A New, Better Spin on Girl Talk
I’m all about getting real. The realer, the better, as far as I’m concerned. Clearly.
So when I happened upon GirlTalk, a new video platform that’s helping women share their real-life narratives, I was on it like Rob Kardashian on Blac Chyna (too soon?).
Basically, I was thrilled to see another outlet join the ranks of collectively empowering women through story telling.
Who’s behind this brilliance? A one Ifrah Hassan.
Honest conversations with real women who share their personal experiences. GirlTalk is a safe space and positive environment for women to speak about their most vulnerable moments, to share their stories of resilience, and impart the wisdom they have gained along the way. Every woman has a unique perspective on life as a result of the challenges she has faced and adversities she has overcome. GirlTalk encourages women to embrace these life experiences and to create their own narratives to inspire and empower adolescent girls and young women currently going through tough situations. GirlTalk is fueled by positivity and the motivation to showcase the multitude of identities women possess. – via TheGirlTalk.org
I needed to see what this was all about, duh. Turns out, Ifrah is as warm and inspiring as the stories she’s telling on GirlTalk. Of COURSE she is, which makes engaging with her platform even more exciting.
Here’s Ifrah’s own beautiful story of how she was inspired by a stranger’s story, harnessing the power of the female narrative, and being the voice for the voiceless.
Generally, great things start from a personal journey. Was there a life experience you had that prompted the creation of GirlTalk?
GirlTalk is basically the result of numerous external forces, coupled with one specific story which prompted me to create GirlTalk. At the end of 2014, I read an article about an adolescent girl’s suicide. She had been experiencing constant cyberbullying, and it was heartbreaking because society chooses to condone certain narratives for women, and young girls and women try to conform to those identities in hopes of being deemed attractive, ‘normal,’ etc. I think we need to do more to showcase that everyone has a unique purpose and that is something no one else can fulfill.
What did you set out to create when you started GirlTalk?
Essentially, GirlTalk aims to fill the gaps in the female narrative and showcase the multitude of identities women possess. It does not have a specific type of women it focuses on, but it welcomes anyone willing to share their story and construct their own narrative.
When did you know you were really on to something great?
GirlTalk is still relatively new, it launched November 11, 2015, but it is so incredible to see so many people come together to support it, volunteer, and share their narratives. Honestly, it’s a little scary when you have an idea because in your head, you’re like, this could be great, but then sometimes you fear it’s just a romanticized idea in your head and that others might not be as enthusiastic about it.
When I started sharing it with others though, I found people were excited about it and it motivated me to make it a reality. I have been privileged to have such inspiring people willing to donate their skills to make GirlTalk happen. I think the moments during the interviews, and even after filming showcases the power and necessity of GirlTalk because all the interviewees have a moment when their eyes light up, and they get comfortable and empowered, and eventually are relieved and happy to share their stories, define themselves, and give their perspectives. For me, that’s when I know I’m facilitating something great.
Who in your life has inspired you to pursue your unique passion and share your narrative?
I am grateful to have a supportive family, and my parents have always taught me to go beyond my self-imposed boundaries. My mom is definitely my biggest cheerleader, though. She sincerely believes in my endeavors, sometimes even more than I do. She always tells me to ‘be the voice for the voiceless’ and it really is a mentality I have come to embody, because when you’re in a position of privilege—meaning you have the ability to freely exercise your rights, i.e., verbalize any concerns—you need to use that to help others who may not be as comfortable or able to speak up.
GirlTalk is a platform for women to share stories and wisdom, and allows them to shift their narrative from one of vulnerability to one of resilience and empowerment.
What's a lesson that you've learned from one of your interviews that really stuck with you?
The biggest take away for me, from all the videos we’ve done so far, is that there isn’t an age limit on self-growth. I walk away from each interview inspired, more mindful, and with a new perspective. Each woman has gone through a different struggle or experience and each of them has taken a different route and I learn more about myself just by listening and reflecting on their journeys.
I do have to say that I had a very emotional response to Rebecca’s narrative because she had a negative moment in her adolescence, and it changed her entire life perspective and now she’s going into a career of law and social justice advocacy because of that. I think it touched me even more because GirlTalk was started, in part, as a response to the negative experiences of an adolescent girl and it’s a time period in which so many experience defining moments. We need to be there to help ensure there is enough positivity and support for girls during that fragile and defining time.
What are you looking forward to in 2016?
I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store. I no longer do resolutions, and I choose to just embrace opportunities and document the memories throughout. Since 2016 is technically GirlTalk’s first full year, I can only hope that it continues to grow and reach more people who can spare a few minutes a week to watch the Woman of the Week’s video. I sincerely hope GirlTalk will spread some positivity and uplifting messages to women and girls of all ages in 2016.
Coffee, tea or green juice?
Coffee and tea—I know, caffeine overload. I always start my day with tea, I can’t have my breakfast without a cup of tea. Then when I’m ready to get working, I get my coffee. I tried to commit to one but they both contribute to my functionality during the day. I also drink tea in the afternoon, sometimes again in the evening. It’s deeply rooted in my cultural background, tea is a huge part of the daily routine and it also helps me calm down, so whenever I get a little stressed, I pause and make tea.
The book I'm currently reading is...