What is the Just, Girl Project?

The Just, Girl Project is a campaign to empower young women through the power of music.I had the pleasure of interviewing Ilana Harkavy, the founder of the project, to share with you her goals and message for the campaign.

1. What is your story? Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ilana Harkavy. I’m an LA-based singer-songwriter and I also am the founder and CEO of a branding company called nailed it media! I have been singing and songwriting for my entire life! I had an exciting career in electronic dance music and was able to collaborate and tour with some amazing artists worldwide. I also worked on music that was featured on TV and in films. I had a blast! I feel so grateful for those opportunities! But to be honest, I never felt truly satisfied. I decided I wanted to get back to my first love, my roots—Pop music. So, I created my very first solo project, Just, Girl.

“It’s easy to feel judged.”Some days I feel truly hopeless.  Other days I feel truly elated.  Some days I feel like crawling in bed and eating a pizza, not answering my phone and pretending I’m sick (and then I start to feel that way)…other days I want to run outside in a midriff and heels and shop for hours on end, soaking up the sun and inhaling the fresh air…maybe go out dancing!It’s hard when they tell you what you “have”.  When I was a kid, I was diagnosed with lots of…stuff. ADHD-CHECK, Depression-CHECK, Anxiety-CHECK, An Eating Disorder-CHECK…shall I continue?  What do these things even mean?  Let’s break them down…shall we? ADHD…you mean I’m creative and easily distracted? Depression…you mean sometimes I feel sad and low, unmotivated…tattered? Anxiety…you mean sometimes I just want to exhaust myself and get things done, maybe to a heightened, unbearable degree? An Eating Disorder…an unhealthy, perhaps abusive, relationship with food? Aww…see when it’s broken down like that I feel a lot less hopeless…and a lot more hopeful.I’m not saying these things aren’t real or biological…that they don’t exist.  I’m saying that when we give power to these “terms”, we lose our own self of control, and we allow this thing called society to dictate who we are, while ignoring ourselves.Society…don’t you just love it?  We love it…we really do.  We love it so much that we blame EVERYTHING on it. I don’t like my body because society tells me I have to be skinny! Or maybe…and just humor me for a second…I don’t like my body because of my own thoughts? Wouldn’t it be a heck of a lot easier to get in touch with myself rather than society?  I’m sure you’d be on hold for a looonnggg time and ain’t nobody got time for that. This society we speak of is shady if you ask me.  Oh, society says I have depression?  Who is this society to tell me that I’m depressed when on a regular basis I’m smiling? I’m just saying…feels like society is a real drag.  I’d much rather take ownership of my own struggles and try to work through them on my own. So now…I’d love to share with you my daily motivational maintenance: Positive Talk 101:“I am beautiful…”1. I am beautifully original.2.  I am beautifully frustrated.3.  I am beautifully reckless.4.  I am beautifully complex.5.  I am beautifully intense.6.  I am beautifully impassioned.7.  I am beautifully feisty.8.  I am beautifully dramatic.9.  I am beautifully expressive.10.  I am beautifully ME.I get it…sooo cheesy…BUT…BUT…sooo helpful.  There’s something about taking these words that are so misunderstood and turning them into something truthful and beautiful that is, well…beautiful.So think of your “problems”…your “flaws” as temporary states of mind…because taking ownership of who you are is really important in a world where so many people blame society.  Remember, “lipstick stains don’t lie” *hint* *hint*…don’t pretend when it’s obvious. We all appreciate the honest, the confident, the beautifully weird…so please be yourself.

2. Why did you create the Just, Girl project?
A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a startling subculture: social media accounts devoted to the promotion of anorexia, bulimia, and self-harm. It broke my heart because, not only did I feel saddened by these negative messages, but I also related to them.

This body of work sheds light on the struggles I’ve faced as a young woman and the mottos I’ve adopted to overcome them.
The person I am today is still very much a work in progress. I struggle daily to accept what I see in the mirror, but I want nothing more than to love myself. I knew that I wanted to make music that was raw & honest, and that could impact my audience in a meaningful way. My little sister Shula has always stressed to me the importance of being a positive role model. Since I’ve always been passionate about girl culture and mentorship, I felt it would be a great idea to create an album devoted to the thing I love most in this world—being a big sister. I want to impact these girls and let them know that its OK to be OK and you don’t have to attack yourself everyday. You can in fact love yourself if you believe it enough.

Quote from ILANA’s (me ;)) upcoming EP “Just, Girl.”#girls #quotes #inspiration #music #girlpower

3. What is the overall goal of the project?
The Just, Girl. Project is a fiery musical movement that empowers girls to embrace their passions, be blatantly honest, and to take ownership of their individual struggles. Through the power of music, this project relates to and empowers girls to be the utmost honest version of themselves, take responsibility for who they are, and go after what they are most passionate about.

I believe that this project has the ability to revolutionize music and girl culture, as having music that ‘gets you’ is so important. My new EP, Just, Girl. will be the first release from The Just, Girl. Project.

