In 2006, I received my final acting credit to be included as a member in ACTRA/SAG. But after running to auditions between nursing shifts, taking a steady flow of classes/workshops, loosing an agent, I lost steam and enthusiasm to continue in the industry further; the constant auditioning was not fun anymore.
In 2016, ten years later, I detailed my time in the industry to my friend’s roommate who was a student at Julliard. I remember her comment to me, “Your look is very in right now!” Her comment, reminded me of another that was made years earlier from a casting director. When my agent asked for feedback on my audition, the casting director said, “We just don’t know what she is.” I shared the feedback with my acting coach, who said that it was the most unhelpful comment ever made. While the description of the ‘ethnically ambiguous’ was something that was used in the casting world – it fit the definition of a microaggression in the real world. It underscored the lack of diversity or acceptance in the entertainment industry to reflect diversity in society.
Fast forward to 2020, where the senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor among others have highlighted just a few of injustices that have been a part of society for so long. Cut to the Charmsters, and the #iSeeMyself campaign. From the Independent Handbag Awards creator, Emily Blumenthal, The Charmsters are an animated girl squad with a strong DNA in inclusivity, diversity and girl empowerment. The Charmsters have names founded in STEAM concepts, such as: Entrepreneur Ella, Reporter Rita, Coder Cora, Innovator Ivy, and Blogger Bailey. These girls have real-life goals and dreams leaving the Powderpuff Girls, in a cloud of their unrealistic the dust.
“The Charmsters are for girls of all ages to finally have a chance to see themselves and fills the void lacking within the media, fashion, and toy landscape for young girls,” says founder, Emily Blumenthal. “This #iSeeMyself campaign is pivotal in giving a voice to empower girls and show they can relate and “see themselves” in characters that, for the first time, look like them in a non-stereotypical manner.”
The Charmsters not only resonate with younger fans, but adults as well. The latest #iSeeMyself campaign gals include Amirah Kassem, founder of the famed colorful bakeshop, FLOUR SHOP, in NYC who is of Mexican-Arab descent. Amirah identifies with Entrepreneur Ella after starting her successful bakeshop 6 years ago in her apartment. Another Charmster fan is powerhouse Zara Terez Tisch, the founder of Terez, the NYC based athleisure brand. The core values for Terez are joy, positivity, energy, creativity and connection that are emulated in Innovator Ivy. No wonder Zara relates to Ivy!
As 2020 has given everyone much to ponder, the subject of inclusivity is finally gaining the traction it so rightly deserves. Thankfully, the Charmsters #iSeeMyself campaign celebrates not only diversity, but also helps to instil the confidence and comradery girls and women need to let their talents, hard work and dreams shine. Bringing this level of societal awareness can only ignite the long-term change we, as a society, so desperately need. Seeing truly is believing.