Mira Joleigh, Life Coach & Social Justice Advocate on Being a Drag Queen, Radical Honesty, & How Being Your Complete Self is Good For Business
"Whoever you are or whoever you're becoming in the world it's important that you let the world see that. ..Whatever it is that makes you unique and fabulous, let that shit out, just be yourself."
NOTE: I HIGHLY recommend you listen to the audio, if that's available to you, in order to receive the full effect!
I first met Mira Joleigh online through her website and the Ambitionista community that she leads. She's a life coach in Los Angeles, but not just any life coach. When I first saw her video of her shaving her head and heard her come out as a lesbian and a former Dominatrix, I knew she was the life coach for me. I hired her for a session at the very beginning of the year, and it gave me the perfect boost that I needed in order to make a major change in my life. Being a part of the Ambitionista community on Twitter and Facebook has had a huge, positive impact on my life too as it helps keep me motivated to pursue my ambitions, and gives me community with other beautiful, uplifting women.
Mira is also a strong advocate for social change and social justice, which she incorporates into her life coaching and the Ambitionista community. Now, Mira is no longer my life coach, and I am honored to call her a friend instead. For this interview, I met Mira (and her cats) at her comfortable home in Los Angeles and we talked about her journey to becoming a life coach, what defines a quarter-life crisis and how to be with it, being a former sex worker, how she's a drag queen on the inside, her practice of radical honesty, and how being your genuine self enhances your business.
How did you decide that you wanted to be a life coach, and what was the process and journey like that led you there?
When I was 24, I was in a corporate career, in corporate sales, and I walked around in my little business suits with business cards and was about making connections. I used to hang out at the Chamber of Commerce and they had networking events after hours. I met a woman who said she was a life coach. At the time, I had never heard of the position; I didn't know it existed. It struck me and I knew I had to talk to her. So, I took her to lunch and asked her a bunch of questions.
While I was pretty okay in my corporate life, I knew that wasn't what I wanted to do in the big picture. It was that day that really solidified somewhere in the back of my brain that one day I would become a life coach, but that I wasn't ready to own it. It took me from the age of 24 to the age of 30 to go through my own struggles and challenges and work through a lot of things that I needed to personally understand before becoming a life coach. It was all very purposeful and worked out. So, I went through the process of becoming a coach, which just consists of a certification process. I've blended my coaching skills with my experience in sales and marketing and now my clients come to me, not only to figure out their passions, but to get paid doing what they love.
How do you define a quarter life crisis life? What was your quarter life crisis like and what helped you through it?
I define quarter life crisis as the period in your mid-late 20s where you are transitioning from a life of pleasing other people to learning how to trust your inner voice and your inner knowing about what you're here to do. It comes with existential crisis like feelings of what is life all about and what am I really here for? I think I know what I want to do but I'm not sure, so a lot of second guessing. Or having too many options and feeling overwhelmed with trying to choose just one. Feeling trapped or isolated or confused or overwhelmed. If you're going through those experiences and you happen to be in your mid-late 20s, that's probably what's going on for you.
Mine hit hard around 28. I had moved from sunny, southeast Georgie to cloudy Portland, Oregon. LOVE loving the culture there, but not knowing that I'm very affected by seasonal depression so the climate was kicking my butt. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship that really was not right for me. I was not doing work that I knew was helping other people. I was working and feeling kind of interested and challenged in the work, but I knew I was meant for something much bigger. It was really the convergence of depression, really bad relationships, really poor self-care, and knowing that I was meant for more.
In that time, I was actually suicidal for a while and I had to face that and go to counseling and deal with it. The thing that really got me out of it though was when I hired my own life coach, and she guided me through a lot of the mindset shifts that are necessary to own your power and really trust that you actually know what's best for you and are willing to let go of what's not working. I made some major transitions in my life. I moved across the country. Eventually, I started my own business. I completely changed my social circles. I did a 180 in my life. From where I was then to where I am now is a completely different life, a completely different person. Having that support and doing the hard work got me through it.
