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The 34-Year-Old Social Media Influencer Who Embraces Her Sexuality While Saving Smart

xoNecole spoke with Tere Tatiana about her journey to financial stability as a smart, sexy entrepreneur.

Money Talks

Money Talks is an xoNecole series where we talk candidly to real women about how they spend money, their relationship with money, and how they spend it.

Though social media only sees a sexy influencer when you come across her Instagram page, Tere Tatiana is the definition of beauty and brains, and proof that being sexy and smart can coexist in today's digital world. Born Tereion Tatiana Henry, the self-proclaimed "cornbread-fed Georgia peach" graduated summa cum laude from Claflin University with a degree in Public Relations. In 2009, admittedly thrusted herself into the balancing act of being a single mother and preparing for deployment to Afghanistan as a government contractor.

Her four businesses––Labeled Blu Collections, Labeled Blu Realty, Labeled Blu Transportation, Southern Hospitality Adult Daycare Facility––are a product of her ambition and determination to fulfill her purpose to break the stigma against women in today's society. Though she has not personally experienced it, she recognizes the struggles of social media influencers who embrace their sexuality while being respected as businesswomen and entrepreneurs. Tere told xoNecole that the only negative experience she encounters is upon first impression when people believe her brand is shallow and solely based upon the glitz and glam of the influencer lifestyle. "Once they get to know me or see the informative business information I share with my followers, they message me apologizing for misjudging me and some even want me to mentor them. It's always gratifying when I can change a person's perspective of attractive women in business," she shared.

Courtesy of Tere Tatiana

"I feel society can do more by not shaming women for being human. Being sexy or having sex period shouldn't even be a topic of discussion when involving business. There are so many women who are smart, ambitious, tenacious, and driven, but just so happen to be sexy. Society should celebrate that."

"To me, it's very important for women to capitalize on their own intellectual, their own education, and experience, their own swag. It also gives her a sense of ownership and accomplishment by seeing her baby through," she said referring to a woman's business, brand, or project.

In this installment of "Money Talks", xoNecole spoke with the 34-year-old serial entrepreneur and social media influencer about turning your influence into wealth, increasing your income during the COVID-19 pandemic and her journey to financial stability as a smart, sexy entrepreneur.

On how much she saves and if it’s in a high-yield savings account:

"With my current budget, I have a set $2,000 monthly savings requirement for myself. It's been working pretty good so far. It's in a high-yield savings account."

On her definitions of wealth and success:

"To me, wealth refers to a person's monetary value perceived by others, while having success is how a person perceives themselves. Having self-fulfillment that doesn't necessarily relate to finance."

Courtesy of Tere Tatiana

On the lowest she’s ever felt when it came to her finances and how she overcame it:

"The lowest I've ever felt was when my ex-husband, who is an officer in the military, and I didn't have $13 between the two of us to get our daughter a can of milk in 2009. Yes, we both came from very supportive families but it was the principle for me. It really triggered my mentality towards being financially secure. In my mind, it pushed me into leaving my daughter at four-months-old to go to Afghanistan to make fast money. I vowed I'd never have that feeling again. And thank God, I haven't.

"I channeled that negative feeling of not being able to provide for my child into building a legacy I can one day be able to pass along to her. I have pursued and secured several very lucrative streams of income, that way I'd have a better chance of maintaining financially if anything were to ever happen economically."

On her biggest splurge to date:

"My biggest splurge would be my 2020 Maserati truck. It has always been my dream car and I felt as though I've worked hard enough for long enough to treat myself to something nice."

Courtesy of Tere Tatiana

"I channeled that negative feeling of not being able to provide for my child into building a legacy I can one day be able to pass along to her. I have pursued and secured several very lucrative streams of income, that way I'd have a better chance of maintaining financially if anything were to ever happen economically."

On whether she’s a spender or a saver:

"I am a woman (laughs) so I would consider myself a spender by nature. I had to train myself to become more disciplined, which was extremely hard. Honestly, I could probably do better."

On the importance of investing:

"It's very necessary to invest. My motto in business and life in general: Everything is a flow. Nothing can come in if nothing comes out! You have to sow seeds. If for nothing else, making residual income. A lot of millionaires become millionaires or multi-millionaires from making residual income. I've invested hundreds of thousands in different business ventures, as well as into myself and my brand. I also invest in stock, I purchased some Facebook stock when they first went public, as well as Bitcoin."

Courtesy of Tere Tatiana

"Everything is a flow. Nothing can come in if nothing comes out! You have to sow seeds. If for nothing else, making residual income. A lot of millionaires become millionaires or multi-millionaires from making residual income. I've invested hundreds of thousands in different business ventures, as well as into myself and my brand."

On her savings goals and what retirement looks like to her:

"I would like to become even more financially literate in moving and saving money. At this point in my life, it's hard for me to fathom retirement. I feel as though I'm one of those people who always have to have their hands into something."

On her budgeting must-haves:

"My budget must-haves would be cosmetics (hair, makeup, nails), tuitions, paying myself first, and food! (laughs) I'm definitely a foodie."

On her intentions behind multiple streams of revenue:

"My streams of revenue are from my trucking, real estate, and adult daycare facility. I also still make over six figures yearly with my job as a government contractor. I'm also in the works of developing a virtual trucking course for those looking to get into the trucking industry.

"Having multiple streams of income is very necessary! In today's unstable economy, entrepreneurs must remain fluid in order to survive. Plus, it's common knowledge that most millionaires have at least seven streams of income."

Courtesy of Tere Tatiana

"Having multiple streams of income is very necessary! In today's unstable economy, entrepreneurs must remain fluid in order to survive. Plus, it's common knowledge that most millionaires have at least seven streams of income."

On unhealthy money habits and mindsets:

"I had a really big problem with having the attitude of 'I'll make it right back!'. I'm so accustomed to making and being around fast money. Even as a child, my mother was a popular hairdresser from my hometown, so I've seen fast money my entire life. I [overcame it when] I saw [that] I got more accomplished. I actually began to 'see' my money and how it was working for me. I became more financially stable. I was even able to show others how to adopt the same mindset."

On her money mantra:

"I actually have two: 1) 'I am unapologetic about my desire to live a rich life', and 2) 'Money flows to me with ease and grace'."

On the craziest thing she’s ever done for money:

"(Laughs) Looking back at it, I wouldn't necessarily consider it desperate, although I felt like it was at the time, but I was an exotic dancer in college. I wasn't desperate but I've definitely always had money on my mind. I've always wanted to be independent. My intentions were definitely in a good place, just misguided."

On the worst money-related decision she’s ever made:

"I would have to say going into my adult daycare business without a direct plan. It started as a group home, then evolved into a residential, then finally an adult daycare over the course of four years. Although this is a very lucrative industry, the investment and overhead was a bit of a blow to my financial plan––I would do more research next time."

On her budget breakdown:

How much do you spend on rent? $2,500

Eating out/ordering in? $1,000

Gas/car note? $2,000

Personal expenses? $6,000

For more Tere, follow her on Instagram.

Featured image courtesy of Tere Tatiana.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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