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SI Swim rookie Achieng Agutu, who was named a co-winner of last year’s Swim Search didn’t get to where she is today (and as confident as she is today) without a self-love mantra or two. We caught up with the open-casting-call alum, who grew up in Kenya and now lives in New York City, as she shared all the quotes and affirmations she lives by, why they are powerful and how those words have shaped her.
The self-proclaimed “tantalizing confidence queen” uses her platform to encourage all women to be unapologetically themselves and step into their power.
Today, she’s giving her gift of confidence to readers and encouraging fans to look in the mirror and shower themselves with positive, empowering messages.
Michaela Coel’s Emmy Awards Speech
British actress Michaela Coel received became the first Black woman to win an Emmy award for best writing in a limited series or anthology in 2021, when she was honored for outstanding writing for a limited or anthology series or movie for her work on HBO’s I May Destroy You.
“I dare you. In a world that entices us to browse through the lives of others to help us better determine how we feel about ourselves, and to in turn feel the need to be constantly visible, for visibility these days seems to somehow equate to success—do not be afraid to disappear. From it. From us. For a while. And see what comes to you in the silence,” Coel said on stage.
Her speech immediately went viral and struck a chord around the world for people who live in an increasingly digital world. Agutu also was moved by Coel’s words.
“I feel like [society revolves around] hustle culture. You gotta be doing this. You gotta be doing that. You gotta be here and there. And you’re seeing other people on socials doing something and you’re like, ‘Dang, I gotta be doing that too,’” Agutu explains. “I love the idea of [not being] afraid to be in silence or be with your thoughts or be by yourself and see what comes from that silence. I just think that’s beautiful.”
Just be weirder, no one cares
“I just want people to be weirder and to be more themselves. I think you have one life on this earth, and you have to do things that make you excited,” the Queen’s Archives podcast host says. “Something that I learned very early is that random people really don’t really care about you or what’s going on in your life. Everybody’s just living in their own world. And so, if you can just start living in your own world and figure out what that looks like to you—whether that is wearing something that makes you feel really good or going out in a bikini, people will stare, because you look so good, girl. You have one life and you deserve to live it to the fullest and my biggest hope is that you don’t spend it hiding yourself because you’re afraid of what people will think because people will have opinions of whatever and everything but then their lives will move on and so will yours and so.”
She knows that life is too short to have fear and regrets, and living as if you are “the baddest b—- that has ever walked this land since Queen Nefertiti,” is the best way to thrive.
Favorite Confidence-boosting books
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
“That one helped me through a lot of heartbreak,” she admits. “It was really beautiful.”
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson
“That’s a great, great read,” Agutu says.
Women Who Think Too Much: How to Break Free of Overthinking and Reclaim Your Life by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema
“I’m a recovering over-thinker, and I feel like it’s just fun and helpful,” she shares.
Join us next week, as Agutu talks building and maintaining confidence in the digital age.