WIFE+MOTHER+FOUNDER. Gail Crowder is passionate about giving today’s wife the resources needed to enhance their marriages, inside and out. Her image consulting brand is dedicated to guiding clients to their best self, public and purposeful images. She is the author of several books and her experience makes her a sought after speaker. Let’s meet her now.
How do you help women style their image to complement who they are without them changing into something that they may not be comfortable with?
99% of the time we start with the consultation and most of the time when women come to me, into my image consulting business, they are looking for change. Change has to start internally and it has to start mentally before you can even see the manifestation of it externally, so most of the time, it a mental thing, and I can tell in the first 20 minutes of talking to a woman if she is ready to truly make the change that she wants to see manifest on the outside.
You know, a lot of women, we fluctuate with our weight, and it could be that they’re trying to accomplish and attract a mate. Or it may be that they’re trying to move up the corporate ladder so they need to dress more “outside the box” than they normally would in their current position. So, I assess all of that before I really start putting clothes on women because that’s the most important thing to me as a stylist is to really understand what you’re trying to achieve and help you along the way because it doesn’t happen overnight.
You can put clothes on someone that day and they look fabulous but if the change did not happen internally they will go back to choosing the same exact outfit and wearing their hair the same exact way eventually because, again, it has to be an internal change, it has to be something they truly want to achieve, whatever the goal is. It could be to look more polished, it could be to look more sexy – whatever it is, we really dive in first before we even spend the first dollar on the makeover because, again, my job is to really make the change internally in order for it to happen externally.
And that’s my approach to really styling women and to really taking them out of their comfort zone and getting them to really understand why did they call me in the first place and really coming up with a game plan to take them along. So I don’t take them from zero to sixty because it’s just not going to be a permanent change and we’ve seen that over and over again on these makeover shows when people have them on one day and they follow up six weeks later and they’re back to the same exact thing because that was a quick-fix and the person didn’t really dive into why the person contacted them in the first place. So that’s my approach to really being a good stylist.
That’s good; I’m glad that you said it, because when you do watch the shows on TV, it seems like it’s more of a fancy so it seems like more of what you’re trying to do is more of being a lifestyle because like on TV they are showing them put the clothes on and they’re happy and they’re excited and it’s like they don’t see that as their true selves and they don’t know how to maintain it.
In my career, I have been a stylist for over 20 years. So for me, I have learned that, like I said, in the first 20 minutes, I’ll know if they’re truly wanting to change because I’ll give every woman that I’m going to style – and I will tell them that they’re not ready and these are the areas that you really need to work on – because again, I’m not about making the money. I’m about helping this woman to transform her life in every area and how you look and how you feel, it carries you a long way.
You know, you’ve met women who are really confident and they make you believe in whatever they’re trying to do because it’s an internal thing, it’s not an external thing and it’s something that people are attracted to. So that’s what really I try to work with my clients, really making the internal change in order for the external to follow because you can put somebody in something and they don’t carry it well because they’re not comfortable with who they are to begin with. So for me, I really work on doing the work internally and I can’t stress that enough. It’s a lot of people in my industry that will really just take your money, throw the clothes on you, “you look good,” it’s like that high. It’s like when you go on a shopping high. You get all this stuff and then you’re like “Do I need all this stuff?” And for me, it’s a slow process and it’s a process that we probably won’t go shopping on the first day unless I know that you’re really ready or that you’re trying to dress for a certain event.
But for me, I give you a game plan. I just don’t allow you to leave with a bunch of clothes and don’t have a game plan. And I’m also really big about utilizing the pieces that you already have in your wardrobe because a lot of time you already have great pieces, you just don’t know how to interchange them to expand your wardrobe. So, for me, it’s about doing a work and it’s about really partnering with this lady and eventually, my job, if I do it effectively, you won’t need me 10 years down the road; you shouldn’t rely on me all the time. I do have clients that I dress just for each season but they know exactly what they want, they know the style that they need, they know the look they want to portray and as they progress in their life, the changes that they want to go through but just it’s with me guiding them, not really holding their hand. And so a great stylist is not one just taking people for their money, taking them for a ride, but actually educating them to be able to make those choices when they are not in their presence.
That’s good. So as they learn more about themselves and become comfortable with themselves, they’re expressing themselves in different ways and it’s showing on the outside.
