How To Spread Good Vibes Just By Being — & Dressing — Yourself

Feeling self-confident is a hell of a lot easier said than done. For up-and-coming model Nicole Sadiee, staying positive in a world of social media and endless expectations means looking to herself for inner peace, not outside validation. The Atlanta native with a galaxy of freckles splashed across her nose writes nightly in her gratitude book, wears only the clothing that makes her feel most like herself, and knows how to keep things in perspective when it comes to self comparisons.
Inspired by ModCloth's Say It Louder campaign — which encourages women to raise their voices, speak their truth, and be unapologetically themselves — we teamed up with the fashion brand to learn more about Sadiee and how she turns her challenges into many different forms of self-expression. From publishing a poetry book detailing her struggles as a Black girl growing up in a broken home to finding her laid-back style inspiration from old-school music videos, there's a lot more to this Gen Z'er than meets the eye. Read ahead for all the proof you need that spreading good vibes is as simple as being (and dressing) yourself.
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So first things first. You have the most amazing freckles. What's your relationship with them?
“Growing up, I actually didn’t have any. I think it was during college when they came out. Other people embraced them before I did, and soon I realized, Oh, this is cool. This is a look.
Have you ever struggled with self-esteem?
“Yes, of course. As a kid, I was a tomboy and didn’t really care how I looked. We didn’t have enough money for me to get my nails or my hair done. So growing up as a woman, I was always picked on. ‘Why aren’t your nails done?’ ‘Why does your hair look a mess?’ And that made me feel less than.”
That must have been incredibly hard. Was there anything that helped you deal with those feelings of self-doubt?
“I had a conversation with somebody about a year ago and they said, ‘This is your world. You make the decisions; you make the rules. If you don’t want to get your nails done, that’s what makes you you.’ So I looked at myself, and I started not caring, basically.”
Do you think that social media plays a role in girls’ self-esteem today?
“I used to think everything on social media was real. How does she look like that? Why don’t I look like that? It wasn't until I got older and started meeting these women that I realized it’s not real. People are just showing what they want to show.”
Have you seen any positive outcomes of social media?
“Of course! I got signed [as a model] through social media. Social media is so powerful, and that’s why I think everyone needs to try to find ways to stay positive and just remind themselves that everything on there isn’t real.”
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What sorts of self-care rituals do you swear by?
“I have a gratitude book, and writing in [it] makes me realize how grateful I am for everything — the downfalls, the big moments, the small moments. When you start being grateful for the small things, big things start happening.”
You wrote a poetry book! How did that come into play?
“I didn’t have an outlet growing up, so all I did was write. I started when I was really young — 5 or 6 — and I just loved it. For a while [the poems] just sat in my composition notebook, but then I realized I want to be heard. I want to put what I went through out there. And so I did.”
The book touches on some difficult parts of your childhood. What was your experience creating it?
“The poems range from when I was 15 to about 17, so going back and reading them all in one sitting made me very emotional. I just realized how strong I was. I really did that; I really went through that. It’s very emotional because now I’m here; I’m in a totally different place. I never have to go back there anymore.”
I’m sure you’ve helped so many other girls by writing it.
“I’ve met a lot of women through my book. A lot of women have sent me emails, cried to me — it has a powerful effect on women. Because a lot of women go through things, and they don’t say anything. They keep it to themselves. So in a way, it was like making friends.”
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How would you describe your personal style?
“My style changes every year or so. Some years I want to be sassy, and then some years I’d just rather wear sweatpants. Right now, I’m kind of laid-back. I just have to have something rugged on me. I don’t like looking perfect. That’s my little thing.”
What types of pieces do you gravitate towards when you go shopping?
“I like things that look kind of old-school — ruffles, high-waisted jeans, things like that. Anything big: big shoes, jackets, sweaters. Like, from old-school music videos.”
Sort of like these cool velvet green pants?
“Yeah, these green pants are my favorite part about this look. Because they remind me of an old-school style. Even the beret, too.”
Even though you're more of a jeans girl, do you ever wear dresses?
“I like things that cover my whole body, like a maxi-dress. I had this stage when I wanted to cover up everything. And some days I still do, so I love dresses like that.”
Totally. So you’re more into fall clothes and layering?
“Yeah, I’m not into summer clothes. I get so hot because I want to wear jackets and sweaters. If it were the wintertime right now, I would pile on a big jean jacket.”
And lastly, when it comes to feeling confident in your own skin, do you have any advice for our readers?
“I would say, not caring. You are who you are — no matter what you wear, no matter who you’re dating. You are yourself. You’ll always be yourself. It’s about your energy. It’s about how you feel about yourself. How you feel about yourself is usually how other people feel about you. If you feel like you look beautiful, then other people will feel like that too.”
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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