“I’ve always felt opportunity is available for everyone, so why compete?” - Altrichia Lekay Cook
We live in a time where some women are intimidated by a woman who may look beautiful, have a great career, an amazing relationship, or all of the above. Instead of taking the time to learn from them we speak negatively against them, and fail to talk or seek to build positive relationships because we are too busy hating on other women and on their success. In the age of #BlackGirlMagic where many of us are winning in our respective industries, we should empower others and strive to leave a positive impact, and use our lives as platforms to inspire others.
See how Altrichia empowers women and helps women recognize and celebrate their inner and outer beauty.
Name: Altrichia Lekay Cook
Occupation(s): CEO & Founder of Allusions by A.Lekay Swimwear & motivational speaker
LinkedIn: Altrichia Cook
Altrichia is the owner behind a luxury swimwear line that features retro-inspired high-waisted bikinis so that women can look banging on the beach without feeling as if they need to compete with the gal next to her.
Wanting to cover up the abdominal imperfections that she personally received after the birth of her first child, Altrichia set out to create her swimwear line in 2013 for women with similar struggles. Since she couldn't find a swimsuit that would fit her needs and wants, she designed her own, and since then, this mom-turned-entrepreneur has made a name for herself and her brand.
One month before she graduated from high school, she found out she was pregnant, and she felt so scared. She grew up having parents as ministers and was really involved in school. She was captain of the cheer squad, homecoming queen, class president, so she was embarrassed when she got pregnant because she was like a role model to her peers.
Before she graduated, she was already accepted into Florida State University so she immediately started her college classes in June. Just a few months after that she gave birth to her son Anthony in December of 2005. At the early age of 17, she had to learn how to balance being a mother, student, and employee. She worked hard and graduated within four years, and then continued her education by obtaining a graduate degree from Florida A&M University. After college, she began work as a probation officer and had the same occupation even after she started her swimwear business.
During the beginning stages of her business, Altrichia had to make a lot of sacrifices and couldn’t go out all of the time or shop like most young women in their 20s.
For Altrichia, there were sleepless nights. There were times when she literally wouldn’t go to sleep. She would get home from work, make dinner, help her son with homework, prepare for the next day, respond to emails, package orders, and more. Altrichia's work ethic was on a special level - she was running a full-time legitimate business while working full-time. Yes, it was hectic but she made it happen. She was too focused and determined to do nothing but succeed.
Altrichia reveals: "Although a journey is never smooth sailing, you have to know that you are going to have bumps, dips, and detours along the way but it is up to you to make it to your destination. So with a good mindset and being among people that can lift you higher, you can definitely achieve success and thrive. You have to understand that success is not an overnight process. You have to grind, and make sacrifices."
[Tweet ""There will be bumps, dips, and detours along the way but it is up to you to make it to your destination." "]
The beginnings of the business
By utilizing social media as a millennial, Altrichia was able to find her niche and learned how to start a business. Her business idea stemmed from the reaction from a photo that she posted in March of 2013 wearing a high-waisted swimsuit on a trip with friends. Altrichia told me she was wearing the high-waisted swimsuit because she was uncomfortable from the abdominal imperfections–aka stretch marks–that she got from having her baby.
When Altrichia posted the photo, the reaction from women were insane - everyone just had to know what she was wearing and where it came from. The reaction that she got from the photo inspired her to turn her love for designing and fashion into a business.
Her big break
In just two short years after launching, Altrichia's swimwear line grew in popularity and her fearless attitude grew. Because of her own fearless personality and her sought-after swimwear, she was given the opportunity to style Nicki Minaj on the July 2015 cover of Cosmopolitan magazine. On this cover, Nicki Minaj wore a custom design by Altrichia herself and that magazine cover brought even more positive attention to her swimwear brand.
As an entrepreneur in the saturated field of fashion, you can probably imagine how hard it can be for a new designer to get celebrity clients like Nicki Minaj in their clothing. When asked about how she was awarded this amazing opportunity, Altrichia reveals, "I was invited to a conference in New York where I met the fashion editor of Cosmo! Of course, I was intentional and fearless and reached out to her. I simply followed up and she was responded with pieces she loved and requested! Like that, magic happened! She loved my pieces and believe in what my brand stands for as Cosmo is truly a #GirlBoss medium that empowers women! Many times designers and entrepreneurs are fearful in their quest to simply reach out or feel as though they shouldn't follow up. In the process, I have learned that 'pride' is the enemy of success. Pride will keep you from just going for it. I always look at it as, 'the worse they can say is no.' But I am always positive!"
[Tweet "Pride is the enemy of success. Pride will keep you from just going for it."]
What she thinks about female empowerment
People say it is lonely at the top, but Altrichia doesn't believe that. She believes that you can take people with you–people that have the same ambitions as you. As Altrichia told me, "You have to know that it is never a contest or competition. It is over 7 billion people in the world and only those who think scarcity think of competition. Why fight over crumbs when we can just go in the kitchen and cook something in a bigger pot? My brand is my brand so I’m never in competition with anyone. I am more focused on making myself better. What is meant for me will never pass me by so I am not worried about fighting over opportunities with others.”
