To hear in 2021, a time where existence has been going on for millions of years, that someone is the first Black anything, is almost mind-blowing, but it definitely is still something that happens. And frequently, actually. Thankfully, this label has re-emerged with one of our dear faves, a woman way beyond her time who is everything we love to see in a modern woman, Ms. Teyana TF Taylor.
That's right, she has been named as Maxim's 'Sexiest Woman Alive' in their 2021 Women of Influence issue. The publication took to social media to share the news, showing off Teyana Taylor's infamously insane physique and chiseled facial expressions and abs in tow. Additionally, the cover is accompanied by a full interview with Teyana, as the muse took a moment to marvel at her own damn self and share the backstory of how the organic cover happened. She wrote on IG:
"Somebody pinch me!!!! Maxim Hot 100 to be named the 'Sexiest Woman alive' by literally living in the skin I'm in. WOW....Stepping back in front of the lens has been a journey of self-reflection and self-confidence. Living up to name and title of this shoot wholeheartedly made me nervous."
"This particular day was dope because it made me see another side of myself. I had just dropped JUNIE off at school before heading straight to the shoot; sweatpants a beanie and an army jacket. My hair wasn't done for a "shoot" because I planned on throwing on a wig & I didn't have on any make up. But when I got there the legendary @Gilles_bensimon said and I quote…. "Let's shoot! I want you to stay in this…" Um I guess...." as confused as I was my heart also melted..."
Taylor then goes on to give advice to the ladies in the most 'Teyana Taylor way', by quoting Hepburn and simply saying:
"Embrace and love yourselves for who and what you are because only the purest heart shines through."
And what's amazing about her latest job title isn't that she was named as such, because I mean, look at her. But instead, the celebration for me is that this news is released during a time where she has felt so underappreciated in an industry she has given so much to. Taylor infamously retired from music at the end of 2020, announcing that she was over it all. She then backed up her decision on an episode of Cam Newton's BET series Sip 'N Smoke, telling him:
"Everybody that I'm aligned with should see me. They should hear me. They should feel me. I felt like the label wasn't really hearing me and seeing me. I felt underappreciated. So, for my mental health, my mental well-being, for my kids, let me just put this on ice for a little [bit]. It's not that I retired permanently. It's more like, I just don't feel like I want to move another inch for a company."
Thankfully, sis isn't going anywhere anytime soon and even touches on a few of her upcoming projects, including the viral exchange between her and Auntie Dionne Warwick about her biopic. She also discusses her role in Coming 2 America, her director alter ego, Spike Tey, and showing off her family life in an upcoming E! reality television show premiering this fall called, We Got Love Teyana & Iman.
We can't think of anyone more deserving of the flowers coming her way so to this cover, we say 'thank you' to Maxim for telling the world what so many of us already knew. Congrats, Teyana!
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Featured image via Rich Fury/Getty Images for Def Jam Recordings
- Boss Up Lessons From Teyana Taylor's Career Success - xoNecole: Lifestyle, Culture, Love, & Wellness ›
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After college, I successfully landed an entertainment news role. I was passionate about my work and grateful for obtaining a job in my desired field. But like most entry-level positions in the creative industry, the pay was left to be desired. I quickly realized that I needed a second job to pay my bills.
Multiple career fairs later, I started a position with an insurance company.
My new role felt like my first “big girl” job because it had full benefits, and I couldn’t have been more excited. Plus, I could work this job during the day and my other gig at night. I excelled in my new role – exceeded the required enterprise accuracy score, received several cash awards, and was consistently selected to train my team members on different learning variances.
Everything was great initially, but unfortunately, the job that guaranteed financial stability became a nightmare after a while.
The first red flag was that this insurance company had an extremely high turnover rate primarily due to the relentless workload; therefore, teams were forced to consolidate and change leadership constantly. I was quickly burning out but overlooked the deteriorating company culture because it allowed me to keep my journalism gig and offered endless overtime. Also, the manager I had at the time was great – he provided opportunities for growth and mentorship.
It wasn’t until I reached my fourth manager that I had my first experience with a hostile work environment.
After several months on her team, my manager started the process of “quietly firing” me despite excelling on the team.
Team Building refers to quiet firing as a “passive-aggressive approach to performance management.” Supervisors will create unpleasant work conditions, which can cause an employee to suffer mentally, emotionally, and sometimes physically.
She stopped providing feedback, blocked promotional opportunities, and eventually denied my yearly raise. I felt hopeless. I couldn’t properly do my role some days because my manager spent most of her office hours avoiding her team. All issues on the team were ignored, and any work-related questions went unanswered.
Whenever I walked into the office, it felt like a dark cloud was cast over me because most of my day would consist of doing others’ jobs or explaining to other managers why I was reaching out to them instead of my own. It wasn’t until I worked myself nearly to death that I realized this job wasn’t worth it.
My health declined rapidly. I started to experience excruciating body aches and fatigue, and my hair was falling out. Clocking into a job where I was just a number, and work still had to be completed despite my failing health was exhausting. I ignored constant pleas from friends and family members to get help out of fear of being unable to pay my bills.
The last time I was admitted to the hospital, my manager called me, and instead of asking how I was, she asked when I was returning to work. The team’s numbers decreased drastically, and upper management wasn’t happy. My manager couldn't care less if I was okay as long as I made her look good. I’m not sure why it seemed like a shocking revelation at the time, but it did. The next time I went into the office, I resigned.
After a few years of forcing a working relationship that wasn’t meant to be, I finally left.
And in all my years of working, that job was the only one I ever walked away from. Although the toxic environment influenced my decision, something about quitting made me feel like a failure. Truthfully, I felt guilty for quitting at first. I believed it was irresponsible to quit without a backup plan. However, I later learned that my manager's hostile tactics, which I loathed, ended up being a blessing.
The entire experience made me realize that God had repeatedly shown me to leave that toxic job, but I was too afraid. It wasn’t until He made me sit still that I learned that this door was meant to close. Strangely, I’m happy my manager acted the way she did because I would’ve never had the courage to leave since that job equaled stability; I was complacent because I could pay my bills.
And that’s the life of so many currently – staying in an uncomfortable position because it offers stability.
That job also taught me the importance of pivoting. It doesn’t matter what your plan or backup plan is; you must be able to pivot at any time – be flexible and adaptable. The last lesson it taught me was never to settle for a job regardless of pay. I am no longer afraid to turn down a job if it’s not a good fit.
My physical and mental health is far more important than a job that can easily replace me at any moment.
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Feature image by FG Trade/ Getty Images