So how does someone’s image impact their lives and how could it hinder their lives?
Fortunately, people judge you the first three to seven seconds they see you. It’s harsh, but a true reality. People judge you just when you walk in the door, your education level, they judge you if you are successful as far as financially, they judge all of those things and they haven’t even had a conversation with you because we’re walking/talking billboard. And so a lot of times people come to me because they want to change their perception. They’re confident inside. They have the education, they have all the accolades and all the MDs and all things behind their name but their wardrobe is not and their language thing does not have all of this going on.
And then you see the opposite – you have people that look like billboards but they’re torn up internally and so really, as a lifestyle company, we really want your image and your persona to match. And so that’s the reason why I do the kind of work that I do as far as making sure that you’re internally OK and externally relaying that. Everybody has a different style and I believe that your style is really developed as you grow along. It determines your culture; your culture determined in that, where you grew up, what you were exposed to, all those things can really determine your style. If you grew up in a more urban setting, then you tend to dress more urban, more hip-hop, that kind of thing. If you grew up more in the Midwest, you kind of dress, you know, a little bit more “flowy,” those kind of things. So, it’s all about exposure, it’s all about really bringing everything you have been exposed to. A lot of times we bring that into our clothing and into our wardrobe.
So with a consultation, if a woman grew up in an urban setting and she wants to become more corporate, we really have to work on some of the habits and some of the things that she’s exposed to all the and bring that into more of a corporate situation. “How can we find that balance?” and “How can we find that harmony?” to make this come together, because you don’t want to take somebody so far out of their comfort zone that they feel like they are walking into someone else’s shoes but you want to develop what they’ve already experienced and you want to take something new and make it cohesive and that’s what I really work doing on with my clients.
What is about the industry that drew you to it? Were you a fashion icon in your own right?
I was really into clothes but my biggest thing was that, it wasn’t with women with their body types and shapes. I really love building a firm foundation for women’s clothes because I’ve been exposed to and been able to travel all over the world and I’m blessed that way – and I’ve noticed that people in my industry, and I’m not knocking the people in my industry, that will not give you the tools to make that dress or that shoe or whatever looks really good.
I’m really into building a firm foundation and what do I mean by that is really making sure that women are wearing the proper undergarments under their clothes because you can have on a million-dollar dress but if you have panty lines or if your breasts are sagging or if you have on really bad shoes or if you have the wrong panty hose on – any of those things can really tear down that beautiful image that you could have portrayed. Or vice versa – if you really have good foundations on and you put on a five-dollar dress and some nice jewelry and some beautiful shoes, no one knows how much you paid for that dress. They won’t notice the panty lines, they won’t notice that your breasts are sagging. They will notice that you are a well-polished dressed woman.
For me, I always start with my clients, especially with my women, as a professional, I give them a professional bra-fitting. I show them the undergarments that’s going to redefine their shape because a lot of times we’re looking for that hour-glass figure and 99% of us don’t have that. So we can create that. We can create that with good foundation. We can create that with really good wardrobe pieces that have those different kind of things. So, those are the kind of things that are important to me, to really marry the two from where your background is and your perception of dressing well. All of those things have to come together to really make that transformation in your wardrobe.
OK, it seems to me that you actually like the undergarments and the proper fitting. So would that maybe one of the reasons why a woman would hire you, for personal reasons, not really professional, not for any event, but for just personal reasons, would that be one of the reasons why?
Well, my clientele runs a gamut. I have from the stay-at-home soccer-mom that wants to look good when she’s going out with her husband or her girlfriend to a special event to the corporate CEO that I dress all the time. My motto is that I will dress you at any economic level that you ask or any even that you want to go to.
So I will say it’s a widespread, and like I say, my clientele is vast and my clientele is very multicultural which I’ve been blessed with and been able to travel a lot, so I infuse a lot of the different experiences from around the world into all of these different women and show them the different things they can basically add to their wardrobe that they normally wouldn’t even been exposed to like different types of jewelry, different types of shoes, different colors, all of those different kinds of things because when you grow up in different types of segments, clothing is different. If you grew up in the South, it’s more warm, so you tend to wear lighter colors than you would more on the East Coast or the northern part of the country. So, like I said, I have clientele all the way in California, I have clientele all the way in Puerto Rico, I have clientele in Germany, I have clientele in Canada.
