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Don’t Stop Believing: Our TedxWomen Journey

by Izzy Labbe & Julia Bluhm

A little over a week ago, we flew to Washington D.C to speak at the TEDx Women conference. Our 10-minute talk was all about our experience with the Seventeen Magazine Campaign, and encouraging girls and women to join organizations like SPARK, in order to make a difference. The best word to describe everything that happened was: “AWESOME!!” But if you want to hear about it all in more detail, read on as we recall the experience via Facebook chat.

Izzy: HEY JWOWZ.

Julia: HEY ILABZ

Izzy: So, it’s been like a week and a day since our TEDtalk!

Julia:Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it. That was seriously the best trip ever.
But let’s start at the beginning. The writing process went really quickly (just a few long nights at Jorgenson’s Cafe). It was mostly practicing that took a while.

Izzy: THEY WERE NOT LONG NIGHTS. Were they? I thought we went for lunch and wrote it all in one afternoon.

Julia:
Yeah, I know. I was kidding. We are fast writers.

Izzy: That does make it seem like we were really serious about getting stuff done. But I think in reality, we had a lot of fun writing it, and we were focused on our dreamy waiter. AM I RIGHT?

Julia: It was really fun. And we had a bunch of awesome people helping us out from TEDx WOMEN and SPARK and everything.

Izzy: Yes. Like our awesome coach/ninja/personal trainer Betsy Scolnik, who basically allowed our dreams to come true.

Julia:
YES OMG. Betsy <333

Izzy: And of course, Dana Edell. (WE LOVE YOU DANA!!!) AND CAN I JUST SAY- Betsy smells AMAZING.

Julia:
Like hotel shampoo! But yeah, everybody is so supportive it makes me want to cry.

Izzy:
I am crying.

Julia:Wow.

Izzy: Well. Not really. But, anyways.

Julia: So we go to DC…

Izzy: Yeah, Julia, remember the ride down? When we went kind of crazy in excitement?

Julia: You mean when we took all those really ugly pictures on your iPad?
Oh yeah, that too.

Izzy: And practiced the speech a million times? Yes, those pictures ARE BEAUTIFUL. Anyway, that was a lovely trip down, and then we got to our hotel, which was GAHHHH so beautiful and amazing…. AND NO FREE WIFI. But also, everyone loved us.

Julia: THE HOTEL WAS AWESOME. Izzy, you were in awe because of the marble floors.

Izzy: THE FLOORS WERE FREAKING MARBLE
And basically, we dragged our moms around DC, and got to see some pretty impressive museums.

Julia: Yep. We went to the Natural History Museum. Which was exciting. IT WAS MY FIRST TIME IN DC.

Izzy: And got to see an exhibit about awesome rocking women at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

Julia:
Yes, that was incredible. Very interesting.

Izzy: And also, it was kind of surreally incredible, because before, during and after the Talk, people were coming up to us and telling us how much they loved us. AND GIVING US FREE STUFF.

Julia: I felt so welcomed. And yeah, I was so overwhelmed but the free stuff. Food. Umbrellas. Bags. Free hand lotion and tissues in the limo. AND THEN THE TEDTALK…

Izzy: Twas the night of the Ted Talk, and all through the room, we were FREAKING THE HECK OUT. Everyone else was chill.

Julia:
In the makeup room we were dancing around singing West Side Story. Everyone was like… “What..?”

Izzy: Yes. That is true. I am not ashamed.

Julia: Me neither.

Izzy: There was also that time when we put on our TED outfits, the night before I think, and danced around to “I Feel Pretty”.

Julia:
Yeah. MOVING ON.

Izzy: I WAS SO NERVOUS COMING ON STAGE

Julia: I’m just glad I didn’t trip. I was so nervous.

Izzy: Like, I thought, OH MY GOD. WHAT IF I GET SO NERVOUS I PEE ONSTAGE? They told us at the rehearsal they could edit stuff out. Could they edit my peeing out? But I didn’t pee! Oh, yeah, Julia. Didn’t you REALLY have to pee?

Julia: We had a really long conversation about that backstage actually.
Yeah. I did. But it was okay.

Izzy: Yeah, we did. In fact, we’re right backstage, and you’re like, “OH MY GOD THIS IS TAKING SO LONG I COULD BE PEEING.” But anyway.

