Updated: Jan 12, 2019
You might know Eboni K. Williams from her time on Fox News. But did you know that her other accomplishments include successful lawyer, radio show host, and author? Although she no longer lives in Charlotte, Eboni is proud of her Charlotte roots—and still has strong connections to our city and community. Let’s catch up with her and see what she’s up to currently.
Many people know you from your work at Fox News. Are you still there?
No. I asked to be released early from my Fox News contract to pursue the unknown. I know that I want to be more impactful, and to do that, my faith and my ability tells me this is what’s required: to trust and to pursue.
It takes courage to leave a steady job for the unknown. Have you always had the confidence to do that?
It’s something I’ve done a few times in my career. I left a successful position and a great salary at a prestigious Charlotte law firm without knowing what I wanted to do next. Then when I decided to become a public defender, people thought I was crazy. People who know me trust me now when I do something like this. I may have temporary setbacks, but the long-term gain is very valuable. I’m doing myself a disservice if I don’t pursue opportunities where I have the ability to have maximum connectivity and impact.
What types of projects will you be focusing on?
I want to do more impact driven television. I did a show for VH1 called “In Session Live With Dr. Jess” where [radio personality] Charlamagne Tha God had a live therapy session that was shown on TV. I let the audience know that that I am someone who has benefited from therapy; I want to help reduce the stigma. Therapy has taught me techniques for how to cope in those scary or challenging situations in life.
What else is in the works?
I’m very excited to see the next chapter. I’m going to have a podcast in 2019. I’m going to be more open and allow myself to be more vulnerable. People who’ve watched me for years know that I’m trustworthy, but they don’t know really know me as a person. I’ve been nervous about if I’d be able to connect with people, but I feel ready now. I’m 35, and now I feel like that’s where my value is. I want people to know it’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be in a place of transition, and there’s strength in sharing that. I don’t want people to feel alone. The podcast will be about life—real life, not mired in politics or justice or law, or topical news.
What made you decide to be more open about your own life?
When I went on a book tour across the country, I spoke to many women about their experiences and journeys. I also shared my story with them. I realized that is my sweet spot.
Tell us about your book, Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success!
It’s the book I wish had been available to me. I knew growing up in Charlotte with a single mother that I needed to able to provide for myself, and education and my profession would be the means to do so. But I also competed in beauty pageants. There was a conflict. I was a serious person and wanted to be a great attorney, but I was also a young woman preoccupied with how I was showing up in the world, visually. I struggled with resolving this and Pretty Powerful is my manifesto about how seemingly conflicting preoccupations aren’t really conflicting. They’re both important: I’m maximizing substance and hard values along with embracing femininity and being comfortable in my visual appearance. The marriage of substance and style can lead to success.
What skills from your law career have you applied to your other work?
Bill Diehl was my first boss and he taught me that the most prepared lawyer wins. That concept affirmed the necessity for preparation. Today as a broadcaster and journalist, it’s still about being very prepared. It’s about anticipating what questions to ask a guest, or what interviewers will ask of me. That came with being a lawyer.
You mentioned growing up in Charlotte. What are you best memories of our city?
So much of my education was centered in Charlotte. I’m a Charlotte Mecklenburg public school kid. I went to Northwest School of the Arts. It was a big deal to me, and enabled me to explore my passion for the arts. I took classes at Spirit Square, took ballet at North Carolina Dance Theatre, and was a participant in Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. All of these experiences were instrumental in my formative years, for developing pubic speaking sills and becoming comfortable in front of a camera. It also helped me to become a critical thinker.
Where are some places you like to visit when you’re back here?
I love SouthPark Mall. I also love Metropolitan, especially Dressler's.
You’ve overcome difficult obstacles in life, such as economic challenges growing up. What’s been your approach to overcoming difficulties?
I tend to look at life like a card game—none of us were dealt the exact same cards. Whether it’s race, economic structure, family life…it’s the hand I was dealt. But there were other things I was gifted with, such as academics. That led to a full merit scholarship to UNC Chapel Hill. I had a look that people found commercially appealing. It’s easy to say I’m burdened with x, y, and z… but I look at those things as opportunities to advance the ball. I never preoccupy myself with ideas of fairness. I don’t expect my journey to look like anyone else’s. I don’t dwell on the fact that my life has been harder than the lives of other people. It’s also been easier than the lives of others.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I used to work at Hooters at Charlotte Motor Speedway. I also waited tables at Chili's on Tyvola.
One final question! Where can we keep up with you?
Pretty Powerful: Appearance, Substance, and Success
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