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DWS + Disney Channel’s Sabrina Bryan // A FemCity Featured Interview

My girls were obsessed with Disney Channel’s Cheetah Girls and Sabrina Bryan. She danced her way on Dancing with the Stars and with her upcoming wedding, she will be on “Say Yes to the Dress”.  What you may not know about Sabrina, is that she is also passionate about empowering young girls to have positive body and self image. I got a chance to catch up with her for our FemCity Interview Series.

What was the shift you underwent that made you so passionate about female empowerment?

Being a part of The Cheetah Girls was the start of my ’empowering girls’ journey.  The messages that we sang through our songs and what our movie’s story lines were centered around was the first time I noticed I could make a positive difference with my career.

Being a part of The Cheetah Girls wasn’t just a job, I gained a passion for helping other girls realize they could achieve their dreams.  It was touching to see how much  our fans were inspired by our hard work and dedication and how that pushed them to reach higher for what they wanted to do with their lives.

Was there a time in your life, whether it was writing your book Princess of Gossip or creating your fitness DVD BYOU that you felt like you wanted to quit and give up? How did you get past this point?

I had to overcome several insecurities while writing the book.   In school I was drawn to science and math more than language arts. I loved the art of telling stories, but struggled with getting them on paper!   I was super lucky to have Julia DeVillers, my incredible co-writer by my side throughout the writing process – and Princess of Gossip was born.  I learned so much from Julia and hope I get another opportunity to write more books!

What inspirational mantra can you share with our community for women that may have launched a business and feeling like they want to quit and give up?

Since I was a little kid, my parents have always told me… ‘Any dream is possible, as long as you work hard and never give up. Learn what you can from every obstacle and disappointment, thrive and remember to appreciate every great fortune and successful moment!’

Who were or are your female mentors?

My most formative mentor has been Debra Martin Chase, the producer of the Cheetah Girls movies.  I believe Debra is the first African-American woman to have a major studio deal under her own name.   Her hard work and tenacity have been an inspiration.   Debra’s storytelling features strong female characters and her focus on diversity has guided me throughout my career.

While we were shooting The Cheetah Girls 2 in Spain, I was in film school and did an internship for Debra.   It was the first time that I saw the many hats a producer wears throughout filming.   She dealt with every production obstacle  with such ease, keeping the schedule organized, and upholding the strong artistic vision that she and the amazing director, Kenny Ortega had for the movie franchise.  I learned an incredible amount from my internship and have taken that along with me while producing my own productions!

You’re also incredibly passionate empowering young girls to have positive body image. What do you as the biggest challenge young girls face today and their self image?

Social media has allowed so many girls and women to create amazing careers for themselves.  However, many times it sets unrealistic examples of how girls should portray themselves. 

Girls are not allowed to celebrate being young and sweet anymore.   A picture of a girl looking mature, wearing sexy outfits, too much make-up and  posing suggestively will get more attention and ‘likes’ than pictures of girls laughing and hanging out with their girlfriends.   There is so much pressure to present yourself as older and unfortunately it is forcing many girls to grow up too fast. 

On the flip side, I am constantly amazed that we live in a world where women are loved and respected regardless of their size.   I was proud to co-create the BYOU workout DVDs because their purpose was to show a realistic body image and guide girls on how to love and take care of their bodies through having fun and dancing.   Women such as Khloé Kardashian and Ashley Graham inspire me with their clothing lines for women of all sizes to be empowered, embraced, loved and they have both broadened the spectrum of what it means to be beautiful!

For those that have daughters and perhaps wanting to help them with body image, any tips you can share?

I believe it is important to take care of your body with a healthy balanced lifestyle.  Exercise and fueling your body with a healthy eating regimen is key to staying strong and confident.  Balance is crucial for girls, it helps develop mind, body and soul.  It is so important we remind our girls frequently that they are amazing and that being healthy isn’t about their size, it’s about nourishing their body so they can be the best they can be!!!     It’s not about how you LOOK, it’s about how you FEEL!  

PHOTO CREDIT : Kathy Hutchins

Violette is the Founder of FemCity // an online global network featuring business and lifestyle trends with over 70 local communities designed exclusively for women. Violette is also a business coach,  motivational speaker, small business consultant, writer and mother of three. As a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience, Violette is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs through business growth, big vision strategies and positivity along the way. She has been quoted in Success, Entrepreneur, MSNBC, and Mashable. She has been seen in People, InStyle, and Real Simple Magazines. For more inspiration and business tips, visit www.femcity.com and www.violettedeayala.com. Follow Violette de Ayala // @violettedeayala

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