If the 2003 Nikki Reed movie Thirteen is anything to go by teenage-hood is not only the most treacherous, dangerous and deceitful time in a young girl’s life, but also the biggest nightmare of every parent rolled into several years of pure torment and hell. True, the movie is an exaggeration of Reed’s own youth, but it would seem that every young girl has felt an element of those experiences growing up, even if it’s just a small dose.
Whilst the cinematic tales of Nikki Reed may not speak to us all completely, there are many young girls that feel like the only person that will ever understand them is someone that could sometimes be bringing them down. The opportunity to have a strong support system that can genuinely help you to heal from the troubles at school, can seem slim to none.
Girls Out Loud is a charity set up by Jane Kenyon, which aims to grow young teenage girls’ confidence and to assist them with any troubles they face growing up. The charity strongly believes that young girls need positive female role models to look up to, so they have recently made fashion and lifestyle blogger Natascha Cox their Ambassador. Being a role model to these young girls is something Natascha feels very proud to be a part of.
When we speak to Natascha about her charitable venture she says that this role was something that made perfect sense to her. “I feel like I really struggled with being a teenage girl and, as I now have two small girls myself, I thought trying to help girls to feel self-confident and make positive life choices was a great subject for me… I wanted it to be personal.”
The charity has a number of programmes such as Stardom, which is an intensive 12-week course for girls that are potentially vulnerable and in need of extra support and assistance. Then there’s the ‘Big Sister’ programme that provides teenage girls with a personal mentor for 12 months, to talk to and look to for guidance. The programmes are less about babysitting and more about assisting, as most of these ‘Big Sisters’ have been through similar circumstances in their own youth.
Growing up with two sisters herself, Natascha notes that she would often turn to them when she felt as though her parents wouldn’t understand a particular issue. Natascha recognises just how important this type of programme is to young teenage girls. “A big sister is so important. I’m not saying that having a big sister solves everything but at least they are there to let you know what’s ‘normal’ and what’s probably not a good idea. Some girls don’t have anyone and at the very least it’s important to know there is someone you can talk to if you need someone to listen. That’s why the Girls Out Loud ‘Big Sister’ programme is such a great concept.”
To be a teenage girl in today’s society is intense, especially considering the popularity of platforms such as Instagram and Twitter that allow young girls to become even closer to a world that couldn’t be further from reality. The most recent statistics from NSPCC reveal that over 11,000 counselling sessions took place last year due to online bullying, continuing to make us wary of the impact of the Internet in young people’s lives. Allowing anyone to be able to comment on their pictures exposes girls to a new world of cyberbullying that extends beyond those they know in the classroom. Natasha worriedly states that “it used to be magazines but now it’s like teenagers can’t get away from it… now they can reach you anywhere.”
Natascha successfully controls her online presence and uses it in a way that benefits and suits her and that’s definitely a positive path to present to the young girls that are part of Girls Out Loud. “Putting myself out there and getting a huge positive response is the best feeling. I put in a lot of hard work but I love my job and I no longer have to be restricted by a 9-5. I have a really hectic home life so being able to work around everything I need to do at home and not feel bad about being sick or taking time off is great. I can work where I want, when I want!”
With a blog that reaches 48K viewers every month and a social media following of over 85K followers, Natascha has evidently put in the work to be closer to her goal of being a fashion brand. “I would love to be a huge name in the fashion and beauty industry and have my own collections. I would also love to see some huge brand collaborations and bring out a funky sports range with Nike or Adidas.”
Natascha lives a life that is in tune with what she wants and who she would like to be, not only for her children but for those she works with closely through Girls Out Loud and her followers. It’s evident that Girls Out Loud is a charity that sits close to Natascha’s heart, allowing her own dreams to grow just as much as those she’s mentoring.
To find out more about Girls Out Loud please visit their website.