Q&A with model Gabriella Hart: on Diversity and Women's Empowerment
In light of both Black History Month and Women's History Month in February and March, we interviewed power woman (MADI model and friend) Gabriella Hart, about her feelings surrounding diversity and womanhood, specifically as a black model.
What makes you proud to be who you are?
I am an educated woman. I am a loving daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, niece and friend. I am proud of all of my professional accomplishments and all of my ambitions for the future.
Who has been your role model, in your life who helped you build self-esteem?
My biggest role model is my grandmother. She is the epitome of grace and humility. Knowing that I take after her gives me happiness and comfort. Seeing all of my older cousins conquer odds to achieve success has also shaped me to be a more confident person, secure in my own wisdom and knowledge.
With the movements #TimesUp and #MeToo, what does it mean to you to be a black, young adult, female in today’s world and in today’s society?
Being a black, young adult and seeing #TimesUp and #MeToo makes me hopeful for young black women coming up today. When I was growing up, you could pick one issue or the other. You could either choose to identify with the struggles of sexism or the discrimination of racism, but never both at the same time... which was a double entrenchment that no one besides other women of color could understand.
Do you try to be a role model for younger girls? What message do you want these young girls to take away when they talk to you?
I try to go out of my way to be a role model for young girls, and particularly girls of color. I encourage and uplift little girls and tell them they can be anything they want to be. I pay attention to kids’ interests, what they are good at and I encourage them to continue pursuing those talents.
What does MADI Apparel mean to you?
MADI means empowering women regardless of size, shape, color, social status or sexual orientation. I feel very strongly that MADI supports ALL women. At the end of the day black women just want to be included. Black women deserve an equal opportunity to all good things. MADI goes out of the way to support women of every background, and I love that.
What does it mean to you to model for MADI?
I take such great pride in modeling for MADI. I feel strength and a sense of security in the message behind the brand, as well as happiness knowing I’m contributing to a greater cause.
If you could travel back in time what message would you give yourself?
I would say, “Be encouraged, young one! By 2015, you will see an increase in representation in Hollywood and mainstream media, and your heart will sing. Be strong and keep believing in yourself because those negative stigmas won’t hold you back.”
Share your thoughts on the combination of diversity and womanhood.
Intersectional racism is a complicated condition. How can one understand what it means to be both a person of color and a woman simultaneously? I’ve come to realize that no one truly can, but I appreciate everyone who cares to listen. We are not where we need to be as a society when it comes to stigmas surrounding black femininity, but we’re getting there. Positive representation is crucial. We’re getting there.