I'm back from the Mom 2.0 Summit, which, as usual, was an amazing time. When I landed on Wednesday, I almost immediately went into the session that I was moderating: Behind the Scenes of Everything, Everything: How Bestselling Author Nicola Yoon and Actor Ana de la Reguera are Changing the Game in Hollywood. Nicola's book, Everything, Everything, debuted at number 1 on the New York Times best sellers' list, and stayed there for 9 months. (She's also a National Book Award finalist, thanks to her follow-up book, The Sun Is Also a Star, so to say that she's incredibly talented would be the understatement of the year.) Everything, Everything is now a movie, and Ana de le Reguera, who plays "Clara" in the movie, is a successful actor both in her homeland of Mexico and here in the US, and an active philanthropist in her hometown of Veracruz. The session even included sneak peeks of the upcoming film.
In preparation for the panel, I ordered the book and read it in about 3 hours flat, and then immediately walked down the hall to give it to Alex, who read it almost as quickly, and truly loved it just as much. It's such a sweet book and a great story, about a young girl/woman who has SCID, and who therefore has never left her sterilized home. But when a cute boy moves next door -- well, that changes everything, everything.
You can watch the trailer of the movie here, or by clicking the image below.
Nicola and Ana were incredibly open and vulnerable, sharing their personal stories of the challenges that they've had in their own careers. They're both committed to bring stories of strong girls and women of colour to the forefront, and both spent an extensive amount of time explaining why it was important, not just for young people of colour to hear and see these stories, but for all people -- because stories are how we connect with each other, how we resonate with each other. And Ana, in particular, talked about how imperative it was to use the talents that we all have in an effort to change the world for the better.
At the end of the session, we opened the floor up for questions, and one person asked Nicola what advice she would give to folks who wanted to write a book, or a screenplay, or otherwise succeed in a creative field. And she had two pieces of counsel:
First, she said, just do the thing. She was still working full time in finance when she wrote Everything, Everything, and wrote the book from 4-6 a.m. every day before heading off for her corporate job. And remember, this book debuted at the top of the bestseller list. She says that if you are moved to create, make the time to create, even if it's in small moments during the day.
And secondly, she said, let your freak flag fly. She emphasized the importance of remaining true to who you are and knowing your gifts -- that various industries will tell you what to do and who to be, but the truth is that it's your uniqueness where your beauty and power lie (sound familiar?).* She encouraged people to develop grounded confidence in their own talents and passions, and work hard at bringing their dreams to fruition.
After our panel was over, I told both of these women that they now have a superfan in me, and boy-howdy, I meant it. There is nothing I love more than talented, passionate women, who use their powers for good. And so, I encourage all of you to go see Everything, Everything when it opens this Friday, May 19th, in a theatre near you -- I promise you'll love it.**
* Incidentally, if you'd like to identify your own beauty and talents, and explore how you can use them to change your world, GLOW, my new 21-day ecourse is now available. It's also on sale now, and will only remain on sale until the end of May, so register soon!
** Just for clarity's sake, I wasn't compensated in any fashion for this post, nor for moderating the panel at Mom 2.0. I truly am a superfan, and will be totally taking Alex to see the movie this Friday. We can't wait.
Soundtrack: Runnin' by Naughty Boy, featuring Beyoncé and Arrow Benjamin -- one of the songs on the soundtrack of the movie. Not for nothing, the visuals in the music video below are amazing.