How Does It Feel to Be a Woman In 2019?
International Women’s Day is a day for celebration—of womanhood, gender inclusivity, and the great potential that exists within every one of us to pursue and accomplish our ambitions, whatever that might mean in the context of your individual life. In the spirit of collaboration and community this year, we’ve partnered with Bright Lite magazine, the hub for all things teen girl, to spotlight some of the many women we’re commending today. Bright Lite is putting teen girl’s voices at the forefront of their narrative, and if it wasn’t already obvious, prioritizing the next generation’s voice is always our M.O.
We sat down with Editor-in-Chief Ami Komai to hear more about Bright Lite’s mission as a publication for girls, by girls, then got the download from Salem Mitchell, Amélie Zilber, Anna Pniowsky, Cailee Lola, Kayla DiVenere, and Nicole Laeno on what empowers them and who they’re looking to for inspiration in 2019.
How did Bright Lite Magazine start? Tell us about that initial moment of inspiration and how it turned into a print magazine.
I think the most pivotal moment was probably having my daughter. It started making me think of my childhood and all the opinions I formed about myself, good and bad, and how I formed most of them as a pre-teen girl. I remember growing up and thinking there were no role models who looked like me, or anyone who represented my experience. It made me feel like I was in a bubble; feeling like nothing I did mattered. I really want to change that, not only for my daughter, but for all girls. I want to represent girls in a way that’s genuine, inclusive and meaningful.
Having a daughter of my own really made me reflect on myself and what has happened to get to this point in my life. Every women in my life suffers from the same feeling of “not being good enough.” The thought of my own daughter suffering from that feeling is something I cannot let happen.
So, I set out to make a platform of my own – a place where there are no opinions, just stories and ideas that our readers want to share. By creating this space, I hope to let them know that WE think their work and their voice is important, and hopefully they will believe it too!
Why do you think it’s important to have a magazine dedicated to teen girls and their interests?
It is extremely important to have a magazine that gives girls the confidence in their own work and an accurate representation of their teen life. The media and the content that I was exposed to played a huge role in not feeling adequate. The disconnect of how you actually feel as a young girl, to what people try to tell you what it’s like, was not only incredibly confusing – but quite frankly, devastating.
We need real stories. Real stories from real teens.
Tell us more about Bright Lite’s overarching mission.
Bright Lite’s mission is to support young women in expressing themselves and to celebrate their differences and similarities. No two girls are exactly alike, nor should they be. We’re creating a world in which girls don’t have to fight for their voice to be heard, and no one questions whether they’re equal or not. We want Bright Lite to accomplish nothing short of changing girls’ lives, creating a home for their voices and a sense of being that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.
What stands out as some of the most memorable Bright Lite moments since its inception?
The moment that stands out for me most is the first time I walked into Barnes and Noble and saw two girls sitting on the floor reading Bright Lite. I honestly thought I was going to cry. I have so many memories sitting on the floor of bookstores, spending hours pouring over books and magazines. Watching these girls giggle and be so engaged with the content on the pages made me not only realize the immense responsibility of creating content for these girls but also how incredibly special what I get to do is.
If you could give your teen self advice, what would you say?
I could get really specific here but I guess I’ll keep it at, “Everything’s going to be okay. No matter how hard it feels sometimes, everything is absolutely going to be okay.” And maybe avoid guys named Tyler.
Who’s inspiring you this International Women’s Day?
Not to be completely generic but, my mom. She is the kindest most sensitive person I know. Even though it could be annoying how sensitive she is sometimes. I’ve never ever felt unloved or not accepted by her and I find that to be inspiring. I want everyone around me to feel loved and accepted, no matter what.
Styling by Britton Litow @wanna__b
Beauty by Ashley Donovan @ashleydonovan
Location: Sunset Studios @sunsetstudios
Fashion: Miaou, Nike, H&M, Teva, Brandy Melville, Anna Kiki, UGG, Wen Yuan, Paradised, Unpublished, Zadig & Voltaire, Vans
Special Thanks to Exclusive Studios
Stay tuned to Milk for more self-expression.