meaning.
And I believe this is very common amongst “New Economy” thinkers and creators. Collaboration, greater-than-self, connected cultures and networks, new markets and new products.
If you haven’t seen Lacey’s brand, I urge you to check her out at: www.LaceyPoker.com and @misslaceyjones on Instagram and Facebook, as well as her new luxury skincare brand Complete Skin Makeover www.completeskincaremakeover.com.
Here’s Lacey’s take on taking risks, pursing passion, building your own brand and using it for good and the mindset you need to achieve an entrepreneurial lifestyle:
HDF: Lacey!!! Thanks again for allowing me to interview you and learn more about what you’ve been up to these past years and what you’ve got coming up.
Lacey: Thank you!! It’s so great to reconnect!
HDF: While I’ve known you since we were in high school, can you tell me a little bit more about you, where you’re from, where you’re living and what you love about either?
Lacey: I was born in San Antonio, Texas and moved to Tucson, Arizona when I was about 10 years old. Currently I have an apartment in Hong Kong and one in Macau that I go back and forth to.
Living in Asia is a much faster paced lifestyle and the culture here is something to be treasured. I love that everyday is a new adventure and experience to remember. However, I do miss the laid back lifestyle when I do go back home for a visit. Not to mention clear blue skies and fresh clean air… I miss that A LOT.
HDF: I completely understand. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling, but the weather and air in Arizona is some of the best I’ve ever been around.
Now, I see you’re involved in a lot of different aspects of business (health, wellness, poker, modeling, tv, etc.). Much of this started from making a decision to become a professional poker player, correct? Can you walk me through how that transition happened and ALL the different things it progressed into.
Lacey: I actually started out modeling and doing commercials when I lived in LA after college. I ended up being hired as a model for an ESPN charity poker tournament hosted by Mike and Mike in the Morning from ESPN Radio. After doing well in that event, it started a snowball effect.
At the time there weren’t many women poker players. Even though I was’t even close to being a top pro, my picture would always be taken at the tables, which made my sponsors very happy.
PHOTO BY ROBERT JOHN KLEY
I was then able to cross back over into hosting the World Series of Poker, working for ESPN and multiple poker shows all over the world. I even hosted a show where I had to speak French for the WSOP on RTL9 in Paris. I was able to express my passion for and knowledge of poker on camera and found my niche.
I was also still modeling, but building my brand helped a lot to lock down shoots and I slowly became a known face in Las Vegas. After the online gaming crackdown by the US government, the funding for the TV shows I was hosting… (3 at the time) went away. Once that happened, my soon to be husband and I decided to explore our options in Asia. After 3 years here, I truly believe we made the right choice.
HDF: Wow, it goes to show you that no matter what you go into professionally, the journey takes a life of it’s own. Tell me about your life before you started playing poker.
Lacey: Before I started playing tournament poker I felt quite lost. I was modeling and getting amazing jobs, but there wasn’t any passion or life purpose. I have always wanted to make a difference in this world and modeling high fashion clothes wasn’t filling that hole for me.
I still remember one night where I sat down trying to map out a plan for my life. I declared then that my life would have true meaning. I had no clue that I would be in the position I am now where I can help people by using my voice to bring attention to people in need.
It’s still nowhere close to where I want to be. But, I know I’m on the right path.
HDF: I’d say you’re definitely on the right path. How many poker tournaments have you been in and cities have you played in?
Lacey: Too many to count at this point, especially if you count online tournaments. So far I’ve played in 28 cities.
HDF: Number of magazine covers and which one was your favorite?
Lacey: Out of the 12 magazine covers I would have to say FHM Czech was my favorite.
FHM COVER – PHOTO BY DEJA JORDAN
CANADIAN POKER MAGAZINE COVER
HDF: Who was your favorite poker player to have met or played with?
Lacey: Easy one, my husband!
HDF: Good answer! Lol. Okay, so I know you’ve gotten very heavily involved in health and wellness. Tell me a little more about the brands you’ve been building. How did you come up with the concept for your current companies?
Lacey: My personal brand was pretty easy to come up with. Being online all the time really helped build my social media in the beginning. I was able to share my day-to-day experiences and people responded well to that. I’ll admit though, I have pulled back quite a bit, as I have gotten busier. As a result, I noticed the engagement on social sites dropped.
