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. :)

LISTEN: Gabrielle Union Gives the Most Amazing & HONEST Speech You’ll Ever Hear

One of my core missions here at Love. ‘n words is to show that, as women, we are all incredibly beautiful in our own unique ways; and that understanding our own unique beauty and living life on purpose makes us exactly who God intended us to be. Unfortunately, we spend way too much time looking at the woman next to us through the lens of envy, jealousy, and competition – wanting her own life, and fearing that her own light robs us of ours. From the everyday streets to the Hollywood streets, this is a universal reality.

In this amazingly poignant, moving, and honest speech by Gabrielle Union as she was honored as a “Fierce & Fearless Woman” by Essence, Gabrielle shares her previous battles with envy and jealousy, with fear and dissatisfaction as its root.

It’ll inspire you, challenge you, and motivate you to support other women, and realize that we all need to focus on working on our own lives.

The Journey to Beautiful Series: Maame Adjei

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.


Maame Adjei

NAME:  Maame Adjei
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/HERITAGE: Accra, Ghana
LOCATION: Ghana  
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: Unless you’ve been living under a rock (Okay, I’m kidding, but really!), you’ve probably at least heard about the groundbreaking series on YouTube called An African City and set in Accra, Ghana. Created by Nicole Armateifio, the show “tells the story of five beautiful and successful women who confide in one another about their love-lives (or lack thereof) and find new ways to deal with being a 21st century woman in Africa.” Maame Adjei plays the fiercely independent go-getter, Zainab, to perfection – an always impeccably dressed entrepreneur who knows exactly what she wants and where she’s going.

With such an amazing acting turn, it may be rather surprising to learn that Maame always fancied herself much more comfortable behind the lens, instead of in front of it. As a producer (even on the groundbreaking show)and a fierce advocate of Ghana’s tourism industry, Maame is a woman of multiple talents and passions – she’s also a model and an artist, and just finished a stint as the Talent Director for the just-concluded Miss Universe Ghana 2014 pageant.  

It is clear that no matter what she does or where she is, Maame is committed to living life passionately, and to exploring all the opportunities that her natural gifts and talents bring her way. Even more noteworthy is the fact that she is self-aware and totally comfortable in her own gorgeous skin. Cheers to that!


 

Maame Adjei

WHO DO YOU SAY YOU ARE? 

I’m an outgoing introvert, a fierce lover, dedicated daughter and sister, stalker of all newborn babies and a 90s RnB junkie. I’m very self-aware, not in a debilitating way, but in a way that allows me to always be true and honest to myself and understand why I do what I do. It’s always been crucial for me to be “real” to myself first. I’m a lover of old things: furniture, clothing, pictures. History moves me. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURES?

I honestly sat for 15 minutes trying to answer this question. I would say my skin. I think it’s a glorious reflection of where I’m from and I don’t take all this melanin for granted. lol.

Maame Adjei


“It’s always been crucial to me to be true to myself first.”


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

I think my ability to always have the patience to really understand other people’s emotions and reactions to things – even when those reactions are negative, and may affect me one way or another. I’m a firm believer that there is almost always a logical reason for why we do what we do. It might not make any sense to the lay person, or most of us just don’t have the time to sit around and figure out why someone is acting out, or being mean, or negative. But if you take the time, there’s always a deeply rooted reason and I’ve just found it important for me to figure out what the reason is before I react. 

Maame Adjei  

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

I’ve never struggled with any physical traits. I know that might sound very trite, but the last time I remember being uncomfortable with anything physical about myself, I was in high school. I wanted to be shorter, because I was taller than my crush, and it just seemed that shorter girls were always considered cute. lol

As far as non-physical traits, I really had to work through and learn how to let go of the past. I had to understand how the past was impacting every single thing I was doing in the present and I really had to let go of a lot of hurt and anger. I had an amazing mentor who supported me through that process and it really was the best thing I ever did. It’s been supremely healing and it caused a trickle effect of blessings, right decisions and good energy into my life.

Maame Adjei


“I had to understand how the past was impacting every single thing I was doing in the present and I really had to let go of a lot of hurt and anger.”


 

HOW HAS YOUR FATHER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF?

My father, in both his presence and absence, has fortified my strength. I have been driven to be independent, self-reliant and successful because of him. Accepting help is a new thing for me because, for a long time, his influence caused me to want to prove that I could do everything on my own. I remember buying my first house and painting every single wall by myself. Everyone offered help and I refused. I wanted to be able to say I did this alone. I put up every shelf and cabinet alone. Me. Woman. Alone. In retrospect it was a need to prove something that was not necessary, but I think our difficult relationship created an environment where I just never wanted to rely on anyone. 

