In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month. This means we get 31 days out of 365, to be recognized for our contributions to history, culture, and society. While the idea is sweet, a month is not long enough to uplift the humans that make the world go around, and three organizations are proving that point.
Two weeks ago, WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers) teamed up with The Female Quotient and Tai Life Media to host a virtual conversation called Confident Like Me: How To Master Self-Care. The event was devoted to understanding, celebrating, and empowering the confidence of young women of color. It featured a series of panelists of different backgrounds and careers.
People like actress & global youth advocate Monique Coleman, Digital 360 coach Monika Pierce, and pro-athlete A.J. Andrews shared their personal journeys with self-confidence. Each woman shared vulnerable and honest stories that showed that all women deal with insecurities, but there are healthy ways to work through them.
A.J. Andrews Story
A.J. Andrews, who started playing softball at the age of 11 was always confident in her physical abilities. But throughout the years she began to second guess herself due to harsh criticism of her body.
“It’s unfortunate and it’s hard because as Black women we are critiqued a lot more and told that we are too muscular or too manly. That we look a certain way,” said Andrews.
The award-winning athlete said that she often felt the need to cater to a predominately white audience. In an exclusive interview with The Source, she shared that her dream of becoming an All-American helped her block out the hate.
“What allowed me to get past that was my own goals and what it is that I wanted to achieve. I think that at the time I was younger it definitely affected me,” said Andrews.
In addition to focusing on her sport, manifesting her dreams and creating healthy boundaries also played a role in her growing confidence.
“I kind of came to the conclusion that if you’re not bringing me the three p’s in my life, which is paper, peace, and prosperity, then I just have no time or interest in listening to you. And I think that really allowed me to tune out what individuals were saying,” said Andrew.
Now at 27, Andrews is the first woman to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award, a co-winner of the Rally Spike Award, and was featured in the Body Issue of ESPN magazine. She also recently launched a her new podcast Barrier Breaking Women, where she speaks with Black, brown, and minority women in and around sports about the unique challenges they they overcame to reach success, break barriers, and make history.
Monika Pierce’s Story
It was 13 years ago when Monika Pierce first joined WW. Growing up she loved ballet, but she struggled with her weight, which in turn affected her self-confidence.
“Being in spaces where there weren’t a lot of ballerina’s of color, there were definitely not a lot of overweight ballerinas, whether they were black or white; that kind of made me feel not as confident.” said Pierce.
The wellness advocate shared that her passion for dancing is what motivated her to push through those uncomfortable feelings. As an adult, Pierce made the decision to join WW, and she lost 86 pounds nearly two years into the program. She describes her transformation as a physical, mental, and emotional one that helped her self-confidence.
“It was less about the weight loss, it was what WW helped me to understand about myself. It helped me to increase confidence in my abilities, confidence in my abilities to set a goal and then achieve it,” said Pierce. “To show how strong I was.”
WW’s tools include behavioral change tools and techniques that Pierce said can be applied to life, eating behavior, relationships, and how you navigate the professional world. Her positive experience inspired her to get more involved in the program to give back to the community that helped her.
One misconception about the confidence that Pierce wants to debunk is the belief that “either you have it or you don’t”. I an exclusive interview with The Source, she shared what helps her stay motivated and ready to take on all aspects of life.
“I think it’s self-talk. It’s being prepared. It is remembering all of the past successes that you’ve ever had and finding what are the common threads between the successes in the past and maybe what you’re about to go through in that moment.” said Pierce.
Today, Pierce is the Digital 360 coach and head of diversity and inclusion for the WW organization.
This event was a part of a free three-part monthly series, #HBCULikeMe. If you missed out on the conversation, and would like to see a recap, or learn more about the organizations that hosted it click here. There will be more opportunities to join in on the virtual conversation in March and April. See the details below.
March 31 – Thriving Like Me
▪ A conversation about the importance of Knowing mental wellness is key to overall wellness, and especially important within the Black community, this event will focus on creating a safe space and open dialogue around mental wellness.
◦ April 28 – Cooking Like Me
▪ This event will look at how establishing a relationship with food is integral to wellness.
To register for the upcoming events click here.