Where did you grow up?
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York.
Were you brought up religiously/secularly/other?
I was raised in a Catholic household, and attended Catholic school for several years.
Was there turbulence throughout your childhood/adolescence?
There was turbulence when my mother decided to have another child when I was six years old. I was really spoiled and loved being an only child. When my sister was born my relationship with my mother completely changed, and to be 100% transparent it’s still an awkward relationship.
Were you ever embarrassed about your development/puberty? If so, why?
Yes, I was afraid to talk about my growing breasts and menstruation. I didn’t know very much about puberty until my aunt brought me The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book by Valorie Schaefer. This book helped me realize growth and change were normal and that everything happening to me was part of the natural development from girl to woman.
Can you remember any key moments in your formative years that shaped you?
I remember taking several family trips during the holidays. Exposure to the world outside of my Bronx five-bedroom household made me extremely curious. From then on, I told myself I would continue to travel the world.
That shaped your sexuality?
I was surrounded by really strong and successful women. I always admired their courage and I couldn’t wait to grow up and emulate that fearless, career-driven, loving woman. I knew I wanted to be at the top, and I wanted to find love, because I didn’t have the most positive relationships surrounding me growing up.
When did you become aware of your gender?
I figured gender out pretty early on. I went to Catholic school, which meant the girls wore skirts and the boys wore pants. Boys could run and have their legs spread wide, but girls couldn’t because we wore skirts. I was taught that girls should keep their legs closed.
When did you become aware of your own sexuality; were there any key moments?
I became fully aware of my sexuality in my early adult years.
What, if any, are the obstacles you’ve overcome on your path to womanhood?
I had to overcome the fear of being different. I’m nothing like my immediate relatives and, at first, this scared me. I felt like I had to hide my love for art, culture, and wellness.
Have you ever been embarrassed, burdened or ashamed of your sexuality? If so, why?
I can’t say I have.
What is the image you think you project every day?
I think I project confidence, success, and a bit of a tough girl attitude.
What is the image you would like to project?
I would like to project self-love. I’m truly in love with myself – my flaws, my rights/wrongs, and my journey.
What do you think the image other people perceive is?
I think people feel like I don’t have bad days, which is totally untrue. I don’t hide that side, I just try not to give doubt or fear any fuel.
What are your feelings about contraceptives? Their availability, cost, stigma, usage?
Again, I believe this comes down to personal choice. I do believe our school systems should do a better job with sex education so that both women and men are fully aware of their options. I believe contraceptives should be available to everyone and should be free.
What are your feelings about casual sex?
I can’t say much about it, because if you like it that’s your business and if you don’t that’s also your choice.
Are you in a relationship(s)?
What are your feelings about marriage?
I think marriage is wonderful, but it’s not for everyone.
What are your most positive relationships with other women?
I have outstanding relationships with women. Mainly because of the sisterhood I created with my project Womanhood, but also through personal growth and realising that all women are the same. Why not support, encourage, and inspire one another?
And your negative?
I used to compare my journey to other women’s journeys, but this had such a negative effect on me. I was so focused on what they were doing that it distracted me from focusing on my goals. I’m grateful I got over that and realized that good things come to those who work hard for it. Every person’s journey is different, so don’t drive yourself crazy trying to compare your path to someone else’s.
What does the word ‘woman’ mean to you?
The word woman is a reflection of me. It means a nurturer, a creator, a giver, and a lover.
What are your feelings about monogamy?
I have mixed feelings about it, but I do know it isn’t for me.
Do you feel your choice to participate or not participate in consensual sex is at all affected by societal influence?
Not at all. That’s completely my choice, and no one else’s.
How do you feel about products marketed to women?
I dislike the products that are marketed to women simply because I never see a woman who looks like me in the ads. They’re also a bit misleading and often sugar-coat side effects.
How do you feel about feminine hygiene products’ portrayal in the media?
They’re very glammed up!
Were you always aware of what your body could do sexually and mechanically?
I wasn’t, and that’s a journey I’m currently still on.
Do you feel your sexual education was sufficient?