Maame Adjei

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST FEARS?

Not living a fulfilled life. Not being able to look back and say, “I did everything I wanted, how I wanted, with who I wanted and I’m happy.” I want to live the life that I want to live with no regrets. I’m afraid of not taking enough chances. I just don’t want to have any or many regrets. I want to live abundantly. 


I remember buying my first house and painting every single wall by myself. Everyone offered help and I refused. I wanted to be able to say I did this alone. I put up every shelf and cabinet alone. Me. Woman. Alone.


 

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST JOYS?

My family. They are hilarious. They can be stressful at times, but they hold me up like no other.

Being able to wake up everyday and, not just work, but work on things that excite me. Things that move me. My passions. It’s so healing and freeing I can’t say it enough.

Maame Adjei


“[I feel most beautiful] when who I am is more than enough for the people around me.”


WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

Every brave step I’ve taken in my life has been a great accomplishment for me. I moved from England to Philadelphia with two suitcases, against my father’s will and only with the support of my mother. It was a risky decision but I made a life in Philly for myself. A good one. And I’m proud of that. I’m proud of taking the leap to move back to Ghana and basically throwing away my BA and MS to start from scratch and find things that move me to do and make a living from. It’s all a risk. But I have to be brave in order to have no regrets. 

Maame Adjei

 

WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?

When I’m home, in the evenings, laying on my couch, listening to The Emotions or Grover Washington on my record player. When I’m alone, but also when I’m surrounded by love. When who I am is more than enough for people around me.

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

Beauty for me is being okay with who I am. Beauty is my ability to feel vulnerable and scared and express it and then move on. Beauty is being confident and secure in everything you are and everything you’re not. The latter is so important. 

Maame Adjei 4

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

Being self-aware. Always reminding myself of who I am and staying focused on living this fulfilling life. Surrounding myself with love and supporting souls.  


“Beauty for me is being okay with who I am. [It] is my ability to feel vulnerable and scared and express it and then move on. [It] is being confident and secure in everything you are and everything you’re not.”


 

WHICH “BEAUTIFUL” WOMEN INSPIRE YOU MOST?

My mother, of course. Her strength is her ultimate beauty trait. And any woman who is confident within herself and is brave. That kind of courage always moves me. I love and admire strong, courageous women. I aim to be that at the end of it all. 

Maame Adjei


 

Stay updated with everything Maame. Follow her here:

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/MsAdjei

Instagram: msadjei

Twitter: @MsAdjei

Tumblr:  MsAdjei.Tumblr.com

Maame Adjei

 


 

Are you an inspiring & influential African woman interested in a “Journey to Beautiful” Feature? E-mail me for consideration: chioma dot onyewuchi at hotmail dot com with subject “Journey to Beautiful”.

Lupita Nyong’o & Sesame Street Partner to Talk about Loving the Skin You’re In

Kenyan stunner & Oscar-winning actress, Lupita Nyong’o, recently made a really cute appearance on popular children’s show, Sesame Street, to discuss loving the skin you’re in.

With furry friend, Elmo, Nyong’o talks about loving her skin and thinks we all should love our skin, too.

I’m SO happy and excited that this message is going out to children on such a popular show, and that gorgeous, little, “night-shadedgirls can see a stunning and talented woman who looks just like them, and is so in love with her own skin.

Enjoy!

 

Who is Prettier: Venus or Serena?

Watching the US Open has been a television staple in my house since it began at the end of last month, and like most people in America, I’m always rooting for the Williams sisters. How can you not  root for Venus and Serena Williams? Really!

As I watched them play today (so sad that they lost their double match), I was struck again by how different they both are: physically, as athletes, and in the heat of play. One is tall and slim; the other is also tall, but with curves and muscle. One tends to be detached on the court; while the other can be very emotionally charged. Both are women. Both are athletes. Both are amazing. Both are beautiful!

Venus & Serena Williams, New York Times

Damon Winter for The New York Times

As I looked at them, I wondered how many times they’ve been compared to each other – by family members, acquaintances, mutual friends, other athletes, and the media. How many times have they heard, “Your sister is prettier than you?” or “a better athlete than you”, or has a “better body than you”, or is “faster and stronger than you”, or any other comparison we are wont to throw out at people.

