Zendaya Maree Stoermer Coleman
First of her name
Slayer of Red Carpets
Empress of Emmys
Queen of Euphoria
This woman is an icon living. From the moment we met her in 2010 as a groundbreaking Disney star, we knew it was just the beginning. Her beauty has always been rooted in authenticity and joy which is one of the many reasons we stan. Whether it's shutting down fashion weeks around the globe, dominating the big screen, dancing to the beat of her own drum, calling out anti-blackness, or paying homage to bold, Black women, Zendaya consistently shows up.
Back in 2016, the Malcolm & Marie star told New You, "It's important to find out who you are and love who you are. No matter what you're dealing with, it's so much harder and more draining and so much more exhausting to be constantly pretending to be something that you're not." As if we needed more reason to root for Zendaya, her evolution empowers us every day.
"The evolution of loving yourself and becoming comfortable within yourself takes time and it's a process. It does not happen overnight. You have to work at it. And nobody has it. Even the people that you think have it, don't necessarily have it." - Zendaya, Popsugar in September 2018
Fun fact: the multi-hyphenate baddie's name derives from the Shona name Tendai, meaning "to give thanks." And we want to take this time to give thanks for the opportunity to experience Zendaya's beauty and light. Take a look at 20+ times the Oakland native's beauty reigned like no other.
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We can't wait to see what's next for Zendaya!
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- Zendaya at the 2018 Met Gala - xoNecole: Women's Interest, Love ... ›
- Zendaya On Her Anxiety & Mental Health - xoNecole: Women's ... ›
Joce Blake is a womanist who loves fashion, Beyonce and Hot Cheetos. The sophistiratchet enthusiast is based in Brooklyn, NY but has southern belle roots as she was born and raised in Memphis, TN. Keep up with her on Instagram @joce_blake and on Twitter @SaraJessicaBee.
Exclusive: Gabrielle Union On Radical Transparency, Being Diagnosed With Perimenopause And Embracing What’s Next
Whenever Gabrielle Union graces the movie screen, she immediately commands attention. From her unforgettable scenes in films like Bring It On and Two Can Play That Game to her most recent film, in which she stars and produces Netflix’s The Perfect Find, there’s no denying that she is that girl.
Off-screen, she uses that power for good by sharing her trials and tribulations with other women in hopes of helping those who may be going through the same things or preventing them from experiencing them altogether. Recently, the Flawless by Gabrielle Union founder partnered with Clearblue to speak at the launch of their Menopause Stage Indicator, where she also shared her experience with being perimenopausal.
In a xoNecoleexclusive, the iconic actress opens up about embracing this season of her life, new projects, and overall being a “bad motherfucker.” Gabrielle reveals that she was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with perimenopause and is still going through it at 51 years old. Mayo Clinic says perimenopause “refers to the time during which your body makes the natural transition to menopause, marking the end of the reproductive years.”
“I haven't crossed over the next phase just yet, but I think part of it is when you hear any form of menopause, you automatically think of your mother or grandmother. It feels like an old-person thing, but for me, I was 37 and like not understanding what that really meant for me. And I don't think we focus so much on the word menopause without understanding that perimenopause is just the time before menopause,” she tells us.
Photo by Brian Thomas
"But you can experience a lot of the same things during that period that people talk about, that they experienced during menopause. So you could get a hot flash, you could get the weight gain, the hair loss, depression, anxiety, like all of it, mental health challenges, all of that can come, you know, at any stage of the menopausal journey and like for me, I've been in perimenopause like 13, 14 years. When you know, most doctors are like, ‘Oh, but it's usually about ten years, and I'm like, ‘Uhh, I’m still going (laughs).’”
Conversations about perimenopause, fibroids, and all the things that are associated with women’s bodies have often been considered taboo and thus not discussed publicly. However, times are changing, and thanks to the Gabrielle’s and the Tia Mowry’s, more women are having an authentic discourse about women’s health. These open discussions lead to the creation of more safe spaces and support for one another.
“I want to be in community with folks. I don't ever want to feel like I'm on an island about anything. So, if I can help create community where we are lacking, I want to be a part of that,” she says. “So, it's like there's no harm in talking about it. You know what I mean? Like, I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change. I'm just getting better and stronger and more intelligent, more wise, more patient, more compassionate, more empathetic. All of that is very, very welcomed, and none of it should be scary.”
The Being Mary Jane star hasn’t been shy about her stance on therapy. If you don’t know, here’s a hint: she’s all for it, and she encourages others to try it as well. She likens therapy to dating by suggesting that you keep looking for the right therapist to match your needs. Two other essential keys to her growth are radical transparency and radical acceptance (though she admits she is still working on the latter).
"I was a bad motherfucker before perimenopause. I’m a bad motherfucker now, and I'll be a bad motherfucker after menopause. Know what I’m saying? None of that has to change. How I’m a bad motherfucker, I welcome that part of the change."
Gabrielle Union and Kaavia Union-Wade
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“I hope that a.) you recognize that you're not alone. Seek out help and know that it's okay to be honest about what the hell is happening in your life. That's the only way that you know you can get help, and that's also the only other way that people know that you are in need if there's something going on,” she says, “because we have all these big, very wild, high expectations of people, but if they don't know what they're actually dealing with, they're always going to be failing, and you will always be disappointed. So how about just tell the truth, be transparent, and let people know where you are. So they can be of service, they can be compassionate.”
Gabrielle’s transparency is what makes her so relatable, and has so many people root for her. Whether through her TV and film projects, her memoirs, or her social media, the actress has a knack for making you feel like she’s your homegirl. Scrolling through her Instagram, you see the special moments with her family, exciting new business ventures, and jaw-dropping fashion moments. Throughout her life and career, we’ve seen her evolve in a multitude of ways. From producing films to starting a haircare line to marriage and motherhood, her journey is a story of courage and triumph. And right now, in this season, she’s asking, “What’s next?”
“This is a season of discovery and change. In a billion ways,” says the NAACP Image Award winner. “The notion of like, ‘Oh, so and so changed. They got brand new.’ I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
"I want you to be brand new. I want me to be brand new. I want us to be always constantly growing, evolving. Having more clarity, moving with different purpose, like, and all of that is for me very, very welcomed."
She continues, “So I'm just trying to figure out what's next. You know what I mean? I'm jumping into what's next. I'm excited going into what's next and new. I'm just sort of embracing all of what life has to offer.”
Look out for Gabrielle in the upcoming indie film Riff Raff, which is a crime comedy starring her and Jennifer Coolidge, and she will also produce The Idea of You, which stars Anne Hathaway.
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If there’s one thing that none of us can avoid (because we’re technically doing it right at this second), it’s aging. When it comes to longevity and having time to accomplish more things, that’s a blessing. The flip side to this coin is a lot of things that we took for granted in our 20s, we have to become proactive about continuing in our 30s, 40s, and beyond — one of those things is taking really good care of our skin and hair so that we don’t end up looking older than we are…or should. Because as much as I know, we like to say that “Black doesn’t crack,” having more melanin doesn’t automatically or necessarily mean that things like our diet can’t still jack us up.
How is that? The reality is, with every year that blow candles out on our birthday cake, we lose nutrients. Along with that, an uptick in oxidative stress transpires. The combination of both of these things can lead to not only our organs aging but us aging on the outside, too.
One way to prevent this from happening is to spend less time in drive-thrus (processed foods actually age our cells). Another is to take a vitamin supplement that is high in vitamins A, B12, and C, calcium, fiber, iron, and protein (since these are the nutrients that aging bodies reportedly need most). Still, another is to check out the following 12 foods — ones that are good for you on a myriad of levels and ones that can keep your skin and hair at a place where people will constantly be asking you if you’re 5-10 years younger than you actually are.
If you want to get a good source of vitamin C into your system on a daily basis, without taking a supplement, snack on some papaya; it’s got well over 100 percent of that nutrient in it, along with a solid amount of antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium. That’s probably why it’s been linked to being highly beneficial as it relates to strengthening your heart, improving digestion, and fighting bodily inflammation. Also, if you’re looking for a fruit that can help to keep prostate cancer at bay for your bae, this fruit will help to take care of that as well as give both of you an immunity boost at the same time.
