Page 1

issue no. 26 | 1

hey smart girl! A N O T E F R O M E M I LY


on’t say you’re lucky. You deserve everything you’ve worked for.”

I’ve heard that a lot, from mentors, friends, you name it. But I never believed it. I mean, yeah, I always worked really hard and was proud of that. But I refuse to think it was all me. When you think about all the crazy things that life can throw at you at any given point, how can you not feel blessed? Whether it’s all green lights when you’re late to school or not getting the flu when everyone you work with is bedridden, it’s hard to deny that luck has nothing to do with it. We are lucky for the good choices that we made and the bad ones that led us to something really great.

to create some kind of impact on this world. When we find what it is that we are hungry for, I think we have won the greatest battle of them all because now we have a purpose; something that is driving us forward.

At the same time, I think we should own our greatness and our achievements because success is born from hard work, just like Maggie talks about this month in her article, “Own It” (p. 116). After all, Gabrielle Del Re would have never become a Rockette (p. 102) if it were not for endless hours of kicks and training, and Eva Shang would not be changing the game for prison reform if it were not for her serious dedication to the cause (p. 14).

As we round out 2014, I hope you take time to relish in all that you have achieved this year because you deserve it. I hope that you also take a moment to soak up all of the blessings that 2014 had to offer.

There is something so remarkable about someone who is hungry for success, thirsting 2 | smart girls guide

We need something that will help chart our paths, so that we can keep making moves day after day. At the same time, it is the understanding that we are lucky, that life is on our side in some sort of way, that keeps us grounded.

I feel so lucky to introduce you to our 26th issue of Smart Girls Guide, one of my greatest blessings.

Emily Raleigh Founder & Smart Starter @emilyeraleigh





Meet Emily Voorde, a college senior who knows a thing or two about leadership.

24 WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT POLITICS It’s even more important than you think.

98 AVOID THE HUMBLE-BRAG We’ve all seen it. Mimi has the tips to make sure you don’t fall into the trap, too.


Caroline got the inside scoop from Co-founder and CEO, Stephanie Horbaczewski

90 HOW #BLESSED ARE YOU? Maggie explores the big question.


Go behind the curtain with Rockette, Gabrielle Del Re.

“Everyday is a day to wake up and have another chance to be one step closer to your dream.”

follow us!

Gabrielle Del Re

issue no. 26 | 3






A wrap up of all of the exciting things going on throughout Smart Girls Group this past month. Katy sat down with prison reform activist, Eva Shang.


T Catherine Eagan explains the recent protest.





Khulood explores what interracial marriage looks like across the world.



Smart Girls celebrated the holiday season in New York City with VAUGHN.


Tori covers the early years of women in medical school.

“For everything you find yourself thankful for this month, find something you’re hungry for.”


We asked our favorite bloggers what to wear for the season.


Check out how these powerhouse women are rocking our favorite holiday colors.




Looking to tone your arms this season? Mandy has the info for you.


Alyssa Fiorentino

People say that all the time, but can you actually do it?

34 4 | smart girls guide

THANKSGIVING DINNER 95 REVISED Lukrecija put a twist on your traditional holiday meal.








Quincy interviewed image consultant, Elaine Pouliot. Turn here for some serious inspiration. Rebecca sat down with Neely Stoller of A Complete Waste of Makeup How do you own your ambitions and accomplishments? Maggie has the answer.



It’s a lot easier than you think!



This incredible Smart Girl is raising her voice after losing her freedom.

Sanah has a pep talk that will no doubt leave you embracing your inner Superwoman.


She’s on her way to becoming a leader in the dental field.


Check out this month’s personal essay.


Smart Girls asked, Sarah answered.




Check out founder, Emily Raleigh’s column on inspiration and tangible takeaways. issue no. 26 | 5


HILLARY BADGER bookings director maryland

LEAH KASHAR managing editor new york

MEGAN BECKER blog brains michigan

MELISSA RIORDAN smarts sharer georgia

SOPHIE RALEIGH smarts sharer new jersey

6 | smart girls guide

SYDNEY CARVER smarts sharer pennsylvania

T. CATHERINE EAGAN smarts sharer new york

LAURA GILLIGAN smarts shooter texas

STEPH JENN smA sm co n

MAGGIE CHAQUETTE smarts searcher rhode island

JULIA CASSANO smARTy pants new jersey

CHERIE HU smarts sharer new york

LILY HERMAN smarts sharer connecticut

NA HANIE ADENDORFF WILSON marts ARTy sharer pants new onnecticut york

issue no. 26 | 7

8 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 9

hello issue no. 26 A NOTE FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF


he holiday season: also known as the best season of the year. I usually split November and December between Austin, Texas and Basically-Stars Hollow, Connecticut, but this year is a little different. This year, I’m in college. That means I’m also sharing my time with New York City (*cue Taylor Swift’s “Welcome to New York”*). The city is interesting, to say

the least. People are hungry-for power, influence, respect, money and a good Chinese place that doesn’t charge for delivery and won’t even judge you if you forget to tip. I love being in a city that’s so ambitious; I find it motivating. What kind of stinks is that with all of this sometimes comes an air of self-importance... Bleh. I’m all for confidence and fighting for your place, but there comes a point where you have to remember that we are all just humans. We all have days where we don’t look as attractive as we’d like to, feel a crazy amount of inadequacy and just don’t want to get out of bed. At the same time, we also all have really good days--you know, the ones where you just want to sing to the sky and dance until the stars disappear. Those are usually the days where we feel the most grateful, but what if that

10 | smart girls guide

wasn’t the case? What if, every day, we felt the same amount of crazy blessed that we really are? Look around you--you have friends and family who adore you, fuzzy socks to wear when it’s especially chilly out and regular access to the music that soothes your soul when you feel anxious. How lucky you are indeed. Take a little time today to bless our team with your attention and open mind by checking out a few articles: namely, Maggie’s piece on what it really means to be blessed (p. 90), Mimi’s advice on avoiding the humble-brag (p. 98), and Ana’s interview with the ever-giving Ashante Tucker (p. 136). During this season of both giving and receiving, please remember to not only stay hungry, but to stay humble too. Quincy Bulin, Editor-in-Chief @quincylauren

Stay Hungry, Stay Humble by Alyssa Fiorentino We spend a lot of time over the holidays thinking about what we’re thankful for; our family, friends, and good health all come to mind. But with so much to be thankful for, it’s easy to get sidetracked and forget about what we want. Yes, what we want—because as important as humility and appreciation are, so is hunger. No, not ‘I’m so thankful for all of this food I’m about to devour,’ hunger. Real, passionate, motivated ‘I’m not going to stop until I get there,’ hunger. That drive that has you making daily to-do lists and yearly inspiration boards. What are you hungry for? What do you want? How will you go after it? Knowing what you want sets you aside from your peers. Why? Because you put yourself on a path to success. You can’t help but have goals, whether they start in a daily planner or in a daydream. You waste no time thinking ‘what should I be?’ Instead, you know where you’re going, and even though you might not know all the steps to getting there, you’re on your way. It’s so very important to always be aware of what you want. For everything you find yourself thankful for this month, find something you’re hungry for. Smart Girls are really good at mixing and matching, from patterns, to pillows, to hunger and humility. That’s why the holidays are such a huge deal for us. From now on, each time your remind yourself to stay humble, remind yourself to stay hungry too.

issue no. 26 | 11

last month on...

.COM how to build

your resume without connections

Every Smart Girl is working towards that sparkly resume. Learn how to build yours without the connections. Click here to read now!


Just downloaded the @SmartGirlsGroup App and I’m loving it! Now I can read articles on the go <3 -@katlyn_tolly



In last month’s issue, we partnered with Chloe + Isabel for a photo shoot with their GEMS. Watch our behind the scenes footage at video.smartgirlsgroup.

STAFF Smart Girls Group was in Marie Claire’s November Issue! Thank you for voting us in the How Are You Changing The World Contest!


We launched the first ever Smart Girls App! Click here to download it now from iTunes App Store.

click here to register! 12 | smart girls guide


smart girl


Advocating for a Second Chance

Katy Ma interviews prison reform activist, Eva Shang

issue no. 26 | 13

(smart) girl power

prison reformation:


a second chance



riginally from Philadelphia, Eva Shang is currently a prison reform activist and a sophomore at Harvard. Se is the founder of the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, a nationwide network of students advocating for prison education and reform, and cofounder and co-president of Harvard’s first prison reform organization, HOPE (Harvard Undergraduate Organization for Prison Reform and Education). She has been recognized as one of Dell’s “12 Under 22” Youth Innovation Advisors, is an Editor-at-Large for the Huffington Post, and has spoken at TEDx events throughout the country. Passionate about service, Eva currently directs a tutoring program at a medium security women’s prison near the Boston area, and is passionate about expanding education and criminal justice reform efforts in her home city of Philadelphia.

14 | smart girls guide

Though Eva and I worked with some of the same activist organizations in high school and hail from the same region in Pennsylvania, until recently, we had never met in person. Now that I go to college near Boston, we finally had the chance to meet over coffee in Cambridge, and catch up on all things college, life, and activism. Her drive and passion for social change inspires me greatly, and I’m so exited to share her story! what experiences or people have inspired you to be an activist for prison reform? As a freshman in college, I began tutoring men on probation and parole at the Boston Community

Corrections Center in Boston through Harvard’s public service center. Every Tuesday morning, I would get on the 1 bus on Massachusetts Avenue, and ride for 17 stops until I reached Albany Street, where the bus would turn right and I would cross a five-lane road to reach the building with the small blue flag. It started out as just community service for me, volunteering my time and knowledge to help out with GED tutoring, but the glimpses of the personal stories behind the men I was teaching really shook me. I remember teaching fractions and percents to a man with tattoos all up and down his arms and shoulders, and asking him tentatively what they all meant. He brushed up the sleeve of his t-shirt and showed me, “They’re all the bad things I’ve seen in my life.” He pointed to the lighthouse on his forearm, near his elbow, “And that light? That’s my mother.” Those glimpses

into the lives of people who have been through incarceration shook me. It’s impossible to hear those stories without wanting to find a solution. how has interacting with incarcerated (or formerly incarcerated) men and women impacted your attitude towards incarcerated individuals and the prison system as a whole? Like most of our society, I used to carry a tremendous stigma against incarcerated individuals. I had been taught, growing up, that only “bad people” went to jail—that it was the place you went if you were fundamentally irredeemable. But working with incarcerated men and women all of a sudden awakened me to the fact that like all of us, people entangled in the criminal justice system have hopes and dreams and most issue no. 26 | 15

more than half of prisoners will return to prison again. how does the current justice system hinder the progress of people with criminal records?

importantly, stories of how they got to where they are. And like all of us, people currently or formerly incarcerated deserve second chances at life. More importantly, it’s made me realize that many people currently incarcerated have been cheated by society of the same opportunities for success. Most the adults I’ve tutored have never completed high school or gotten their GED. Many were locked up for petty drug crimes, and the collateral consequences of incarceration will mean that they’ll be discriminated against in employment, education, and everything they do for the rest of their lives. 16 | smart girls guide

I remember Devante, one of the young men I worked with at the Boston Community Corrections Center, was really interested in Harvard. He had just easily passed a GED practice test, and was asking me all these questions about my classes, about the kinds of people at Harvard, and about college life. Finally, he commented wistfully, “I was about to go to college with a basketball scholarship when I got locked up.” He wasn’t that much older than I was, but even as I was encouraging him to pursue other educational opportunities, I felt guilty because I knew that even in this pursuit, he would face tremendous obstacles. Many four-year colleges require applicants to disclose information on their history within the penal system, screening out applicants who answer “yes”. People returning from incarceration are discriminated against

in everything they do, from public housing to employment to benefits like food stamps. These are known as the collateral consequences of incarceration, and they don’t just affect individuals, they affect communities. could you tell us how you founded the student alliance for prison reform and what your plans for the organization are? When I became the director of the Women’s and Men’s Empowerment and Prison Education Program at Harvard, I was handed the reins with very little instruction or support. In addition to reaching out to the directors of other prison service programs at Harvard, I reached out to prison service and activism groups at other schools. Through the conversations that blossomed from those initial interactions, the Student Alliance for Prison Reform was formed. As a network of student activists from a dozen universities around the country, the Student Alliance for Prison Reform serves as a community and a hub for collaboration for student prison reformers. We have students engaged in the prison divest movement, students who do arts service in state facilities, and students focused on activism. This allows us to create joint campaigns and to share ideas for actions we can take to make a change in our communities. Our next joint campaign is going to be

an admissions opportunity campaign for universities to stop discriminating against formerly incarcerated students in the admissions process.

What gives me more hope than anything else is the rising tide of young people in standing up to mass incarceration. In any social movement, when it’s LGBT rights or women’s equality, young people are the driving force of change. the student alliance for prison reform just had a vigil for those in solitary confinement, called 7x9. what did you hope to accomplish with this event, and what was the response? In October, members of the Student Alliance for Prison Reform led solitary confinement vigils at campuses up and down the east coast, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Suffolk, and Boston University. The original exhibit was conceived of by Princeton last year, and the Student Alliance for Prison issue no. 26 | 17

Reform expanded it as our first collective action. Students occupied or stood in front of a 7’ by 9’ space marked out in a prominent location for a 24-hour period. Because the average solitary confinement cell in America is 7’ x 9’, we hoped the exhibit would facilitate the conversation on campuses about solitary confinement and inspire students to take action. During the day-time, the exhibit drew the attention of passing students; during the night-time, the exhibit served as a vigil for the ever-occurring human rights violation. The response we received was extremely positive. Each school put its own spin on the exhibit, and at Harvard, we had students holding a sign that said, “What should we change about the prison system?” outside of the box. The answers passersby wrote on our easel demonstrated the growing interest and knowledge in prison reform on campuses, and started a conversation about the changes that still need to happen. you’re also the director of a tutoring program at a women’s prison in the boston area. could you tell us a little more about this experience?

previously only worked with incarcerated men, but this experience has convinced me of the need for incarceration of women to be seen as a feminist issue. From the day we first walked through the doors of MCI Framingham, we were told in our orientation that most of the women we would be working with had suffered tremendous trauma in their lives. Women comprise around 18 percent of the incarcerated population— and that proportion is fast growing. Furthermore, 73 percent of women who are incarcerated in state prisons suffer some kind of mental illness as compared to 55 percent of men, and almost all women in prison have suffered some kind of abuse in their lifetime. To me, incarceration of women is another symptom of violence against women in society, and deserves to be recognized by women’s organizations as such.

