Rewire Society: Angela S. Uses Storytelling and Media to Change the Conversation Around Beauty
For her Gold Award Project, Angela, 19, from Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, worked to address narrow standards of beauty in society, which can cause people of every age, race, height, and weight to develop varying amounts of insecurity and self-loathing. Angela used her love of storytelling and her photography and film-directing skills to create a powerful exhibition featuring people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds to spread positive images across social media. Her educational video amassed over 3,000 views and 200 followers in the first month and has been used as an inspirational tool for many.
Each one of Angela’s exhibitions is held at a local business, and starts with a question, for example: “If you could change a standard that society upholds against you about your beauty, what would you take away?” followed by a group discussion, and ending with a final mystery challenge which involves facing an insecurity and rewiring the way you think about it by acquiring a new perspective. Angela then takes those responses and interprets them into photography, art, and video—all forms of media that can be understood across languages and cultures. She plans to host more exhibitions in the future, and hopes to continue to change the conversation around how we connect appearance and self-worth.
Her mission is to help people fight their insecurities by braving their demons, while simultaneously creating a society that is more open-minded and kinder toward people that are “different,” or that don’t fit into preconceived ideas of what it means to be beautiful. We’re so on board!
This G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ is always ready to inspire and rewire. Here’s what she had to say about her Gold Award project, and what Girl Scouting means to her!
Q: What does your Gold Award mean to you? Why did you pick this topic?
A: As a kid, I was my own worst enemy. Insecurity was really my greatest obstacle. Thoughts of unworthiness and “I’m not that important. Why am I here?” were there. I didn’t want that for anybody else. It wasn’t until high school, I want to say freshman or sophomore year, that the penny kind of dropped. I kind of came to this epiphany of, “I am not my thoughts. These things and labels I keep calling myself, these names and labels, the, ‘I’m overweight, I’m ugly, I’m not good enough, not smart enough,’ it’s just names, and I don’t have to live up to that just because society expects me to or even because I said so.”
At the time, I was reading a book called The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, and he talks about how we are not our thoughts, and we don’t have to believe in everything that our minds say. And once you distance yourself from your identity and your ego, you can look back and say, “Well, who am I?” That really helped me to step back, and look at me, and say, “Oh, I’m not so bad.” I wanted to show people that door, and help them realize it in their own languages, in their own cultures—and that’s why I wanted to bring a project like this to my community.
The Gold Award really gave me the outlet I needed to do something I’ve always wanted to do since middle school, but I just didn’t know how I was going to do it. And when I got the call about being named a National Young Woman of Distinction, and the lady on the phone started talking about the scholarship, I started crying. It changed my life. I’m going to get to go to school without having to worry so much, and I’m so grateful for that.
Q: Where are you now, and what are your plans for the future?
A: Right now, I’m a sophomore at the University of Houston. I am studying forensic chemistry. I know that’s kind of different from my project, but I do have a passion for science as well. When I was a kid, I had these journals full of these inventions that I was going to make. Essentially, I want to fight bad guys with my brain. I feel like that’s something I’d be good at. The ultimate dream is to be a film director and make CGI movies, but for right now I’m sticking with STEM.
Q: What does Girl Scouts mean to you?
A: Girl Scouts definitely gives girls a platform as it did for me. If you have an idea, if you have a passion, if you have a dream, Girl Scouts offers that opportunity for you to go out and go do it, and go get it. They’ll give you the resources to do it, and the skills and the lessons to know how to pursue what you want.
I wouldn’t be who I am today without Girl Scouts. If it hadn’t been for Girl Scouts, I would probably still be in my little introverted shell, not wanting to talk to anybody. Girl Scouts really gives you that kick and says, “Get out there. Go change the world. Go follow your dreams.”
Q: Which part of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ do you most identify with?
A: I’ve always been a risk-taker, but Girl Scouts really helped bring out the go-getter, the innovator and the leadership part of me. It really put emphasis on those three other characteristics that I felt I was lacking in before.