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Issa Rae’s Response to Getting Shaded is #CareerGoals

Issa Rae continues to be boss with a capital “B.” Everything she does is a self-help book waiting to be written on how to follow your passion – from creating and crowdfunding her web series, The Misadventures of an Awkward Black Girl to producing and starring in her critically acclaimed TV show, Insecure to blessing magazine covers, CoverGirl and red carpets with her melanin kissed skin. She is walking billboard for Black Girl Magic who never seems to miss a beat.

Issa Rae Getting Shaded Not Just A Girl In A Dress
Image: ShutterStock

So, it’s not hard to find life lessons for success in Issa Rae’s every day, real moments and she had one the other day that truly stood out in its hilarity and relatability.

While at the airport – which is where I believe home base is for people living their best life – Rae overheard a paparazzi say, “that’s Issa Rae.” Then she watched as he proceeded to take a photo of a Black actress who wasn’t her. Which is pretty damn funny and thought-provoking on multiple levels.  

Obviously, the photographer was aware on some level of Issa Rae and at least vaguely familiar with her accomplishments, since he knew her name. So, either he (very wrongly) decided that with everything he knew about her, she wasn’t worth his time to photograph or really didn’t know what she looked like and mistook the other actress for her.

To put it another way, this fool actually looked talent dead in the face and totally ignored it or didn’t actually know true talent when saw it!

Listen, I mean no disrespect to the other actress who I’m sure is stellar in her own right, but what hard working woman hasn’t been in this position? Who among us hasn’t had a moment in which your accomplishments were overlooked by someone in a position of power – even fleeting one?

It’s frustrating and infuriating and then you find yourself infuriated by the fact that you’re frustrated. And, after a while of being frustrated and infuriated – ok, maybe a few days or weeks – you realize the person who thinks they hold the power will never be able to quantify your greatness. And, then you decide the moves you need to make from there and simply move on.

Everything about Issa Rae leads me to believe that in her airport moment, she simply smiled brightly at the paparazzi and thought to herself, “boy, bye” as she walked by and handed her luggage to her driver and then slipped into her waiting black car, where she put the finishing touches on an award speech.

Issa Rae Getting Shaded Not Just A Girl In A Dress
Image: ShutterStock

I’m sure Issa’s response to being shaded was to simply keep it moving and we ladies should rejoice in every moment where we are secure in our self-value and get to do that too. #CareerGoals

-Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress


Be Inspired,

My Breakup Letter to 2017

Dear 2017,

You really sucked. I don’t like speaking ill of anyone, but you were the absolute worst. Everything was a knockdown drag-out fight with you and after a year of the foolishness, I’m not sorry to breakup with you or see you go. Every month you literally and physically became more cold, frustrating and dark. We’ve been through so many, “you’ve got to be kidding me moments” that it’s hard not rank our collective time together as a just sad. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way about you. Everyone I know and talk to is ready to disown you as a walking nightmare and are looking forward to starting anew.  

Not Just A Girl In A Dress 2017 Breakup Letter

That’s not to say, we didn’t have our good moments together. There were more than a few wins and happy occasions that made me temporary forget our troubles. You were good to me in a lot of ways but having to always be ready for a fight takes a toll. I am forever grateful for all the things I accomplished during our time together, but it simply isn’t enough to erase all the wrong you did to me and those around me.

Not Just A Girl In A Dress 2017 Breakup Letter

So, I’m letting you go. I plan on happily moving on and I suggest you go the same. I’ve already got my eye on a new year and I’m bringing all my hope, strength, and passion with me to it. It’s not that I think the next 365 will be a cakewalk. Starting fresh never is. But, the lessons you taught me are fresh in my head and I’m taking nothing for granted in 2018. I’m giving it the best of me and am ready to put in the work to protect what matters to me.         

Not Just A Girl In A Dress 2017 Breakup Letter

This is goodbye 2017. I want to wish you well but I just to have it in me to care. I’m just going to leave you in my past and happily move into my present and towards my future. I’m confident with my decision and am finally feeling like myself again. If I had the power to leave you sooner, I would have!


No longer yours!

Charell Star | Not Just A Girl In A Dress

Be Inspired,

15 Quotes That Remind Us, Viola Davis Has Always Been A Queen

Viola Davis is pure Black Girl Magic. The regal beauty and scene-stealing legend is never one to shy from speaking the truth and is beloved as much for her star turns as her empowering words of wisdom.