Again , my clientele is very vast and you have to dress them accordingly, but you also have to introduce them to things they’re not normally exposed to being where they are to make them stand out, to give them something new and fresh that is not being sold in their market. So I do a lot of that stuff and I ship a lot of things from the East Coast to the West Coast because again, different climate changes, it’s a different environment, it’s a different vibe and so for them to stand out and for people to say “Wow” because she walked in the room and everybody looked at her because they couldn’t find that particular dress or that particular scarf or that particular necklace or whatever on the West Coast because it’s not being sold over there. So I try to do a lot of those different things to expose my clients to different things.
So, with taking consideration, not the insight as far as internal things, but with the dress, hair, clothes, makeup and all that – does image consulting change as far as trend or is some timeless thing or a staple that never goes away?
Fashion is constantly changing. It’s changing every single day. Someone’s coming out with something new. It’s always evolving. The trends are always evolving all of the time. So I try to make sure that my clients have the classic pieces, the pieces that are going to take them into the different trends and that are going to help them transition because when you are really paying and investing in the really good suits and clothes and shoes and all of those kind of things, you’re want to ensure that you’re getting the basic pieces and that you’re adding the colors or different trends along with those things. But for me I teach my clients to always have the basics – your basic black suit – and I tell them to buy all three pieces – the skirt, the jacket and the pants. You always want to have a nice basic black sheath dress that you can do so many nice different things with; your basic colors – your navies, your chocolate-browns – all of those colors are very basic, but you can infuse your style you can do fuchsias and blues; you can do patterns like your leopard-prints. You can do your zebra prints and all of those different trends that continue to evolve and change. You can always infuse any of those things. You can infuse your neons into your different color palettes. So I always start with the basics and then have my clients to build out from there.
OK, so what are your suggestions for women when they dress for church or when they are in ministry? There’s been so much debate about that. How can a woman of faith be sexy and still be appropriate and how do they not cross that line. What do you suggest to a woman like that?
Well, to me, church has become very, very progressive and church has really changed. It used to be that you could identify the First Lady with her suit on and her hat on and her panty hose on and all those kind of things but now church has really progressed to the point where it’s OK to put on a pair of jeans and high heels and a blazer and a T-shirt that says something on it, JESUS ROCKS, or whatever, and still be something trendy and still be the First Lady and still get the respect that you have due. Now, with different skirt lengths and those kinds of things, I get asked that a lot from my ladies who are involved in faith. To me, I just say make it age-appropriate. If you are in your late 30s and 40s and 50s, I believe that your skirt should come right at your knee or below. You don’t have to make it a “Granny skirt” because, again, you want to dress appropriate but you’re more petite, you want to go with it at least at your knee. If you’re taller, of course, you want to make sure it’s right at you knee, no longer than the mid-calf for the simple fact that you don’t want to age the person.
So to answer that question, that’s kind of a loaded question, it depends on the age of the lady and her maturity level. Of course, for younger ladies, I wouldn’t say make it a “shirt for a skirt” or anything like that but I would say that a lot of things have become very progressive. I know that some of my younger ladies who are in ministry have opted to stop wearing panty hose. I mean, that’s a personal choice, but I would say that if you’re not going to wear panty hose, make sure that your skirt is long enough to at least cap over your knee and I always say at least an inch to an inch and a half over your knee to ensure you’re not showing anything inappropriate being in the position that you’re in. For my more mature ladies, of course, again, I always say an inch to an inch and a half to mid-calf to ensure that you are still holding up a standard your church holds for you but you’re not aging yourself beyond the years that you already have accrued.
So for me, my thing is that the church has progressed. I would say that you don’t always have to wear a church hat to say that you’re the First Lady and all those kind of things, because again, women of faith have come a long way and I believe that the world needs to recognize us instead of us always having to recognize them. So, for fashion in the church, I believe, you know, the sky’s the limit. I believe that not too tight and not too revealing; all those kind of things have their place and it’s not in the church. But as far as being progressive and being solid, I believe that it’s open to us, I really do.
With gospel singers and with the entertainment business, do you think there should have more freedom in the way they dress because they’re entertainers, because there was a huge debate recently concerning the attire of a gospel artists’ attire (Erica of Mary Mary)on her album cover?
