Being a woman working in Hollywood has its challenges. I started working in the entertainment industry when I was just 18 years-old and I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I worked for Steve Harvey when I first started and one of his first lectures he gave me was to stay away from men in the industry. He told me he wanted to look out for me and he didn’t want to see me hurt. I didn’t ask him why I just listened. Soon after a big celebrity with a #1 song came to the radio station for an interview on our show and after his interview he asked to take me out. I immediately told him no and that I didn’t date in the industry. He laughed and I walked to my office to grab something while he stayed and mingled with the morning show team in the studio. I really didn’t have to get anything from my office but I didn’t know what to do to get me out of that awkward situation. Once he was ready to leave one of my duties was to escort the celebrities to the elevator and thank them for attending the show so that’s exactly what I planned on doing. As he exited the studio he handed me his cd single and he told me to look inside and I opened the cd case and there was his number written with a black sharpie and exactly at that moment Steve Harvey walked out of the studio and he gave me the look a dad gives his daughter when he’s disappointed. I told the celebrity that I was not interested and that he might have cost me my job and I really needed my job.
Although I was upset I escorted him to the elevator and I gave him his cd back. I trusted Steve and I knew he wanted what was best for me and aside from loving my job I really needed it. Once I returned to the studio I talked to Steve during one of the commercial breaks and I apologized and I told him what happened. I also told Steve’s bodyguards what happened and that I was sad because I didn’t feel my male co-workers had to deal with what women did and I told them I didn’t want to lose my job. Steve’s bodyguards were like my uncles and they gave me great advice and they said they would help me out. From that moment on I never had to deal with a situation like that again in the studio! I’m not sure what the bodyguards would tell the male celebrities but it worked!
Years later once I started my publicity company and I was around 26 I had an experience I wouldn’t wish on any young female entrepreneur. I was in New York for a business trip to meet with one of my clients who owns a huge company and he’s extremely wealthy. He’s about 20 years older than I am and I loved working with him because he taught me a lot. Prior to this meeting I had met his wife and children in LA and they seemed incredibly happy. During my trip in New York he wanted to take me to dinner after our meetings and I agreed thinking nothing of it. I’ve had dinner with almost all of my clients and we typically continue to discuss business or we discuss life in general. This dinner was a lot different. I could see that he was interested in me and he made advances. I tried to politely tell him that I was not interested because he was married and I respect marriage and he told me that his wife didn’t mind. I told him that was fine but I did mind. I wanted the night to end so I didn’t order anything else as I was starting to feel uncomfortable. We finished dinner and he drove me to my hotel. In the car he asked if he could come upstairs with me to give me a massage and I told him no. I repeated that I was not interested in dealing with a married man and I tried to say it in the kindest way because I enjoyed working with him. Finally we got to my hotel and I got out and headed to my room. The next day I got a call from his assistant saying they no longer needed my services. I felt devastated! I was a huge asset to his company but because I wouldn’t sleep with him none of that mattered. When that happened I remembered what Steve Harvey and his bodyguards told me years prior and it all made sense.
It’s been 8 years since then and when I meet with men who want to do business with me I make it clear that I do not date in the industry. Despite this I’ve still had scary situations where I’ve had something put into my drink. Sadly when some older men want to have sex with a younger woman and they feel they can’t they resort to ungodly methods to get what they want! I’m grateful that God has always protected me. Some women have not been so lucky and for them we should all pray and hope they heal.
Women in the entertainment industry and in business in general have to deal with so much! For a long time when I went to meetings with men I would wear clothing that wouldn’t show off my figure and I wouldn’t do my hair/makeup in a flattering way because I wanted them to focus on business instead of sex but I stopped doing that because I realized that didn’t empower me. I should be able to wear whatever I want without fearing that someone is going to disrespect or hurt me!
When these type of things happen we MUST speak out so that the men who do this STOP. If no one speaks out they will assume their behavior is ok. I wrote this article to empower women to share their stories because in sharing your stories you will release the pain. Living with pain is terrible and it’s something we don’t deserve because of someone else’s actions. Take your power back today and speak your truth!