Regardless of if she is accepting an overdue award for her her acting skills, doing an interview with top-tier media or calling out the history of racism, sexism, and ageism in Hollywood, the “How to Get Away With Murder” icon never fails to represent for herself and Black women everywhere!

This diva has been unapologetically, rocking her crown for years and the world is finally paying its respect.

Here are 15 quotes that remind us that Viola Davis has always been a queen inspiring us to let our inner queens shine too. 

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

“The one thing I feel is lacking in Hollywood today is an understanding of the beauty, the power, the sexuality, the uniqueness, the humor of being a regular Black woman.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: S_bukley/

“You can’t be hesitant about who you are.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: S_bukley/

“Do not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is you. Womanhood is everything that’s inside of you.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: DFree/

“I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins/

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

“Even when I get the fried chicken special of the day, I have to dig into it like it’s filet mignon.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Joe Seer/

“You can’t shine if you have two lines in the background as a bus driver. You can only shine if you’re included in the narrative, and narratives start when you put pen to paper and you use your imagination. You just tell a story. That’s all you do. You tell a story. You don’t put any boundaries on it. It’s infinite and that’s the only way we can do what we do is that people use their imaginations so that we can be included in it.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Ga Fullner/

“I believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are, truly being who you are. And I’ve spent far too long apologizing for that—my age, my color, my lack of classical beauty—that now at the age of, well, at the age of 46, I’m very proud to be Viola Davis, for whatever it’s worth.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Joe Seer/

 “As Black women, we’re always given these seemingly devastating experiences—experiences that could absolutely break us. But what the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly. What we do as Black women is take the worst situations and create from that point.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins/

 “They say to serve is to love. I think to serve is to heal, too.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

I see a lot of sexy women who are hard, cold, look like they have windswept hair and lip gloss and light makeup when they say it’s no makeup. I work out five days a week, and I’m still not a size 2. So I wanted to see a real woman on TV. I wanted to see who we are before we walk out the door in the morning and put on the mask of acceptability.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: S_bukle/


“Vanity destroys your work. That’s the one thing you have to let go of as an actor. I don’t care how sexy or beautiful any woman is. At the end of the day, she has to take her makeup off. At the end of the day, she’s more than just pretty.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins /

I would tell my younger self just be yourself—that who you are is good enough.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Featureflash Photo Agency/

“The internal sexism within womanhood is very ­predominant in Hollywood, because we all want to be ­successful. There’s a plug to it: You all have to be skinny! You all have to be pretty! You all have to be likable, because that’s the ­formula that works. On an ­executive level. On a power level. And it’s not always the same working with black people, because of the internalized racism. The colorism.” – Viola Davis

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins/

“What keeps me in the business is hope, and that’s the hope that women of color are also a part of the narrative, that our stories are just as potent, because we also have the power of transformation. We also have the power to be quirky, and sexy, and different, funny, heartfelt and all of those things.” – Viola Davis
Be Inspired, Fashion,

Anna Wintour – 5 Tips from the Godmother of Style

There are a number of powerful women in the fashion industry and will probably never be a shortage of ladies to look up to. However, among all the inspiring females in the business, there’s one who reigns supreme: Vogue’s Anna Wintour… and with good reason.

Photo By: Ed Kavishe, Fashion Wire Press

The British-born editor and artistic director tends to be elusively tight-lipped, rarely speaking publicly or making controversial statements of any kind—save for her surprising comments about the conversation-starting Kim Kardashian and Kayne West Vogue cover. Yet, over the course of her nearly 40-year career, Wintour has let a few of closely guarded jeweled thoughts slip —and the fashion world has been all the better for them.

Photo By: Karin Bar

Given that Anna Wintour has guided the likes of Alexander Wang, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler and a long list of others to success over her 25-year tenure at Vogue, following her advice might give you a good chance of following in her lavish footsteps too.

Here are our five favorite tips from Anna Wintour the godmother of style:

Anna Wintour On The Importance of a Good Team

“I’m much more of a believer in finding a great team of people and trusting them to follow their instincts. They work better when they feel they have freedom and they are trusted.”

Anna Wintour On Staying Confident

Photo By: David Shankbone – Shankbone, CC BY 3.0,

“Even if I’m completely unsure, I’ll pretend I know exactly what I’m talking about and make a decision.”

 Anna Wintour On Taking Risks

Photo By: Christopher Lee Sauvé –,

“It’s very important to take risks. I think that research is very important, but in the end you have to work from your instinct and feeling and take those risks and be fearless.”