It’s made me realize that many people currently incarcerated have been cheated by society of the same opportunities for success.

This fall, I launched the first Harvard activism can be difficult and tutoring program that works at a state frustrating work. what gives you women’s facility, MCI Framingham. I had hope for change? 18 | smart girls guide

change if we want to stop it, and The Prisoner’s Wife, by Asha Bandele, a memoir about loving someone who is behind bars. Secondly, I would encourage high school and university students to look into starting a student organization at their school for advocacy purposes. The Student Alliance for Prison What gives me more hope than anything Reform has some exciting advocacy else is the rising tide of young people in campaigns planned, but we rely on standing up to mass incarceration. In any individual students to take the lead in social movement, when it’s LGBT rights their communities. Come on board! or women’s equality, young people are the driving force of change. The number what do you think it means to be of schools around the country who are a smart girl? interested in the Student Alliance for Prison Reform, even though we are just To be unapologetically excited about getting started, still surprises me. The things, like in this John Green quote: epidemic of mass incarceration can only be stopped when we all stand together. “…because nerds like us are allowed to for readers who are interested in prison reform advocacy but don’t know where to start, what key resources would you point them to? First, I have two books that are mandatory reading: The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, which gives a factual basis for how mass incarceration took hold and the laws that need to

be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’tcontrol-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness’.” issue no. 26 | 19

in the world

coup in



by T. Catherine Eagan


f anything, 2014 will be called the Year of the Protest. Marchers took to the street in all forms on five of the continents to encourage a variety of reform, from fair government elections to better trading practices that would benefit everyday lives of civilians. In Hong Kong, students massed to protest the opacity of their government after announcements were made to reform the electorate system, and have succeeded in engaging in talks with their government leaders Mexico has come under fire recently for the mass disappearance of 43 students in September, who many speculate were murdered by gangsters and policemen. This recalls to many in Mexico the events of 1968, when hundreds of protesters’ deaths were covered up by the Mexican government. Venezuelan students also marched against their government over the issues of high levels of violence,

20 | smart girls guide


inflation, and chronic shortages of goods. And then there was Burkina Faso, still ongoing, where tens of thousands took to the streets of the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou, after protesting the then-President Blaise Compaoré attempted various constitutional reforms that would have tightened his power. It was on Thursday, 30 October, 2014, that protesters stormed past police lines outside Burkina Faso’s legislative building to prevent lawmakers from voting on such legislation that triggered the mass protests and the eventual peaceful stepping down of the President. The case of Burkina Faso, though, is not so widely known: it is a single nation, in sub-Saharan Africa, thus not able to be categorised in the Arab Spring movement. The region, and the continent as a whole, has the highest number or dictatorial regimes in the world, subject to farcical elections and martial law. Its location in West Africa means that the importance of a military coup pales in comparison to the Ebola epidemic. And yet, a military coup has taken place, of the same pedigree that historical textbooks devote chapters to: the coups d’états throughout Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East so often have led to authoritarian regimes and surveillance states, and stand so resolutely against Western democracy.

What makes Burkina Faso, a modern-day military coup, so unique? Burkina Faso’s protests and government overthrow is different from many past coups in that no blood was spilt. While protesters burnt the homes of political élites and barricaded roads to prevent the president from fleeing, the military did not intervene. So often do protesters meet the harsh blow of martial law, or the discipline of a President’s protection guard. This was not the case for Burkina Faso’s protests, however; the military officers stated that they had abandoned the president and were ‘henceforth at the side of the people’. The military has set up an interim state to prepare for elections being held in a year’s time; Coronel Isaac Zida, the military’s choice for head of state, just handed over powers to interim President Michel Kafando, also the military’s choice. The United States has commented that Burkina Faso has reached a pivotal moment in its history, and encouraged interim leaders to keep promises to return to civilian rule, and analysts are wary of the effects that a lack of power-sharing between military and civilian might have, not just for Burkina Faso but the region of West Africa as a whole. And what of the former President, Mr. Compaoré? Mr. Compaoré has, in the past, been an enigmatic character in terms of international relations. The region of West Africa has long been subject to civil tension and war, only a part of which is because of its rich natural resources, among which are diamonds and oil.

Mr. Compaoré first took power in a coup of his own 27 years ago, and while elections have taken place repeatedly since, the President Incumbent claimed victory in each one, although the results have remained highly contested. Since then he has supported insurrections in Liberia and Le Côte d’Ivoire and Sierra Leone; in Liberia, Mr Compaoré was one of the chief supporters of then-President Charles Taylor, and in Sierra Leone helped contribute arms and mercenaries for rebel groups that caused and prolonged one of the most violent civil wars in the region. Simultaneously, however, Mr Compaoré has been lauded for championing peace in his region: he was commended by the United Nations for his role in bringing stability to Mali, and also his support for peace processes in Le Côte d’Ivoire. The future of Burkina Faso remains murky: much rests on the motives and actions of the military and their relinquishing of control to civil law, a process promised yet so often never brought to fruition. While some hopeful analysts might look to Burkina Faso as the harbinger of a pan-African Spring, others know not to hold their breaths. One nation does not a continental revolution against dictators make. Burkina Faso, however, might be the impetus of the region to spur democratic reform as it takes its place behind Charles Taylor’s Liberia and Foday Sankoh’s Sierra Leone. issue no. 26 | 21

10 facts


interracial marriages Racial discrimination has always been an issue in many different communities, but it has also always been struggled against in numerous ways. Throughout history, people have been rejecting traditional social thought by marrying outside of their race, and these relationships have been key contributors in breaking down barriers and increasing tolerance. Here are ten facts about interracial marriages:


Being a prominently multicultural country, the United States has a very large number of interracial marriages, with more than 5.3 million marriages being between couples of different races.

Britain & France

Although Europe also hosts a substantial amount of immigrants, only 8.8 % of British marriages are interracial, and 11.8 % of French marriages are.

1664 & 2000

In the United States, the first law to ban interracial marriages was set in 1664, and the latest in 2000.


Other limitations to interracial marriages exist because of strict cultural and religious views. Some Eastern cultures stress on the importance of a couple being of the same race, religion, and, sometimes, nationality.

‘90 Nelson Mandela promoted interracial marriages in South Africa, and these relationships in the country are seen as signs of the peace and tolerance that Mandela instilled after he left prison in 1990.

22 | smart girls guide

2010 A result of the rise of interracial marriages is the increase of mixedrace children. A statistic from 2010 shows that the number of people who consider themselves to be of a mixed-race in the United States was around 9 million.


National Geographic has predicted that by 2050, the “average American” will be mixed race. Consequently, the percentages of interracial marriages are also expected to continuously increase. The Lovings

A notable interracial couple who faced difficulties because of their marriage are Richard and Mildred Loving. They were arrested by the police in 1958, but later returned to court in 1963 to fight the laws banning their marriage.

The Kharmas

Another marriage that sparked controversy was that between Ruth Williams Khama, an English woman, and Sir Seretse Khama, the chief of the Bamangwato tribe and Botswana’s president in 1966.

most famous interracial marriage One

of the most famous historical interracial marriages is that of James Achilles Kirkpatrick & Khair un-Nissa in 1801. Kirkpatrick was a British diplomat from the East India Trading company, and Khair un-Nissa the granddaughter of the prime minister of Hyderabad. Kirkpatrick was dismissed from his position and moved with his new family to England.

join the SISTERHOOD A UNIQUE SPACE WHERE YOU CAN INSPIRE AND BE INSPIRED. Our sisterhood seeks to unite, inspire, and empower the next generation of superstar women through our vast array of products, resources, and opportunities fit for passionate game-changers like you. Welcome to the one-stop-shop for Smart Girls. For more information, click here or email to get involved today.

issue no. 26 | 23


anâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t we all just along?â&#x20AC;? That is the question that is on the lips of millions of Americans today. It seems as if hardly anything can pass through both houses of Congress without creating an uproar within the ranks of both Democrats and Republicans. Eleventh hour negotiations seem to have replaced proper governance. In the wake of so much polarization, many have simply decided to ignore politics as much as possible. Although it may seem the easiest thing to do, ignoring something that is as permanent a fixture as politics hurts more than it helps. One of the cornerstones of American democracy is the privilege for all citizens over eighteen to cast a vote. Elections are put in place in order for the people to decide who they feel will best be able to lead and represent them. When people have no interest in politics and decline to vote, resulting elections may fail to reflect the full spectrum of views. This is especially true in the midterm elections that will be occurring on November 4th. Individuals with the strongest held views tend to cast their vote during these elections, and as a result make up a greater percentile of the electorate, at times elevating candidates with very questionable views to the national, political scene. The American political system only works properly if you participate in elections. If you are over eighteen and do not vote, you should not complain about the policies and voting habits of your representatives. After all, you never let your voice be heard in the most important and significant way: the ballot. When we lend our collective voice to the electoral system, only then can we expect to fix some of the problems that have been emanating from Washington. The truth is, we can gripe and complain about the issues within our own 24 | smart girls guide

government, but if we the people take no action, those issues will continue to worsen. So where does that leave us, those of us who cannot vote yet, and those who have only recently received that privilege? According The Center For Information and Research On Civic Learning and Engagement, 45% of those aged 18-29 casted a vote in the 2012 election cycle, this was down 6% from its highs in the 2008 election cycle. Of those voters, women were more likely to vote by a margin of 7.1%. These are not spectacular numbers, and they need to improve if we expect our leaders to reflect the truly unique and diverse diaspora of our nation.

as smart, young people we should make an effort to educate ourselves on the political issues of the day. An informed electorate is a good electorate. Finding political commentary can be tricky, as nearly every news outlet has its own bias. When reading or watching the news, make a point not to take the conclusions and analysis of whoever is writing or speaking as fact—make your own conclusions and form your own opinions. If you feel bold enough you may even want to talk to your friends about politics. This can be a tricky and argumentative topic to talk about, but if you follow the rules of discussing politics with peers and coworkers, as lined out in a previous Politics 101 article, then you should be all set. Don’t be abrasive; try to get a general idea of what their views are by asking direct questions. If they disagree with you that’s okay! Our political system not only allows but encourages people to have diverse views. Diversity allows for us to engage in discussion and debate on the issues that matter to us within an inviting atmosphere. However, the critical ingredient required to make all of this happen is our collective efforts. We must take the first step of caring about political issues, because in the end, our leaders represent and make decisions that affect us, whether we voted or not. issue no. 26 | 25

smart women of history



england female

medical college

by tori wilbraham

26 | smart girls guide


n November 1848, the first medical school for women was opened in Boston, Massachusetts. Although women had been practicing medicine for centuries as midwives, nurses, and even surgeons, the New England Female Medical College was the first of its kind to formally offer education for female physicians.

Founder Samuel Gregory thought that there should be female physicians for childbirth because it was “unseemly” for men. With this argument, supporters saw the need for women physicians. Although this may be a controversial foundation, nonetheless on November 1, 1848 The New England Female Medical College was opened. Originally twelve women enrolled at this school and were formally trained as physicians. In 1864 Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to graduate from the medical school. Over the course of the school’s 25 years, 98 women graduated. Some of the women went on to establish their own hospitals, medical research institutes, and even the Women’s Medical Journal. The New England Female Medical College made great strides for women and medicine. Although women had been caring for the sick and bringing children into the world for centuries, the establishment of the first female medical school was a great accomplishment for those women who wanted to know more about medicine and become more educated. In 1873 the school combined with Boston University School of Medicine. Women still were able to pursue their education and in 1893 nearly a third of the graduating class were women. issue no. 26 | 27

get cultured

smart movies

by Michelle Nathan

Once upon a time fairy tales were only acceptable during our ever fleeting childhoods, but Into the Woods, set for a Christmas Day release, promises to be as whimsical and melodious as it is dark and twisted. Intrigued? Based on the hit Broadway musical by Stephen Sondheim, Into the Woods takes us on a journey with some of our favourite fairy tale characters, all of whom dream of bigger and better things for their lives. Cinderella dreams of attending the King’s ball, Jack’s last hope is that his cow Milky White will start giving milk and The Baker and his wife desperately wish for a child. These dreams, however, prove troublesome as everyone is lead down some treacherous pathways, travelling deeper into their thoughts, hearts, and yes, into the woods that interweave all their stories together. Queen of the Screen Meryl Streep features as the Wicked Witch, with other familiar faces such as Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick and Johnny Depp also making appearances as various fairy tale characters. A great film to curl up with over Christmas, be sure to catch Into the Woods to find out if the Baker, Rapunzel, Cinderella and the rest of the fairy tale gang learn their lessons and get the happy endings they’ve been craving, or if their inner most desires get the better of them and the screen fades to black on a more sinister note.

