Story by Larissa Cox
Libby Keenan and I love the concept of the "Be A Girl Today" clothing line, and when Paula Leavitt agreed to sponsor Tack n' Talk Blog's Summer Photo Contest, we were thrilled! We love the no fear attitude portrayed in the slogan to "Be a Girl" in whatever sport a young woman might pursue. To us, it inspires athleticism, ambition, and most of all fun!
We hope you enjoy reading about the creation of "Be A Girl Today" and are inspired by Paula's story and advice to women looking to pursue sport!
Who are the creators of “Be A Girl Today”?
Be A Girl Today is a family business. We’re five sisters, involved in many sports, some of us are competitive and some of us just like to have a good time working out, skiing or running. But to be truthful, we are all competitive! We have involved our daughters, nieces and cousins in the business and they have inspired us to develop new lines. We are presently working on two new projects – collaboration with Maine Roller Derby and developing a new line for women’s ice hockey.
What was the inspiration behind the clothing line?
I became inspired by my first little 4”x6” bumper sticker that I printed that said “Ski Like a Girl”. After that we had to slow ourselves down. We, the sisters, got our kids together and formed a board of directors. The girls make all decisions relating to color, design and placement and are an endless supply of you should do… this and you should do that. So, we have learned to take it a little bit slower, develop a marketing plan and then move forward. I am a “jumper-in with both feet”, so I need someone in the background feeding me the “what if questions”.
How are you influenced by horses and the equestrian athlete?
I have loved horses since I was a young, young girl. I love to ride and I love being around people that ride. One of the things that I love about riding is that you can always get better. Your horse is your partner and together you learn and then you learn some more. People that don’t ride don’t understand that. They think you just jump on and ride around. Riding has taught me patience, it has given me self-confidence and it brings joy into my life.
Phrases such as “throw like a girl” or “such a girl” are often used in sports to imply weakness. How do you see this line changing the meaning of those words to empower girls in sports?
This is a great question! At many of the trade shows and events that we attend, some people just don’t get it. One woman told me that she felt that I was making fun of girls. Her daughter dragged her away from the booth and later came back and bought two shirts and a bag. I don’t know who they were for, but I am hoping the older woman has on a Ride Like A Girl t-shirt.
Women’s sports were relegated to the back room for such a long time, and now we are pushing the bar to new heights. I have heard a million stories from older woman about their dreams when they were young girls of participating in sports and having no outlet for them to do that.
All our images – on t’shirts, bags, stickers, mugs are strong! They empower girls and women to go out and have fun, enjoy sports, be strong and to be healthy.
What role do you see females taking in sports in the future?
Women will continue to excel and break barriers, young girls will look up to them and think I can do that! And they will.
Do you have any advice for girls who wish to take up sports?
Enjoy it! Find something that you like to do and do it. You don’t have to compete, if you don’t want to, but get involved and have fun. You will meet nice people, you will meet people who are better at the sport then you, you will meet people that aren’t as good as you, but it won’t matter as long as you are having a good time. Want to compete? Do it! Enjoy it. Don’t want to compete – that’s fine, not everyone has to. At BAGT our motto is “Girls are Athletes, Not Tomboys” and for me truer words were never spoken. Now, go out and Ride Like A Girl!
To have a chance to WIN your choice of a "Be A Girl Today" T-shirt or Tote, enter the Tack n' Talk Blog Summer Fun Photo Contest by July 31, 2009! To enter, please attach a your favorite "Equestrian Summer Fun" photo to an email and send to firstname.lastname@example.org