In honor of March being Women's History Month, we are excited to introduce our next profile - Rebel Girls. We are proud to be a Rebel Girls collaborator as they contribute greatly to the empowerment of girls and women all over the world through their stories.
Michon Vanderpoel, the Head of Revenue, was able to lend us insight into her work at Rebel Girls and how she has been navigating her own journey. It is an honor to collaborate with such an inspiring company, and we are looking forward to the continued success of our partnership. If you don’t already know, you can shop the Mightly X Rebel Girls Collection Here.
What are some of the most significant challenges you've faced as a woman in business? Learning to take up space. As a young girl, I felt a deep pressure to yield to others--in conversations and otherwise. It took many years for me to realize that confidence requires courage. When I approached my own voice and ideas courageously that’s when things started to change.
Tell us why you see storytelling as such a powerful way to teach and inspire? Our mission is to help raise the more inspired and confident global generation of girls. By the age of 6, girls begin to think they are less smart and less capable than boys. And by the age of 14, girls' confidence is 30% less than boys. Rebel Girls is focused on closing the gender confidence gap. And since storytelling is how kids learn first and best, we are leading the way through children’s media, events and community. We want girls to see themselves as not just the heroes of tomorrow, but of today!
How does Rebel Girls approach diversity in its storytelling? Diversity is at the core of our storytelling. We’ve told more than 2,000 stories of real-life women representing 400+ professions and 100+ countries; and all our storytelling is by women and nonbinary creators – more than 600 writers, illustrators, editors, narrators, from 50 countries. Our approach to storytelling is to authentically represent a broad spectrum of women and celebrate who they are by sharing their obstacles and amplifying their triumphs.
I want to share a recent example of how this shows up and feedback we receive from girls.
More recently we created the audio story of fashion designer Isabella Springmühl, one of our 100 Inspiring Changemakers. Isabella is the first fashion designer to showcase at New York Fashion Week. Her audio story is narrated by Jamie Brewer, who is the first model with down’s syndrome to walk in a show during New York Fashion Week. What makes this even more special to our team is after the episode premiered in our Rebel Girls App, we heard from a listener who essentially told us that while she didn’t want to be a fashion designer, she wanted to thank us for making stories about people like her and that it was cool to hear a narrator who sounds like her. And then she recommended other stories of women who have Down Syndrome we could tell.
This is key to our intentional approach to diversity. We want all girls to see and hear themselves reflected in our storytelling.
The illustrations in the Rebel Girls book collections are beautifully rendered. Are these designed by women artists and how are the artists chosen? Our design team is so amazing! We have worked with so many creative artists from the very first book. Our illustrations are such a signature component to our brand and storytelling. Our Art Director is constantly looking at new artists, either through the art world or instagram or even artists who email or DM us.
And they also look at the stories we are telling. For example, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Tales of Real-Life Black Girl Magic was illustrated (and written) by all Black women and nonbinary creators. This was important to assure every piece of the book was approached with intentional and authentic representation.
What makes you a Rebel Girl and will your story be written one day? Tenacity and empathy. At our company we have a saying that “Rebel Girls” are brave, strong, smart, and kind. I haven’t let failures stop me and I constantly remind myself that everyone is human, even the person I’m negotiating against.
My story is not as exciting as some in our books, but I’m hoping that any young girl (and especially my three nieces) might hear about my experience and feel a bit braver.