As far as your skin goes, between the vitamin C and organic compound lycopene that papaya contains, your skin will experience fewer free radicals that can lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Papaya also has properties that can help to deeply moisturize your skin and clear up the kind of hyperpigmentation that is oftentimes associated with getting older.
If being regular is a struggle for you, blueberries are a sweet way to change that. The reason why is it contains over three grams of fiber per serving. It’s also the type of berry that has vitamin C, K, and manganese in it. Your body will also adore this fruit because it’s able to do everything from regulate your blood sugar levels and keep your eyesight in good shape to protect your muscles from experiencing extensive damage while you work out and keep your blood pressure right where it needs to be. Something else that’s awesome about blueberries is they’re good for maintaining your memory and cognitive function (two things we all care about as we get older).
When it comes to fighting signs of aging on the external tip, blueberries are great at fighting against damaging UV rays and other skin pollutants. Not only that, but blueberries improve blood circulation to your skin. They can give the collagen levels in your system a much-needed boost, and some studies say that they help with naturally treating eczema and psoriasis, too.
Something that I’ve personally been getting more and more into is golden milk (check out “Why You Really Should Be Drinking Golden Milk”). Why is that relevant to this article? Because one of the main ingredients in it is turmeric. Turmeric is a spice that, when it contains the compound known as curcumin, can help to fight inflammation, soothe symptoms that are related to arthritis, reduce exercise-induced muscle discomfort, decrease anxiety and depression, speed up the healing process of respiratory infections, and even help to treat certain types of allergies.
Since dark circles underneath the eyes can oftentimes come with getting older, turmeric is effective in that department because it contains properties that can naturally help to brighten up your skin.
4. Black Rice
Some backstory on black rice: it’s rice that used to only be consumed by wealthy folks; for everyone else, it was “forbidden.” Chile, that reason alone should make you want to run out and get some as soon as possible (elitist be damned)! Anyway, black rice (which is also known as purple rice) gets its color from anthocyanin; it’s a pigment that has a ton of antioxidants in it — so, we can start there when it comes to why black rice is so good for you.
As far as the antioxidants are concerned, they are the kind that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer, all of which are highly beneficial. People who are looking to lose weight in a gluten-free way will appreciate this kind of rice. It’s also another food that’s good for maintaining your vision.
Black rice also contains iron, and iron not only helps to keep your skin healthy, but it also can help to prevent hair loss as you get older, those are two solid reasons why it made this particular anti-aging list.
Tomatoes are a fruit that has a good amount of fiber, folate, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, and plant compounds in them. If you want to keep your heart in good shape and cancer at bay while also fighting the early signs of dementia, adding them to your diet is a really smart move.
Something else that tomatoes have in them is what’s known as chlorogenic acid. Since it helps your body to produce collagen and collagen can definitely help to slow down the appearance of aging, if you want your hair, skin, and nails to look bright and youthful, cutting some tomatoes into your salad tonight is, without question, a very smart decision.
You know what one of my favorite facts about honey is? It’s one of the very few foods that never goes bad. Not ever. The reason why is because it's hygroscopic which means it has barely any moisture or bacteria in it, so it’s incapable of expiring. Pretty cool, right? And what a sweet food it is, literally; one that is high in antioxidants and has potent anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antidiabetic properties. One that, believe it or not, helps with stabilizing your blood sugar levels. One that helps to suppress coughing (especially in young children). One that supports your gut, serves as an all-natural antidepressant and can even help you to shed a few pounds. One that can also improve your quality of sleep.
Dermatologists sing the praises of honey because it not only is a great spot treatment for breakouts and a proven way to treat skin conditions like psoriasis, but also deeply moisturizes and removes dead skin cells — it’s a way to keep your skin looking young and radiant without applying chemicals that come with a lot of popular commercial brands.
(A few years back, I actually wrote several beauty benefits that come with manuka honey. Check out “Manuka Honey Is The Ultimate Beauty Find” when you’ve got a sec.)
