There is something to be said about being an original and not a duplicate.  In fact, being a First Lady can often keep you in a bubble of tradition and frowned upon for taking a different route. But for this Alabama native born and bred, being traditional is far from her vocabulary. While being a wife and a mother keeps her very busy, she has found the time to create a lane of her very own as a fashionista and leader of her own podcast show, Ave Unfiltered. With savvy fashion sense, Aventer Gray, a FAMU graduate and avid HBCU supporter is giving a new meaning to term “First Lady.”

“That big hat on a first Sunday just isn’t who I am and I had to be okay with that not being who I am because of who my husband is. I’m always with my husband when he travels for speaking engagements to support him and for me, I love to live in transparency so putting me in a box whether it’s fashion or traditional standards just wouldn’t work. I’m not confined to a First Lady title. If I want to wear long braids or purple hair, I’ll do just that because that’s just who I am.”

Before the world shut down early in 2020 and went into quarantine, Gray and her best friend spent time developing what would become her breakout moment for the world to get to know her more personally, putting on the final touches of her podcast, Ave Unfiltered.

“I was working on the podcast before the pandemic which was suggested by one of my good friends and treasure, Devi Brown. She and I would have these deep conversations about everything being that we shared so much in common. We would challenge each other in our beliefs and one day she said we should record the conversations. Because there are a lot of women who believe what we believe and would tune in to hear and share, so the podcast, Ave Unfiltered was born. Since it was already in the works, the timing  of the pandemic just aligned because I always want to do something fresh at the top of the year and I had the time to put it together and have amazing guests like Ayesha Curry come on and speak about her story in an honest and candid way.”

Aventer also mentioned why it is important for women to have an avenue to be free to open up and speak, “Women need a safe place to have an outlet. So, these conversations are necessary for us to have and speak openly in a compassionate environment. None of the conversations are scripted, they are real and unedited to give you a real experience and they allow you to see the perspectives of others in a respectful way.”

Recently fashion stylist and guru J. Bolin released his Curvy Collection, which featured and introduced Aventer as one of the faces, “ I have always had a love for fashion and I was honored to help him introduce this line to the world. Women who have curves should be able to embrace their shape in a fashion line that gives them so much to choose from. I have worked with J. Bolin on several of my looks for different event and with this line it was colorful and absolutely right up my alley.”

Photos by Marc O, Glam by Charm, Styling by J Bolin, Hair by Dominique Kiara

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