Written + Edited by Chelsea DuDeVoire
It has been three months and some change since I had the idea for Babes Who Hustle while climbing out of my car and walking toward a Smoothie King during a lunch break. I stopped dead in my tracks in the sweltering Jacksonville sun in deep thought before reaching for my phone to text my (hustlin’ babe of a) roommate to ask if she thought it was stupid. When she said it was a genius idea, I ran with it. And I’m still running.
You might think that the conception of this thing included a long process of thinking, drafting, intentional networking and planning. If you know me IRL though, you’d probably guess that within 48 hours, BWH was thought up, created, and launched. You would be right.
I created BWH during the heat of the presidential election when work was slow, my brain was constantly racing, and a lot of my downtime included spiraling into the abyss of horribly depressing news coverage and/or in order to keep my mind occupied, reading up on the blogs of women I admire. After reaching my at-work breaking point one too many times due to lack of a creative outlet, I knew I wanted (needed) to make something of my own.
Here’s another truth bomb, if you will: I am totally winging this thing. And I want everyone to know it.
I don’t really know where, why or how it came to be that we have all been conditioned to walk around pretending we have it all together. I’ve spent a lot of this life wondering why we all put on a Face; why it is so hard for us to be open, empathetic and vulnerable about what is going on inside the hearts and minds of one another. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to push the boundaries of those things in my work and in my daily life, so why not drag BWH into the mix?
Today, I want to talk about the things you might not see behind the scenes of a Babe who hustles. I want to talk about the uncomfortable shit that we all (for reasons I still don’t understand) hide from one another in order to achieve some type of social status that isn’t even really there because it’s derived from a bunch of false portrayals of who we actually are as people. I want to talk about these things because I think it is so important to reflect regularly on the fact that we are all just fucking human and most of us are trying our best. We’re all hustling for one reason or another, but a lot of who we actually are as people – with brains, and personalities, and life experiences – goes unseen. We spend so much of our time envying others, and the lives that they curate on the social platforms we spend all of our time staring at when really, it’s just a teeny, tiny fraction of who they are as people. But why?!
I became inspired to write all of this today after I found myself sitting in my car at lunchtime (a common theme of inspiration for me, I suppose) with my windows down, watching as a middle-aged woman climbed into the car next to me as her friend yelled from across the parking lot, “You’ve got this girl. Knock ‘em dead!” I couldn’t help but reflect on the fact that two older, Southern (see: North Carolina license plates) women could be so encouraging to one another on a normal day for no reason. And I don’t know whether to smile or cry that such a tiny, innocent exchange was so inspiring to me.
The thing is, there are so many details that I’m leaving out of this scenario. I’m leaving out the fact that it was 1:00pm on a Thursday and I was sitting in the Moe’s parking lot, alone, scrambling to apply mascara and some lip balm. I’m leaving out the fact that I was doing this so that I’d be comfortable walking inside carrying an ounce of dignity to order my Kids burrito and queso, before heading back to the office (where everyone else had already seen me and regularly sees me, without makeup?) I’m leaving out the fact that I didn’t see how oily my face was all day until I caught my forehead in the car mirror. I’m leaving out the part that I was (and currently am) covered in remnants from a new sweater that I just bought and haven’t washed yet, so there are tiny little hair-like remnants stuck to my khaki pants and also my underarms (thanks, Target.) I’m leaving out the part that throughout all of this, I was (and am) slightly hungover from an event I attended last night.
This was 20 minutes of my life, sans-Facebook, sans-Instagram, sans-BWH, where I was fully human – a 24 year-old hungover adult who works in Corporate America, runs a blog, eats Moe’s, has an oily forehead, and is covered in sweater remnants. I’m more than likely going to skip my workout tonight – again. I eat from the office candy jar excessively often. I get late-afternoon migraines if I don’t have coffee throughout the day. I unknowingly ate a weed cookie a few Mondays ago and thought I was having a psychotic break. And *gasp* -- I take antidepressants to keep myself from getting too sad, compulsive, and in-my-own-head about things, as well as to help me from turning into an actual monster when I’m on my period.
I think one of the main reasons I’m posting this today is because I have seen a constant pattern of Babes whom I admire being too intimidated to get involved with the BWH mission because they’re “not doing anything in comparison” to Babes that have been featured so far. But what I think people are refusing to accept is that we’re all trying so hard to show each other the most well-respected versions of ourselves whenever we have the chance. We're not actually getting what we're seeing.
I have tried, since day one of launching this thing, to stay as humble and transparent as I possibly can. And no matter how far this thing goes, I want you [all] to hold me accountable for that. I’m sick of seeing all of these beautifully curated brands that are actually made up of miserable people on the other of the screen. BWH is a safe space where I hope to see strong women taking pride in who they are – the good, the bad, and the oily. I’m here for all of it, and I hope that’s okay with you. If not – there’s always VSCO.
Chelsea DuDeVoire is the Founder + CEO here at Babes Who Hustle. A one-woman show for now, she started this blog as a passion project and is grateful beyond belief for the collaborative community of strong women around the world that BWH has rapidly grown into.