28 | smart girls guide

get cultured

smart reads

by Paige Sheffield

HER BRILLIANT CAREER BY RACHEL COOKE In Her Brilliant Career, Rachel Cooke describes the lives of ten women in the 1950s. These women helped pave the way for women today through their careers and personal lives. These women left home and realized how much they loved working. The book tells the story of women with various careers from editor to racecar driver. These women challenged the norm, pursued their passions, and lived fearlessly. By going after their goals and pushing past stereotypes, these women show the evolution of a woman’s role. This book is descriptive and captivating, also featuring over 80 photographs to help tell the story.

RUNNING LIKE A GIRL: NOTES ON LEARNING TO RUN BY ALEXANDRA HEMINSLEY There has been quite a bit online lately on the idea of “running like a girl” and redefining exactly what that means. In this story, Alexandra Heminsley fearlessly tells readers how she went from never running at all to running marathons. The book humorously discusses the obstacles she faced while also showing girls that they can do something, even if they thought they weren’t able to do it in the past. Alexandra Heminsley’s story is not simply a fitness story- it is a story of hard work, determination, courage, and self-discovery.

THE UNDERGROUND GIRLS OF KABUL: IN SEARCH OF A HIDDEN RESISTANCE IN AFGHANISTAN BY JENNY NORDBERG In this story, investigative journalist Jenny Nordberg explores the lives of girls growing up in Afghanistan, where much segregation remains ingrained within society. This book tells the story of girls who disguise themselves as men in order to have a place in society. A girl raised as a boy is called a bacha posh, which means “dressed up like a boy.” These girls have the freedom to do things that they would not be able to do if they presented themselves as girls, such as say what they think and go out alone. Through this powerful story, Jenny Nordberg gives a voice to this group of girls as well as girls all over Afghanistan who have to deal with the segregation and injustice. issue no. 26 | 29

get cultured

smart summits by Maggie Royce CODE CARROTS A chance to learn the basics of coding for Javascript and mobile apps on December 2nd in Seattle, Washington. During Code Carrots, you will be able to meet mentors, ask them questions and get advice about programming. The best part? You don’t have to have any coding experience to go, only a computer!

MASSACHUSETTS CONFERENCE FOR WOMEN On December 4th, 2014 both worldwide speakers, presenters and panelists will be covering a wide variety of topics centered around women. This conference is one of the largest in the country, providing women educational opportunities and valuable networking with influential leaders. This year the keynote speaker is Hillary Clinton (Former Secretary of State). Also headlining are fashion designer Tory Burch, actress Lupita Nyong’o, and others.

smart events by Rebecca Mill ON THIS DAY...

On November 7, 1867, Madame Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland, to two teachers. Her love of learning only took off from there. She became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only woman to win Nobel Prizes in two different fields. She was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris. I think it’s safe to say Marie Curie is a super Smart Girl!


Hola! Bonjour! Ciao! Hallo! No matter how you say it, November 21st is World Hello Day. Take time out of your day to say hello to everyone 30 | smart girls guide

you meet, and maybe even try learning a few different languages! I don’t expect you to learn how to say hello in Arabic, but a simple bonjour or ciao are sure to brighten someone’s day!


I’ve never needed an excuse to bake a cake, but if I did, this would be the perfect reason! National Cake Day falls on the day before Thanksgiving this year, so while I’m sure your family is planning on cooking many tasty treats for your feast, consider adding a cake to the spread this year! I don’t know about you, but a triple-layer chocolate cake sounds divine right now….

smart sounds by Sophie Raleigh

Diamonds by The Boxer Rebellion I Lived by OneRepublic Just One Thing by Carole King Wake Up by Arcade Fire Take The Long Way Home by Supertramp First Light by Racing Glaciers Little Numbers by Boy One World (Not Three) by The Police Every Man On Earth by Zach Berkman Afterlife by Ingrid Michaelson click here to listen to the playlist now!

issue no. 26 | 31


SMART opportunities Welcome to the Opportunity Board!


Are you a Photoshop pro? An inDesign expert? An Illustrator extraordinare? Well, we are looking for more graphic designers to join our magazine team! Please send us your portfolio in your interest email!

These are featured opportunities that we have this month in SGG, but don’t forget, there is no limit to what you can do in SGG!


Love photoshoots? Are you super creative? We are looking for a superstar photographer to lead our photography team. If interested, please contact us with your portfolio and resume.


We are looking for superstar Smart Girls who would like to work on spreading the Smart Girl mission in their respective location.


If you love journalism, this is the opportunity for you! We are in need of editorial interns for our daily articles. If interested, send an email to Megan at

32 | smart girls guide

The Smart Women’s Network supports the SGG community, sharing resources, supporting our Smart Girl Sisters, and spreading our message when appropriate. We send out monthly emails, where we list opportunities to connect with the Smart Girl Sisters as well as press opportunities. We are striving to unite the next generation of superstar women and we know with your help, we can do that. If interested, please click here.

join our

SMART WOMEN’S NETWORK! Send all involvement emails to


smart girl STYLE

New York Holiday

Smart Girls Sonya and Kelsey headed to Blair Waldorfâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s neighborhood to kick off the holiday season in style with VAUGHN.

issue no. 26 | 33

34 | smart girls guide


photography by Ana Colliton

styling by Rachel Zambernardi in parnership with VAUGHN issue no. 26 | 35

36 | smart girls guide


38 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 39

40 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 41

42 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 43

44 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 45

46 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 47

48 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 49

follow VAUGHAN

50 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 51

52 | smart girls guide


smart beauty

makeup by Marly Bromstein

No matter what you’re doing— posing for party pictures, standing on the sidelines of a spectacle or frolicking about with your family, this festive look is bound to fit right in at every celebration.


Using Mac’s All That Glitters eyeshadow, apply the peachy rose gold color all over the lid. In the crease, use the pink peach color in Maybelline’s Taupe Temptress Palette for a soft, shimmery look.


Glide a brown eyeliner across the upper lash line to make your eyes pop, and finish the eyes with mascara.


Apply Revlon’s Super Lustrous Lipstick in 460 Blushing Mauve for an enchanting sheen. issue no. 26 | 53

54 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 55

56 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 57



RODEN curated by Francesca Barger

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Teen Wolf, you know who Holland Roden is--she plays Lydia, the girl who’s just as intelligent and cool as she is in her real life. We love her signature style of classic silhouettes and fun colors, making her the perfect Steal Her Style. 58 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 59



MILWAUKEE, WI The Paperie is one of the cutest shops near Milwaukee. With in-store monogramming and products from Kate Spade to Scout, the Paperie is sure to be heaven for any girl who loves little things with lots of color! The selection of customizable products is huge, and the prices are totally reasonable. I love stopping by the Paperie when I want a little something to make my day a little brighter, or for a gift for a friend. Hidden in a little town called Cedarburg, this cute one-stop shop for any kind of gift is hidden away but surely worth the drive over. The Paperie is located on a main street decked with other boutiques and serene places to dine, making it the perfect excuse for a day trip on the town. Not only are there a bunch of gifts like monogrammed anything, Kate Spade accessories, and Scout bags galore, but Paperie of course specializes in some of the cutest stationery out there. 60 | smart girls guide

pink, orange, & red all over

smart sh ts

This holiday season, we are all about deep pinks, oranges, and reds. So we collected some of seriously stylish Smart Girls for much needed fashion inspiration.


Sophia Amoruso founder of nasty gal

via Lupita Nyongâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;o actress


Michelle Obama first lady


Emma Watson

actress & UN ambassador


Malala Yousafzai education activist


Bethany Mota vlogger


Tory Burch

fashion designer


Emma Stone actress

issue no. 26 | 61

62 | smart girls guide



interview by caroline yauck

With 199 million network subscribers, StyleHaul has become the largest beauty and fashion network on YouTube, catering to the beauty needs of Smart Girls everywhere. Co-founder Stephanie Horbaczewski shares her insight on how to manage time when youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re the CEO of an extremely successful company, how to create the content that your audience wants, and why social media has revolutionized the fashion industry. Stephanie has already made waves through her company StyleHaul, but we look forward to seeing whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next for this Smart Girl!

issue no. 26 | 63

where did the idea for a marketing platform such as stylehaul stem from? As the ecosystem grew it became clear that there was a larger opportunity if the community that was emerging started working together to be able to offer the scale needed for brands to invest meaningfully. In the beginning much of my job was to educate, translate and help provide solutions in the rapidly changing marketing landscape to marketers and creators so as to maximize the value of working together. when did you decide to become involved in the fashion industry? I have loved fashion since I was young and so I knew that I wanted to work in an industry that I was so passionate about. I feel very grateful to be able to combine my other passion for business and entrepreneurship with my passions for style!

64 | smart girls guide

being ceo of a successful company is a hard, busy job. what tips do you have for time management and prioritization? Being a CEO of a start-up is more than a job-- it becomes life consuming. It is true though that when you are this passionate about what you are doing you don’t mind- in fact I’m extremely grateful for it. Time management truly becomes about prioritization and building a great team. If you don’t take care of yourself you can’t endure the pace so finding time for the people or things that keep you healthy and sane are very important. As the company grows, adding talented and ambitious people to your team is crucial and helps with both!

needs. Whether providing style inspiration in real time, a tutorial for a new look, getting honest and authentic feedback about a product or teaching how to deal with the issues we all face in life, all from someone you trust, we have connected a global community and I believe that is why the response has been so strong.

how can media companies differentiate themselves when there’s already so many in existence? Know your audience, listen to them and be inventive. This new medium offers a true personal connection between a brand or product and their customer through highly personalized messaging what advice do you have for girls to a highly engaged community. Brands who want to go into business or have never before been able to connect start their own company? in such a relevant way to a customer Do it! We need more female leaders or creator’s experiences and integrate and entrepreneurs! My advice is to find that product or brand directly. The a mentor or advisor and to identify and best advice is to embrace this incredible pursue opportunities that build the skills new messaging in an authentic manner you need to succeed. because it will create a natural path to set your brand apart. why do you think people have been so responsive to stylehaul? we love what you’ve done with We have all become accustomed to vloggers like stilababe09 and using online content to be inspired and fleurdeforce. what is your entertained all the time. By knowing process like, taking these our audience and the content they want vloggers to one level and then because we share their passion, we are raising them to an entirely able to identify and work with incredibly different one? talented creators to meet everyone’s Meredith and Fleur are deeply issue no. 26 | 65

committed to their audiences. It is their commitment and passion for their viewers and content working in parallel with us as we expand the opportunities and marketplace understanding and investment. Together we have created an unparalleled offering - quality and personalization plus scale. stylehaul works with thousands of individuals. how do you manage their content to make sure it is up to the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s standards? StyleHaul takes a lot of time and care to grow our community both for our standards and those of our brand partners but also to make sure we are confident we can provide value to our creators. We focus on quality over quantity in order to achieve those goals. We review the content of all creators who join StyleHaul to determine fit. We partner with creators who have incredible pride in the quality of their 66 | smart girls guide

content and commitment to what their audience wants. We know their work is successful so we trust their judgment and abilities. stylehaul has really grown recently! how do you see the company expanding? Agreed! It is incredible. I am thrilled with my team and all the growth weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve achieved together. For now, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re continuing to focus on expanding globally, adding our first team member in Singapore; continuing to develop more robust multi-platform marketing solutions for brands and opportunities for creators, and also continuing to grow our own content strategy including working in partnership with creators on new formats. with so many other fashion platforms out there, how do you keep stylehaul unique? We find inspiration every day from

creators and viewers and we challenge ourselves to never stop evolving. This is an incredible space to be working in- by both disrupting other industries and continuing to define and develop a new one- it is built in to what we do to continue to reinvent, reinterpret and redefine everything we are used to, keeping StyleHaul a very unique platform. how do you think social media has changed the fashion industry? It has changed everything. We all have become editors, stylists and influencers. We all used to rely on monthly magazines, red carpets and fashion week to get new trends. Now through bloggers, vloggers, social media influencers, streetstyle fashionistas and digital journalists everything has changed. We consume daily, through many mediums, from many influencers and so the industry has expanded in a way never been seen

before- even affecting commerce by challenging retailers to provide new items all the time and not seasonally. what is one thing that has surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the fashion industry? I am still surprised that despite seeing other categories embrace new mediums aggressively with tremendous results, the fashion and beauty space is still more cautious and slower to do so. That said I think weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll see that change very quickly because I am consistently moved by the passion of the young people in this industry and how much change they are able to drive. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s truly inspiring. what is the one tip you give to everyone you work with about creating effective, reachable content? Authenticity. Embrace this medium for what it is: real people talking to real people. Brands will see the most success issue no. 26 | 67

why do you think vloggers are so influential? Because the connection is real. Creators share secrets, let us see their bare face or be with them on a bad day so you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t help but feel connected. Taking advice from a friend is always preferred to taking advice from a stranger. These creators and their viewers are like extended family to each other and you can see it when they do their meetups and when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re connecting and engaging directly -- yes, I am paying attention to you, I am listening and you matter to me too.

working closely within partnership with the creator and with us to create effective content and large scale multi platform campaigns that accomplish all their goals without compromising maximizing the value of this incredible new opportunity. 68 | smart girls guide

what do you think it means to be a smart girl? A Smart Girl is confident and brave but not afraid to make mistakes and ask for help. She is ambitious, determined and wants to leave her mark on the world.


