The Journey to Beautiful Series: Glory Edozien

The Journey to Beautiful Interview Series is a celebration of influential and inspiring African women across the globe. Its aim is to teach every woman to define beauty on her own terms, to live purposefully, to accept what makes her truly unique, and to fall in love with all of who she is.


Glory Edozien

NAME: Glory Edozien
AGE: 33

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/HERITAGE: Nigeria
LOCATION: Lagos, Nigeria 
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: Glory Edozien is what you’d call a walking, talking breath of fresh air. In the current climate of the pursuit of superficiality and trivial things, Glory has made it her life’s mission to empower and inspire women. Through her show, The Inspire Series by Glory Edozien, her goal is to “empower women to love, live, pray, and be inspired.” Featuring guests that make you listen, think, and believe, as well as original articles, she’s certainly on course to fulfill her mission.

Glory’s openness in sharing the challenges she faces, while living with severe psoriasis (a skin condition), especially in a country with Nigeria, are just as inspiring as she is.

As if that weren’t enough, she’s also a superhero in her day job. As a Project Coordinator for Enviro Africa, she is part of a team of individuals at the forefront of the fight against climate change – working on environmental sustainability and emissions reductions.

Glory Edozien is the Real Deal!


Glory Edozien

WHO DO YOU SAY YOU ARE? 

I am Glory. Compassionate, complicated, disorganized and completely in love with love. God chaser, who too often falls short; daddy and mummy’s baby; day dreamer, and dream chaser. I want to know God’s purpose for me and fulfill that purpose. I am a woman constantly on a journey of self-discovery and self-love. Both sad and happy movies make me cry; and I am a complete foodie.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURES?

I guess my lips and hips. Sometimes, my eyes and teeth.

WHAT NON-PHYSICAL TRAITS DO YOU MOST LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?

My heart. I think it is my strongest feature and my strongest flaw. It is so emotive, quick to anger, quick to love and quick to forgive. It is resilient and, at the same time, tender. It is the driver of all I am.

WHAT PHYSICAL AND NON-PHYSICAL TRAITS HAVE YOU MOST STRUGGLED TO ACCEPT? HAVE YOU OVERCOME THAT STRUGGLE?   HOW?

My weight and skin is a constant battle. I think the reason behind that is my constant need for external validation. Being overweight with dark blemishes on your skin is definitely not the #flawless look you want to see in the mirror, or that you want others to see of you. Some days, I think I have overcome the struggle; on other days, I fail completely. But more recently, I have been redefining what beauty means to me. It hasn’t been easy, but I have had to look inwards to redefine my perception of self and stop waiting for others to tell me who I am. That means if I say I am beautiful, then no one’s opinion on the matter [counts]. It is a constant pull-and-tug between the need for external acceptance and internal validation. But I think the struggle will be worth it.

As regards non-physical traits, I wish I was better organized and not too much of a procrastinator. I wish I was able to be less judgmental of people and focus on the good in them, because, sometimes, it’s all too easy to see people’s flaws instead of yours. What I do now is anytime I am tempted to be judgmental about someone, I remember how imperfect I am.

I also try to keep a to-do list but, sometimes, it gets lost!

Glory Edozien

 

 

HOW HAS YOUR FATHER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF?

I am the poster child for the original daddy’s girl. My dad is one of my best friends and quite literally my hero. When I see myself through my father’s eyes I see a girl with big ambitions and dreams who is capable of achieving them. I see a headstrong, intelligent, and passionate person. My father’s belief in me is like a catapult. It makes me feel invincible but also quite humble. It’s like someone somewhere knows you like no one else and they are on the sidelines of your life, shouting your name and praying for you. It makes you super grateful and determined not to let them down.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST FEARS?

Being 80 and having regrets of not living my life my way. Dying and realizing I didn’t do any of the things God wanted me to. My parents dying before I get married and have a child; that might really kill me.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST JOYS?

My parents are the greatest gems in my life: the best ornaments and the perfect symbols of unconditional love.
My extended family: my cousins are like my sisters and best friends. They are my most trusted confidants and are ALWAYS there for me. Spending time with them gives me immeasurable joy.
The Inspire Series: I look at it and I am in awe that little ole Glory Edozien could step out and accomplish a dream. It makes me feel like I can live any dream I have.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

I’d say my quest to find myself and knowing who I am is my greatest accomplishment. Recently, I learnt through one of the guests on my show how to redefine success. It isn’t about how many people notice what you are doing or how much money you make: it is setting out to do something and achieving it your way. This means your sense of validation comes from within. It isn’t about the external pomp and pageantry. This for me is such a great life lesson. Understanding what makes me happy and being able to pursue that relentlessly is the best accomplishment anyone can have.