How many times have they looked at each other and wished to have something the other had? How many times has Serena wanted to be slim like Venus, and Venus wanted to be as curvy as Serena?

venus-and-serena-lead-alt

 


 

Did all God’s amazing creativity and variety go to waste, because I can’t appreciate all the colors and shapes and sizes He made? How is brown any more beautiful than black? Isn’t green just as astounding a color as red?


 

I’m saddened by the reality that this is for us, constantly. It’s something that we all catch ourselves doing. We look at a picture with several women, and immediately think, “Who is the prettiest?” We look at a (fellow) beautiful woman, and suddenly start to compare ourselves to her. We can’t wait to put down another woman, because she really does make us feel insecure and envious, deep down. We sneer at the compliment a man gives another woman, “Her? She’s not that pretty, abeg,” because we’re scared that there isn’t enough room for all of us. If one woman’s beautiful, then where does that leave the rest of us? Does that mean she’s more beautiful than we are?

I’m as guilty of this as everyone else. Really! However, sometimes, I catch myself by thinking of how much I’m spitting in God’s face when I do this. Did all his amazing creativity and variety go to waste, because I can’t appreciate all the colors and shapes and sizes He made? How is brown any more beautiful than black? Isn’t green just as astounding a color as red?

Venus & Serena Willams

Tall or short, curvy or not, we are all literally masterpieces – total knockouts. So, let’s stop knocking each other off beauty pedestals and compliments that others give. This isn’t a race to the beauty finish line. The fact is, we’ve all already won.

INSPIRATION: Danai Gurira

Gorgeous midnight skin as smooth as silk, a deeply brilliant mind, and wonderful self-assurance make Danai Gurira far from your average Hollywood actor. She acts, she writes, she creates, and she speaks with such wisdom and self-knowledge that you can’t help but love her. For fans of AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead, Danai is known simply as the sword- (kitana) wielding warrior princess, kicking zombie butt and taking no prisoners.

Danai Gurira, Essence Magazine, Black Actresses, Dark-skinned actresses, African actresses in Hollywood

Gomillion & Leupold for Essence Magazine

Danai Gurira, Essence Magazine, Black Actresses, Dark-skinned actresses, African actresses in Hollywood

Gomillion & Leupold for Essence Magazine

Danai Gurira, Essence Magazine, Black Actresses, Dark-skinned actresses, African actresses in Hollywood

Gomillion & Leupold for Essence Magazine

 

Born to Zimbabwean parents in Grinnell, Iowa, and returning to Zimbabwe from age 5 until her college years, Danai is deeply, deeply rooted in who she is as an African woman. Passionate about the representation of African women as strong, thinking people, like all other women, Danai rejects any roles that show us as weak and pathetic.

“The thing I’m against is the inauthentic portrayal of Africans,” Gurira says—roles in which she’s supposed to play a woman who’s waiting for her husband to bring her home a fish, for example. “I’m like, African women don’t wait for men to bring them home fish. They go and plow the [expletive] land and make their own food. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. I’m not doing that. There are tons of things that I turn down based on the fact that this portrayal of the African woman is so pathetic.” – as told to Vulture 

Maybe less known are her forays on the big screen, in collaborations with Nigerian-American fashion photographer, Andrew Dosunmu, playing the lead role in his visually stunning short film, Mother of George, as one-half of a Nigerian couple in New York, struggling with fertility issues. She played a more minor role in his earlier film, A Restless City.

Danai Gurira, Essence Magazine, Black Actresses, Dark-skinned actresses, African actresses in Hollywood

Gomillion & Leupold for Essence Magazine

Danai Gurira, Essence Magazine, Black Actresses, Dark-skinned actresses, African actresses in Hollywood

Gomillion & Leupold for Essence Magazine

 

Gurira is also a very accomplished playwright, having won an Obie (Off-Broadway Theater) Award in 2006 for a play she co-wrote, In the Continuum, and winning a Princeton Fellowship & Whiting Writers’ Award for The Convert.

Her brilliant mind and knockout beauty are completed by her wisdom, self-knowledge, and beautiful spirit. She wears her dark skin and very closely cropped natural hair with pride, stating that women don’t need to change anything about themselves.