As Altrichia told me, "We need more women that want to support other women. Through my brand, I really want to break the whole barrier of this “competing thing.” Sonia Jackson Miles, one of my mentors, has been so amazing and a very intricate part of my entrepreneur journey. She has a movement called the Sister Accord and it is all about spreading the love of sisters and uplifting others. Sonia believes that mean girls become mean women if there isn’t an intervention and that is so true. Instead of competing, let’s collaborate. I’m not in competition with you and will never be. I’m always trying to help people and connect people."
[Tweet "Don't compete - learn how to collaborate."]
How she picks her girl squad
Altrichia believes that as women, we don’t need to have the mindset of “you can’t sit with us.” We should have people in our lives that we can grow from. On the same note, Altrichia believes that it is very important to be mindful of the type of people that you surround yourself with. As she said, "Your circle of friends should depend on your preference and ambitions. For example, everyone I know is not going to be in my circle and that is okay because everyone doesn’t have the same mindset as me."
Mentors vs. friendtors
As Altrichia told me, "I have plenty of mentors, but I also have friendtors. I think it is important to have friendtors–those friends that have the same mindset as you and that uplift you. You have to understand that as a woman, no one will ever understand us like us. As women, we have menstrual cycles, some of us have children, and we typically go through the same things. So why not be there for your sister? One of my friendtors, Alicia Reese, was actually one of my customers and now we do a lot of business together. This is because we have been there to support each other and we celebrate each other successes. Even though we live in two different states, we still uplift each other and support each other in any way that we can. It is crazy how women can be so catty and don’t want to support one another."
[Tweet "We all should have "friendtors" is our lives to uplift us and take us higher."]
Tips for Self-Empowerment
In her interview, Altrichia told me, "While there are a lot of platforms like xoNecole and others, you have to have a higher level of self-encouragement and confidence. Because what happens after you read an inspiring article and it is all over? You have to find that motivation within and harness it.You have to be encouraged and learn how to encourage yourself. I also learned early on that you have to learn how to celebrate your own success and accomplishments. You can’t downsize what makes you great. By celebrating your accomplishments you will inspire others to do the same."
By learning how to empower ourselves and others, we can find the confidence and motivation that we need to be successful. There is opportunity available for anyone that is determined enough to hustle hard for it, so there is no point in wasting energy competing with others. Instead of competing with others, we should start collaborating with others, and joining forces to grow ourselves and accomplish our goals.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
The Fall Equinox begins on September 23, 2023, and it’s time to embrace abundance, gain clarity, and know that you are worthy of your desires. The Fall Equinox marks the beginning of fall and the end of summer and is a turning point of the year, where things settle in and come to fruition. The energy that fall brings is one of harvest, but it is also one of release, letting go, and finding your ground. Coming from a summer of intensity, drama in love, and overall moving through a space of deep spiritual growth- now that fall is here, we are ready to decompress, dream, and enjoy that which we have created for ourselves.
What Is the Energy of the Fall Equinox 2023?
The energy this fall is opening up new doors of abundance and is a time of reaping your rewards in life. Fall begins at the same time as Libra Season, and a lot of these blessings have to do with love and the relationship developments that will be taking place over the next few months. With a New Moon Solar Eclipse in Libra occurring a few weeks after fall begins on October 14th, something enchanting is happening in romance right now. The scales are coming into balance, new beginnings are occurring, and clarity prevails.
Relationships over the next few months are about focusing on the gifts and gratitude you find in them and accepting where things need to change as well.
By the time winter begins, most of the planets that are currently in retrograde will be direct, and this signifies the change of pace that fall is bringing. This fall highlights Eclipse Season overall, and the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Taurus on October 28th will be a time of creating boundaries, honoring your values and energy, and closing a chapter in your life that doesn’t align. Financial worlds are growing and finding new ground, but with Jupiter still in retrograde in Taurus until December 30th, patience is needed here.
Over the next few months, give yourself the space to gain some new perspectives, make room for love, and grow in abundance.