“‘I’m soooo busy’ is the worst phrase ever uttered by a human being…ever.”There’s nothing I dislike more than a talker. Particularly a talker who talks about how busy they are. Neon trees said it best: “Everybody talks…Everybody talks too much.” We all have such great ideas. Sometimes they pop out of nowhere and we think “I can do that!” I’ve met so many people, particularly in LA, that love to ask me what I think about their newest and coolest idea. I’m always so excited to hear about their new endeavor until I hear that they’ve abandoned the idea after 5 minutes…I would say talker syndrome is strongest with the 20-30 year-old crowd. Everyone has a brilliant idea that they think no one has thought of every other Wednesday and thinks that their idea will change the world. And maybe it will! But then, they meet a new guy, decide they’d rather be watching TV, or something that distracts them….and their idea falls to the wayside. Which is fine…it is, but why? Why not do what excites you?   Now, on to this “I’m so busy” nonsense. Here’s the thing…we are all busy. There’s always something we can work on. I mean with the internet, there are endless possibilities at our fingertips, which is pretty incredible! But this “I’m just like soooo busy” nonsense has gotta stop people. Seriously, you know who’s busy? Taylor Swift, Beyonce, flipping Olivia Pope (if she were real)…THEY are busy. When you tell the world how busy you are and why you are busy, I think it oftentimes can come off as if you feel your time is more valuable than others, or that you are insecure, so you need everyone to think your life is full and satisfying. And don’t get me wrong…I’ve done this a million times…GUILTY, but I’m trying my best to stop because it’s a horrid habit.  There’s nothing sexier than a woman who knows what she wants and goes after it without telling the world beforehand. I learned at a young age, particularly within my community (The Jewish community) that talking would lead me nowhere and that no one would take me seriously unless I had something to prove for my success. My mom and dad are extremely hard workers. They have been an inspiration for me, always. And yes, I get that you shouldn’t have to prove yourself to anyone, but I think the reason so many people don’t take that jump into the “I’ve got an idea and I’m gonna execute it” zone is because they are either scared, lazy, or simply comfortable where they are and don’t wanna rattle the cage. So maybe I sound obnoxious and judgemental…and if I do, I’m very sorry, but the truth lies in this: The most inspirational people in this world are the ones who go after what they want and don’t make excuses. The best people are the ones who make the time, amidst being busy. Stay bold please and go after what you want, always!  You’re completely amazing and capable of anything you put your mind to.<3ILANA#justgirlproject

4. How does the project directly help girls?
This project is about being raw, honest, up front, and self-aware. I created functional music. Music is a emotional and connective. It allows for people to become inspired and uplifted. It has the power to change lives. I experienced first hand growing up and I see it in the way a lot of Pop artists are utilizing it now to make a statement.

I want to create an Etsy store. My team and I will handcraft personalized items such as mirrors, bracelets, journals, and dream boards that include lyrics and positive affirmations that girls and guys alike can use to inspire and coach them through every day. I want everything to be functional for them.

But more importantly, I want to continue growing the movement online. I’ll continue to write in my blog and create social campaigns devoted to positive and honest messages for young women.

5. How does music help spread your message?
Music is an amazing and accessible way to connect with people. It is not threatening and it enters the mind in a subliminal way. I think its one of the most powerful tools!

Just, Girl. is a five track EP (half an album) — These songs address ongoing struggles I’ve faced ranging from body image to social acceptance and the mottos I’ve adopted to overcome them.

Here are the songs:

“My Body” – Your Body Image and Self Worth

– Look within yourself and take ownership of how you feel, even if it’s ugly.

– Love your body, and if you don’t, tell yourself you want to so you’ll believe.

“Lipstick Liars” – Your Reputation

– Own who you are and the choices you make.

– Avoid lying. Try your best to live life honestly and not throw others under the bus.

“Just, No.” – Your Voice

– Hold true to what you believe in and what you want.

– Speak up for yourself and be assertive.

“Neon Fire” – Your Passions

– Never give up on your dreams. Let them drive you.

– Let your frustrations fuel and motivate you.

“We Are Famous” – Your Motto

– Give yourself a positive mental pep talk everyday.

– Convey confidence: Fake it ’til you make it darling.

This is my pep talk to the future vibrant, bold, and beautiful women of the world.

6. How can we help you with the Just, Girl Project?

At the moment we are in the crowdfunding phase of the project, raising money so we can fully execute our project. We would greatly appreciate any donations people can give and/or if they can share the campaign with their friends to spread the awareness!

If you would like to donate then visit the Indiegogo campaign 

Want to learn more? Visit the Just, Girl Tumblr

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. I love her message and quite enjoyed the samples of music you shared.

    Like

  2. Audrey says:

    This is such a neat project! I am following this project now on social media!

    Like

  3. Elena says:

    Love this!

    Like

  4. lilypup says:

    I think this is a super idea and I like the approach of an Etsy store. Good program!

    Like

  5. swajithkas says:

    Michelle Anneliese;
    Thanks for sharing your link in community pool, your blog as well as this post is too good, whenever you have spare time please feel free to visit my blog.
    Wishing you all the best…………………….

    Like

  6. dabears37 says:

    Wow I honestly hadn’t heard of it. This is an awesome story and a great idea. Great to read this

    Like

  7. Lilian says:

    Great idea! So refreshing to hear the message that it’s OK to be OK! Such a shame we so rarely hear this about ourselves or even say this to ourselves.

    Like

  8. mcowder says:

    Different than what I’m used to listening to but some catchy tunes. And what a great message, we need more projects in the world that really focus on helping women love themselves. Great!

    Like

  9. kandylandmom says:

    Amazing music for an amazing cause. Love her vocals and the message that goes along with it.

    Like

  10. sammerion14 says:

    quite a nice project for the girl child

    Like

  11. Kimberly says:

    Love this! GO GIRLS!

    Like

  12. Rowan says:

    Fantastic quotes – I love this!! ❤

    Like

  13. Sara Kanwal says:

    Hi! Found your blog post from a facebook group and really loving the scope of this project. I do relate how important it is for us girls to care for ourselves. Show self love and avoid all the stereotypes encircling the society. ❤ Neon Fire ! Thanks for starting up this good movement

    Like

  14. This is so great! Generally, the campaigns I see about this are related to books and/or careers, so it’s nice to see a fresh take on it.

    Like

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