“One day I had to wear a wig cap, and I said, ‘That kind of works.’ ” says Gurira, who sported an Afro in college. “As soon as I could, I CUT IT ALL OFF, and I HAVEN’T LOOK BACK since.” – as told to People

 

Danai Gurira

Peter Hapak for New York Magazine

Danai Gurira

Peter Hapak for New York Magazine

 

Danai Gurira

Danai Gurira for Cole Haan

“A young woman recently told me she’s THANKFUL FOR ME. She said, ‘We’re trying so hard to CHANGE OURSELVES. Then we see you and realize we don’t have to,'” recalls Gurira. “For me, it is all about SELF-LOVE and the right to walk in this world THE WAY WE WERE CREATED.” – as told to Essence

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

 

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

 

“Clothes manifest CONFIDENCE. I’d never go out in sweats, for example,” she said. “I have a small waist, curvy hips, and a booty from Pilates — and I don’t mind showing them off in formfitting clothes.” – as told to InStyle

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

 

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

Danai Gurira, Jan Welters, Black Actresses, The Walking Dead

Jan Welters for InStyle Magazine

“Have a coherent VISION of yourself and your MISSION in life, and truly BELIEVE that you can CONQUER ANYTHING you face,” Gurira added. “That sentiment will translate in your walk and become your SWAGGER.” – as told to InStyle

[All caps are mine; not capitalized in the original sources]

Find Your Way Back to Your Spouse

I recently watched the Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams romantic movie, “The Vow”. It’s about a man’s journey to get his wife to fall in love with him again, after she loses her memory of their life together following a major accident. Apparently, the story is based on the real-life experience of an actual couple. Go figure!

After watching that movie, I thought about my marriage and other marriages out there. What would my husband have to do to get me to fall in love with him all over again, if I completely forgot who he was, and what our life is together? What would yours?

I guess the real question is, What is it about your spouse that made you fall in love at the beginning? Was it something he did or said? Was it the way she made you feel? Was it an instant attraction, or a work in progress?

Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee

Let’s reexamine what made us fall in love with our spouses today, and celebrate them for it.

The funny thing is that, many times, we forget some of the things we fell in love with in the first place, because we stop looking at them and start looking at the negatives. Or, we become irritated by some of the things we fell in love with in the first place. Lol! How ironic is that? You loved that she took her time to make rational decisions while you were dating; but, now that you’re married, you hate that she is just so slow to decide on anything. You loved his drive and ambition when you were dating; but, now that you’re married, you resent the fact that you seem to play second fiddle to his career.

Take a deep breath today, take a trip down memory lane, and take some time to fall in love with your spouse for the amazing things you saw in him/her at the beginning. It’ll be worth it to find your way back to each other.

The Journey to Beautiful Series: Ijeoma Eboh

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.


Ijeoma Eboh

NAME: Ijeoma Beatrice Ugoma Eboh
AGE: 23

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN/HERITAGE: Nigeria
LOCATION:  New York, NY  
WHY YOU HAVE TO KNOW HER: Ijeoma Eboh is all about external and internal health – because, really, who wants to have one without the other? This brilliant woman is pursuing a PhD in the History of Public Health – at only 23, straight from her undergraduate education at Harvard. Talk about bravery and direction! Plus, she works for a non-profit as an obesity health educator.

When she’s not putting on her cape for physical health, she’s crusading for self-love and internal health. Superhero status!!! At Klassy Kinks, Ijeoma’s on a mission to prove that tightly coiled, kinky hair is just as gorgeous, fly, and fabulous as any other hair type, in a world that often puts that hair category at the bottom of the totem pole. Sharing tips, documenting journeys, and bringing inspiration are all in a day’s work for this young woman.

Now, I know you really want to know her. :)


 

Ijeoma Eboh 2

WHO DO YOU SAY YOU ARE? 

I’m a value-driven, over-achieving, health conscious child of God who loves everything about black people.  

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PHYSICAL FEATURES?

I’ve always loved my legs; I think they are long, strong and elegant. I used to get teased about the size of my lips when I was younger, but now I love them!

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

I’m an incredibly hard worker, sometimes to a fault, but it means that I go, go, go; and then, every so often, step back and say to myself, “Yassss, you really did just do all of that hun-tey!” I also like that I laugh easily and heartily.  

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

I’ve most struggled to accept my athletic, non-curvy build that doesn’t fit the African female body stereotype. I used to be confused when I visited Nigeria and saw the thick bodies of all of my cousins, so I was self-conscious about my stick figure for some time. Now that being fit is in, I’m a bit better with my body acceptance, but honestly, it’s more because I don’t take time to think about it. Every once in a while, I temporarily wish for a bigger bra size, but then I remember that I’d have to buy all new lingerie, so I snap back to reality. Lol.

Ijeoma Eboh of Klassy Kinks

 

HOW HAS YOUR FATHER INFLUENCED THE WAY YOU SEE YOURSELF?

