It's International Women's Day, and if nobody's told you yet, sis… I love you!
Everyone may not know it from the way that you carry yourself, but it's hard out here. When you're a woman working twice as hard for the piece of pie you deserve just as badly as anyone else, sometimes it feels good just to know that someone sees you. And we see you, sis.
Although your day-to-day grind may never make headlines, know that you are doing the damn thing and it does not go unnoticed. As a college educated woman, I am fully aware that not all knowledge comes from history books. It's a fact that some of the most influential stories will never be told, and we may never know the names of some of the black women who used their power to shift the political and social landscape, or even just to make it through the day.
Since many children will not read about the strides of women like you, Issa Rae, Lauren Simmons, and Morgan DeBaun in their history books, it's our job to tell them. As an ode to women who have dared to fearlessly break the glass ceiling, xoNecole has compiled a list of some of the most badass women in the game and the life advice they give us to live by.
Lauren Simmons: Never Fear Taking A Risk
Photo by Ida John
What She Said: "When you are in the space where you are extremely uncomfortable and you're fear-driven and you still take the leap, that's when the biggest growth happens. So I think if more women were risk-averse and they took the chance, you would see a lot more women breaking glass ceilings and these stories just being a thing, not [an] 'Oh, my -gosh' moment. It would be normalized." -- Lauren Simmons, Business Insider
Bozoma Saint John: Celebrate What You Have
Photo by Greg Doherty/Getty Images
Profession: Marketing Executive
What She Said: "People are always going to tell you that you should be something else. If you ask somebody their opinion, they're going to give it to you, and it's not going to be what you have. So why not just celebrate what you have? If you're over here celebrating it, very seldom will people tell you that thing that you're celebrating is not great." -- Bozama St. John, xoNecole
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Put Some Respect On It
Photo by Mamadi Doumbouya for Vulture
Profession: Author of We Should All Be Feminist
What She Said: "I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be."
Alex Elle: Don't Fall Victim To Circumstance
Photo by Ryan Spearman
Profession: Poet, Entrepreneur, Self-Care Advocate
What She Said: "My greatest obstacle has been overcoming the statistics of being a Black, at the time unwed, single, eighteen year-old mother. I had my daughter when I was eighteen and I knew that I was already a statistic but I knew that I did not want that to be who I was.
"While I do not advocate at all for teen pregnancy, that was my life and situation. I made opportunity possible for myself through hard work, perseverance, and not falling victim to my circumstance. I came out on the other side as a good role model for my daughter and a voice for other young women who might have children, or young women who might not—for young women in general." -- Alex Elle, Bloom Journal
Luvvie Ajayi: Speak Your Truth
What She Said: "I think about the times when I have to speak truth. It feels like I am falling out of that plane. It feels like that moment when I'm at the edge of the plane, and I'm like, 'You shouldn't do this,' but then I do it anyway, because I realize I have to.
"Sitting at the edge of that plane and kind of staying on that plane is comfort to me. And I feel like every day that I'm speaking truth against institutions and people who are bigger than me and just forces that are more powerful than me, I feel like I'm falling out of that plane. But I realize comfort is overrated. Because being quiet is comfortable. Keeping things the way they've been is comfortable. And all comfort has done is maintain the status quo." -- Luvvie Ajayi, TED Talk
Regina King: Dont Compare, Just Bloom
Photo by Sharif Hamza
What She Said: "Don't compare yourself to the person next to you. A flower just blooms, it doesn't try to outbloom the other flower… I think we get so consumed with what someone likes about another, instead of just kind of focusing on, 'You're pretty fantastic in your own skin.' The world needs to see your fantasticness." -- Regina King, Variety
Mahisha Dellinger: Focus On What Matters Most
Photo by Jessy J
Profession: Founder of CURLS Beauty Products
What She Said: "Learn how to focus, and know what's important to you. Everything has a purpose, and keeping that in mind will help you towards your goals.
"Create boundaries and outline your purpose, and, most importantly, stick to it. Make sure when you're organizing your day that you say 'no' more than you say 'yes.' Don't take any unnecessary calls unless it has a purpose and a mission." --Mahisha Dellinger, Oprah Mag
Angela Rye: Boy, Bye
Photo by Warwick Saint
Profession: Political Analyst
What She Said: "I feel like the best thing that I can do to liberate Black women and women of color is to be my unapologetic self. I feel like we have carried the burden of making people comfortable for too long, at the risk of our own comfort and physical and emotional health. And ain't nobody got time for that. If being myself makes you uncomfortable, well, that's just too damn bad." -- Angela Rye, Refinery29
Amanda Seales: Confidence Is Key
Photo by Elton Anderson for Philly Voice
What She Said: "People always ask me how I'm so confident—it's because I know myself. Confidence comes from knowledge and information about something. As a performer, the more you know about you the more tools you're able to play with when it comes to portraying characters and discussing different topics.
