It’s Monday after the Super Bowl, and at 8:30 a.m., Emma Grede has been awake for hours. After getting up at 5:00 a.m., Grede has just dropped off one of her four young children at school, and is now on her way to her offices in Culver City. The British businesswoman lives with her family in Bel Air, but is feeling extra rested after having spent the weekend at her second home in Malibu where she woke up this morning.

“What have I ever been doing? This is why you live in California,” a chipper Grede says over the phone from her car. “I worked a paper route when I was 12, and I really learned the joy of the morning — that quiet time, it’s so precious. I have my coffee, I like to have a moment to think and I do a workout. But I wake up naturally. I wake up 15 minutes before any alarm goes off.”

Grede is a creature of habit. She wakes up at the same time every day, knows what she is going to wear every day before she goes to bed and doesn’t waste time with small decisions throughout her days.

“I’m good if I get a good five-and-a-half hours. People always say eight hours, but I don’t know who these people are, she quips with a laugh. “Honestly, unless you’re a child, I don’t understand this eight hour thing. But you know, for me, it just comes in the balance — if you don’t feed me, that’s a problem.”

It’s no surprise Grede has figured out a reliable routine because at just 41-years-old, the London-born fashion executive and media personality is one of the most successful women in business today, having recently been named one of America’s wealthiest self-made women by Forbes.

Grede is behind some of the Kardashian empire’s billion-dollar brands: she is co-founder and CEO of Khloé Kardashian’s Good American, which the duo launched together as the first fully inclusive female fashion brand in 2016; co-founder of Kris Jenner’s plant-powered cleaning brand, Safely; and a founding partner of Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS. Prior to partnering with the famous family on their businesses, Grede served as CEO of ITB Worldwide, the U.K. based talent management and entertainment marketing agency, which she founded in 2008.

Staying perfectly on-brand, just this week, Good American launched their “Bosswear Collection,” which features “power pieces for empowered women,” per the company’s website. Today, Grede is intent on taking her wealth of experience to help pave the way for other future bosses with a focus on investing in entrepreneurs and start-ups centered around inclusivity, diversity and sustainability.

And what better place to do so than on “Shark Tank?”

Grede debuted on the ABC business competition show in 2021, making history as the first Black woman to serve as an investor on the show. Tonight, Grede makes her final appearance of this season as a recurring shark, but she hopes to return to the series in the future.

“It was always kind of mesmerizing to me that I was the first,” Grede says. “I read that headline when everybody else did, but I never thought about being the first Black woman on ‘Shark Tank’ because there had always been a Black guy on ‘Shark Tank’ — Daymond [John] had been on there for years. In a country where there’s so many incredibly successful and prominent Black female business people, it was a little bit of a shocker to me.”

The activist and investor — who is chairwoman of the Fifteen Percent Pledge, a non-profit that encourages retailers to commit 15% of their shelf-space to Black-owned businesses — has put an emphasis on change-making with her investments on “Shark Tank.” So far on the show, she has invested in companies that include an apparel brand revolutionizing hair care; a wide-ranging makeup line founded by two Black women; a clothing company for those with disabilities; and a bridal company for all shades, shapes and sizes.

“I have an ethos when I invest, and that really is about supporting people that wouldn’t ordinarily get the opportunity,” she says about lifting up underfunded businesses.

Here, Grede talks to Variety about her role on “Shark Tank,” the difference she hopes to make across industries and shares her advice for women in business…

This is your second season on “Shark Tank.” How did you initially get involved with the show?

They just they just came to me out of nowhere. I had never done anything like that before, and they just asked me to do it. If I’m really honest with you, I know the show, but I had no idea how big it was or how popular it was. I certainly didn’t realize that amongst kids. I am the most popular mom at school — they have no idea what I’ve done in my life, but the idea that I’ve been on “Shark Tank” is the most impressive to my children and all of their friends.

The show has a longtime cult following, and it repeats very well.

It’s so interesting. People all have their favorite sharks, they kind of play along at home in a way and they love it. I can’t say enough that I didn’t know how many kids watched it. I thought that was really an interesting audience that I just hadn’t thought about at all.

Statistically, women — and particularly women of color — get less investments in their businesses. Why was it important to you to be on a show with as big of a reach as “Shark Tank?”

The statistics are absolutely shocking, but it was important to me because what I’ve understood in my years in business is so much of it isn’t about who has the best idea — it’s who has the best network, who knows who, and where to go for financing and who can get in those rooms. Part of what I am trying to do is say, “Hey, everybody needs to realize there are tons of great opportunities that go completely overlooked because they’re not in the room, they’re not in the conversation, they’re historically overlooked and locked out of more traditional funding opportunities.” But even more than that, those businesses, we shouldn’t think of them in a siloed way. Just because you are a Black woman who starts a business doesn’t mean that you’re creating a business only for Black women. I really wanted to be able to shine a light on that, and I think I did so with my investments on the show.