You mentioned that you felt like you were meant for something bigger. I think there are a lot of us that feel that way, but may not necessarily know what that is. What steps do you think they should take to find out?
I feel that this self-discovery process that we go through in our 20s is actually a spiritual journey, but we might not realize that while we're going through it. For many of us, we don't have the spiritual tradition in our culture that is based around the coming of age and the self-discovery, so we're kind of learning as we go, making it up as we go. So, learning mindfulness, praciting self love, doing a lot of journaling, doing a lot of internal work to understand who you are and what you really feel drawn to. When you can connect the dots to what the world needs and what you're really excellent at, you'll find that sweet spot of what you're here to do and what that bigger purpose is for you. There's no cut and dry simple way to get there. It really is a slow, unfolding, intuitive, beautiful process. On some level, it feels like something that you do alone, but I really encourage that during this phase of your life start to switch into sharing the journey with people that are going through it and are also in a positive space.
I like that. I know most of your clients are in their 20s, but some are older than that. What if folks who are older than 29 are also having a "quarter-life" crisis?
Yeah, there's no real set timeline for personal crisis. It seems that it happens for many of us in conjunction with what they call the saturn return, but there isn't a specific timeline. I meet women of all different ages. I feel like there is something special about the pre-30 period where a lot of us, especially, if we plan to have kids feel like there's this ticking clock...Even just beyond that, in our mid-late 30s, we're still feeling that pressure and even if we don't plan to have kids, we have this mental idea that we wanted to have x, y, and z done by this age, so we're putting the pressure on ourselves. The process is the same. My recommendations are the same. Find a tribe of people that are creating and sharing support to move through the process with, and find people that really get you.
Yes, I agree. As someone who is 31, I definitely felt that saturn return and quarter-life crisis. Things have definitely shifted for me since turning 30. I feel like I know more about myself and who I am and what I want. I know what my passions are, it's just a matter of turning that into money. But, I think that it is important to remember that, yes, we can go through a crisis at any age, that it's all a journey and there is no destination.
Yes, it's easy to feel very goal-oriented and connected to the outcomes of how things are going to happen and how they unfold. Every single one of us has a different path, and we need to own that; it's okay for you to be at your own fricking pace and not compare yourself to those 30 under 30 lists. Look at any pop star and you look at yourself and go, what am I doing with my life? Look at what she's accomplished by this age. We're all doing our own thing at our own pace.
I completely agree and I feel like I have to constantly fight those voices in my head that tell me, oh I should be here, I should be there. I should have this by...I'm 31, I should be successful in this way, I should have that and just reminding myself that this is my path. Trying not to compare myself to those who are much younger than me and more "successful," it's really hard but a good reminder to accept myself where I am.
"So, it doesn't really matter where you go, if you're looking for your passion, you're already doing it."
You've mentioned that there were a number of different things that you wanted to do before deciding on being a life coach. I'm curious, what were some of those occupations/passions?
There were a number of things that I tried, and what I learned in that process was that, yes, I have this skill and I want to apply it to coaching. I mastered sales and I mastered marketing, and I got really good at graphic design and all of the visual branding stuff. I considered becoming a makeup artist, a hair stylist, a massage therapist, a fashion photographer. I wanted to own an advertising agency. There were so many creative fields but they all had in common that there's a one-on-one interaction with two people. Photography, especially, because you really have to get the subject to open up. Same with hair stylist. How many times have you told your hair stylist things you haven't even told your mom or your best friend? I was always looking for that deeper connection and a way to express my creativity. After jumping through all of these possible professions, it just came back to that deep consultation, that real interest in helping people.
One of the things I did in my 20s, which I guess I talk about a fair amount, but it doesn't define me, is that I worked as an exotic dancer for a while. Once again, no matter where I go, there I am. I still love that deep, personal one-on-one interaction that I was having with people. I even noticed myself doing sales training with the girls in the dressing room. I just wanted to motivate and inspire and coach people. So, it doesn't really matter where you go, if you're looking for your passion, you're already doing it.
Speaking of exotic dancing, you've been open about being an exotic dancer and a Dominatrix in your 20s. I really appreciate how transparent you are about that, and I'm wondering if you experience any stigma or taboo when you are transparent about it?