"Once you learn more about you, you then have the formula to express why you should be in certain roles. We tend to spend too much time trying to figure everyone else out. Just figure you out and you'll be in the door." -- Amanda Seales, Forbes
Supa Cent: Don't Take "No" For An Answer
Photo by Cosey Photography
Profession: Creator of The Crayon Case Cosmetics
What She Said: "My advice would be to grind hard, research what you are standing behind. Don't stand for anything! Don't take 'no' for an answer. So many people will hold you back along your journey. Don't be one of them." -- Supa Cent, Rolling Out
Arian Simone: Stay in the Ring
Photo by Instagram/@ariansimone
Profession: Author of Fearless Faith + Hustle: 21 Day Devotional Journey, Publicist
What She Said: "As long as you continue to fight, you can win. You can lose possessions, but you cannot afford to lose your mind! If you keep a winning mindset, you will win, I can't tell you how, I can't tell you when, but I can tell you that you will." -- Arian Simone, Huffington Post
Shonda Rhimes: Demand What You Deserve
Photo by Michael Rowe for ESSENCE
Profession: TV Producer, Film Writer, Author
What She Said: "We are powerful women and when we say we have power, what we are really saying is that we deserve to have power. We deserve whatever good thing it is that we are getting. Demanding what you deserve can feel like a radical act." -- Shonda Rhimes, Elle Women in Hollywood
Susan Kelechi Watson: Be Generous With Your Gifts
Photo by Good Housekeeping / Amy Neunsinger
What She Said: "Everyone has a gift—like yours is writing, someone else's might be care-taking; mine, I've known from a young age, is acting. But gifts are meant to be given away. If you never have the opportunity to give it away, it saddens you; you don't feel whole. So the fact that I'm able to share my gift on such a large platform is the bee's knees. It's everything." -- Susan Kelechi Watson, Oprah Mag
Lizzo: Self-Love Is True Freedom
Photo by Luke Gilford/ Allure
Profession: Musician/Recording Artist
What She Said: "We should love ourselves first. We should look at our bodies as vehicles for success, and not a signifier of who you are, how good your pussy is, if dudes like you or not, or if you can fit certain clothes...that's not what your body's for." -- Lizzo, Teen Vogue
Solange: Remember Your Roots
Photo by Andrew Zuckerman
Profession: Musician/Recording Artist
What She Said: "I think blackness will never go away. It's who I am. It's what I know. I'll always be a black woman, I'll always create work from this black woman's body. I'll always be from Third Ward, where we had one of the first black banks in the country, where we had S.H.A.P.E. center, where I spent summer camp learning about all of the incredible things that you see in this place, where I got to go to a black woman's hair salon every day and hear the stories of women. This is just who I am. I don't have to even say it or express it. It's just a part of me, so it will always be in my work." --Solange, Vogue
Yara Shahidi: Stop Striving For Perfection & Try Some Positivity
Photo by Nagi Sakai
Profession: Actress & Political Activist
What She Said: "I don't know how many times we've been told to love ourselves and that our flaws are perfect or whatever it may be. We've heard that message our entire lives. But I feel like what's difficult is that we also have this other, more subliminal messaging of 'this is what pretty looks like. This is what beautiful looks like. This is what healthy looks like. This is what happy looks like.'
"But, it's important that in this process we have companies really sticking to their word and doing more than saying your body is beautiful. It's also important to have a supportive network of people who gas you up. Because as positive as we can be to ourselves, and as positive as we can be to the world around us, it's important to have that positivity being sent to us. So we aren't alone." -- Yara Shahidi, Teen Vogue
Lupita Nyong'o: Finding The Courage To Say "Nah"
Photo by Patrick Demarchelier
What She Said: "I come from a very patriarchal world, but not within my family. My dad listened to my mom. My mom held her own. She had the power to say 'no' to things, and I saw her hold that power." -- Lupita Nyong'o, Net-A-Porter
Necole Kane: Fall 9 Times, Get Up 10
Photo by necolekane.com
Profession: Founder/Editor in Chief of xoNecole.com, Bikini Pro
What She Said: "We fail nine times and win on the tenth. It's about getting knocked down and getting back up. I needed my audience to know about the times when I was knocked down, as much as they knew about the times that I was winning. I never wanted them to look at me as an unattainable goal." -- Necole Kane
Jada Pinkett Smith: Let That Hurt Go, Sis
Photo by Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images
Profession: Actress, Talk Show Host
What She Said: "When I realized I'm the only one responsible for my pain, even if it's someone else's fault, I was really angry with the Higher Power because 'I' felt entitled to everyone's best behavior and love. When I finally found some humility and got over myself and surrendered to that Power that is far higher than 'I' and do the work to be for myself what I was demanding everyone else to be FOR me ... I was able to find the Kingdom within and every bit of love and healing I had been looking for all along." -- Jada Pinkett Smith, Red Table Talk
Essie Golden: Build Your Tribe
Photo by Essie Golden/Instagram
Profession: Blogger, Influencer, Designer, Co-founder of Golden Confidence
What She Said: "A lot of times, you can feel like you are going through all of this alone and you need your tribe so keep those good group of women. It doesn't even have to be a group of 5-10 women, it could be one person, it could be two people, it could be someone you are able to bounce ideas off of, someone you are able to vent to here and there, somebody just to believe in you when you don't believe in yourself...These are amazing and necessary to get out of your own head." -- Essie Golden, xoNecole
Featured image by luvvie.org.