Grede on ABC’s “Shark Tank” with Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner ABC

A lot of people say broadcast is dead, but it sounds like you’ve noticed the impact from “Shark Tank” on your business. What value do you think the broadcast medium serves that is unique to other platforms?

I totally disagree that broadcast is dead. No business can exist in a vacuum on one platform and overly prioritize one platform, especially when you’re looking for real scale. We have to be in all mediums – outdoor advertising, digital advertising, social. TV is just one of many verticals. I think the viewer is very fragmented, so when you can do something like “Shark Tank,” which has a really wide audience, it’s unbelievably important. When I think about it, most people recognize me from “Shark Tank” over certainly anything else that I’ve done. TV is still alive and kicking. For real big American mainstream audiences, there’s nothing better, really.

The Kardashian-Jenners obviously have massive followings. How important is it to your business model to partner with high-profile talent?

It’s an interesting way to think about business. I honestly believe that there is no way to buy mass consumer awareness anymore – not in a not in an affordable way, anyway. You could be Diageo and spend a billion dollars, but you wouldn’t get the same brand recognition that The Rock has got for his own tequila. It doesn’t matter how much money and in what platforms you are spending. Talent is the one unfair advantage to gaining customer recognition or brand recognition. There is this unbelievable acceleration that comes when you partner with talent, but you’ve got to have the product that backs it up because otherwise, social media talking about how much something isn’t right.

Grede launched Good American with Khloé Kardashian in 2016 as an all-inclusive denim line to promote body inclusivity. The brand has now expanded to a full-range women’s clothing company. Devon Endsley

Many executives stay behind the scenes, but you’ve developed your own platform and following. With the rise of social media and e-commerce, do you think it is beneficial for businesswomen to have a more public-facing platform like yourself?

It’s beneficial, but it isn’t totally necessary. And I do think it’s a choice. When you think about Good American, we’re all about empowering women to do whatever it is that they want and to feel empowered in the choices they make, regardless of your size, regardless of where you’re from, so having someone like me at the helm of that business is really about walking the walk and talking the talk – it’s possible to be a working mother and to be really successful, and to put your heart and soul into something and to create a business when that’s not necessarily your path or your education in your background. And, you know, I have extremely famous business partners, so my social media following doesn’t touch the surface of what those girls bring to the business.

Why do you think sharing your life behind-the-scenes helps the business?

I think for a certain type of customer and a certain type of woman, they enjoy seeing the journey and knowing what I do behind the scenes, and I think it has been helpful to the business to put a personality behind the person that actually runs the business day-to-day. I think there’s real value to it, but I don’t think that everybody needs to do that. There is a certain entertainment value in entrepreneurialism now, and that’s part of why “Shark Tank” has been so successful.

Do you have a regular schedule every day?

I am an extremely planned person. I get up at the same time every day, I know what I’m wearing and don’t put a different outfit together every day. I take out all of the variables. I take all of those small decisions away. I’m a very structured person. I have a lot to do, and my time could be really ill spent in so many ways, but I have my goals and I’m pretty much saying no to everything that isn’t getting me closer to one of those goals.

Grede serves as chairwoman of the non-profit, Fifteen Percent Pledge. “The pledge is all about economic justice,” she says. “It’s about making and creating a more even playing field so that the best ideas get into the hands of the retailers.” David X Prutting/BFA.com

As your public platform has grown, whether on “Shark Tank” or social media, how have you noticed the impact of your work on women of color?

Black women are over-indexed in starting businesses, so I don’t think it’s for that community – I think it’s more about for everybody else who suddenly understood that they are here. I hope that I can be inspiring for other women like me who want to start something, but I think it’s almost more important the other way around, that everybody else sees that there are tons of people out there with fantastic ideas that deserve a shot.

You seem to have been a self-starter from the get-go, but what advice do you wish you knew when you were younger?

I’ve always been a self-starter, but I definitely have procrastinated a lot in my career. I stayed in a couple of jobs early, maybe a little bit too long. I always talk about the same piece of advice, which actually was given to me by my husband – I wish it was someone else – but he always says to make a decision and move on. You’re going to make good decisions and bad decisions, but the important thing is to not let making decisions cripple you or stifle you. I’m a real gut-instincts person. If it doesn’t feel good to me, I ain’t gonna do it.

What is your best advice to women in business?

My best advice for women when it comes to their career has to about perhaps being a little more selfish than we trained ourselves to be. It goes back to this idea that women are doing so much for so many people in their life, and your career is the one place where you ought to be really selfish and make decisions that uniquely work for you. Do the things that are going to be best for you, and don’t feel like you have to do everything for everyone else all the time.

Have you already signed on for another season of “Shark Tank?”

I love the show, and I would always want to do another season. Everyone who works on that show is so lovely, and they’re all such pros. I just turned up and sat there and did what I do all the time. So, it’s a pretty easy yes for me.