Yesterday I told you guys about this phenomenal event with the Women at Zynga. It was so good I couldn’t write about it all in one newsletter. First I wrote about how inspired I was by Phuong Phillips, Zynga’s chief legal officer.
Today I want to talk about another panelist Rebecca Covington Webber, a phenomenal Broadway actress currently starring in Hamilton. She described herself as a girl from Kentucky with a dream who just kept pushing on that dream. She talked about the level of faith that took—given when she would watch the Tony Awards she didn’t see any African-American women. “That was really hard for me, because I’m like, ‘How do I do what I love [while] looking how I look and being who I am?'” she said. And at the college she went to in the South, she was the first black person to graduate in that program—full stop. She moved to New York after that and straight up hustled.
She talked about one of her earliest Broadway rejections. She called her mom devastated and her mom told her, “You are so much more than what you do.” That was her advice for everyone in the room, and it’s frankly advice Silicon Valley could stand to internalize.
In the greenroom, we got into a discussion about how I was the only one not wearing heels. Phuong had these killer spikey, strappy things that she was relieved she’d only have on for an hour or so max. Uh, normal women aren’t allowed to b*tch. Rebecca has to wear heels with a revolving stage for an entire act. They are custom made and so I said, “Do they hurt?” and she looked at me as if that were the dumbest question anyone has ever asked. OF COURSE THEY HURT.
She gets to wear flats the second act, but her arches are so conditioned to the heels it almost hurts worse.
“How do you do two shows a day?” Phuong asked. Although we all kinda know how, right? She’s a badass. Women have ferocious stamina when they need to. But her answer was more interesting and knocked me back a bit. “Our jobs are all about self-care when we aren’t on stage,” she explained. That includes physical therapy, that includes working out, that includes not eating stuff that will make you bloat and not fit in a corset. It’s the way professional athletes talk about their conditioning.
I know I don’t have the physical requirements Rebecca does in my day-to-day job, but I thought, “Why don’t I have that mantra? Why don’t I think more about the self-care I have to do to perform my best day in and day out?”
I felt like she was giving me permission.
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Has anyone tried “nesting”?
- I’m having a hard first trimester and don’t want my boss to know I’m pregnant. How do I explain the puking and exhaustion?