Continuing its mission to help women embrace their individuality, TJ Maxx is bringing the Maxx You project on a seven-city tour. From Chicago to Houston, beauty maven and author, Africa Miranda, and body-positive fashion model and wellness entrepreneur, Danika Brysha, will bring experiences to several T.J.Maxx locations across the country.

With 75 percent of women saying that when they see others being true to who they are, they’re inspired to do the same. The Maxx You Project is aimed at building a powerful and supportive ‘shecosystem’ of women who encourage one another be their most authentic selves.

ESSENCE got a chance to Miranda about the upcoming tour, a must-have closet piece, and how she encourages women that change is good. Read below.

Essence: How did you get into styling?

Africa: I would say at my core, I’m a storyteller. I grew up singing and performing in musical theater, so you learn how costumes are an important part of the character. I’m also an actress, so I always look at the external things that I use even as an individual to tell a story. As my career grew and changed, working as a talent with stylists has really helped me develop my own personal style. Also recognizing that as we go through our life during the change, the way we’re going to express ourselves is going to change as well, and I just love the fact that we can use clothes to do that.

Essence: What made TJ Maxx a good partner?

Well honestly, it’s a no brainer because, I don’t know if this is true for all black girls, but I’ve been shopping with my mom, grandmother and aunts at T.J.Maxx since I was a little girl. When we had our first conversation, I was laughing because I was like, “I was just in the store yesterday.” I love the opportunity to partner with brands that I have a true authentic history with. And also for this particular situation with the Maxx You Project, I am just personally very passionate about creating safe spaces for women. This activation of the Maxx You Project is recognizing and celebrating the fact that women are constantly going through change, we’re individuals, and we have these stories to tell.

Visit maxxyouproject.com to learn more about The Maxx You Project.

Essence: What’s one staple piece that you just have to include in your projects?

This may be unexpected for some people but a great pair of jeans. I love them. I feel like I could get married in a good pair of jeans. But the thing about a great pair of denim, and I’ve seen this even with older women to younger women, when you find a great fitting pair of jeans, it can take you through so many situations. You can put it with a really beautiful corduroy or velvet blazer and some heels and dress it up or you could take it really casual in the summer. To me, a great fitting pair of jeans just will take you anywhere, and you can take it up or down, and I think it works for any woman in any lifestyle.

Essence: What do you tell someone who wants a makeover?

I would encourage any woman to embrace it. Change is a part of life. And once again, what’s great about the Maxx You Project is that it is helping women, one, acknowledge that change is normal because you can’t fight change.

“This is about getting each woman to embrace her individual style and what that is.”

Visit maxxyouproject.com to learn more about The Maxx You Project.

Essence: What are some things that you hope to accomplish when you’re going city to city?

What I really hope to accomplish with the Maxx You Project is, helping women find a new sense of self, to be proud of their bodies, to be proud of the change that they’re embracing and the new story that they’re telling. I hope to help these women feel more confident, feel more beautiful, and feel more equipped to go out after the experience of working with myself and the life coach that will be on the tour with a better grasp, again, of moving forward. Because what’s beautiful about it is that I’m not trying to get every woman in the same outfit doing the exact same thing, we’re all individuals. This is about getting each woman to embrace her individual style and what that is, and not feeling like she has to open a magazine and mimic every single thing that she sees or every woman that she sees.

Visit maxxyouproject.com to learn more about The Maxx You Project.

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