There is this interesting thing about coming out. I'm going to use the word "coming out" as a sex worker or as a former sex worker that parallels my experience with coming out as an LGBT person. There are a lot of different coming outs that we could go through in our lives. So, this is just one of them. I feel like I had a head start because I came out as an LGBT person first.
"The more transparent I am, the more I'm going to give other people permission to be who they are. It's so powerful."
When I started the process of coming out as a former sex worker, I noticed the process is very similar. When you feel shame and when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, when you feel afraid to talk about who are and what you've done, people can sense that and they can really get to you; they can really get under your skin and hurt your feelings. It's much easier for people to bother you when you are in that state. The more you come out, the more times you practice it, the more times you tell someone, the more times you realize it's not the end of the world when you tell someone, the easier it gets.
But, I remember when I launched my business of being terrified to tell that story thinking that it disqualified me from being a great coach, thinking that society's slut-shaming ways would ultimately be my downfall and that I wouldn't be able to do what I really wanted with my life. So, I knew I had to tell this story, that not telling it wasn't really an option. I would rather be in control of how the story is told than it come out later in some subversive way. I'm assuming here that I'm going to be super famous or a politician or something, but what I mean is that it's better to tell your own story than to sit out in hiding and hide that. Also, I knew, because I had been doing enough personal development work, that the more transparent I am, the more I'm going to give other people permission to be who they are. It's so powerful.
Yes! I believe it's every person's choice whether to come out or not, whether you're queer or whether you're a sex worker, but because there is a huge stigma against sex work and sex workers, coming out really helps normalize it and challenge that stigma. I really appreciate your transparency around it.
"Whatever it is that you think disqualifies you from being accepted is actually the exact thing that will draw the right people to you."
Let's go into another question I have for you about being your authentic self. One of the things that I could relate to you right away was, yes you are a former sex worker, but also your queerness. I wanted a life coach who knew what it was like being queer and was coming from that perspective, so that definitely helped a lot. I'd love for you to tell me more about how important it is to be your complete, authentic self in your business, as an entrepreneur or whatever people want to do.
I have this fun card game that I play with my friends asking each other deep questions. You've experienced this once before. I just feel like there's so much value in real, vulnerable, personal, deep conversation. I can't deal with talking about the weather and surface things, and pretending life is perfect because it's not. I have a dark side and I recognize all of the pain in the world. I feel it deeply and can't act like everything is all roses. I really want to get people talking about the real stuff so I strive for it. I notice that it's really drawn people to me. It's drawn the right people to me. If I weren't open about being queer, if I weren't open about my past, I would just be some other perfect on-the- surface life coach and that's not compelling. It's the people that have something interesting or a little weird or a little quirky about them that makes them more interesting. And that's the case for listeners too. Whatever it is that you think disqualifies you from being accepted is actually the exact thing that will draw the right people to you.
Also, your shaved head was huge for me. I know that when I first came across your website and watched your video, you did have a shaved head, and the second video I saw, it was your hair. But, it was such perfect hair that I thought it was a wig. I thought, Oh, she wears wigs sometimes too and that's also cool!
Haha, yeah, again, me being my authentic self. A shaved head is what feels right to me, but I struggled with doing that because it was uncomfortable, would I fit in and what would people think? It's another coming out but in this case, I don't have to tell anyone I have a shaved head, it's just right there in front of you.
"You might be getting some message that's so loud, you can't ignore it and you just have to do it no matter how uncomfortable it is, no matter how illogical it seems."
You did go over this in the video when you were first shaving your head, but what was going on for you internally while you were doing that?
I had decided about five years prior to the day that I shaved my head that I would do it "one day." And I just let it sit there and simmer in the back of my mind like "Yeah, I'm going to do that one day, i'm going to do that one day." I would see a beautiful, striking woman with a shaved head on the street and I would just be magnetized by her presence. I would feel like, "I want to be her one day." One day. One day. One day.
