ESSENCE Network: How Life-Changing Advice from Maya Angelou Shaped a Blogger’s Career Vision
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Charell Star Chiger has been working since she was teen. After putting herself through college she pursued a career in PR while also starting her own start-up. A client project gave her the opportunity to meet the late Maya Angelou, her personal shero. Chiger now offers insight and advice to professionals on her site, Not Just A Girl in a Dress. See how Angelou’s words shaped her life and find out her tips for making your own dreams a reality.

Name: Charell Star Chiger

Age: 34

Title: Founder,  Not Just A Girl In A Dress


Location: Hoboken, NJ

Hometown: New York, NY

Twitter: @CharellStar


Instagram: @CharellStar

The gig: I’m the founder of Not Just a Girl in A Dress, a lifestyle blog for entrepreneurs, go-getters and anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit. I like to say that my site is where business, tech, beauty and style collide.

The journey: I’ve been working since I was 14 years old and have had many interesting jobs. I worked as an usher and intern for the first Queen Latifah Show. I put myself through college working the sales floor at RadioShack, which is where I discovered my love for tech. I also worked for a Public Relations firm in London and PR jobs in New York. When I ran my first company there was little guidance and support for people looking to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Now I get to tell the inspirational stories of budding entrepreneurs and provide tips and tricks to help others start and grow their businesses with a dash of style

Her lesson learned: Don’t be afraid to ask for help or to ask for what you want, especially when you are creating value for an organization. We know women are paid less on the dollar than their male counterparts, and we can’t afford to wait for society to fix this. You’d be surprised how powerful your voice is if you use it.

Her best advice received: I had the amazing honor of working with Maya Angelou for a client project early in my career. She will always be my idol and I’ve read every book and poem she ever wrote. Ms. Angelou was very kind and preternaturally perceptive. She told me that I would do well in my career as long as I took people into my trust. Even as I attempted to be “on” at the event; she spotted that I had walls up and told me it was ok to take them down. It was a humbling experience for me and it was the best advice I’d ever received.

Her time-saving tip: Outsource, delegate and ask for help whenever you can. There are some great and affordable services that can save you a ton of time in your day; from online grocery shopping, to dropping off your laundry for wash and fold, to hiring a cleaning service for your home. There are a finite number of hours in the day and you should make sure you are spending your time effectively. The three hours you save by outsourcing your laundry is time you could spend with your spouse, friends, or advancing your career.   

Her work/life tip: Have one main calendar that you work from and give your employees and co-workers access to it. On that calendar, set up weekly recurring times to spend with your loved ones or decompressing. I got married in October and have date night scheduled with my husband each week. Everyone I work with knows it is an important, can’t miss event. Managing life is so much easier when I don’t try to separate my personal life from my professional life.   

Her tech fix: I’m a proud PC chick and am rarely separated from my laptop for long.  I love the Dropbox app to access my files from anywhere and Cast Beauty which provides hair and beauty recommendations based on the weather.

Her beauty bag: I’m transitioning to natural hair and am currently loving the E’tae hair product line. I also adore a bold red lipstick and waterproof mascara. 

Her power style accessory: I love a fabulous pair of heels, but you know I am ready for the world when I’m wearing a chic pair of ballerina flats. I have them in every color and they are my go-to style accessory.

Her theme song: “My 1st Song” by Jay Z