Each month, we feature interviews and stories from successful women from all over Canada. These women have taken the time to look back on their younger years and share their memories, lessons and strategies for sparkling to the maximum. We hope her words comfort and inspire you. Just remember, if she can do it, so can you.
This months Sparkle Spotlight is…. Katie Zeppieri
Katie is the Founder & Chief Empowerment Officer of GIRL TALK Empowerment, a movement dedicated to inspiring girls to make their mark on the world, the author of: GIRL TALK: Words every world-changing girl needs to hear, Huffington Post blogger, on-air radio panelist (on NEWSTALK 1010 in Toronto), a motivational speaker (featured on the TED Worldwide stage), Governor General’s “Caring Canadian” award recipient and former pageant queen, placing Top 5 in Miss World Canada 2013
Can you remember how you felt about yourself when you were a preteen/young teenager?
As a pre-teen, I remember feeling a mixture of emotions. One part of me was excited about everything the future had in-store and the other part of me was still wrestling with whether I would actually achieve all of the things I wanted to achieve. It was a very transformative time and I am remember being conflicted by wondering whether to believe the kids in my class who told me I would never be able to do all of the things I wanted to do, or to believe my parents and teachers who told me I could be anything I wanted to be. Thankfully, I listened to my parents.
What were your biggest challenges you faced at that age?
I think the biggest challenge I faced as an adolescent and teenager was trying to wrap my head around who I was as a person, amidst pressures from my peers. Unfortunately elementary and high school can be a time where people are given labels (i.e. the “nerd”, the “jock”, the “band geek”, the “flirty girl” etc.). These labels, while seemingly innocent, can wreak havoc on a person’s self-esteem and journey to identifying who they truly are as a person and how they belong in the world. Young people need to remember that the labels that others give you DIE the moment you graduate high school. Like seriously, nobody ever cares about those labels ever again. They are temporary and they don’t matter. So rise above the label you’ve been given or the category people have placed you into and remember that what matters most is what YOU think of yourself.
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish I knew back then how unimportant the negative things people used to say about me were. In fact, I’d argue that some of the things I was ridiculed for (my “obnoxious” personality, being a “teacher’s pet” etc.) are actually some of the traits that have made me successful (my outspoken personality is a great fit for broadcasting and public speaking, making positive relationships with authority figures has opened new doors of opportunity etc.)
What is your sparkle tip?
The best sparkle tip I can offer is to remember that the brightest sparkle shines from within. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look nice or dress nice but what matters far beyond any of these things is your heart, mind and soul. You can dress up a rotten tomato by painting it red and making it look glossy, but at the end of the day, it’s still a rotten tomato. Your appearance does nothing to change the world. What does change the world is a kind heart, innovative mind and peaceful soul.