Only the fierce need apply.. Some would find it hard to keep up with the multi-talented Shekina Moore. With her love of style and drive to empower young girls, we’re pretty sure you won’t catch up with her by being average.
So who is Shekina Moore and what type of business do you own/operate? Shekina Moore is a visionary. I am absolutely called to women. I see myself as a women’s ambassador and I help women to live fierce lives, that is, one of significance. Everything that I do and everything that I talk about, I make sure that it’s uplifting to women and girls.
What does it mean to be a part of that fierce life? It really means to have a voice. So often as women, in the past, in our history, we didn’t have voices. Even today that, legacy lives on. So many of us don’t have voices. We don’t know who we are. We’re stuck in boxes, we’re stuck in these glass ceilings that we brought upon ourselves and it’s time for us to be real and break out of that. In living fiercely, we are giving ourselves permission to be who God created us to be and that is extraordinary and to empower others in whatever vein it may be and in whatever God called you to do without limits.
What is the voice that you are trying to give women and how do you get that across in the way that they look? Well, it is not one particular voice. We all have so many different gifting and areas that God has called us to. The one voice that we all have in common is boldness. And it took me awhile to get to a place where I exercise in my own boldness. I use to pray for everything, you know, “God get this for me,” “Lord do this for me, you know I’m in this situation.” But God was calling me to awaken what was already inside and that was the Spirit of Boldness. You now have the audacity to do what God said do without even giving a second thought to….uhhh…I take that back; you can give it a thought. But don’t succumb to the fear that also comes along with your gifting. Be bold enough to step out and do and do and do each day and step out, taking it one day at a time. That is the only way you can really cultivate your voice.
Why is styling/image so important to you? How did you take your story of abuse and use it not only as a testimony but as a purpose to empower others? Well interestingly enough, this morning as I was preparing for this interview, I said to myself, “I need to go ahead and get dressed and look my best because I know I will interview better if I look good” and that’s just how it is. When we look good, we feel good and when we feel good, we do good. And so once upon a time, I was in a place where I did not feel like dressing up, I did not feel like putting on my best face, I did not feel like facing the world and I didn’t know what the root of that was; I didn’t know. I couldn’t identify the root or the cause of all that. But what it really boiled down to that I was living in un-forgiveness. I had not forgiven myself nor had I forgiven some perpetrators who had violated me and abused me. I was holding on to all of this stuff and I got to a breaking point where I released all of that. I did that by talking about it. I was literally in a shell and I was not talking about what happened.
Once I began to release it and it began to free me up because I was now talking about it and being open about it, I began to see that it wasn’t about me; it was about others. It was about other women who needed a release as well but were stuck and really didn’t know how to get out of that shell they found themselves in. So sometimes it’s not even about what happened to you but it’s what happens for you and the way I decided to empower myself and in return empower other women and girls was to release my story and undress, something that was a source of so much pain for me. You know, for a while it was like, “Well, maybe if you wasn’t dressed like this, this wouldn’t have happen to you. Maybe if you weren’t wearing that, that wouldn’t have happened to you.”
So I began to internalize some things and once I began to release it, a part of my healing was using the very thing that the enemy thought he was going to use to keep me stuck in a place, to empower me and others and to leverage it now in the form of styling and imaging. This is why I started the Style and Brand Agency. This is why with everything I do, I educate on image. I educate on living a fierce life and women empowerment issues because I understand. I’ve been there and I know what it takes to pull yourself up with by the strength of God, to pull yourself up out of that place and to really live boldly and fiercely without apology. So you have to show up and part of showing up, when you do show up, you need to show up with boldness. Even on the outside, you need to look like you are somebody. So that is the place I come from. It is a place of passion. It is a place of conviction. And I do not apologize for it.
What is it about our image that speaks so much volume (good or bad) about us? Well, we’re visual people and usually what we see has a great impact on what we do. That’s why it is so important that we protect our eye gates, that we protect our environment. Because the things we see on the internet day in and day out becomes a huge part of you and likewise, when people see you, they don’t know you from a can of paint. They don’t have a history with you. All they know at first is what they see. So it is important that you not turn anyone off because you never know who you’re going to meet or what relationship you can leverage in the future. If in that first encounter a person is turned off by the way you look, you’ve lost opportunity. You’ve lost opportunity to connect with people. You’ve lost opportunity to speak on stages. You’ve lost interview opportunities. So you just never know. We would like to put our blinders on and believe that people are just going to love us and judge us based on our interior. Well people are not going to have the opportunity to look at your interior every time, even if you have a lovely interior.
Often times, people will dismiss you or diminish your value based on how you’re dressed. I can take two people – two women – both highly qualified to do a job but only one looks the part. The one who looks the part, I guarantee you, will make more money. So it really is about not leaking precious oils. When you have people that can teach you how to do a thing, invest in those people because then there are those things that you are going to want people to invest in you for because they have a certain level of expertise in their credentialed area. So image is huge. It is a topic that you really can’t get around.