See, I didn’t find anything wrong with what she had on the cover; I really didn’t. You’re talking about the cover with the white dress, right?
Well, to me, I think the way she was dressed was not provocative. Yes, it was fitted and curvy and she is a curvy girl. But the thing is I don’t see what the big deal is if she didn’t have her breasts hanging all out. I thought she looked wonderful and Mary Mary is not a traditional gospel group, anyway; they’re very progressive, like a Kirk Franklin, and I believe that she’s just dressing to match the music that she sings and that they’re reaching people like no other around the world so I didn’t find, just me as a stylist, I didn’t find it inappropriate, I just didn’t and that’s just my opinion.
I found that she dressed to match the music that she sings and she’s still giving God glory and she’s just going to reach a different audience that’s not into the stuffy music and is not into the traditional gospel album cover. So for me, I thought she did it, and I thought it was done in a good way, personally. I’m probably going to have people who are going to disagree with me, but I didn’t think she looked bad at all on the cover.
I agree, because about a week or so later, she was at one of the awards and she had on a longer dress and they talked about how unattractive the dress was.
You can’t win! You can’t win with that. That’s the reason why you have to be confident and settled with who you are and be confident and know what you have going on internally. You never know, God maybe set for her to dress that way in order for people to really look at the gospel sector and say here we are because when people are on those secular album covers and they’re half-naked and everybody oohing and aahing. So tell me, she had on a white dress that was fitted and it wasn’t boob-a-licious and all this kind of stuff. She didn’t have her boobs hanging out, her hair was rocking and her makeup was rocking and I don’t understand what the big deal was. But if Lady GaGa or Rihanna or one of those people, Shakira, and all of those people had all that going on, then it’s OK. How is that OK? Why do we have to have a double standard? God made it all, He produced music, He made it all. So my thing is that, go for it. I’m not saying she should have had it all the way up to her “Hello, Kitty,” but that was not the case at all.
Do you think it is a form of business when it comes to the way a woman dress when it’s a curvier woman versus a skinnier woman?
I know for myself I’m a small woman and I don’t believe that a smaller woman can wear anything. Just because we’re smaller doesn’t mean it will always look right and if I wear something and then I’m with a curvy friend, she may get looked at and judged more than me and I don’t think that’s fair.
It’s not fair, but you have to think that the average-sized woman in the United States is a 15 or a 16 and that’s the average size, not just in the United States, but around the world. So, everyone is not a size 5, 6, 4 or whatever, they’re just not, but the average size woman in this day is a size 14 through 16. That’s the average size. So they’re more curvier. So why should she hide her curves just because she sings music to the Lord? You understand what I mean? So why should she hide her curves? I don’t get that and I don’t agree with that but again, that’s just my opinion. So I believe whoever styled her, and I think her sister is one of her stylists, I think they did an awesome job, I really do. I just think that it’s time for the people of the church to come out of those four walls and say here we are and we have stuff to offer too!
Is there somebody in particular you would like to style?
You know, I would like to style Oprah Winfrey, I would. I would love to style her.
That would be great. She seems like she’s flexible and willing to try some things.
I think she’s very flexible and I would literally transform the way she dresses.
So do you think that people are being more critical especially in relation to women celebrities or commentators on TV Daily etc. and not being more celebratory for the success of other women ?
Well, the thing is that I think that’s a two-way story. I don’t care who you are, you’re not going to be able to please everyone. I don’t believe that you will ever, ever be able to please everyone because everyone has an opinion. As being on a television as a sportscaster, she is 100% right. It could be when she starts off, it’s humid and then it turns around and snows and then it turns around and rains and as an African-American woman our hair does react the same way as a Caucasian or another ethnic group woman’s hair would react.
With that being said, if she can find who can keep her polished in between sets and all those kind of things, because working on television and styling people behind the scenes, I know it can be done as well, so I would have to say to her that if she’s doing her hair herself, that maybe if she was to hire a stylist or a cosmetologist to do her hair on a regular basis, that she will probably see the difference, because you know if you go home and do your hair and wash it and all kind of stuff with the same products that the salon provides, it just does not come out as if you have someone else doing your hair.
