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Marley Dias
Marley Dias
Ulta Beauty x Her Campus

Marley Dias Empowers Black Girls Around the World with the #1000BlackGirlBooks Initiative She Created


Ulta Beauty recently launched the MUSE 100, a celebration of 100 inspirational Black voices in and around beauty, from entrepreneurs and creators to visionary leaders, and more. These individuals are creating impact and driving change in the industry and beyond, to help make beauty in our world possible. Each MUSE honoree will be awarded a $10,000 grant to help accelerate their impact, totaling over a $1M commitment from Ulta Beauty.

The MUSE 100 honorees embody the commitment of Magnifying, Uplifting, Supporting, and Empowering Black voices – and, Marley Dias is someone who totally reflects this commitment. She has been named an honoree of the Next Gen category, “the emerging young Black leaders shaking up our world.”

After never seeing Black representation in the books that were being assigned in school, Marley founded the initiative, #1000BlackGirlBooks, which is a book drive she designed to collect 1000 books with Black, female protagonists. The goal was so that people would see themselves in the literature and so that stories of Black girls would be told, and Black girls would be included in the stories. Once Marley gathered all 1000 books, she decided to write her own book to help educate and empower Black girls all around the world. 

We got the chance to sit down with Marley and hear more about her achievements, the advice she wishes she had when she was young, and so much more. Read below to hear what she had to say, and help us celebrate her as an honoree of MUSE 100!

Her Campus: Who is the muse who inspires you to stand up for what you believe in? 
Marley Dias: My mom inspires me to stand up. I watch her every day, choosing to be an upstander. Being an upstander is hard and I have seen her do it even when it has cost her time and friendships. As a teen, it is not always easy to stand up. I am glad I have her as an example. 

Her Campus: What does being a leader mean to you?
Marley: Being a leader means doing the right thing when nobody’s watching. It means choosing to use my voice and resources to make sure that things are equitable for everyone. It means respecting people’s identities. It also means being a good listener and being willing to learn from others even when you disagree. 

Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Marley: That is a tough question. I think one of my greatest achievements is having my elementary school change the assigned 5th-grade book to a Black girl book. It was the first example of a structural change because of my campaign. It showed me that when you talk to people and bring people together things can change. For years, all the books that were assigned at my elementary school had a white male protagonist and because of my work and the support of others, we created an institutional change. 

Her Campus: When did you first feel the power of your own voice?
Marley: I have always felt like I have the power of my own voice. In my family, you get a lot of questions and you are asked your point of view a lot, so I have always understood that opinions matter and that you must have a reason for why you think the way you think or wish for what you wish for. I am grateful to my parents for always validating me and making me feel powerful enough to share my thoughts and ideas. 

Her Campus: What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Marley: Enjoy the journey and share more of yourself. The campaign took off in such a big way that I really didn’t spend a lot of time enjoying the experience. I wanted to make sure that the structures of inequity were changed so that I became very serious. I also didn’t want kids at school to know much about what was happening because there were things that I was doing that I couldn’t share until after they were public. So I split my worlds: there was my social justice work and then there was my school work. Looking back, I wish I really soaked up everything. I also wish that I talked to my friends around me more about what was happening. 

Her Campus: The Muse 100 mission is to amplify and uplift Black voices and individuals. How are you personally aligned with this mission?
Marley: I started the campaign #1000BlackGirlBooks because I am a Black girl and I wanted my stories and the stories of Black girls to be included. I believe in our power, our brilliance, and our creativity. I also believe in our differences. The mission of the Muse 100 is perfectly aligned. I will always amplify the voices of our people and I am committed to making space for our thoughts and ideas. 

Here’s to Marley, and all of the other MUSE 100 HONOREES! 

Click here to learn more about Marley and the other MUSE 100 honorees!

This is a sponsored feature. All opinions are 100% our own.

Emily Murphy has been with Her Campus Media since 2018, and is currently the Branded Content Associate. She was the Campus Correspondent and Editor/President at her chapter at Winthrop University for four years, but has had a passion for all things writing since she was young. When she's not scribbling ideas down for her next branded article, she's watching reruns of Seinfeld while scrolling Pinterest for apartment inspo. Follow her on Instagram at @emilysmurfy
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