Next to cashews, almonds are probably my favorite kind of nut. If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you can get a ton of protein from these bad boys. They’re a good source of vitamin E as well. A lot of people who work out snack on almonds because of their ability to build muscle fibers. Almonds are also dope because they can protect against cell damage, raise your good cholesterol levels, lower your blood pressure, and get some prebiotics into your system.
As I was doing some reading and research on how almonds are helpful as it specifically relates to slowing down the appearance of aging, an organization called the Almond Board of California shared that new research has revealed that almonds have the ability to smooth out the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also improving your skin tone over time. The more you know, the more you freakin’ know.
8. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
At the end of the day, extra virgin olive oil is the kind of olive oil that is the least processed; this means that you can get the most nutrients out of it. And what that means is, if you’re someone who likes to cook with it, you can feel confident about the fact that you are being proactive about preventing heart disease and strokes, reducing your type 2 diabetes risk, and treating rheumatoid arthritis. Extra virgin olive oil also has a lot of antibacterial properties in it too.
Since skin experts credit this type of oil with being a great hydrator, fighting against any environmental damage, and also slowing down premature aging (due to the vitamins A, D, K, and E that it has), the more extra virgin olive oil that you consume, the better.
9. Fatty Fish
If there’s one food that I think I could eat, almost on a daily basis, it’s salmon. It’s quick to fix. It’s pretty filling. And I like the taste. And I definitely feel good about eating it since I know that salmon is a huge source of potassium while also containing a good amount of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, antioxidants, vitamin D (which a lot of us could stand to get more into our bodies) and even some vitamin B12. Other fatty fish like swordfish, tuna, trout, anchovies, and Atlantic mackerel also have similar nutrients in them that can assist with cognitive development, helping to heal asthma in young children, protecting your memory abilities, and reducing the chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer.
As far as aging goes, many fatty fish have a compound in them called astaxanthin. Science says that it aids in preventing wrinkles, adding elasticity to your skin, and preventing cell damage to your skin — all things that can make you look older faster.
Basil is a member of the mint family and, as someone who really likes to cook, I enjoy it because it makes for some hellified pesto. Aside from that, it helps to reduce oxidative stress, regulate your blood sugar, prevent respiratory and urinary infections, reduce the effects of memory loss, increase mental alertness, keep your arteries open — and a host of other things. Yeah, basil really is that one. In fact, if you’re pregnant and battling morning sickness, basil also has a reputation for treating nausea and vomiting. Plus, it can boost your immunity, protect your liver, and reduce your stress levels.
If one of the things that you are trying to avoid about aging or you’re currently experiencing is premature graying, basil is also an all-natural treatment for that. Applied topically, some say that it can help to rejuvenate hair follicles to prevent thinning hair as well.
11. White Tea
If you’ve ever wondered where white tea gets its name from, apparently, the Camellia sinensis plant that it comes from has small white hairs on it (hmm…). Anyway, it’s good for you because it has a lot of plant-based antioxidants in it; ones that can fight off free radicals, help you to lose weight, aid in preventing heart disease and cancer, and even give pushback to insulin resistance. Some other cool things about this kind of tea are it can help to strengthen your bones (which can become more fragile after menopause) and improve your cognitive function.
On the aging tip, teeth age (check out “Teeth Do Age. This Is What You Can Do About It.”) and, as I’ve already mentioned, hair has the potential to become thinner (which could be due to hormonal shifts and/or genetics). The properties of white tea can help to prevent both of these things from causing you to look older due to both of these factors.
12. Dark Chocolate
How wonderful is dark chocolate? Check out “12 Ways Dark Chocolate Can Benefit Your Body From Head To Toe” and count the ways. As I wind this up, I’ll just add to the article by saying that the more your skin is protected from sun damage, the more that it has more blood flowing to it, and the less that it experiences stress, the better off it will be. Just make sure that the chocolate is not your favorite candy bar. Word on the street is, that in order to get all of what dark chocolate has to offer, you might want the kind of bar that is made up of no less than 75 percent cacao.
And now that you know how to slow down the aging cycle, which foods are you gonna treat yourself to when you get off work? All of these? All delicious. All nutritious. All anti-aging. Enjoy, sis. Enjoy!
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