When influencer Kelsey Clay hears the words “girl power,” she thinks of all the women who use their power stand up for what they believe in and, in turn, empower other women. Kelsey, who started her own nonprofit (!!!) to support survivors of abuse, is using her girl power to uplift others, inspiring them to love themselves for who they are and letting them know they are never alone. Read on to learn more about Kelsey and how PINK’s GRL PWR Project could make dreams like hers come true!
Her Campus: When you hear ‘girl power’ what is the first person/visual that comes to mind?
Kelsey Clay: When I hear “girl power,” I think of all the amazing women who have used their voice to stand up for what’s right, the women who are working day in and day out to pursue their dreams, and the community of women that uplift one another!
HC: With that in mind, how would you describe your own definition of ‘girl power?’
KC: Girl power can be defined as the overwhelming feeling of confidence, encouragement, and an army of women standing behind you. Girl power can be described as the motivation or reason that you work so hard to build your empire and inspire others.
HC: Who is a woman in your life who embodies that meaning?
KC: I would have to say my trainer and friend from SARP (sexual assault response program). She has shown me what true strength is and how to be strong through the hardest of times. She has shaped me into the victim’s advocate I am today and given me every reason to share my story!
HC: Who’s the biggest hype girl in your life?
KC: I would have to say my mom. She is always looking to encourage me and support me! She has the best advice and always points me in the right direction.
HC: When you’re feeling discouraged in work, school, or your personal life, where do you look for inspiration and support?
KC: I look to my parents for inspiration and support, specifically my dad. I have been a daddy’s girl ever since I can remember. There are days that I call my dad eight separate times just to hear his voice and words of encouragement. My dad is the first person to provide me with comfort and strength.
HC: What little ways do you build up the women in your life?
KC: I try to build women up through several different ways in my life. Firstly, I try to create a sense of encouragement, hope, and inspiration on my Instagram. As an Instagram influencer, it’s so important for me to show my followers that my Instagram is a safe haven for them and my messages are always open if they need someone to talk to. Secondly, with the nonprofit I started in 2016, I help women who have faced domestic violence or sexual assault. I remind them they are worthy of love through personalized packages and handwritten notes from me, someone who has walked that path before and made it out on the other side.
HC: If you had the resources and money to make it happen, how would you empower the women in your life, your community, or the world?!
KC: Easy—I would continue to uplift women through personalized care packages. If money was not an issue, I would create the biggest ‘safe haven and love letter’ in a box. I would want women, no matter where they are in the world, to feel my love and know that someone cares. I would want to package items in there for comfort, such as a blanket and fuzzy socks with some motivational books. Just a little way to let them know they are never alone.
HC: When in your life have you felt the most empowered?
KC: When I first spoke out about my story of abuse. The first time I publicly spoke about my trial of hurt, brokenness, and hopelessness was a huge breakthrough for me. It was empowering to me to have a voice and finally speak out about what happened to me. I have never felt so much joy than in that moment. I know it sounds crazy to find joy in talking about something so horrible, but it was an immediate weight off my shoulder and felt amazing to feel in control of my life again.
HC: In your education is there a standout teacher, class, advisor, RA, or mentor who inspired you?
KC: I would say a professor at Liberty University inspired me to start my non-profit and gave me the final push I needed to not only speak out about abuse, but actually do something about it to help others! He has walked my path of trying to start an organization when he created GRACE, which is an organization for children who have faced abuse. He showed me the ropes and helped me turn my idea into a legit non-profit that went on and helped people in 48 states!
HC: Do you have any thoughts or opinions on female representation in education?
KC: I believe that we need strong females in the education field. We need women that can speak out and use their voice to empower other women to conquer their challenges and live out their dreams. It's women like that who can truly change this world.
HC: What positive changes do you hope to see in your life, in regard to women’s rights and empowerment?
KC: I hope to continue to inspire others through loving myself first. I hope I can continue to push myself to take on new challenges, do what makes me the happiest, and focus on surrounding myself with other amazing women. At this point in my life, I am all about quality over quantity and surrounding myself with inspiring women is just the start!
HC: What ways do you now (and in the future) hope to contribute to that positive change?
KC: I hope to grow Voices of Consent, the nonprofit I started in 2016, so I can reach even more women who have been through the cycle of abuse and just want a way out and for someone to say that they care. I hope to find a way to positively impact their lives and allow them to be who they want to be and teach them to fall in love with themself first.
HC: How have you spread your mission in your community?
KC: I have been a victim’s advocate at the hospital, taking on cases of rape and sexual assault. I am the one person at the hospital who is 100 percent in their corner and simply there to comfort them and reassure them that they don’t have to do this alone. I am the one who holds their hand during a PERK kit or reminds them they are strong during the investigative interview. I hope to continue doing this for years to come and make it a priority in my life to give back my time like this.
HC: How do you inspire those in your life to think about how their decisions impact the environment we live in?
KC: I try to lead by example. I think that is the first step to making a difference and seeing change in this world. You have to first look internally before you solve problems externally. I try to show others the importance of self-care and surrounding yourself with people who will support you! I have always hoped that someone would be inspired by the way I give back and the way I speak out, and maybe one day they would feel comfortable doing the same!
Inspired by Kelsey’s story? Apply to the PINK GRL PWR Project to make your dreams a reality.