The WANT Women: Liz Brinson of Swirl Girl Army
In my moments of despair, I try to smile and focus on the goodness. -@swirlgirlarmy Click To Tweet
Question: what would you do if you found there were virtually no women like you to look to for guidance?
If you don’t have the example, BE the example. And Liz Brinson is the example.
If only Liz had been around sooner – I truly believe this world would look a whole lot different.
Liz is the founder and CEO of Swirl Girl Army, the world’s very first platform that empowers girls of multi-ethnic, multicultural backgrounds to celebrate who they are.
Being a “swirl girl” herself – her gene pool is a rad mash-up of many different ethnicities, including Korean, Seminole, and African-American – Liz was astounded to find absolutely zero outlets for women that celebrated having a mixed heritage. And so, in true WANT woman fashion, she decided to take matters into her own hands (hmm, sound familiar?).
Fast-forward to the here and now, and Liz has become a fave of the likes of Teen Vogue and ABC, has interviewed fellow Swirl Girls such as Tatiana Ali (#yes.), and founded her own hilarious-as-all-hell YouTube channel to share her wisdom on beauty, fashion, and simply doing you in a world that likes to pressure you to fit into a finely crafted mold.
Why do I love Liz? Because there’s no one like her. Her advice is spot-on and soulful, her humor is silly and never at the expense of anyone else, and even though her brand is focused on the “Swirl Girls” of the world (aren’t we all, in some way?), her outlook and voice are always in-clusive, not ex-clusive. She is downright infectious. Read on to see what I mean.
Name: Liz Brinson
How you’d know me (occupation or role): I run the world’s first online lifestyle publication for multicultural girls, called Swirl Girl Army. I started the website as a way of celebrating the faces not fully represented in everyday mainstream media. I also wanted to create the role models that I wished had existed when I was growing up, and highlight how multifaceted and awesome we women can be – more than just pretty faces!
What I love about myself (and why): Probably my playfulness and sense of fantasy towards life. It’s something that is pretty precious to me and something that I try to protect.
As a little girl, I always feared it when adults would comment to each other how much they admired “how creative” their children were. I made a promise to myself then that I would do my best to always keep the “magic” in everyday life alive.
What is your definition of “positivity?” Wearing a smile on your face when it feels impossible, keeping a healthy sense of humor, offering yourself hopeful and helpful solutions that prevent you from dwelling in the sadness, and amplifying the goodness in your life.
My mother recently was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and stage 1 uterine cancer last year and I’m not going to lie, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster. But in my moments of despair, I try to smile and focus on the goodness. That’s always the first step and there’s a science behind it. When you smile, the physical muscles involved will send a neural message to your brain that will activate a positive feedback loop that reinforces joy. Afterwards, I’ll feel more capable of making better choices conducive to getting me out of the rut. It takes work but is always worth it in the end.
Also, having a happy, shiny music playlist conducive to dancing your heart out helps too.
When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?” My mom instilled independence and self love in me very early but then my impressionable self endured high school and was highly influenced by mainstream media’s standards of beauty and optimal weight. I was definitely impacted by that in terms of setting unrealistic weight goals for myself. I would say my second turning point was probably when I met my fiance, D.A. It’s really powerful having someone else in the real world reminding you how awesome you are everyday.
How/where negative talk shows up in my life: Sometimes, I get bummed out when I go shopping and the stuff doesn’t fit me. I’ll say, “I need to lose weight” or “Geez, I’m getting fat!”
Now I just buy better tailored clothes.
When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually… …that time of the month.
When others talk negatively about themselves… I try and bring up what I personally love about them.
It baffles me that women still… Give birth to life! Such a remarkable feat.
I wish that more women… Realized how powerful a force we are when we cooperate and work together. I also wish we celebrated, uplifted and complimented each other more everyday. Women are incredible creatures!
The coolest thing about women is… So many cool things! we give life, we are great listeners, we are selfless, we are sexually powerful, our power, our brains, our empathy, the list goes on…
My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive: Imagine a positive alternative. Dwell there. See where it elevates you. Repeat until satisfied. Pass it on.
My top female role models: My mom, my mother-in-law, and my room mate.
Famous role models: Oprah, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michelle Obama, MIA, Joan Rivers, Nina Simone etc.
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Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by… *cue the music* “Try A Little Tenderness”
Favorite negativity-busting activity: Some of my personal tricks are…
– Arranging flowers.
– Surrounding myself in vibrant colors or wearing YELLOW.
– Taking a Spin class or exercising in the morning.
-Throwing on some salsa or singing in the shower.
-A simple spa day.
– Actively seeking beautiful things/people/animals.
– Doing something new and unfamiliar. We all know that humans by nature are creatures of habit. How many of us order the same damn toppings on our pizza? (I’m the first to raise their hand) or drive to work using the same routes? I try my best to complete at least one task that challenges me or makes me feel ALIVE. (I recently even made a point to UNDERSTAND snapchat which is a feat I am very proud of since that interface is akin to navigating through a labyrinth with blindfolds on.) but back to my original point, sometimes people need a little refresher from their daily routines. The beach (or any body of water) helps me clear my head of static thoughts or negative feelings. That’s why I always love beach towns. The people there are fluid and dynamic like the water they’re near. Stay dynamic, evolve and keep your freshness alive!
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Fave self-love ritual: Buying flowers! I will spend a half hour carefully picking out the perfect assortment of flowers. I’m not a morning person, but if I see a gorgeous arrangement of flowers, I’m immediately re-energized and upbeat. Flowers have such a healing, restorative effect on me.
Favorite feel-good food(s): Noodle soups and Korean Stews with warm rice.
Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down: I love a powerful chick flick. So Anne of Green Gables is definitely a favorite mood booster.
Little Women reacquaints me with my fearless 13 year-old self with dreams of changing the world, falling in love and making a big impact. I have a deep emotional connection to that movie and whenever I re-watch it, I feel empowered again.
Also, any Steve Martin flick. He always makes me laugh.
My feel-good playlist: Salsa and Cuban music!
Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: Don’t be ashamed of your Korean heritage.
…14 year-old self: Tear out those extensions and rock the fro, Liz!
…24 year old self: Don’t be so hard on yourself.
5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list:
- Making sure my mother gets the best possible alternative forms of care (i.e, immunotherapy solutions) once the chemo has ended.
- Scaling Swirl Girl Army and collaborating with more awesome companies and brands like Teen Vogue and Disney.
- Learn how to play the harp.
- Learn more cooking recipes.
- Plan my wedding!
My best tip on self love: Get rid of past hangups and remove negative thoughts. Yoko Ono once said, “Try to say nothing negative about anybody. A) For three days B) For forty-five days C) For three months. See what happens to your life.” I 100 percent back this statement.
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When I truly love all of myself… I know peace.
Right now, I am most excited about… Season 5 of Game of Thrones!
My body is: my temple.
Three words to describe me: Bubbly, goofy, and fun-loving.
Current mantra: I have a few–
“Never give up on a dream just because of the length of time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale
“Do all things with kindness.”
“What we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do. What we think and do determines who we are – and who we will become.”
WANT Action Plan:
(1)What piece of advice or part of Liz’s journey resonates with you most?
(2) What is your favorite negativity-busting activity?
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