Cleo Woman: Alatheia Bowling
Cleo Woman

Alatheia Bowling

Can you please share more about your business, Art Of Being Female?

Working in digital marketing and the front lines of social media (Instagram was not around yet when I started A+B Consulting) I saw how the examples for women were positively reinforcing very negative hypersexual behavior to get likes, followers etc. I wanted to have, at least in my corner of the internet, a place that positively reinforces wholesome ideals and behaviors for girls/ women. It is cool to be good. So often, “good girls” are considered boring with no taste or worse, bad taste.

I wanted to highlight women who are smart, cool, successful, beautiful and who live lives with meaning and purpose. Not perfection, but authenticity and core values present. I wanted to highlight women who don’t sexually objectify themselves but who have the option. You understand? It means more when you’re beautiful, tasteful, stylish, thin, smart, and you choose not to objectify yourself, because some wouldn’t have the option.

I always say, we are not inclusive, we are exclusive and trying to speak to a very specific kind of woman, not for everyone and that is ideal. I want to attract what I find valuable and in my corner of the internet, I’m allowed to do just that. Being a wife and mother is cool. Modest is hottest. Being tasteful, dressing well and creating a beautiful home with beautiful energy in the home is cool. Entertaining well is cool. Investing in your community is cool. Giving back is cool, not for credit. Being a good friend is cool. Being smart is cool. Being well rounded and diverse in relationship(S) is cool.

That is what the Art of Being Female is about. There is an art to it and only those doing it well stand out.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your journey to where you are today?

Well, that is a loaded question:) How much time do we have? I am a happily married mother of 4; 17, 9, 7, and 4. My oldest is a boy and the three youngest are girls. I started my own business at 23, a social media marketing // digital branding company called A+B Consulting and one of my early clients was Cleobella :)

That’s how I met Angela.. I then started a women’s interest lifestyle site called Art of Being Female in 2017 and launched a charity in 2020 called Hope in the Digital Age. I had my son when I was 20, so that shaped me a ton at a young age and then starting my own business a few years later also shaped me.

I think having the discipline needed to raise a child alone at a young age by myself in California really carved out my reliance on important character traits that helped me be good in business. I was raised very sheltered, conservative and religious and while I don’t adhere to those ideals dogmatically now as an adult, I am very grateful to have had that upbringing. For example, I don’t really drink and I don’t do drugs. That has been a huge plus and I can attribute that to my upbringing.

I was quite young working in Hollywood with celebrity and fortune but I did not get lost in that lane. And of course, my husband and family ground me and keep me focused on what is actually important. I have the best mix of sugar, spice and everything nice in my life for which I am very grateful.

Can you please share more about the Hope Foundation and advocacy for victims of (online) child sex abuse?

Again, working on the internet I’ve learned a ton about the digital space. I heard a podcast by The New York Times that chronicled the landscape of child sex abuse online and it stopped me in my tracks. Over 87 million photos and videos of children being abused live online, the regular web, not the dark web in 2022 alone. When I did the math on those numbers, it broke my brain. I could not figure out how this many people would be interested in sex with children. It made me beg the question(s) about how did we get here, how does the brain work, what causes this desire. I wanted to understand so that I could raise my son not to become vulnerable to this and also how best to protect my children. Not to mention, what red flags to look for for my daughters who will eventually be dating - we don’t want to attract someone who would be vulnerable to this. I highly recommend listening to the NYTimes podcast to understand how and why we got to a place where 87 million photos and videos of child sex abuse live freely on the regular web and what we can do about it. I also recommend checking out our website under the “Get Schooled” tab and watching all of those videos to learn more.

How are you helping other mothers around parenting during the digital age?

After much thinking on the best way to contribute what I have to offer to the landscape of child SA, I realized that prevention is the only way. I travel the country advocating for mothers to get in the deep end and do the dirty work of learning about the sexual landscape online for our kids. The internet has changed everything from social media to simply easy access to hardcore pornography at extremely early ages and it has changed the landscape and how our children are behaving in their coming of age years. Pop culture shapes youth culture and you have to be blind not to see how pervasive our culture is right now on our children learning about their identity and where they fit in to the world. Doing these talks with parents has been so eye opening to what theyre dealing with, the kids are not alright and have very heavy loads to bear in 2024, we, as parents, and as a community, need to advocate for them and help them navigate these tumultuous waters with us beside them. We can no longer shy away from sex talk with our children because there are countless entities online and otherwise who cannot wait to be in that position.