smart girl ON THE COVER

issue no. 26 | 69

70 | smart girls guide

andy & sophie interview by rachel wenger

issue no. 26 | 71


Andy Gonzales & Sophie Houser

AGES: 16 & 17

HOMETOWNS: Bronx, NY & New York, NY

72 | smart girls guide

Andy Gonzales (16) and Sophie Houser (17) are high school students living in New York City. They go to class, play sports, and hang out with their friends like all normal teenagers, but they are also the creators of the popular new computer game called “ Tampon Run,” and have been described as leading the new wave of “feminist gamers.” They created the game with the goal of making players more comfortable with the idea of menstruation and eliminating the taboo associated with tampons. Their hard work has paid off ! The game was played more than 100,000 times by October 9th, they have gotten extremely positive responses, and they’re working on the new code to transfer the app to the Android and Apple market. issue no. 26 | 73

74 | smart girls guide

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELVES! Sophie- I grew up in New York City, and I am currently a senior at Bard High School Early College. I’m co-captain of the tennis team at my school. I love photography, I write, and I know it’s cliché, but I love having fun with my friends. I’m creative, and I really like problem solving. Even though I only discovered computer science this summer, I have become really passionate about it. I don’t know where I’m going to college yet, but I really want to major in computer science and minor in History. Andy- I also grew up in NYC, and I’m a junior at Hunter College High School. I play a lot of volleyball- both in club teams and for my school’s team. I have studied classical piano seriously for the past few years, and I’m the captain of my school’s robotics team. In my free time, I like to play video games (and watch others play video games). I have been computer coding since I was in ninth grade, and I also want to major in computer science. I’m not sure what kind of career I want to pursue with that degree, but game development is definitely a prominent option right now. WHERE DID YOU GUYS MEET? We met this summer for the first time at Girls Who Code, an organization that issue no. 26 | 75

tries to get young women excited about coding in a very fun, supportive, and safe environment. Even though women make up approximately 50% of gamers, only 23% of computer programmers are women. The program consists of girls sitting around a table learning about coding, but also how to improve themselves in many other ways. Sophie- At Girls Who Code, I learned how to code, but also how to improve on my public speaking. I also became more confident because it is such a supportive environment with really nice girls that root for each otherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s success. Sometimes itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very difficult to get a program to work, but we all supported each other and encouraged one another. Andy- I improved my coding skills, but I also strengthened my professional network 76 | smart girls guide

tremendously. Many heavyweight speakers would come give talks and exchange contact information with the girls in the program, which opens up a lot of doors in the coding world and the industries that I see myself pursuing. Furthermore, I gained a lot of soft skills as well like learning how to better respect myself.

has accepted violence and guns in video games, yet the topics of tampons and menstruation are still taboo.

WAS THERE ANY PUSHBACK FROM THE PROGRAM ABOUT THE CONTENT? There was never any negativity from the Girls Who Code staff, but that’s not to say they didn’t question it. When we HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH first decided to make the game, we went THE GAME (USING TAMPONS)? to our male teacher and told him about Sophie- We all had to do a final project at the idea. He was really enthusiastic the end of the summer, so we partnered about it, but still told us that he had to up and started brainstorming! Andy check it with the ‘higher-ups’ to see if is really into games, so she was very they would be okay with the concept. Of vocal about wanting to make a game. course, they were fine with it and were She wanted to do a project combatting super encouraging, but we recognized the hyper-sexualization of women in that he probably would not have had to video games (Girls in video games are check if it were a more ‘normal’ topic. either the damsel in distress, or highly Our teacher’s assistant also questioned sexualized for the benefit of male us (very positively) if we were sure we gamers.) I thought, “Maybe we could wanted to go ahead with our crazy idea. make a game where someone throws tampons.” Even though it sounded silly HOW DOES THE GAME ITSELF when I first said it, the more I thought WORK? about it, the more I realized that there Andy- Basically you go through a series was really something there. of introductions describing what the menstrual taboo is, and how Tampon Andy- We used tampons because both Run is making an effort to combat that. women and men are uncomfortable After you finish the introduction, the talking about menstruation. One of game is basically just an 8-bit running our goals for the game was to make it game where enemies run at you (the easier for people to discuss periods and young woman) and you throw tampons the taboo that surrounds them in an until you run out. Your score increases accessible way. Even though the concept when you hit a bad guy with a tampon, is a little weird, it’s weirder that society and you lose points if they run into issue no. 26 | 77

78 | smart girls guide

you. You can jump to pick up boxes of tampons with 5 tampons in each box to ‘reload.’ The game has an old-timey pixilated look because I used to play a lot of old video games when I was a kid like Pokemon and Nitro so we thought it would be a good look. HOW HAVE YOU BOTH EXPERIENCED THE PERIOD TABOO? Sophie- When I first got my period, I made my mom buy me pads and tampons because I was too embarrassed to go to the store myself, bring them to the cashier, and then bring them home. It seems silly now, but I was petrified that somebody would see me and know that I had my period. Also, my guy friends and I are also really open with each other, but they always shut down when the topic of menstruation comes up.

because it prevents women from living normal lives. In certain communities in Africa, women are not permitted to touch anything while they’re on their periods, and they are placed in isolated rooms- sometimes with ten other menstruating women. Not only is this degrading, but it is also very unhealthy. Another goal of this game was not only to make people more comfortable with talking about menstruation in the US, but to make them understand the extreme social issues around the world that arise when there is a lack of education and acceptance of menstruation.

Sophie- Some girls in these communities stay home from school when they get their periods, so it also negatively affects their education. Even here in the US, adult women still feel shame about Andy- In middle school, I remember their periods. When you think about walking through the hallway and seeing all the tampon or pad commercials, the a circle of kids crowded around. Walking majority of them are about how to hide over, I expected to see a fight, but when that you have your period, which really I went over I saw that they were just shows how silly society’s perception of staring at an open tampon on the floor. the most natural bodily function really is. The applicator was pushed back revealing the cotton part, and everyone thought WHAT IS “GAMERGATE?” this was a really big deal. ‘Gamergate’ is a movement where people (mostly male gamers) question Except for a few stories like this, we don’t women’s legitimacy in the video game really think of the taboo here in the US. world. They target female gamers and In other parts of the world, however, the coders through vulgar comments on period taboo is a really serious problem the Internet, and also through physical issue no. 26 | 79

click here to check out tampon run!

80 | smart girls guide

threats. ‘Gamergate’ took a more intense and violent form this summer, but we didn’t know that it was happening when were making the game. A friend showed us an article about the conflict after the release of Tampon Run, and we thought, “Wow! Our timing couldn’t have been better.” Through our game, we showed that women can succeed in the gaming world based on merit. Luckily, we haven’t received threats of any kind since the release of the game. WHO IS YOUR INTENDED MARKET AT THIS POINT? When we made the game, we didn’t really have anybody that we geared the game towards- we just wanted to get our message across to whoever would listen. Now that the game has been successful, though, we hope that men and women will play the game and learn about why it’s so important to us. We hope it will attract both genders to teach everyone that menstruation is nothing to be embarrassed about. We hope that for women, it will make them less embarrassed about menstruation, and for men, it will make them less uncomfortable about the idea of a woman getting her period. It’s really a discussion for both men and women to have together. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST REACTION? THE WORST? Sophie- The best moment was when a

schoolteacher told us that she talked about the game to some of the girls in her class, and around 15 girls started playing it in her classroom during lunch. The girls started talking about tampon bags, and she saw how the game had made them more comfortable with the topic of menstruation. She also told us that a younger girl heard an older girl talking about Tampon Run in the hall and expressed that she was uncomfortable with the idea of throwing tampons. An older girl and boy explained to her that it shouldn’t be weird to talk about tampons- it’s weird that society can accept violence but can’t accept menstruation. Andy- The worst reaction was when our first of very few pieces of hate mail called us misogynists, which was kind of weird. Mostly, when people don’t like the game, they just say “ew” and move on. Tampon Run also (surprisingly) caught the attention of a lot of anti-gun people because part of our message is that it’s ridiculous that we accept violence in video games, but not menstruation. A lot of the comments we get on the Internet are really supportive, and many of them are critiques of the game itself-which is great because we are always trying to improve the game. Over the summer we worked a lot on how to portray our message in a clear but non-threatening way, so we are really happy that there hasn’t been much backlash. issue no. 26 | 81

HOW DID YOU GET IT OUT THERE? HOW DID IT BECOME SO POPULAR? Sophie- We posted the game online the night before our first day of school this year, and Andy posted it to the large Facebook group for Girls Who Code. The girls really liked it, and they shared it with people who shared it again. Soon it went viral. When I woke up the next morning, there were a few major papers in the UK that had written articles about us. It was crazy! Andy- I was up really late that night talking about the game to Girls Who Code members who had reached out to me on Facebook. Honestly, the best part of this experience has been talking to people all over the world, and those closer to home about their periods and technology. It’s really unexpected, but amazing, too. ARE YOU PLANNING ON EXPANDING/IMPROVING THE GAME? Sophie- Yes, we are working on the mobile game right now, which is a challenge because we have to recode the game in different languages to respond to different types of devices. Both Apple and Android have different languages, but the Android process is easier because Apple has a really long processing period. Hopefully we will get the game out on iTunes really soon! We are also 82 | smart girls guide

going to be taking our fans’ requests into account. Fans ask us to put in maxi-pads, applicator bombs, etc. into the game, so we are going to try to incorporate these ideas into Tampon Run. DID YOU GUYS EXPECT THIS MUCH ATTENTION FROM YOUR GAME? Sophie- Not at all! We never expected all this attention, but we are so happy that people are taking notice of our game and our message. We have done a ton of interviews so far and all of them have been exciting and fun for us. We do a lot of communication with magazines and newspapers over email, so we’re busy responding to major newspapers in between classes and while we’re sitting with our friends at lunch. Andy- It’s really fun that we get to switch to Tampon Run mode during our free periods to answer emails and interview questions, but then go back to class. It’s kind of like living a double life. It has been hard for both of us to juggle school and Tampon Run (especially during junior year and first semester senior year), but I wouldn’t give up this experience for anything. HAVE YOUR FAMILIES/FRIENDS BEEN SUPPORTIVE? ARE YOU SOMEWHAT LOCAL CELEBRITIES? Sophie- Well of course my friends and family know about the game and they

“It’s really fun that we get to switch to Tampon Run mode during our free periods to answer emails and interview questions, but then go back to class. It’s kind of like living a double life.” have been really supportive, but the biggest perk is the change I’ve seen in my friends. My guy friends used to be embarrassed to talk about menstruation, but they are all really open about it now. One friend told me that that he now understands that it’s weird that he never wanted to talk about menstruation and how strange the taboo really is. I also never thought I would be talking about my period with my principal or teachers, so that’s kind of cool. Andy- All my friends and teachers have been really supportive. Freshmen have come up to me and told me that they saw me on some newspaper and that I’m famous, which is really funny. People also make good-natured jokes about the game all the time, which speaks to how people are more comfortable talking about tampons now. WHAT IS THE BEST THING YOU’VE GOTTEN OUT OF THIS EXPERIENCE? Sophie- I really gained an interest in the coding world, and I got to see the importance of getting girls interested in code. Also, Andy and I have become

amazingly close through this experience. We didn’t know each other until this summer, but after working so closely together, we have become really great friends. There isn’t a moment in the day that we are not communicating in some way. Andy- Agreed. I’ve made a new best friend from Tampon Run! We picked each other to do this project, but we only knew each other for five weeks or so at the time. This experience has been crazy and amazing, and I’m so happy that I’ve gotten the opportunity to meet so many exciting and interesting people through the process. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A SMART GIRL? Sophie- A Smart Girl has a sense of self. She has the courage to take risks and follow and engage with her passions, even if that means deviating from the norm. Andy- A Smart Girl isn’t afraid of being different. She isn’t afraid of taking chances, and she pursues her interests, no matter what others might think. issue no. 26 | 83


DIGITAL INFLUENCERS BLOGGERS • vloggers • social media gurus



84 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 85

86 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 87

88 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 89

90 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 91

92 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 93

94 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 95

96 | smart girls guide


smart girl LIVING

The Humble Brag

Where is the line between humility and bragging?

issue no. 26 | 97

best foot forward

How to Avoid the Humble-Brag

by Mimi Warnick

98 | smart girls guide


he month of November is commonly connected to the theme of giving thanks. While all of us should be giving thanks and thinking how lucky we are for all that we are given, we should not get carried away. Sometimes we catch the “humble brag”, coined on “Parks and Recreation” and talk about ourselves and our accomplishments a little too much. We’re Smart Girls after all- we have a lot of things going for each and every one of us. However, to truly be a Smart Girl is to recognize our success, but to be humble and gracious at the same time. Below are some tips on how to avoid the humble brag.

boost others up

When you catch yourself bragging about your accomplishments and realize you are becoming the dreaded humble bragger as the words are spilling out of your mouth, quickly try to remember the other person’s accomplishments. If you spin the conversation to complimenting them, it will make the conversation more balanced and not all about you.

stop the social brag

The concept of humble bragging really became apparent through the rise of social media. Users post acceptances to programs, events they were invited to, or people they are hanging out with. While you think you are posting thoughts of appreciation, others are thinking “why is she rubbing it in our face?”. Think before you post a picture on instagram or a tweet on twitter about how your followers will feel.

think before you speak

Make sure before you start talking about a cool experience or opportunity you have received you understand who you are speaking to. Sometimes, with a topic like a new job, you think you are just sharing exciting news, but if the person you are speaking to recently became unemployed, it could be hurtful.

don’t be a desperate dolly

Studies show that most people brag because they are desperate for attention and accolades. There is no need for any Smart Girl to act desperate. A Smart Girl should be a role model to her community. By being a respected role model, most people already know your accomplishments and contributions. Do not lose your gracious and classy attitude for spitting our successes.

