Grls I Know - Athena

Describe yourself without mentioning work.

I am a strong, crazy, and loving woman with passions for family, friends, music, and food.

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Jacksonville, Florida since I was 3.

How long have you lived in New York City?

I’ve lived in NYC for five and a half years.

Tell me what it's like living in New York.

It’s a drug. The amazing people, opportunities, scenery, and experiences are unmatched and addicting. Situations like the high cost of living, the ridiculous cold, never truly being able to be alone because of the millions of people here, delayed public transportation, weird smells, and always feeling like you’re behind makes you question why you put yourself through the unhappiness. See…drugs!

In light of the recent election, how does it feel to be a woman in the Unites States right now?

Scary, yet familiar.

Did you have any strong female influences growing up?

Yes. My mother was the strongest female I knew growing up. She loved so hard while making sure my brother and I never wanted for anything. After my mother passed when I was 18, my sister-in-law and aunt really stepped in and protected me and my feelings. I was super active as a child so I looked up to my Girl Scouts Troop leaders, church choir director and singers, women in the Dr. Betty Shabazz Academy. The list goes on! I’m so appreciative of being exposed to all sorts of women excelling in their particular journeys.

Does ‘being a woman’ feel like an active always-present part of your life, or is it not necessarily something that influences your day to day? Or, neither?

Being a woman never leaves my mind, especially being a black woman. Society attempts to remind you of what they think you are every day; I’m just trying to have them eat their bullshit words.

What is your experience with female friendships? I have some girlfriends who come from big girl gangs and others who have single close friends all over the place.

I’ve been best friends with three women for almost fifteen years. That’s my squad. We’ve been through everything together since sixth grade. Having that genuine support system from women who have seen you at your best and your worst is something I want all women to have.

Does it feel easier or harder to make female friendships as you get older?

I think it depends on what you’re looking for in a “friendship.” All friendships aren’t created the same so it boils down on whether you're looking for a bestie (hard), connecting with a co-worker on a deeper level (medium), or looking for an exercise/drinking buddy (easy)!

Is there anything you wish women would talk about more with each other?

I wish women talked more about money. Speaking about salaries and savings has been taboo for decades. I know I love talking to one particular friend about projected income, Roth IRAs, and supplementary income. We gotta own that shit!

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Tell me about your first job.

My first job was working at Sbarro at Jacksonville’s airport. I was sixteen, grown, and ready to make my own money. I met so many different people from different schools and backgrounds. It was here that I perfected the stromboli and learned to toss dough in the air to make crust – life goals.

What is your job now?

I am currently an Account Manager at a media company. I own the post-sales process of launching digital and experiential projects that align with a brand’s regional and national marketing campaign.

What motivates you to work hard?

My future family, desire to be happy, and traveling are my biggest motivators. I want to make an impact on this world one way or another so always doing my best comes second nature.

What advice would you give to young women starting out in your field (or any field), or maybe even to your younger self?

Stay true to yourself, find a mentor who has your best interest at heart, and work your ass off.

Who (or what) is your spirit animal?

Solange is my spirit animal. Her confidence and essence is so contagious, I just swoon over her.

What song have you been playing on loop lately? 

Pink + White by Frank Ocean

Dinner with any celebrity (living or dead)?

Beyonce, duh.

What was your first concert?

Usher’s Confessions Tour. I vividly remember Kanye opened up for him. Crazy, right?

What was your most recent concert?

The most recent live performance was Anne-Marie at NeueHouse Madison Square. The most recent concert was Bad Boy Reunion at Barclays Center.

Guiltiest pleasure?

Macaroni & cheese, Oreo Thins, and Chicago Fire. I don’t feel guilty about any of these.

I like to think of all my girlfriends as being part of a magical coven of strong, independent witches. As a witch, what would you say is your biggest power?

To turn a negative into a positive. Is that a power?

'Grls I Know' is a collection of conversations with some of the greatest women I know. 

Interviews are published every Monday. 

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