I believe that she really needs to find a balance with that. I believe that a lot of people criticizing her should look at what she has accomplished as a female in that industry because you don’t have a lot of females in that industry doing what she’s doing and on top of that you don’t have a lot of African-American women who are doing it at the level she’s doing it so I think that we really need to back off of that and find some type of balance. Now with the situation with Gabrielle or Gabby, I believe, again, there were so many different dynamics in her area because she was being raised in a Caucasian house, she is a gymnast so she is sweating all the time in her hair, she’s young, and so of course, it’s like when you’re with the Indians, you do what the Indians do. She was surrounded by a bunch of Caucasian young ladies and they washed their hair two and three times of day, so of course she’s going to try to emulate that because she’s sweating in her hair and she doesn’t want her hair to be dirty, so she doesn’t know to take care of it to the level that it needs to be taken care of, so I think we should have cut her a big huge break.
For one, her mother was not around so she wasn’t around any other African-American people and on top of it the people she was staying with didn’t even know how to take care of her hair so I think that situation, we should have really cut her a break because she’s not mature enough to be able to handle that situation. I really felt bad for her in that situation but I see now that she’s back with her mother and she’s getting her hair done and she’s doing really, really well, but we shouldn’t have slammed her the way we did as our African-American young girl trying to do something and achieve something that was incredible and she was able to do that. So I was really happy that she didn’t allow what was being said on the social media platforms to discourage her from moving forward and doing what God had for her, which was to be a gold medalist, which was at a high level. I think that we as more mature people should have laid off of her, for real.
Again, that’s my opinion. I did chime in on social media and told them to back off of her because there was a lot more going on behind the scenes. You’re talking about a young girl, 14 years old, still developing her self-esteem, it’s a lot of different things going on and she could have went a whole different direction and we need to be cautious of what we’re saying to our teen girls and how we’re portraying them in the media and how we act in the media.
I agree. I totally agree. So, how do you or do you incorporate glamour at its latest into sexy and how important is its image in bringing sexy back into marriage or do you incorporate the two?
Absolutely! I say that I’m the only stylist that can take it from the boardroom to the bedroom. I incorporate that because bring sexy back to the marriage is truly a passion to really intervene and to show women that you can be sexy and spiritual at the same time. And so that’s the reason why I’m really taking up for Mary Mary on their album cover because He’s showing that you can really be spiritual and you really can be sexy. How do I incorporate that? Well, as an image consultant, and of course I hold my conference once a year and God has really placed some awesome, awesome powerful women that come from around the country to really help me with it so in that segment of my conference, I always teach that image piece. I teach from Heels & Hoes equals Hottie, I teach from the Boardroom to the Bedroom, I teach all different kind of things, I taught From the Corset at my last one. I teach women how to identify their body type and really hone in on how to make their body type sexy whether wearing a dress or picking out lingerie because a lot of times we don’t pick out lingerie because we’re afraid that it’s not going to look good on us but I believe that if we really give the ladies a good foundation on what type of lingerie would look best on them, then they are able to have those tools when they go shopping or they are able to guide their husbands into that direction, i.e. “Honey, you know, I have really large breasts. When you get me lingerie, get me something that has a bra built into it” or “My waist is small as I would like it, so could you pick me out a corset?” Or all those different components, or how to camouflage with all those different panty hose, fishnet stockings, all kind of different things. You know, colors make a difference, too, in the bedroom. You know, different colors to wear to make arousal, all those different things. I infuse a lot of my image things into bringing sexy back into the marriage because it’s important. So when I’m choosing colors for the flyers or for the bedding, all of that comes into play and that is birthed out of me knowing the color theory. All those different things come together. I’m really blessed to have that part of my business linked out with this new venture that I’m doing with bringing sexy back to the marriage.
So, it could be just me, but when I hear about bringing sexy back to marriage, I automatically key in on the woman. Do you usually attract more women because it seems like for men it’s about bringing romance back to the marriage?
For me, this conference is based only for women. Only women come to this conference because we really want to dive into the woman and help her figure out where she lost her sexy. And some women haven’t lost their sexy; I can’t say that every woman that comes has lost their sexy but they want to be able to take it to another level. So we talk about taking it to another level. We give them some tools and strategies. We teach them how to chair-dance and how to “make it rain” because so many women are going to these strip clubs and all these different clubs and my thing is that you need to learn how to “make it rain” in your own house so you can keep those dollars in your own house. So we teach them that and we teach them how to cook quick sexy meals, teach them that you can cook your sexy meals in your stilettos, all those different kinds of things that we think are so simple but women are not doing. But when we were dating these guys and trying to get them we did all these things but once you get married, you know, kids come into play, then you forget to do these things and I’m a strong believer that the same thing you did to get him is the same thing you need to do to keep him. I’m telling you, it’s a lot of piranhas and sharks out here trying to get people’s husbands.
