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Hoda Kotb Urges Women to Unleash Their True Selves in the New *WEEKLY* Issue of FIRST for Women! (EXCLUSIVE)

Plus, the busy TV personality and mom of two dishes on how she avoids burnout!

For Today co-anchor, best-selling author and mother of two Hoda Kotb, one of the best pieces of advice for finding peace in the middle of her hectic life is being true to herself.

“It took me probably into my fifties before I really felt like I am 100% myself,” Hoda, 59, reveals in an exclusive cover interview of FIRST for Women, which is now available weekly at your local grocery store, newsstand and to purchase online here. “And the journey to get there is you have to stop pretending.”

Hoda Kotb on the cover of FIRST for Women
Hoda Kotb on the cover of FIRST for Women

“If you are not yourself, it kind of chips away at you. You don’t even realize it, but it’s little by little,” Hoda continues. “It took me a long time to realize you can be you. But you will find your tribe. You will find your person and you will find your niche. You will find everything, and you’ll find it more quickly if you aren’t pretending.”

MUST-READ: ‘Today Show’ Host Hoda Kotb’s 5 Tips for Staying Healthy, Happy, and Hopeful

Hoda Kotb on the importance of staying true to yourself

Hoda admits she used to think that women generally fell into two categories: “I thought either you are a people pleaser or you are kind of rude,” she says. “It was like those were the two options and that’s not the way it works. You can actually be loving and kind and straight forward. For me, it was realizing that you can say what you think in a kind and loving way and be 100% who you are.”

Hoda pictured in 2014
Hoda pictured in 2014Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images for Hamptons Magazine

Hoda is also quick to point out that you can’t be all things to all people. “If someone doesn’t like you, look, you can be the sweetest banana in the bunch, but some people just don’t like bananas,” she says with a laugh. “But you know what, that’s okay!”

“You should not change who you are,” Hoda insists. “You get one life. God gave you one life. So are you going to try to twist yourself in a pretzel to try to satisfy Mary Smith at the bridge club? Why would you do that? Or are you going to try to turn yourself inside out so a guy who you are going out on a date with might like you more? That’s crazy!”

Living authentically has great benefits

What does Hoda see as the reward to living an authentic life? “That you are just at peace,” she says with a contented sigh.

Hoda Kotb shows her silly side on Halloween with Kathie Lee Gifford and Blake Shelton, 2017
Hoda Kotb (right) shows her silly side on Halloween with Kathie Lee Gifford (left) and Blake Shelton (center), 2017Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images

“Good and bad things come and go and if you can’t sit by yourself and be happy then all the things in the world aren’t going to make you happy,” Hoda says. “It doesn’t matter what comes. The new promotion is not going to make you happy. The house that’s a little bigger, the car that you dreamt of, it’s all just another thing.”

“And having enough is a beautiful, perfect thing,” she continues. “Someone said this to me, ‘Everything given to you is not necessarily for you.’ So sometimes you are given a good salary, it’s not all for you. That should be distributed, or all the things that come your way are not necessarily yours to pull up and hold for yourself. It’s meant to all kind of flow through.”

Hoda Kotb, 2018
Hoda Kotb has won 2 Daytime Emmy Awards and one Emmy Award, 2018Steve Granitz/WireImage/Getty Images

Hoda Kotb shares advice for avoiding burnout

As a single mother of two daughters with a high-profile career, Hoda Kotb is constantly juggling a lot of responsibilities. How does she keep all the plates spinning? “I try to carve out time with people who fill my tank like friends and family,” Hoda says.

MUST-READ: Experts Share 10 Ways To Outsmart Caregiver Burnout, Plus the ‘Zoom In’ Secret to Easing Stress

Hoda and her daughters, 2023
Hoda and her daughters, 2023@hodakotb/Instagram

“I also try to meditate,” Hoda says. Then every few months Hoda takes a day and goes somewhere and does something for herself. “I do everything with my kids, so I try to have some time that isn’t with them,” she says with a smile. “You have to care for yourself. You just have to take your time. I try to do things that make me feel centered so I’m a good parent, a good friend, a good daughter and sister.”

Hoda’s trick to workout motivation

Exercise is also key to keeping her energy level up and stress levels down. “I always bring my gym bag so that I can put my clothes on right here and go straight up to work out because if I sit for 15 minutes on the couch, it’s over. Over! I’m never doing it,” Hoda says with a laugh.

MUST-READ: Exercise Jokes That Will Give You — And Your Funny Bone — A Good Workout!

“And I feel like if I don’t do it in this window, then it’s gone because I usually do school pickup at 3pm and then after that, it’s dinner and off to the races,” she shares. “So I try to get it in here. Whenever I’m in the middle of it, I’m glad I did it — but it’s just getting up there. If I have good music or a podcast it helps me get a little giddy up in my step.”

For more delightful Hoda advice

Pick up the new WEEKLY issue of FIRST for Women at your local grocery store now or buy it online to be delivered to you home here!

Also, don’t miss Hoda’s lovely new children’s book, Hope Is a Rainbow, inspired by the open-heartedness of her daughter Hope. Get your copy wherever books are sold!

Flamingo Books

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