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Luvvie Ajayi Jones in the Miller stretch-plaid dickey jacket and Ryleigh slim-straight jean; all photographs by TKTK

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#MAKEITHAPPEN

Luvvie Ajayi Jones, Author & Speaker

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Imposter syndrome—it's something most, if not all, women have experienced. This self-hating idea of doubting ourselves despite our achievements, often led by fear, needs to be fought—and we happen to know someone who can help. Meet Luvvie Ajayi Jones, author of New York Times best-seller, I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual. Believe it or not, even this accomplished writer was once nervous to call herself one.

"My greatest challenge was being afraid to call myself a writer, because I didn’t think I measured up to that title," says Ajayi Jones, who started her career 18 years ago with her blog, AwesomelyLuvvie.com. "I thought only prolific folks like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde could call themselves WRITER because it felt like such a big title and I was afraid to fail."

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Today, Ajayi Jones has another instant NYT best-seller under her belt, Professional-Troublemaker: The Fear-Fighter Manual. It addresses the topic of imposter syndrome—with humor, honesty, and practical tips. Ajayi Jones' bright and warm approach manages to motivate and inspire women like no other—just have a listen to her TED talk, "Get comfortable with being uncomfortable," which has amassed more than 7.5 million views. Her work as a culture critic and activist will challenge and uplift you, whether it's through her writing, podcast, or public speaking events.

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Here, we chat with this dynamic woman on how she makes it all happen—from what got her started to the mover and shaker she admires most.

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my hustle

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My hustle…
Is to make people feel joy, make them think critically, and compel them to take action that leaves this world better than they found it.

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What got me started…
I started blogging 18 years ago as a college freshman and never stopped. I didn’t consider it anything but a hobby so it gave me the practice of speaking hard truths out loud, without presence. It led me to recognize my purpose, which is to use my words to elevate the rooms I’m in.

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What clears my head…
Music and writing

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When in doubt, I…
Pray, and remind myself who and whose I am.

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Greatest challenge—and how I overcame it…
My greatest challenge was being afraid to call myself a writer because I didn’t think I measured up to that title. I thought only prolific folks like Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde could call themselves WRITER because it felt like such a big title and I was afraid to fail. How I overcame that fear was that I kept finding myself in rooms with people who were WRITERS, and I ran out of excuses to not call myself one. It was like God was waiting for the moment that I owned my purpose to open a lot of doors for me.

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HOW I MAKE IT HAPPEN

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3 morning musts…
1. Quick prayer
2. Checking emails (yes, I admit it)
3. Checking in with Mr. Jones, my husband

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3 life hacks…
1. Be reliable.
2. Be truthful.
3. Be committed to growing.

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3 secret work weapons
1. To-do lists (without them, I don’t focus).
2. Google Calendar (because it runs my life).
3. DropBox (because I need to always have access to my files, no matter what device I’m on).

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Personal talisman…
A gold ring that my grandmother gave me. I always have it on my right hand.

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Best advice received…
“Underpromise and overdeliver.”

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my style

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Favorite wardrobe hack...
I love throwing on a fedora or turban. Hats and headwear are such a good way to accessorize your outfit.

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Wardrobe MVP...
A well-tailored blazer is a MUST because it can dress up anything. It’s an instant win.

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What I would tell my younger self about getting dressed...
Younger me and me today actually have a similar style. There’s a picture of me when I was 5, wearing a fedora and red lipstick with my dress. I’m, like, WE’VE BEEN AT THIS. So, yeah, I’d tell younger me: Keep going. You’re looking FLY as ever!

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Wearing Veronica Beard makes me feel...
Badass. Truly. It’s so dope to know you look AMAZING because the clothes you have on FIT, were made with women like me in mind and all of it comes effortlessly.

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My Recharge

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What I'm reading/listening to/binging…
I listen to sound-therapy playlists, honestly. It is so soothing! I feel like I’m at the spa, even if I’m at my desk. Sometimes, I even go to sleep with them playing.

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Beauty/self-care must-haves…
I always need a good red lipstick. It is the way I put on makeup even without putting anything else on my face. I think every woman needs to find a RED that makes her feel invincible.

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Favorite thing to do…
I love a good 90-minute to 2-hour massage. My goodness. It’s during that time that my brain slows down and I truly relax. It’s actually in my budget to get a massage at least once a month.

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Favorite thing to make…
I love making great words that become great books.

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One mover and shaker I admire…
Fawn Weaver. She’s the CEO and President of Uncle Nearest, a premium whiskey brand that is purpose-based before profit. As a leader, a legacy builder, and a fierce woman, she really does inspire me endlessly.

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Shop the Look

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SHOP NOW, clockwise from top left:

Miller Dickey Jacket

Lauren Tee

Tizi Sneaker

Ryleigh Jean

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Discover more on VB Edit

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