If Amy Poehler and television producer Meredith Walker had time machines, they would use them to tell their younger selves that being different is cool and staying true to who they are will take them far in life.
“We quickly became inseparable,” remembered Walker in an interview with Forbes. The two bonded over their appreciation for being accepted and heard, especially when the ideas they brought to the table seemed out of the ordinary.
Walker said that it is the appreciation for their genuine selves that inspired them to help young people understand and appreciate what makes them different. Additionally, both women believe in using the power and attention their work has given them to make a difference. Walker mentions,“If you are in a position of privilege and power and have a voice that can be heard, use it to help bring others up.”
In doing just that, they created the positive online (and offline) community called Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. “Together we dreamed about helping young women find their way in the world while hanging onto their own identities,” said Walker. “We wanted to provide a healthy alternative to the barrage of messaging being marketed to young people on the Internet, and we were given the chance to do just that in 2008.”
She references the Smart Girls’ Youtube channel that the two put together, which focuses on a variety of women and girls passionate about a certain cause or activity. The channel includes interviews, life advice, and ideas about how to have a positive impact on a local scale.
Since then, the Smart Girls community has developed its own website full of articles about current events, life experiences, and tips for navigating the modern world.
Encouraging girls to find and follow their passion plays a valuable role in who those girls become, according to Poehler. “When young girls are encouraged to explore what they find interesting, they grow up to be interesting women.”
On top of providing a space for imaginative young people to feel a sense of community and adhere to their creative ways, Smart Girls is a fun space too – each interview on their Youtube channel ends with a dance party. Poehler best sums up the gist of Smart Girls when she says, “Be yourself! And then tell us about it! And then let’s dance!”
Sign Up For Our Newsletter