Interview with Bailey Gent, Founder of Empower, Beauty, Confidence Club.
Bailey is an amazing young woman who is far beyond her short fifteen years. Stephanie, the Community Director at The Authenticity Project, had the privilege of meeting with Bailey and learning more about her passions and journey of overcoming fear to start her very own mentoring club called Empower, Beauty, and Confidence (EBC). The club’s mission is to gather high school girls who can mentor and walk alongside junior high girls; learning together what it truly means to be beautiful and authentically yourself, not giving in to the typical conforming pressures associated with junior high and high school. EBC also works to be a place where the girls feel safe and can find positive role models.
Stephanie (S): Can you tell us about the Empower, Beauty, and Confidence club that you have started at your school?
Bailey (B): Yes definitely, Empower, Beauty, and Confidence club is a mentorship club where we bring together high school and junior high girls. Any junior high girl is welcome to come and get to know older girls. A lot of what we do is empower younger girls, working on helping them find their confidence, and to formulate a strong concept of what real beauty is. We definitely focus on helping the girls find their confidence because that is sometimes really hard to do.
(S): What motivated you to start Empower, Beauty, and Confidence club?
(B): What motivated me to this was probably my own junior high experience. I think that junior high for girls is a hard time because I think there are a lot of new things and that you brought in to an environment that is really foreign to you. I think that if I had someone there to say, “It’s okay that you are feeling that way because everyone is going to, and you don’t need to be perfect the first day of seventh grade.” What junior high is about is finding what you love and how you are going to pursue it. That is what I am hoping to achieve with these girls, is to instill that kind of mindset within them.
(S): What are a couple of things you have learned since you have stepped up as a leader to start this?
(B): A couple of things that I have learned since becoming a leader is that there are going to be people who really appreciate what you are doing- people who are going to be all for it and support you, but there is also going to be people who are negative and don’t support it. So, I think it is really important to be confident in what you are doing and love what you are doing so much so that the negative comments don’t impact you. Then you can let the negative comments brush off and the positive comments really keep flowing through you.
Another thing that I have learned is that as nice as it would be, I can’t do absolutely everything on my own, so it has been really nice to have developed a really great team. What’s cool is that I am able to do something that I really love, which is getting to start this club, and I’m able to do it with some of my best friends!
(S): What does the term Authenticity mean to you?
(B): For me, authenticity is being really strong in what you believe in and what you feel is really right. I think that sometimes it’s hard to stay truly unique and truly who you want to be. Sometimes it can be hard to want to become kind of fake and to start being cliché, and being a person that just flows with the crowd. Authenticity is just being who you are and being okay with that, and being confident and accepting of that, and to truly be genuine.
(S): Share a time when you felt like you were truly following your heart?
(B): Starting this club has been a really good example of following my heart because one day I decided, you know, it would be really cool if I could start something that would be beneficial to the junior highers. Also, I’m the secretary of the Serteens club, and one day last year we were trying to come up with things that we could do, and were asked to think of things that would touch us and how we would really want to help other people be stronger at and help other people do things. So, I thought this would be such a cool project to do. Then I started sitting down and typing in different organizations that we could do stuff through and realized, wow, there is way more than we could ever fit into one little seminar or one little assembly. From there I decided how cool would it be if girls had somewhere they could go every week and to be just really comfortable and be growing and growing from.
So, I feel like for me though when I sat down to just start formulating this club, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I just knew that it felt really right. I also felt like I was really meant to do this and then I started finding people who were like, ‘oh my goodness I would love to be a mentor.’ Then once it all kind of started coming together I was like, ‘you know this could be a really good thing.’ So, I think it was definitely a little bit of a leap of faith and following my heart because I didn’t really know what the outcome was going to be.
(S): How do you define success?
(B): I think that for me success is not really found in what you have done, but in how you have done it. So, going out and accomplishing things can be great, but I don’t think you can ever really measure success in how much you have done, rather in how you have done it. For me, I feel really successful when what I am doing has touched someone else. For this I have had girls come up to me and say, ‘you know this is something that makes my week and being able to get to know these older girls has been such a special thing to me,’ and when I get an email from a parent saying, ‘my daughter loves coming to your club.’ Things like that are more of how I would measure success.
