The word “diva” doesn’t have the best connotation. It’s often used as an elegant, tactful, refined alternative to “bitch.” Divas are lambasted for their nasty attitudes, their ridiculous demands, their lack of humility, their inability to play well with others…but I take another perspective on divas. A true diva is a woman who is talented and is determined to be successful, and if someone gets in the way of that, their wrath knows no bounds. Divas also possess a set of traits that I think every woman should have in her arsenal. In honor of Whitney Houston’s birthday, I would like to offer some advice on being the best diva you can be.
1. Find your talent and own it.
Everyone has a talent. Whether it’s singing, dancing, writing, being a leader, giving great advice, etc. Everyone has at least one thing that they excel at. Once you find it, hone it. Dedicate a significant amount of your time to improving it. Take pride in it. Make it a part of your identity.
2. Don’t be afraid to get a little cocky.
Arrogance is generally not lauded in our society, but sometimes mere confidence is not enough. Whether you’re interviewing for a job, or making the best impression you can to your professors, the ability to effectively sell yourself relies on having (or at least projecting) high self esteem. That doesn’t mean you need to make every interaction with someone all about how fabulous you are, but when the opportunity arises, don’t be afraid to toot your own horn.
3. Stand up for yourself.
In life, we encounter people who don’t appreciate us. Who treat us with a complete and utter lack of respect. Who take advantage of us. Or who merely lack basic etiquette. While “rising above it” is a perfectly valid option, I am also a strong proponent of letting people know when they’re being inappropriate. Whether it’s something as simple as an “Excuse me?” when someone plays cutsies in the soft-serve ice cream line or whether it means calling out that moocher who is always asking for your notes, or whether it’s asking your internship supervisor for more responsibility besides fulfilling Starbucks orders. Having your own best interests at heart is a crucial life skill.
4. Develop a signature style.
How you present yourself to the world aesthetically is important. Whether you prefer preppy, classic, trendy, edgy, bohemian, or mens’ inspired clothing (or a fierce combination of any/all of the above), create a personal style that you feel comfortable and attractive in, one that reflects your personality. Being stylish doesn’t mean being cookie-cutter or fitting into conventional beauty standards (sup, Lady Gaga). But people are visual, and part of leaving a stronpositive impression is presenting yourself to the world in the best light.
5. Surround yourself with good people.
No one can succeed alone. We all need friends and a mentor. Friends for support, for company when you want to binge eat ice cream and watch Love Actually over and over again. People who celebrate your successes with you, but aren’t afraid to keep you in check when you’re making poor decisions (like that 8th tequila shot or the guy with the girlfriend). Everyone also needs to have that older, wiser, experienced figure to go to in life for advice, perspective and guidance. Stay away from people who are manipulative, self-destructive or otherwise toxic. If you find yourself more concerned about your backstabbing frenemy or your loser boyfriend than you are about the people who are there for you, re-evaluate your relationships, because you are probably wasting time on people who are unworthy.
6. Be informed.
Ignorance is not attractive. We live in such a plugged-in world that there is no reason why you shouldn’t be up to date on the latest current events. Instead of playing that game of Fruit Ninja, cruise over to CNN (or CollegeCandy) to check out the latest headlines. There are few things more awkward than trying to talk to someone about the debt ceiling or the latest natural disaster and being met with a blank, clueless stare. Intelligence and the ability to look outside of your own bubble are so very necessary.
7. Love thyself.
The greatest love affair you’ll ever have is the one you start with yourself. At the end of the day, you can’t depend on validation from anyone else but you. So look at the life you’re leading, at the choices you’re making, at the person you’re becoming. Are you happy? Are you proud? If not, think about the things you feel you need to work on, and make improving yourself a priority. No one is perfect. No one can ever be perfect. But we can all make better versions of ourselves, and that’s what a diva is all about – being the best person she can be, for both herself and for the world.
Check out some of our favorite divas ever right here: