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Women's Formula: The Monique Kennedy Story

Published:Thursday | September 29, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberly Goodall
The multidimensional beauty that is Monique Kennedy.

We live in a time in which there are several ongoing conversations about women empowerment; and this is important. Flair recently sat down with curator of 'The Thriving Artist' - Monique Kennedy - to talk about the possible existence of a 'formula' that can create more confident, inspiring women.

Kennedy can be considered an expert in the area of women empowerment as she has had her share of ups and downs, and has found answers in love and acceptance. She has created a podcast, blogs, group conversations and a community that all aim to better the nation and the people in it.

According to Kennedy, empowering women truly means empowering a nation. "When girls feel an abundance in the opportunities available to them and they have a voice, they will begin to push the limits of their abilities and stop seeing their only value as where they stand in relation to a man. These girls grow up to be women, who then (if they choose) become mothers, who raise both empowered boys and girls and the cycle continues," she said.




She said she believes that female empowerment celebrates the uniqueness of each woman and teaches women that strength is not found in trying to be like men, but in standing and owning femininity.

"I'm not sure there is a clear formula for anything in life. There are too many variables. I think self-acceptance is rooted in knowing that you are enough. Many women, including myself struggle with collecting accolades in hopes that it will make us feel worthy, worthy to have a voice, to be taken seriously, to own our truth. But when you start realising that you are enough, even if you didn't get that promotion or the person you love decided to move on, there's a shift. I am experiencing it now, where I feel more resolute in my choices, even if it doesn't suit everyone," Kennedy told Flair.

"I realised that many women just like me, had been shoved into a box of what it meant to be a woman. The desirable traits of who we should be was placed in the context of the men we hoped to 'catch'. Men like women who do this or that and unconsciously we start trying to fit into what I like to call the 'girl box'. We forget that we are multidimensional and beautiful. The Generation G - Empowerment Camp for Girls was born out of this because I knew if there was a change to be made, it needed to start in the early years. Young girls and boys receive so many messages of who they should be before they even get to determine who they are."

Growing up, Kennedy was not liked by many and being very imaginative, she created imaginary friends to help her cope with what she thought at the time were major life problems. She never seemed to look at the world like everyone else. She said she was the epitome of the carefree black girl.

She struggled with her appearance. Before she got braces, her 'buff' teeth were the source of playground teasing. By high school it was acne, and before she knew it, the size of her breasts was an issue. This not only made her a target for girls who felt insecure, but for boys who felt they were entitled to 'cop a feel' when she walked down the hallway. Kennedy said that her body brought more attention than she wanted and the shame she felt over her body is something she still works on managing today.

"My strength lies in something that people don't talk about often, but it's my willingness to be vulnerable. I think it makes me a better friend and a better partner, because I allow myself to be open with even the parts I'm not too OK with."




She continued: "These past few months of my life, self love has meant that I had to release a lot of things that didn't serve me. After another major life event this year, I started to re-evaluate what self-love meant to me and right now it means spending more time healing my mind, body and spirit. I'm going a lot slower with many things and evaluating the value it brings into my life. I've always been a strong believer that when you take good care of yourself first, you can take better care of others later. I think it comes down to the mantra I have for my life, 'Live a life that inspires others'. I don't know where I'm going yet, but I know it will be an inspiring journey," Kennedy said.

Read more of Monique's story on her blog, and find out how she navigated to the best version of herself.

Thriving artist: