Happy Thursday!! I found myself reading through this article in Cosmo while I was getting my hair done earlier and I thought It was some really great advice that I wanted to pass along. It's so important to get involved with things you're interested in. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! XO, Erica
How I Became a Co-Host on Fox News
TV personality and former model Kimberly Guilfoyle shares her best career advice for young women.
Kimberly Guilfoyle, currently the co-host of the Fox News shows Outnumbered and The Five, attributes much of her success to the way she was raised. "My mother taught me early on not to be afraid to put myself out there — especially as a woman," Guilfoyle says. "She raised me to believe that anything a guy could do, I could do better." At 45, she's been a model (notably for the Victoria's Secret catalog), an assistant district attorney in Los Angeles and San Francisco, an anchor on Court TV, and a legal analyst for ABC News and CNN. Guilfoyle spoke with Cosmo for Latinas about how she got to where she is now.
Your mom was born in Puerto Rico. How did your Puerto Rican heritage influence the way you approach life and your career?
When my mom, Mercedes, and her younger sister, Juanita, first came from Puerto Rico, they were the youngest in the family. They had to jump into a new community and really learn English, assimilate, and adapt — and I saw that. I grew up in that community. My mother, oddly enough, really wanted to pursue a career in law, but at the time she had children and was working as a teacher. Being a teacher enabled her to be at home and really raise us in the way that she wanted. I really feel that I've carried on my mother's legacy. She had such a passion for justice. She was always working and doing outreach with groups that had been disenfranchised or underrepresented communities. We used to do a lot of volunteer work at Indian reservations. I grew up in the mission district in San Francisco, which was largely Hispanic at the time. I was raised in a household that was really welcoming to diversity and encouraging about different people's viewpoints and ideas and backgrounds. I think that helped me in law as a prosecutor and working with such a diverse background in terms of working with defense, working with the victims of crime — I understand people in these communities. It even helped to prepare me for when I was first lady of San Francisco. [Guilfoyle's ex-husband is former San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom.] I knew those communities and neighborhoods. I knew the streets that everybody lived on because I [grew] up in that town.
Have you faced adversity because of your gender or ethnicity?
So far I think my reputation and my abilities have put to rest any doubts that one might have about me, about my background, about where I come from, or even my gender. I think it's been more of an issue of being a woman in a hard-charging field, like being a prosecutor, working with victims of violent crimes, working with gang units, working with homicide prosecutors. I have been in a very tough world where a lot of men are involved in these groups and these jobs. You really have to prove yourself and prove your worth. I didn't come from family that had been here for generations and had all these connections. What I've had to do was struggle and put myself through hard work. I still feel like I've got to prove myself.
How did your work as a model fit into all of this?
I knew I wanted to go to law school, and I wanted to have the funds to do so, so when I was in college at UC Davis, I had three jobs: I was working at the district attorney's office as an intern, I worked at the clothing store Clothestime, and I was modeling and doing different jobs in and around San Francisco and Sacramento. I was able to meet a tremendous [number] of interesting people through modeling, and I really learned a lot about self-confidence and self-esteem. I learned how to cue into my own autonomy as a woman. I don't have any regrets about all of the jobs in the different fields that I've worked in.
You have to share your point of view every day on TV. Were you always so comfortable sharing your opinion publicly?
I'll tell you a story: When I was in the second grade, I really wanted to play soccer, but there was no girls' soccer team at my school. So [my mother] met with the coach and said, "Please let Kimberly try out to play with the boys, but don't just take her because I'm asking you; take her if she's good enough. All I ask is that you give her a chance, make the exception, and make it an option for other girls." Well, I got the tryout, and I made the team. I really saw my mom advocate on my behalf and really say, "Hey, you're good enough." It was from her that I learned that just because something hasn't been done before, it doesn't mean it can't be done now. You have to speak up and you've got to assert yourself because it takes somebody to be the first one to make it happen.
So how did you reach out to someone new regarding an opportunity?
What I think you need to do is be aware and be your own best advocate. Get on the Internet, do your research, and find a group that you might be able to get involved with. Take advantage of some of these mentoring programs — there are plenty of them, especially within corporations where you can be assigned and hooked up with somebody who can guide you on your career path. You can't be shy about it. I would say, "Hey, do you know somebody who is in this field that I may be able to talk to and get some experience?" Trust me, it was a long time before I got a paycheck. It was life experience and work that was well worth it. The important thing is, you must give back. As good as you've been given, you must do for others as well. Somebody helped you. Who can you help too?
What is your advice to Latinas who want to stand out in their careers?
The one message I always send to young people is: Don't be afraid to try different things to see what feels right and what's a good fit. Then once you're in, if an opportunity presents itself, don't be afraid to go through that door and explore and see if it's something you could become excited about or that you go to bed at night and wake up in the morning and feel good about. If you do, then you know you're on the right track. And specifically for the Latinas out there, my advice would be: Be proud. Be strong. Be vocal. Go after it.