Glory Edozien

 

 

WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?

Ok, I will be honest here. I feel beautiful mostly when I have make up on and [am] dressed up. I also feel beautiful when I feel confident about myself and what I am saying. Recently, I have been trying to wear less make up and to concentrate on the non physical aspects of how I look and feel…but Rome was not built in a day.

Generally though, I feel beautiful when I smile. Especially when that smile is completely genuine.

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE YOUR OWN VERSION OF “BEAUTIFUL”?

A woman is beautiful when she knows who she is and doesn’t need anyone to validate her. I believe a true sense of beauty comes from within. Beauty is about innate qualities like compassion, kindness, strength and passion. It is when these internal qualities shine through that a woman’s beauty is truly visible.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY BEAUTIFUL, AS YOU’VE DEFINED IT?

For me, 80% of beauty, if not more, is internal. That also means beauty can be personal and individual. I am constantly on a journey of self-discovery. Understanding who I am and what makes me happy and fulfilled. This helps me become confident, less judgmental, compassionate and accepting of others. It makes me set limits, boundaries and goals that are personal to me and evaluated by me alone. The more I can improve who I am inside and the better my internal qualities, the more beautiful my external.

WHICH “BEAUTIFUL” WOMEN INSPIRE YOU MOST?

I love Oprah’s authenticity, Lydia Sobogun’s spiritual maturity, my mother’s determination, Beyonce’s drive for perfection, Elaine Shobanjo’s kindness, Uche Pedro’s ability to bring out the best in the people who work for and with her…..the list is endless.

Glory Edozien 2

 


 

Watch Glory featured as the subject of her best friend (previous The Journey to Beautiful feature) Wana Uddobang‘s amazing documentary, Sensitive Skin, on living with severe psoriasis in Nigeria. 

 

Also, watch some of Glory’s amazing The Inspire Series webisodes. You’ll truly be inspired:

 

 


 

 

Stay updated with everything Glory & The Inspire Series. Follow her here:

 

Facebook: The Inspire Series by Glory Edozien

Instagram: inspiredbyglory

Twitter: @inspiredbyglory

Website: www.inspiredbyglory.com 

 

Help Your Daughters Unveil Their Beauty

 

Gabrielle

I read something very interesting this week: girls are SEVEN times more likely to love their natural hair, if people around them do. That includes the entire “village” around the child, of course, but that mostly means us as moms.

I always knew this was the case, but it was interesting to see just how truly high the probability really is. It was also quite heartwarming and somewhat scary at the same time. These little people are truly looking up to us, and paying attention to our specific hangups, insecurities, likes, and dislikes. When we hate our own hair or body or skin, we are immediately setting them up to pick their own features apart – even if we spend all day telling them how “perfect” and “beautiful” they are. Odds are, our children likely look like us in some way, and they rely on us to learn how to feel about themselves.

So, when you’re tempted to look in the mirror and pick apart your nose, our your body, or complexion, please remember how important it is to pass on confidence to your little ones. The easiest and best way to do this is to make it a habit to speak of ourselves with love, and to truly cultivate confidence and self-love. What we really feel and who we are are part of our essence, even when we don’t say a single word.

Of course, it’s even worse when we point out (what we consider to be) our own children’s flaws. :( :( Children are typically in love with themselves and their images, until someone else shatters that peace. I’ve seen how my toddler interacts with his image in the mirror: excited to see himself, pointing, laughing, and kissing. When we speak negatively about their features, we completely distort that image.

The same thing applies when we present features that are completely different from theirs as superior. I know the number of times I’ve heard people talk about just how long another child’s hair is in comparison to their child’s, or how “light-skinned” another child is when their own child isn’t. Of course, these statements are always made with such high praise that there is no doubt that these features are preferred over their child’s.

This is why I have to vowed to be vigilant about not just what say to my children, or around them, but am vigilant about what others within my environment say to and around my child. I’ll be sure not to be rude or disrespectful, but I will be extremely firm in pointing out that I do not want any of my child’s features talked about in any way that teaches him that he is less than perfect. The world out there is just waiting to tell every child all the things they need to change about themselves; their home should be the place to build them up and be their safe spot.

How are you committing to helping your children see themselves as beautiful everyday?

 

 

 

{Image Credit: ELLE.com; Photographer: Nagi Sakai}

Stop Saying “Nice” Things to Your Spouse

Anyone who’s been married for any length of time can attest to the fact that marriage isn’t always easy; in fact, some days, it is downright difficult. You have long days that leave you exhausted and your nerves frayed, so that it becomes so easy to get irritated at the slightest things. You hear one thing when your spouse actually meant something else, and that misunderstanding leads to quarrels and arguments.

