Catt Sadler on what gave her the courage to walk away from E!

Catt Sadler didn't set out to be one of the modern-day faces for women's equality, but when the former E! News host faced gender inequality in the workplace, she spoke up.

The longtime TV personality exited the network last year after learning her male co-star was earning double her salary. After attempting to negotiate her contract, Sadler was denied, so she did the brave thing and went out on her own. Her latest project as Lord + Taylor's official Resident Style Expert includes a curated shop launching on the site with all of her favorite fall picks. 

With Women's Equality Day coming up on Sunday, August  26th and her latest fashion project, AOL.com sat down with Sadler at the Whitby Hotel in NYC to discuss everything from the advice she has for young women to her born-and-raised Midwest style.

AOL: Of course, we are here to talk about women equality - What gave you the courage to stand up to the network about the issue you were facing with equal pay?

CS: Courage is a funny thing. I was really listening to my soul and my inner self. I was tuning into what I knew was right for me personally. I think a lot of people have to tune into that to be able to take the leap like I did. But for me, I was left with no other option. I have to live my truth and be true to what I believe in. So, at the end of the day, that’s what propelled me forward. 

What was your biggest fear about speaking out?

It was about my family and providing for my two kids and knowing the risk involved from walking away from my job and the security and stability associated with that. I also had a nest egg built up, if you will. I tell a lot of women that what saved me in a lot of ways is that I had my own brand, my own website. I had built that and spent a lot of energy and time curating my own business in addition to being a TV host. I had the luxury to walk away because I could. It still was scary and it still wasn’t easy and there were still no guarantees that I would ever work again but I had that to rely on. So, that gave me a confidence and a certain power that I might not have had otherwise.

I definitely think everyone also knows you outside the E! Network, but then what advice can you give women who might not necessarily have the platform you have?

There’s so much advice I can give women now and I am by no means an expert. I’ve kind of been ejected into this movement because I was doing what I thought was right for myself. But I know so many women are underpaid and undervalued and in order to change that, it really starts with using your voice. You don’t get what you don’t ask for. It really starts with being brave and having those sometimes-awkward conversations with your employer or your superior at work. 
 
And you have to try and start from the beginning. I tell a lot of younger girls this now too: There is evidence that the first salary you get out of college is really the one that follows you throughout your career so if you start low, you’re going to be playing catch up the rest of your life.  You really have to negotiate a fair salary at the start. That’s already going to put you ahead of the curve a little bit. 
 
Also, keep a record of your accomplishments. Know your worth, but you have to back that up.  You have to keep track of all of the things along the way you do and the success you have. So, that when it is time to get a promotion or you’re up for a promotion, you can go in and say "Look, this is what I’ve done, now pay me my worth and what I deserve!"

26 PHOTOS
Catt Sadler out and about
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Catt Sadler out and about
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Lord & Taylor announces Catt Sadler as Resident Style Expert on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 23: Lord & Taylor announces Catt Sadler as Resident Style Expert on August 23, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Lord & Taylor)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MARCH 04: Catt Sadler attends the 2018 Vanity Fair Oscar Party hosted by Radhika Jones at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 4, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
WESTWOOD, CA - APRIL 17: Catt Saddler attends the Premiere Of STX Films' 'I Feel Pretty' at Westwood Village Theatre on April 17, 2018 in Westwood, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 04: Catt Sadler attends The Tot holiday pop-up celebration at Laduree at the Grove on December 4, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for The Tot)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: TV Personality Catt Sadler attends NBCUniversal's press junket at Beauty & Essex on November 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 13: Entertainment reporters Jason Kennedy (L) and Catt Sadler arrive at NBCUniversal's Press Junket at Beauty & Essex on November 13, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)
NEWPORT BEACH, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Catt Sadler attends the Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY on September 16, 2017 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY)
NEWPORT BEACH, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Catt Sadler attends the Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY on September 16, 2017 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY)
NEWPORT BEACH, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Catt Sadler attends the Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY on September 16, 2017 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Fashion Island's StyleWeekOC Presented By SIMPLY)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09: Designer Rebecca Minkoff and Blogger Catt Sadler pose backstage for TRESemme at Rebecca Minkoff NYFW during New York Fashion Week on September 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for TRESemme)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 08: Catt Sadler attends the 2017 Harper's Bazaar Icons at The Plaza Hotel on September 8, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Catt Sadler is seen attending Creatures of Comfort during New York Fashion Week wearing Tracy Reese on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Sperzel/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Justine Marjan and Catt Sadler pose backstage for TRESemme at Creatures of Comfort NYFW SS18 fashion show at Industria Studios on September 7, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for TRESemme)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Co-host, E! News Catt Sadler attends the ELLE, E! & IMG Host A Celebration of Personal Style NYFW Kickoff Party at 5 Doyers St on September 6, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 05: TV personality Catt Sadler attends DIOR SS17 Collection Launch at Maxfield on April 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for CHRISTIAN DIOR)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 02: Catt Sadler arrives at the Daily Front Row's 3rd Annual Fashion Los Angeles Awards at the Sunset Tower Hotel on April 2, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 15: Catt Sadler attends the launch of the Rosie HW x PAIGE Collection, hosted by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Paige Adams-Geller, at Ysabel on February 15, 2017 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for PAIGE )
VENICE, CA - FEBRUARY 08: Catt Sadler at the TommyLand Tommy Hilfiger Spring 2017 Fashion Show on February 8, 2017 in Venice, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for Tommy Hilfiger)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 10: Catt Sadler attends REVOLVE Winter Formal 2016 on November 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for REVOLVE)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: TV personality Catt Sadler attends the Simply Stylist New York Dinner presented by French Connectionon on November 5, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for Simply Stylist)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 02: Catt Sadler arrives at the Who What Wear 10th Anniversary #WWW10 Experience on November 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: E news correspondant Catt Sadler seen around New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for New York Fashion Week: The Shows)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 14: E! News correspondent Catt Sadler attends the Michael Kors Spring 2017 Runway Show at Spring Studios on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Michael Kors)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12: E! Host Catt Sadler Seen Around September 2016 New York Fashion Week: The Shows at Skylight at Moynihan Station on September 12, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Catt Sadler and make-up Charlotte Tilbury attend Charlotte Tilbury x Samsung at 837 Washington on September 10, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
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I love your Instagram and following your style. What are you most excited about for fall fashion?

 Fall fashion is probably one of my absolute favorites. I grew up in the Midwest so I was very much in layers and jackets. I am a coat fanatic. If you check out my curated shop on Lord + Taylor.com, there a lot of really cool pieces and coats are included!

What are you most excited about collaborating with this type of major retailer?

I’ve been a fan forever and I’ve shopped Lord + Taylor forever. I love what they believe in and stand for beyond just being able to get clothes at a good price that are fashion forward. They really have always been champions of women. Even years ago [1945], they were one of the first retailers to have a female president and Vanessa [Lefebvre], who is currently in the role, is just amazing. They really do believe in women’s equality and that’s why we are here.  Everything they believe in is right in line with my core values so it’s an easy partnership. 

Shop Catt's curated shop onLord+Taylor.com in the gallery below!

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Catt Sadler Curated Shop @ Lord + Taylor
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