Maven to Know: AISHA ROSE, Founder, The Strength of SHE
Aisha Rose is a mother, creative, writer, entrepreneur, and marketer. Originally from Gary, Indiana, she moved to Indianapolis almost 11 years ago to attend Butler University (Go Dawgs!) and currently resides in the Eagle Creek area with her two-year-old son, Tristan.
Aisha, 29, has seven years of experience in the marketing industry and has worked for several local non-profits (and is a member of the Indy Maven Editorial Board). Helping people is at the core of almost everything she does. When she isn’t engulfed in her work, she’s often posting meal ideas and cooking on her Instagram stories, watching “Toy Story” for the hundredth time with Tristan, or dancing in her favorite cardio classes at the YMCA.
You wear a lot of hats, so to speak—what words of advice do you have for women who have taken on more than ever before in recent months?
Give yourself grace. I can’t say this enough. As women, when we take on new roles—especially motherhood—while working full-time or trying to manage a business, it can be easy to feel like you have something to prove. You don’t! We want to show people that we can juggle it all and that we are the same person we were before but in reality we aren’t. You’ve changed, your life has expanded and the universe around you will have to adjust to that. It will and you will be just fine.
When juggling all of those roles gets to be too much, what do you do for self-care?
I do what feels good and right for me. On some days, that can be burning incense and candles while listening to mellow music and writing. Other days, that can be pushing through the stress of the day and going to the YMCA at 7 o’clock at night for my favorite cardio class. I also truly enjoy cooking and making something that is not only healthy but satisfying to me. So I may put on a face mask and start dinner while dancing to Drake. That’s my self-care, doing things I truly enjoy and that make me happy.
Tell us about The Strength of SHE. How did you get started? What is your mission?
I started The Strength of SHE based on a dream I had. I saw so many women gathering and being empowered by each other, but also having content that was tailored to them as black women. I started putting the plans together for the blog and team the next day, had a team in place the next week, a photo shoot the week after that, and the blog launched the next month! It moved fast but I was on a mission to see it happen and to learn more about where it would go and what it would become. The mission is to empower women of color to live better. We encourage women to be well, be loved, and be you.
“We believe that in order for a woman to have the life she truly wants and desires, she has to make a conscious effort in being well, being loved well, loving herself, and also being her authentic self. These three layers are important to building a life that is satisfying and happy.”
What does it mean to you to empower women of color to live better?
We believe that in order for a woman to have the life she truly wants and desires, she has to make a conscious effort in being well, being loved well, loving herself, and also being her authentic self. These three layers are important to building a life that is satisfying and happy. The layers all point toward taking care of yourself, which as women of color especially, we don’t always do that. We are often taking care of someone else, nurturing someone else, and caring for others—even when they don’t deserve it from us. However, we deserve to give that to ourselves.
You’ve been asked to bring three of the most interesting women you can think of in Indianapolis to a dinner party. Who do you bring?
Oh, this is a hard one! Of course I would bring my teammates, Jennifer and Tyra from The Strength of SHE with me! However, if that’s a given and I am allowed three other guests, I would bring Sierra from EclecticKurves, Martina from Drea & Co, and Starla Kay Mathis. These are my go-to ladies when it comes to attending local events and parties. They bring fun energy and are a bit more extroverted than me, so they can handle small talk but they are also all about fashion and love food and fun cocktails as much as I do!
On your blog you share a story about how as a high school student you had a column in your local paper, The Gary Post-Tribune, that was pulled because it was considered too controversial for discussing topics such as discrimination, violence in the LGBTQ community, and keeping your city safe and clean. How did that experience shape you as a writer?
This taught me at a very young age that there will be people who will try to silence me. They wouldn’t want my voice to be heard because it would be difficult for them to read the truth and my truth. I had a difficult experience in college as well and was wrongfully fired from the newspaper staff. These experiences did nothing but fuel me to continue to write, share my experiences, and the stories of others. I know this is largely a part of my life’s purpose, so I embrace it and always approach my writing from the most naked and transparent space that I can. I believe that people are only reached, impacted, seen, touched, and healed if I do so and I don’t have the right to rob them of that.
The Strength of SHE expanded to include merchandise, publishing, a podcast and local events. What’s next for the brand? For you?
The Strength of SHE is definitely in a development space right now. This summer marks the five-year anniversary of our blog launch and we’ve learned a lot since then as we’ve added additional channels. There are things we love to do and others not so much. We had so many exciting events planned for the year and of course that has all been changed due to the pandemic. So right now we are embracing that space, reflecting on the lessons, and nailing down what we will continue for the next years to come.
As for me, I relaunched my personal site after becoming a mother and divorcing this past year. It has truly been a healing space for me. So much so that I created a book called “The Healing Journal” to help others. I’m excited to continue to be my authentic self in this space and share stories that many can relate to and feel seen by.
Leslie Bailey is co-founder, CEO, an editor-in-chief of Indy Maven.