Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Michelle Obama Has A Word For Women Struggling With Self-Doubt

Our Forever First Lady had a word that will help you leave self-doubt where it met you and kick your hustle into overdrive.

Celebrity News

If you or someone you know is allowing self-doubt to stifle their success, Michelle Obama is here to remind you that issa lie. I don't know who needs to hear this, but all of the ugly, non-productive, invalidating self-talk that happens internally is false as f*ck and in actuality, you are the only one who is stopping you from walking in your greatness. OK, I lied. I know exactly who needs to hear this––it's me.

As a self-proclaimed goal junkie, I constantly struggle with proving my worth without realizing that I'm a whole prize in these streets and in 2020, I've decided that enough is enough. If you, too, battle with chronic imposter syndrome and are looking to level up your mentality, our good sis and Forever First Lady had a word that will help you leave self-doubt where it met you and kick your hustle into overdrive. As a speaker on the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific panel in Kuala Lumpur last month, Michelle, who has struggled with imposter syndrome herself, broke down how the cycle actually starts:

"Because you've been told that you're not good enough, when you're in a room, you're wondering, 'Well, how did I get here if I've been told I'm not good enough?' Women feel it oftentimes because society says you shouldn't be doing that. Right? So you feel like an imposter in your own life. You feel like, especially if you've achieved success or you're in rooms that you're not supposed to be in because society has told you that, you think maybe somebody's going to discover that I shouldn't be here."

While this feeling of inferiority and not belonging may be uncomfortable (and untrue), Michelle assured us that it is not uncommon.

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

"Imposter syndrome is, it's a thing in your head. And you know, it's just like self-confidence is just like any internal characteristic. Much of it is what you practice telling yourself. If you've heard that you're not good enough, that's what you're practicing. I'm just here to tell you it is not true. You wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be doing what you're doing if you didn't belong here."

Somewhere between childhood and becoming adults, we forgot that we can do whatever TF we want with our lives. After years of being told that our ambitions are too ambitious, we begin to believe it ourselves, but Michelle Obama needs you to know that buying into that bullsh*t will never pay off. She explained:

"I'm 55 now and I've seen it. I've been waiting to be as bad as people told me I would be. I've been waiting to fall and mess up and fail. I've been waiting because that's what they said. I didn't belong at Princeton. Right. I applied to Princeton University. My college counselor said, you, you know, that school's too much for you. Well, I applied. Anyway, I got in. I was waiting for it to be hard and for everybody else to be so much smarter. They weren't, they weren't."

While imposter syndrome may have a grip on your mind, Michelle needs you to know that it's time to release that demon and put your foot on they neck, sis.

"You're needed at those tables. So you can't sit there wondering whether you belong because you'll waste your time in those seats and you'll hold your voice back and you won't be able to make change because you're waiting for somebody to tell you that you belong. I'm telling you, you belong. Practice a different set of messages."

Featured image by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

Before she was Amira Unplugged, rapper, singer, and a Becoming a Popstar contestant on MTV, she was Amira Daughtery, a twenty-five year-old Georgian, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer. “I thought my career path was going to lead me to law because that’s the way I thought I would help people,” Amira tells xoNecole. “[But] I always came back to music.”

A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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