We partnered with Aerie for this OKREAL panel featuring CEO and Cultural Changemaker Jess Weiner. Amy spoke with Jess about confidence, how to stay true to who you are, and the micro-moments of bravery that happen behind closed doors.


“I grew up in a time where there was a limited amount of media, and I never saw girls who looked like me or had stories like my friends. I wanted to know who was making those decisions. Curiosity led me to figure out a career that combines working with brands and businesses on changing the way we tell stories about women and girls.”


“I discovered in myself a power to build a career out of questioning media systems, school systems, and cultural systems—all the things that can hold us back. I know how important it is to see yourself represented, and I know how important it is for business. Representation gives us permission to see people differently and it can become a lifeline.”


“Confidence is like a muscle that you have to exercise. It’s about a set of experiences and tools that you cultivate over time. The myth about confidence is that you either have it or you don’t. I think the other myth is that once you have it, it lasts the rest of your life—when really, confidence is an ongoing relationship you have with yourself.”


“Empowerment is the next evolution of confidence. Are you empowered to share and use your voice not just for yourself, but for the people around you?”


“Courage or bravery is about facing a fear, looking at it, understanding it, and doing it anyway. We’ve glamorized fearlessness because it’s power talk. Feeling fear is somehow seen as failing, when that’s not true. You have to know what it feels like to be terrified, fail, and screw up so that you can figure out how to get back up and do your thing again.”


“Bravery is all of those micro moments that nobody sees. They are not glamorous, and nobody sits around and applauds you for them, but they are what build and fortify you.”


“There are issues that choose you. You do not get to choose them. These issues and how you handle them will become imperative to your life. All of those moments that we run from and think are our dark side—those are actually our pathways to the light. That’s where the real stuff gets born.”


“Be patient and give yourself permission to experience the world in its fullness. This means that you’re not always going to be happy, and that sometimes things won’t go the way that you want them to. Get more in flow. Let yourself be delighted with how life unfolds. Stop trying to micromanage everything.”


“I’m not advocating for us to hop off our phones the whole time, but I am advocating that we figure out who we are without that hamster wheel of comparison.”


“What I’m trying to practice is more self dignity. The way I’m going to practice that is by treating other people in a dignified manner as well as myself, because I’m terrible to myself at times. If I’m practicing compassion toward somebody else, I know that I’m building that muscle for myself.”


“Sometimes you learn that the things you thought were so important—or the approval from people you were seeking for so long— just doesn’t sustain you anymore.”


Headshot-Jess-Weiner Jess Weiner
CEO and Cultural Changemaker

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