(S): Who inspires you? Why?
(B): I have been so fortunate to have really wonderful people in my life. I have a really great supportive family at home and I have awesome parents and really great grandparents. I also have two really supportive aunts who have helped me do anything that I wanted to do, so that has been extremely nice, and I also have a base of the best friends that you could ever imagine having. I think I’m so lucky, but the person who has inspired me the most would be my mom. She has set out to do a lot of things and I feel like she has accomplished a lot of what she has wanted to. For her she has done things that are cool because she is a women and things that are cool that she has done because of a bunch of different things. So, I think it’s really inspiring all the different things she has done. She owns her own business and she has three kids, I have two brothers, and I think she balances it really well. I think that balance is really admirable.
Another thing that was huge when I started the club was that not everyone has that at home. Not everyone has such great parents and I started to feel like, you know, I am so lucky, why am I so lucky? I want everyone to get to have that, and I want everyone to have someone that supports them. That is another thing that we really focus on in our club is to try to be someone for the girls who don’t have that all the time, someone that they can go to and talk to if they need it, and someone who take them somewhere fun to go. We really want to be whatever they need, but we would really like to be a support crew if they need that.
(S): Have you ever set aside fear to move forward?
(B): One of my greatest fears is failure. Once you start living through things and do things, you kind of realize that failure is okay and that if you never fail, then you never really know what it is like to be successful. I think if you never try new things and never do different things, then you won’t have to be afraid of failure, but you won’t ever achieve anything and you won’t get to feel what it’s like to be successful. Overcoming a fear of failure is really important. I think it makes you stronger to fail a couple of times. Failure is a part of life, it’s real and it’s not illogical. I think that after you fail, you can say, “okay, I failed at that and I’m just going to move on,” and that it made me stronger so that the next time you can say, “okay, I can do this because I know what it feels like to not do it right and even though not doing it right and failing at it isn’t fun, at least I tried it and I least I did it.”
(S): What is one question you would love to ask people? And why?
(B): One question I would love to ask people is, what are you passionate about? What is something that you love? I think that is such a cool thing because I think that thing is different for everyone. There are definitely people who are super passionate about a sport or a certain subject and there definitely people who are passionate about things like what I am doing. It’s a cool thing because it makes everyone unique. Learning what people are passionate about is probably one of the most interesting things to me.
(S): If you had a superhero power, what would it be? And why?
(B): I think a super hero power that would be really cool is to be able to mind read. I think sometimes you might think, “oh no, I did not want to know that!” But, I think that it would be really cool because you would know that someone isn’t so happy with you and then you would know how you could fix it. You would know exactly what they were thinking. I think if everyone could do that, then a lot of drama would eliminated from the world because people could be like, “oh that is what they are thinking? I was thinking the same thing, and we can apologize, we can move on.” I think that maybe any superhero power would have the pros and cons, but I think that would probably be what I would want to do.
(S): Anything else you want to share, where you are at in life, your journey?
(B): I’m really lucky to be able to have done a whole lot by the time I am a sophomore. I think that I’m really fortunate to have done much. I’ve been very lucky that I have been able to go to a really good school and been able to be a part of a lot of great things- a part of Serteens and to be the yearbook editor. I really love being able to be a part of a lot of different things and get to see what a lot of things are like. This is because I think that sometimes people can get stuck in a career that they really don’t like, and sometimes I wonder if you don’t like it, then how did you get there? If you don’t like it, then why are you staying there? And so, when I was a little younger I used to always be a little afraid of diving into a career that I thought I was going to love and that I turned out to not like. I think that by doing a lot of different things, it’s been cool to get to just keep trying different things and seeing what I really love and what I’m really passionate about.
I have been really lucky to have a really sweet little brother, well really two sweet little brothers. My journey has been really, really blessed. I’ve had really great friends, better than I could have imagined. I have friends for everything. I have friends that I do the EBC club with, I have friends I do yearbook stuff with, I have friends who I could go to the gym with and just have fun doing that, and I have friends I could go shopping with. I think that has been another huge success for me, I feel like having a whole bunch of different people in your life is so important and so valuable.