issue no. 26 | 99

smart girl goes pro

100 | smart girls guide


polished an interview with image consultant, elaine pouliot

If you attended the Smart Girls Conference this year, you might already know who Elaine Pouliot is. She was the woman on stage with a sparkle in her eye, smile on her face and love in her heart for every Smart Girl in the audience, speaking about professionalism on behalf of her business, Image by Elaine. Elaineâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s entrepreneurial spirit and knowledge about how to act in professional situations only cover a very small portion of who she is. In true Smart Girl spirit, she has shared everything she knows through a variety of waysâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;whether it be a speaking event, writing opportunity, mentoring session or coffee with a friend, her philosophy of giving all you have to live a good life has always been in effect. Interview by Quincy Bulin and Molly Shilo.

issue no. 26 | 101

can women still embrace their own style while being professional? You definitely can. I firmly believe that no matter where you are interviewing you should always air on the more conservative side but have your own unique piece. I wore fish pins on my lapel to bring my personality into it. Have a red bag to add a splash of color. Have a nice winter coat that shows off your style. For that short period of time, you need to look the part you are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a photography company, look up what potential photographers dress like and then add your own creativity. If you are going to a financial institution, a black suit with 102 | smart girls guide

a cream blouse is a must. You can add a pin or necklace for femininity and color. With interviews for media industry companies, you could wear a blazer with a specific texture or pattern. your firm, image by elaine pouliot, aims to help its clients â&#x20AC;&#x153;present their best sense of self through what they choose to wear.â&#x20AC;? how do you think style influences self-confidence? What you wear, how you behave, how you communicate and your digital presence are all things that people know about you before they even meet you. A first impression is made in 7 seconds. If you are interviewing or in a networking

situation, you always want your best self to shine through what you wear. You also need to be aware of how you behave and if you are communicating properly. Your digital presence is even more important because this is another platform where people get to know you before actually meeting you. All these things are so important to not only start the conversation but continue the conversation. You are lessening your chances of succeeding if you aren’t fulfilling any one of these. in college, you actually majored in chemistry. what prompted the change in careers? I majored in chemistry because of my chem professor in high school. She was married to an ambidextrous neurosurgeon. Needless to say, she did not need to teach for financial reasons. So, it inspired me because she was authentic and true to herself. She was doing what she wanted to be doing. It inspired me to be in chemistry. I then used that inspiration throughout my career. I left college with the goal of being financially independent. It was important that I was self-sufficient. I didn’t want to depend on anyone. When I started at IBM, I realized that as I went through my career there, if I remained true to myself and really worked hard, I could bring about change and help people. I’ve helped a number of people get positions they weren’t necessarily qualified for

but who had the drive and ambition to succeed. I guess the changes came to me as I went through my career. I left IBM after 15 years because I personally needed a change. I went to MasterCard where I met my husband and then went on to Morgan Stanley. I essentially made the changes when I was ready to because I had either accomplished what I needed to do or because another door had opened for me with new opportunities. I was very open to change. I try very hard to force myself to take opportunities. Now, after owning and selling a business, I’ve had a passion in style and fashion. Going back to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) gave me the credibility to speak to professionals, corporations and universities. My whole career has built up to this point because I can now use my own stories and my own experiences. Everything on my path has led to this and now gives me the freedom to enjoy what I am doing now. beyond being a certified image consultant, you are also certified in essential manners and social skills for children and teens as well as corporate etiquette and international protocol. At FIT, I was certified in image and style because it allowed me to get the science behind what I always knew. For example, why orange looks horrible on me or why certain phrases don’t go over well issue no. 26 | 103

104 | smart girls guide

â&#x20AC;&#x153;What you wear, how you behave, how you communicate, and your digital presence are all things that people know about you before they even meet you.â&#x20AC;?

issue no. 26 | 105

in interviews! Now I have the science and education behind these thoughts. To be certified in etiquette and protocol, again I had the skills but nowadays people are looking for credentials. I felt that just being myself with 20 years corporate experience without the credentials wouldn’t allow me to speak at Yale University or Fordham. I highly recommend for young women that if they want to get a second career or do something entrepreneurial to get the education and credibility through an institution. The international protocol is really important because a lot of our employees in the US and a lot of students are international and come from different cultures.

learning skills, as well. There are plenty of resources online but that’s kind of a lonely thing. You miss out on the social and interactive activity.

what is a mentor and how do you find one? I think that a mentor is someone that you speak to on a regular basis as you make a transition, either professional or educational. It could be someone you find at work with similar goals who have stepped through the corporate ladder before you and who you could learn from and ask questions. That could be more of a personal connection. If you’re in high school, you could find a college student that could help you. John Milow, my mentor, was there for me when how do we gain credibility if things were starting to change, not on we are young and don’t have a daily basis, but was there for the big the resources that an older transitions: new responsibilities, new professional does? tasks, etc. He was a great resource for Find a mentor. I was blessed with a male help when I didn’t know what to do or mentor at IBM who I gravitated towards. when I needed a confidence boost about I asked him if he could be my mentor. approaching a task. Mentors can give I gained the credentials by asking him you that push to step through fear and questions and by relying on his input uncertainty. and solutions to problems. You can also have mentors for many different aspects I was actually speaking last night and of your life. There are always going to be there was a woman who didn’t think she older people who are willing to share. was beautiful and I told her that she was. I always say to people that I will gave She replied that no one had ever said that away all my knowledge. Some people but that now she could continue her life don’t want to share but there are also with that knowledge. It was something tons who do want to give their insight. she needed to hear. I think that mentors Internships are definitely important for take on all shapes and sizes and can 106 | smart girls guide

come and go throughout life. I was her mentor in that moment. what are some tips for landing an internship? I think that with internships it is very important that you target the people and the companies that will give you the experiences and the knowledge that you will use for your end destination which could be a position in life, a new career change. I would target people and companies that will give you the skills that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have and will add to your resume. More importantly, it will add to your confidence and allow you to speak to other potential employers about that experience and explain why you should be hired. Unfortunately, internships are a lot about who you know and networking. I think that people help people. Anytime youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in a group of professionals, step up and introduce yourself and tell people where it is that you want to end up. Ask them if they know of any companies or if they have experience that could aid in reaching that destination. Tell your story and know where and why you want this internship. what are a few items every

smart girl should have in her wardrobe? A black suit is a must, whether its pants, a skirt, or a dress. It has to be a twopiece ensemble and they have to be the same fabric and the same color. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t pull a jacket from one designer and pants from another. It needs to match identically. Depending on body type and what you feel comfortable, you have options with going for pants, a skirt, or issue no. 26 | 107

what is step up and what does your involvement look like? Step Up is an incredible organization which is a network of women mentors. I’m a power mentor for them. There are three schools in New York (two in Harlem, one in Queens). They are luminary schools for women. I recently spoke about the organization on Oprah because the luminary school model is what Oprah used for the schools she has set up in Africa. Basically, they are given a curriculum where mentors, volunteers, professional women or retired, spend what’s your best piece of advice 8-10 hours a month with an individual, when dressing to impress? starting in 9th grade. Every week, Number one, dress appropriately. You whether after school or on the weekend, never want anything you wear to be they have a set core curriculum and they a distraction from what you’re saying teach skills like overcoming shyness, or what you’re asking for. You want overcoming fear, telling people about to make sure that you are dressed yourself, and how to dress appropriately. professionally. Research the situation I do a lot on professional appearance. you are in and think about what might It is a national organization with offices be distracting. Number two, behave in New York, Chicago, and LA. They appropriately. Be prepared. Know who have a 100% success rate with all the you are speaking to, what they’ve done, young women they mentor getting into how they’ve made their money. Practice college and some of these women are your communication and how you speak the first to go to college or even to finish about yourself. Be very confident in the high school. Some are the first to not words you are going to say. You need to be mothers by the age of 15 and 16. I know your story. Also, be careful of what was paired with one woman who was you put on the internet. It is not private. amazing. She was so articulate and bright Your digital presence conveys who you and you could see that she was schooled are to potential employers. It should so beautifully these past four years. She portray where you are today and where said that she was not the same person you want to be. she was when she first walked into the program. They are all so grateful and the a dress. The fit is very important. You need to be able to comfortably sit and stand in the suit. It conveys to them that you aren’t comfortable if you’re fidgeting. A cream or white blouse is good for underneath, depending on complexion. Black shoes are another must and they have to comfortable enough to stand in all day and walk in. Just a plain, basic, closed-toe black pump! No platforms! This is your go-to outfit. Make it as plain as possible and let your personal beauty stand out, not your clothes!

108 | smart girls guide

organization really goes above and beyond to make a difference in a young girl’s life. The organization was just something that I came across one day. I looked on the internet and found more information about it. I’m a power mentor now but they just started virtual mentors. I was just paired with a young woman who is a freshman at college. I’m a connection for her there as she goes through this new experience and adjusts to being away from home. what do you think it means to be a smart girl? I think being a Smart Girl is to know who you are as a person- your likes, your dislikes- and to be able to share that with people who you come across with in all aspects of life. A Smart Girl, to me, is not only book-smart but people-smart and street-smart. A Smart Girl is able to feel comfortable with herself in any situation. Being a Smart Girl is knowing to listen to your voice and not to those outside who tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. It is knowing to go with what is right for you. Finally, a Smart Girl is someone that can, with confidence, say that she is smart. issue no. 26 | 109

behind the blog

Neely Stroller


A Complete Waste of Makeup


ive years and two blog rebrands later, Neely Stoller of A Complete Waste of Makeup is now organizing blog hops, blog consulting, creating courses about blogging and running her own media company. Funny, spirited and kind, Neely has always kept it real with her content and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s why readers are always coming back for more. Interview by Rebecca Mill.

110 | smart girls guide

what inspired you to start a complete waste of makeup? I started blogging five years ago and it was actually not called A Complete Waste of Makeup. Only a select few remember it was called Neely’s Nothings, and then The Chronicles of Neely. About a year and a half in, I was going through a really rough time in my life; a bad breakup (which we can all understand). I started back on a dating journey and went on a terrible blind date. I came home and told my mom it was a “complete waste of my makeup”. I then decided, “Okay, I am changing my blog name.” But starting the actual blogging part itself was me having spent years reading other peoples’ blogs and thinking that I could do the same thing. I wanted to share my thoughts, my life with at least one person. I had no idea it would be more than one. Truth: My parents do not read my blog. sunday social has been a blog hop for a while now - how do you manage organizing it weekly? We just actually put the kibosh on Sunday Social because we are starting a new Sunday blog hop. We had a good two and a half years of it and wanted to change to something new so keep your eyes out, ladies! But organizing it is a lot of me coming up with questions, with the help of Ashley, and trying to make sure we have not repeated them. We also try to promote it as much as possible. It’s

so fun to have and run a blog hop. how did you come up with the idea to start your blog course? Oh gosh. This was a long time coming. I have been doing one-on-one blog consulting for over a year and I knew I wanted it to be broader and reach a wider audience. So I thought, “What if instead of doing seven-hour consultations with one person at a time, I could put them all together and they could have their own tribe of bloggers while getting some fabulously amazing information?” I will have one a month and would love for you girls to check it out! It will be really amazing no matter how long you have been blogging. Obligatory plug. what was your job before you started your own media company? and if it did, how did it help you to start your own company? Oh, the road to starting my own business has been interesting. I always knew I wanted to be my own boss, I just didn’t know how to get there. I worked in advertising right out of college at the same company I interned for. I also spent a year nannying for a family, trying to figure out what my next move was--that next move was grad school. I went to get my masters in elementary education and upon finishing said masters I realized I did not want to teach. I had, at this point, worked so tirelessly on my blog and learning social media, I knew I needed issue no. 26 | 111

to do that. I spent a few months working at a small social media company to save money and then took the leap to start my own. There is a great Steve Jobs quote I always remember about my career: “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” do you have any advice for our smart girls who hope to own their own business in the future? Have an end game. Is it your blog? Your own fashion line? Is it becoming a teacher and then starting your own tutoring business/company? Whatever it is, have an end game. Know that one day you will own your business and work your butt off to get there. Make it happen. No one can do it but you. You get out of it what you put into it. I work 40 hours-plus a week on my blog and 40 hours-plus a week on my business. It’s a lot but I love every second of it. You have to love it. If you don’t wake up each day excited and ready to work because you love your job it’s not worth it. i saw you majored in marketing in college--this obviously gave you some insight to social media and 112 | smart girls guide

blog marketing. can you share any basic tips for some of our smart girls who have their own blogs? If only social media were a thing when I was in college. Keep in mind I started college in 2002 (scary, right?) so marketing was more generalized. I actually double majored in marketing and general business. I learned a lot of great business lessons and I learned a lot of how to put a marketing plan together and execute it properly. A lot of SWOT analysis work. This all helps in my career and my blog because it’s all a SWOT analysis. It’s one of those things you think about it when you are in school, “Why am I learning this?” Then 10 years later you do a SWOT analysis daily and you kind of laugh at yourself. My main tip would be no matter what you study in college, it will help you. I have studied education, marketing, business, art history and economics. They are all different but all help in my day to day life--yes, even the Art History. you blog about all kinds of topics, from beauty, to fashion, to lifestyle. how do you balance which type of post to write? I am a planner to a fault. I plan my posts three months in advance. I know certain days will be certain topics. I know that if I have a sponsored post coming up, I need to readjust. I try to only do one sponsored post a week, one beauty post

a week, one health/fitness post a week etc. I try to keep it fresh and not the same thing everyday. I feel as though when people read the same posts every day, they get bored. I don’t want people bored on my blog. I also try to integrate personal aspects of my life. When my dad had cancer, it was a part of my blog, breakups: a part of my blog, dating before I met my husband: a part of my blog. People love personal. Be real, don’t be fake. People see right through it. you were recently married--how exciting! what are some of the most important things you’ve learned about event planning? HIRE OUT! No seriously, I had a