Anna Wintour On Interaction

“In today’s world, you have to interact. You can’t be some difficult, shy person who is not able to look somebody in the face; you have to present yourself. You have to know how to talk about your vision, your focus, and what you believe in.”

Anna Wintour Being Careful

Photo By: Captain Catan from Frankfurt am Main, Germany

“The only thing I worry a little bit about going straight from school to starting your own business is that many do not succeed. I personally would advise you to think carefully before you start your own business, and consider possibly working for a designer or a company whose work you admire.”

Be Inspired,

Michelle Obama: 5 Things We Love About Our First Lady

Can I just say that Michelle Obama is Bae? The entire #NotJust Team is totally in awe of her and her ability to rise above the divisive, misogynistic and racist rhetoric that has come to define this election season.

As President Obama aptly put it, “Some may dispute the quality of our president, but nobody disputes the quality of our first lady.”

michelle-obama-7There is no doubt that Michelle was an integral part of the Obama presidency as she has proven to be a source of hope and inspiration for millions of women and young girls for the past seven years.

We’ll miss her when she and Barack depart the White House early next year, so we wanted to highlight the 5 Things We Love Most About our Current First Lady.

She’s the Ultimate Role Model


The words, “When they go low, we go high” will forever be a rallying cry for generations of people working to take a stand against hate and oppression. The phrase itself is simple and elegant, bold without being boastful and draws power from its truth… just like Michelle Obama.  She doesn’t shy away from speaking her mind and inspires others to do the same.

Her Style is Flawless


From state dinners to inauguration balls to gardening on the White House lawn, ‘the Lady O’ oozes style and self-confidence – an important characteristic for any Leader in Heels. She is also not shy about leveraging her platform as style influencers to elevate the brands of up and coming designers. She rocked Jason Wu designs to the 2009 and 2013 Presidential Inauguration Balls, catapulting his brand to household fame.

She’s Always Been ‘On’


Michelle isn’t fabulous because she’s First Lady, the Office of the First Lady is fabulous because of her. She was an accomplished lawyer and business leader, caring mother, loving wife and community advocate long before she moved into 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue. She brought all of who she is to the role and she elevated our expectations for everyone who may hold the position after her.

She A Game Changer 


Thousands of advocates have tried and failed to motivate the sugar and beverage industry to alter how they market to children, but Michelle Obama is one of the few who can claim success. She launched her anti-childhood obesity cause, Let’s Move with the some of the biggest sugar and beverage companies standing by her side. That’s one of the many game-changing accomplishments that landed her on Forbes Power Women list last year

She Knows Self-Health is Paramount


“Women in particular need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.” – Michelle Obama

Michelle has been vocal in trying to help women prioritize their own self-health because she understands – maybe even better than most – that when women take care of themselves it enables them to better support the people around them. Putting your own care first doesn’t make you selfish, it makes you strong. And in the coming years, we’re going to need to harness all the strength we can for the work ahead!


Even though her husband’s term as president is ending, we’ll continue to look to our soon to be former, First Lady with great pride and admiration.

*Photo credits: Michelle Obama’s Instagram

Be Inspired,

Simply The Best: Simone Biles is Literally the Best Gymnast in the World

Let it be known that Simone Biles is #BlackGirlMagic combined with lightening, topped off with a healthy amount of fierceness to leave grown women in awe.


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Don’t let her sweet smile, her age, or that small stature fool you. This young woman has absolutely dominated the 2016 Olympics and to be perfectly honest, no one is really surprised.   After taking the gold in the Women’s Vault, Woman’s Team All-Around, Women’s Floor Exercise, and Women’s Individual All-Around making her the first female gymnast to win more gold medals at a single world championship since Ludmilla Tourischeva back in 1974.  


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

It’s plain to see that this young woman has her eyes on the prize and won’t be losing her momentum anytime soon. This 19-year-old is not merely the top athlete on the best women’s gymnastics team in the world, defeating Russia and China in the team all-around by a wide margin this past Tuesday, and winning the women’s individual all-around by a solid two points on Thursday. She is not merely better than any other female gymnasts right now.


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

She is quite possibly the best female gymnast ever. A bold statement for a bold young lady who has been dominating on the beam, floor and vault, and absolutely blowing everyone away when it comes to the all-around. She does more complicated tricks and has absolutely flawless execution… Did we mention that she already has a move named after her?  