How does personal style and professional branding complement each other? Well the way you look becomes a huge part of your brand. People begin to make connections. They begin identify with you. Your brand, really, I always call it your ID card. Certain imagery comes to mind when people think of your name, whether you like it or not. I brand myself as a fierce-living expert and so when I walk on the stage, I have to be fierce. See what I am saying? People are coming to expect that. People come to expect certain things from you as well on how you present yourself. So they’re sisters, they’re married. I mean, they’re so tightly knitted that you really can’t separate them.
What are some key elements in styling personally and professionally? Where do we go wrong and where do you go right? One thing that I do very well, is that I am clear on who I am and this is what I always advise my clients. I sat down with three clients this week at the agency and all we talked about what was their brand. In brand consultation, the first thing I tell a woman is that you have to get clear on who you are. It’s amazing; you can ask most women who are you and they stumble. They just can’t tell you who they are and we have to get very clear about it so we can articulate it. Once you can articulate who you are then you know what not to do.
So for example, if I know I am led to empower women, empower girls, it makes absolutely no sense for me to take actions, in the public eye especially, that are contrary to what my brand and image is. So it is just like a music client. If a music client is going to reinvent herself and now she is looking to present, one way when she had been looking another way and she has decided that she doesn’t want to look like that anymore. So now she is looking to attract an audience that is maybe more in say, the rock-and-roll crowd. If that was the constituent base then maybe she needs to change the way she looks. She needs to change the way she interviews. She needs to change the way she relates to the media. So first thing is she needs to get clear about who she is, what are her core values and still stick with those but now on the outside let’s let those core values resonate and really allow them to illuminate in the clothing you wear. So now the clothing selection. They are not going to be trashy because your core values are now that you’re a worshipper, you’re a person who has a close relationship with Christ and you don’t want to compromise that. But at the same time you want to pull in the audience that’s a different audience then what you’re use to presenting yourself to. Now still in a classy way, maybe your hair is a little edgy and you allow your accessories to be edgy but at the core you’re still that person that is close to God, who relates to the people, and who is all sold out for Christ.
So there are ways to really be authentic – that’s the word. To be authentic to who you are but you still connect with the people you’re trying to connect with. It’s all about authenticity and starts with being clear on knowing who you are. And that crosses over in your image as well as your personal brand.
Obviously styling is more than just clothes, shoes and looks. On your site you said, “We bridge the gap between how women feel, how they look, where they have been and where they are going.” I love that because there can sometimes be such a huge gap between the two. So I can see what a session with you is like, starting from within before you move on to the clothes and the outer appearance. Absolutely! What sets me apart from most image consultants is that Christ-element, getting back to being authentic to who I am. I’m a believer and so I don’t fake the funk. For me, it’s much more internal work then it is external. If you can get internal on point, then external – that’s nothing; that’s easy. But a lot of times women really need help with the internal. That’s what created….that’s what got the juices going, so to speak, when it came to my writing the book, Blah to Fierce.
Tell me more about your books. My first book is called Blah to Fierce. It is a book that carries women through a 30-day challenge to liberally get from a stuck place, where I called “blahdom” to a place of “fiercedom.” And normally this is a woman who has experienced a major loss, has experienced a major change, a major life event that has set them back. Or maybe they were once on top of their game and they feel stuck because of something that happened and interrupted their game plan.
And I was at that place. I had gained 77 lbs and I had really found myself moving to a new city, not knowing anyone and I was just in a place where I was stuck. I did not feel like facing the world. I just you know….checked out. I hit rock bottom. And when I found myself in that place where I am at absolute bottom and there was nowhere else to go but up, The Lord shut me in a room, He gave me what to write and I wrote it within two days and it’s my bestselling book. Many women have been helped from that book and have become the fierce-challenged. So now I have tele-classes where I literally facilitate the book and I help women get unstuck. We have conversations and we have a mastermind group. I mean it’s powerful. So I know it’s nothing but God. I also have other books; they all center on personal development. I have my first children’s book, it’s called Beautiful, Big-boned and Brown and the main character is named Vivie Johnson. She shows little boys and girls how to win, even when you feel that no one appreciates you for who you are. Whether you feel like you look different and you don’t fit in, it really teaches you how to win. My next book that I co-authored with Darlene Thorne is When Dark Chocolate is Bittersweet and it deals with colorism, there again my books usually deals with image and self esteem and personal development. So this book in particular deals with colorism and it is a tribute to our sisters with darker skin hues who feels they have been alienated. It really hasn’t been talked about enough even though it has been talked about on some major networks recently. We have a lot of work to do. I have some other books, one is called Shoeing the Fat, another is Personal Style Overhaul and I have a tween book called Tween Girls Empowered with Style. So a lot of things going on and I’m just excited.