planner for the month of my wedding which helped because that was the point where I was so done making decisions and dealing with people. I knew from a young age I wanted everything in black and white at the wedding. This made a lot of decisions easy. My other half was also very helpful, and so were my maid and matron of honor. My mom let me do my thing, she didn’t overstep, which was great. She was there to help when I needed her. My biggest piece of advice is do not try to do it all yourself. Ask for help. Be organized. Be on top of the big things first and the rest falls into place. we noticed that you’ve been to a lot of blog conferences. have issue no. 26 | 113

these been beneficial to growing your blog? I really can’t say enough about blog conferences. I love them. It’s like being in a room of your people. Those people get me and get what I do daily. I also love to learn. This never has ended. I constantly love new information and how I can make it make my blog and social media better. How can I make my blog more fun? More exciting? More informative and helpful? Go to blog conferences. The first conference I went to, I laughed at people going to business sessions because I said, “I never want to make money off my blog. “ Well things change. Blog conferences are there to push you to be better. how do you deal with negative feedback from your blog or other social media outlets? Wait, are you telling me people talk badly about bloggers? NOOOOO! Yes, I get a ton of negative feedback. Be it from certain websites, or comments left on my blog, or people snarking on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. It is going to happen. The first time I cried. I ugly cried. Then I realized that these people see a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of my life. Then they judge it. So can I blame them? No, I put my life out there to be judged. Can I have my feelings hurt? Of course. Do I need to let it ruin my day? NO! I read it, I laugh and I move on. They don’t know me. They 114 | smart girls guide

aren’t people in my life. I won’t let them hurt my day. if you could re-do school, whether that be high school or college, what would you have changed about your experience? I would not have skipped Spanish for an entire semester my senior year of high school. Kidding. I wouldn’t have taken it so seriously. High school, in reality, is a place to get you ready for college. Most likely, you will never see 99% of those people again. College is for making yourself social and studying your butt off. Learn everything you can and make as many connections as possible. Don’t waste the time partying constantly or studying constantly. Make it a fun balance. Go to class, do not think skipping a class is okay. That class may be the day you get the information you will need in your future business. Go to parties but realize exams are important, and so are papers and projects. Know how to balance. Have fun though because it goes by so fast! branding is a big topic these days. how would you describe your personal and/or blog brand in three words? Ambitious, diligent, honest. what motivates you to continue blogging? It’s my passion. It’s my purpose. It sounds

“You can do the shoulda, woulda, coulda dance all day long but you are who you are because of each decision you make. Just own those decisions. Be proud of yourself. You will make mistakes, it ’s part of life. Just remember every mistake you make is a learning experience.” crazy but I feel my purpose in life is to share my life with others. I love to write. I’ve always been a writer. I love what I do. I am lucky to wake up every day, walk across our living room to my office, turn on my iMac, and sit with my coffee and pour my heart out. Some people will love it/you and some won’t, but it never stops me. Every day I push myself a little harder than the day before. If you are going to be serious about a blog, you have to keep going. Even when you get bloggers block, or negative comments or when your life feels crazy. Just keep going. Use your blog as that outlet.

we work well together. He has a regular eight-five job and is beyond supportive of my blog and always asking how to help. I let him. Let people help when there is a lot going on. That’s my biggest advice!

what do you think it means to be a smart girl? I think it means to do unto others. Be kind, be savvy, be smart. But above all else, be you and own it. If you are quirky, don’t try to not be quirky. If you are funny, use it. Be the kind of woman you’d want your future daughter to be proud of and look up to. One day, you are going to you clearly have a lot on your look back and say, “I wish I had done this plate--how do you prioritize different or that different.” But remember when there’s a lot going on? the decisions you are making now shape I actually have a cloning machine, so who you are going to be. You can do the there are four of me… No, not really. I shoulda, woulda, coulda dance all day wish. I used three planners this last year: long but you are who you are because blog, wedding, life. I also use Google of each decision you make. Just own Calendars and a shared calendar with my those decisions. Be proud of yourself. husband. We meal plan, we say no when You will make mistakes, it’s part of life. we can to things we are asked to do. I Just remember every mistake you make know what comes first. Our marriage, is a learning experience. I think being then our work, then everything else. a Smart Girl is realizing that and being We are very goal-oriented people, so okay with it. issue no. 26 | 115

116 | smart girls guide

owning it by maggie chaquette

We’re so often told that when we

want something, “You have to own

it and own up to it.” However, we

all know sometimes that isn’t very

easy to do. The concerns become

endless: how do you know for sure

what you want? What if it isn’t right for you? What will happen if you

make a wrong decision? While these

are intimidating questions, thinking

about them every time you set a goal

only leads to selling yourself short.

By not clearly stating your priorities

and worrying about what could likely

happen instead of what’s possible,

you’re setting yourself up for disaster. issue no. 26 | 117

â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is no better way to achieve your dreams than to own up to them.â&#x20AC;? 118 | smart girls guide


hen we are really passionate about or hopeful for anything, we tend to put our guard up so that other people won’t find out. We do this because we don’t want to be judged if we fail. What does failure truly mean, though? It doesn’t signify that we aren’t good enough, or not talented enough. It simply means that here and now, something isn’t quite right for us. There is always the chance to try again until we reach our goal. Sometimes, we don’t own up to something because we’re afraid of competition. I say, forget about everyone else. The only person that matters is you, because you are the sole person running your race. Admittedly, other people may have the same goal—to become president of a club, or to get in to a certain school. But ultimately you have the opportunities and tools to succeed in achieving your dreams. Also, the truth is, most people are more eager to see you succeed. You don’t know how big your fan club is until you ask for their support. Many times, others will be more than happy to assist you in owning up to and achieving what you want. This is why it is so important to tell others about your dreams. They more than likely have advice, even connections, you never would have thought about that will help you move forward. There is no better way to achieve your dreams than to own up to them. When you own up to things, you’re able to take full responsibility for who you are today, and consequently, you have the power to decide who exactly you’d like to be. Owning it allows you to live in the present rather than the future, and gives you the chance to forget about the past. It gives you the chance to make mistakes when you try things, but also to try something new. People who own it are the ones who take action, who are successful, who are game changers. So how do you own it? The first step is to realize what needs changing or doing. Say you haven’t been productive in school or at work lately. Implement methods to get you fired up, whether it’s talking to co-workers or having a five-minute dance break at your desk. This transforms you into an advocate for self-empowerment. Connect yourself with experiences that will fill your life with challenges, but with joy and integrity. Enjoy the process of learning what does and does not work, and watch how you change as you go. issue no. 26 | 119

makin’ money





COLLEGE by melissa riordan

College is expensive – there is no way around it. Between tuition, textbooks, and the occasional clothes (or many, if you love spirit apparel like many of us do!), the bills add up and before you know it, you are out of cash. Luckily, as a Savvy Smart Girl, and now a Savvy College Girl, you can avoid this situation. There are countless ways to make money while in college – you can do almost anything! We chose some of our personal favorites. 120 | smart girls guide

W O R K S T U DY Most colleges offer work study programs as a part of financial aid packages, but even if you do not qualify for this type of aid, you can still apply for work study jobs! These jobs are always on campus, and they pay minimum wage or slightly more. Oftentimes you can choose your own hours so you can make as much or as little money as you want. To apply, find your university’s job board, or you can email the office of the department you want to work in (you can apply anywhere – the business school, the engineering program, even the athletics office!).

said, you almost always get some sort of compensation – usually free swag, which is always nice! FREELANCE If you are an awesome journalist or a great graphic designer, look into freelance opportunities to make a little cash. You can often find advertisements on blogs and various websites, so be on high alert! This is perfect because you work on your own terms – you can set your own prices and work as much or as little as you want. WORKING OFF CAMPUS A lot of universities are surrounded by college towns, so look for jobs around the city. You can waitress, work as a hostess, babysit… the opportunities are endless! This also gives you a chance to get off campus and meet new people. Off campus jobs also have varying price ranges (for example, if you are a waitress you can make a lot more money in tips!), so this is also a good place to start if you want to make fast cash.

TUTORING See if any of the departments at your college are in need of tutors to help other students. This may be a better job if you are an upperclassman (professors and deans usually prefer you to be older for this one) because you will be of more help to others, but if you really excel in a subject, do not let your age stop you! Also, this job tends to pay more than minimum wage so it is a great one to look In looking for college jobs, be careful that into if you need to make more money! you do not overload yourself. Making money is important, but so is studying! B R A N D R E P R E S E N TAT I V E Try to find a good work-study balance. A lot of companies such as Victoria Secret, Coca Cola, and HP hire college Also, make sure you do not spend all of students to promote their brand on the money you make! The goal here is to campus. It is a super easy job (you really save the money while still in college. Now, just post on social media and talk up it is okay to spend some, but make sure a the company to your friends!), but you majority goes in the bank! may not get paid for it. Now, that being

issue no. 26 | 121

pep talk

the dos + don’ts power


9:45 pm. It’s 9:45 pm and I’m totally freaking out.

by Sanah Jivani

The goods and the bads, the negatives and the positives and the do’s and don’ts all started becoming clearer.

Our teacher said he would post the editor positions at this time, and it’s finally here. I’ll finally know.

I began learning that with any position of power there’s lots of room for mistakes and growth.

As the screen loads, I see my senior year start to unfold. I see exactly what I was hoping for. I see my name next to the position of “Print editor-inchief ”, the highest position on staff. And I cry. Because this position was everything I’ve dreamed of since I joined newspaper staff freshman year.

I had a position of power. And I began learning that with any position of power there’s lots of room for mistakes and growth. I also truly learned the meaning of the phrase “With great power comes great responsibility.”

When I was finished with being emotional, I started realizing what all of this power meant for me. 122 | smart girls guide

Here are some of the major do’s and don’ts when it comes to a powerful position like the one I received:

DO: Set others up for success. I truly believe that the best leaders don’t stand in the spotlight. They shine the light on others, and watch them shine. One awesome thing I’m able to do with my staff is give them the big, challenging stories. Watching them step out of their comfort zone and succeed is the best reward I could ever receive. That being said, when in a powerful position, be sure to pass opportunities onto others and find joy in their success. DON’T: Claiming all of the credit is never the way to go. Remember all of the people in the positions below you who helped you reach your goals. Be sure to ensure that they receive the proper acknowledgement and credit. Taking all of the credit will never feel as good as sharing it with your team. DO: Provide emotional support. Be a friend to the people around you, and let them know that you understand their position. You’ve been there at some point, so show them that. It’s always nice to have someone to relate to. DON’T: Pushing people too hard can have a very negative impact on them. Remember, they’re human too. Everyone needs a break, and while

a good leader challenges their team, they never push them off the edge. DO: Stand up. It’s important to stand up for yourself so that you can receive the respect you deserve. Be kind and assertive at the same time. And remember, to earn respect, you have to give respect. DON’T: Never give up. Even though the responsibility might be overwhelming, persist. You may not feel like a leader the nights you’re stressing out, but you were given your position for a reason. Believe it. You deserve this. DO: Lead by example. If you tell your team to do something, be sure you’re doing the same. Being a leader can be a difficult and stressful position. The rewards that come with it are endless, though. When it all gets rough and you can’t remember exactly what it takes to be the leader you want to be, ask yourself what you’d want in a leader. All of the skills are inside of you- you just have to dig deep enough. Believe in yourself. And the days you can’t? Remember others believe in you.

issue no. 26 | 123

The one-stop-shop for Smart Girls.


daily reads | online classes | book club | online community | & more!

articles on news, style, empowerment, & much more

a library of past magazines

an online shop that sponsors girlsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; education

an online community, exclusive to Smart Girl Sisters 124 | smart girls guide

Be Smart. Share Smarts.


smart girl


Sparkle & Service

Explore what life is like for a Rockette behind the curtain. issue no. 26 | 125

behind the curtain with the

126 | smart girls guide


INTERVIEW BY QUINCY BULIN issue no. 26 | 127

No matter where in the world you are, a Rockette is an unmistakable symbol of all things holiday. The Rockettes are one of the most prestigious dance companies in the world, and whether distributing toys on behalf of the Garden of Dreams Foundation or making a guest appearance on America’s Got Talent, this group of women, Gabrielle Del Re especially, embody what it means to have grace and always follow your dreams. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE TO BECOME A ROCKETTE? Well, first things first, we actually have height requirements so we have to be between 5’6” and 5’10.5”. Being a Rockette, you have to be a very well-rounded dancer. It’s super important to have very strong technique. You need to have ballet, jazz, and modern background. We have a two-day audition process. Usually about 128 | smart girls guide

500 women show up and we audition in small groups of women. They make cuts throughout the first day. If you make it through the first day, you are called back for the second day. You then have another full eighthour day and wait for a call!

rehearsal before starting performances. It’s a really rigorous rehearsal period which is really important for us because we are performing routines that have been around since 1933, such as the Parade of the Wooden Soldiers, which is all based on precision work, something we are known WHAT IS THE for. It takes a lot of hard TRAINING DURING work, a lot of precision, THE SEASON LIKE? and attention to detail. We train six days a week Once in the theater, for seven hours a day. We we move onto tech have about six weeks of rehearsal where we can

issue no. 26 | 129

certainly builds stamina! THE ROCKETTES ARE VERY INVOLVED WITH SERVICE, PARTICULARLY THE GARDEN OF DREAMS FOUNDATION. CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THAT? The Garden of Dreams Foundation is so amazing. It’s a nonprofit charity and we work with all different areas of Madison Square Garden to make dreams come true for children who are facing unfortunate obstacles. Yesterday, I did a children’s hospital visit at the Hospital be rehearsing anywhere so we need to eat for Special Surgery. from eight to ten hours a the right amount of On opening night, we day. carbohydrates, the right collected over 600 toys amount of vegetables and we distributed them HOW DO YOU KEEP and fruits, and desserts to children at different YOUR ENERGY AND always help! You don’t hospitals or to children STAMINA? want to go overboard who came to see the show. I think it is very because your body needs Every spring, we have a important to take care rest, but I keep up with huge talent show for kids of your body and eat my dance classes and who are able to perform properly. Obviously we really enjoy doing yoga. on the great stage. This are performing athletes. The rehearsal process is a dream come true for Each year we add more definitely brings up our them because most people to the show and make it stamina as well. We never get the opportunity more contemporary and actually do up to four to do something like that. bring more athleticism- shows a day, so that 130 | smart girls guide

To be able to be a part of this, make children’s days better and see their joy, there is nothing like that. HOW DO THE KIDS USUALLY REACT TO ALL THIS? Some are shy and very taken aback, but in a good way! It’s something that they’ve never seen before. You just see their little eyes light up and get as big as silver dollars. They are so gracious and grateful. It is so humbling to see how amazed these children are that they get to be with Rockettes and perform on the stage and get presents. It’s hard to put into words. The kids thank us for our time but they make our day. WHY DO YOU BELIEVE IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR THE ROCKETTES TO GIVE BACK? The Radio City Christmas Spectacular has been around since 1933, so we are a family tradition for many people who maybe save all year to make that trip to come see us. We are such a household name. Without our fans and people that love and respect us, we wouldn’t have a show! We do this for them. We love to bring joy and light and celebration into a family’s home. Anything we can do to show our appreciation is so important. The Garden of Dreams Foundation and other charities is our way of saying thank-you!

