I had a very interesting interview a few weeks back. The person interviewing me asked me, “What lessons have you learned that you will take into 2020?”
It was such a thought-provoking question that I decided to elaborate here in my last editor’s letter of 2019.
We Don’t Have To Do It All
Whether you work as a freelancer, influencer or have a 9 to 5 job, we often feel that we have to do it all. For me, someone offering me an opportunity to represent plus-sized women and/or ageless style would automatically trigger a positive response from me. What I learned is that not every opportunity is an opportunity I should take. From a professional standpoint, I had to stand back and think about whether the opportunity is aligned with my brand, my vision, etc… I work in an industry where we are all trying to thrive so for me to say NO would seem questionable, but what I learned is… it’s better to be part of projects that speak to me and more importantly to my audience. For example, if I never wear stilettos, why would I take a job where I’m promoting stilettos?
My fear was that the company would never want to work with me in the future if I said no, so what I did is offer up other women they should consider in my place and created a list that features websites, social media handles, and an image. This way, I’m just not saying no, but I’m offering them a possible replacement. Honestly, I’ve done this about 4 times this past year and each time the company was very receptive to my response and I was able to put someone else in a place where they would be celebrated. The cherry on top? Two of the companies came back with offers that were aligned with my brand.
It’s Never Too Late To Level Up
For the people that have just started following me on social media within the past 3 to 5 years, they only know a portion of my story. My story within the plus-size industry began a long time ago. So I’m not an overnight success and I’ve gladly made my journey public in order to be able to encourage others. I’ve talked about this on social media when I was turning 40… I was at a plus-size event and very matter of factly said that my 40th was coming up. This one girl literally gasped and put her hands over her mouth and said, “OMG what are you going to do?” As if my career was about to end. I can’t lie and say that her reaction did not put some doubt in my head.
The truth of the matter is my career soared after 40. I’ve done campaigns for the biggest brands in the plus-size industry. I’ve collaborated on projects, spoken on panels, created imagery that speaks to women beyond size and age. My followers are not all 40+ and I’m grateful for this because I can offer them what that one girl did not have, which was a way to see aging as part of the journey of life where you can still be successful, love fashion and have a thriving career.
And I’m not the only one… Ty Alexander, Maui Bigelow, Marcy Cruz, Sandra Negron, Nikki from Nikki FreeStyle are just a few of the 40+ women who are thriving in their careers. Whenever I need to be inspired these are the women I look to, this is the beauty of social media. 🙂
As we prepare ourselves to enter a new year… let’s promise to be kind to ourselves and others. Kindness goes a long way!