Ladies We Love is a new interview series with women from around the world that provide us inspiration through their travels and their personal stories. This month we got to know Alexis Jones of I Am That Girl!
Alexis Jones is the Founder & Chairman of the Board of I Am That Girl, a nonprofit dedicated to help women around the world turn their self doubt into self love. With a mission to raise the standards for how females treat each other and themselves, Alexis hopes to make I Am That Girl a worldwide community to help empower and inspire women to create a healthier, more positive world. Alexis sat down with WATG Intern Shannon to talk more about her experience starting the company, her new book, her hopes for the future, and how the We Are Travel Girls community can get involved with her organization!
1. To get started can you please tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for I Am That Girl and how it’s grown since you started?
The most honest answer is that I created I Am That Girl because I needed it! Like most girls, I had a lot of insecurities and in a world where we are taught to cover them up and always be “perfect,” I wanted to create a sanctuary where girls could be real and honest. I wanted to create a place where we supported and encouraged each other as opposed to breaking each other down. As far as “How” I started it, I asked six girls to join me to “talk about things that mattered.” Six weeks later, we had 347 girls showing up. I never could have imagined how the community would grow to over 1M+ girls!!
2. How would you describe the community of women that are in I Am That Girl?
It’s a bunch of perfectly flawed girls doing their best to leave the world better than when they found it.
3. You talk a lot about being “That Girl”, the one that lives their life to the fullest everyday, and does not let other people put limits on what she can be. How does media, and social media in particular, play a role in shaping our lives today?
On average millennials consume 10 hours of media a day, so it’s significantly shaping our thoughts, ideas, attitudes and belief systems. We have to be very persnickety with what we allow into our brains!
4. How can our community, much like yours, do more on a regular basis to support one another and provide an inclusive environment for our travelers?
I think any time someone takes on a personal responsibility for inspiring people and giving them permission to feel like they are seen, heard and that they belong, contributes to our community.
5. You published your first book “I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl” in 2014 – congratulations! What motivated you to write this book? What response have you gotten from your followers and the girl community around the globe?
I still have to pinch myself because it was always a dream of mine to write a book and the fact that I actually did still feels pretty surreal. My biggest fear was that I would write a book and nobody would ever read it! Haha. That being said, I’ve been blown away by how many girls resonate with the message and it means everything to me when I get emails, texts, or posts on social media talking about how the book has positively impacted girls around the globe. It’s just the power of vulnerability I guess; when you have the courage to put your imperfect story out into the world, it inspires others to follow suit.
6. You seem to be very busy – Founder of I Am That Girl, motivational speaker, writer, activist, and now the founder of the ProtectHer Program. How do you keep yourself going everyday?
My faith and my tribe keep me going every day. I believe with all of my heart that I was put on the planet to empower women so that conviction gets me out of bed every day working on the various projects whether it’s speaking or writing or founding companies. And it’s my tribe that keeps me going when I start doubting myself or playing small. They remind me that I’m a gladiator and to get back into the arena and keep fighting, even when I’m exhausted and tired and want to quit.
7. On a recent Instagram post you wrote “Relationships are the ultimate leap of bravery because they serve as a mirror to who we are and when presented with an honest look at ourselves, we often see our beauty and our warts at a closer distance than we prefer”. How can we pick the right people to surround ourselves with? How do we let them see the truest version of ourselves?
I think we choose people who have qualities we admire; who are strong in areas of our lives that we wish were stronger in and people who have the strength to hold us accountable to who we want to be. I also believe that sometimes it takes the right people to give us permission to be our truest self. Most of us are scared to fully self express and I have to admit, that my husband really helped teach me how to love myself, by the example he gave me. He loves me so effortlessly that sometimes it encourages my own confidence because he makes it look so easy!
8. What do you like to do in your free time?
Hangout with my friends and family. Especially because I travel so much, when I’m home I’m kind of a recluse! Haha. But I also love movies and anything outside and physical!
9. Do you have plans to grow I Am That Girl internationally?
Absolutely. We just opened up in our 20th country!
10. Do you have much time for traveling? If so, where are your favorite destinations, and what is on your bucket list?
I’ve been to about 52 countries so YES… I love to travel. As far as my favorites, I love Tibet, Thailand, Argentina, Italy, Morocco, New Zealand and the Albaco Islands.
On my bucket list: Cuba, India and Iceland.
11. Many of our followers may not know that you were on Survivor in 2007. What was that experience like? What was the strangest thing you had to eat to survive?
It was one of the hardest experiences of my life. No one likes eating rats, bats and slugs! Haha.
12. What is your all time favorite quote?
“If something burns your soul with purpose and desire, it’s your duty to be reduced to ashes by it. Any other form of existence will be yet another dull book in the library of life.” – Charles Bukowski
13. How can our followers, many of whom are located around the world, follow you and I Am That Girl?