What do you think it means to be a Rockette? The Rockettes embody beauty, grace, positivity, and athleticism. It is so amazing that we can have such diversity. We are strong women; we are confident women. We are also charismatic and classy women. It is amazing to embody that into one and be able to show that in many different ways and forms, whether on or off the stage. WHAT DO YOU DO DURING THE OFF-SEASON? We do a lot of work year-round, like making appearances on America’s Got Talent and Dancing with the Stars. We also have charity events. I dance with a ballet company during the off season. Some women are moms or are still going to school. Everyone is doing different things! YOU MENTIONED THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS UPDATING THE PERFORMANCE. ARE THERE ANY CHANGES MADE THIS SEASON SPECIFICALLY? Every year we like to bring something a little new so people never see the same show twice. This year we are bringing back a number called “Ragdolls” and it’s completely reinvented. We have brand new sets and costumes and it’s a really fun one for all ages. I don’t want issue no. 26 | 131

132 | smart girls guide

issue no. 26 | 133

134 | smart girls guide

“Just like with the Rockettes, we really strive to pursue our dreams and be confident women. Confident, but humble.” to give too much away, though! We actually have blocks that we sing and dance on. There is a really magical surprise at the end. You’ll have to see the show though to find out! HOW DID YOU MAINTAIN THE DEDICATION TO PURSUE YOUR DREAMS? My older sister was actually a Rockette. Growing up, I saw her perseverance and determination and that was something that I realized I also had inside of me. It was the person I knew I wanted to strive to be. I remember seeing the Rockettes at the tree lighting ceremonies and Thanksgiving parade and wanted to be one. I was lucky to get on my first year. The Rockettes are so prestigious and one of the hardest dance companies to get into. But just because you’re hired one year, you aren’t guaranteed a spot. You have to re-audition every year. For me, it’s important that I’m always improving. Dancing has brought me so much joy and has taught me so many things. This job is my passion and inspires me to always be better. WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS TO BE A SMART GIRL? First and foremost, it means to be kind, to have respect for yourself and for others. Just like with the Rockettes, we really strive to pursue our dreams and be confident women. Confident, but humble. Everyday is a day to wake up and have another chance to be one step closer to your dream. It’s important to stay true to yourself and remember that you are capable of making your dreams possible! issue no. 26 | 135

136 | smart girls guide

smart girl spotlight

ashante taylorcox founder of the akun project


s a survivor of commercial sexual exploitation as a child, Ashante Taylorcox, a graduate student at Rider University studying clinical mental health counseling, decided she wanted to bring to light problems like the sexual exploitation of human beings in order to educate and inspire young people to act and help better the world. Taylorcox created The Akun Project, an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to global issues. Through events, campaigns and aid-oriented trips to other countries, she has been able to achieve just what she hoped for. Interview by Ana Cordera.

issue no. 26 | 137

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA OF CREATING THE AKUN PROJECT? In Khmer, which is Cambodiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s native language, Akun means thank you. I wanted to start an organization that rooted its values in giving back and never forgetting where we come from. As an organization we believe that we should be grateful for the things the universe seems to bless us with! Through being thankful, we as individuals should strive to give back so others can be thankful too. This in a way creates a domino effect of individuals who feel inspired to want to make a change. So the Akun Project was created to do just that! Give and receive, constantly striving to help give back to people while developing ourselves as leaders. 138 | smart girls guide

After a trip to Cambodia and Panama I came up with the idea to start The Akun Project. In Panama I got accepted into this amazing program the Global Leadership exCHANGE program and the program Women as Change Agent which are focused on developing leaders from around the world, to better make a social impact in our communities as leaders. In Cambodia I worked and still work with now an organization called The Cambodian Kids Foundation. There I learned the true meaning of being a global leader and my passion to help others develop themselves truly grew. Seeing the impact my outreach work had on the women and girls in my local community and global community,

“I am a survivor of commercial sexual e x p l o i t a t i o n a s a c h i l d . W h e n I g o t t o c o l l e g e, during my sophomore year I really began to find my voice and share my story with others because I believed that my outreach would h e l p a t l e a s t o n e g i r l b e f o r e I g r a d u a t e d .” truly showed me how simply speaking up and pursuing what you are passionate about can really make a difference in the people’s lives around you.

HAVE ORGANIZED IN THE PAST AND WHY? We have had some amazing events over the past year and a half. A few have been Our Freedom Week, our Girlrise-a-thon, Pride Week, Dance for WHY DID YOU WANT TO FORM Freedom Dance-a-thon. Many of these THIS ORGANIZATION? programs were designed and headed I am a survivor of commercial sexual by a different member of the team exploitation as a child. When I got to each month. Giving the organization college, during my sophomore year I a variety of events, taking what they really began to find my voice and share are passionate about and seeing it play my story with others because I believed out in the field (i.e our local and global that my outreach would help at least community). one girl before I graduated. Through planning events and speaking out, I Our Girl Rising event was one that not only helped people but I created really impacted our school community a movement amongst friends to want because it involved showing the film to get involved more intensely and Girl Rising in 12 different countries really help impact the community in a for 12 hours continuously, last year way that was bigger than themselves. on the international day of the girl. Through The Akun Project, I not only This brought together my university gave myself a platform to express my and Soksan international school in passions, and bring awareness to issues Cambodia to communicate and talk that I really care about, but I also gave about why education is important and that platform to the individuals around how it can help make for a successful me. future. Our Dance-a-thon was another huge event that brought together both WHAT ARE SOME EVENTS YOU colleges students and community issue no. 26 | 139

140 | smart girls guide


members to raise money to fund education and bring awareness to sex trafficking in Cambodia. This event was amazing because we received a Half the Sky grant and we were able to purchase so many supplies for a village in Cambodia that The Cambodian Kids Foundation is based in. The current president of The Akun Project and I traveled to Cambodia this past January to deliver the supplies and students could see how the projects they made, the letters they wrote, and the money they raised really affected the kids in Cambodia.

(blankets, small snacks, socks, water bottle etc.). We also will be having an art exhibit at the end of November. This program is to highlight how students use the arts and education in their lives to escape poverty. All funds raised from this event will go back to artists in Cambodia who have used art to better their lives, and we also will be collecting art supplies to give back to schools in our local community.

WHERE DO YOU SEE THE AKUN PROJECT IN FIVE YEARS? In five years I see The Akun Project expanding to more schools and The events throughout each semester becoming involved underneath a larger are really geared towards allowing non-profit organization that I am in the people to explore their passions works of developing as we speak. My and see how those passions can be hopes is that it will become a platform embraced by the outside world. It has for students to really get involved also given our college community in community and global outreach, the opportunity to do hands-on work spreading our mission of developing outside the academic environment that global leaders of tomorrow and they typically wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get exposed to showing people that no matter your otherwise. passion it can lead to success, especially passion for helping people and giving IN CONTRAST, WHAT ARE SOME back! EVENTS COMING UP? Our upcoming events this semester EVERY YEAR, YOU GO ON are again very person centered. One AN INTERNATIONAL TRIP of our members is very passionate TO VOLUNTEER WITH AN about helping the homeless, so in ORGANIZATION. WHERE November we will be highlighting AND WITH WHOM ARE YOU homeless awareness month, by packing TRAVELING TO THIS YEAR? backpacks filled with items that will This year I actually will be traveling help individuals get through the winter back to Cambodia alone because issue no. 26 | 141

our music season at school is too hectic; but next year we are planning a trip to Kolkata, hopefully with an organization there that does amazing work with survivors of sex trafficking and uses dance to address their trauma in an alternative way. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS A MAJOR GLOBAL ISSUE HAPPENING TODAY THAT GIRLS SHOULD CARE ABOUT? As you can see from the previous responses, I am very passionate about sex trafficking and raising awareness about this issue, especially for young women and girls. I think this is an important issue to care about because if we don’t find a way to stop it in our generation, the children we may have in the future or our grandchildren will have to go through such a horrific trauma that shouldn’t exist in our world in the first place. We have the power to change the way society views women and girls. We have the power to change stories, and shift focuses and show the world that we have the right to choose and that women matter in this world just as much as men. Trafficking can be stopped in our generation if we all take the collective effort to make it happen. HOW HAS STUDYING CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH COUNSELING HELPED SHAPE YOU AND YOUR CAREER GOALS? I think by going to graduate school and studying clinical counseling, it’s putting me on the path to success and fueling my dreams for the future. As a survivor I never knew that I would ever use my voice in the way that I am today. Through 142 | smart girls guide

my work before graduate school, I helped many girls come forward and share their stories of survival, which I believe is one step closer to healing in their healing process. By taking on the role of a counselor, not only am I better educated on the best practices to use to help; but I am equipping myself with the knowledge to successfully help survivors in a way that they may not be able to help themselves. Speaking up and giving myself a voice for once in my life has given me the chance to be a better

“I was not given choices or opportunities outside the abuse, so it’s important that I learn to use my voice and learn that what I have to say and what I think is important.”

more than their trauma. By going to grad school I’m reclaiming my voice, because for me, I was never given the chance to have a choice while being oppressed. I was not given choices or opportunities outside the abuse, so it’s important that I learn to use my voice and learn that what I have to say and what I think is important. In the future I would like to start up my own arts-based NGO (here in America and Cambodia) that works with commercially exploited youth ages 5-18, addressing their trauma in an alternative way, through the arts. Graduate school is putting me one step closer to achieving that dream.

WHICH EVENT ORGANIZED BY THE AKUN PROJECT HAS IMPACTED YOU THE MOST? WHY? The event that has impacted me the most was probably our Freedom human being, not just for this world, Week of last year. Freedom Week was but for myself. It’s not only easy, and dedicated to raising awareness about sometimes it’s a struggle to even wake sex trafficking and the effects it has up in the morning, but I remind myself on women and children locally and that we are all extraordinary, and we all globally. This week was in dedication have something to offer that is bigger to GEMS (Girls Educational and than ourselves. Mentoring Services), an organization that serves girls and young women Graduate school reminds me that if I who have experienced commercial give up, the people I aim to help will sexual exploitation and domestic never find out how extraordinary they trafficking. We created a Survivor are, they will never find out that they Board in the student center, had an are worth more than what the world amazing screening of Very Young Girls seems to throw at us, they are worth issue no. 26 | 143

and I shared my story, so future leaders understand that human beings are can take action and help bring sex not a product. Too many people are trafficking to an end in the future. growing up in this world without a sense of safety, love, hope, because Our Survivor Board took on a whole an individual decided that money new meaning throughout the week that and power was more important than shifted the conversation completely. respect and integrity. If I could I would Anonymously students submitted eliminate just that. I want to live in a something they survived to our bulletin world where my future daughter or board and throughout the week we son will never have to experience rape, posted what they would say. I think this molestation, or being sold for a price. A was so meaningful to me because this world where they are LOVED for them was the first time I shared my story of and not for their bodies. being exploited as a child in its entirety and students also shared things that HOW CAN SMART GIRLS GET they never shared with others before INVOLVED WITH THE AKUN this event. We provided students with a PROJECT? platform to talk about traumatic events, Smart Girls can get involved with The to talk about first experiences and share Akun Project by checking out our it with an audience who not only was website at accepting, but also sympathetic and You can start a chapter at your school, understanding that no matter where collaborate on a project/event with The we come from, we are all human beings Akun Project (Double the awareness!), who have struggled in some form. At bring our founder to your university the end of the day though, we have or high school (i.e. me, and I can share survived and its amazing how different my story and help others discover life looks when you realize that by their passion through my sharing), or sharing your story, you are helping the support a local or global organization next person heal too. in your spare time! IF YOU COULD ELIMINATE ONE PROBLEM IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE AND WHY? I would eliminate the sexual exploitation of human beings. I think that in this day and age, we should have some respect and knowledge to 144 | smart girls guide

