Gayle King is something else. It takes but once to witness the brevity of her grace, style and unarmed wit to almost instantly become in awe of this television anchor, and magazine editor—who just so happens to be the bestie of one of the biggest names in the universe. I was sweaty-hands nervous when my buddy James Grant arranged an interview with the powerhouse after The Women's Forum of New York's 2nd Annual Elly Awards, where King served as moderator during the Q&A portion of the luncheon alongside Arianna Huffington and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel. James' team gave me the cue to walk toward the front of the ballroom after the luncheon concluded at New York's Plaza Hotel. I was discreetly trying to straighten out the little black dress I wore as I hurried toward the stage when I looked up, and realized, 'Gee, I never saw Gayle King in person.' At 57, she is stunning, no really—and giving many women my age a run for their coins!
I peeped her Ralph Lauren orange sheath, color-blocked Stuart Weitzman platforms, her expertly arranged eyelashes, and just how banging her body was in general. I was floored. It wasn't long until we were whisked into a kitchen inside the hotel chatting away about the significance of female empowerment, mentors, and how she personally deals with haters. And let me just say, as a under-30 something professional in the city, with a knowingly cling on the gravity of super bad Black female public models like King—I walked away with more than an instinct to run to the nearest Zara to nab her look for less—I learned something much bigger.
EBONY: What is your take on female leadership?
Gayle King: I always say that no one makes it by himself or herself—but it is up to you to figure out who will help you along your journey. Your job when you are first starting out is to figure out whom that person will be. You can get advise, experience, and wisdom from a wide range of places, and I am a believer in that strategy as well. I also believe that if you don’t ask, you don’t get. I also believe that there is always a way to ask any question, but to ask it with respect. I am a big champion for women to help other women. I recently got a letter from a young journalist from Columbia University, and although my schedule was booked, the letter was so well written, how could I say no? There are sometimes in life where you have to make time to help other people. I remember many times where people have done that for me—and I will do the same for others.
EBONY: Who are your mentors?
GK: There is a women in Washington DC, named J.C Hayward, who took the time to look at my copy, and helped me to improve it. Another guy Ralph Begleiter who helped me out as well, when they didn’t have to. These people told me that I could do better, and encouraged me to do so. I will be forever grateful, to the people who have helped me along the way.
EBONY: How do you deal with haters?
GK: I have no tolerance for people who don’t wish you well, who don’t support or cheer you on. All of that negativity will bring you down. I try to surround myself with people who are better then me. I feel that you can learn from people who are better then you. I would rather not deal with people who don’t support me. Along the way, you can make that call on who you want to be around. Negative voices can get in your head, and when you see that coming, go the other way. You can get nine pats on the back and one non-supporter, and that one negative impute will be the one you dwell on the longest. Stop focusing on the crankiness.Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where I can look past all of that.
EBONY: What’s next for Gayle King?
GK: I am so busy, with O Magazine and my show, I don't need anything else, do I? I feel that I have a gracious amount of work with what is in front of me, and I am grateful.