My Top #girlhero(es)

Day of the Girl , International Day of the Girl

By: Jacquelyn Tepper, Fall 2018 Girl Up Intern

When I was thirteen I went to a summer leadership camp where I was asked one simple question that has stayed with me in the eight years since. It wasn’t a big question like “What do you want to be when you grow up?” or “What are you going to do to change the world?”. Instead, it was “Who would be on your personal board of directors?”

Now, at this point, I was going into seventh grade and had no idea what a board of directors was, much less why I would need one. I soon found out that every company has a board of directors — a group of trusted people from all different backgrounds that helps the company leaders make big decisions by providing their own insight. For me, my counselor said, it would be a group of peers and mentors that could help support me in the decisions I make in my life now. At the time I said my mom, my dad, my sisters, my favorite teacher from 2nd grade, my best friends, my leadership mentor, and my dance teacher. In honor of International Day of the Girl, I’m bringing back my 13-year old self and revamping my personal board of directors: celebrity edition!

  1. Misty Copeland
    The phenomenal Misty Copeland, the first African-American female Principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. If I’m making my dream Board of Directors there is no way I’m leaving out such a talented individual as Misty. She can help bring the balance and poise she exudes on stage in her pointe-work to my life. 
  2. Anne Hathaway
    My princess of Genovia has turned into a real life queen in my eyes with her work as a women’s equality activist and the most recent Human Rights Campaign honoree. 
  3. Chrissy Teigen
    Famous for her cookbook and twitter posts, Chrissy Teigen inspires women and girls to practice self-love and have a healthy body-image for themselves. She is a badass mom and Hollywood’s real-woman keeping us on track. 
  4. Maxine Waters
    I did not become interested in politics and government until taking AP Government my senior year of high school, so I did not fully appreciate my amazing CA Congresswoman Maxine Waters until far too late in my life. She is a selfless, powerful fighter for women, children, people of color, and the poor. Every state and board of directors needs a Maxine Waters. 
  5. Ellen Page & Emma Portner
    I know this is technically two people, but this married duo is one of my favorites. Ellen Page has been someone I look up to since 2014 when she started working with the Human Rights Campaign as an LGBTQ activist. Her wife, Emma Portner is a rising choreographer in the dance world that isn’t afraid to bring her own unique voice and movement to her work. 
  6. Amandla Stenberg
    Remembering to fill my imaginary board with peers I’m adding Amandla Stenberg, known for playing the character Rue from the Hunger Games, her film-making, and for her unwavering intersectional feminism. 
  7. Emma Watson
    Emma Watson is my #1 role model since her days as the intelligent, fearless, clever, kind, curly-haired Hermione Granger. After graduating from Hogwarts she became a UN Women’s Ambassador, launching HeforShe, advocating for girls equality and education around the world. In her free time she also occasionally uses her Instagram to share eco-friendly clothing brands! 
  8. Lana Condor
    You may know her as the Netflix star of the breakout romantic comedy To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, but I know her as my Kairos retreat counselor from high school. Lana is not only adorable and charismatic but also using her newfound platform to speak out for Asian Representation in media. 
  9. Mom
    Lastly, I have to bring back my superstar from my 13-year old self’s board and have my mom lead it. I think I speak for all girls out here in saying that our mom’s will always be the ultimate, day 1 #GIRLHERO.