We’ve all been told that we need to be nicer and say “nice” things to our spouse, but is that really what we need?

Of course, we should be nice to our spouses! We committed ourselves to loving them unconditionally and living with them for the rest of our natural  lives. However, sometimes, we say “nice” things to our spouses just to say them.

Has your husband ever gotten a new haircut, and you’ve called it a “nice haircut”? How annoyed were you when you put on a dress that you thought made you look sexy and irresistible only to be told, “nice dress”? Sometimes, using the word, “nice”, just isn’t enough!

What if we committed to being more expressive and present with our words and compliments? Committed to saying, “Your haircut is wonderful”, instead of just “nice haircut”? Committed to saying, “You look incredible in that dress”, instead of just “nice dress”? See what I mean?

Saying “nice” things is okay, but using more descriptive and heartfelt words are probably better. Plus, they’ll force us to be much more present in our observations of our spouse.

INSPIRATION: Michelle Williams

When you join one of the most successful “girl” groups of all time during a period of chaos, crisis, and extreme scrutiny, you just have to have a thick skin. Singer/songwriter/actress/co-host Michelle Williams joined uber-successful group, Destiny’s Child, in 2000 – effectively replacing original team members, LeToya Luckett and LaTavia Roberson. In addition to founding members, Beyoncé Knowles and Kelly Rowland, the group would now include Michelle & Farrah Franklin. By the year’s end, Farrah Franklin was gone, and Michelle Williams was officially a true member of Destiny’s Child.

From holding her own among her new sisters, Michelle has gone on to have a truly stellar solo career: from being the first former DC member to release a solo album (garnering multiple award nominations and wins on her musical journey) to being the only former DC member to act on Broadway in multiple roles, including AidaThe Color Purple, Chicago (she was the first African-American to be cast in London’s production of Chicago), and Fela!

To me, Michelle Williams is truly inspirational for so many reasons, but what most stands out to me is her confidence. Constantly compared to her former DC members (in often despicable ways, I might add), she is clearly a woman who knows exactly who she is & what her purpose is, and who doesn’t let anyone else tell her who she is.

BEAUTY INSPIRATION

Love your body, in spite of criticism: Most people think it’s incredibly rude to criticize or make fun of people who are overweight or obese. However, it seems to be open season on women who are skinny. Michelle Williams has been called way too skinny by so many on the internet, but she seems to love her body in spite of the criticism. Contrary to what people’s views seem to be, Michelle has stated several times that she actually eats very heartily, but just happens to have an incredibly high metabolism. Anorexia and the media industry’s celebration of the too-skinny body are well-documented and extremely problematic; however, it doesn’t make it right to criticize women who are just naturally skinny, no matter what they do.

CAREER INSPIRATION

Don’t let them box you in: From the get-go, Michelle has absolutely refused to be put in a box. Though she started her solo career in the gospel musical space, she hasn’t been afraid to return to “secular” music, showing off her musical talents in the R&B, Dance, Pop, and Soul genres – amid some criticism from people who believe that artists who “go gospel” should stay there. She has maintained her determination to create music that she is inspired by, and has only created music that is wholesome and fun.

Just do it: Before Michelle joined Destiny’s Child in 2000, she had sung backup for R&B singer, Monica, and was in singing groups in church. Needless to say, even though she had the chops, she had absolutely never experienced what it was like to be thrust onto the world stage the way she was with DC. She could easily have cowered in fear and been too afraid to take the opportunity she had been given because she “wasn’t ready”, or she could have chosen to stay in someone else’s shadow. She didn’t! Instead, she rose to the occasion and took her place. She knew that the only way to do it was … well, to do it. What a lesson to all of us.

Explore all your gifts: As a seasoned singer, Michelle could have chosen to simply “stay in her lane”, and stay a singer. Instead, she has spread her wings brilliantly – putting on critically acclaimed performances on the Broadway stage, and bringing her effervescent presence to life in stage plays.

SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION

Be totally confident in who God made you: There are few things in life we as humans love to do as much as we like to compare. We declare who the “prettiest” sister is, who the “best” singer is, and who is the “smartest” person we know. For women, comparison is turned up to a million! Now, imagine having the whole world compare you constantly to 2 women you are in a group with. With the era of social media and easy access, cyber-bullying is easier than ever – and many celebrities are bearing the brunt of it. I have seen lots and lots of internet memes making fun of Michelle, and comparing her to very inferior products (particularly in comparison to her former DC members). It’s enough to get anybody down, but Michelle has risen above it. She continues to stay confident in who she is & her gifts and talents. What’s more, she’s continually elevating her career, and growing her bank account. When you know who you are, you’re not interested in what silly, misguided people have to say.

