In this day in age, where social media is fast and people emerge and fade on the scene ever so quickly, I think it’s fair to say that we revere a lot of people without truly thinking if they are worth being praised over.
Yes, Cardi B is amazing and her success is inspiring, but if I had to put her on my list of people I absolutely need to meet while I am a part of this lifetime, I don’t think she would really be at the top of my list.
When it comes to what traits I look for in inspirational people I would love to meet, I think about people who have created success for themselves in spite of adversity, someone who has a list of life lessons they live by to get them through their doubts and insecurities, and someone who is authentically themselves. Essentially, I seek out people who will enlighten me for the better.
Here are seven influential people I would love to meet and why.
1. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah is seriously the OG of basically everything out here. I remember when I used to sit at home in front of my television when Oprah was the big thing on daytime television and be in awe of her while interviewing people with different backgrounds and stories.
As a young child and seeing a Black woman with such a huge empire on television and being so successful, it was so inspiring to see someone like myself. It gave me, and other little girls out there, hope for their future. Born in rural poverty, Oprah Winfrey “wore potato sacks because clothing did not always fit into the budget of her family.”
Her network an estimated $3 billion, Winfrey she spent her early years on a farm in rural Mississippi at her grandmother’s house where she was not only extremely poor but was a victim of sexual abuse as well.
Now, Winfrey dedicates her time to her “daughters” in Africa after founding a school for girls in 2007 and hosts the show that I find so enlightening, “Super Soul Sunday” where she often brings guests such as author Eckart Tolle, Marianne Williamson, and author Brene Brown.
Seeing how her amazing legacy has unfolded, I would love Ms. Winfrey to teach me a thing or two about everything she has endured in life and how she creates her own reality in spite of life’s challenges.
2. Iyanla Vanzant
I seriously need Miss Iyanla to come and fix my life right now right at this very moment. Listen, Iyanla Vanzant does not come to play and I am all here for it! I watch her show all the time and it amazes me how she can really get her guests to dig deep into their issues and the reasons why they are the way they are. If you are not seriously into the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Iyanla Fix my Life may not be the place for you.
On the show, the author and life coach gets into the heads of ordinary people and even celebrities, ensuring all of their deep-seated issues are brought to the table and let me tell you when I say she digs, she digs. You’ll probably leave one of her sessions feeling more naked and humble than ever.
I would love for someone to sit me down as a 20 something and tell me how to get my shit together for real. Sometimes, we simply need someone else to point out our flaws.
3. Yara Shahidi
If there was anyone in school you really should have envied, it shouldn’t have been the most popular girl in school, but someone like Yara Shahidi.
She is the hottest up and coming actress on the scene who has starred in “Blackish” and now stars in the young adult spinoff “Grownish.” Not only is she gorgeous, and totally not in a “trying too hard, let me be a sexpot because I have to” way, but she is SMART and unapologetically herself.
She is known as an activist for young people who want to shape the future, and she has aspirations of wanting to shape public policy.
I would love to have a seat with the 18-year-old beauty and intellect to really find out what drives her to be who she is. She is young and her life seems 80% more put together than mine, so I definitely need to meet her!
I have said this over and over again silently to myself, I have to meet Queen B before I die. I just have to. Just once, people. I honestly don’t even want to meet her for superficial reasons, I just want to have a conversation with this woman and seriously talk about her insane work ethic and what drives her to be the boss that she is.
The mom of three was apparently practicing 11 hours for rehearsals for Coachella. If that doesn’t sound like a woman who is absolutely dedicated to her craft, I don’t know what else is. I have been a Beyonce fan before all my baby teeth have come out and meeting her would honestly make my life complete. The end. #Beyhive forever.
5. Naomi Oni
She isn’t a celeb or anyone on the big screen, but as someone who watches documentaries religiously, Naomi Oni’s story is one I will personally never forget. The 25-year-old woman was the victim of a violent acid attack by her jealous friend in 2012. I watched her full documentary on BBC Three where I got to hear her story.
Watching it, I was stunned when I heard what she went through. On her way home from work one night in December, her friend who envied her looks planned the attack as a result of a fallout. She followed her from work dressed in a traditional Muslim ‘niqab’ to disguise herself and then threw a bottle of acid in Oni’s face.
The damage so severe to her to her face and her life changed so greatly, the young woman considered suicide. I would love to speak with her to see how she now lives knowing the scarring is permanent but still having the drive to go on and pursue her dreams.
6. Gary Vaynerchuk
If there is anyone who knows what it means to get your shit together, it’s this guy. Self-made and entrepreneur and founder of VaynerMedia, Vaynerchuk is the definition of absolutely no fucks given. He is known for his entrepreneurship and no bullshit advice on how to make shit actually happen for you in life. He’s said, “So many of you are so hungry for short-term games. You get to live life one time. I don’t
understand why people feed into losing mentality.”
Although is harsh truth may not be everyone’s cup of tea, he has inspired so millennials with his advice on life and the key to not wasting it. As a lost 20-something myself, his advice is more than valuable to me.
7. Michelle Obama
Wife to former President Barack Obama and mother of two incredibly well raised and intelligent young adult daughters, Michelle Obama is truly an example of a woman who is a representation of beauty, grace, humility, and intellect.
In one of her quotes she states, “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own. ”
As a Black woman who with courage and grace stepped into the White House with her family, amidst all of the racism I know she must have endured, it is inspiring to know that there is a Black woman out there who seems as smart as cool and I have needed that all my life.
I may never get to meet any of these people, but they have definitely impacted my life significantly and it takes someone else’s legacy, someone else’s story for you to look at your life and live it a little differently.