Photos: Roger Kisby/Samantha Burkardt/Getty Images

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Princess Nokia recently sat down to have a candid and emotional conversation about changing the world through their respective paths. The two Bronx-born Boriquas touched on topics of self-confidence, sexism, representation, and how they deal with criticism. The conversation was part of a partnership between Rolling Stone magazine and Stacey Abrams’s Fair Fight Action.

As the two sat down to begin their discussion, Princess Nokia (born Destiny Nicole Frasqueri) joked about the two of them being “twins” and bonding over their shared Bronx heritage.

But after the jokes subsided, the conversation quickly turned emotional, with Princess Nokia telling the Ocasio Cortez how much of an inspiration the congresswoman has been to her. “I picture you as a teenager and just being into all of these profound subjects,” said Princess Nokia, her voice breaking. “And really believing in yourself and taking your interests and ambitions to a really high place that not only rewards you, but honestly serves so many other people.”

In turn, Ocasio Cortez gave Princess Nokia credit where credit is due by saying that she, too, serves her community, albeit through a different medium.

AOC said that both her and Princess Nokia have used their culture to influence their work.

“At the end of the day, we are uplifting our communities, and we’ve taken how we’ve grown up and we’ve learned that it’s not just our own individual stories, but they’re part of larger systems,” she said. “And to talk about that and to let it shape how we think which in turn shapes the work that we do.”

But the meat of the conversation came when Princess Nokia talked about how she turned her life around from living with her abusive foster mother to deciding to leave and move in with her grandmother. Nokia opened up about how that small decision influenced her to keep on making “healthy decisions” and ignoring other people’s negativity. From that point forward, she began to believe in herself.

AOC praised Princess Nokia’s story, adding that the question she gets a lot from young women is how to “deal with all the toxicity” from others.

At this point Princess Nokia jokingly raised her hand and said “I want to know that too.”

Ocasio Cortez responded by saying, “You get to a point where it’s so bad, that there’s a very clear choice in front of you: You’re either going to believe all of these horrible things about you, or you’re going to choose yourself. And you’re going to believe in yourself. The moment you choose yourself and you trust yourself…that just automatically disqualifies all the haters.”

Ocasio Cortez then summed up why she believes Princess Nokia’s music is so important: because it celebrates the beauty of the individual. “You don’t have to prove your worth to anybody,” said AOC. “You don’t need to be anything to be worthy. You come out of the box worthy. And that aspect of your music and your art is so important.”