I have three kids and my three daughters, one is light and one is dark, we have dealt with this issue of color all of their lives, as early as kindergarten and it is just as common amongst our own people as those of other races. It is being pushed into our youths’ head. We condone it. There needs to be sensitivity training to take place at our schools as well as awareness training because a lot of people until recently had no idea what the word colorism meant. I love how you are taking image and using it as a platform to address many issues that can fall under that umbrella. You are different because most image consultants are strictly clothes and making sure you look good, so at least you look the part you can act the part but you’re really getting down to the root and I really love that.
You have a passion for working with youth, young girls in particular. Please tell us about your nonprofit organization. Absolutely. For a long time, I was a teacher and principal and I worked with this demographic that I did a lot of reflecting on when I was the age between 12 and 15, when you kind of feel lost because on the one hand, your body is maturing and is growing and changing but your mind really hasn’t developed. So you’re dealing with so many issues on boys, then you have the media with its perpetuating foolishness. You have songs that are only about sex, your boy and I can just see how just listening to that type of music and reading the magazines that only display only a certain body image. You have to be a size two to be considered beautiful and your hair needs to be tousled and long.
And all of these images that our girls are seeing day in and day out that they are being pressured with images that are often of women and girls that don’t even look like them. So, I can see how they would try and live up to that and try to do things to feel pretty, like having premature sex or hanging out with the wrong people or really succumbing to these eating disorders because look at all the things around you. Their mind really hasn’t developed enough. Even grown women succumb to these things. So I got to thinking about that age group that I wanted to work with and so I founded Tween Style Power, where we empower our tween girls with positive body image and healthy esteem. One of the things that I knew I wanted to do was to have a tween award program that would highlight other things that tween girls are significant for and to really highlight things that they’re doing to shine in their community because if you really stop and think about it, we don’t really acknowledge girls for their contribution.
So these same girls grow up used to not being recognized, they grow up to be women like us, then they get in the workforce and then it’s like “it’s no big deal, I’ve never been recognized. “So it’s OK for the guy in the cubicle next to me can who can do the same job as me and get promoted, you know, I’m not use to being celebrated and acknowledge. So I got to thinking we need to change the image of girls and we really need to start to highlight their shine because they’re doing so many wonderful, fabulous things in areas of community entrepreneurship, leadership, academia and those things needs to be highlighted. So we are actually going to have our first one this year. I am so excited about it! It will be in the Fall. We’re actually working on it right now and we are excepting nominations on our website.
Can you explain a bit what your model is Refine-Wrap-Position-Unleash-Accelerate!“and what it means? Well, really it is about packaging who you are in a nutshell. A lot of times when women come to me, they have already reached a level of success but now they are ready to break barriers and go to the next level. One thing I have personally have found that sometimes when people have already arrived, so to speak, they’re very slow to let the next incumbent in. I don’t know what that’s all about. I can only assume they’re thinking, “I paid my dues; you have to pay yours.”
But there is a process that you have to go through when you’re trying to reach the next level and it starts with refining who you are. Because where you are got you to a certain point but to go where you’re going, you’re going to have to refine some things. So I like to start with that Refine. Then we have to package it, wrap it up so it looks nice. Perception is reality. Reality is not reality. If people perceive you are living a certain lifestyle, if they perceive you are elegant, if they perceive whatever it is you want them to perceive, then you have to make that happen. No one else can do it for you. You have to make it happen. It starts with consistency, again, knowing who you are and being consistent with that same message over and over again. This is why I always tag everything I say with, “That Fierce Life” because I want it to be synonymous with who I am and when I rebranded myself that was one of those words I knew that I wanted to be synonymous with me and my image. Then you have to also unleash all of that. You know a lot of times we get stuck on we packaged it, it’s all wrapped up nice and pretty, and it’s presentable. Then we don’t mind ourselves. We just leave it there like someone is suppose to know that you’re going through this change. You’ve got to make people know and that it comes through blasting. I always encourage my clients you have to blast, blast, blast, blast!! Usually people have to see something at least 7 times before they remember. Don’t get discouraged because you put something out there one time and nobody clicked the LIKE button. I can care less about a like button. People get caught up on like buttons but let me tell you something. Just because you posted something and no one liked it does not mean they did not see it. Haven’t you ever had someone come up to you, “Oh yeah girl, I see you been doing good things.” But they never commented on any of your posts, they never celebrated you. They’re not going to celebrate you. They are going to you with it first. So go ahead and unleash it because then it’s going to be time to accelerate that thing. Momentum is beautiful. Momentum is what makes you the money. When people who have been watching for awhile and they see that momentum, then they are going to be able to start celebrating you. They’re just checking you out right now to see if you’re going to be consistent. So I think I carried you along the whole continuum; it’s kind of self-explanatory, but then again, it’s kind of not. So I hope I explained the point.