Your guidance this fall is to take those first steps toward the goals you have been pondering over this year. There is a Full Moon in your sign a week after fall begins, and you get the opportunity to enter this season with less baggage and more closure. You will possibly be starting a new position or working in a new field, and you need all the good energy to back you right now. Know that you can count on your skills and talents to move you further in life and that help will be there when you least expect it. This is a fall of abundance for you, Aries, claim it.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 29, Oct. 13, Nov. 13, Nov. 21
Patience, patience, patience, Taurus. You are creating something beautiful in the world right now, and the time it’s taken to get you here will all be worthwhile. Your guidance this fall is to nurture your world and your dreams and to bring more love and compassion to your life. You are preparing for a new reality but need some more time to dream it up and define that which you want for yourself and your future. The Full Lunar Eclipse happening this fall is occurring in your sign, and you are moving through some major closures in your life right now. This is a creative time for you, Taurus.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 28, Oct. 29, Nov. 6, Nov. 20
This fall is all about taking care of yourself and valuing your time and energy, Gemini. The way you see yourself and your life are coming up for review right now, and you are being urged to look at yourself in a better light. Your ruling planet, Mercury, goes retrograde for the last time this year on December 13th, just before fall ends, and this time is all about taking what you have learned and choosing better for yourself. You may be tested to be more confident or true to yourself right now and over the next few months, and it’s about owning your part in this life and standing up for what you want.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 21, Nov. 20, Dec. 12
This is an abundant fall for you, Cancer. You have worked diligently on claiming the opportunities and new doors that have been opening for you, and you are feeling free to be your successful self. You are encouraged in your independence right now, and you have proven to yourself just how talented you are and how much you have grown. No major aspects are happening in your sign this fall, giving you the space to breathe, create, and receive your rewards. Happiness fills your world, and even though you still feel like you are just getting started in a sense, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the gifts that are presenting themselves today.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 13, Oct. 15, Nov. 12, Nov. 13
This fall is a turning point for you in love, Leo. New developments are taking place in your relationships, and you are being received especially favorably. This is the time to open your heart to growth and new possibilities and to get creative with what you are looking for right now. The Last Quarter Moon happening in your sign on November 5th will be a turning point for you this fall. Your unique charm and charisma are enough, and you attract many to you through your natural energy and love for life. Your ship is coming in this fall, and your heart is fulfilled.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 1, Oct. 31, Nov. 5, Nov. 14
Virgo, this fall is a blessing for the heart space. You are feeling in tune emotionally, and there is positive energy coming your way and into your love life. You have spent a lot of this year healing, forgiving, and finding your voice, and over the next few months, you will be creating the spaces you have been looking to enter in your life. Venus enters your sign for a month on October 8th, and there are some pleasant surprises in store for you during this time. Fresh starts are coming in for you, and spiritually, you are awakening to the gifts within you and in your heart. Your beauty is showing, and love is coming in for you this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 25, Oct. 22, Nov. 5, Nov. 20
This fall is a new beginning for your financial world, Libra. Autumn begins the same day Libra Season does, and you have some extra motivation and energy within you right now. You are ready to put the action behind the intentions you have been setting for yourself financially, and this is a time of plans coming together and falling through to success. The more you stay focused and diligent, the more opportunities that can come for you right now. The first month of fall, the Sun is in your sign, and this is really the time to get things moving in your life, especially with a New Moon Eclipse in Libra on October 14th happening as well.
Your lucky days this fall are: Sep. 27, Oct. 14, Oct. 30, Nov. 20
It’s all about the vision for you right now, Scorpio. You are focused on the future, your path ahead, and manifesting your dreams, and there is something passionate about the next few months for you. You may be taking some risks this fall as you test the boundaries on how far you want to go with something and what worlds are opening up to you now. Mars is in your sign from October 12th until November 24th, and life is exciting for you right now. You have your eyes on the prize and are ready to move forward toward the things that are lighting you up right now.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 12, Oct. 13, Nov. 6, Nov. 13,
This fall is about taking a leap of faith, Sagittarius. Your guidance over the next few months is to do the things that you would do if you knew you would be supported in doing them. Less self-doubt is needed now, as you are walking on new ground. You are moving towards personal healing you have been wary of from the beginning, and you are ready to let go of some energy that has been holding you back. Trust that once you decide on something, the universe instantly begins to make it happen for you. Your season begins on November 22nd, and it’s time to put yourself first more. Have courage in yourself this fall.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 8, Nov. 22, Nov. 24, Dec. 12
This fall is all about clarity for you, Capricorn. You are a wise soul, and you are owning this energy about yourself right now. Over the next few months, you will be developing spiritually, helping those who need your sound advice, and evolving in life. You have found a new sense of enlightenment and are enjoying the clear perspective that has been gained. Mercury goes retrograde in your sign on December 13th, right before fall ends, and this is when you will be feeling more tested to take the lead in your life and use your voice. Overall, fall 2023 is your time to surrender to the good within you and in your life, Capricorn.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 10, Oct. 23, Nov. 4, Dec. 1
Things are moving fast for you this fall, Aquarius. This is a successful, harmonious, and passionate time for you, as many opportunities come your way at once. It will be hard to settle down with all the energy flowing through your life over the next few months, as you have so much to do and so many people to see. Overall, however, this is positive energy that you have been looking forward to in your life, and everything is coming together and moving forward where it was once stagnant. Fall is giving you the closure and the opportunity to reinvent yourself and start on new, solid ground in your life.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 30, Oct. 31, Nov. 20, Nov. 28
Your guidance for fall is to have balance in your life. There is a lot of new coming in for you, but you are also working on letting go of what has fallen. You have grown in many ways this year, and financially, you have seen growth as well but may be feeling the weight of responsibilities this has come with now. To move through this season with the most grace, give yourself more time to rest, to be, and allow things to fall into place on their own. Saturn has been retrograde in your sign since June and goes direct this fall on November 4th, Pisces. This is your opportunity to see things more clearly, protect your energy, and feel more in tune with your internal guidance system.
Your lucky days this fall are: Oct. 22, Nov. 4, Nov. 6, Dec. 12
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