I've always wanted to be the girl with the bubbly personality whose style and confidence takes over when she walks into a room. It has yet to happen and now I'm not really sure if it ever will. At most events, I'm the one who goes over to the corner and finds one person to connect with the whole time in hopes of not being the center of attention, while secretly craving for it (if that makes sense). The truth is, as much as I want to be that loveable extrovert, I'm really just an awkward introvert.
I've always struggled with being truly confident, whether it's posing for a picture I know will be put on social media or networking (which I really suck at), especially when I'm surrounded by people who aspire me and who have already seemingly conquered what I've always battled with. Still, while having that introvert status might make it more difficult to exemplify confidence, it can be done. It just takes a little extra work, even more so for us introverts. So, here's a quick guide to help us introverts get out of our comfort zone and be the confident woman we've always been in our heads.
Find Your Own Way To Network
Growing up, I always loved those ice breaker games we had to play in group meetings because it gave me an excuse to talk to someone else and it *drumroll please* broke the ice. You were able to discover who you had things in common with from shoe size to birthday month, and sometimes it started lifelong friendships. But now, we don't always have that teacher pushing us to get to know someone else, so it helps to have your own ice breakers ahead of time.
My usual go-to is a compliment. If I want to spark up a conversation with someone, I'll tell them something I like about their outfit. It not only gives room for both people to let their guard down, but it really does lead to some pretty cool discussions (for me, a lot of them have led to plans to go thrifting on a weekend). Another method is to find something you have in common. So many of my closest friendships started with one or both of us realizing we were alike in more ways than one. If all else fails, girl, just walk up to someone and say hi and introduce yourself. Hopefully, they'll be more of an extrovert and carry the conversation if any awkwardness arises. If not, at least you tried and can perfect your skills for next time.
Bring That Social Friend
If you're an introvert, chances are one, if not most or all, of your friends are super extroverted. If your friendships are like mine, then that's how you became friends to begin with. Most of my friends are in my life because they were brave enough to approach me first. If you need someone to help you network or break the ice at an event, there's nothing wrong with bringing a wing woman. Sometimes you just need that extra nudge to get yourself out there until you feel comfortable going to an event alone. (I have to say, I never really thought I'd be able to attend something solo until I moved to a new city where I hardly knew anyone.) As an introvert myself, I know that I tend to have friends who can not only pull out a more open and social side of me but can also tell me when I'm being rude or awkward, because they know I am unaware that I'm coming across that way. If you need that friend to help you work a room, that's completely okay. You'll realize as you start to get more out of your comfort zone, you'll be able to do it solo.
Practice In The Mirror
This might sound crazy, but it helps. If you really want to know how to walk into a room with confidence, one of the best ways is to literally see how you're doing it. You might not realize you have to put your shoulders back and walk straighter until you see yourself doing it in the mirror. Keep working on it until you really start feeling yourself enough ('cause you fine girl!) to keep that same energy when you walk into a room full of strangers. If you have to, put on Beyoncé, Rihanna, or whoever gets you right and makes you feel like you're the most beautiful person in the room, because you are, whether you're in the middle of it or not.
Just Be You
This one is really tough if you're on that journey to finding yourself. I know it was super difficult for me when people would tell me to be myself because the first question I would ask myself is, "And who is that exactly?" But deep down, all of us know who we are, and who we aren't. It just gets hazy in those times when we see those we admire socializing effortlessly and start to question where we went wrong and if we should be more like them. Nope, because there's only one you baby girl. Even if you are the one holding down the wall at a party, that just means you value personal conversation. But if you do have that urge to be in the spotlight and have eyes on you, just don't lose yourself trying to do it. Be you, and what's meant for you will come. The main idea is to be proud of who you are and embrace it.
The Introvert's Guide To Office Networking – Read More
An Introvert's Survival Guide to Going Out Alone – Read More
I Had No Clue This Is What My Body Language Was Really Telling People About Me – Read More
Featured image by Getty Images
Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
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Exclusive: Keke Palmer On Music Industry Struggles, Her Mom Bod, And How Her Growing Family Impacts Her Art
Keke “Keep a Job” Palmer, as social media has deemed her, has experienced various sides of the entertainment industry. From acting, hosting, Broadway, and more to creating opportunities for other creatives through her digital network KeyTV, it feels like there’s nothing she hasn’t explored and conquered. However, when you talk to her about her passion for music and layered views on growing up in the spotlight, it’s clear that everything hasn’t always been as picture-perfect as it seems.
In this exclusive conversation with xoNecole, Keke shares insight into the struggles she battled within the music industry, what audiences can expect from the Big Boss visual album release, and the impact love and motherhood have brought to her life.
The visual album is a little over 40 minutes long, but in that short amount of time, it taps into many of the multihyphenate’s emotions and experiences, like unhealthy relationships, therapy, family dynamics, and more – all while showcasing Keke’s bops and fire dance moves. One scene that resonated with me most is when she walks into a music studio with someone in the music industry she thought she could trust, played by Harlem’sRobert Ri'chard.