But, within my brand I’ve been able to branch out and do so much including: hosting on camera, modeling, creating yoga and meditation videos and a few other things that are in the early stages of development.
My newest company is C.S.M., Complete Skin Makeover, and I’m really excited by it. While being in the early stages, it’s something I’ve wanted to work on for a quite some time now. It’s not just a skin care line; it is so much more than that.
Because it’s in launch mode, it’s hard to get into all the details, but I can’t wait to share all I’ve been working on in the upcoming months.
COMPLETE SKIN MAKEOVER – SNEAK PEEK
HDF: Well, we anxiously await C.S.M. Seriously, Lacey, everything you do you really put your heart and soul into it. What other things are you currently involved in? I ask cause I see you are passionate about charities and organizations.
Lacey: When I started C.S.M. I wanted to be able to give back. We will be donating to charity a percentage of each product sold. At the moment, we are still researching which organization to team up with. In the future we will have an option for the customer to choose between 3 organizations to which they would like to donate.
When I’m not traveling, I volunteer at an orphanage in Hong Kong every week. I spend time playing and feeding babies that range from 5 months to 16 months. It is crucial for these children to have human contact. I’ve been doing that for the past 2 years now and still get that little pep in my step when I begin my commute to see them.
I want to translate that feeling with the feeling I will get with giving through CSM.
I also have been working on raising money to build homes for the disaster victims of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) that killed over 6,300 people in the Philippines. Right now, one year later, there are still over 1000 people still living in tents in Tacloban. And, that’s just one of the cities that was destroyed.
GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY WITH SHAWN MARION IN TACLOBAN
The serious problem when disasters like this happen is the media only covers the beginning of what they deem newsworthy. After a while they move on to other stories. But, that is the exact time these people need the most help.
There are still people suffering 10 years later from Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Tsunami in Thailand. I know a beautiful woman in Phuket that is still trying to rebuild her restaurant little by little each year after losing everything. If you ever visit there go to White Orchid in Kamala Beach and ask for Angela. You’ll be happy you did.
HDF: That’s amazing Lacey! I think it’s important for those of us that have so much to be grateful for, give back our time and attention to the bigger picture in life – those that truly need our help.
What’s the best advice you can give someone just starting out in entrepreneurship, or going after their dreams for that matter?
Don’t be afraid to fail. Do it now. Do it often. Embrace your failures because, after all, they aren’t really failures if you learn from them.
That, and make a plan. Having visions of where we want to go is vital. But, we need to have strategy and tactics that we use in our day-to-day lives to get us there.
HDF: I always ask every person I interview this – As an entrepreneur and business professional, what’s the best part about “creating” for you?
Lacey: The best part about creating, whether it be a business, pose, or product, is that I’m expressing my true self through those creations. I pour my heart completely into my work.
FLOWER GIRL BY SUNNY CHAN VISIT TO JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
PROMOTING SOLAIRE’S CHARITY EVENT ON ANC’S HARDBALL TONIGHT
HDF: Your pictures online are awesome! You have an incredible brand and are very active on social media. Do you do all your own branding and social?
Lacey: Social media has been huge for building my Lacey Jones brand. I’m still uncomfortable talking even slightly in the 3rd person (haha), but we are all our own brands. At the end of the day, I have fans and followers that I can easily connect with worldwide.
HDF: You’re absolutely correct. We’re all our own brands. I don’t think enough people realize that and they need to maintain that if they are to exist online.
From a business’ brand’s perspective, how do you best describe C.S.M as a brand? If you could describe the essence of it, what would it be?
Lacey: CSM is a premium skincare line dedicated to the highest quality natural ingredients. Our goal is to help women and men find natural solutions for their skin problems. We all have them, and using harsh chemicals is not the answer.
HDF: Final question. Have there been any obstacles along the way, either at an earlier age or more recent, that taught you valuable lessons? Any that you’d like to share?
Lacey: Well, it’s no surprise I’d get involved with skin care at some point. Skin problems can be devastating to one’s self confidence.! I actually know this from first hand experience, having had severe facial scars from two separate dog attacks when I was younger.
Now, later in life, I have knowledge to share and CSM is a perfect way for me to help others not go through the same experiences I had. At CSM, we source quality products that can alleviate such serious skin issues.
HDF: So, not surprising, you’re always thinking about the bigger picture and helping others. Lacey, thank you so much for allowing me to interview you!
Lacey: This was seriously awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time!