As a young woman, there are many female celebrities and public figures I look up to for various reasons, from Tracee Ellis Ross, Oprah Winfrey, and Michelle Obama to Lana Condor, Claudia Sulewski, and Yara Shahidi (honestly, I could probably write a whole book about all the women who serve as public figures, influencers, musicians, actresses, etc. that I look up to).
However, there are several other women and young girls I admire whose names aren’t well known. This page if for me to honor them; they are hidden gems that need to be recognized for simply being their empowering, amazing, inspiring selves.
Urban Dictionary defined a gem as “something amazingly beautiful, nearly perfect, or ridiculously incredible.” The hidden gems I look up to match that definition precisely. At the beginning of each month, I will update this page with a new hidden gem that I think the world needs to know about. I ask each gem ten questions during an interview, so she can be recognized for who she is. Without further ado, here is this month’s not-so-hidden gem.
The new decade started with two phenomenal Hidden Gems, and this Women’s History Month, Simply Jamilah is going to honor both of them: January’s Hidden Gem, Lawren, a current college student trying to figure it out and February’s Hidden Gem, Erin, a young woman who likes anything creative that challenges her to express herself.
Erin is an advocate for recycling and believes “It is so important that we reduce, reuse, and recycle.” She’s also amazing at flat lays and gave us some flat lay advice: “Sometimes less is more and more is nice. You never know which one it will be until you gather your items and arrange them on your background; then you can take away items or add more.”
Lawren is an advocate for women’s rights and “their right to choose, equal pay, etc.” She is also in tune with a lot of pop culture. These are some things from previous years she brought into the new year: CW and Freeform shows, “I don’t need a man” songs by female artists, and The Greatest Showman.
Believe it or not, for two people who have never met each other, they both said the one place in the world they would want to travel to is Hawaii.
Great minds think alike.
When it comes to a woman who inspires them, Lawren is inspired by Gabrielle Union, and Erin is inspired by Maya Angelou. It’s important to have women in your life that you can look up to, like how I look up to both of them.
It’s also important to have women in your life who will support you, and both Erin and Lawren understand this. Erin said, “It’s important for women to support other women because we can often relate to each other’s experiences as women first hand.” Similarly, Lawren said, “No one understands a woman like a woman. No one is gonna ride for a woman harder than a woman. Men already see us as lesser than so we should have each other’s backs.”
As a woman, Lawren believes the best thing about being a woman is “Being able to create life,” and Erin said the best thing about being a woman is “Being able to be myself: mind, body, and spirit. All of the joys and challenges that come with it.” I one thousand percent agree with both of them.
Society tries to shame us and put us down, but being a woman, especially a woman with melanin, is so amazing; I’m happy I have a uterus.
As we rang in the new year/decade, it was important to me to honor two women with a little bit of melanin, and I couldn’t have picked anyone better than Erin and Lawren.
Make sure you check out Erin’s blog. I promise you won’t regret it.
“I was worried about how to navigate a city and world where I was always going to be viewed and treated differently – regardless of my manners, training and intellect – simply because I possessed more melanin.”Patricia Alaquiva
Do you know a woman or young girl empowering others and providing light to the world? If so, I would love to hear about her. It’s time for women to uplift women, and I would love to read about a woman uplifting you. If you think she’s someone worth being featured on this page, let me know. I would love to interview her.