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, Sage Dolan-Sandrino 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.”
Sage is a 20-year-old trans artist, activist, journalist, and creative director who has been an advocate for young trans people since she was 13. Since then, she has founded TEAM Mag, a collective with original content by young creatives, was the ambassador to The White House Initiative for Education Excellence for African Americans under the Obama Administration, and so much more.
We got the chance to sit down with Sage to hear more about her achievements, goals, and lessons she’s learned along her journey of being a leader. Read below to hear what she had to say, and help us celebrate her as an honoree of MUSE 100!
Her Campus: Who are the muses who inspire you to stand up for what you believe in?
Sage Dolan-Sandrino: My muses are my sisters and best friends, Olivia and Zahri. When I founded my magazine and creative studio years ago, it was my best friend Zahri who stepped up, invested in my mission, and began directing alongside me. Together, we created a beautiful platform and community that ended up connecting me to Olivia. Olivia is the sister I prayed for.
Growing up Black and queer can be extremely isolating, Olivia understood me and celebrated me in ways that I was not familiar with. These two girls are not only my muses but my lifeline.
Her Campus: What does being a leader mean to you?
Sage: Leadership is a commitment to community—A commitment to listen, organize, and act. Being a leader often means acknowledging your role as a follower and team player as well. Being a leader means possessing the courage to change the world in ways you’ve been told are impossible.
Her Campus: What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sage: To this day, I still consider my greatest achievement to be my commitment to standing in my truth. I have fought to live my most authentic life and stared right back in the face of adversity, transphobia, racism, and physical violence. I thank my younger self every day for finding inside of herself the strength to not only transition but channel her voice into artistry and advocacy in hopes of helping other little girls step into their truth.
Her Campus: When did you first feel the power of your own voice?
Sage: When I was 15 years old, while attending a White House summit for Black and Brown queer youth, my now mentor and Executive Director of the National Black Justice Coalition, David Johns, asked the room full of educators and students what young trans people need from their teachers. Before thinking, I stood up and demanded we be allowed to use our chosen name and be able to use the right bathroom and pronouns. At the moment I hadn’t yet realized that I just came out as trans in front of the students from my school who were present. After that, I began working more with David Johns at the White House and I stepped into my activism in a much more public capacity. I felt the power of my voice and the power quelled my fear.
Her Campus: What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
Sage: Keep going! You are beautiful, intelligent, talented and so deserving of love. Keep on exploring and growing— there’s a whole beautiful world out there waiting for you.
Her Campus: The Muse 100 mission is to amplify and uplift Black voices and individuals. How are you personally aligned with this mission?
Sage: Heavily influenced by The National Black Justice Coalition’s Thriving Framework–where I serve as the inaugural Monica Roberts Fellow– I utilize my art practice to shift culture via authentic and impactful storytelling. In 2018 I founded my independent digital magazine and create a studio, TEAM. Through both TEAM and my independent art practice, I’m committed to creating opportunities for young Black and Brown queer and trans folks to see ourselves reflected in narratives of joy, love, acceptance, and celebration— A reality we are too often denied.
Here’s to SAGE, and all of the other MUSE 100 HONOREES!
Click here to learn more about Sage and the other MUSE 100 honorees!
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