The words, "believe in yourself", have always played a strong part in the character and essence of celebrity journalist Shaun Robinson. The phrase infuses her professional pursuits, which have taken her around the world, and anchors her charitable activities that help engender a greater sense of self among a new generation of girls and young women. Needless to say, we're awed and impressed by the way she uses her status as a journalist to the stars to help encourage women of all ages to love themselves just the way they are.
Her best-selling book, Exactly As I Am, provides readers with empowering advice about developing a positive self-image. Robinson reinforces the concepts of personal empowerment and developing a strong feeling of self-worth through her multi-media messages and fundraisers for organizations, such as Girls, Inc.
Robinson recently allowed us to ask her some questions about her wonderful charitable endeavors and commitment to helping girls and women accept themselves without compromise:
|Photo Courtesy of Shaun Robinson|
You launched your "One Girl, One Voice -- A Million Ways to Make a Difference" campaign earlier this year. Please tell us a little bit about what inspired your book and video, Exactly As I Am?
I was inspired to write my book, Exactly As I Am, because I wanted girls to know that everything they need to believe in themselves and develop a strong self-esteem is right inside of them. It doesn't come from being popular, being skinny, being rich, or having a certain skin color. It comes from, as Oprah says in my book, "... knowing that you are valuable because you were born."
Because I interview celebrities for a living, so many girls ask me about the stars they see on TV, in the movies, or on the covers of magazines. They want to know if "so and so" is as beautiful in person as she is on TV, or if their lives are as perfect as they seem. I wanted girls to know that nobody is perfect and that everyone -- no matter how rich or famous -- has feelings of self-doubt now and then, just like you and me. I wrote, produced and directed the video, Ten Rules for Girls with Strong Self-Esteem as a mini rulebook for girls to follow. All the "rules" came from the dozens and dozens of teen girls I interviewed for Exactly As I Am. I love it because it's girls giving girls advice like, "I will never stay in a relationship with a guy who disrespects me." That is so important!
Your job is so glamorous. How do you convey your message to these young girls? With so many negative media images of young women today, please tell our readers about how you're using your media influence to bring awareness to girls and their families?
My mom has always told me to use my platform for good -- never make it about me -- but to make my mission about helping others. And that's what I've always tried to do. I am well aware that the media, in general, must take responsibility for the many images girls see that make them question their own self-worth. Being in the entertainment industry, it's a constant balancing act for me and I try never to compromise my integrity. Reporting on entertainment and your favorite stars is definitely fun, but it's when girls internalize those images and use them as a measuring stick for their own value and how they should act -- that's where the danger comes in.
As a celebrity, do you find it's easier, or more difficult, to effectively impact the lives of your target audience?
Certainly as a celebrity, I have a voice that is easier heard than if I wasn't in this position. I want to make sure I use that voice for positive change. That's why I started the One Girl, One Voice: A Million Ways to Make a Difference movement. In my book, we talk a lot about "giving back" and that one of the quickest ways to true self-esteem involves taking the attention away from yourself and putting it on someone less fortunate. We want to get one million girls to pledge that they'll use their voices to "change the world." I want to inspire girls to volunteer their time to various causes and pledge to make the lives of others better.
With the advent and popularity of social media versus traditional media, have you seen a tremendous, monumental change, regarding effecting positive change in the world?
Social media can be a wonderful thing and a not-so-wonderful thing. Cyber-bullying is on the rise and we must find a way to stop it and make people responsible for the things they put online that can hurt others. But, social media can be a powerfully positive force in helping others. When we all band together and promise to change the world, nothing can stop us.
Where do you see your campaign, say, five years from now?
Five years from now, I see the One Girl, One Voice movement five million girls strong!
We want to thank Shaun Robinson for her generosity and for taking the time to share a little about her world-changing pursuits with us and our readers. What an inspiration she is and what a magnificent gift her campaign is to the next generation of young women. Thank you Shaun, from the bottom of our hearts, for using your voice for change.
This video, courtesy of Shaun Robinson, captures her passion for positive and empowering self-images. Watch:
A Story for Inspiration and Ann Tran's Final Thoughts
Twitter represents a powerful medium that anyone can use to inspire, inform and educate. I shared Shaun Robinson's video, Exactly As I Am, on Twitter and one of my followers shared it. He sent me a direct message and thanked me for the link to the video; informing me that he intended to share it with his daughter. I suggested he share part of our conversation with Ms. Robinson as well, since she is very engaging. He did. And the next thing I knew, I saw a picture of a signed book held up proudly by his daughter from Ms. Robinson displayed on John Feskorn's page.
With social media becoming such a pervasive force in our culture, it presents an awe-inspiring, powerful way to change the world -- one tweet at a time. How are you using Twitter, or other social media platforms, to change the world? Share your stories below.