Four years ago, I jumped onboard a train named I AM THAT GIRL (IATG) with an undetermined destination and an ambiguous route. With a leap of faith, surrounded by phenomenal family and friends supporting as well as encouraging me, I set out to create an organization that would be a platform for young women to have a conversation. I truly believe that in the midst of conversation, the sharing of perspectives erodes intolerance and injects compassion. Also, selfishly, I wanted to build a community for girls because I was searching so desperately for it myself.
I was young, brash and maybe that's exactly what it takes to believe that something is possible in spite of all guaranteed adversity and obstacles that serve as the cliché rain on everyone's dream parade. That being said, the journey to create a nonprofit that sincerely inspires confidence, builds community both on and off line as well as tackles the monstrous media boogie man to create healthy media that lifts us up instead of breaks us down has been quite the quest. It's also been the adventure of a lifetime, with unforeseen twists and turns on a Technicolor roller coaster. Like any great movie there have been moments of pure joy, painful devastation, redemption, slayed dragons, wins and losses, but above all, the emergence of something I've never been more proud of - an organization with an authentic voice not to mention a genuine and relentless message.
The icing on the cake is the fact that our mission is reaching the ears of others. The whole concept of, "If you build it, they will come" is always lovely in theory, but the reality of it and witnessing the girls being drawn to our lighthouse is more rewarding than anything I could have ever imagined. The e-mails I receive on a daily basis, the conversation among girls on our Facebook page, and the videos that are being submitted are the real way in which I get paid because it physically makes my heart pitter-pat that there are girls out there who need this as much as I did, as much as I do.
Then the sprinkles on the cake were added the day Kate Bosworth called. No big deal. She and Cher Coulter (celebrity stylist) said they had gotten wind of IATG and of all the organizations out there to partner with, they wanted to partner with us on a new friendship bracelet collection. They wanted to give a dollar of every set sold to a charity and the dynamic duo really believed IATG was the best fit. Okay, not gonna lie, loved Kate in Blue Crush and was totally starstruck when we first met (yes, she is more beautiful in real life, which is hard to imagine) but far more important is that she and Cher personify everything that IATG stands for. They are beauty with brains, compassion with just enough defiance to actually make a difference in the world. Their willingness to share resources, to raise money for our organization and to promote it around the globe is a dream come true.
In fact, if I'm totally honest, it's a bit surreal. We were just interviewed on Extra and it hit me, in that moment mid-interview (which I'm sure you can see on my face, when all of a sudden I got a permasmile and forgot the question our host was asking) that IATG is real. It's not an idea any more, a little girl's fanciful dream or a pie in the sky; we are making the world a better place, every day, one girl at a time. Our partnership with Kate, Cher and JewelMint means more to me than they probably will ever know. Mid-journey we deserve to take time to smell the roses, to pause and breathe it all in. A thank you goes out to Kate and Cher, who have become dear friends through our collaborative project. It may have started as a dream partnership for I AM THAT GIRL, but it's quickly turned into a dream friendship with two women I admire very much.
Image courtesy of Extratv.com, video courtesy of JewelMint