Hey GRRRLS hey!  I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year sharing the stories on your experiences at GRRRL Live 2018. Just head back through the blog and check out all the memories!  But, as you can see, I’ve neglected to share my own! As I make my plans to attend this years event which is just around the corner at the beautiful Palms in Las Vegas this June. I’m reminded of so many sweet an cherished moments experienced last April. I don’t even know how to begin expressing into words the deep and lasting impact that is GRRRL LIVE. How do you write a feeling. In my case it was more in the subtle things, the undercurrent and energy of it all. So, I will try my best to put those feelings into words for you so that you can understand.

For example, I had never seen a real life palm tree before. I know it’s such a simple little thing but, I grew up in Canada and was a troubled teen. I dropped out of school very young and left home young. So no fancy family vacations growing up. I had to grow up way to fast and in some ways not fast enough.Traveling for pleasure and adventure was never an option. If I traveled anywhere it was out of necessity and usually to get away from one bad situation and into another. I had never really been on an actual grown ass woman trip. Traveling to Vegas was INCREDIBLE for me just for those reasons alone. I had missed out on so much in my past and little did I know that this particular weekend would become about reclaiming so many things that I didn’t even know I had lost.

I’ve been a part of the GRRRLARMY for about  three years, not quite one of the OG ladies but almost!  I discovered GRRRL on Instagram shortly after I had started training to become a  competitive powerlifter. My friend Kim whom I had met on Instagram through the powerlifting community shared GRRRLS powerful message with me and once I had discovered Kortney Olson it was all over. I knew that I had plugged into something different and the sisterhood  quickly became a deep and profound influence in my life. Who knew how much this involvement would catapult me into woman I am today! The Spunky you all know and love!

Kim and I had been friends on social media for over two years by the time I got my ass to Vegas in 2018.  We had supported each other through our lifting, competing and life’s ups and downs. We became very close friends and up until that point had never met in person so this trip was already epic because she was my roommate!

A lot of tears flowed the day I walked into the GRRRL sign in and meeting room! I cry easily these days, but man I cried that day. I was already so emotionally charged by the significance of just being present in that room. The epic-ness of everything it took to get me there for that one particular moment. I almost chickened out and stayed home!! I had almost convinced myself that I would not belong. The event hadn’t even begun yet but, I had already won my prize. It was like my life was coming full circle and I was stepping into something completely new as an  adult woman. This was for me and it was significant and real.

One thing I enjoyed immensely is that the entire weekend was like this ENORMOUS  girls sleepover. The reason I enjoyed this so much was because this type of interaction is completely foreign to me. I never experienced anything like that when as a young woman. I never had those slumber parties where a bunch of girls got together and braided each others hair while watching chick flicks laughing and talking about boys ect.  I never had that because I never really had a normal teenage life. I was robbed of those necessary experiences and I didn’t connect with other girls my age. I was not the type of girl that fit in with other girls growing up and they made that abundantly clear to me. It was quite odd at 40 years old to have this epiphany! I had been living my entire life with this HUGE hole in my heart. I didn’t even know it existed because I had never understood the deep, necessary and natural relational experiences I should have had as a young woman.

Now, we didn’t sit around in our rooms braiding each others hair and talking about boys but we did experience deep meaningful conversations and morning dance parties in our hotel robes. We had wonderful meals and deep laughter. We had late night reflections and just a general sense that we were doing something bigger than ourselves together. It’s actually taken me until just recently to unpack exactly what that weekend meant to me.

 I had spent  the better portion of my life believing the lie that I didn’t belong. I spent it believing that I was not intelligent or worthy of having these types of  interactions. But, here I was surrounded by a huge group of women who collectively were there to support my growth and wanted nothing more than to see me succeed and thrive. It was a completely safe,loving, supportive and nurturing environment. Where everyone was just content in being themselves and the insecurity was checked at the door when you walked in. We were the manifestation of the complete and total opposite of what we are told a group of women should be like and it was the best thing ever!

When I originally started writing out this blog I wanted to touch on all the quality speakers and sessions that I attended because KO spends a lot of time and effort to bring you guys the very best of the best and she delivers! You definitely need  be sure to take advantage of everything that is presented to you because it is all so valuable! But, in light of that, I just feel like GRRRL LIVE was so much more than the information, tools and workshops.

