My #DreamBigPrincess Moment at the UN

Education , Events , Leadership , Supporters in Action

By: Girl Up Teen Advisor Fasica Mersha

A Small Town Girl

On Thursday, November 16th, I was invited to attend the #DreamBigPrincess Global Photography Exhibit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. This experience was undoubtedly one of the best things I have ever done and I will be eternally grateful for the opportunity Girl Up gave me.

I live in a medium-sized town in suburban Georgia, so it is safe to say that New York City was a little bit out of my league. I spent the day speaking to reporters and United Nations supporters about my biggest passion: Girl Up.

I was told that I was going to have to say a small speech on what Girl Up means to me in front of an audience. On top of that, I was speaking last and they told me that everyone would be looking forward to my speech the most. So, no pressure there. I did not understand the importance of this speech until moments before I took to the podium. By then, the panic had really sunk in. I had never spoken to a large group of people before, let alone a room filled with adults. I was convinced that I was going to mess up or faint, and basically embarrass myself in front of everybody. However, to my surprise, I did much better than I assumed. I never really accounted for how influential Girl Up has been in my life. It has impacted me so much that I could even talk about it in my sleep.

Fasica talks with Girl Up Champion Monique Coleman and Girl Up Deputy Director Anna Blue at the Global Photography Exhibition reception held at the United Nations, Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. (Photo/Stuart Ramson for UN Foundation)

By the end of the night, I had developed a new understanding of the #DreamBigPrincess campaign. In all honesty, I had never put much thought in the purpose of the campaign. I had been focusing on the word princess and not really the idea of “Dream Big.”

As I stood in front of the podium preparing to give my speech, I had a revelation that I could have never dreamed that this could happen to someone like me. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever have pictured myself standing inside of the UN, in front of a podium, speaking to figures from UNICEF, Disney, and Girl Up. I never thought I would be able to do that ever, let alone at the age of seventeen. There lies the problem. I thought I wasn’t capable of creating change outside of my little community, and I had let my fears convince me that I wasn’t good enough. Girls are constantly being put down or made to feel guilty for standing up, and they occasionally have low self-esteem or think of themselves as less because society has conditioned them to do so.

However, through campaigns such as #DreamBigPrincess, Girl Up works to end this absurd notion that any girl is less than royalty. If there is one thing that I have learned from this experience it is that every girl, no matter how young or what their circumstances, should dare to dream big.