It wasn’t, but I took it upon myself to fully educate myself – and my peers.
If not, what would you have done to make it so?
Opened up, and asked more questions when I was growing up.
Where do you feel unsafe as a woman?
I feel unsafe walking in certain neighborhoods in NYC late at night.
Where is somewhere you can exist without fear?
Do women treat you differently than men?
Sometimes women are distant with me, because they assume I’m unfriendly. Men are cool, but if they get out of line, I have no problem with checking them.
In what ways does being a woman make you vulnerable or exposed?
It doesn’t. I’m fearless.
Would you consider yourself a feminist?
How do you define feminism?
Anyone who believes in equal rights.
What do you think are positive ways the world views women?
The world sees women as child bearers, so that’s a very important role.
And the negative ways?
Women are sometimes viewed or looked upon simply for sex.
Do you think the world’s perception of women limits or benefits them?
I believe it’s beneficial. Women are not satisfied with being underpaid, overlooked and unheard. There are also so many organizations and groups forming now to help aid women with education, equality, self-esteem, etc.
What is your relationship to sex?
How do you define sex?
An act between two individuals involving genital contact and bodily penetration.
What does a sexual relationship mean to you?
It’s simply another form of connecting with a person or multiple people.
Do you feel comfortable communicating your sexual needs to a partner?
Have you found a balance of fulfillment with your partners?
Only with one.
Do you feel that YOUR desires are marginalised in the bedroom or are less important, if so, why do you think that is?
Not at all.
Are you fearful of being openly sexual for fear of judgement?
Not at all. Although I’m not very open when it comes to my sexual life, I do not fear judgment. I’m just a private person.
Have you ever been in a position where your sexuality was used against you?
Have you ever been physically or verbally threatened because of your appearance?
I’ve been threatened because my outfit was ‘too revealing’ in the past.
Is sex empowering for you?
Is sex embarrassing for you to discuss?
No, I love hearing stories and learning new things.
Is there anyone in your world you undermine your principles for?
In which situations do you feel safe to speak your mind/stand up for yourself?
I feel safe speaking my mind in most situations.
What do you seek through sex?
A connection, intimacy, and pleasure.
How do you feel about the media’s portrayal of women?
I dislike it. It seems as if only negative portrayals are produced.
Are you satisfied with the women you see depicted in film, television & advertising?
I’m not with film and advertising, although advertising is getting a little better. In television I am. New characters are being created that are relatable. Television isn’t sugar-coated; they’re surfacing real issues. Thank you Shonda Rhimes and Mara Brock Akil not only for creating characters who look like me but also for addressing life in the Black Community.
How do you maintain a sense of self?
I maintain a sense of self by meditating each morning, turning off my electronics on Sundays just to relax and sometimes do nothing. I write myself love notes and remind myself that I am a beautifully blooming work-in-progress.
What is something you deeply love about yourself?
I love my courageousness.
Who are/what are your biggest motivators?
My friends are my biggest motivators. They inspire me to do any and everything.
Do you have people you look up to?
I do: Karen Civil and my former mentor Jodi Samson.
Do you ever feel overlooked in the workplace because of your gender?
Once I felt like my opinion or input was treated as invalid because I was the only woman.
Have you ever experienced sexism or sexual harassment within a workplace?
I personally haven’t, but someone I am close to has gone through sexual harassment within the workplace. She hid the truth of what happened for fear of losing her job. To this day I’m one of few who know exactly what happened.
How have you dealt with conflict?
Confronting it in a mature and open manner.
Have you ever been verbally abused or threatened because of your gender?
What are your feelings about motherhood?
Motherhood is beautiful, but it isn’t for me.
What are your biggest fears?
My biggest fear is disappointing my family.
Your biggest regret?
I biggest regret was not going away for college. I love NYC, but it would’ve been an amazing experience to live in a new city.
Your greatest accomplishments?
My greatest accomplishment was creating www.wearewomanhood.com
– The freedom
– The ability to inspire
– It truly drives me to continue my purpose in helping
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d just like to add that I love being a woman, and I intend to celebrate my magic and femininity for the rest of my life.