For myself  the experience was profound on a level that reaches down deep into a woman’s heart. It wasn’t anything tangible on the surface but more the pulse or the life blood running through everyone that weekend. It was the collective energy. It was a sense that I was coming home to something that I never realized I was missing, that so many of us are missing

When you come together with a group of like minded women such as the GRRRLARMY there is a sense of wholeness and completeness. This quiet unknown ache and desire for true and honest connection and interaction deep down that we can’t seem to put our finger on, is fulfilled so beautifully. When you return home you’re different. You’re stronger  because of it and you feel less alone because you know you’ve made lifelong connections. I don’t know how you could possibly not be changed by the energy that is created in that environment. But, I do know that every day I try to emulate it and expand my world because of it.

GRRRL LIVE  instilled in me the courage to be the change that never came to me as a young woman. That is the most epic thing that could have ever happened to me.  Even now, I find that I lack the words to adequately describe the feeling in my heart. You will have to just go and experience it for yourself! I look forward to seeing you all there!

Spunky

I had the craziest moment happen today. It was what I’d call a “God Shot”. As most of you know, years ago I used to get paid a lot of money to make videos to do random ‘features of strength’. Whether I was beating men arm wrestling, picking them up and carrying them around, or being dominate and bossing blokes around, it was great money. It was also an incredible eye-opening experience for me, because it was at this point in my life that I started to realize the world was not at ALL what I thought it was. For a full deep-dive into this, visit www.grrrlfilm.com and check out our documentary.

So, one of my friends from recovery from way back in the day reached out and asked if I had a few words of inspiration to try and help her guide her 14 year old Daughter. She was having a hard time navigating the whole “be skinnier” challenge, and wasn’t sure how to best approach it. So speaking of documentaries I of course said, “Right- go to www.grrrlfilm.com and watch this documentary with her. This will give her context as to who I am and what I’m doing. Then I’ll talk to her myself after you have watched it.”

A week went by and I got a message. They had watched the documentary and they loved it. We arranged a time to connect on the phone.

Doing what I love to do  and what I was born to do, I got on the phone with my new 14 year old little Sister. I spoke to her straight from the heart and from the hip for a good 20 minutes. I gave her a plan, a purpose, and connections. Then made a date to meet in Vegas for GL19, and explained how Friday night we were having a special teen session with myself and size Brionii, aka our NextGen leader.

Then, after we hung up the phone it dawned on me that I had actually met her! I said, “O.M.G.!!!! You’re not going to believe this. But I believe I recall meeting you briefly when you were just a tiny baby!”. I said, “well- you watched the documentary. The world is not what you think it is my Friend. And you were actually a part of my journey in discovering this for a second in time!”. Her dad had volunteered to star as one of my “victims” in a commissioned video clip, and needed to bring her over to the house with him. She started crying at one point, so I had to pick her up!

You see- when you are authentic and have “been there/done that” and have a message of truth and real-ness, teens listen. Not just teens, but people in general. Being authentic is freeing.

So there you go… 13 years ago, I was still abusing pain pills, trying to navigate my way through recovery, hating my body, making money in this new world that made absolutely zero sense to me and holding babies. Now, these babies are talking to a leader who has a specific role for them in this revolution we call GRRRL.

See you in Vegas babygrrrl!

CEO on the go.

Amber Galloway-Gallego, I love this GRRRL. Her presence has a powerful and lasting impact.  I will never forget what she said during the panel at GRRRL live “When is the last time you had to think about how you were going to communicate with others?”  That one sentence changed my whole universe.  I have never thought about it, I’ve never had too.  Thank you Amber for educating us and sharing your world with us. I love your beautiful spirit. – Kelly aka Spunky

“One day I was asked to participate in a GRRRL interview. I thought to myself “well what in the world is GRRRL clothing?” I quickly searched, found the website and felt something the moment I heard the first testimony and I quickly texted KO back “it would be an honor to be a part of this in any way I can be.”

Less than a month later I received another text from KO “hey we are swinging by Texas and also there is a song… could you sign it for us?” I respond “ of course I will do whatever you need” the Van of merch arrives and KO, Brit and Tori jump out. Once the Interview is done and after a few tears and smiles KO asks, “what are you doing this up coming weekend? can you come to GRRRL Live and speak?” I think “what’s GRRRl live?” Yet again, that night I went Back to the google search to understand what I might be getting myself into. My heart immediately said yes! I texted KO and responded “ I will be there” I and purchased my ticket.

