The Female Empowerment Series: Natalie Stavola
In honor of Women's History Month, we sat down with Actor, Life & Dating Coach Natalie Stavola for an intimate interview on female empowerment and what this means to a professional relationship specialist in our current times.
What does female empowerment mean to you?
I think a lot of people can hear this and have very strong reactions to it. Female empowerment means healing from the things that hurt us, so we no longer project our wounds on others.
When we heal, we start to undo the programming of what society says a female should be, or what unhealed men or unhealed women say a female should be. When I take back my power, and I start to own and accept me, suddenly I am able to see the women around me more clearly. I can love you more and uplift you more without jealousy, shame, anger or manipulation or competition because I love you the way I love myself now. In other words, female empowerment to me means leading with love and authenticity.
Which women are you inspired by? Who are your role models?
Jamie Lee Curtis. Did you see her support for Michelle Yeoh at the Golden Globes? My heart melted. It gave me so much hope for more females being there for each other instead of in competition with each other.
Viola Davis - she is fire. Pure and simple. She is authentic, honest and so incredible. She owns her voice, she speaks up. She inspires me to continue to do the same and that you do not have to dim your light or your truth to play ball. I love her. Marianne Williamson, Toni Morrison, their work and words have helped me through some of my darkest times. Maya Angelou - writer, poet, and activist. I connected with her work so much, especially during the times I couldn’t speak up for myself or didn’t know who I was so I would just believe whatever others told me. Her words gave me strength.
What advice would you give your younger self or to young girls looking up to you?
Get around the people who empower you and don’t put you down or laugh at you or make you feel bad. Yes, be around people who hold you accountable if and when you do something hurtful to yourself or others, but stay with the ones and focus on the ones that feel safe to be around and are good people.
Don’t punish yourself for the things you did when you were in survival mode and had to just… survive. You needed to keep yourself safe. Focus on creating safety now and to heal.
Healing is our responsibility so that when good things and good people come into our lives, your body and mind will recognize healthy and good energy and will be able to keep it. Do not dim your light. Ever. Shine. Blind them all. Take up space.
We will send The Million Roses to a woman of your choice. Who would it be and why? Which rose box would you choose for them? Which colors and style represent her?
My best friend Rose. We’ve known each other since college, and we’re considered family at this point. She’s one of the first women (outside of my family) that showed me what it looked like to be empowered and to empower others (especially females). Incredible woman. Smart, funny, absolutely beautiful inside and out… can go from deep dives into politics to the entire season of the Dolphins to world affairs to comedy shows and quit wit and then some. The rose box I would pick for her would be the white roses, in a gold box.
Supreme Gold Box with white roses
“I can buy myself flowers” - what would you choose to treat yourself?
Besides actually getting myself roses and flowers, treating myself today mostly looks like trips to nature. Being in a beautiful cabin in the woods watching the snowfall and snowboarding for the weekend. Or a villa on the ocean and scuba diving. Traveling to a new country and getting immersed in their culture.
Massages, spa days. Things that just make me take in deep breaths and put me back into my body and bring me peace.
What can we do collectively to support women?
Heal. Heal from whatever hurt us and learn to fall in love with ourselves. We treat one another like we treat ourselves and also to learn to see men as human beings with emotions and trauma, too. If we keep projecting our wounds onto men (especially onto good men) we’re going to continue to create more men who then project those wounds onto other women. The biggest revelation for me and also a huge source of my healing has been realizing that men and women are not as different as culture and societal limiting beliefs would have you believe.
By encouraging and empowering good men and healing from the toxic ones, we’re helping more women in the long run and creating more safety for good men to show up with us too. We need the great men. There are toxic women that I can’t reach, because they hate themselves, so they hate me, but they’ll listen to a handsome, quality man who’s done the work on himself. I’ve watched as quality men have (sorry to say this) put a toxic female in her place, that same toxic female who was shaming other women continue to create more harm. Now she sees that in order for her to be accepted by a quality man, she needs to heal. It's important to remember that men are not our enemies and women are not our competition.
What is your life philosophy?
“Quiet your mind to hear the whispers in your heart.” Surrender to the moment, allow yourself to be surprised. Move with aligned flow (life purpose, faith) instead of lava flow (ego and fear) When something burns you, take your hand out of the fire. It's OK to let go and move on.
Life is about relationships. The relationship we have with ourselves and the relationship we have with others. We come into this world on a journey, we overcome obstacles, we find our purpose and we share those skills with the community. It's just important to have some boundaries. We learn to pour into ourselves first and then pour from the overflow. What we’ve been through in life and the things we’ve had to overcome will help show us where our life purpose is and what matters to us most.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My sobriety. I’m coming up on 6 years clean and sober. That really began my healing journey and facing my shadows. Seeing myself and others more clearly.
Living alone for the first time 3 years ago. I know it might not sound like much, but to be ruled by alcohol and not be able to keep a job together and feeling so scared in the world, to having my own place and peace. I’m grateful every day for this.
I'm also so grateful for winning best actress. Whenever I doubt that I'm enough or that I’m supposed to be an artist, I see that on my mantle and it’s my little sign to not give up… to not give up on myself ever again.
What is the best advice you could give to women out there dating? Are there still any rules to follow?
There really are no rules per se but it’s great to follow some guidelines, especially if you find that you keep picking toxic partners, throwing yourself at someone too fast too soon, or go against what’s best for you and sabotage.
Some of those rules will be more like boundaries. A great tip is to physically write down your own boundaries. And to also write out your preferred ideals into a list. Focus on how you'd like to feel in a relationship. What’s your ideal relationship? What would be a great partner for you?
My best advice would be to manage your emotions before committing to a partner, and to mind the way you speak to yourself and others. Words matter more than we know. Genuinely care about yourself. Take yourself out on self-dates. Remember that ideals list I mentioned earlier? here’s the thing, the fastest way to get what you want, is by giving that to yourself first and truly feeling what that feels like in your body. That way, when a great person or a great opportunity comes, you’ll feel it. You’ll move towards healthy and keep the good things.
It starts with us. The way we treat ourselves is what we allow in, and then it’s also how we’ll wind up automatically treating anyone close to us or that reminds us of ourselves. Don’t sweat it if you’re not 100% good to yourself. Life and people are our mirrors, so we get to see where we need a little more TLC and healing whenever there’s hurt, pain or confusion.