An Inside Job: Dreka Gates Shares How A Personal And Professional Identity Crisis Led Her To Peace

Photo Credit: Shannon Laurine

At any given moment you can find Dreka Gates, 37, on her Calabasas farm, glowing brighter than the California sun. A self-professed flower child, Dreka demonstrates a keen understanding of the earth’s living connectedness and how we should tap into it for our own nourishment.

Her more than 3.1 million followers on Instagram have an opportunity to peer through a parasocial portal to her soul as she shares her life mantras, behind-the-scenes insights for her wellness brands, spiritual rituals and much more. But what you probably missed was what led her to such a place of peace: a complete identity crisis.

Since the age of 19, the Baton Rouge, Louisiana native has managed her husband, hip-hop artist Kevin Gates, and was ultimately the driving force behind his success. After handling his music business affairs for nearly 20 years, in 2022 she says she had an awakening that forced her to rethink what she’d been prioritizing for her entire adult life.

An Inside Job: Dreka Gates Shares How A Personal And Professional Identity Crisis Led Her To Peace

“I has a complete crisis of my identity,” she tells ESSENCE. “That shit is probably the hardest thing I’ve had to navigate in my entire life. And I kind of almost want to cry now because it’s 17 years of being this person, and then looking up and realizing I am no longer her. That’s not my identity anymore. And that was my entire career,” she stressed. “Working through that was extremely difficult.”

Although she didn’t pinpoint whether it was one defining moment that was the catalyst for the crisis, Dreka took the realization seriously and immediately poured into herself.

An Inside Job: Dreka Gates Shares How A Personal And Professional Identity Crisis Led Her To Peace

“I needed to find me again.”

Dreka’s story is one many Americans can relate to.

As previously reported by ESSENCE, 2023 survey results released by FlexJobs found that nearly 60% of workers shared they were looking for new career paths.

This is unsurprising according to mental health experts.

For instance, in 2022 Paul French, of UK-based recruiting firm Intrinsic Executive Search, told Bloomberg that workers should think about a major pivot about every decade. “The benefits outweigh the downsides,” he said. He suggested trying to enter into a more dynamic industry for a salary boost and access to a more robust professional and social network. “To thrive, you must expand your contact list, and a career change is one of the best ways to do that.”

With that, Dreka found that making the pivot was a non-brainer, but what does that look like when your career and personal life are enmeshed?

“I was forced to ask myself some real questions because two sides of my life were wrapped in one,” she tells ESSENCE. “I had no choice but to find out who am I really? What do I desire? What do I want out of life? Who do I want to be? What fulfills me, What gets me excited and on fire to do every day? I had to figure it out.”

And figure it out she did. She said she tapped a spiritual psychologist to help her enrich her mind, body and spirit to refocus her priorities.

In the last few years, Dreka leaned into her holistic roots and launched her aptly named brand DREKA a wellness & lifestyle company that boasts skincare, body products and homeware. It started from her own remedies she used to care for her skin after facing stress and hormone-induced breakouts. She soon learned there was market of people who’d be able to benefits from the products. Dreka also runs her cannabis brand, BE Provisions, which now boasts a team of more than 30. Additionally, she owns a 43-acre blueberry farm that she bought in 2020. There she gardens, tills and care for the greenery she grows which she says was a fulfilling experience.

“I’m over here literally living my best life,” she says smilingly. “Yes, I did go through a tough time, but I came up out of that, and I’m literally over here living my best life. Sometimes it takes choosing yourself, really tuning in, letting go of everything and realizing others’ actions have nothing to do with me. That’s what it took, and I’m so glad I did it.”

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