Hey ladies! Tell me a little bit about YOU. Who you are, where you’re from and what do you do? Is this your “dream job”?
Rina: Hello! We are Rina Belanger and Angie Guzzardo – and together we make up the Backroad Divas! Angela resides in Trenton, Michigan and I recently moved to Monroe. We travel the country seeking out the most amazing vintage treasures we can find. Then we haul them all back up here to our brick and mortar in Wyandotte – The Vintage Market Home. We also sell our goods at The Vintage Market – a traveling pop-up Vintage Market (that we created about five years ago) which features over 150 other creative, like-minded, talented curators and makers. I would say this is most definitely a dream job for the both of us. I get to travel the nation, treasure hunt, and DECORATE – all with one of my best friends!
Mirriam-Webster defines “confident” as “having or showing assurance and self-reliance”. What does “confident” mean to you?
Rina and Angie: “Confident” means always believing in yourself – even when no one else does. Knowing who you are and not letting anyone else take away from that or change who you are. Standing up for everything you believe in and never apologizing for being you. Being able to walk away from anyone who discourages you. Just simply being true to yourself and loving yourself for who you truly are.
Have you always been confident ? Can you give me an example of a time in your life that confidence/self-esteem was a challenge for you?
Angie: Well, high school can be tough for any woman. You’re finding yourself and trying to figure out who you are. I feel like we’ve all had times where self-esteem and confidence was hard to muster.
Rina: I was bullied in high school, my freshman year, by older girls. It was tough. But I always told myself – they were the one with issues, not me. They had problems they were clearly working through and needed to take out their insecurities on someone. Unfortunately, I was that someone. But I had a great group of friends who loved me and stood up for me. Those mean girls eventually graduated and I got to enjoy the rest of my high school career. Later in life, some of those girls eventually even ended up apologizing to me. Some closure was nice.
What helped you to eventually grow into a place of confidence and self-love?
Rina: Letting go. Letting go of what you think you “should” act like, how you “should” dress, what you “should” look like. Why do we care so much about what others think? Personally, I just try to be myself. I may be loud, I may be boisterous, I may be goofy. But I’m just me. Thats all I can do – and once you do that, you’ll be much happier.
What do you think makes it so hard for women to love themselves and really own who they are?
Rina: Fear of judgement. I think too many women are afraid to truly be themselves because they fear that others may judge them. Women are harsh critics.
Angie: And immaturity too. When you’re younger you haven’t found yourself yet, you aren’t confident in who you are. When you grow up, things like that matter a little less.
We all face challenges that maybe put our confidence/self-esteem on the line. What challenges do you sometimes face and how do you deal with them to bring yourself back to feeling good about you?
As women in business, we are often confronted by others in our industry. Sometimes they reach out to us and demand we change things to accommodate their needs and wants – because of their own insecurities. We receive messages quite often. We always respond professionally and respectfully. We stay in our own lane, keep our heads down, and work on growing our business into what we dream it can become. Quite often, when we don’t bend who we are for the sake of others, we are literally called names by grown adults. “Child”, “bitch”, “angry woman”, “sweetheart” (in the worst way) just to name a few. Why is a strong woman immediately referred to as a bitch? We will always be true to ourselves, no matter what. We don’t let others change how we feel – or what we do for our business – no matter what they throw at us. It becomes motivation, honestly. We work harder. We get better. We grow.
Is there someone in your early life that was an important role model for you? Someone that you viewed as being confident and really living “who they are”? Is there someone in your life now that you look up to as a role model? Who were/are these people and what qualities in them do you admire?
Angie: My Mom. She was always confident in whatever she was doing – and she did it all by herself. She always told me “not to take shit from anyone, to always stand up for myself” – but in the most respectful way.
Rina: I would say the same. My mom raised me into the strong woman I am today. And also, my best friend Ashley. I admire her. She is who she is and she never apologizes.
Girls/women can be rough on each other. So many times we are faced with pure ugliness from women we know and sometimes women we don’t know! Pettiness. Jealousy. Talkin’ smack. Usually I try very hard to stick with the thought process of “it’s not about me…it’s more about them” but still, it can cut deeply. Have you ever had to deal with this – whether in your business life or personal – and how did you face it?
Rina and Angie: I bet all women have dealt with this at all times in their lives. It doesn’t matter what age you are. The only thing you can do is rise above it – change your mentality. Don’t give in to the pettiness. Be supportive. We are all about other boss babes and empowering them – cheering on your friends and even people you don’t know – encouragement! You get what you put there. This is 2019. Strong women shouldn’t have time for this bullshit anymore, so remove it from your life.
What do you do when your own confidence/self-esteem need a boost? Got any tricks? Do you rely on yourself for that or do you reach out?
Angie: Talk to your girlfriends – to other women who support you. Be open about your thoughts and struggles. You’ll be surprised at how quickly this will help.
Rina: Ditto. I like to grab my bff and go shopping!! Before you know it, we are laughing and I’m forgetting about anything that upset me in the first place. Surround yourself with people who support you and you’ll always be happy.
On a personal note…..I think BOTH of you have given me those pep talks on multiple occassions! Thanks for that. 😉
At what point in your life did you finally begin accepting everything about YOU and start living your best, most authentic life? When did you finally decide that you were ready to let the world really know your badass self? Some of us have that light bulb moment…..some of us need a lot of lessons and a learning curve. Which was it for you?
Angie: It was a combination of two things – getting into my 40’s and when I had a child. I learned there were more important things to care about than what other people say or think about you.
Rina: I’ve always been myself. I was always a little out there, even when I was young. The only difference is – I couldn’t care less now what people think. Maybe in high school I was a little more conscious about things I said, what I did, how people perceived me… but now, as I get older, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am living my best life… and if anyone has a problem with that… goodbye.
Last question! What do you feel your biggest life lesson and your biggest personal accomplishment is at this point in your life?
Angie: Well, my biggest accomplishment is raising a young man who is respectful to women (and all others), who is kind, and who is himself. He makes me so proud.
Ang……you forgot to mention his love of animals!
Rina: And in the business, our biggest life lesson is “stay true to you”. Don’t let others detour you. And rise above the negativity.
If you’re true to who you are – you will always be happy.
(I personally think that’s the BEST statement ever!)
You guys can follow along with Angie and Rina on their social channels!
The Backroad Divas on Instagram
The Backroad Divas on Facebook
The Vintage Market LLC on Instagram
The Vintage Market Home on Instagram
The Vintage Market LLC on Facebook
The Vintage Market Home on Facebook