Depression isn’t a death sentence:  Michelle has been open about her past struggles with depression. In an interview with The Huffington Post, Michelle stated that she had to make a choice to “get out of bed and do whatever [she] needed to do to be happy.” Crediting exercise, therapy, and positive thinking with lifting her out of depression, she encourages anyone suffering from depression to seek help from professionals – particularly those in the Christian and faith-based communities. “We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists – that’s your healing. Take advantage of it. Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help,” she said.

 


 

The Takeaway? Know who you are! Know who God made you, and let that be the final authority on your life. What others say about you just doesn’t count.


 

 

{Images 2-5 by photographer, Derek Blanks}

See John Legend & Chrissy Teigen’s New York Home

Singer/songwriter extraordinaire, John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, his wife & model/soon-to-be talk show co-host (of an upcoming Tyra Banks-produced panel show for ABC), invited Architectural Digest to take a tour of their one-bedroom loft apartment in Manhattan, New York. The couple had previously granted Architectural Digest access to their (now-sold) L.A. house in the Hollywood Hills.

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend

The couple reportedly wanted a home that would be “warm, cozy, and full of character”, with a “dark, moody atmosphere.” Rather than seeking a giant view of, say, the Empire State Building, the couple opted for completely different kind of view: a brick wall. It seems privacy and the feeling of blocking out the rest of the world is a priority for them. And why wouldn’t it be? With schedules that go on and on, and globally recognizable faces that make you impossible to miss in a crowd, who wouldn’t want the perfect kick-back spot? I know I do – and I’m not even famous. :)

Here are the rooms in their lovely home.

 

Dining Area

Living Room

Kitchen

Alcove

Master Bedroom

 

In an ideal world (if money were no object, that is), what would you prioritize in choosing a home for your family? I would definitely go for a place that evokes tranquility & culture, feels bright and airy, is sophisticated yet functional, and has an extremely cozy atmosphere.

What would you go for?

 

{All images via Architectural Digest}

Make 2015 a Year of Self-Care

This year, one of the things that I would love to make a real priority is self-care. It’s something that I had never actively thought about in the past, because … well, I just didn’t – and I think that’s kind of sad. As women, we get so used to taking care of everything else in our lives: our parents, our siblings, spouses, children, careers and businesses, that we far too often let self-care fall by the wayside.

As a wife and a mom, the responsibilities never seem to end, and it’s so easy to put the ones you love first, and leave yourself hanging. You’re so busy caring for others that you never even remember how much you count. I am definitely as guilty of that as anyone else.

However, over the last year, I’ve noticed how much better my mood is when I have something as simple (but SO significant) as a good night’s sleep – at least when possible, because it isn’t always. I’ve thought back to some of the simple things I used to do, without realizing how much I was really caring for myself. Simple things like taking long walks in the fresh air, while singing; taking time to cultivate my dreams; making prayer a really top priority made such a profound difference in my life, my mood, my joy. I’m totally determined to bring those back this year.

So, whether you take simple steps like those I’ve listed, or take the time to pamper yourself with manicures & pedicures, massages, and spa days, make self-care a real priority this year. Even your loved ones will thank you for it: you’ll be more joyful, more alert, and more productive; and your beauty will really shine through.

Happy New Year & Welcome!

Hey, Lovelies!

Happy New Year!!!

As 2015 begins with excitement and momentum, I’m delighted to return to Love. ‘n words this year with renewed vision on our 4 focal points, from a uniquely African perspective:

Beauty. Purpose. Spirit. Family

 

Love. ‘n words is all about the celebration of Beauty that is uniquely yours, because your own beauty story is the one that counts. It’s about discovering what makes you beautiful, affirming what you were born with, and learning what makes you special as you journey through life.

 

Love. ‘n words is about living life purposefully and passionately, pursuing things that are worthwhile, making a difference, and changing your world in little and big ways.

 

Love. ‘n words is about spiritual living, about acknowledging God in all things, about listening to that inner voice, about being strong yet gentle, and growing each day.

 

Love. ‘n words is about the joy, passion and love of Family: from the romance, friendship, and challenges of loving marriages to the selflessness and lessons of parenthood.

 

Beauty. Purpose. Spirit. Family

 

Welcome to the new year, 2015, and cheers to hitting the mark on all 4 areas.