Finally, the voice inside that was telling me that got so loud it was yelling at me and I couldn't ignore it anymore. For your listeners, this might be happening to you. You might be getting some message that's so loud, you can't ignore it and you just have to do it no matter how uncomfortable it is, no matter how illogical it seems. It seemed illogical for me at the time because I had built this whole brand around this image, and I was about to completely change it. So, while going through this process, I set up my camera and phone and recorded it for myself in my bathroom. Recording it and feeling a sense of loss, almost like cutting off a limb, this part of me that was such a core part of me.
I'd always been a pretty, feminine girl with perfect hair (you think my hair was a wig, therefore it must have been perfect!). It was beautiful, I loved my hair and I spent a lot of time making it look beautiful. Hair in some sense is power in a culture where femininity is power. It's also subverted, but regardless, but there is something about being magnetically feminine that is something to aspire to. So, to take that away and to feel how permanent that is is like a turning point. You can undo a shaved head, you can grow it out but you can't just go, oh, changed my mind, edit, undo! I was feeling a lot of fear. I was feeling bittersweet about it but also very purposeful. This is what I'm supposed to do and if there is such a thing as "God," I was like "Okay, I'm listening. I'm doing it. Are you watching? Because this is happening right now." I cried a little bit through the process because it was like a sacred letting go.
"This feels like me and I feel more confident. I feel like I can walk taller because I'm ME."
So, how does a shaved head feel more like you than your hair did?
There was something that just started to feel really uncomfortable about having long hair, like I just didn't feel right in my skin. I didn't feel like myself for a while. But, it was like this fresh start because when you're born, you usually just have soft, baby fine hair on top of your head but you have this beautiful, pristine fresh start. At first, it was actually kind of awkward because I was getting used to how I felt about it, how I looked in my clothes or if I was matching my hair and makeup right. I felt very self-conscious for a couple of days, a couple of weeks even. Then, after I got used to it and I had all of these new experiences like the first time you get into a convertible, the first time you get caught in the rain, the first time you go out in the night life with no hair, the first time you make love to your partner with no hair-all of these interesting firsts. Once I had moved through that, I was like "Yes, okay, this feel right. This feels like me and I feel more confident. I feel like I can walk taller because I'm ME" It's hard to explain identity in that way.
"I'm really a drag queen on the inside."
I think of you as flamboyant and having a shaved head fits into your flamboyancy. How does having a shaved head reflect your gender expression?
The older I get, the more I identify with androgyny because I've always been attracted to it, but I never realized that I was IT. Then, I started realizing that I was it, and that while I have a very feminine nature, I probably also have a lot of masculine; it's very balanced. But, I'm really a drag queen on the inside. I love getting dressed up and wearing makeup and feather boas and the whole thing. I've really been bringing that out a lot more in the time that you've known me. So, my gender expression-I still identify as female and I really honor the balance of masculine and feminine in me. If it's possible to be a drag queen on the inside and a biological female on the outside, I guess that's what it is.
I think so! Speaking of drag, let's get into our RuPaul segment. I know that RuPaul is one of your mentors (one that you've never met personally). In an interview with RuPaul that I read, he said that drag will never be mainstream because it is completely opposed to fitting in, that drag is poking fun at gender and mocking it, and that it's not gender specific. Drag is just drag. Do you agree with these statements?
I do. I'm pretty align with almost everything RuPaul says. The older he gets, the little more cranky he gets, which is interesting. He's like "I don't give a fuck what you think." Yes, overall, I agree that you're born naked and the rest is drag. He says that however you choose to represent yourself is drag, but when we're referring to it as an art form, it is an exaggeration of gender. A lot of drag queens call themselves drag clowns. They're meant to be comedic, they're meant to be a spectacle and entertaining and meant to bring attention to the absurdity of things. They're comics and it can also just be a physical expression. Maybe you're a "drag queen" but you don't need a stage. Maybe you just like to live your life in the in between and that's beautiful too. People call that genderqueer. Yes, I agree with most of what RuPaul says.
So, what is your drag queen? Is it on a stage or everyday...?
