It was 2007. Nina Parker—depressed and tired of answering phones as a call center agent for Verizon Wireless—cashed in her two weeks worth of vacation the following day, and drove to Los Angeles from Sacramento with a few thousand dollars in the bank and no place to live.
At 27 years old, she was starting over.
“My mom was like, 'You know you don't have to do this. You're in your 20s. You have a degree'," Parker says. “I wasn't married nor had kids. She was like, 'I don't understand why you're suffering everyday.'"
It's not that she was completely unsure of her passion in life. She grew up turning cardboard moving boxes into television sets, interviewing fellow classmates about their thoughts on drugs, and gaining valuable experience as an intern at a local news station. The San Francisco State graduate even had a job offer right out of college at NBC in Las Vegas, but turned it down in hopes of snagging a coveted gig as a MTV VJ. She packed her bags for New York City but quickly learned that a degree isn't a guarantee for immediate success.
Photo Credit: Nina Parker
“I was fresh out of college, arrogant, and they were like, 'Girl, you don't have any experience to do anything like that'," Parker says. It's hard to believe that the Access Hollywood contributor who got her big break as one of TMZ's first on-camera talent once struggled to find a job and shied away from the camera.
Parker arrived in L.A. with a dollar and a dream and was working as a temp in television when she got word that a new celebrity gossip site was hiring. Without hesitation, she submitted her resume despite her lack of experience working in entertainment news, and was offered a position as a runner. At the same time she was also up for a full-time opportunity with Paramount, who she had been temping for, but despite the pay being more, she chose the position that appeared to be less logical.
"I had to go where I felt I was going to be the most true to myself."
“At the time it was half of the money that I was making being in a corporate job, and I was like I want to do this because it spoke to my spirit to be there. I had to go where I felt I was going to be the most true to myself. I had decided when I moved to L.A. that I wasn't going to let money be a deciding factor for anything. I was okay with struggling for the short term to get a long-term goal that I knew would pay off later," says Parker.
A couple of weeks into her new gig, Parker was fired. “I was a horrible runner," she says. “I was really late with tapes and I didn't know most things Angelenos knew so I was really slow. Harvey [Levin] basically fired me and said that I didn't know where I was going, so I went to the bathroom and I cried."
Her instinct—and her ego—told her not to give up. After apologizing to the managing editor and expressing interest in writing and producing, she was brought back on as the writing PA, and within four months was promoted to producer. But it didn't come without its sacrifices. Working in a start-up entertainment company meant 12-hour workdays, including weekends and holidays.
“I didn't have a line for how hard I was willing to work," says Parker. “Sometimes people turn that switch off like I only want to work 40 hours a week, and to me if you're chasing a dream, you're always working on your craft. If you're not at a job all day, you should do something that day that benefits your craft. If you can outwork people, you're already winning because there are a lot of people who are really smart that aren't where they're supposed to be because they refuse to put in the work, and it's not going to be 40 hours a week."
While she excelled in her new position, Levin had another plan for the humorous and outspoken Parker, and found her to be a perfect candidate for the TMZ pilot show that they were shooting. But Parker, still battling with the insecurities of her 70-pound weight gain during her time in Sacramento, politely declined.
“I was very insecure, and basically you have this little Jewish man giving me this Black power speech where he's like, 'You have a voice, there's other black women that need to hear you, I think you can relate in a way that people understand. You're not afraid of me. You like to debate, and we need you on the show so I'm not really asking you that was just a courtesy, you're doing it.'"
Photo Credit: Nina Parker
As Levin predicted, Parker was a star in her own right, breaking stories and being a part of a new wave of reporting where people no longer relied on traditional television for their entertainment news—even if it meant spending 12-hour days outside of courthouses and hospitals hoping to be the first to catch a celebrity-sighting.
“I had gone from having to clock in and out to use the bathroom to being able to be free and do something that was entertainment," Parker says. “I'm bringing back this tape that's being watched by millions of people, so it was enough to motivate me to stay on that path. It was a crazy job to be coming out of Verizon Wireless, but it was refreshing to me after feeling like I wasn't in my purpose to now feeling like I wasn't doing what I wanted to do 100% but I knew I was on the path."
The Glow Up
Before hitting the set of Access Hollywood, Parker takes a few minutes to get her hair and makeup touched up, but she remembers when just a few years ago she couldn't afford to even get a touch up because her hustle was more important than her hair.
“Oh I died, I died!" she says with a laugh, sharing that she often sacrificed being social while living paycheck to paycheck. “It was hard. I had moments where I was at a check-cashing store."
Having a minimal budget meant that she had to get creative, such as hosting game nights with friends in lieu of going out, and finding side hustles to help make ends meet. “Ultimately I started getting involved in other projects and so it was like now I have multiple streams of income, so gradually it just got better and better. The buildings went from a bad neighborhood to a gated community. It definitely changed, but I had to be patient."
Parker's patience paid off as she began to build notoriety as a face of TMZ. But after five years, it was time for a change. She left the show in May 2011 without a job or an agent, but she did have valuable relationships that she had cultivated over the years. After taking time off for the summer she reached out to a Vice President at CBS through social media, who informed her that The Insider was looking for an Internet reporter. By the fall, she had secured a new contract.
"If you're good to people and they see you working hard, they give you opportunities that not everybody would have."
“This is why you have to network because in the real world you can't just hit up the VP of a network. If you're good to people and they see you working hard, they give you opportunities that not everybody would have."
While the position required Parker to be the face of their website, Parker made it her mission to also be involved in the television meetings, where her unique perspective as a woman of color caught the attention of the higher ups, who began booking her for shorter segments before offering her a television correspondent contract just a few months into working with the show.
“Sometimes you have to go in a place and if it's not necessarily the job that you want initially, you have to create it. You have to meet with the people inside and get them to respect you with your opinion and your work and you're able to translate that into something that pays off in the long run."
Photo Credit: Nina Parker
After a couple of years she left The Insider and went on to host the Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta reunion as well as begin contributing to Access Hollywood Live. But more visibility also meant more criticism. “They're like who is this girl think she is as if being curvy eliminates me from having an opinion? As if a gap in my teeth means I'm less intelligent. As if because I don't have makeup on means I can't be passionate about my people."
It forced the woman who was once too shy to be in front the camera to turn her insecurities into empowerment. “I was like I don't care what this person says. I'm going to be on your TV and I'm going to tell you how I feel," she says. “You can say whatever you want, but every time you turn on the TV at this time you're going to see my face and you're going to hear my take. I can't imagine allowing the opinions of people I don't even know to affect my day to where I can't function properly. I wish I would let a stranger have that much power over me to determine my success. You're going to watch me get all of these checks."
"I can't imagine allowing the opinions of people I don't even know to affect my day to where I can't function properly."
Standing her ground and being a voice in an industry where women of color are few has given Parker a new purpose.
“I didn't have a lot of black women in this industry, as far as television news, that I could look up to and be like I want to do that. So, for me, it was important to be like, 'We don't have to get on TV and agree with everybody else. We don't have to agree with mainstream media, we don't have to placate anybody.' You can come and say what you have to say if you have a strong opinion and not offend anybody and give them a different point of view to look at. My experience, that's all I can speak about. I can't speak about a white experience. I had people in the community tell me how proud they were that I held my own."
Staying true to who she is and her vision has opened doors in ways she only once dreamed about. This year, you can catch Nina as a guest host on E!'s The Daily Pop and covering red carpets at The SAG Awards, Grammy's and more.
For someone who pressed the reset button on her career at a time when many are just settling into their positions, Parker is proof that there is no age limit to finding and walking in your purpose.
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.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy