It is no surprise that we are fans of Curtrice Williams. From first glance. she is insightful, intelligent, gentle and sure. The Author & Co Founder of Gentlewomenhood has hit the road running and we are blessed to be able to have peripheral view of her journey. We were able to snag some of her time and ask her questions to gain entry into her mind, her life, and plans for her future.
We hope you enjoy our conversation as much as we did. Enjoy!
1. Although we are very aware of who you are, for those who are not part of your 100K+ followers on social media, who is Curtrice L. Williams?
Curtrice L. Williams, it’s funny how saying my name out loud in this season of my life makes me smile. I am an ever evolving woman who has found the beauty in transparency, who lives every day with a desire to help someone in one way or another. While I wear many different hats, a woman who aspires to inspire and encourage both in my home and outside of it follows me, it is who I am.
2. What inspired you to create "Gentlewomenhood"?
Gentlewomenhood, was birthed from the founder Pierre Alex Jeanty and his preexisting brand Gentlemenhood, I was working for him on his website and also blogging when he decided, “the women need something and you’re the woman for that.” That is when my page started and since then I feel like a butterfly that has gone through various different phases and changes but all for the better all while still expressing myself. I realize that Alex saw something in me that I didn’t quite see in myself at the time. I wanted to help, to encourage, to inspire, I was wonderful at writing but I didn’t realize I could do so on a larger scale, I didn’t’ see the potential. Gentlewomenhood was created to give women hope. It has been an honor to do just that as co-founder and operator over the years. I’m currently working on rebranding, in which “Gentlewomenhood” will transition to my name, Curtrice L. Willliams, as I have grown I plan to give more of me. There is so much more to me than my writing.
3. That is awesome! We see you post great advice about relationships and self care. Why is this so important to you?
It’s so important to me because I have experienced the damage immaturity, mistakes, or lack of knowledge in relationships can create and where a lack of self-care can lead you. On the flip side I can say the same, I have experienced what making better choices does for the woman you are within and what doors can be opened by not just knowing better but also doing better. I can’t keep quiet; these are things I want the world to know. I really want us all to grow, and I’m very grateful to be in a position to share advice with others.
4. We see you post about your adorable son Aedan. How do you balance work and family demands?
Aedan makes it easy. He is one of my biggest supporters and such a loving and intelligent little man. I definitely believe in schedules and self-discipline. I try to get as much done during the day while he is in school so that when he comes home, he gets the best of me and the attention both needed and desired. I don’t always get it right, but I am a work in progress. I believe the question has the key word in it “balance”. That’s something I will continue to work towards having in all aspects of life. It also helps to include him in things where appropriate. He loves to see his mother working and it also sets a great example for him.
5. Having such a social presence is great, but we are sure that you probably have naysayers. You recently posted the quote, "Don't try to change anyone, change how you deal with them." What’s your best advice for handling criticism?
Listening is the best advice. I think we sometimes listen to react and we should work on listening to understand. When someone criticizes you, if the whole time you’re plotting how you’ll respond, you miss what the person may really be saying. Sometimes people have insecurities that cry out loud when they come at you so instead of reacting out of pain, you can react out of love which can turn around and help them. Also, sometimes we need criticism, sometimes some people tell us what everyone truly wants to say but doesn’t, it pays to step back and check yourself to be sure you’re operating at your best. Last but not least, people will always have something negative to say, if a person is consistently bringing negative energy into your life that means you are somehow allowing it. Sometimes you have to let people go, not all times like I feel people are so on a high about doing right now, but sometimes. I say listen, before anything else listen and process it. I encourage people to not act out of emotions but let it marinate if you have to and then do what’s best.
6. Let's jump to relationships, we believe kindness is needed in both platonic and intimate relationships. You posted about "seeing beauty in broken people". How do you behave kindly to those who you know are broken?
I meet them where they are, not always where I am. I think what happens so often is we grow through things; we heal and then talk at people, not to them. Once upon a time I was broken in areas so who am I to talk down on someone who is currently where I was? I’m a woman who won’t make the process of healing sound easy or quick because it wasn’t easy or quick for me, but I will be real with you. I have had to tell people things that I know hurt them because it hurt me, but there’s a way to reach a person’s heart and help them, really and truly this can only happen effectively when they know your heart is right so being real is vital.
7. What advice would you give to women in relationships being treated unkindly?
Ask yourself why. Why are you in the relationship with someone who treats you unkindly? A lot of times the answer is “I love him.” I don’t doubt it anytime I’m told that but you have to realize that your love for him doesn’t equate to his love for you and when it comes down to it, it’s a matter of your love for yourself. I advise these women to look into the mirror and be honest on if they truly love themselves by consistently staying with someone who isn’t treating them kindly. If it’s something fresh, get it resolved as soon as you can by talking about it with him, communicating and being open about how it makes you feel and pay attention to his reaction and actions afterwards. They tell you everything. If this is something that is consistent then my advice is to leave, you should not remain in a relationship that God created to share love with someone who is showing you everything but love. You deserve better, believe it. This belief starts by loving yourself better, when you have a healthy love for yourself then certain things you just won’t tolerate from anyone, not even from yourself, like settling.
8. In your opinion, what are the top 3 traits of a good partner?
I have grown to understand that everything about a good partner lies within having TWO things 1. Love for God. 2. Love for self (not overly prideful, but self-worth). If you have those two things then even if you get it wrong, you’ll get it right. What I mean by this is when you love God you’re willing to accept His discipline in whatever area needed and when you love yourself you’re willing to do the work to grow and become better so things like a. loyalty, b. good communication, and c. compassion will be a give in because you understand the bigger picture, really the biggest picture and that’s to live a life pleasing to God.
9. You recently wrote a book called,
"This Isn't It: Reviving The Woman Within". What inspired you to write this book?
I did, and it was one of the best things I have done in my life. I wrote this book during one of the roughest seasons in my life. I truly have a desire to help people and I sat down and dissected all of the areas I feel women have had great problems in at one time or another in their life and used my transparency and the wisdom I have acquired to spread the message that “This Isn’t It”. Those three words have rung in my ear time and time again throughout life no matter what things looked like and I had a great desire to tell others. I know how easy it is to believe that when terrible things happen, it is it. It feels like it’s the end sometimes. For a lot of people it honestly ends up being the end, they’re tired, they give up, they become so unattached from themselves and do things that the healthy minded them would never do, but I want everyone connected to me to know that they can and will overcome, that they are absolutely not as alone as they think and if that takes opening up about my life then so be it. It wasn’t it for me when I truly thought it was and I will continue to spread the message that it’s not it for you either. “Reviving the Woman Within” came from my understanding that nothing would be its best for me if I didn’t look within and heal, if I didn’t learn to love myself right and appreciate my worth for what it is, if I wasn’t accountable, so spreading this message is big for me. I lived it. I once felt completely empty inside. Nobody should feel that. I once was a real victim of everything that “had me” where I once was, but I now know that I am a victor; I have so much more to say so there will be more books. This Isn’t It.
10. What were you doing prior to becoming a writer and social media mogul?
I was being mommy and a full time student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, studying Health Education with a special concentration in Human Studies. I currently have only a few courses standing between myself and my degree, I still tell myself “This Isn’t It” and have a goal to get back in school soon. I was also assisting a fashion brand in my city “Splashed by DKG”, I worked closely with this emerging brand to help in any way I possibly could. It actually taught me a lot about business that I am appreciative to have learned and continue to do so.
11. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
I would have written more. Believe it or not I wasn’t the girl who carried a journal everywhere she went. Someone would give me a nice journal and I would do very similar to what I still do at times. I would start and not be very consistent with it. I think the more you write, the better you get. I imagine if I really wrote more then and had better structure and order, it would help me to write a lot more now.
