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Award-winning photojournalist Miki Turner has just the thing you need if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to grow in self-esteem. Her new book,Journey to the Woman I’ve Come to Love, combines engaging photographs with inspirational quotes from a diverse array of 91 women on how they developed complete self-acceptance. Turner asked each woman: At what point did you fall in love with yourself? You will be amazed by the answers. And while you will recognize famous faces such as Sanaa Lathan, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie and more in the tome, there are also everyday executives, activists and others who are just as inspiring. TheGrio caught up with the author, whose work has appeared in Essence and Ebony among many other outlets, to discuss how her book can help you appreciate every aspect of your being.

Your book was inspired by your own journey to self-love. How did you learn to love yourself?

It was just so organic. I grew up in a situation where actually it was not taught. It came through a series of personal accomplishments and certainly I think going to an HBCU [historically black college or university] helped accelerate that process. I grew up in a very affluent, predominately white community. Going from that extreme to Hampton was challenging, but at the same time really helped me get a sense of who I was, and that’s when I started to love myself.

Was learning to love yourself a gradual process?

It was very gradual. I was a late bloomer in terms of my career. While all my other friends coming out of college were stepping into these great situations, I had to struggle a little bit to find my footing. That didn’t happen until I was about 32 and went to work for the Oakland Tribune and became the first African-American female to be a [regularly featured] sports columnist at a major metropolitan daily. Just to get the response from the community, because I was doing something that had some novelty to it, really helped me gain my confidence, come to terms with myself and love myself.

How did you come to pick such a big array of inspirational figures for your book, ranging from Angela Davis to Halle Berry?

Angela was someone who was kind of a “chance-random.” I had been assigned to interview her. I was talking to her, and then all of a sudden, I thought, “Wow, she should be in the book.” So, I asked her the question at the end of the interview, and she graciously responded. Halle is someone I have known for so long. She was going to be a natural in it.

A lot of the celebrity encounters who were not friends of mine were people I ran into at events, or on assignment. I was trying to make it as diverse as possible[.] There were a couple of people who said they would do it and they wanted money for hair and makeup, and I was like, “This is not that type of party.”

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