I think I got to express the stage part as an exotic dancer. I think I was just a drag queen and nobody knew it. And I really love it. I definitely have an exhibitionist streak so there may come a point where I may feel a strong draw back to the stage. As of right now, I just really enjoy it as a spectator, as a supporter of the art. My drag is the way that I went to Pride right after the Orlando tragedy. I decided to dress as a sparkling, futuristic angel and send love to everyone I experienced because I wanted to bring them a little extra joy or a little extra irreverence in their day. I find street clothes to be quite boring so anything I can do to be a little interesting and make people smile makes me happy too. I guess my drag is purposeful, doesn't necessarily have to be on stage.
I think you can be a "biological" woman and be a drag queen. I feel androgynous too. My feminine is not an exaggeration but sometimes I like to dress up, but when I'm wearing a dress, I feel like I'm very much in drag, but I feel powerful.
I always wonder what's it like to not feel like you're in drag when you're wearing a dress! I don't know...
Ha! That's a good question. But, it's interesting. I like that RuPaul says that he doesn't take identity seriously and chooses to laugh at it instead.
Yeah, have fun with it.
Do you have a strong gender identity?
I feel like it's evolving right now. I feel like it's always been female because we're raised in the binary, don't know any different. So, the more that society evolves and the more that I spend time with people in the in between, the more I start to identify with that. For instance, I was recently invited to a genderqueer brunch thing and I was like "Huh... I think I'm a maybe to that." Maybe I'm questioning that and I'm not actually entirely sure. So, I'm going to go with cis female and androgynous for now.
Since we're on the topic of queerness...We've kind of talked about this, how being your authentic self can help your business, but I want to dive into it a little bit deeper. So, if you are a straight life coach, you wouldn't be talking about your straightness and that's because of heteronormativity.
Yeah, no one asks you questions like that in interviews, "So, when did you know you were straight?"
Exactly. This is an example of heteronormativity that we live in, but because of heteronormativity, that's why queerness can kind of help your business or your brand. And feminism, being a feminist. I know you're very outspoken about being a feminist and you talk about that in your business. I'd love for you to talk about how feminism and queerness can enhance your business and brand. I think those are topics that I think people might shy away from but it can do the opposite of what one might think.
It's only been in the last couple of years that I've really owned the word feminism and feminist. I've always had the general feeling that equality is important and the system is pretty fucked up and there's a lot to be upset about and there's a daily struggle that comes with it. I feel like it's been since Beyonce and Taylor Swift and some of the other entertainers of our generation have really started to step up and be like "Yeah, feminism!" because I didn't take women's and gender studies when I was in college. I took night classes and was very much the non-traditional student so I missed a lot of that. Now, I'm kind of coming full circle even just past my Dominatrix experience, which I think really amped up my understanding of feminism. Owning it has really brought people into my life who super vibe with me, and the people who don't like what they see have since unfollowed or unsubscribed or blocked me. Anytime you take a stand for something, people that are really with you are going to show up, and people that aren't are going to shy away, and you're going to be left with the most incredible community of people that really vibe with you.
Likewise, as a queer person, I actually remember feeling like I didn't really want to highlight that. Yeah, sure it's a part of me, but I don't feel like I really need to talk about it because I didn't want to alienate anyone. I didn't want my straight clients to think "Well, she's queer, she doesn't understand me," which I still struggle with that sometimes. It's been in the last year that I've really let my flamboyance out more and more and it's fun! If I'm having fun, then the people watching me are having fun, so I think I'm doing something right.
Yes, you are. Keep having fun because when you have fun, we're having fun! I've really enjoyed your videos recently. We talked about RuPaul, but who are your other mentors and teachers, and what is it about them that you relate to, are taught and inspired by?
I deeply admire Angelina Jolie and I changed my last name in part, thanks to her. I admire her for being a wild child and for being unapologetic about who she is. I loved reading her interviews when I was in my late teens-early 20s and just feeling really inspired by them, and watching her grow and change and mature. I really feel that it's important to give back, and that she's such a great role model for what Hollywood can be. Likewise, Madonna is one of those people for me. She's always been a rule breaking, in your face, strong, sexual, and unapologetic character in pop culture. In the interviews that I see of her, she's just very matter-of-fact and no non-sense and this is how it is, if you don't like it, sorry! I love that about her. She, also, seems to care about giving back. Both of these women have adopted children and that's something close to my heart; I'm very interested in adopting one day.