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR GIRLS TO BE AWARE OF ISSUES HAPPENING IN THE WORLD TODAY? I believe itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important for girls to be aware of issues happening in the world today because your voice can be

the voice that creates a movement. Change starts when individuals collectively decide that they want to make a difference. Girls are fearless change-makers and individuals who no longer have to be silent. Use your voice for good and impact the world in a way that will help others because if you don’t, who will? WHO ARE YOUR ROLE MODELS? WHY? My role models are the various women (consisting of counselors, mentors and friends) throughout my support group that constantly keep me going. I chose them (all 8 of them) because they show me that no matter what there is power within me and if I allow myself to succeed, I will. I am also awestruck by their constant resilience and strength through the toughest times and their commitment to helping others, like I am so passionate about as well. These women are my family, and without them I don’t know where I would be. WHAT CAN REGULAR PEOPLE DO TO HELP BETTER THE WORLD? The first step to helping in any capacity is acknowledging that you have the ability to help in the first place. I think people believe that they have to do a really big thing otherwise their impact is irrelevant, but that isn’t true. The smallest thing to you could mean the biggest thing to the person beside you. So start small and understand that there is power in numbers, there is strength in your words and there is someone out there whose life can change simply because you are you. So next time you want to make a difference some how lead with these three tips: become informed (awareness is key); devote time, not just money (YOU are a value that money can not match, take the time out to make an impact using the resources you have the knowledge you have gained, both of which do not require money); take a stand and don’t stay silent. It’s okay to be mediocre, but it is even more rewarding to be extraordinary. Don’t let society silence you from making a difference. Stand OUT. Be BOLD. Be YOU. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A SMART GIRL? To me being a Smart Girl means standing up for what you believe in and standing your ground when things get tough. Having the ability to understand that life will constantly throw you curveballs and obstacles will consistently get in your way, but your work on yourself and with others will never be invalid and will always help in someway. Being a Smart Girl is more than just being “Smart”, it’s about understanding that you have the power to change the world for good, and you should do exactly that. issue no. 26 | 145

on her way


serwaa mensah interview by eleanor harte

erwaa Mensah is an inspiration to us all. This superstar Smart Girl grew up in Ghana and was an international student at Loyola University Maryland, where she graduated in May. She discovered her passion for dentistry early in college and started dental school this August. She has some great lessons for us all about following her dreams and making things happen!

HOW DID YOU END UP GOING TO SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES, SINCE YOU GREW UP IN GHANA? I was born in America and my parents moved our family to Ghana when I was 6 months old. I am a citizen, so when it was time for me to go to college my dad said, “as an American citizen, you should take advantage of the fact that you can get scholarships and loans and grants, and further your education in the U.S.” My older sister had also attended college in the U.S and so I received a lot of help from her during my application process. I applied to a few schools, got accepted and moved to U.S.A! HOW DID YOU DISCOVER YOUR PASSION WAS TO BE A DENTIST? I always knew I wanted to work in the health field because that’s where my passion lies, I just didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do. During my second semester of freshman year in college, I enrolled in a career seminar course where every week the biology department would bring in a new health professional. One week a dentist came in, and before that I had never considered dentistry. I only went to the dentist once the whole time I was living in Ghana, and that was to get my tooth extracted. There are very few dentists in Ghana- about 150 serving the whole Ghanaian population of about 25 million and so visiting the dentist is rare. It’s considered a luxury to go to the dentist. After some reflection, I knew that dentistry was what I wanted my career to be. It was something I knew underserved populations needed. That summer, I shadowed a dentist and fell in love her interaction with patients and the time she took to educate them about the importance of oral healthcare. I then applied to some dental schools and was fortunate to be accepted!

146 | smart girls guide

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR SMART GIRLS WHO WANT TO MAKE THEIR DREAMS A REALITY? Remain positive about your dreams by surrounding yourself with people who will encourage you and believe in those dreams. Having mentors who help me stay focused and remind me about my goals is one of the best things to do. WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE, RECENT AND MORE LONGTERM? In the future, I will be working in underserved communities in the U.S soon after graduation. The giving back spirit is something that is very important to me, hence my commitment to community service and underserved populations. I know that working with such populations is what will make me feel most fulfilled. I plan to return to Ghana as well to give back to my home society. Being a Smart Girl means having a vision, never losing sight of it and knowing that with hard work and motivation you will reach that goal! As Smart Girls, we have to understand that the pathway to our goals may not be easy all the time. However, going through some difficulties will make us strong and putting a positive spin on everything will make it easier! issue no. 26 | 147

i have a

dream smart girl story

by Rachel Zambernardi


efore coming to college, everybody had told me that college was the time to “find myself ” and “become who I really am supposed to be”. This made me nervous. I did not want to change, and I did not think I was going to. I knew who I was already and did not feel as if I needed to be someone different from that. But, now that I am here, one hundred days into my college experience, I have realized that college is basically one giant identity crisis. I went into college thinking that I would be a lawyer. I ambiguously assumed my future: go to college, law school, be part of a firm, done. I thought I had it all figured out, I thought I was the type of girl who knew exactly what she wanted to do because I thought I knew what I was

148 | smart girls guide

good at. Well, I thought wrong. The second I began taking courses in subjects that would help me achieve this goal that I thought I wanted, I found out that it was completely and utterly not me. I guess I should have realized this in high school when my teachers told me I would be the Elle Woods from Legally Blonde of the law world because of my outgoing personality, and passion for clothes and fashion. Now, having come to the realization that I do not want to do something I am “good at” in life. I want more than that--I want passion. I want to do something that is my dream, something that will keep me up at night thinking because I am so entirely consumed in how much I love what I do.


We all have a dream. It might be easy to define or it might be a series of vague and different ideas. However, most of us dismiss this dream as being too difficult to pursue or completely unrealistic.

Caution is not the key to happiness. Following our dreams and aspirations, and taking risks are some of the best things that we could do in order to find this new person that we are told to become in college.

But why should we do this? Why should we not take the plunge and be somebody we really want to be? Caution is not the key to happiness. Following our dreams and aspirations, and taking risks are some of the best things that we could do in order to find this new person that we are told to become in college. Like I said, college is an identity crisis. I have struggled, I have felt lost at times, and that is okay. I have a dream that I want to achieve now, and I know it might be hard to get there, and that is okay too. I am not scared to change, I am not scared of the future, I am not scared to follow my dreams, and Smart Girls, you should not be scared either. Embrace the unknown like an old friend, become someone different, change your major five times or twenty times or do not change it at all. Just take the time in college to become the woman that you want to be, because the individual that you end up becoming just might surprise you.

issue no. 26 | 149

Am I expected to give an expensive gift at a wedding? I have a friend who is getting married, and while we both work minimum wage jobs, I feel like I’m expected to give her something. - Shelby, 22

My friend keeps wanting me to go out on a blind date with this guy. She says he’s a good person, but I still have my reservations. Should I take the chance? - Maxine, 18

According to most wedding etiquette experts: you are not obligated to give a wedding present. However, that being said, it is courteous to do so. It is definitely understandable for a large wedding present to seem daunting when you only make minimum wage. Even while perusing the registry it can be easy to think, “this is gas money or a phone bill.” Also, when it comes to a particularly younger couple, it can feel strange having to buy a wedding present, perhaps even confusing. I’m sure your friend would be extremely grateful to receive something as she and her spouse begin their new life together. Yet, given the circumstances, I’m positive that she would understand if your budget did not allot for a gift. Instead, consider giving of your time and talents in helping with the wedding. Lastly, make sure that you at least give the couple a thoughtful card to keep as a memento from their special day.

You certainly should not feel awful for being leery of a blind date. With the way things seem to be these days, you need to take extra precautions to protect yourself. Consider your friend’s past dating habits, has she chosen good guys? If so, then you should be fine to trust her judgment. Agree to meet with this guy, but under certain conditions. As in, meeting at a public place, and driving yourself to and from the date. If you still feel uncomfortable, perhaps ask your friend if she’ll agree to going on a double date with you. Still, if you simply do not care to go on this date remember that you write the rules to your dating life. No one can force you into dating someone that you feel uncomfortable with. Know your boundaries and stick to them.

150 | smart girls guide

I broke up with my boyfriend before leaving for college because I felt that he would hold me back. Now I feel so guilty. What should I do? - Natalie, 17

I attend a private school, and a good number of the students come from wealthy families. My family isn’t as well off as the others, and sometimes I feel ashamed when we can’t afford the things that the other students You should never feel guilty for putting can. Should I just stop worrying your academic and personal goals above about this? your romantic interests, particularly if - Maxine, 18 you did not see it going long-term. It’s one thing to break off an engagement or another serious relationship, but it’s another to simply part ways with a high school boyfriend at a crossroads in life. Examine the reasons that you decided to end the relationship.When you find that they are valid reasons concerning your goals, you will feel reassured as to your decision. I suspect that you do not attend the same university as your former beau, and this will definitely help in both of your healing processes. Focus on your schoolwork and growing relationships with your classmates. In a short while, the guilt will subside and you be will happy that you made a wise decision in regards to your future.

The answer is, yes. You should stop worrying about this. While it may feel like there is an unspoken competition for having the latest and greatest trends and devices, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Years from now no one from your high school will remember you for your expensive watches or just released cellphone. They will remember you for the person that you were, and how you treated others. Do not dwell on what you do not have, but rely on what you do. I know the term, money can’t buy happiness, is overused. However, it is also undervalued. Just as the students who do have money should not feel ashamed, you shouldn’t either.

issue no. 26 | 151


Goals of the Month

We believe that if you are going to take time to do something, you deserve tangible proof that you got something out of it. That is why we created the Goals of the Month page. This page is where we tie in pieces of the magazine to create a fun fill-in that will empower you to Live the Smart Life. We leave it up to you to determine exactly what the Smart Life means to you by having the goals be fully customizable. Smart Girls are all different, so our goals are, too. I am smart. This month I will share my smarts with _______ by ________. This month is all about staying hungry and staying humble. I will stay hungry by _______ and stay humble by ________. Stephen told us how important it is to learn about politics. This month, I will improve my political knowledge by ________. The Rockettes have used their influence as famous dancers to help children. I will give back to my community by _______. Maggie taught us about true blessings. One way I am blessed is _______. Stephanie Horbaczewski has taken the digital world by storm with StyleHaul. I will create a more positive digital presence for myself by _______. The Smart Girls Group is all about inspiration. This month, I will be inspired by ______ and inspire _______. Smart Girls are ambitious girls. They look forward to the future and start working toward their goals now. I aspire to ________, so this month I will _______ to work towards that. 152 | smart girls guide

smart girl goes social twitter facebook instagram pinterest tumblr

linkedin #BeSmartShareSmarts issue no. 26 | 153

looking up



I swear, for most of my life, that has been my tagline. Most days, at least once, I would run down the stairs or quickly speed dial my parents to tell them whatever was considered “great news” that day, which more than likely occurred no more than five minutes prior to the announcement. At this point, my Nana calls me and asks, “So Em, what good news do you have for me today?” I thrive on saying, “I have great news.” Whether it is securing one of my idols for our conference, reaching a major milestone as a business, or getting a good grade on a paper, what keeps me going is the idea of that impending phone call. For me, the thought of having great news to share with people who you love, who have helped carve your path, makes me really excited. And that is what keeps me hungry. If you ask me, there is no greater feeling than the feeling of being excited. And the best part is, you can get excited about anything from an early morning trip to Starbucks to landing your dream job. I really love people who are exciteable. There is no one in my life who is as exciteable as my Nana. The second anything big happens for Smart Girls Group, she’s the first person

154 | smart girls guide

After SGG made it into our local paper for the first time, Nana made us a plaque for our new office.

I call. In fact, she was the first person I ever told about my idea called Smart Girls Group back in January of 2012. Even then she was so excited, you would have thought I was telling her I was running for President. To this day I’m pretty sure she hands out more of my business cards than I do. I think we all need someone who will keep us excited, who will celebrate the big and little victories. When I find myself losing that hunger to forge on, I call Nana because how can you let someone down when they are so excited to see you succeed? I’m looking up to my Nana, and anyone else who is exciteable because they are unsung heroes, the behind the scenes cheerleaders that are keeping all of our wheels in motion.

Thank You

We feel so lucky to be able to share the Smart Girl light with readers all over the world. We have few people to thank in particular for making this issue shine so brightly. Andy Gonzales and Sophie Houser, for being the perfect example of rockstar teenage girls in STEM. It was a privilege to have such intelligent, talented and witty females grace our cover. Eva Shang, for being a voice for the imprisoned and using your smarts to truly make a difference. Stephanie Horbaczewski, for your killer instinct, media savvy and passion for fashion. Sonya and Kelsey, for being the posterchildren for Smart Girls everywhere and rocking VAUGHNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gorgeous tops. Rachel Zambernardi, for being a constant source of creativity and inspiration, and for always having Smart Girl Sistersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; backs. We all love you so much and are so grateful to have you! Kate Mitchell and Rachel Sachs, for making us feel so warm and cozy over the computer with your beautiful cold-weather style picks. Ashante Tucker, for all you do through the Akun Project to raise awareness for global warming. Your hard work and passion have not gone unnoticed! Gabrielle Del Re and the Rockettes, for managing to sparkle through both dance and philanthropy. Good luck with the rest of your season! Serwaa Mensah, for taking your dental dreams across the world. We thank all of our SMART GIRL SISTERS, whose tireless efforts have made this 26th issue possible. Thank you for believing in this mission & the power of smarts. Finally, thank you to all of our SMART STORY SPREADERS AND SUPPORTERS. You are uniting the next generation of superstar women and we could not be more grateful to have such dedicated cheerleaders. issue no. 26 | 155

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Never let go of your appetite to go after new ideas, new experiences, and new adventures.â&#x20AC;? Sophia Amoruso

156 | smart girls guide

Smart Girls Guide | Issue No. 26 | Holiday 2014  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you