Julia: Ok. TMI.

Izzy: They had that really long intro to us, and I was hopping around backstage trying not to explode… And then we got called up onstage, and I didn’t explode, and I waited for the animation to go, and I started talking, and… MAGIC HAPPENED.

Julia: SO MUCH MAGIC.

Izzy: WE DID NOT MESS UP. In fact, we did better than we ever had before practicing.

Julia: Yeah, I’d say so.

Izzy:But I felt really relaxed when we started our talk and people started laughing, and you could tell they were really impressed with our work, and that made it a lot easier to have it be a conversation. That’s the nice thing about TED talks.

Julia: Yeah, all the clapping and laughing was really encouraging. And yes, even though we had it memorized and everything, it felt like a conversation. I think that’s because the audience was involved.

Izzy: But even though our talk was basically perfect, and we were really pleased about it, there were some kind of less-awesome, more thought-provoking things that happened.

Julia: ?

Izzy: Remember that woman who came up to us afterwards and told us we were wearing too much makeup?

Julia: Oh, pshhhh. Yeah.

Izzy: Yeah. I know she had good intentions, but (and we will definitely blog about this later), she kind of hurt my feelings. But I sucked it up.

Julia: But There were a bunch of other ladies there too, who were like “you know, they need to wear makeup because of the lights. And I think they looked beautiful!”
It didn’t hurt my feelings. I like makeup. She was just one woman. I think most people didn’t have a problem. But I can get what you’re saying. It’s annoying when people do that sort of thing.

Izzy: True.
It was also stressful to keep being introduced to new people, and having to talk to a lot of people you don’t know, and being asked a lot of questions, and having people shove their business cards into your hands. But that’s all part of the job, I guess

Julia: YEAH. It was crazy, but great. Very surreal. We met so many amazing people… Like the treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios.

Izzy: SHE SIGNED MY MONEY

Julia: ME TOO.

Izzy: I hope I don’t forget and spend that dollar on fries or something.

Julia: Yeah, don’t.

Izzy: Also, and this is a general misconception, I really wish people would understand that the petition was SPARK’s, not ours personally

Julia: Yeah, we tried to clear that up in our speech.

Izzy: I think a lot of people came up to us and thought, man, these kids saw something wrong with the world and fixed it by themselves in a day!
Kids, watch our talk. You’ll get the scoop.

Julia: The Seventeen campaign was the work of all the girls at SPARK. Often times the media “photoshops” the story (like what I did there??) And makes it seem like it was just us.

Izzy: WHOA THAT WAS GOOD
*applause*

Julia:
OH THANKS

Izzy: YO WELCOME GIRL
It was so great. I now have kids that have never even spoken to me before coming up to me, and saying, “I watched your TEDtalk! You’re the coolest person ever!” I’m like, “NO YOU ARE… FOR WATCHING THE TED TALK AND BELIEVING IN MEEEEE!”

Julia:Oh, Izzy. Soaking up your fame.

Izzy: I DO, JULIA. I DO. And you should too.

Julia: Oh, don’t worry.
But to sum it up, it was the BEST EXPERIENCE EVER.
I think that is pretty much the story of our Tedx Women talk. And then you puked in the car on the way home. But we don’t have to talk about that.

Izzy: WILD PARTYZZZZ
JK LOL I’m a nerdy kid who gets car sick and puked all over Julia’s car.

Julia:
Aww, but we love you.

Izzy: Sorry about that, by the way. It can be our little secret from now on. And now the people reading this’. BTW, HEY PEOPLE READING THIS! You should check out our TEDtalk! And if you already have…. DO IT AGAIN

Julia:You will enjoy it. Ok. BYE!!

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One Response to “Don’t Stop Believing: Our TedxWomen Journey”

  1. Elizabeth Martinsen says:

    Hi Julia! My name is Elizabeth. Some friends and I are the heads of a group at our high school (HSPVA) in Houston, TX called SAGE (Students Advocating Gender Equality). It is the first year this club exists so we are still learning how to run it. We want to be more active in our club and do more hands on activities. All of us have a lot of respect for you and what you did for 17 Magazine. Having said that, we would love to get into contact with you to see if you have any advice for more ways we can be active. Thanks so much!

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