What is a piece of advice your mother gave to you that helped guide you as a mother?

My mother always said “pretty is as pretty does”. She also taught me how to have a strict moral code, mainly by leading by example. My mom was and still is a beauty inside and out, she is smart, dignified and carries herself with kindness and grace. She is the whole package, so her example was good enough on its own but then on top of that she gave me great lessons on confidence, how to be a lady, how to entertain and make holidays fun and of course, how to get dressed. All very important!!

What is your favorite part of being a mother and what is one thing you hope your girls inherit from the way you raise them?

My favorite part of being a mother are the children themselves. I loooooove being a mom and am so grateful for the opportunity to raise such cool people. So much of motherhood feels like a surprise, like who are these little people and how did I become in charge of them? What a fun yet serious responsibility !! I hope that my girls and my son see that life is so rich, colorful, full of joy, and even moreso when the relationships you have are flourishing. I want them all to say yes to life and to have the confidence to be open to the opportunities that come their way. People are the most important part of our lives and I want them to prioritize that in their lives. I want them to also have a big family like we do, because my children have brought me immense joy, happiness and purpose. Lastly, I want them to have faith and not be afraid of anything, that kind of peace is priceless and allows you to move different in this world.

What (or who) inspires you?

My children inspire me. They are the reason for me to do more, be more, say more. My clients inspire me by showing me what it’s like at the tippy tippy top and that it’s accessible, and my mom inspires me by her example.

You balance so much with being a Mama, Wife, Entrepreneur, and Charity Advocate. Do you have any daily rituals that help keep you grounded?

I would say laughter, pop culture, and music are my daily rituals that keep me grounded and happy. Because it’s my job to be online, I spend a lot of hours enjoying the internet and with that comes a ton of laughter. I love laughing and cheap thrills which I share on my social media and let other people have the same cheap thrills and it's fun.. Makes life so much less serious when we can laugh about it all. I’m super bad at self care admittedly, but I do try to carve out time to laugh whether that’s watching stand up online or on tv, or going to comedy clubs in NY or here in Irvine at the Improv. Music is the other thing I can’t go a day without. I make my own playlists every month for different vibes and it enriches every day of my life to have the right soundtrack to go along with my feelings at the moment. Pop culture reminds me that things are not that serious. I've always paid close attention to the celeb world as a kid and then now as an adult because I work in that world. I love paying attention to what everyone is wearing, what they’re doing and what’s in the news. I prefer pop culture news always to reg news bc of the levity. I need to just engage with light, fun content to offset the heaviness of real world issues, especially the ones I talk about.

Who is a woman you admire and would like to celebrate this month?

Kelsey Morgan is the founder of EverFree and I am just so impressed with what she is doing and who she is as a person. In the non-profit world, especially with child SA, there are a lot of people collecting money from donors and not really making a dent in the field. There is a lot of hot air and Kelsey is the opposite of that. She is crazy adventurous, married mother of one who is well-traveled and well-versed in whats going on in the world around us. She runs a rehabilitation center for very young girls who have not just been sexually abused, but trafficked. I was able to visit her center(s) in Africa over the summer and was so impressed by the care her girls receive. I was also impressed with how well she took care of us as her guests in a foreign country delving into a deep topic. She’s also developed a tool for other non profits to use that is survivor led and focused, an intake system that shortens the span of time in which the victims receive what is most urgent. This tool will be used worldwide and I hope she gets the recognition she deserves for developing it. Lots of well meaning people involved in this work lack the tools to be as efficient as Kelsey. This is great news for the industry that this tool now exists and is easily accessible. You can choose EverFree at checkout as Cleobella has partnered with them at this time.

Do you have any book or podcast recommendations for our community?

I highly recommend listening to the NYTimes podcast on online child sex abuse material. It is an epidemic almost no one is talking about and if they are, they're doing it wrong. The NYTimes did a great job at chronicling this issue not just with the podcast but with several follow up pieces written and I highly recommend reading those and listening to the podcast. First step to helping is being brave enough to educate yourself. If children have to endure this, the least we can do as the adults in the room is listen and educate ourselves about it… then hopefully do something where you can.

What is a favorite quote of yours? Or a special saying that you go back to time and time again?

I love the phrase “Push back against the age as hard as the age pushes against you.” and I also love, “Alone we are a drop, together we are an ocean”. It reminds me of how powerful our part is in the bigger picture. If every one of us used our voice and did our part we can make a big difference.

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