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Hair removal can be… awkward, to discuss. Lucky for you, nothing’s off the table here. That’s why this post provides the ultimate rundown of hair removal—the history of it, the 8 most common techniques along with their directions, pros/cons & science-based explanations.

Why Does Understanding Hair Removal Matter?

Because whether you’re a hair-removal regular or have never shaved your legs before, it’s essential that you’re aware of what’s out there and what’s best for you. Why? Using the a hair removal product that isn’t best for your body can have consequences. Misusing the perfect product or using improper technique also has consequences. And with a good foundation of knowledge about the different techniques and methods for hair removal out there, these issues will be a problem of the past.

On a more technical side, hair removal does not matter. Not anymore, at least. Most of us will agree that we can do with our bodies what we please. Yet female hair removal’s controversial debate seems not to go away.

It’s 2021, ladies. Whether you want to shave your legs or never trim a piece of hair again, that is your choice to make, and you are free to do so.

I’ll still love you. I shave because I want to, for myself. I like the feeling. Never because a man told me to. Pray for the man that ever does. Hair removal is entirely optional. Please don’t do it unless you, and you alone, decide to do so, for whatever reason.

With that in mind, get your pen and paper ready! It’s time for your crash course on hair removal.

The History of Hair Removal

According to the Women’s Museum of California, “the first razors were used in Egypt and India around 3000 BCE. Upper-class Roman women of the sixth century BCE used tweezers, pumice stones, and depilatories to achieve the desired degree of hairlessness. Egyptians of Cleopatra’s time used a sugar mixture in a method similar to Waxing.”

“The modern era of hair removal may have been encouraged by Charles Darwin’s 1871 book, Descent of Man, through the popularization of his theories of natural selection. That is, homo sapiens have less body hair than his/her antecedents because fewer hairy mates were more sexually attractive.”

“Body hair became a question of competitive selection. By the early 1900s, upper- and middle-class white American women associated smooth skin with desirable femininity.”

photo of people s legs
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

What Are The Different Hair Removal Techniques?

There are 8 techniques most commonly used for hair removal: Shaving, Waxing, Depilatory Creams, Sugaring, Tweezing, Threading, Epilation, & Laser Epilation.

I. Shaving

A sharp blade (razor) cuts the part of your hair follicle that sticks out of the skin.

Two types of razors are effective at removing female body hair. There’s the good old standard razor or a fancier electric one.

The traditional razor is most common to shave the legs, arms, and underarms. Generally, the electric razor is more common for men and facial hair. Still, it also works well to trim your pubic region.

How to Shave Properly:

  1. Wet both the area to be shaved & the razor.
  2. Apply an even, thick coat of shaving cream over the area.
  3. Slowly and carefully place the razor on the skin and stroke upward against* hair growth direction—no need to press firmly.
  4. After every couple of strokes, remember to the razor because stroking will fill it with cream and stubble.
  5. Once you’ve finished, rinse your legs, store your razor in a clean place
  6. Dry area and moisturize.

*Except for the pubic area, where you want to shave along the hair growth path. 

Pros of Shaving: 

  • It’s essentially painless, quick, and the most common form of hair removal.

Cons of Shaving: 

  • Because the hair isn’t pulled out from the root, the hair will regrow pretty soon.
  • Also, there’s the risk of razor burns and cuts if you slip or are a bit sloppy with your shave.

Tips for Shaving:

  • Don’t share your razor.
  • Use a clean, new one as much as possible.
  • Before shaving, exfoliate the areas you plan on shaving.
  • After shaving, apply lotion or an after-shave spray to areas.

II. Depilatory Creams

A moment of silence, everyone. Because if these aren’t G-d’s work, I don’t know what is!

By breaking down the bonds in hair, depilatory creams allow hair to be easily removed from the skin. Many people use them to remove hair on both their bodies and face.

How to use Depilatory Creams:

  1. Apply an even layer of cream over the hairs, fully covering them.
  2. Leave the cream to get to work for at least 5 minutes, then test a small area to see if the hair comes away easily.
  3. If it doesn’t, wait another minute or two. Do not exceed 15 minutes of application.
  4. Rinse your skin thoroughly with water to ensure all cream has been removed, then dry.