 

This movement is new for me! This GRRRL stuff is new to me! I headed to Vegas and I knew no one really. I had absolutely no clue what I was about to experience. I do know my heart and mind were excited to educate and try to inspire others about access. Little did I know that I would step into a world of woman power, beauty of all races, sizes, shapes and inspiration. It forever changed me.

I checked in and went to the pool party. I felt alone because I didn’t  know anyone. I am hard of hearing. I have difficulty hearing conversations. I didn’t know if I would be judged because I am not pretty enough, muscular enough, or strong enough. This is what myself and I am sure others have felt so many times before heading into an all woman event.  As I observed and watched  interactions, I truly saw such love and beauty. After a while the DJ asked everyone to surround the 18 and under GRRRls.  I stood and watched as these beautiful women lifted each other up and gave words of “womenisdom” women+wisdom to the younger GRRRLs.

I realized that I have always needed GRRRL in my life and didn’t know I did! Wait no all Grrrls need A #GRRRLARMY. If I had this maybe I would not have tried so hard to find the wrong love, I would have loved myself more, I would have had the tools I needed and I would not have allowed what I have allowed to happen. Maybe my scars would not have been so deep. I know I am damaged. I am broken. I feel so alone on days, I sometimes feel hopeless. I also know I am stronger because of my brokenness. I know I am better because of my awareness of others experiences.

I find hope in others and inspiration. I am a better human because I choose to approach others with equality, and to honor each persons experience and let them know they have value. I feel empowered now and want the whole world to know how killer it is to be a part of the #GRRRLARMY!  What GRRRL did was solidify that we are GRRRLS, we are worthy, we are united, yes we are damaged but yet we are beautifully O.K.”

The stories keep coming in and I can’t get enough of em! This week I continue on my mission to share ALL your GRRRL Live 2018  stories. I never want to forget what happened in Las Vegas that weekend! They say “whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” in our case we left a whole lot of stuff behind and we came home new women with an even stronger sense of sisterhood. Something like that can’t just stay in Vegas. We took it home with us and we’re using our circle of influence collectively to change the world one GRRRL at a time. –Kelly

 

“I wrote this in the closed Facebook group but it’s important to me so, I’m gonna write it again! Being seen and accepted as a woman and sister was my favorite part of GL18. There were no questions about me presenting as a masculine female. No one at GL18 called me “sir” or used the wrong pronouns. I was simply loved as a grrrl and it means the world to me. Thank you for creating an environment where that is possible KO and team!! Aside from that HUGE part of GL, attempting a deadlift for the first time with someone to check my form (I’ve done them at home but never with anyone around) was a big confidence booster. Thank you Karina for your guidance during the Meg Squats workshop! I’m feeling better than ever about picking things up and putting them down! 

 Since getting back to life in Minneapolis, I put up the GRRRL pledge in my bathroom and have been taking good care of my fresh GRRRL tattoo that Cara added to my bad ass lady sleeve. The daily reminder of the pledge and tattoo make me want to push myself to be the best grrrl possible while empowering other grrrls to do the same. GL18 was life changing. I’ll be back next year! :)” @butchtalk

“I don’t even know where to start!  I’ve been proud to be part of the #GRRRLARMY for almost 2 years now, and decided I needed to make time to meet (in person) more of these amazing souls I have been connecting with.  GL18 did not disappoint!  The energy and love in the room, on that first night, was so real and powerful.  Having the opportunity to meet, share stories, and network with so much positivity was beyond any expectation I had.  And yes, while there was lots of laughter, there were some happy tears too (xoxo Kathy Hardman!).  

It costs nothing to share a kind word or act with someone, to lift someone up, to tell someone YOU MATTER, YOU are AMAZING, you CAN get through it, WE can and WILL!  We are here to support each other, and kick some a** in life!  Thank you so much to the MFCEO, K.O. for gathering the army, and thank you to Bridge Raftery for always capturing the best in life through your incredible eyes!  We ARE GRRRLs!”    Amalia Chevalier @fitjourney_southbay

 

 

“GL18 literally changed my life. I can’t express how grateful I am for the GL18 experience. I have never been able to walk into a room of over 350 women and not feel judged. All I felt was pure love and acceptance. They are the sisters I never knew I needed, but now I couldn’t live without.

 The speakers were incredible. I felt on multiple occasions that they were speaking directly to me. When Melodee Meyer had us break the boards with what was holding us back, I felt a huge emotional release. When Inspirational Eve had us share our personal belief about ourselves I immediately panicked but when I spoke, my sisters listened. It was an emotionally rewarding weekend, one that I will never forget. I will definitely be back for GL19!”- Love Kristen 

 

 

 

“Words will never be able to fully express the emotions of what I felt at GL18. When I arrived in Las Vegas I stopped and thought to myself , holy crap Jenn you seriously full out to Vegas alone to meet a group of women you’ve never met before in person and your rooming with complete strangers!  Then I thought, well hell you’ve seriously done worse.  I didn’t realize at the time that it was going to be one of the best experiences in my life. To be in a room with over 200+ women you’ve never meet in your entire life and to feel their energy, the love , the passion and the support. It was definitely the most amazing experience I have ever felt. I went to Vegas alone but came home with 200+ sisters. GRRRL LIVE 18  lit a fire under my ass! I want every women in my family to experience next year. My mom, my grandmas ,aunts ,cousins, nieces the whole neighborhood and the world! If you ask why , I’ll say it’s because they need the education and to understand times are definitely changing. We are women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity but we all share common things. We all have stories. We all just want to love ourselves and be comfortable in our own skin.  It’s time for a change. We are an army of women who empower each other! “Jennifer Cantu

 

I caught up with Gretchen Hoffer and i’m really excited to share  her point of view on GRRRL Live.  Before attending GRRRL Live I was completely ignorant to the needs of the deaf community and I have to say, I still have so much to learn. I appreciate Gretchen for being patient with my questions and truly educating me. I’m so thankful that topics like these were addressed during the panel and that we GRRRLS have been given the opportunity to become better humans. – Kelly aka Spunky

“My experience with GRRRL live 2018 was nothing short of amazing.  I also attended GL17 and while it, too, was life changing, this year really brought home the idea of sisterhood as well as bringing us all together in such amazing ways.  The opportunity we had to build connections with each other as well as the work that we were able to do on ourselves really made this year so much better. When I think back to what I took away from that weekend it is always the moments where I was focusing on what I wanted to improve about myself or an experience in connecting with another Grrrl.  I seriously cannot wait for GL19 because I know that it is only going to be bigger and better than each year before it!!

I was brought into GRRRL Live last year and this year as interpreter for one of our fellow Grrrls, who is deaf and uses ASL to communicate.  It was exciting to be part of the movement and also to advocate for the deaf community in this way. My husband is deaf and I work with the deaf as a mental health therapist so being able to connect with others in the community, help bring awareness to the community, and support deaf Grrrls has been so amazing.  

  • Can you please tell me your thoughts on being involved in the panel?

When I first saw this question I immediately clarified to Kelly that I wasn’t actually on the panel and that it was Clara Baldwin and Amber Galloway Gallego who were on the intersectional feminism panel.  I was just one of the interpreters for them. Kelly informed me that she wanted to get my perspective on my experience. It took me a while to think about how to answer this question as well as if I even wanted to answer it.  The reason for that is because my role was as an interpreter and in that role I am not important. I am not to take away from the Deaf individuals who I am interpreting for because I am their voice and that is it. A great example of this is Clara’s friend and fellow interpreter, Brenna, who was at GRRRL Live and worked with me to interpret for the weekend.  When we were given nametags to write our names on and wear she wrote on hers, “The interpreter has no name.” It was the perfect way to symbolize our role as interpreter. In interpreting situations, we are not important and should not be recognized.

Why is it more interesting that the interpreter knows sign than the fact that this is a Deaf person’s language that they use every day?  It is just something to think about and ponder. Often it is the interpreter who gets the attention, praise, and notoriety. That is not our purpose and takes away from the reason we are there and also does not then give the attention to the Deaf individual.  Both Clara and Amber talked about this during the panel and it is important to recognize and be careful who is getting the attention in these situations. Instead of commending the interpreter on their skills maybe we can communicate to the Deaf individual how beautiful ASL is as a language or another way to appreciate their culture.  

  • There is a video floating around social media with you teaching Rose Namajunas some important ASL signs.  What was that like for you? Can you tell us about the signs you were teaching her?

 

I first met Rose and Pat last year at GRRRL Live 2017 during a car ride over to the venue.  I was immediately aware of their genuineness and how humble they are in their lives as well as how easy it was to just chat with them.  Meeting Rose and Pat again this year was such a great experience and in no way did I think that Clara and I would end up teaching Rose and Pat some ASL!