Since I’m the only girl in my family, my dad has always paid me special attention and showered me with love. He instilled my notion of myself as beautiful, because he would tell me regularly as I was growing up that I was beautiful, just like my mom. 

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST FEARS?

I’m terribly afraid that I won’t live up to my calling, and of leaving this world without accomplishing what God planned for me to do; so, I try to make the most of every day. I’m also afraid I won’t be able to repay my parents for all the sacrifices they’ve made for me.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST JOYS?

My family brings me ultimate joy – we’re all so funny! Cooking delicious meals that put people to sleep also brings me joy.

WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENTS?

I think most people would say that graduating from Harvard, or entering straight into a PhD program after undergraduate studies were my greatest accomplishments, but for me, staying sane through an emotionally abusive relationship in college was pretty fierce.

Ijeoma Eboh of Klassy Kinks

WHEN DO YOU FEEL MOST BEAUTIFUL?

When I’m wearing a brand new dress, especially if it hugs my hips.

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

People are beautiful when they are honest with themselves, which means living to please no one else.

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

I’m kind of living this wild life right now where I’m doing a whole bunch of different, unrelated things at the same time – I’m in graduate school; working with urban teenagers; the founding editor of a natural hair blog, and I’m also trying to have a vibrant enough social life so I can get married someday and have godparents for my kids. People have told me I’m crazy to be doing all of these things at once, but it’s what I feel like doing, and it’s what makes me happy. That’s beautiful. And every once in a while I buy a new dress. :)

WHICH “BEAUTIFUL” WOMEN INSPIRE YOU MOST?

The usuals – my momma, my aunt Beatrice, Michelle Obama, Maya Angelou, and my beautiful friends.


Ijeoma Eboh 4

Stay updated with everything Ijeoma & Klassy Kinks. Follow her here:

 

Facebook: Klassy Kinks

Instagram: KlassyKinks

Twitter: @KlassyKinks

Website: www.KlassyKinks.com

Tall Girls Are Only Beautiful When They Are Models

The average height for a woman in the United States is roughly 5 ft 4 in. The average height for women globally varies by country, but is typically in the 5 ft 2 in. to 5 ft 4 in. range. By contrast, the average height for a man in the United States is 5 ft 9.5 in.

Now, imagine, that you’re a young woman who stands tall at 5 ft 10 in, or even 6 ft. You’re so tall, you’re taller than the average American man! Do you feel confident, because you’re so beautifully unique and special, or do you slouch, shrink, and attempt to hide? Unfortunately, for many women, it is the latter.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people tell a tall girl or young woman that she should “be a model.” Because, of course, modeling is the only viable option for a woman who is much taller than the average. Because. if she’s a model, all that height finally counts for something, and becomes acceptable. Because if she’s a model, you automatically have a shift in your mind that changes her from “too tall” to “beautiful”. As if slapping the “model” title on someone is what suddenly validates her beauty, her uniqueness, or her existence. As if her presence is now – magically, suddenly – desirable! Ha!

I can’t express how deeply that irks me. It irks me to the core!

I know a few tall women, but 2 come to mind. They come to mind, because they are such beautiful and confident women that, when I’m around them, I suddenly want to be 6 feet tall. One of them walks into a room and literally commands it. She walks in with such confidence and poise, and speaks with such self-assuredness, that you want to be that tall. The other carries a presence with her that is regal, elegant, and such magic; it’s breathtaking! [Hi, Gi & April!!]

The amazing thing about both is that they credit their mothers with teaching them to own the beauty in their height. The former has stated that her mother was so insistent about posture and carrying oneself with self-confidence, that she would have her walk with a book on her head. Talk about practice for walking with a crown on your head! How beautiful is that?! Really!

So, the next time you look at a young woman who is taller than the average, and immediately blurt out, “You should be a model”, may be you should take a minute to reconsider. Because, really, she doesn’t need to be a model to have her beauty validated. Because she can be a teacher, a doctor, a surgeon, a writer, an author, a scientist … and move through life just the way she is. Because her height is just one of the amazing things that makes her the most beautiful girl in the world.

If you are a tall girl hoping to “be a model” one day because it’s the only chance you think you have to finally hear someone say that your height is perfect just the way it is, know that it already is. If no one’s said it, am telling you.

You are breathtakingly beautiful just the way you are. God made you so tall, because He wanted you close enough to Him to touch. He made you to pierce the clouds, because you are a STAR!

 

{Images via BellaNaija; Ladun Liadi; Gistus; FashionBombDaily}

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