Pros of Depilatory Creams:

  • They are magic.
  • They do not hurt in the slightest.
  • They are so much easier than any of the other methods mentioned here for hair removal.
  • No need to visit a professional; you can do it yourself.

Cons of Depilatory Creams:

  • Sometimes, they can STINK. I mean, bad. Like, before you apply it, open a window and prepare the Febreze.
  • They can sting if you get some cream on places you shouldn’t, like if you’re applying it down there or if you leave it on for too long.

Tips for Depilatory Creams:

  • Please read the directions on the bottle carefully, then reread them.
  • Wear disposable gloves when applying the cream! (Keep your hands clean and odor-free).
  • Buy body part-specific creams (i.e., don’t use Legs & Body Cream for your Upper Lip.)

No matter what shape or size you are, you should feel confident in your own skin.

III. Waxing

Waxing is the hair removal process from the root by using a covering of sticky wax to stick to body hair, then removing this cover and pulling out the hair from the follicle.

There are two types of wax: hard wax (aka “strip-less wax,” usually warm) and soft wax (aka “strip wax,” either warm or cold). Typically, hard waxes hurt less than soft waxes.

How to Wax: 

  1. Spread the wax over the area you want to remove hair from, placing the wax in a direction mimicking the hair’s growth pattern.
  2. Either put a strip of cloth or paper (soft wax only) on top. For hard wax, wait for the wax to dry – you don’t need to use any material.
  3. From here, you pull the paper/cloth (or hard wax) off your skin, towards the hair growth’s opposite direction. So, if your hair grows downward and a little to the left, then you’d want to pull off upwards and a little to the right. Make sure you pull the paper, cloth, or hard wax opposite the hair growth direction.
  4. You’ll know you did it right when you see the entire strand, including the follicle, on the wax strip.

Pros of Waxing: 

  • Results can last up to 6 weeks!
  • You don’t have to worry about nicks, razor burns, or cuts. 
  • Also, the more regularly you wax, the more delicate and thin the hair is that regrows!

Cons of Waxing: 

  • It f***ing hurts.
  • You have to grow your hair out long enough (aka, not shave in between treatments) for it to work.
  • It can be costly if done by a professional.

Tips for Waxing:

  • Go to a professional for (at least) your first wax experience.
  • Make sure your appointment is on a day not close to your period. (The closer you are to the monthly Mother Nature call, the higher your odds of feeling discomfort from the wax.)
  • About 30 minutes before your wax, an over-the-counter pain reliever (like Advil) may help with the pain. Speak with your doctor first.

IV. Sugaring

Sugaring removes body hair by quickly pulling the hair from the root, similar to waxing. The “wax” is made with different ingredients: lemon, water, and sugar, hence the name.  The ingredients are all heated together until it reaches a candy-like consistency. Once it cools, it’s applied directly to the skin.

How is Sugaring different from Waxing?

Besides the ingredients, Sugaring paste is applied to the skin in the opposite direction of hair growth. It’s then removed in the order of hair growth in quick, small pulls. Because the sugar only exfoliates the surface of the skin, it can be reapplied multiple times to the same area of skin.

Waxing is much more methodical. Both hard and soft wax mixtures are applied in the same direction as hair growth. Once the substance cools and slightly hardens, it’s removed in the opposite direction of hair growth.

Pros of Sugaring:

  • Some people favor sugar pastes because they’re made with fewer, more transparent ingredients. In contrast, wax can contain additives that upset more sensitive skin types.

Cons of Sugaring:

  • While Sugaring is a gentler process, sometimes people need that extra power from the traditional wax (especially those with thicker hair). Suppose Sugaring cannot extract coarser hair cleanly from the root. In that case, it might lead to hair breakage and ingrown, in addition to faster regrowth.

Tips for Sugaring:

  • Analyze the type of hair you have before booking an appointment, and decide whether Sugaring is an effective method. Generally, if your hair is on the thinner side, the answer is likely yes.
  • Like with Waxing, be sure to schedule your appointment away from your period and get the service professionally done.

V. Tweezing

The process of removing/plucking hair by mechanically pulling the item from the body with tweezers.

Pros of Tweezing:

  • It lasts much longer than shaving.
  • Helpful in shaping eyebrows and removing stray hairs on the face and body.
  • Easy to do on your own.

