Late on a weekday night, instead of tucking in for the night, I usually scoop out a third bowl of ice cream and binge on America's Next Top Model. Episodes of #ANTM go quick, like all good reality TV sugar rushes. By the time there's been an in-model house fight about who's the messiest / most threatening / weirdest and an elaborate photoshoot where fears of snakes or smiling are confronted, you're already at the judging panel.
But one episode last season really struck me. It was time for the kooky girl Courtney, who had literally shaken and cried through the whole competition thus far, to be critiqued. And what was Queen Tyra's wisdom for this girl?
"You need to pour that cereal fiercely, you need to brush your teeth fiercely, you need to do number ones fiercely..."
Tyra uses the word "fierce" a lot. Like, a lot. Her sign off is "Fierce and Love" and she encourages all around her to live a "fierce" life. What is a fierce woman? Is she a strong woman who wears a lot of leather, who does even the most mundane things with 'tude? For Tyra Banks, being fierce is about excreting confidence from every pore and exercising deep, deep self love. If this a challenge for you, try these steps to become a fierce woman.
1. Get confident. Seriously. Force yourself with everything you have to be confident. Despite the fact that sometimes you can't dull that self-hating voice in your head and can't get out of bed because you're weighed down by your own self loathing, just get confident. It's that easy.
2. Now that you are confidently out of bed, do your number one (and number two, optional) and brush your teeth fiercely (as above). Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself some fierce love. Look deep into your own eyes and say out loud everything you love about your face. Repeat, "I am fierce" to yourself (times three).
3. Now, cover that face up. Even out that skin tone, colour correct those bags under your eyes, pack out foundation and powder, contour those cheeks, line those eyes and gloss those lips. A fierce woman never lets herself down by not looking her best.
4. Look at yourself naked in a full-length mirror. Fiercely love everything about your body. Again, repeat, "I am fierce" to yourself (times three).
5. Spend at least three minutes staring into your wardrobe and try to choose an outfit. Squeeze yourself into skinny black jeans, then hold onto your muffin top and cry. Struggle to take off black skinny jeans. Squeeze into some spanx to flatten your flabby bits and put your skinny black jeans on again. Fierce babes don't have to breathe. Struggle to find a top that makes you look sassy, not too slutty and not like a boring librarian. Give up for a moment, sit, no, lie down on the bed and stalk your ex on Instagram. Google "14-day cleanse".
6. Roll into the kitchen and pull yourself up holding the bench. Pour your cereal fiercely. Then stare at it. Isn't this a carb? Check percentage of sugar. Your body is a fierce temple. Google "Beyoncé Vegan". Eat some celery and have a glass of warm water with lemon.
7. Waddle back into your bedroom, struggle out of your spanx and jeans and get into some tight activewear but throw on your comfortable, worn out t-shirt with something in French written on it. Promise yourself at least 20 minutes solid cardio. Plug in your earphones and search for Beyoncé, hit play. Forget to stretch. Run outside.
8. Run for one minute and 37 secs, then stop. Hold onto your stitch, feel your face flush, feel your makeup run into your eyes. Hunch over. Breathe deeply. Listen to Beyoncé telling you "you run the world".
9. Walk or limp to your favourite cafe. Order a huge big breakfast with extra hollandaise and a double-shot, real-milk latte. Text your BFF. Order extra pancakes to share. Cuddle her when she arrives. She is also sweaty, but survived a four-min jog. She inspires you.
10. Feel that? You're finally fierce, making Tyra proud.
Hayley Butcher is one half of comedy duo Dash and D'Bree. Dash and D'Bree's show Fierce is at Chapel Off Chapel, Prahran, from 23 to 25 June, as part of the Melbourne Cabaret Festival.