Bustle’s “Without This Woman” is a series of essays honoring the women who change — and challenge — us every day. Below, Ayesha Curry, who recently partnered up with JustFab for the retailer’s new October collection, reflects on how her mother, Carol Alexander, taught her the importance of showing up for loved ones.
My mom is my greatest role model and one of my closest friends. As a mother, she’s an incredible caretaker who nurtures everyone around her. She’s influenced who I am as a parent, as a cook, as a person. Every aspect of my life emulates the example she set for me.
She taught me the value of hard work and that if you want something, don’t be afraid to fight for it. Don’t let anyone dissuade you from reaching your goal.
I was able to watch her tenacious work ethic from being a hairdresser working out of our basement to owning her own award-winning salon. That has really stuck with me and influenced how I’ve built my career. Most of all, though, she taught me kindness and empathy — to try to understand people rather than judge.
She lives nearby, so fortunately we spend a lot of time together. She sees firsthand how busy and chaotic things can get and jumps in to help with my three kids without me having to ask.
I love to cook for the family, but sometimes after a long day, I just don’t have the energy for it. On particularly long work days, my mom will show up with a home-cooked meal for everyone.
It’s one less thing to stress about, which is nice, but after a hard day, it’s also so comforting to enjoy a meal made by your mom. Words are great, but in our family, a lot of how we express our love for one another is through actions — showing up for each other no matter what.
In the beginning of my professional journey, I was suffering from a lot of guilt being away from the kids. It was really weighing on me. I’m sure a lot of working parents can relate. My mom was an amazing support system in encouraging me to pursue my goals. She was constantly reminding me that the kids are happy and healthy and that I should push past the guilt and not let it hold me back.
She sees firsthand how busy and chaotic things can get and jumps in to help without me ever having to ask.
I definitely got my love of fashion and beauty from my mom and grandmother. I don’t think I went a day without seeing my grandmother without a full face of makeup, so that idea of presenting yourself and taking pride in your appearance was instilled in me from a young age. My grandmother and my mother always have had amazing style — it’s been really fun seeing it evolve over the years.
I’ve always loved how fashion allows for self-expression, and my mom and I are similar in a lot of ways when it comes to personal style. We’re not afraid to be bold with colors or patterns. But she likes to lean into romantic details, like florals, bows, and ties. I, on the other hand, gravitate toward menswear: oversize or tailored suiting and chunky footwear.
I had women like my mother in my mind when I curated my first collection for JustFab. While the selection is a mix of trendy pieces and staple items, everything has wear-all-day comfort, which is super important to me. I don’t think you ever should sacrifice comfort for style; busy women deserve to have both.
My mother and I share a love of shoes, but our favorite pieces from the line couldn’t be more different. I love the Maddie Slip-On Heeled Sandal, a staple that goes with everything. And it’s so comfortable, you kind of forget you’re wearing heels.
My mom, however, is a sucker for a good mule. She’s been wearing the Hazel mule on repeat. They’re easy and comfortable, but the gold chain makes them special enough to wear with a more tailored or dressy outfit.
Luckily, whether we’re dressing to go out or just lounge around the house, my mom and I get to see each other often. We continue to make memories, but some of my favorite moments with her are being in the kitchen, making the food I loved eating growing up: traditional Jamaican dishes like oxtail, rice and peas, and fried plantain. I have no idea where I’d be without her — I can’t imagine it.
As told to Mekita Rivas. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
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