The Women Behind Our Role Model Runway

It’s no secret that incredible women coming together is what inspires The Girls’ Lounge. It was, after all, famously a moment that became a movement when our founder Shelley Zalis discovered the feminine friendships that run so deep are also our best assets for equality in the workplace. We’ve evolved a lot since that first heartbeat moment four years ago, and this SXSW marks our latest (and dare we say it, greatest) Lounge.

The girls at StyleHaul have partnered with us to bring an ambitious idea to life: bringing the next generation’s creative leaders together with accomplished influencers to design a confidence collection that will be premiered on a runway walked exclusively by role model women. Big deal? Sure sounds like it.

With such an exciting opportunity at the fingertips of four lucky finalists we’ve chosen to design live at the Lounge, we know pressure can start to mount. Fortunately, the event is as much about mentorship as it is about design, and we’re looking forward to seeing the back-and-forth learning that is sure to transpire. “Ask questions,” suggest host Stacy London, the accomplished TV host and style advisor. “Ask questions of everyone. Ask questions until something resonates both mentally and physically. Be constantly and consistently curious.”

“Even though you might be nervous for this experience, don’t forget to take the time to just enjoy the moment,” adds Lizzie Velasquez. The activist, speaker and author is one of our role models, and has plenty of insight into overcoming anxieties. “Soak it in. Don’t focus on just getting really nervous and anxious. Just enjoy it and be yourself, and just do the absolute best that you possibly can.”

We often come back to confidence, and it’s no accident. The benefits that come from forming meaningful relationships go both ways, and help everyone involved learn something new and fuel up their confidence reserves. “We often let our self worth be judged by so many things that are irrelevant. Find a few people in your life you trust and let them be your sounding board and positive reinforcement,” reminds Rachel Zalis, TV host and Confidence Runway coach.

“I wind up learning just as much from 25 year olds as I may be able to teach them,” adds Stacy London. “That’s the great thing about where we are right now in the world. I think there’s a tectonic shift going on between the way the world used to be and the way the world is becoming. There’s no going back and so it’s just as important for us to have mentors who are younger as it is for us mentors who are older. Life experience is important, but it’s not the only experience that we learn from.”

We couldn’t agree more. Tune in to the Lounge on Twitter from 3–5p CST on Saturday, 3/12 to follow the magic that unfolds, and keep scrolling to meet the other incredible women and girls involved.


Meet The Judges

These StyleHaul publishers and self-published creators are impacting girls every day with their inner-beauty focused social channels and intimate vlogs.

Aja Dang is a sports news anchor and model turned fitness and lifestyle blogger. A huge proponent of natural beauty, Aja truly believes that beauty on the inside is reflected by each wearer.

Loey Lane is a beauty blogger whose self-titled channel focuses on everyday beauty and fashion. She’s a plus size model who believes that natural beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Marissa Lacer blogs and vlogs about beauty with her own unique twist. The self proclaimed “blonde girl on YouTube telling you to love yourself,” focuses on inspiring others with positivity through an intimate look at her daily life.


Meet The Designers

Some of the best and brightest young graphic designers will be working to brand and design the Femenism movement lead by The Girls’ Lounge.

Susan Pickover; textile designer and proud feminist. “My version of being an empowered woman is to take responsibility for my actions, right or wrong,” Susan tells of what motivates her. “To be a good person and to believe that all people deserve equal respect.”

Jordana Schrager; sneaker designer and founder/CEO of not one, but two companies, Sneakers by Jordana and SKICKS.. “I was 16 and grounded when I found an old pair of Vans in my room and started drawing on them,” she shares of her heartbeat moment, which led her to design, entrepreneurship, and even a feature in Teen Vogue.

Nina Brewster; artist and creative media manager at The Girls’ Lounge. We promise there’s no playing favorites, this one of our own is an incredible artist, photographer and creator. She’s also focused on equality: “To create change we must do it together, all of us.”

Talia Mayden; Student, artist, designer, musician, engineer. The multi-hyphenate originally hails from Nashville, TN and describes herself as “a singer/songwriter by trade and an undercover hip hop connoisseur.” In her spare time, she explores documentary-style photography with a strong feminist angle.


Follow the Confidence Runway live on Twitter from 3–5p CST on Saturday, March 12, 2016.

Written with ❤ by the Girls at The Girls Lounge.