 

-Chioma Obii-Obioha

On Viola Davis’ Show Stealing-Scene in HTGAWM, and Her Guide to Happiness

A middle-aged dark-skinned woman, termed “less classically beautiful” by a New York Times writer (and battling alopecia, which is a condition that causes hair loss) carefully and meticulously takes off her wig and every trace of makeup on her face, while the entire (show-) watching world looks on. If that’s not courage and authenticity, I don’t know what is. From joy to deep down respect, I felt so many emotions watching Viola Davis in that amazing scene. In that single moment, she showed the world (and all of us) that we don’t need the validation of others to accept ourselves, or see ourselves as beautiful; that we shouldn’t care about what the world thinks about our beauty, because what we think (and, at least for me, what GOD thinks) are the only things that really count.

Viola Davis Pitched the Idea to Ditch Her Wig and Makeup on How to Get Away with Murder

Viola Davis HTGAWM no makeup

 

If you’re like me and much of America, you are hooked on the Shonda Rhimes-executive produced, Peter Norwalk-created ABC show, How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM). Watching the fast-paced, time-jumping show requires rapt attention, and watching Viola Davis in anything is always a dream. In Thursday’s episode, right before she speaks “the 9 words”, we watch her sit in front of her vanity and take. every. trace, of. makeup. off! Wow!

Even more amazing is that the show’s creator states that Viola came up with the idea of the scene herself!

 

For many everyday women, makeup is like armor. It’s something they put on before they go out to face the world, anywhere. For some, it enhances what they have; but for others, it really is a mask they put on everyday. Now, imagine being a celebrity, who is scrutinized millions of times more than the average person. Imagine having just been called “older” and “less classically beautiful” by New York Times writer, Alessandra Stanley. Then, imagine sitting and taking off ALL your makeup as the entire world looks on, knowing that as you sit vulnerable in your natural beauty, people are just waiting at the gates to point out all your flaws. Imagine that for a second!

What Viola Davis showed for all women last Thursday night cannot be put in words. Though I am not much of makeup wearer at all (I usually just wear lipstick, and the occasional eyeliner), I can understand the intense courage that must have taken. For women who are constantly told by media that we just need a little more this or a little less that to look perfect, for women who can’t imagine running their pictures through a filter, for women who feel less than flawless on a regular basis, this is the sweetest most amazing validation and example. Go out and face the world just as you are. No one else’s validation is necessary!

Vulture shares Viola Davis’ guide to happiness in 14 steps. Here are few, but go ahead and read the full article from Vulture.

  1. Know what really matters.
  2. Speak your mind.
  3. Go for what you want.
  4. Seek advice.
  5. Learn from your past.
  6. Try even when the odds are against you.

[Go ahead and read the rest here.]

 

 

A Celebration of Age & Growing Older! :)

It’s my birthday today and I am 28 AMAZING YEARS OLD!!! Woo-hoo!!!

I make a point of proudly saying my age, because it seems that, for so many many women, getting older is something to hide or be ashamed of. For so many young women, 25 seems to be that “cut-off” age: the age of feeling old and getting old. Seriously? When so many women turn 30, they suddenly seem to feel a lot more ancient, which is totally ridiculous to me.

I’ve taken time to think about the potential reasons for this. For one, we live in a totally youth-obsessed world, in which many of us get our beauty nods from magazines, television, and celebrity lifestyles. We’ve suddenly started looking at ourselves through the distorted lenses of airbrushing, Photoshop, Instagram filters, and makeup contouring. Our age expectations are getting unreal!

Also, for so many of us, as we start to gaze down the road at 30, we start to feel more reflective of our lives, and often feel disappointed about where we are in life. Maybe we haven’t yet gotten that dream career, or dream man, or great marriage, or earth-shattering business, or beautiful child to call “mine”. The ironic thing is that this is a GREAT time for us all. Taking stock of where we are is the most important step towards planning for what we actually DO want, and doing what we can to take positive steps to the life we want – as much as it’s in our power to do so.

I’ve read SO many accounts of women who feel that 30 is the beginning of an extraordinary chapter in their lives: the beginning of true self-awareness, self-confidence, and a resolve that is amazing.

Plus, I really really believe that we become much more beautiful as we get older (when we take great care of ourselves, of course). It’s like our features benefit from all that time they’ve spent together, and learn how to work in perfect symmetry. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few celebrity examples:

Young Halle Berry Collage

vs.

Halle Berry Collage
Young Nia Long Collage

vs.

Nia Long Collage

Stay tuned this month and beyond for a very special celebration of us (women) in our 30’s. :)

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