So, you say that you’re trying to teach women to be sexy and to be spiritual. You think that when they become married, especially Christian men and women that they tend to become more committed to being religious instead of being committed to their marriage and they don’t know how to intertwine the two?
Absolutely! Some women believe because they are involved in their church or whatever, there are certain things that they can’t say or certain things they can’t wear with their husbands and we tell them that’s not true because the Bible says that marriage spirit is undefiled, so as long as you are communicating with your husband and you’re not doing anything against the Word of God, i.e. bringing other people into your bedroom or bringing animals and all those other kinds of things and as long as you and your husband are comfortable with what you’re doing, I believe the marriage bed belongs to you and your husband.
So a lot of times when you go to these conferences, and I have been able to go to conferences around the world, they separate the married women and the single women and they tell the married women how to be submissive – how to cook and how to clean and all those things, but they don’t dive into what’s making me not want to do those things for my husband, i.e. that he hurt me or that he cheated on me or that I’m overwhelmed with my kids or I’m working two jobs or all these other things – I have nothing left. I have nothing left to give my husband. I want to do it but I’m not physically able to do it because I’m just tired. So we teach the women at these conferences how to prioritize everything and how to really get her life and her marriage and every facet of her life in order to have something left at the end of the night for your husband.
Trust me, being an entrepreneur, being a mother, teaching and speaking all over the country – all those kind of things, that can be lost and a lot of things that happened and bringing us to that was birthed out of me, not having anything left for the person that I said that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with because I was doing all of these different things and I was giving so much of myself to other people and the person that was there because I was sick and couldn’t drive myself to the hospital and the person who was waiting on me and cooking and cleaning for me, I didn’t have the time to give it to him because I was too overwhelmed with other things. So I had to really look and say, “OK, God. I know you created marriage. I know you gave me to this man. So how do I balance it all and keep it hot and sexy so when I’m on the road and I’m not able to be in his presence he still knows I’m his one sexy wife?”
So I learned to balance all those things. I’m a great cook, but I was struggling with on what to cook every single day. It’s like, “what do I cook?” So at BSB, I met this woman who plans meals and so every Monday, she’ll send me a meal plan every single week so I’ll know what to cook and that took stress out because we were eating out so much because I didn’t know what to cook. It’s not that I didn’t know how to cook but I just didn’t know what to cook every single day. You know, some people just have a gift for that, i.e. “you know, we’re going to have this today or that.” I just could not think and I would be in the grocery store buying a bunch of nonsense, wasting a bunch of money because I just could not get it together. BSB is more than just what we can put in a video. It’s women really coming together that have one thing in common that they really want to enhance and strengthen their marriage and keep it hot and sexy for their husbands. So we do some balances, we do finances. We have a chef that comes and teaches really quick, safe, healthy meals. We have women come from the health field. We have women that are GYNs that come in and talk to us because we have some women who are in menopause and are experiencing difficulties in having sex and just all these different things that just all come together in one place and it’s a safe place that God dwells and He really shows up and shows out through all my speakers and teachers really to teach women how to be sexy. So that’s what we talk about and it’s a safe place.
I have women that come from all over the world – Germany, Canada, Brazil – they come there and some of these ladies are First Ladies and they don’t even want to be called First Lady. They want to be called by their name because they want to really experience BSB because at the end of the day, they’re not married to a pastor or to a bishop; they’re married to the person that God gave their name, like Michael or Larry, or whatever their names are because they don’t want the First Lady in the bedroom – they want the person that they married in the bedroom and so we have to learn to separate the two, too! So that’s what really happens at Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage.
So, I know that all women struggle with this but is it more so that Christian women, or Christian wives, I would say, struggle with being sexy that you find or is it just even all around the way for women?
