Girls United: For the International Day of the Girl, Essence's Mentoring Initiative Grows Up

Illustration for article titled Girls United: For the International Day of the Girl, Essence's Mentoring Initiative Grows Up
Photo: iStock

It’s the International Day of the Girl, where we focus (as we should every day) on supporting the growth of girls around the world—through advocacy, mentorship and empowerment. And the black girl magic media juggernaut known as Essence has been doing just that, last fall launching Girls United, a mentoring initiative meant to empower the young women of Generation Z.


Originally launched as a yearlong mentorship program and interactive digital and social hub, this year, in conjunction with Day of the Girl 2019, Girls United by Essence expands into a full multimedia platform, kicked off with a social campaign called “Black Girl Shaking Things Up.”

Per a release from the organization:

This exciting platform will represent the voice of the Gen Z population and inspire them to demolish glass ceilings through a new social first+digital campaign: “Black Girl Shaking Things Up.” Through community and mentorship, Girls United by ESSENCE will provide the tools, resources and opportunities necessary to help young women (ages 16-25) during transitional phases of their lives. Girls United by ESSENCE aims to help young women to find their path, as well as creating a safe space for them to come into their own.

The newly expanded initiative will include a video series, podcast, and brand ambassador program and a summit focused on “increasing inter-generational conversation and the state of mentorship.” True to the brand’s ethos that black beauty is an inside and outside job, according to their release, Essence’s new platform will seek to empower young women via six channels:

  • Flawless (Beauty): Focused on inner/outer beauty, skincare, self-love, diversity and inclusivity
  • Snatched (Wellness): Fitness, body confidence, mindfulness, self-care and travel
  • Get Lit (Education): Promoting political/financial/medical literacy
  • Bo$$y (Work Channel): Leadership, career, entrepreneurship
  • Get Real (Sexuality & Relationships): Relationships, LGBTQ community and self-acceptance
  • Flossy (Creative Channel): Creative expression in fashion, design and art

Essence is also continuing its partnership with beauty marketplace Ulta on the “Girls United: Beautiful Possibilities” mentoring initiative, open to six young women aged 16-19 who “will embark on a journey of tapping into their entrepreneurial and creative spirit and discovering their personal potential.” that opportunity includes beauty industry mentorship, helping to produce a capsule collection for Ulta Beauty, and $10,000 to support collegiate studies.


“Girls United by Essence is an incredible platform that will give Gen Z women the tools and resources they need to excel in every area of their lives,” said Essence CEO Michelle Ebanks in a statement. “For far too long, there have been barriers that have kept young women from advancing—from the classroom to the boardroom. As Essence gears towards its 50th anniversary, we remain committed to groundbreaking campaigns such as this that will provide the strategies and tools that young women need to help their dreams become a reality.”


For more information on Girls United by Essence, visit their website and follow them across social media. Applications for “Girls United: Beautiful Possibilities” are open now through Nov. 30.

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?