12. What was your biggest challenge in terms of writing?
One of my biggest challenges when getting my book published was the delay of the release date. Upon getting close to my desired date, the one I actually announced, some issues arose that required me to have to push the date back. That was a real disappointment to me. For a minute it seemed like everything was falling apart. I hated the thought of being a new author who seemed to not have it together. I hated the thought of letting the people who pre-ordered the book down and overall I just hated how it felt to be so excited about something then forced to change things because of things that were out of my control.
13. What was the best advice you received while experiencing that challenge?
Delay isn’t denial. My best friend reminded me that delay isn’t denial and that changed everything for me. I could then look at it from a very real and positive perspective. It made the announcement of the new release date easier and helped me maintain my enthusiasm when discouragement almost won. It further added to my mantra that “This Isn’t It”.
14. As an author, what are your favorite books or movies that inspire self improvement?
I love Sarah Jakes, her book “Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life” is such an amazing book. Her writing and ministry just truly touches me and has helped me grow. I also recommend that everyone read “The People Factor” & “The iFactor” both written by my pastor, Pastor Vandable H. Moody II. There are so many great books out there but those are just a few. I also love the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” and “War Room”; both of those will do exactly what you allow them to do. For me, they both gave me a better perspective on things. Sometimes that’s really the answer, a fresh new perspective.
15. KAE is a clothing brand that was created to promote the message of "kindness above everything". Do you agree with this message?
I totally agree with this message. Jesus was kind, He was kind above everything. It costs us nothing to be kind. Even when we disagree or honestly don’t like someone or something, I believe it does us all well to be willing to grow to the level of understanding that we have more power over things than we sometimes feel and believe. When we choose to be kind, even when it’s the very last thing our flesh wants to do, something happens. Things change, if not around us, within us. That’s something that has helped me grow as a woman.
16. How important is kindness to self and towards others?
Wow, kindness to yourself is like the foundation to a structure, it’s what holds you up; it’s what helps you stand when others come against you with unkindness. It allows you to know who you are and embrace it. I spent so much time being mean to myself and it took me to places I never want to visit again, low places. I think once you realize the importance of being good to yourself, you’ve learned one of life’s golden lessons. It’s ultimately what allows you to genuinely be good to others. Being kind to others is what saved us all. That’s really it. That example was set for us by God intentionally and was meant to be followed in order to live our best life.
17. What about KAE's message resonates with you?
The fact that it holds kindness about everything. I liken kindness to love, God is love. God is just and KIND. It’s something great to remember when we are tempted to not act in kindness because of something in particular. It’s kindness above EVERYTHING, so it in a way gets you all the way together when you try to come up with a good excuse for different reaction, really and truly kindness wins, even when it’s not the easiest thing to be.
18. What's the last kind thing you've done?
I gave to someone else when really and truly I didn’t have a lot myself but I would do it again. I WILL do it again.
19. With all the hateful and divisive headlines in the news, what would you suggest to someone who is feeling helpless and discouraged? How can they remain kind?
I would encourage them to trust God. It sounds cliché, but if you have ever done this then you know that what comes on the other side of that is beautiful. You can’t always change the way others think and feel, but you can control how you react to it. KAE, kindness above everything. I think it is wise that we detach ourselves for a while and see what’s really happening, we are becoming more and more divided meaning being divided will be what most people fall into, meaning the hardest thing to orchestrate will be unity. I say take the harder word and be the change you want to see, if you want unity then promote it, encourage it, but also understand that there will always be bad people, there will always be bad things happening until Jesus makes His return, so in the meantime pray for those who have callous and broken hearts just as much as you pray for those you love and adore. Just be a light. Shine your light.
20. What do you want your legacy to be?
THIS ISN’T IT. I want my legacy to be a ministry that helps women heal and live their best life because life on the other side of healing is amazing and I want everyone to experience this. I am grateful to be a vessel and I want this to continue long after Curtrice Lynnette Williams takes her last breath. I want women to continue to revive who they are within and be encouraged by my transparency.
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