You have an impressive resume, working with many on Good Morning America, CNN, Black Enterprise, Kiplinger’s, NBC, CBS and more. That is quite a list of accomplishments. What is the highlight of your work; what do you love most? Honestly, it just feels so good to see people transform that you have been working with right beneath your nose. To know that I’ve had a part in some way in helping them to realize their dreams and to impact those they are actually called to….is…indescribable. I get a lot o f joy and pleasure out of witnessing the whole process. And even the women that I work with in the fierce challenge, we are about to embark upon Cohort 4. So this will be the 4th cohort that we’ve enrolled in the program and really ready to see them blossom and not just during the 30 days we’ve worked together but over the year, to see how they graduate from the program and just keep building in momentum; it’s humbling to witness. I am really humbled by the experience. I think that’s the word-humble.
How do you take someone out of their element of comfort? Do you find it hard to work with the women and get them to open up so that you can do the work that you need to do through and with them? Honestly, a lot of times when women come to me, they’re ready and so, it hasn’t been too hard. I think too they probably have already read my story and they know that I can really be compassionate and come from a place of understanding. They’re a lot more willing to open up. There again, that just goes back to one of my sayings, that sometimes what happens to you is really for you. Because if I had not experienced some of the things of my past, things that had been so hurtful at the time, I wouldn’t in no way be in a position to empathize with other women who have gone through the losses and experiences of all types of tragedies to help them to rebound from them.
You are also big on education and literacy? Please tell me more about your contribution to those areas. Well yeah, I run a publishing company. I help authors publish their work. One of the things I am absolutely a propionate of is literacy. All too often while working in the school system, I saw too many of us held back. We didn’t read and reading is really important. So I encourage parents to read with their children. I read with mines. One of the ways I wanted to promote literacy is through authorship. I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to be an author because I wanted my kids to see that this is for you. Your classmates may not read but you will be reading. I also want to encourage them to write because it is another way to express yourself. It gives you voice. So I established a publishing company called Literacy Moguls.
What keeps you motivated? What is your biggest influence? There may be times when you may have wanted to give up so what keeps you going? I always say it is not about me. It really isn’t. It’s about a kingdom work and that’s a work that I plan to do and I am committed to. It’s a work I plan to pack on. So in order to do that, I’ve got to do my part while I am here on this earth. I can sleep when I am dead.
What key words are the core principles and values that describes your business? Definitely Christ-centered. I will not denounce Christ for the sake of a dollar. Those that I work with have to know that upfront. But also I would say quality because what I do is definitely not a surface thing. It’s deeper than that. It’s ministry.
It really is. That is very true. People tend to think that ministry is not in business but a lot of businesses have a ministry aspect to them. Sometimes the person running the business doesn’t even know it but it is. Ministry doesn’t have to always be up in church. What you’re doing is image but you go deeper, like you said… You are really getting into their soul. What upcoming events, book, products you have coming up?
I will be speaking at a teen summit in Baltimore on March 14th and I will be releasing my new book, Tween Girls Empowered with Style. I have a string of book signings I am doing with other authors. In the fall I do have the Tween Style Awards, info is at http://www.tweenstarpower.comI have other speaking engagements that I will be doing throughout the summer months. So I basically will be touring this year. I said that was one of things that I wanted to do is really gain momentum and exposure with the books and really let women and girls know you have a voice and it is time that you started using it.
How can our readers get in contact with you? Well I have a radio show, it’s called Shekina Moore, Etc. they can always tune in at www.shekinamooreetc.com and that’s a partnership I have with SIBN Radio. So they can keep up with me there. They can also reach out to me on Instagram @shekinamoore, Facebook at Shekina Moore, Etc and by visiting Tween Style Power website and Shekina Moore website
What event or trait do you feel connects you most with other women….What makes you a Connected Woman? I’m a connected woman because I connect women with their own inner voices. I will also add, I help women live fierce lives.
Is there anything additional you would like to add? I think I would end with saying as women, we were created to give life and if God can trust us with that, My God!! We definitely have something to say. We are worthy and our voices do count.
Interview Facilitated by Sharisa Robertson / January 2014 To purchase a printed copy of her interview visit here Bio: Shekina Moore is a Woman Ambassador. She holds three degrees and worked extensively in the trenches in the school systems of North Carolina. After her thirteen year career as a teacher and school administrator there, Shekina decided it was time for a change of scenery (and role) and moved to Atlanta, where she jumped in head-first into a fashion design competition (imagine that). Read more about Shekina at www.shekinamoore.com
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