RuPaul, of course. More recently, Amber Rose. Some people may say, obviously because you shaved your head, so she was part of that inspiration, but I really love how she's developing her brand of feminism in a very sex positive way. She's launched her own SlutWalk. Slutwalk was a thing before she came around to it, but she's really branding it. She's about to have her first TV show that's all about highlighting everyday stories of real people. Also, Lady Gaga. I've seen her in concert three times. I love her whole brand about letting your inner monster out and being as weird as you want to be and the world accepting you for it. I guess the common thread is sex positivity, unapologetic, and be your damn selfness that just draws me in; I love people to have that message, and I aspire to be that.
So, speaking of no non-sense and unapologetic, let's talk about radical honesty. Something I recently learned about you is that you value radical honesty. I do experience you as a radically honest person. For those who don't know what radical honesty is, how do you define radical honesty, first of all?
I define radical honesty as saying what's on your mind, not with the intention of hurting other people, but with the intention of not censoring yourself. When someone asks for your opinion, telling your real opinion, it can be delivered in a gentle way but it feels like society tells a lot of little white lies and we're all tip toeing around being polite. It's interesting because I find political correctness very important, but that's different than radical honesty. If I look bad in the dress I'm wearing, I want my friend to tell me that. If my partner has something really important they want to say to me, I don't want them to have any reservations about telling me the whole truth. My boss, if I had one, same thing. Radical honesty is about saying what needs to be said and not trying to protect other people's feelings, but just truly saying what needs to be said and being yourself.
What value does it have for us and for our business, whatever business we're in, if we're self-employed or if we're working for someone?
If you think about business, business doesn't exist unless it has a sales. Something has to be sold in order to be in business, and a lot of us are really weary of sales people because sales people are notoriously slimy and manipulative and saying whatever they need to say. I mean, that's the negative stereotype we have of sales people at least. So, as a business person who needs to sell things to have a profit, to have a business, I want the people that I'm working with to know that I'm just going to tell them the truth. Whether we're a right fit to work together or not, I'm going to tell them so. Whether I think they should or shouldn't make this investment, I'm going to tell them so. After you've known me for a while, you know that I'm not bullshitting you. When you know that I'm not bullshitting you, you can trust that what I'm providing is legit and that I'm never going to pressure you. I'm just going to tell you straight up that this is for you, and if and this is not for you, then that's totally fine. You'll make the right decision for yourself.
I love this about you and it is what I've experienced from you. When I did hire you for a session, I did really appreciate how honest you were with what could be a good fit or not. You weren't trying to be manipulative or anything and that made me trust you more. Also, as a new friend, I experience your honesty. I really appreciate it because it allows me to be honest as well, and I think that's the value that it has because telling the truth is liberating. There's the quote that the truth will set you free; I know that when I'm telling my truth and I'm being honest, I feel free.
That's a quotable. It's true though, don't we? When you come out about something that you may have felt shame around, you feel free. If we can create more environments like that, I feel like the world will be a better place. We can all feel more free. There will be less projection and less hate.
Right, because there's so much projection and stories that we make up in our minds that we get lost in. If only we were just asking for or telling the truth, it's like "Oh, I can drop those stories. I can drop those projections."
And I can be who I am and other people aren't freaking out, it's okay. Wow, I can be accepted.
I want to talk a little bit about how and where you grew up. I like getting an idea of where people come from and how they grew up. I know you were a military brat, so you traveled around a lot. So, I'm wondering what that experience was like and what were some of the most memorable places that you lived and what were some of your favorite childhood experiences.