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Since its debut at the 2013 World Championships, “the Biles” has become a staple of her floor routine. It’s a double somersault in a fully outstretched “layout” position, combined with a half-twist in midair. Layouts have been a part of gymnastics since at least the early 1900s, when they were first done by men in tumbling routines. After women got their own individual gymnastics competitions in the 1950s, they began incorporating layouts as well but, whether the move was performed by a man or woman, the physics never seemed to make sense when played back in slow motion. When you watch someone performing a layout, they look totally surreal. And, Biles is no exception.


A video posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

The golden girl has been racking up first place medals for years with her moves and came to the Olympics with several endorsement deals from major brands like Hersey’s and P&G.


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

Biles has proven to be very humble about her success but isn’t afraid to shut down haters when necessary.


A photo posted by Simone Biles (@simonebiles) on

As the legacy maker said herself: “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”

Now headed back to the States, we expect to see more of this spectacular dynamo on the airwaves and in magazines.

She’s already got us looking forward to watching her at the 2020 Games and seeing what new awesomeness she brings with her.

Be Inspired,

Tech Boss: John W. Thompson – Microsoft’s First Black Chairman

At the mention of Microsoft, the first person to come to mind for most would be Bill Gates, however in 2014 John W. Thompson made headlines by becoming the first African-American chairman of the company.

Let’s be clear. You don’t ascend to a leadership role at of one of the most influential tech companies of the age without being someone who can get things done and Thompson has had a storied history in the world of technology.


Born and raised in South Florida as the son of a teacher and postal worker, Thompson received a scholarship to play the clarinet for a Missouri college marching band before transferring to Florida A&M to study his real passion, business.

The no-nonsense star spent 28 years with IBM in sales, marketing, and software development before being given the role of GM of the Americas business unit. From there, he worked for 10 years at Symantec and resigned as company’s chief executive in 2009.

At 64 years old, Thompson brings decades of experience to his new role, which is probably one of the many reasons Microsoft’s chief executive, Satya Nadella, sought him out.

Thompson is known around the industry for his tremendous level of strategic insight and as one of the best communicators to work with for his ability to take complicated messages about technology and make them understandable.Thompson_print-857x1200

His ability to make tough decisions may be exactly what Microsoft needs as lately, it has had a very scattered business approach of trying to be everything to everybody, without having a real hit product or service in any one area.

At the time of his appointment, Thompson was largely quiet about his plans to help turn the company around, but has been challenging his new team with questions like, “Is this strategy right, and more importantly is the team executing well against that strategy?”

To be fair, only time will tell where he takes Microsoft next, but we’ll all be eagerly awaiting his next boss move.

Be Inspired,

#ZenniStyle: Celebrating My Mom – The Comeback Queen – & Women Who Inspire + Giveaway

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Zenni Optical, but all opinions and statements are my own:).

It took a lot for me to become the person I am today. I’ve written and publically spoken a lot about my difficult childhood, surviving years in foster care, working my way through college and taking a leap of faith to follow my passion, start my own business and grow my own brand. Even though I’ve walked a long hard road, I’ve still been blessed to have strong women in my orbit that I knew I wanted to emulate as I got older. These were the women who never gave up. The ones who figured out a way to make the time count and make a way out of no way. The women who made it clear that if they could make their lives count, so could I.

The fam

So, when Zenni Optical reached out to me to recognize the women leaders in my life who could always see the big picture for success – for themselves or others and have the courage to get the job done – I knew I had to be a part of this celebration. And, I knew exactly which strong, beautiful woman leader, I wanted to honor most – my mom.

Me and mom 2

To say my mom has walked through hell and back wouldn’t even come close to describing her struggle and the demons she defeated to take control of her life and her story.  But she did and in the process laid the foundation for the type of woman I wanted to be. One who, no matter how far I might fall, could find the strength to get back up.

Mom 2

My mom isn’t perfect, the best leaders never are, but her resolve to do better, be better and create more for her kids and herself, is near perfect.


She leads with a quiet grace, never boastful of her own accomplishments and has taught me so much over the years through her actions that I can only hope to impart as much wisdom on my own children one day.

Me and Mom

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned from my mom were:

  • That life isn’t always fair, but you get to choose who you’re going be while living it.
  • If you really, really want something, you’ve got to work hard until you get it.
  • No mistake is ever worth giving up on yourself.
  • Not to waste time on people who won’t have your back when it counts.
  • And, you don’t need anyone’s permission to stand up for yourself and the people you care about.

