Dr. Wendy Osefo, PhD , Professor at John Hopkins University & Political Commentator
How'd you get into the industry you're in?
I broke into television industry in an interesting way. My big break actually comes from writing. I penned an article as soon as Donald Trump was elected titled “Donald Trump did not win, Hatred did.” It went viral and people invited to speak on it and discuss the 2016 elections. My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since.
What’s interesting before he got elected I actually had done television before, but the article was my big break. It was just me speaking from a very honest and vulnerable place.
What woman has inspired you throughout your life?
It sounds so cliché, but definitely my mom. My mom came to this country relatively young, she even went to college here. I actually went to her college graduation. The way that she has just climbed the ladder and I’ve seen every professional success that she has achieved. She is def my number one inspiration and confirms that no matter where you come from whether you’re in a country that loves you or hates you, you’re going to make it.
I also now believe that I’m now drawing a lot to women that are mothers. I was reading this article with Cardi B. where she said she asked Offset, do you think I should keep the baby? Is it going to ruin my career? To see someone at that height questioning motherhood and career. Imagine what It does to normal people.
The more we’re able to see working mothers and make it normal, the more we’re able to teach generations to come that you don’t have to choose between career or family, you can have both.
What's one of the biggest challenges you've had and what lesson did you learn from it?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve had is being authentic and being me. You come to a field, especially an aesthetically driven field like the media. You see what everyone before you looks like, what everyone before you dresses like and what everyone before you talks like. I struggled with whether to follow the path before me or just to be authentic in who I am. I’m a professor, but I curse a lot, I listen to trap music and I don’t pronounce every word correctly because I was born in Nigeria. The older I get the more confident I get in who I am. When you see me on television, that’s the real me.
That has been my biggest struggle, deciding whether I can be successful being who I am or deciding if I have to charter the same path that everyone else has. That’s also me being a brown skin girl, me wearing stiletto nails, a red lip and not just a nude lip on tv, that’s me wearing 24-inch extensions and not having shoulder length hair that seems more professional. If I can be successful being who I am, that sets a tone for other women that they don’t have to be someone else to be successful, they can be themselves.
Why do you think having a village of friends who supports you is important?
You have to have people to hype you and you have to have people to check you. The beauty of having a village of friends is that they’re people who have your best interest at heart. I call my friends my board, they’re my board of directors. They’re people I can go to at different junctures in my life and ask them advice, they’re all so different. I pull strength from them in different ways and they’re always there to uplift me when I need it.
What are your favorite ways to self-care?
One is going to the gym. I take out all of my stress on the treadmill and I also just signed up for a monthly massage. What some may fail to realize is that in this industry it’s hard to completely unplug, because of the industry I’m in I have to know everything that’s going on. The other piece is that I’m really a music person, because of my childhood I can hear a song from 30 years ago and tell you exactly where I was. Music is the soundtrack of my life, I always decompress by listening to music.
What do you love most about D.C.?
I think the beauty of D.C. is that there’s nothing that you can desire, that you cannot find. Whether it’s a type of food, type of entertainment or even the weather. D.C. gives you everything. It’s one of those places that you can get lost in the city, but you also find yourself.
What's your ultimate goal career wise?
I’d love to have my own show. My made it moment would be if I had my own show.
What do you want your legacy to be?
She did it her way, didn’t take no for an answer and brought as many through the door with her as she could.