This International Women’s Day, the TV personality and businesswoman on being respected, not liked
As part of a series to mark International Women’s Day, Moneyish asked some prominent people to share their thoughts and experiences regarding issues important to females. Read more here.
Just put me in the room, and I’ll do whatever I need to from there.
That’s how it’s been my entire career. Starting out as a woman in the male-dominated hip-hop world on the radio and with MTV, I was always prepared to prove myself. I would never give someone an opportunity to say, “She’s a female; what does she know about that?” because I was educated in my field. I knew I had to measure up to my male counterparts and make them say, “Wow, she knows what she’s talking about.” But I also realized early on that I didn’t need to be one of the boys to be successful.
I got where I am today because I never became complacent in just one thing. When I was in radio at WQHT-FM, 97.1, the next logical step was TV. When I did MTV, the next step was acting and producing. I always had the entrepreneurial spirit. That’s why when I talk to young women and kids, I tell them not to let others put them in a box. So many times in my career, people would say that I was just a radio host or just on TV, but I’m not afraid to say what I want and go after it.
For some reason, women are brainwashed to believe that you shouldn’t ruffle any feathers because if you don’t want to do the job, a hundred other people will. I know how that feels: I used to always want to be liked and not have anyone mad at me. But in life, to be respected is to be strong. Not everyone is going to like you, and I learned to be OK with that. Living in the public eye teaches you that every day. There’s no way everyone is going to agree with or like what you do. No matter what it is.
That’s because respect comes from not compromising your beliefs and values. People should respect you when you walk in the room, and if they don’t, that’s not the room you need to be in. It’s great that now, women are showing the confidence to say, “No, it’s not OK to be paid less than a man.” You can, and should give guidelines and boundaries. Never do anything that makes you uncomfortable, because there’s never a job that’s worth that in any way.
Everything goes back to self-worth and self-esteem, and knowing that you bring something to the table. That’s why I’m grateful the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have finally made women feel comfortable about speaking up. I feed off that energy and look to women I admire for support. We swap many different ideas with each other, but there’s always this theme of knowing your worth and not compromising your values for a job.
In my position, everyone has an opinion on what I do. Everyone feels like they know about everything going on in your life and the whole world speaks candidly about it. I feel like I have done my best for my family and me. You have to drown out that outside noise, because it will start infiltrating your thoughts. Listen to your inner voice.
La La Anthony is a television personality, New York Times bestselling author, businesswoman, producer and actress.
© 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved