This article originally appeared and was published on AOL.com
Entering the “Shark Tank” is intimidating for anyone — but according to Barbara Corcoran, the majority of the Sharks go easier on one type of budding entrepreneur.
“I think I’m more harsh [on women]. What I’m expecting in a woman pitching for money on the show is different than what the men like to see,” Corcoran told AOL, referring to fellow Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John and Robert Herjavec.
Corcoran is most impressed, she said, by a uniquely stylish — and sturdy — outfit. “I like to see a woman with solid shoes on so she can walk right,” she said. “And if she has a fashion sense, like she went to T.J.Maxx and picked out her own outfit instead of being matchy-matchy, I think she’s creative.”
For Corcoran, an excellent first impression has nothing to do with body shape or facial features. “I’ll tell you what I really base it on,” Corcoran said. “Posture. How they dress. How they look you in the eye. And what their hand feels like when I shake it.” (This reporter was told that her handshake needs a bit more strength.)
Confidence and poise are key — but Corcoran readily acknowledges that clothing is critical, too. She partnered up with T.J.Maxx for its Maxx You campaign, which encourages women to embrace their individuality and show off their best selves.
It’s a message that Corcoran firmly stands behind, especially as someone who often sees women get unfairly misjudged based on appearances. “I’ve seen [the male Sharks] not choose a particular business owned by a woman … but the minute the woman leaves, they say, ‘She was brilliant!'” Corcoran said. “I always correct them and say, ‘No, no, no. She was pretty.’ Brilliant and pretty get mixed up a lot on the show.”
Always impeccably dressed herself — on this day, she looks half her age in a cobalt-hued jacket over a trim dress — Corcoran recently stepped out of her fashion comfort zone as a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.”
“You know what happens on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is your dance partner picks out the clothing! I’ve never had a man pick out anything for me!” she exclaimed. “I argued against it … I’m kind of plain and simple. And [partner Keo Mostepe] said, you need it, babe, for this dancing! So on it went! More shingles and shimmys!”
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