Life wasn’t always easy for L.A.-based real estate mogul Danisha Danielle Hoston as a child she was raised by parents who were constantly in and out of her life, and in her early 20’s the father of her child was diagnosed with cancer and died ten weeks after their daughter’s birth. Just a couple months later, she was laid off her job and became dependent on welfare.
Despite being a struggling single-mom, the UCLA graduate managed to become a self-made millionaire by building her own commercial real estate business. Today, the most important role in her life is being a mom to her daughter, and building a loving home with her new husband, former NFL tight end, George Wrighster and her stepchildren for their new blended family.
Here, she talks about hosting the OWN Show for Oprah Winfrey, and about being a judge on the new reality series, “Home Free”, which is set to premiere on Fox-TV July 22nd at 9pm ET/PT (check local listings).
Kam Williams (KW): You encountered tragedy and considerable hardships early in life. How did you manage to persevere? To what do you attribute your success?
Danisha Danielle Hoston (DDH): I attribute my success to the mentors, friends, and family members who believed in me. I even attribute my success to the hardships and tragedy I experienced along the way. If the worst things didn’t happen exactly the way they did, maybe the good stuff wouldn’t have either. I persevered because I had no choice. I persevered because I was a single-mom with a little girl who only had her mommy. There was no way I was going to let her down. My main motivator has ALWAYS been to make my daughter and family proud. Now, I’m determined to make anybody who is experiencing hardship and tragedy knows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that they can get there.
KW: Your life story is very inspirational. Have you thought about writing an autobiography?
DDH: I have! It didn’t start out as an autobiography, though. It started out as a guide to making it in commercial real estate as a woman. As I started outlining the book, it actually became a manual to change your mindset and create success in any field. And it turned out to be all of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way–hence, an autobiography.
KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?
DDH: I would wish that we all knew our power to overcome anything and live out our wildest dreams.
KW: How did your first big heartbreak impact who you are as a person?
DDH: My greatest heartbreak was the death of my daughter’s father when she was only 10 weeks old. I was so young at the time that I didn’t realize the true impact of his loss for me and for her. All I knew was that I was devastated. What I learned from that experience was that even under completely devastating circumstances, I am unbreakable. Now, no matter what the setback is, I know that, if I’m still breathing, I can overcome it.
KW: What key quality do you believe all successful people share?
DDH: I think all successful people have a positive and empowering view of failure. Whether it’s Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey or anybody that has achieved great success, the key is to view failure as part of success. To recognize that failure has no reflection on you personally, that it’s just a part of the journey and that there is no end to the road. You can always bounce back.
KW: How do you get through the tough times?
DDH: Gratitude. I try to remember that every experience–positive or negative–is a gift. The most negative experiences in my life were some of the greatest gifts to my growth. So, even when the gift is not readily obvious and the tough times can be overwhelming, I remember that whatever is happening is a gift, and I say “thank you” for it. I always feel a little better after that!
KW: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
DDH: Create a vision, make a plan, and write it down. I’m a big believer in vision boards and business plans. I firmly believe that any goal can be achieved, if you put consistent planning, action and belief behind your vision. For example, the first business plan I ever wrote was to make $50,000 in my first year of selling real estate. I was making $38,000 a year as an accountant before I was laid off, so this was a huge jump for me. I had never written a business plan before but I worked my ass off to stay the course of the plan. I didn’t make any money for the first 7 months and it would have been very easy to give up, but I didn’t. That year, I made $216,000 in gross commissions and was named “Rookie of the Year” in my office. After that, I made a plan every year and never looked back.
KW: What interested you in the show “Home Free”?
DDH: “Home Free” is the perfect blend of everything I love to watch on TV–real estate, competition, big stakes, and shows that inspire you and warm your heart. All of the contestants on “Home Free” have very compelling stories and they are all working very hard to achieve the American Dream of being “Home Free.” So, it’s a great experience to help a deserving family achieve that.
KW: What interested you in hosting the OWN Show?
DDH: I have always loved all things Oprah Winfrey. In a way, I’ve considered her one of my mentors. When I decided to expand my career pursuits to include media, I didn’t have an agent and only had some television experience through bookings I received on social media. I didn’t know where to start, so I just put a picture of me on a television set with an OWN network logo on my vision board. Six months later, I was asked to audition for #OWNSHOW through social media. I jumped at the chance and somehow booked it.
KW: Thanks again for the time, Danisha, and best of luck with Home Free, the OWN Show and all your other endeavors.
DDH: Thank YOU, Kam! I appreciate your time! Best of luck to you as well.