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.
Instead of highlighting one Hidden Gem this month, I wanted to highlight the Hidden Gems from this past summer– Maria G., Jada R., and Avaya, aka, The OGs. I’ve known all three of them most of my life, hence the title “The OGs.” Maria and I have known each other since the forth grade. Jada is my younger sister, so I’ve known her since she was born. Avaya is my younger cousin (and honorary younger sister), and I’ve known her since she was born. All three of them hold special places in my heart, and before I introduce the world to a new Hidden Gem, I wanted to take one more moment to shout all three of them out.
Before we get into anything too deep, these are the best movies they’ve seen since the start of 2019 (in case you need a new movie recommendation):
Avaya: The Sun is Also a Star
All of three of this summer’s Hidden Gems are at different stages in their lives. Maria is currently in college (graduating in December) with a major in psychology and a double minor in mental health services and entertainment technology. Since she has a bit more life experience, compared to the other two Hidden Gems, I asked what she would tell her high school freshman self. Maria responded with, “Don’t give one f***. Don’t matter if you get a ‘C.’ Don’t matter if you get a ‘D.’ Don’t matter if you don’t try. Grades don’t matter– to a certain extent. As long as you’re not failing every class, it’s alright. You don’t have to try that hard.”
This advice can be applied to college too… for the most part.
Jada, on the other hand, is only halfway through her high school experience (having to take the ACT on her birthday). I asked her what she’s learned being halfway through high school, and she replied, “FRIENDS ARE FAKE! And that’s on everything. Your middle school friends… they’re not gonna be there for you at all. Keep your head up, and focus on your schoolwork ’cause you got a life ahead of you. Just keep a real good one beside you.”
Then there’s Avaya, who is just now entering the age where she is officially a teenager (currently in the eighth grade). When I asked her what she was looking forward to most about being a teenager, she said, “I guess being able to say I’m a teenager.” If you knew Avaya the way I know Avaya, you wouldn’t be surprised by that answer.
To finish things off, I asked all three of them to describe different types of people (if that makes any sense). Knowing she has a bunch of people she calls her friend, I asked Avaya how she would describe a best friend, and she replied, “Someone loyal and funny but also isn’t afraid to act themselves.”
I asked Maria how she would describe a beautiful woman, and she responded with two simple words: “A woman.” Let that sink in.
I asked Jada to describe someone beautiful (not specifically a woman), to which she responded with “I’ma say their personality. If you got a ugly personality, fix it.”
Introducing these three beautiful Hidden Gems to the world has filled me with so much joy. They are all very different (not just because they are at different stages in their lives), and I love them deeply. If you want to read the rest of their interviews or read past Hidden Gem interviews, check them out below.
PREVIOUS HIDDEN GEMS
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.