Closing The Gap

Rapper and 'The Talk' co-host Eve's No. 1 piece of advice for women in male-dominated jobs

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Rapper and 'The Talk' co-host Eve's advice for women in male-dominated...

Eve Jeffers-Cooper, known to many simply as "Eve," is a Grammy-winning rapper, an actress and the co-host of CBS's "The Talk."

The Philadelphia native has worked in hip hop for more than 20 years, and knows what it's like to thrive in a male-dominated field despite facing gender bias and discrimination. She tells CNBC Make It that her "advice to women in any male-dominated industry would be to just hold strong to your convictions" and to "continue to believe in yourself."

She says that there are so many women who want to support other women that it's important you "find your crew."

"You can't do it on your own," she says. "Don't give up."

Eve attends the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Rich Fury | Getty Images

Eve says she was fortunate, when starting her career in the late 1990s as the only female rapper signed to record label Ruff Ryders, to be part of an era in hip hop when there were other women she could turn to for advice and support. "You know, Queen Latifah used to pull me to the side a lot. Missy [Elliott] used to pull me to the side a lot and just ask me, 'How you doing? You OK?'"

"I had some really great women when I was coming up," she says. "I hung out with a lot of the girls at that time and I think we all helped each other. And that was so nice. I feel lucky for that."

Eve says that even though she had support at her record label, she often faced resistance when presenting new ideas. She recalls how she had to fight for her 2001 hit song with Gwen Stefani, "Blow Your Mind."

"I had to fight for it because I don't think it had really been done at that time," she explains. "I don't think, especially two females from different genres, I should say, had done anything at that time."

"One hundred percent, being a woman had a lot to do with the second guessing. One, because I was in a male-dominated business. Two, because a dude didn't come up with the idea. Three, because I was a girl and it was like, 'Yea, that's cute, but I don't think so.'"

Eve attends the Universal Music Group's 2019 After Party To Celebrate The GRAMMYs at ROW DTLA on February 10, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Rodin Eckenroth | Getty Images

In the end, she convinced the right people to let her do the collaboration, but says that was just one of many times she faced resistance to her visions. "Ruff Ryders always supported me," she says. "It was more on the corporate side of things that I used to get a lot of push back, unfortunately."

She says her unyielding desire to succeed has helped her thrive in challenging situations.

"I was not going to allow anyone to take anything away from me," she says. "I believed so strongly inside of myself that you cannot take this away from me, and I don't care what you say. So I think a lot of determination and stubbornness [helped] as well."

Video and additional reporting by Mary Stevens

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