It really all started with some of the other GRRRLs at the VIG lunch asking me questions about ASL in an effort to try to understand the language better.  Pat overheard the conversation and had some questions himself about the language, how the hands were used, and it led to me showing him a few signs to help him understand those parts of ASL, specifically the difference between one handed signs and two handed signs because he wanted to understand what you did with your other hand that you weren’t using to fingerspell/sign.  I showed then taught him the signs “work” and “mountain.” After the VIG lunch was over Pat was going around showing every how to sign “mountain” and that included coming up to Rose and showing her. That prompted the explanation as to why Pat was running around the room signing “Mountain” to everyone. So I also showed Rose how to sign “work” and “mountain.” Since they are from Colorado I showed them how to sign their home state.  Clara saw us signing and taught them how to sign Denver and then I showed them how to say “I live in Denver, Colorado.”

Clara then came over to see Rose and Pat sign and told them that she was going to test them on their ability to remember the signs that they were taught.  She tested them on work, mountain, Denver, Colorado, and then added in some new signs that they hadn’t yet been taught. This is where the video started and it shows Clara asking them to sign “Champ,” which they didn’t know, and then “Rose.”  The time we had together was so much fun. Both Rose and Pat were so awesome to take the time to learn more about the language and communicate with Clara, who is a huge MMA fan.

While this experience was really cool and amazing, what was also amazing was all the times that different Grrrls came up to me throughout the weekend to ask questions about ASL, Deaf culture, the Deaf community, and how they can be more respectful and understanding of the needs of a Deaf person.  Especially after the panel on intersectional feminism, which really opened the eyes to many Grrrls about the struggles that individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing struggle with on a daily basis. It has been such an amazing experience to see so much growth happen not only in myself but from all the Grrrls around me and how much GRRRL Live created a place for us to do this kind of exploration and development.”

It was an amazing thing to be in the room watching all the GRRRLS  unite in freedom, movement and power.  The atmosphere changes when power like that is released. We explored our inner sexy without reservation during the chair dancing portion of the body confidence workshop. It seriously was a great time. Here is what Irys had to say about her experience as she led her portion of the class – Spunky 

 

Attending GRRRL Live was an opportunity that has most definitely changed my outlook on life as a whole. It changed how I see others but more than anything else, it changed how I see MYSELF!

                My nerves were a wreck because I had never been so excited to be part of something so great.  A revolution  among women that are changing the world, starting with themselves.  The keynote speakers  were there to wake us up and it worked! I have never been around so many women that welcome strangers with open arms, without judgement. There really aren’t enough words to describe the breakthrough I had emotionally. Kortney warned me that this experience would be life changing, but I never imagined HOW life changing it would be! I learned so much about myself and my new friends as well as the friends that accompanied me from home. Jessy De La Vega and Brendalyn Romero. It changed our friendship and made us so much closer. I was able to shed tears that for so long were suppressed deep down inside of me, because I have been through so much alone and I didn’t have time to cry! I was vulnerable but safe and that is why I loved being at GRRRL Live so much. I was safe! I am forever humbled by this experience. I am anew and with so many goals that I am  now about to crush with the support of my new GRRRLfriends.

                When I was asked to teach a workshop at GRRRL Live, I was more than honored and jumped at the chance. I would be crazy if I didn’t! The day my section of the workshop took place, I literally woke up from dreaming about the song I was going to present and doing counts in my head to the rhythm of the song.  As I showered, I played the song over and over and even did the dance in the shower ( so glad I didn’t slip).  I was so nervous! Nothing, I mean NOTHING can compare to the pride and overwhelming emotions I felt when I saw all of the GRRRLs in the workshop class. It was maybe the biggest class I had ever led! It was breathtaking to see all of those gorgeous ladies ready to experience something new. Once that warm up song came on, it was on and seeing the confidence in the ladies working their cat walks and diva turns and “touching their goodies” was a blessing. Everyone was so free. Sexy. Happy and in  ove with their bodies. My experience was sublime and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Vegas Stiletto Fitness with Irys, Ladies Night Out Events is all about self-love and confidence.  I try to do that with everyone that comes in and trys a class. One stiletto at a time. This experience turned me into a butterfly on more levels than one!