I think it’s more of Christian women because we’ve all come from different backgrounds. We’ve experienced different things and it also started when we were young girls. What did our parents or our mothers tell us about sex and all of those different things and then you add the Christianity piece to it and then if you’ve been taught from different ministries and different backgrounds and beliefs it becomes a struggle. It truly becomes a struggle with that. I do say that we do struggle a little more being Christian women. I’m not going to say that’s for everybody because you can’t put everybody in a box like that but I would say that the women that come there are looking for something different. They are looking to please their husbands but they’re looking not to offend God or offend their religion either.
So I would say yes, and then to make it even smaller, 90% of the women who attend Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage are African-American Women and so when you look at some of the backgrounds of traditional Black churches and Baptist churches and Pentecostal churches, those kind of things – when you come from those kind of backgrounds, they’re even more modest, they’re even more “cover it up,” even more “we don’t talk about those kind of things.” So, even though it’s in the book, Sons of Solomon, which is part of the 66 books of the Bible, I have yet to walk into any church around the world and they say “This is where we are coming; the text is coming straight out of the Sons of Solomon,” and if I’m wrong, please correct me, but have you ever walked into a church and that’s where they come directly from?
And that’s the reason I had a really hard time with some of the churches accepting and embracing Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage because again, you have some traditions that need to be broke down and when I first started this five years ago, it was hard. I was hiring marketing companies and they was like “We can’t get past – they just don’t want to hear what you have to say.” So I was like “God, did I name it wrong? Did I not hear you?” and He was like “No, you do what I told you to do and I will do the rest and He has truly been faithful. He has been blessed. Before we could hold our first conference, seven hotels told me NO because they heard the name of it and they thought we were going to be doing something just really horrible in their hotel but when I walked into the Wyndham Hotel in Gaithersburg, MD, the guy said YES because I was really ready to give up because seven hotels had told me NO. I didn’t really know what Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage was. I knew that God told me that I needed to start it after I had a conversation with my girlfriend but I didn’t have everything developed. I had a word from God and I had a vision; he bought into the vision and we stayed there for five years. Going into 2015, I have to find a new venue, which I have, because it’s outgrown the venue that we were at for five years.
There are a lot of services, including your organization, your business and your ministries that are opening up and catering to the wives that are opening up and working with the wives with the marriage and on how to be a good wife and things of that nature. Do you think that another woman who isn’t married or a woman who is divorced can coach or give advice to a woman that is married, not so much about marriage, but just woman-to-woman?
I absolutely think so. The reason why I think so is because they’ve been on both sides. They’ve been married, so they know what it means to be in a covenant relationship, but they also know what it means to be single so they see the single side of it and I believe she can pour into that lady how she can be comfortable and stay in her marriage and not end up in divorce. So I believe that she adds something to the table, so I would say YES, I would definitely say YES. I believe that a divorced woman has something to pour into a married woman to keep her from going down that road if possible, so the answer is YES for me. I believe that she can offer a lot and I believe she can offer a lot to the single woman as well because she has been married and most of the time single women desire to be married. People who are single think being married is easy but it’s not. It takes work every single day because this person you wake up with and you go to bed with every single night is a spouse you never leave. You have to be committed to it. So my answer is YES; some people will disagree with that, but my answer is YES.
Do you agree with the whole “woman-think-like-a-man” premise to try to fulfill the needs of their husbands?
Are you talking about in reference to the Steve Harvey book?
I think a lot of his principles are great! I think the 90-day rule is wonderful because it really lets you know where a man’s head is. In 90 days, you can really figure out if he wants you for you or if he wants you for sex. It’s true, most men who meet a woman that’s physically attractive, that is the number one thing on their brain – that they want to sleep with them and they want to sleep with them right away and we as women feel obligated to sleep with them and if we don’t we feel we’re going to lose them to another woman who will. Where at the end of the day, you’re going to lose. You’re going to lose that self-esteem, you’re going to lose that man because at the end of the day, every time we sleep with a man, we create a soul-power with them, and we create a relationship with them even though we think we can just sleep with a man and move on. We were not created like that. We were created to nurture and we were created to be in a relationship. For me, I agree with a lot of his principles in the book. Do I agree with all of his principles? The answer is NO, but I will say that he really did a good job of putting most men on check and he opened up the door for us to see what they really do. I would say he did a wonderful job of that.
Do you believe a woman can have a successful marriage, career, be a successful mother, still maintain herself, not to perfection, but still maintain herself?