Cons of Tweezing:

  • Slower and more painful than shaving.
  • Risk of infection if tweezers are not properly cleaned.

Tips for Tweezing:

  • Tweeze only your facial hair (concentrate on eyebrows)
  • Clean your tweezers with alcohol before and after use
  • Use on a clean face or body part; remove makeup and lotion.
  • Please don’t overdo it! You can always go back later and remove more.

VI. Threading

In threading, a thin cotton or polyester thread is doubled, then twisted. It is then rolled over areas of unwanted hair, plucking the hair at the follicle level. Unlike tweezing, where single hairs are pulled out one at a time, threading can remove short hair rows.

Threading is a very natural way of removing the hair from the root. It only adheres to the hair and not the skin and gives a cleaner residue-free finish, and it’s not as abrasive. Threading is most commonly done around the face, less commonly on the body.

Pros of Threading:

  • Great results. Your eyebrows will thank you.
  • Fast. An average appointment takes about 15 minutes.
  • No ingrown hairs. It is much gentler than Waxing and easy on sensitive skin.
  • An all-natural procedure that uses no chemicals,

Cons of Threading:

  • Like shaving, threading removes hair only from the surface, which means it must be repeated regularly (usually monthly).
  • Pain. Depending on the threader’s skill and your skin’s sensitivity, it may be a painful experience.
  • Hard to do yourself.

Tips for Threading:

  • Go to a professional.
  • After threading, apply Aloe to the areas.
  • Don’t apply mascara until after the appointment (depending on your pain tolerance, expect a tear or two).

VII. Epilation

Epilation, by definition, is the removal of hair by pulling it from the roots. Technically, Waxing and threading are considered epilation. But don’t get confused! What I’m referring to is epilation via epilator use.

What is an Epilator?

https://www.amazon.com/Remington-Coverage-Epilator-Electric-EP7010E/dp/B00CX9EXOA

An epilator works similar to Waxing in that it removes hair by the roots. But an epilator doesn’t use wax. Instead, it plucks away hair as you move the device over different parts of your body.

There are two options: a dry epilator, which you can use without water, and a wet epilator, which provides the convenience of removing hair while in the bath or shower.

How to Use an Epilator:

For the best results, exfoliate your skin before using an epilator. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and can prevent ingrown hairs.

Begin by positioning the epilator at a 90-degree angle to your skin. Don’t press the device against your skin. Instead, hold it loosely against your skin. Pull your skin taut, and then slowly move the epilator in the direction of hair growth.

If you move the epilator opposite the direction of hair growth, you’ll cut the hair at the skin, but you won’t remove it from the root.

Pros of Epilator:

  • You’ll get smoother skin.
  • The results may last longer than most other hair removal methods like shaving, depilatory creams, or tweezing.
  • You can expect smooth skin for up to 4 weeks. 
  • May result in less body hair over time. With this method, hair grows back softer and more delicate. Hair may even regrow at a slower rate. The longer you epilate, the less hair you’ll notice on certain parts of your body.
  • Epilators can be used on hair from different areas of your body, including arms, legs, pubic area, and even your face.
  • No need to visit a professional – you can do it yourself.

Cons of Epilator:

  • Pain is a drawback of epilation. But if you’re able to deal with discomfort, the results may outweigh this negative.
  • If you go too fast or move the device against the direction of hair growth, you may break the hair rather than pull it out from the root. These shorter, broken strands may become ingrown or infected.

Tips for Epilation:

Last but not least,

VIII. Laser Epilation

Aka “Laser Hair Removal,” laser epilation is a medical procedure that uses a concentrated beam of light (laser) to remove unwanted hair. During laser hair removal, a laser emits a light absorbed by the pigment (melanin) in the hair.

Pros of Laser:

  • “Permanent” results – the long-term, stable reduction in the number of hairs regrowing after the treatment regime
  • What gets better than that?

Cons of Laser:

  • It takes a long time until complete, and you can see results (up to 12 weeks, or 5-6 visits to the doctor’s office).
  • Varying effectiveness with varying skin tones.
  • Painful.
  • Expensive.

Tips for Laser:

  • Because we’re in lockdown, consider investing in an “at-home do-it-yourself” treatment like this. Of course, they aren’t exactly 100% the same laser treatment you’d get at an office. That’s why you can buy them online and not have a doctor present), but they still work!

Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you can rest assured that you now have the foundations of each hair removal method and feel more confident about your next hair removal experience! I wish you luck in trying the best one for you.

Don’t be afraid to test out a few (or all) of them. The Hair Care section of CVS is now yours to conquer or help out someone! If you have any questions, let me know in the comments as usual.

For more reads, check out this article on how to prevent breakouts from your mask.

8 Steps to Mastering Virtual Meetings

By Posted on 0 Comments 4 min read 82 views

Working from home means virtual meetings. These days, with platforms like Zoom enabling conferences, seminars, office hours, even lecture all online, knowing how to successfully attend virtual meetings is more important than ever.

Regardless of whether you’re a student or a full-time company executive, preparation for an excellent virtual meeting is the same. Keep reading for some pointers that will help you understand how to conquer your virtual meetings. 

1. Wear appropriate attire from the waist up.

One of the benefits of #WFH is that we can get away with wearing sweatpants during a work meeting, class, or whatever it may be. (Of course, don’t make the mistake of standing up and revealing this secret to others.)

Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the top half of our bodies. If you’re in a more formal meeting, try wearing a polished, proper top, blouse, or sweater. That’ll give off the impression that you’re serious about the meeting, despite it being online.

Pro-tip: collared necklines and blazers look great on Zoom.

2. Apply some light mascara, lip gloss, and powder/concealer.

Of course, these things are optional – but recommended. With the camera’s focus on your face and neck, a little makeup and jewelry will go a long way towards making you appear more polished and put-together. Now, the key is that less is more.

I’m not advocating for a full face of foundation, contour, eyeshadow, red lipstick, and winged eyeliner for these virtual meetings. After all, you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing makeup at all.

Pro-tip: keep the makeup low-key.

3. Know how to work the virtual platform.

This means figuring out all the tech stuff before the meeting begins. If you don’t know how to mute your microphone, turn off your camera, share your screen, etc., spend a few extra minutes sorting out these details so that your meeting can go as smoothly as possible.

Pro-tip: always mute your microphone when you aren’t speaking.

4. Look at the camera to make “eye-contact.”

It’s well known that eye contact is fantastic for the psyche. Good eye contact equates to confidence, trust, engagement, curiosity, respect for yourself and the other person. Since we’re all looking at a screen these days, the new way to make eye contact is to look at the camera.

According to Business Insider, “whether or not other people make eye contact with us changes the way that we think about them and their feelings. For example, we are more likely to remember faces with which we’ve experienced mutual gaze, and we consider displays of anger and joy to be more intense when shown by a person making eye contact.” 

Pro-tip: hide your “self-view” if you tend to look at yourself and not at the camera.

5. Be mindful of your facial expressions.

Virtual meetings are not the time for RBF. As I’ve stated before, the focus is all on your face with these virtual meetings. Be extra aware of the facial expressions you’re displaying. If you feel bored or uninterested, it will show unless you make it a point to look otherwise. 

Pro-tip: nod now and then, and smile periodically. You may be engaged, and you may be in a pleasant mood, but it’s harder to tell when we’re all behind the screen. Show this with your facial movements and gestures!

6. Prepare your background, lighting, and surroundings.

Unfortunately, there is no point in following steps 1-5 above if your background is sloppy. With virtual meetings, one needs to pay careful attention to their environment. Are you revealing an unmade bed? A pile of laundry off to the side? The sound of your kids’ playing with Legos behind you (cute, but not professional)?

If so, do what you have to do to make the setting as non-distracting and professional as possible. The best setup is generally a simple (white) wall next to a window. That way, you’ll get natural lighting from the sun, and your background will not distract from your face.

Lastly, gently remind anyone in the proximity of your upcoming meeting and to keep their noise level as low as possible. (Perhaps it’s worth investing in noise-proof earbuds if you find yourself unable to hear the discussion clearly due to your environment.)

Pro-tip: if you are stuck with a messy background, try using a high-quality virtual background instead.

7. Get enough sleep.

Eye bags are a natural part of life, but the best treatment to feel and look well-rested is sleep! People are different, but most generally require 6 to 9 hours of quality sleep. Make sure to hit the hay early enough the night before your meeting so you can showcase your best self – physically and mentally. Your body will thank you! 

