I wore a romper and people got mad.
Yesterday I had the honor of sharing a sofa with the founder of Virgin and superhuman extraordinaire, Richard Branson, the CEO of Tinder, Sean Rad and the CEO of WeWork, Miguel McKelvey. I felt very proud to be representing female entrepreneurs on such a powerful stage! We did a panel in Los Angeles called “Business is an Adventure” and spoke on mind-opening topics like the future of global business, to silly, candid topics like embarrassing real life Tinder stories. Haha – it was a blast!
Sir Richard Branson is INCREDIBLY down to earth and he knows how to make someone feel comfortable. I really admire that. I was initially intimidated and kind of speechless when I met him, but then he started talking to me about Blogilates! I was so stunned that he knew more about me than just the surface level info. A great reminder to ALWAYS do research on the people you’ll be meeting with – be it an interview, a panel, a meeting – whatever. DO YOUR BACKGROUND CHECKS.
Right before we got on stage, I asked him what he was up to later today and he casually said something along the lines of, “Oh we’re launching my new rocket ship into space and figuring out how to create a floating hotel that will orbit around earth.”
Sir Richard Branson is a super human who is PIONEERING galactically. He’s totally living on another level! So for him to be able to keep it real with me when I met him – wow – major respect. You can’t imagine how many people I meet that have the most egotistical attitudes when they’ve barely accomplished anything.
The thing to remember about entrepreneurs is that we’re not just selling things. We do we what we do because we know that we are creating solutions that will change the world.
THAT is what gets my heart pounding and my eyes glittering. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, creatives, believers, and most importantly, doers.
I’ve had the entrepreneurial spirit in me ever since I was a child – before I even knew what the word “business” meant. I’ve sold chocolate candy to cookies sandwiches to extravagant corsages. In other words, I created convenient solutions for hungry students and fashionable prom goers :)
Anyway, here is where the story gets a little interesting.
After the event, I took a mirror selfie (as I always do) and posted it to Instagram and Facebook, sharing my outfit details and how I felt about being on the panel.
One would think the comments would be flooded with either “Cute romper!” or “Loved what you had to say on the panel!”
Except there was a whole conversation about the bad taste in my outfit choice.
People were telling me that I should “cover up” and that I can’t dress like that until I become an icon, that I am not a real businesswoman if I look like I’m going to a club, and that they “bet” even Richard Branson wore a suit.
WHOA. Hold on.
Are we really changing the ENTIRE POINT of the post so that I can get criticized for what I am wearing on a panel? Why does it even matter? Why are we even talking about this?
Perhaps it is because I am a woman. Perhaps it is because I have to fit into some type of a mold to be respected for what I say.
Well. Here’s what I have to say to the criticizers:
I think y’all need to check yo-selves.
I will dress as I please and I will dress in a manner that makes me feel confident. No, I will not wear a suit because I simply don’t want to. Don’t tell me to cover up and act a certain way because that means you’re telling me who to be.
My actions, my service, my products, my designs, and my IMPACT as a entrepreneur speak way louder than this red romper. Which by the way, was a hit because I chose to wear it to match Virgin’s company colors. Richard Branson was a fan.
What silly talk.
Do you want to learn something interesting? Do you know why a lot of female CEOs and women in positions of power wear suits and cut their hair short? It’s because when they look more like men, they get more respect in the board room. Check out Indra Nooyi – CEO of Pepsi, Hillary Clinton – former US Senator, and Meg Whitman – CEO of HP:
According to a study published in The Journal of Social Psychology, when you look more “attractive” that is a negative point against you in corporate managerial positions. P&G funded a study that was directed by Yale University psychology professor Marianne LaFrance, Ph.D., who concluded that, “…women with shorter hair are perceived as more intelligent and confident than those with longer styles.”
It is sad but it’s true. This sexist prejudice exists. But I don’t blame these women for having to look a certain way to in order to gain and maintain respect in those male dominated industries. Do what you need to do to get your work done with as little distraction as possible. I got it. I would do the same.
No matter their haircut or the color of their suit, I have major admiration for their intellect and accomplishments.
At the Blogilates HQ, you will step into a world that may be different than what corporate America is used to. I wanted to create an environment that was non-competitive, open-minded, creative, inspiring and supportive. Here you will be surrounded by intelligent and driven women (and some guys) who respect one another whole-heartedly. We work as one big family. Each one of us ladies also happen to be fashionistas who love to have fun with our clothes. So, none of us feel like we need to protect ourselves against judgement and criticism when it comes to the way we dress. We all produce high quality work no matter if we are wearing suits or shorts.
So will I ever be cutting my hair and wearing more blazers?
I’ll never say no, but I will say that as of now, I love my hair long, my rompers colorful, my heels high, and my jewelry sparkly. If anyone wants to judge me for the way I dress instead of how my brain works, then that’s shallow and shortsighted. The way I dress is an expression of how I feel inside and I am not afraid to let the world know. So if someone can’t handle it, well, they need to figure it out, or else they will be missing out.
Now, can we get back to talking about something that ACTUALLY MATTERS?