303 Style Profile is an ongoing series highlighting unique locals and their incredible style and stories. Go here to see past profiles.
Coming of age and into her style in New York City, actress and host Olivia Charmaine Morris was able to hone in on her style, mixing vintage and new, unique pieces. Living in Los Angeles, not only did Morris refine her style further, but she also broke into the film and TV industry, working behind the scenes with networks like TNT and TBS, as well as Kerry Washington’s production company, Simpson Street. Now, living in Denver, Morris is embarking on her next adventure.
After making her mark in the industry, and as a queer womxn of color, Morris decided to turn the camera on herself, with her new weekly live stream show, “The Tea,” currently on IGTV. The show aims to bring a breath of fresh air, authenticity and pause to the current social media landscape. “The Tea” brings “people of color and colorful people” together to have a conversation. Olivia has hosted guests like Janelle Monáe, Twiggy Pucci Garçon, Jidenna and Gilles, among others.
In addition to working on “The Tea” and running her own full-service production company, Olivia also regularly moderates and participates in panels discussing diversity, women in the industry, creativity, inclusivity and more. 303 Magazine caught up with Morris to learn more about what inspires her style, what she loves about her time spent in Colorado and more.
303 Magazine: How have your past experiences led you to where you are today??
Olivia Charmaine Morris: I was an actor and musical theater performer from childhood up until I went to college when I decided to pursue an understanding of the physical production and corporate sides of the industry. I received my BFA in Film & TV Production from New York University. After graduating from Tisch [School of the Arts at NYU], I began my career specializing in girls’ media, the business side of animated content and comedy development. I’ve been both a buyer and a seller of film and television projects from major studios to start-ups. Last year, I left my job at Simpson Street, Kerry Washington’s production company, to start my own production company, Black Monarch Entertainment. Black Monarch Entertainment is a full-service production company, which means that we have the capability of crafting projects from development through production.
303: What brought you out to Denver?
OCM: My parents moved to Denver from Ohio two summers ago, when my mom accepted the job of Vice Chancellor, Marketing and Communications at the University of Denver. I had lived in Los Angeles for the past five years and was looking for a change of scenery mid-pandemic. I visited Denver several times over the past year and decided to stay after the holiday season. As the world opens up and summer is upon us, I’ve absolutely loved getting to explore this beautiful city.
303: How would you define your style?
OCM: I would describe my personal style as “artsy chic.” Because I came of age and into my style in New York City, I’m as inspired by designer fare as I am by thrifted gems.
303: How do you express yourself through fashion?
OCM: I love that although I wear suits and dresses to the office, I’m not afraid to celebrate my casual, artistic side with my tattoos, ear piercings and signature nose ring. I wear a lot of bold colors and fun prints and love mixing textures as well.
303: How do you express yourself through your beauty/makeup routine?
OCM: Skin is the largest organ of the body and the foundation of my beauty regimen is my skincare routine. From French to Korean skincare lines, I’ve sourced my favorite products from a wide variety of cosmetic brands. My makeup routine is fairly simple – foundation, eye shadow, mascara, powder and setting spray – and I also mix brands for color and skin type match.
303: What inspires you from a fashion perspective? Are there any publications you read, IGs/blogs you follow, etc.?
OCM: I’m inspired by classic pieces that can be mixed and matched for years in my wardrobe. I don’t follow many fashion-specific blogs, but I get most of my new clothes and keep up with the latest trends at my all-time favorite store in Los Angeles, Shopoholic Sample Sales.
303: What are three words you’d use to describe your personal style?
OCM: Artistic, colorful, bohemian
303: How has your experience as an actress shaped your ability to host The Tea?
OCM: A great host is personable, calm under pressure, empathetic, a great listener, well-spoken and confident, and I believe that I was able to sharpen all of those traits while performing.
303: What do you hope to achieve with The Tea?
OCM: As an artist and media executive, I talk a lot with other artists and entertainment industry professionals in an effort to glean information about their career journeys, what inspires them and insider business information that the audience might not know. My job for years has been behind the scenes, so it’s also an opportunity for my community to get to learn more about the passions that fuel me.
303: How do you encourage guests on your show to “check-in with themselves” and get candid in your interviews?
OCM: I prepare for the show by intentionally setting the space – lighting sage and candles, pouring my tea in front of the audience and playing “The Tea” by Riah Dawn, which is uplifting song about self-confidence. I always ask my guests about their wellness routines, and hope that participating in “The Tea” provides an organic moment of self-care and peace as the guests sip tea and engage in breezy and intimate conversation.
Watch Olivia discuss “The Tea” with her guests every Tuesday at 6pm CST on her IGTV. Season three premiered last month and new episodes can be found weekly. All photography by Dominique Oliveto.