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I Am That Girl’s #Girl2016

Imagine a room filled with women. Women of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds, and voices. Women who are all equally beautiful, coming together to celebrate their uniqueness and quirks. They have come together to celebrate each other. What is our single commonality? We are all badasses. 

Be seen. Be heard. Belong.

Once you entered the theatre, those three words were hung up on the stage in bold letters with spotlights on them. Those three words served as the three different themes for the day.

On Saturday October 15, #GIRL2016 took place at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles where I Am That Girl chapters from all over the United States and even going as far as Australia, gathered together for a truly life changing event that was sponsored by Levi’s and Secret.

Celebrities, speakers, singers, and poets including Derek Hough, Monique Coleman, Lizzie Velasquez, Rachel Platten, Aijia, Arielle Estoria, and many more graced the stage and in Q&A format were asked a series of questions one of which was “why are you a badass?”

This question was also an important theme of the day. The reasoning and importance behind asking this beautiful question is due to the fact that we are not given the opportunity to brag about ourselves. In fact, bragging and being proud of yourself is for some strange reason frowned upon and deemed as arrogance. However, we at I Am That Girl encourage and embrace you to be proud of your accomplishments and we want you to have that well deserved moment to voice and recognize how wonderful and special you truly are. 

The day was filled with TED Talk inspired motivational speeches, music, poetry, laughter, eating (duh), bonding activities, and many tears of joy and reflection. It was essentially a giant girl power kick ass day full of love and hugs. There was even a point where we made flower crowns out of REAL, FRESH flowers and suddenly we were all transformed into the flower crown Snapchat filter, but better. 

High School Musical star and actress Monique Coleman inspired us by saying “don’t withhold the things you want most. If you want love, give love. If you want money, give it. Walk to a stranger and give them compliments. Wish for other people what you wish upon yourself and you will have given onto you abundantly.”

Let me tell you, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. 

However, I think it is important to point out that Dancing with the Stars coach Derek Hough was present and believes in the mission of I Am That Girl. Why? Because he is THAT GUY. Haha get it? Instead of THAT GIRL? Anyways, by Hough voicing his story on how he was raised by all women and by default, was told to always treat them with respect, was extremely important and allowed I Am That Girl to put forth a male perspective. I think we often forget that guys ALSO need to be involved in the conversation of self-love and women just as much as women do. 

The final speech of that day was by the founder of I Am That Girl, Alexis Jones. The truth behind her story where girls believed she had this perfect life, boyfriend, job, body etc., when in reality that simply wasn’t the case spoke volumes to the girls sitting before her. Jones had “checked off every box but still wasn’t happy.” The boxes she was checking off were those created by society. She had checked off every list that society said if you check off, you will be happy. But she wasn’t. While attending university at USC, she wanted to create a safe space for girls to come together and have real, authentic conversations about things that matter. And thus, I Am That Girl was born.  

This organization has created such a beautiful community where girls feel a sense of belonging and by joining together, they also become empowered. If you are interested in joining, I Am That Girl meetings are held Tuesday evenings every other week at 8:00 PM on the top floor of VDA (next meeting is Tuesday October 25).

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