Pro-tip: check out this article on self-care.

8. Be present.

Try refraining from browsing Pinterest, scrolling on Tumblr, or taking any Buzzfeed quizzes during your virtual meeting. I repeat: try NOT to take these insanely awesome quizzes while you’re in your discussion (:P). In all seriousness, it really can wait until after the meeting is over.

Not only is it self-evident when someone’s on Facebook instead of giving their full attention to the meeting, but it’s also not a great look. As harmless as it may be, it can come off as offensive or rude to whoever is speaking at that moment, as well as to your fellow virtual attendees.

Pro-tip: keep your phone away from you if you don’t need it for the meeting, and avoid opening up Safari or Google Chrome in the first place

If you got this far, you’re definitely on the right track for having the most smooth, productive, and respectful virtual meetings. I wish you the best of luck with all of your endeavors, and remember to stay safe and healthy while working from home. We’re all in this together!

Thoughts or comments? Leave them down below!

For similar articles, check out this page.

Girl Boss Extraordinaire: Rupi Kaur

By Posted on 3 Comments 1 min read 60 views

Rupi Kaur is shaking the world of poetry. Although she might not be for everyone, she doesn’t claim or try to be – I love that. Whether you enjoy her poems or not, you’ve got to admit you’d never read anything like it before. Like a breath of fresh air, her art combines visuals and rhythm in a simplicity that rejuvenates our minds.

outlook – milk and honey

Ever since reading milk and honey, I was personally blown away by the amount of wisdom and magic in such a tiny poetry book. By the time I reached the last page, I was in love with Rupi’s writing style, life outlook, and strength. And couldn’t wait for more of her poems.

At just 21, Kaur has already published three poetry books that use repetition, consonance, and alliteration to stunning effect. She understands on a visceral level something elegant about the shapes of letters, making our ubiquitous Times New Roman font surprising again by playing with its roundness, its potential for contrast. It is no surprise that each of her books has earned New York Times Bestseller notoriety.

So, it is with overwhelming admiration for her genius that I share some of my favorite poems of hers with you readers today. Enjoy!

I know, right? I want more too.

Thanks, Rupi,

For more #GirlBoss, check out this article.

Sister Kenny: A Forgotten Medical Hero

By Posted on 0 Comments 5 min read 24 views

It’s time for a #GirlBoss story – one about an incredible self-trained nurse who discovered a new, less-invasive treatment for Polio around the time of WW1: Sister Kenny

But, before starting this inspiring story, let’s begin with a refresher of Polio for those who need a reminder:

Polio is a disabling and life-threatening disease that spreads from person to person and can infect a person’s spinal cord, causing paralysis. The disease caused more than 15,000 cases of paralysis a year in the U.S. It was the most feared disease of the 20th century that became prevalent exponentially around the time of WW1.

A child suffering from Infantile Paralysis learns to walk with the aid of a special support, 1947.
(George Konig/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

Fortunately, a vaccine was invented and administered in the 1960s. And since then, there has been a 90% reduction in the number of Polio cases worldwide. And no cases of Polio in the U.S. since the 1980s.

With that said, read on for the incredible story of Elizabeth Kenny.

Born in Australia in 1880, Ms. Kenny was a self-taught nurse in rural Australia. She portrayed immense skill in her job and was adored by most of those in her care. Once WW1 began, she worked as a British army nurse on troopships.

(Due to her exemplary work on these ships, she earned the title of ‘Sister” for her service. Thus, contrary to popular belief, Ms. Kenny was not, in fact, a nun.)

Sister Elizabeth Kenny

Around the time of WW1, Polio was rising around the world. Most of its victims were children and young adults. Severe cases meant fever and body aches that progressed to varying degrees of paralysis in just hours to days.

5-10% of paralyzed polio victims died, and as many as 50% suffered from persistent, partial paralysis.

The conventional treatment at the time, advocated by doctors and physical therapists, was immobilization. Polio victims were given splints or casts to restrict the affected limbs’ movement and prevent further deformity.

