March 6, 2024

Maya Angelou on what it means to be Truly Glamorous.

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We do not wake up every morning feeling beautiful.

Strong.

Capable.

Glamorous.

Some days, we wake up with barely enough energy to get out of bed and tackle the day ahead of us.

Some days, feeling or looking beautiful is the last thing on our minds. We’re just hoping we can show up for ourselves and others.

Some days, glamour is washing our face or taking a shower or brushing our teeth or putting on clean, comfy clothes or eating a meal that nourishes us, because that’s all we’re able to manage.

And that can be frustrating when we want to give more. When we feel like we should be giving more. When we are used to seeing ourselves one way but the reflection in the mirror starts to look different.

There is a quote from Maya Angelou that hangs on the vision board in my closet. I look at it most mornings when I’m getting dressed as a way to ground me:

“That’s glamour. Saying I want to be as beautiful as I can be to myself first and to anybody else who has enough sense to see me.”

I googled the quote the other day to verify it so I could use it in this article, and realized that it was actually part of a longer quote from Angelou’s 2009 Glamour Women of the Year speech.

The whole speech is beyond inspiring, and a testament to how Angelou lived each day of her life, but there are a few lines before the aforementioned quote that truly define what glamour means—and how we can achieve it each day:

“I know that many people think that glamour is superficial.

It’s just a surface of things. Powder, a little rouge.

No.

Glamour is profound. Glamour said I have enough responsibility to take responsibility for myself and the time and the spaces I occupy.

That’s glamour. Saying I want to be as beautiful as I can be to myself first and to anybody else who has enough sense to see me.”

When it comes right down to it, glamour is about radical personal responsibility and self-love. And some days, glamour doesn’t feel glamorous at all—it’s hard and messy and goes so much deeper than what we see in the mirror.

It’s about how we step into the world on the days when we don’t feel beautiful, strong, or capable. And that’s something we can choose every day.

Watch Angelou’s full speech below:

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