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9 Boss Women & The Power Dresses That Make Them Feel Invincible

Inspiration

Power is defined as the ability to do something or act in a particular way, especially as a faculty or quality. It is further explained to be the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. Well, I believe we all create our unique definition of power within our own realms. The word itself holds so much weight and pressure - luckily, that's how diamonds are created.


Related: 5 Boss Women Redefine The Power Suit

No matter your field or area of expertise, you must be armoured with coverings that will keep you fly and liberated. For many powerful women, that armor is a power dress. As we continue to make remarkable strides in the workplace we are enabled to establish our authority in a professional environment traditionally dominated by men. As busy as our lives become, something happens when you slip on your favorite power dress. Time stands still and you feel like all is right in the world.

We found some badass women killing it in in their respective roles. They dished on how they define power, a defining moment of their career and how their favorite dress exudes power.

Stephanie Moss

Courtesy of Stephanie Moss

Attorney & Creator of Legally Brown and Co.

I am a powerful woman because I learned that I was larger than any negative emotion or experience. I harnessed the power within when I decided to stop obsessing over things out of my control and instead focus on areas in my life where I could be productive and make great things happen.

Unfavorable things happen to all of us but what matters most is the way that we respond and react to those things.

As an African-American woman in a career field that is dominated by white men, I have lost count of those moments. If I could choose the most monumental of those moments, it would be the day I decided to leave my first job as an attorney. I was underpaid from the start but I just assumed that this is something I had to go through in order to get to the next level. The women that looked like me who were similarly situated were underpaid too. I wanted to make it work so I worked hard for a year in hopes of being recognized for it. I waited to be "valued" but I quickly learned it would just be more of the same if I allowed that to be my story. Shortly after, I was offered a meager raise, [so] I quit!

It was the most scary yet empowering thing I've ever done.

I didn't know how it would pan out but I knew that it would. The obstacles I had overcome on my journey to becoming an attorney gave me the courage to believe in myself. I was literally forced to get my MIND right. The practice of positive thinking saved my life.

I always feel powerful in a dress that is conservative enough for work but feminine enough to make me feel good about what I'm wearing. Although the law is traditional, I love staying true my personal sense of style.

Bukky Ade

Courtesy of Bukky Ade

Photographer

Power is about mental strength for me. The mental resilience I've developed over the years when faced with adversity has made me powerful. I've learned to stride in life and bounce back when life throws me curveballs. So, if I continue to put forth positive changes in my life, I'll be a fierce, unstoppable woman full of power.

As someone who was born with a chronic illness, I exert power on a daily basis.

When in pain, the slightest tasks can become very difficult. So, the ability to self-assess if I can push through the day is vital. Anytime I accomplish a task despite my circumstance, I feel more empowered.

Specifically, I think about the moment I completed a half-marathon. This is something that empowers me every day. I prepared my body to be physically capable for the long distance, but it was my mental strength that got me through those 13.1 miles. I know if I can do that, I can do anything I put my mind to.

Brandice Daniel

Courtesy of Brandice Daniel

CEO & Founder of Harlem's Fashion Row

Being a woman of faith makes me a powerful woman. Power comes from exercising your faith and risking your ego to do so.

There are so many moments when I've been forced to embrace my power. Starting Harlem's Fashion Row from scratch made me embrace my power because I never felt quite "qualified enough" to start it, but it was on my heart to do. Writing my book, Sponsored: How to Get Brands to Sponsor Your Next Event, made me embrace my power. I had to decide that I would take the process of writing a book and publishing it into my own hands.

Embracing your power always means that you're willing to overcome the fear that tries to hold us back.

This dress by Kimberly Goldson, that I absolutely love, makes me feel invincible.

Altremese Banks

Courtesy of Altremese Banks

Creative Consultant

I embody the strength of my ancestors who were brought to this country on slave ships.

Those who undoubtedly overcame the adversities of shackles and oppression, so now that I have the opportunity to assist in the progression of black people.

I'm powerful, because I'm a black woman. It's genetics.

Embracing my natural hair texture was an extremely powerful moment for me. I have worn hair weaves since the age of 13, because I didn't believe I was beautiful with my natural hair. I decided to let go of those insecurities, and go natural. I'm more confident than ever. I feel more beautiful everyday. Black hair is magical – it defies gravity.

Embracing that power has enhanced my self-esteem.

I think my power dress captures my femininity in a sexy, but elegant way. I think a women owning her sexuality is powerful, especially in the era of the "me too" movement.

Ashley Noelle

Courtesy of Ashley Noelle

WCCB-TV Sports Anchor/Reporter

My confidence makes me powerful. In today's world, it's still a man's world, so women have to make our presence known. In my field of being a sports TV broadcaster, you have to have confidence and demand respect while keeping your strength. Of course, it's not easy being strong but you have to find your inner strength to get you through.

My strength isn't loud but it's gentle and humble.

I let it be known I am a team player and kind, but you won't walk over me either. I believe that's what allows me to take and welcome criticism along with asking for help when I need it. Being in an all-male locker room for the NFL and NBA, I've encountered many males question my knowledge of the game. I've had an athlete tell me that they wouldn't take my question as serious as a guy asking the question. Later, I pulled that specific guy to the side and proved to him I know the game and told him I should be respected just as any other male in the locker room. From there on, I never had a problem.