You expect to be greeted by the studio norms, but instead, the room is filled with dead animals and people eating raw meat, while everyone is strangely oblivious to it. Just from that startling scene, it’s clear that her experience within the music industry was a dark one. She explains, saying, “The biggest struggle, simply put, was misogyny and politics, just trying to get people on board with you, people are so clicky and don’t see success for you. It’s just a lot of drama that’s not based on talent, and it gets really exhausting and tears at your spirit."
Photo courtesy of Keke Palmer
She continues, “Every artist is sensitive and trying to grow, learn, and be safe in their career, and it’s constantly halted with all of the other stuff. The people I was choosing to be around were not for me. It’s the same people that continued the negative narrative that I became conditioned with from my first record deal.”
As the art continues to dig into what she went through in the industry. It also explores her personal relationships with loved ones and how she unpacked them through therapy. In one emotional scene, she opens up about not fitting in. She tells her mother: “I feel trapped. It’s like knowing exactly who you are, and everyone’s looking at you and seeing something different.” I don’t know if it was the fact that Mama Palmer was actually playing herself or the power of Keke’s words, but it felt very honest, and it made me wonder where it stemmed from.
She expounded on the scene, saying, “Everybody is perceived as someone now in the social media era, but I was coming from my own personal story, growing up in front of people and being seen since I was a kid. I can never go back from that; I can never be a new person again. I’m always going to be whoever people invented me to be. My mom used to say this quote to me, ‘never let other people’s perception of you be a perception of yourself,’ that is hard to do. But I finally had to live up to the quote and resist the temptation to allow people to tell me who I’m going to be and what’s there for me, which specifically happens a lot in the music industry.”
"My mom used to say this quote to me, ‘Never let other people’s perception of you be a perception of yourself,’ that is hard to do. But I finally had to live up to the quote and resist the temptation to allow people to tell me who I’m going to be and what’s there for me, which specifically happens a lot in the music industry.”
You can tell sis is feeling real liberated, and the art isn’t the only reason. She credits the love from her relationship and son for sparking something new in her. “I have such a beautiful bond with my mother, but it’s not something I thought I could realistically have outside of my family,” the new mom explains. “The kind of unconditional support and love they give me is so selfless. I just wanted a partner that felt like my family – one that wasn’t burdened or intimidated by my success, and I think hoping that and thinking about it brought it into my life.”
Keke also feels like motherhood has impacted her creatively and brings a sense of peace. “Nothing is more important to me than my son. It’s this sense of ease because there’s nothing I care about more than him. Everything will be okay. That ease has brought tons of inspiration, courage, and power,” she says. “He’s my everything. At one time, all I had was my career, then it went to building a bond with my partner, and that was the beginning of me really having something of my own. It’s not a part of entertainment; it’s my family, so for that to keep growing, it just makes me that much more creative and full.”
Photo courtesy of Keke Palmer
Wait a second – speaking of things her son gave her. We had to get into her mom-bod. Like many, motherhood has changed her body, and the millennial diva looks bomb AF, while she mentioned being appreciative of all the love she’s getting online about it, it made us discuss the pressure women sometimes face trying to fit an aesthetic.
“I think I’ve always been body conscious because so much is about your body in the industry. But after having my son – I’m just like, who gives a shit? I still want to be on point because that’s part of my industry. But I think a lot of moms feel that snapback culture because of celebrities and social media.
She continues, “I try to stay on point because of the opportunities I want, but it’s never to the point where it’s life and death. I think there’s a level of confidence I have in this new body. It’s really about how I feel inside, more than what it looks like outside. I never thought I would have this (hips, thighs, etc.), but now it’s here, and I’m so confident. I feel better than ever.”
“I think I’ve always been body conscious because so much is about your body in the industry. But after having my son – I’m just like, who gives a shit? I still want to be on point because that’s part of my industry. But I think a lot of moms feel that snapback culture because of celebrities and social media."
From Barbershop and Akeelah and the Bee to Nopeand Hustlers to the endless viral digital moments, Keke continuously works and keeps us entertained. But one of my personal favorite things about her is how inspiring she is, and the Big Boss music and film is a clear example of that. “I think I’ve seen a lot of benefits to the seeds I’ve sown. I overcame a lot. Specifically, I’m not afraid to be my biggest champion. I’m not in a place where I need people to agree. I feel so secure, and that was kinda the energy that we [her and her EP, Grammy award-winning Tricky Stewart] put into the project.
"This Big Boss era is ultimately about ownership, independence, and strength. There’s been moments in my life where there might have been hesitation or confusion, but now everything is solution-based.” Keke embodies the idea that you can do what you love with who you love on your terms. And I really love this Big Boss Era for her and can’t wait to add the music to my playlist. It’s giving, summer 2023 is gonna be one for the books!
Big Boss, the film is available Friday, May 12, 2023, exclusively on KeyTV and available for streaming wherever you stream your music.
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Feature image courtesy of Keke Palmer