Recently, someone asked me during which period of my life I had felt most sexy. “Why did you put that question in the past tense?” I asked with mock indignation. “I feel sexiest right now!”

The person, who had clearly expected me to name some party period in my 20s or 30s, was visibly surprised that I would consider myself—at 43 years old—to be at the sexiest point in my life. So I went on to explain that I spent most of my 20s trying to figure out who I was. I bounced from finance to fashion before I landed on journalism as my career of choice. I also bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend as I worked through my personal issues. Sure, I was playing sports and eating right, but I was not yet comfortable in my own skin.

When I turned 30, I got my first editor-in-chief job at Honey magazine. All of a sudden, I had access to the best of New York City and the entertainment industry elite. It was scary at first, but the revamped Honey was received with appreciation and love, and
I felt as if I had “arrived.” And that’s when I started to get truly comfortable with myself, and my confidence as a woman developed. It is also when I realized that confidence is the single most alluring thing you can possess. It is far more powerful than a new hairstyle, six-pack abs or the latest fashions.

Loving the core of who you are creates an energy that will draw people in—way more than a too-tight dress or a long, heavy weave. Folks will be able to
see that you are feeling great, having fun and you don’t need the approval of others to confirm how awesome you are. That type of positive energy
is infectious!

Now, I have weathered many of life’s ups and downs, and I’ve learned a tremendous number of valuable life lessons. Yes, I’ve had professional validation, but I’ve also had setbacks. I’ve been married, and I have a beautiful son, but I’ve also been divorced. I’ve developed a lifelong habit of exercise and good nutrition, and I’m regularly mistaken for a much younger woman, even though I have laugh lines and the real- life body of a 40-something woman who has borne a child. I have so much more knowledge about the world, as well as a deep understanding of my own strengths and my weaknesses. And the more I know, the more I fall in love with who I am—faults and all. I’m on a continuing quest to be better in every area of my life, but now I feel completely free to be myself. If you like me, that’s great. If you don’t, I won’t take it personally; we are simply not meant to be friends. This is true confidence, and it is sexy. And best of all, it never sags or grays, and it lasts forever.

On page 102, the gorgeous Chaka Khan, LisaRaye McCoy and Jurnee Smollett-Bell share their secrets for looking and feeling fabulous. Hit me up on Twitter or send me an email and tell me what makes you feel confident and sexy.