So, I was born in Honolulu. I moved away as an infant and eventually came back for 8th and 9th grade. I lived in the deep south, the northeast, and the pacific northwest, everywhere except the plains and Texas. I think the whole experience of moving around made it very difficult to form long and enduring relationships cause I never knew when I would be moving again or where I would be moving to. As a child, especially before email existed, it was very difficult to keep in touch. I did have a couple of pen pals. Part of what happened was that I created a very interesting attachment style where it's very easy for me to just let people go, or I meet people and think of them as temporary no matter who, what, where, or when. I just meet someone and think "Oh, this is nice and one day, you won't be in my life anymore." I've been learning how to adjust that mindset.
One of the most impactful experiences I had was when I lived in Hawaii. Moving back to Hawaii as a middle schooler, being one of the only white kids in a school of locals and islanders. It's not the same thing as racism, but being treated poorly because of the color of my skin was a really eye opening experience. Being threatened to get beat up after school and being called racial slurs and the whole thing, while it was very difficult in the moment, I think it's part of what shaped me as someone who cares a lot about social justice and to sort of understand the experience. I know I don't, I know I never will because I'm not in the skin of someone who is marginalized because of race. It was a temporary experience but it was really powerful.
Hawaii was one of my favorite places to live because I really loved sunshine and who doesn't love the beautiful ocean? And just the paradise that is Hawaii. Another memorable place I lived was in southeast Georgia where I got to experience the deep south and the Bible belt. That part was a really big culture shock to me, but what I really love about the south is the attitude that you take care of the people around you, it's a family oriented environment, and there is soemthing really wonderful about that. As I've gone through my personal evolution, some of my family members have come along with me, and it's been neat to be part of that mindset shift. Like when you were saying that coming out about being a sex worker can liberate other people's stereotypes. Likewise, being one of the only queer people in my family, I'm setting that example or setting that first hand experience for people of who I am. My connection to the south is challenging. I do go back fairly often, and I always look forward to the sweet tea. I still make sweet tea around the house.
"You can't ignore the hard things that are going on. It's, in fact, you're responsibility to talk about them, to raise awareness."
You've touched on social justice. I want to ask you about how much your business ties into social justice and social change.
In our generation, I feel like we're experiencing another civil rights movement. We're experiencing multiple civil rights movements. People of color are having this uprising against the powers at be. LGBT people have made some major strides. I feel like you can't be someone who considers yourself a change maker in the world if you're not conscious of the major struggles that are happening. That's where the change happens. It can't be all rainbows and roses and yoga poses and candles and shit. It's just not how it works. You can't ignore the hard things that are going on. It's, in fact, you're responsibility to talk about them, to raise awareness. So, the more I step into that, the more I feel empowered to share those things and break the silence because a lot of white people don't talk about race. We're programmed not to. So, the more I step out, the more important I see my responsibility as an ally to have the hard conversations and to create the awareness and to educate people on the other side that just don't get it. It's not the job of the marginalized communities to do the educating.
So, how can white people do that on an everyday level, specifically?
Something that I'm doing is finding these covert ways of educating on social media. I'll post a pretty video of my snapchat feed, then I'll link to a bunch of educational videos about white privilege. So, they get drawn in by the pretty image, then they look in the comments and they have links to choose from. Trying to create education in that way. Also, having those deep conversations with your family no matter how uncomfortable it is. And my family in Alabama, it's really tough. If you look up anti-racist organizations, you'll find white people for change; you'll find white people who are teaching other white people about race, privilege, and class. There's one in Los Angeles called Aware LA. There's also an organization called White people for Racial Justice.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I'd just like to leave the listeners or readers or both the parting words that whoever you are or whoever you're becoming in the world it's important that you let the world see that. Don't hide out. Don't pretend to be less than who you are. Whatever it is that makes you unique and fabulous, let that shit out, just be yourself.
Questions for Readers!
- Have you experienced a quarter-life crisis? What helped you through it? What did you learn/discover?
- Are you familiar with radical honesty? What are your thoughts on practicing radical honesty and how it can benefit your life?
- Do you ever feel like you're in drag? If so, when?
- What are you afraid to release to the world?
- How can you be more of yourself in your business and your life?
- How would you like to see social change/social justice be incorporated more into coaching, businesses, and personal development?