Empowerment Series: Award-Winning TV & Radio Personality, Actress in Prime’s “Harlem,” Co-Host of Bravo’s “Fashion Queens,” Bestselling Author, and Ted Talk Speaker, Bevy Smith Shares”Bevelations” with AW
I vividly remember the day, I turned 50 years old! We were in CoVid lockdown. My daughter was spending her senior year of high school at home and surprised me with delicious cupcakes. I had more than enough time for reflection. As I blew out my candle, all I could think about was getting older and pondering all the things I had not accomplished, yet.
Bevy Smith walked away from a successful career in fashion advertising to find her authentic and happiest self. By the age of 55, she was a well-known media celebrity, an Award-Winning Television and Radio Personality, Co-Host of Bravo’s “Fashion Queens,” Host of Sirius XM’s, Bevelations on Radio Andy, Ted Talk Speaker, and Bestselling Author of Bevelations: Lessons from a Mutha, Auntie, and Bestie. She has proven that life does not stop at any age. In fact, “It gets greater, later.”
AW sat down with the fabulous Bevy to discuss her journey, the pressures of staying young, being a late bloomer, self-love, self-worth, and living her best life. Her bevelations inspire millions all over the world. Hopefully, her story will be a reminder of what can happen when we let go of self-limiting beliefs.
As women, we have immense pressure to hold on to our youth for dear life! I felt a great deal of anxiety on my 50th birthday. Obsessing about all the things I had not done, fueling worries that I was running out of time. Having women like you, Angela Bassett, Taraji P. Henson, Jennifer Lopez, Halle Berry, and others have demonstrated we don’t cease to exist at 50, in fact, it’s when life really begins!
In an interview with Charlamagne the God, you talked about being a “late bloomer” and how you found your truest, happiest self later in life. We often settle into our lives out of fear and, instead, sit comfortably (or uncomfortably) in the status quo. What was your turning point, the moment you were awakened to the idea that there was more out there for you? It was a process, I wrote an essay about how I started feeling uncomfortable in my late 20s. In it, I shared with people, how I felt dissatisfied and like something was missing. At the age of 29, without the proper clarity and direction, I quit my job. The idea was to find out what I really, wanted to do. Then at Vibe Magazine, though I loved working there, the restlessness kept coming back. This time, it was so loud that I couldn’t ignore it. I knew something had to change but I didn’t do anything until I turned 38 years old.
When your spirit is restless and going through these emotions no one understands what you mean by”I am not happy.” It took 10 years for me to make a change. I blew up my life when I made the decision. I was hesitant, broke but blissful.
In your bestselling book, you discuss that part of the process of getting where you are today was asking yourself the right questions. I am referring to the “Red Sole Proposition.” I think it would be helpful for anyone on the journey of figuring out life. Can you share it with us? The “Red Sole Proposition” was born after quitting my gig. I had to re-establish myself in the new space. I started by asking myself three questions.
1. Who am I at my core?
2. How am I being perceived?
3. How would I like to be perceived?
These questions became the foundation for me, as I built my personal brand. I am “Little Brown Bevy.” I am curious, empathetic, and incredibly curious. I enjoy learning about people and always want to know the why of things, which makes me a good interviewer.
How am I being perceived? I was a bitchy person as a Fashion Executive. It was almost a compliment that I cultivated until I realized that it was useful in my career, not my personal life. There is a toxicity that comes with bitchiness. I did not want to continue being perceived that way. I wanted people to trust me and be able to talk to me. Today, the mother, auntie, and bestie show up much more, I accomplished my goal.
The “Red Sole Proposition” is really named after Christian Louboutin’s shoes. Once upon a time, there was no Christian Louboutins, there was Manolo Blahnik. Then Louboutins came along and everyone wanted them. What was the difference? The red-sole bottom. Now, I am asking others to ask themselves these questions and craft what their red sole is.
My red sole is my authenticity and empathy. I’m a teacher, guide, and mentor and they come through with all my work, helping to make me successful.
I very much enjoyed your TED talk, “How to Discover Yourself at Any Age.” How do you define yourself today? What would you say to “Little Brown Bevy” as you have referred to yourself, about the importance of finding self-love and self-worth? There is no sense of permanency in life. We are forever evolving, changing, and morphing, even if we don’t know it or want it. At this moment, I am a caregiver. My mom had two strokes and now lives with me. I am 56 years old, single, and take care of her. It has been a really exhausting but rewarding journey to be there for my mother and care for her the way she has for me.
I’d say to Little Brown Bevy: “You may not have children but you will be a mother and a mothering spirit to many people, including your mother.”
Life is a journey and never easy. You have been open about your hardships. When I experience tough moments, I read, listen, watch, or write something inspirational. How do you push yourself out of these low moments and keep the positive energy flowing? Don’t be afraid to ask for help. My most significant gift is that I am not scared to ask for help. There are so many people who stand on pride and are lost, exhausted, and drained with nothing left but will not ask for help. I also take time for myself. I take it. I treasure my time, protect it, and don’t feel guilty about not doing things that don’t fit into what is healthiest for me.
What is next for Bevy Smith? Right now, I am in the space of “I want for nothing.” It is exhausting to always be chasing something. I am tired this season. I’d like to rest and let things come to me. I have many accolades and successes. For me, it means I have done the work to align myself with what is next. I will rest, pray, and manifest.
I like to end interviews with a message, quote, mantra, and advice to inspire others on their journey. What can you say to anyone who is feeling like it is too late to find their truest self? My motto, as you know is “It gets greater later.” I live by it, it’s a constant reminder to keep going and never, ever give up. No one can dictate what the future is going to look like. You chart your own course. Do not give up your freedom and intuition about things. As you get older, your intuition gets stronger, if you are blessed. Don’t run from it. The best is yet to come.
AW is grateful to Bevy for being a guest and sharing her wisdom with us. I’m sure you will be inspired by her story and go write the next chapter of your own.
I worry about age, spending too much thinking about getting older makes me sad, at times. While turning 50 was a milestone, it also gave me the reality check, I needed. In my youth, I took time for granted, feeling invincible at every turn. As seasons changed, the carefree attitudes of the past, no longer applied. I began pondering what would be the next thing. The truth is none of us knows what the future holds but what I can say is that I am working to make each day count. Having women like Bevy encourages me to believe that life stops when I do.
It is never too late to pursue what makes you happy and create a life that honors you. I hope by sharing these stories you grab life by the horns, go for the gusto, and never stop trying!
To learn more about Bevy, visit bevysmith.com. You can also find her on Instagram and Twitter as @bevysmith. Listen to Bevelations on Radio Andy, Channel 102 on Monday through Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. and Fridays at 5:00 p.m.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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