Real Strong & Real Beautiful: How I Overcame Silicon Valley Stereotypes

Thank you Dove for sponsoring this post. How do you define #RealBeauty? 

Three years ago this fall, I packed up my life with Robin and we moved across the country to San Francisco. If you’ve been following along Whimsy Soul for a while, you know this story. But here’s what I haven’t really talked on…

Working in tech in San Francisco and Silicon Valley is tough. 

I’ve been judged for wearing heels to work and being too feminine. I’ve been judged for my age. For my hair color. For the fact that I love wearing lipstick every day. I’ve had job interviews where I’ve been asked by men if that I, a young woman, could actually fit into an office that’s mostly tech bros. I’ve been hit on in office places because apparently not wearing jeans, hoodies, and sneakers means I’m not there to actually work. Or that my age means I’m not smart enough to do my job well (I’ve been passed on opportunities because of this!) That glass ceiling is a real thing, people. 

Building a career here in San Francisco isn’t easy, I’ll tell you that. But I’ve been lucky and on the flip side have had a chance to work with people who have seen me for what’s on the inside, not on the outside.  Who didn’t judge me on my clothes, or my hair, or my age and instead supported me. That’s when I learned that real beauty comes from within. You’ll always cross paths with people who think it’s on the outside and that you can understand everyone’s story by just looking at them, but that’s far from the truth. 

I think that’s why I identified with the lasted film from Dove Real Beauty Productions so much. This film features Kylee Howell and her story of con-conformity and shedding the definition of beauty of herself and women in her community. It’s made by girl boss Shonda Rhimes and an all-female crew, naturally. The definition of beauty is evolving faster than the beauty industry can keep up with – and I love that, but there’s still a long way to go…69% of women don’t feel like they are represented in media, ads or movies, which sucks. But, little steps. I’ve always loved how Dove is great at giving power to real women, and Kylee’s story is no different. Watch Kylee’s her here to feel inspired

And remember – if anyone tries to judge you on what’s outside, say BYE haters and channel your inner Kylee. It’ll get better. 


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



  1. July 28, 2017 / 9:02 am

    I’m with you! We have similar issues in upstate NY. Working in tech and wearing heels?! A skirt?!

    • Kara
      July 28, 2017 / 9:07 am

      GASPS an alien in the office!! So glad you could relate!!