Kate Mason

Jesse Harbison is a public interest lawyer who turned her long held passion for skincare into a successful side hustle.

Her new weekly podcast, Mirror Mirror, just launched in April of this year. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Harbison spotlights an inspiring guest each week, using the foundation of “desert island products” as a jumpstart to encourage deep and insightful conversations about beauty.

The focus of the podcast is to feature all kinds of women — everyone from fashion designers, chefs and doctors to natural skincare experts, makeup artists and even a professional poet. As she puts it, “Our mission is to get these women to share their beauty secrets by discussing their beauty mantras, philosophies and routines that are as varied as the women themselves.”

What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

The absolute first thing I must do in the morning is drink a huge glass of water. Then I start my beauty routine. I wash my face, use a toner, apply some type of vitamin C serum and finally a moisturizer. I actually don’t wear a lot of makeup — it’s normally just a 5-minute “zhoosh.”

I throw on some concealer if I need it, maybe some lip gloss. One thing I always do is fill in my eyebrows. I never leave the house without undone brows. I like to leave the house by 7:30, so I normally try to get in a quick greek yogurt and low-sugar granola. If I have a little extra time, I will make a green smoothie with leftover veggies from our CSA. Because I am the only attorney in our office, I need to hit the ground running, which pretty much means getting in a quick breakfast at my work desk.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Before I worked in public interest, I was a litigator, which is a 24-hour job. With my new position I have a more set schedule, usually 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., which I love! When I was a litigator, I didn’t even get a lunch break. Now, I have a set hour and I use that time to work on the podcast. I will load raw audio on to my phone and try to get some editing done. I love that I can escape for just a bit during the day and work on the podcast.

The work culture for an attorney, especially as a litigator, is go, go, go. With my new position, it is much easier to have a nice work-life balance. The organization I work for investigates allegations of discrimination. I spend most of my day researching points of law related to pending investigations, gathering a ton of information, drafting motions and reviewing files. Sometimes I attend administrative hearings.

I feel very lucky in that I really love what I do. I’ve always been interested in the idea of law. I love that it sets rights and that it applies to everyone. It does not discriminate. I enjoy the writing and the research.

How do you balance succeeding in your day job and producing the podcast? They represent two very unique sides of you.

Like I mentioned, it is hard to maintain a work-life balance as an attorney. I’m going to be honest. Pursuing a side hustle is really difficult. You do have to end up making difficult choices. I took a new job that offered less pay but allowed for more freedom for me to do the podcast. I haven’t looked back.

I learned to set boundaries, like no checking email after 9 p.m. I also got into the habit of putting everything regarding the podcast, like editing and interviews, on my work calendar. This helped me see the podcast as a second full-time job, which it is! I also have a very supportive husband who has encouraged me from the very beginning. It really helps to have a supportive partner or team behind you, cheering you on.

 It is so easy to romanticize the idea of a “side hustle.” In the beginning, you feel like you are running on pure adrenaline. You stay up late hours, miss lunches, and work until you physically can’t sit up anymore. Eventually, you realize your mind and body can’t take that schedule anymore. It is exhausting. So you have to learn to make educated, balanced choices and set priorities. How important is money to you? Your free time? Are you feeling fulfilled?

What’s your main drive behind the podcast?

I’ve been in love with everything skincare since I was around 15 years old. I remember my mom going into the only fancy store in town back then and walking out with these beautiful, high-end products that were just for her. We did not grow up with a lot of money so I understood these products were her own special treat. Since then I’ve enjoyed my own beauty journey.

I came to realize the beauty world is so diverse and I love that with Mirror Mirror, I get to meet a woman who blows me away every week. Our main purpose with the podcast is to talk to a diverse group of women and learn their stories. Every week, I am impressed and energized. The podcast is a wonderful medium to hear incredible stories and get inspired. It’s not about me at all. It’s about hearing women from various walks of life tell their own version of what beauty means to them.

How do you relax?

I online window shop! I’m pretty sure I check the Sephora app every single day. I also try to work out every day. It is pertinent to my mental health. As soon as I leave work, I go to a gym or a spin class. I also love cleaning. When my house is clean, I just feel better and more relaxed. My environment really matters to me. And, of course, beauty rituals. I mask almost every night.

What’s the one thing you MUST do before you go to bed?

I have to wash my face. Washing my face guarantees that I will have a better night’s sleep and that I will wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day.


Kate Mason is a certified life coach, specializing in the beautiful mess that is motherhood. You can check out her specialized coaching program, MOTHERLOADED, and get more information about Kate at KateMasonCoaching.com.