Child in a double Thomas splint with the head positioned with ‘blinkers’. Picture: Royal Children’s Hospital Archives

One night, Ms. Kenny was called to care for a child whose symptoms included contorted limbs and a stiffly curved spine. As a self-taught nurse who practiced most of her career in a rural Australian village, Ms. Kenny had not encountered such symptoms before. She sent a telegraph to her friend Dr. McDonnell, who lived in a nearby Australian community, for a diagnosis and guidance. The diagnosis of Polio was made by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brack via Dr. McDonnell, who, in his telegram reply, told Kenny to treat the symptoms as best she could. He didn’t provide her with any further direction.

Thus, in doing so, Sister Kenny began wrapping the child’s stiff limbs in hot, woolen sheets, hoping to relieve what she called ‘spasms.’ She sighed with relief when the treatment seemed to work: the child’s limbs straightened. Yet, she soon discovered that the child could not move his legs. She assumed that the child’s muscles have forgotten how to move on their own. In an attempt to ‘re-educate’ them, she began gently massaging and exercising the child’s paralyzed muscles, enabling passive movement. She also guided him with active coordination. Soon, the child benefitted from her treatment and achieved a miraculous, full recovery.

Sister Kenny demonstrates her revolutionary treatment for infantile paralysis.

After this patient encounter, she learned of five other similar cases in her town and administered the same technique to each diseased child. Almost inexplicably, they all recovered to the same extent as the first child. Kenny was able to cure all her cases to the point of the children being able to walk unaided.

Ironically, Sister Kenny was unaware of her immense discovery. It was not until she decided to visit her friend Dr. McDonnell that she learned about the recent Polio outbreak and its ‘proper’ treatment. Polio victims were generally treated by immobilization of the affected muscles, which requires splints, braces, and aids to assist in walking.

Ms. Kenny was shocked. She informed her friend of the six Polio-infected children that she had treated to full recovery and how she did so by mobilizing their limbs, not immobilizing them.

Elizabeth Kenny Papers, Minnesota Historical Society

Of course, in realizing what Ms. Kenny has accomplished, Dr. McDonnell immediately takes her to see a colleague of his – an orthopedic specialist named Dr. Brack – at a local hospital.

When Brack hears her story, he quickly disregarded it as nonsense, fiction, impossible. He claimed that the children that she ‘cured’ must not have been suffering from Polio in the first place. Dr. Brack refuses to allow Elizabeth to demonstrate or treat acute cases in his hospital to fear the patients’ safety and well-being.

As Elizabeth begins to be convinced by Dr. McDonnell that she has discovered a new, more effective treatment for Polio, she begins to butt heads with Dr. Brack. Brack is convinced that she is a quack, primarily because she is not a physician, let alone not one specializing in orthopedics. Dr. Brack ultimately convinced the same to the entire orthopedics community in Australia and continued to be ridiculed.
Despite this, Sister Kenny fought back. She opened up her clinic to gain notoriety and further prove her point.

Elizabeth Kenny lecturing a group of physicians in a corridor of the Minneapolis General Hospital in 1942. Credit: Minnesota Historical Society

Ms. Kenny’s legacy still lives on. Not only was she a nurse questioning physicians’ authority, but she was also a woman – and a very outspoken one, with no problem challenging the overwhelmingly male medical profession. But most importantly, in my opinion, it was Ms. Kenny’s fierce adherence to what was observed at the bedside that holds the most relevance today.

She thought that she could see and feel muscles improve as she ministered to her patients. She saw her patients recover at rates she believed were much higher than those treated conservatively. Who needed clinical trials when the proof was right in front of her? Her doctor-friend wrote, “the empirical evidence embodied in her patients’ recovery proved her therapy worked.”

Elizabeth Kenny, a self-trained nurse, successfully treated polio with strengthening and flexibility exercises. Minneapolis’ Kenny neighborhood is named after her. September 1940. Courtesy of the Minneapolis Star

Was Ms. Kenny correct? It is debatable. Her emphasis on early mobilization has come to be a mainstay of polio treatment and physical therapy more broadly. Yet, some of her claims about the nature of the disease and how patients recovered were eventually proved wrong. And the successful development of a polio vaccine in the 1950s made these debates much less pressing.

Yet, in an era of evidence-based medicine and reliance on large-scale clinical trials involving thousands of patients, her emphasis on bedside clinical observation flourishes. Ms. Kenny once wrote, “[her opponents] have eyes, but they see not.”

For more #GirlBoss stories, check out this page