That situation taught me to always be confident in my questions, my demeanor and never second-guess myself because I am not a "male."

I don't wear dresses that much but when I do they make me feel liberated.

Tiffany Nichole

Courtesy of Tiffany Nichole

Lifestyle Vlogger

I'm a powerful women because I've realized that my power doesn't come from outside of me. My power doesn't lie in anything that can be taken away from me (money, status, people, etc). My power is always with me wherever I go and no matter what's going on around me. It comes from within.

The moment that forced me to embrace my power came after years of ignoring a call from God.

I was in pursuit of becoming a fully functioning bridal gown designer and I knew I was no longer happy with it. But I'd been pursuing it so hard and had never considered doing anything else. So I ignored that feeling and kept pursuing it. Long story short, I went into a deep depression because I was pursuing this thing that was no longer bringing me joy, I was broke and I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually drained. All along, I'd been having an urge to write a blog and start a personal Instagram page to have a place to express my thoughts and feelings during this time, but I kept telling myself I had no time because I had to build this business to be able to make money. Finally, one day, as I'd started to accept the fact that designing wedding gowns was no longer for me, I was laying on the couch falling deeper and deeper into my depression, when it hit me!

Me and my excuses were the only things standing in the way of me writing that blog and starting my page, and it was the outlet that I needed in that moment.

So I got right up, did my makeup, took my first "portraits" using my iPhone 7+ and a ring light, and began building my page. Starting that page and writing my blogs have led me to realize my calling, and it's to inspire and encourage women to live their lives at 100% capacity! If I had not found my power in that moment and acknowledged it, I'd still be laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself. The power is always in us! We just have to embrace it!

Elizabeth Smith

Courtesy of Elizabeth Smith

Entercom Producer at V103 Atlanta

What makes me a powerful woman is my drive and observant ways. When I want something in life, I go after it no matter what obstacles are present. I will stop at nothing to achieve a goal of mine and give it my all until it is fulfilled. I always observe and study my surroundings and associates just enough to know when and how to move. I learn how to execute my task to the best of my ability and when the opportunity presents itself, I take full advantage and make it my own. I'm basically like a silent assassin! You never see me coming until it's too late, and I allow my work to speak for itself.

I had to embrace my power when I was overlooked and stereotyped at work.

I was the new and young employee with little experience at a major market. I didn't know anyone in the industry or anything about the city and culture of Atlanta. Everyone thought I was quiet and timid but little did they know, I was silently studying and observing my surroundings. I took notes physically and mentally to help prepare me for my next job position. I networked with everyone who passed the halls at my job. I practiced and I studied day in and day out until I felt one hundred percent comfort.

When it was time for me to show what I learned, I shocked everyone and in return received numerous opportunities to do exactly what I've dreamed of and loved. I was no longer the new, timid millennial and it felt great being recognized for my skills and contributions to the company.

I'm not much of a dress wearing gal. You'll honestly catch me in pants and sneakers the majority of the time. However, I love this picture because I'm still dressed up but I'm still the down to earth, homegirl Liz that those close to me know and love.

Ashley Janelle

Courtesy of Ashley Janelle

User Experience Designer

What makes me a powerful woman is being a black woman in the male-dominated tech industry.

The moment that forced me to embrace my power was when I took a job that consisted of majority male employees. I had to constantly remind myself that I belonged in that role just as much as everyone else, even while being talked over, and my ideas being thrown out.

Knowing that my perspective might not have been respected but was most definitely needed is what got me through the tough days.

Cynthia Anunobi

Courtesy of Cynthia Anunobi

Internal Medicine Resident

I'm female. I'm African American. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm an educator. I'm a Doctor. Each of these titles, in its own way, has contributed to the person I am today. My power lies in the responsibility that comes with the titles.

These titles could have stifled and hindered me in many ways but instead they transformed me into a strong, confident, independent woman which is necessary especially working in a field where I am continuously doubted by others and my successes are under appreciated.

I still I keep going – not only for me, but to pave the road for others.

I realized early in my career that as an African American woman in medicine, I was representing ALL African American women. On many occasions, at conferences and symposiums, I am one of the few minorities in the room. With heavy eyes on me, I feel obligated to exude a strong, confident face despite sometimes feeling less than such. On one particular instance, I was at a conference to present my research on a new protocol for thrombolytic management for pulmonary embolism and post-procedural surveillance at my hospital. I was already anxious about presenting that afternoon and a gentleman walked up and asked if I was staff working at the hotel.

When I said no, he concluded I was the spouse of one of the presenters. Initially I was annoyed but hey, I am mistaken for a cleaning lady or nurse daily. Anyways, you can only imagine the look on his face that afternoon when I was called up to the stage to share my research. After an astounding applause, he walked up to me after the presentation, shook my hand and apologized for the "misunderstanding". He proceeded to hand me his card in case I was interested in pursuing a fellowship at his institution—I guess he was impressed!

I believe that what you wear plays a role in how you feel as well as how you are perceived by others. There is an indisputable confidence that exudes when I wear a sleek, yet commanding dress. It allows me to feel feminine and also allows me to be a boss. Paired with the right heels and accessories, I feel like I can conquer the world.

Featured image by Getty Images

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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