Shark Tank is one of my favorite shows. Even before throwing myself head-first into this Empire Life world, every Friday I would turn to ABC and watch eager entrepreneurs get (for a lack of better words) ripped to shreds by the Sharks as they pitched their businesses on live TV. So it’s no surprise that I still make time to catch some episodes here and there. But something about last week’s episode stuck a special cord with me.
Mikki Bey, owner of Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions based in LA, presented her lush lashes to Mark Cuban, Kevin O’ Leary, Richard Herjavec, Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran. As she explained her famous application technique, Sharks grilled her, remarking that she was offering a service opposed to a business. You probably would now imagine that this would go over as a routine throwaway pitch on the show where the entrepreneur gets denied and walks out feeling rejected. But something different happened on this episode with Mikki that I can’t get over… she cried. I’ll let her explain why.
Here’s a excerpt from her Huff Post article:
I cried on ABC’s “Shark Tank” last week. Am I the first to cry on the show? No. Will I be the last? Definitely not. I have been an avid viewer and superfan of the show, and was one of over 30,000 people who auditioned for this current season. Getting to pitch my business, Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions, on Season 7 should have been the highest point in my career. Instead, I am defending my performance against criticism fueled by the words of one of the women entrepreneurs on my episode.
Barbara Corcoran, an investor on “Shark Tank,” said to me, “The minute a woman cries, you’re giving away your power. You have to cry privately.” I disagree. Crying makes us human, not just female. Crying does not discredit all of a woman’s potential and accomplishments. We are supposed to be able to lean in, thrive and learn to use the power of vulnerability — but for goodness’ sake, DO NOT CRY! Would Corcoran give the same advice she gave me to Facebook COO and author of Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg, who openly admits to crying at work? Arianna Huffington, the president and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post and author of Thrive, has said that she loves crying and believes it can help people move on. Looks like I am in good company with Sandberg and Huffington.
I welled up because I felt my life was on the line. I recalled all the sacrifices I had made to be in front of my television mentors. I was thinking about how I had to leave my business in Los Angeles for several months (before I had employees) to go to Columbus, Ohio, to be at my terminally ill father’s bedside. I received the news that I had been selected to go on the show on the anniversary of his death. It felt like destiny. In front of the investors and the world, my passion raged on until I could no longer contain the importance of the moment. I left everything I had on that stage, including the tears of the journey it took to get me there.
If you watched the episode or clip (you can watch it here), you can clearly see that this woman is passionate. What really hit me is when she, even as she was getting tore down, exclaimed “I’m not stopping. This is my destiny. I’m supposed to be here.” How many of you Empirelistas feel that way? Even when it seems that the world is against you or things just don’t seem to be going your way that you still have the drive, determination and perseverance to keep going every single day? That’s what an #EmpireStateofMind is.
Mikki Bey is my shero. She’s a woman who’s not afraid or embarrassed of her emotions. That’s empowering! Forget what Barbara said. I don’t agree that when a women cries, it gives away our power. I think it’s one of the things that make us powerful.
So when you may experience those discouraging times as an entrepreneurial woman, through your tears and all, put on your Mikki Bey face and say “I’m not stopping. This is my destiny. I’m supposed to be here.”