Absolutely! I’m a living witness that it can be done. It’s all about planning, it’s all about making sure that you’re well and whole, because you cannot give to anyone what you don’t have for yourself. So, for me, yes you can, because I know what it is to be out of control, I know what it is to find balance and I know what it is to learn the art of NO because I had to realize that I could not do and be and see and do everything by myself and the art of NO and learning and asking for help are the two biggest things that women need to learn to put into their lives in order to have everything and to achieve everything they desire.
I believe that it is so imperative that we learn the art of NO and the art of HELP because we think we can do it all and we can’t. There are so many different resources out there and so many different women that are developing businesses out of need that can help you achieve what you want to achieve. Just like I said, with the meal planning thing, that was a big thing in my household and it has created so many different arguments with my husband because he’d be like, “Here you work from home; how come you didn’t cook?” and I’m like, “Well, I didn’t know what to cook. I waited too late to unfrost or whatever.” It was always something or I was always on the phone or on the computer and they day would go by and I would feel bad that I didn’t cook or it just didn’t make sense that I didn’t cook because I just didn’t know what I needed to cook because I wasn’t planning for that area and that’s just one small area. Just like my time with God. I would be on my way to a meeting. I would be, “God bless the meeting” or “God bless the contract” and I’m giving Him 15 minutes between meetings but is that really giving Him the time I needed to be giving Him because He’s the one that gave me the very breath, the very strength and the creativity to do all that I’m able to do? So now I get up at four o’clock in the morning and I give Him His time and trust me, when I give Him His time, He plans my day to perfection. Is everything perfect? Do I get every single thing on my list done every single day? The answer is NO, but I get everything that He would have me to do on my list that day. So I had to change the way that I had to look at life and I had to change the way I planned my life. Because regardless whether I’m here or not, life is going to go on, time is going to go on and so I need to be in the flow for whatever HE has for me to do. So the answer for me YES but you have to find that balance.
What’s the vision for both of your businesses in terms of growth and expansion? Where do you see what you’re doing five years for now?
I know for a fact that God has shown me that Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage and Gail Carter, Inc. as a lifestyle company is going to be a global brand. We’re going to impact women’s lives and transform women’s lives, not just on the physical side but on the spiritual side of it and to expand in that. We’re going to deeply impact women just walking away from their marriages because their marriage has been under attack for a long time. The two biggest things that are impacting marriages are finances and the lack of sex and intimacy. So God has really challenged me to take on that part and so I am going to take on that part with the image side of my business by developing products and tools for women who can never step foot into my conference but they will be able to access all this information on my website. Starting on April 3rd, I will be doing a class called Wife Master class on Google Hangout and so that’s going to be global. So all of those different things and using technology to tell the woman that “you can be sexy for your husband and you don’t have to compromise your Christian values.” So I know for a fact that in the next five years, Gail Carter, Inc. and Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage will be a global brand. I know for a fact because God has already showed it to me.
What words do you think describe your brand and that you’re conveying to the audience, like are there any key words when someone says your business name that will pop in their head?
There are a couple of things because I believe when God makes you He truly makes something special and I believe when you grasp that, it becomes your life, your lifestyle and your image. So those are the things I want people to convey because when God made you, He truly made something special, because there’s no one on the planet that walks like you, talks like you, and once you grasp that, it becomes your life, your style and your image. So, that’s what I want people to really realize, that you are special and that you are the only person on the planet that is going to ever be you. And so when you really grasp that, if you think about that, what is impossible to you? Because there’s nobody else on the planet like you. That’s powerful! That’s really powerful! That is something that I say before I do anything and teach anywhere in the world. When God made me, He truly made something special. When I grasped that, it really changed my life and if you really grasp that, it can change your life, too!
How can the readers stay in contact with you? Social media, website?
You can hit me up on www.gailcrowder.com or if you want more about Bringing Sexy Back at www.bscconference.com , I’m on Facebook as Gail Crowder, I’m on Facebook as Bringing Sexy Back to the Marriage, I’m on Twitter as @gailcrowder, I’m on Twitter as @bsbmarriage; it all goes back to www.gailcrowder.com.
Anything to add?
I’m excited and I thank you so much for even considering me for this interview and it’s been a wonderful time.
Interview facilitated by Sharisa Robertson. For more information visit www.sharisarobertson.com
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