Most importantly, my mom has taught me that any setback – no matter how large – is just the precursor to a big come back. And, my mom’s big comeback continues to inspire me every single day.

Mom renee and me

My Aunt and Mom back in the day. Guess who is in that belly:).

I just want to thank Zenni Optical for recognizing the inspiring women who make a huge impact on our lives with its #ZenniStyle campaign. And, the online fashion frames pioneer wants to keep the celebration going!

Visit my Instagram page to enter to win a free pair of glasses up to $150 from Zenni Optical.  To be eligible to win, follow my page and share a comment about the women who inspire you most and/or your favorite pair of Zenni frames.

A winner will be selected at random on Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 5 PM EST. I wish you all luck, but know the real prize is the chance to honor and celebrate those who’ve made an impact on the lives around them:).

Be Inspired, Celebrity News,

Driven To Succeed: How Daymond John Started His Billionaire Business

“In entrepreneurship, you decide to give up your day job at a point where either (A) the hobby/new business is at least making some form of ends meet, or (B) you feel that you need to dedicate yourself for a certain amount of time to it and give yourself the last hoorah.”

Daymond John 1To say, Daymond John knows a lot about entrepreneurship, would be an understatement. Not only is the man an icon in the fashion world with a multi-billion dollar empire, he’s an investor, television personality, author, and motivational speaker who quite literally has the world at his fingertips.

The 47-year-old founder, president, and CEO of FUBU has successfully transitioned from being a business man to being a business and has legions of fans and aspiring entrepreneurs who attend his talks, tune into his show and read his books with the goal of duplicating his success.

Daymond John 4But how exactly did John manage to evolve from sewing product in his kitchen to becoming one of the most influential men in the country?

It all started with passion.

For John, his “this is it” moment came while he was working full time as a waiter at Red Lobster despite having his fashion designs featured in some of the hottest music videos of the day.

FUBU was more of a hobby at the time, but he decided to get serious and create a schedule that would allow him to put real effort into his brand.

For two years he would wake up at 7am, answer orders that would come in overnight, sew hats by himself, tag, package, and ship them until noon. After that he’d head to a shift at Red Lobster, work until around midnight, come home and make more hats only to repeat the process the next day.

Daymond John 2Once Daymond was able to hire on three of his friends, the business truly started to take shape and with the extra help and a $100,000 dollar loan, and investments from Samsung, he was able to quit Red Lobster in 1995 so that he could go full time with FUBU and turn it into the brand we know today.

From Ol’ Dirty Bastard, to Busta Rhymes, the hip hop community was fell hard for FUBU. LL Cool J was so taken with the brand that not only did he wear the line in the “Hey Lover” video with Boyz II Men, but when Gap asked him to do a commercial wearing a pair of their jeans and shirts, he still opted to wear a FUBU hat.

The significance of this move doesn’t simply come from the fact that he was promoting another brands product, but after his 30-second freestyle, he looked directly into the camera and said, “For us, by us, on the low.”

The line was so simple and obscure that no one at Gap (ad executives included) thought anything of it. The $30 million dollar campaign ran and no one on the brand side was aware of the hidden plug until a month later when the ad was pulled and the company fired as many people as they could get away with while still saving face.

At the time, most designers weren’t directly focused on the young African-Americans and Latinos, but FUBU was able to break open that side of fashion paving the way for new designers with a fresh outlook and connection to the urban market.

Daymond John 5Today John is more widely known for his role as an investor on the ABC reality show “Shark Tank” where entrepreneurs seek out his partnership to help grow their own businesses which is a role that he has repeatedly expressed a deep fondness for.

There are tons entrepreneurs out there who just don’t understand how to accurately evaluate their product and make it appealing for investors, which is where Daymond has been able to come in and essentially help small businesses move to the next level.

He has become that business guide and mentor for others that didn’t exist when he decided to step out on his own.

Daymond John 3

It’s clear that wherever this man puts his attention, greatness is sure to follow. And, that’s good for him and the entrepreneurs he invests in and inspires.

Be Inspired, Celebrity News,

Be Like Mike, A Brief History of Michael Strahan’s Successful Life

This is Mike. 


Mike use to be a ball player.


Mike worked really hard and was really good at what he did.


And, when he was ready to move on he decided to leverage his passion and skills in a new way.



And, that opened the door for new opportunities.


And, that lead to a new career.


Which Mike leverages to help others.


And, to do more of the things he loves.


Now, Mike is at the top of the game.


In business – Be, like Mike!


Photo Captions: Instagram @MichaelStrahan