Achieng Agutu Shares Her Best Tips on Setting Boundaries With Confidence

The 2023 Swim Search co-winner is all about self-advocacy and going after what you want.
Achieng Agutu

Achieng Agutu.

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2024 SI Swimsuit rookie Achieng Agutu, the “tantalizing confidence queen,” is here to share her best tips on building and maintaining confidence while living up to your true girlboss potential. This week, the 26-year-old divulges her advice on setting boundaries, advocating for yourself and communicating your needs.

“You deserve it”

The New York City resident, who was born and raised in Kenya, recognizes that speaking up for yourself isn’t always easy. A previous, younger, less confident version of herself would never have said anything if she was interrupted in the middle of speaking, for example.

“I think people feel like when they’re standing up for themselves, they have to be like loud and rude and you don’t have to do that. You can just ask for what you want because you deserve it,” she says. “You’re never inconveniencing someone if you’re asking for something or setting a boundary because you have to respect yourself—whether that is you asking for a raise, asking for space, asking for them to remove the onions from your burger because that’s not how you [ordered] it.”

She adds that getting over the hump of feeling like you are being rude makes all the difference. If you use kind words and speak with genuine intentions, there’s no problem with asking for what you want.

“Rejection is redirection”

Agutu has reached an epiphany in life when it comes to personal and professional relationships. Someone’s attitude or “no” toward her is not a reflection of her, so why should it affect her confidence?

She advises fans to try and develop a similar viewpoint, as she says it makes taking risks and going for what you want less intimidating. It also makes bouncing back from tough moments easier.

“I feel like I’m at a point where I’m starting to see [rejection] is not a knock on my confidence. [Sometimes] things just don’t work out,” Agutu says. “Rejection is redirection. It’s not like testament to who I am as a person that moves throughout the world.”

Making her younger self proud

Agutu notes that her biggest and most simple piece of advice that she wishes she could tell her teenage self is “just do it.”

“I became the representation I think I really needed when I was younger. There was a part of me that was just gonna wait for someone to pop up and I would be like ‘Oh, thank God. You look like me and talk like me and are doing the things I want to do. Thank God you came here,’” she shares. “But I think [my younger self] would be proud that I stepped up. She would be really proud of the fearlessness I have right now.”

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Ananya Panchal


Ananya Panchal is a NYC-based Lifestyle & Trending News writer at SI Swimsuit. Before joining the Swim team, the Boston University Alum worked for culture & entertainment beats at Bustle, The San Francisco Chronicle and the TODAY Show. When Ananya is not writing or doom-scrolling on social media, she can be found playing sudoku, rewatching One Tree Hill or trying new restaurants. She's also a coffee and chocolate (separately) enthusiast.