Meet Arielsela!

Meet this week’s Campus Celebrity, Arielsela H-Smith.  She is one of the directors for The Vagina Monologues this year, and is on the executive board for the African Student Association. Her passion to create change and her well-spoken nature is what makes her perfect for our campus celeb.

Major: Global Health

Year: 3rd

College: Muir

What made you want to be a director for Vagina Monologues?

I wanted to help the show grow. The show helped me grow and find parts of my voice but at the same time I also had critiques about the representation, how some of the pieces were done and I believed that the best way to make change was to obtain a leadership role and create it myself. Being a director was a great opportunity to generate the change I wanted to see.

What kind of changes can the audience expect to see this year?

For one, a variation in representation of background and stories. One big critique of VagMo in general is that it perpetuates a narrow, white-feminist view. White feminism being feminism that tends to ignore intersectionalities such as existing on the axis of cis-normatives, hetero normatives, ableist.  It is not to say that white womxn who are feminists perpetuate white-feminism but that is one of the biggest critiques of the show.

This year we are pushing to expand that discussion and that limitation even if representation isn’t perfect, it is something that is improving. I hope the audience will be exposed to a diverse set of stories and representations in VagMo this year and more aware of the diversity that is expanding in VagMo (expanding to acknowledge the stories of different types of womxn).

I see that you are really passionate about this, is there anything else that captivates your attention?

Self expression. I am really into the arts and advocacy and have always liked writing, drawing, painting, theater, dance, and music. All of those things have to do with expression through creation and defining what is already there and finding its meaning to you.

I am passionate about advocacy because for me that means lifting up others’ voices. I believe that when you advocate, it’s not about you but them, having someone else’s voice be heard.

Also diversity, black womxnhood, self-love, my African roots, and travel.

Fun fact about you?

 I love learning new languages. I have studied way too many such as Spanish, Latin, Arabic, American Sign Language, and Twi.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Come back to me in 5 and see where I am. Honestly, I’m in the process of molding my future and the field that I’m in there is a lot of trailblazing involved. In five years, I expect that my career will be in its infancy stages and that I’ll be working on something Global Health related and be on the path to a Ph.D.