Melinda Ramirez 

I love hearing stories about women finding themselves after feeling lost for a while. It motivates me to keep pushing.  Aixa Owens’s recount of freedom is inspiring!

“My experience at Grrrl live, wow, where do I begin? I walked into the Golden Nugget to not knowing what to expect and I came out of there with my mind blown away. Not only was the insane energy so powerful, every GRRRL there was just like me, needing to be surrounded by other GRRRLS who understood them. 

I was meant to be there, share my story and listen to everyone else’s as well. As we cried, hugged and cheered each other on all weekend, I grew stronger. What ailed me no longer held me back, my self greif  and most powerful of them all, the hatred I carried inside. For so long I carried this burden written all over my face and as I broke my board I felt that demon leave me. 
Now like Bruce Lee, I crouch down, whip my arm forward and with the palm of my hand I invite any other doubt to try and get me, cuz it will go down! 

GRRRL Live  saved a part of me I knew I was losing. Thanks to KO for giving me the opportunity to be surrounded by so much love and acceptance. For my GRRRL Heather and Annie, for sticking with me knowing I was panicking being submerged by so many people. As I type these words, tears are flowing down my face but, these are tears of joy and acceptance. I am a free GRRRL.

 

I am certainly excited for GL19 as I sit here and read all of your stories

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky

“Grrrl Live 2018 was monumental for me.  When I went to GL17, I was trying to find my way in life and trying to build more confidence. I walked away from that conference not only realizing that I was on the right path but that many of my dreams were achievable and I shouldn’t let my insecurities get in the way.  Fast forward to GL18 and my life is different. On the plane to Las Vegas I realized just how I’ve come so far in my life. My insecurities have diminished, my confidence has increased and my life is great.  
 
GL18 was just as impactful in so many ways.  For one, I got to see a lot of the Grrrls that I met last year. Grrrls that I’ve made friends with through the private group or on Instagram. There were also so many that I had not yet known.  The hugs and the love just overflowed my heart and soul. Now I miss my #grrrlarmy sisters so much.
 
The presentations during GL18 were epic and there was so much that I took away from each one.  However, the most impactful was the Intersectional Feminism panel.  To listen to my sisters talk about this topic was deeply moving and I walked away more informed than I ever. I look forward to doing a self-check again for GL19 reuniting with my Grrrl Army sisters and meeting so many more next year. It’s going to be an epic year! I just know it.”
Adele George @adele_grrrlarmy

Your stories keep rolling in and I couldn’t be happier to share them. This one from Gretchen has me in tears. I can relate to this feeling and I admire her courage and transparency in sharing this :

Chuckie Welch, Gretchen and Meg Squats!

“GRRRL Live was not at all like I anticipated it would be. It was better and harder. It kicked my ass more mentally than physically. I was walking to the event Saturday morning when I got the call that my 5 year old son was sick. As a mom I instantly felt guilt for not being home. I walked into the room and the #GRRRLARMY was already in formation. I made myself feel like an outsider. With each passing empowering moment I shrunk a bit more. The old voices in my head were gaining strength. “You’re not one of them. They won’t like you. You’re not enough. Women like them aren’t friends with girls like you.” And you know what? The voice won for most of the weekend. I sat alone in a room with the #GRRRLARMY and silently struggled. I cried when I couldn’t will myself to participate and I debated attending Sunday. I worked up the nerve to chase two of my IG (s)heroes down and emotionally explained to them how following them has helped me. 

Day 2 came and I slowly I got that inner voice to shut up. When it came time for board breaking I couldn’t break my board in the room with everyone else but I worked up the courage to do it in my hotel room alone. I introduced myself to another Gretchen, and then another Gretchen. There’s some magic to the fact that a name unused for 1000 years belongs to 3 women in the same movement. I gained strength at GRRRL Live by being my weakest, by realizing I still struggle to accept who I am becoming, by still being intimidated by the strength of other women because I’m scared to find my own. I can’t wait to go back next year!”

We all struggle at times. Getting out of our comfort zones and into the right environment is key. There is no better place or time to do that than at  GRRRL Live with the #GRRRLARMY standing with you. I am so excited for you Gretchen. You are stronger than you give yourself credit for. It takes TONS of grown ass woman strength to step out and fight the fear that is in your head.  That was no small thing! I cant wait to see you next year! Be prepared for one of my patented Spunky Hugs. We love you GRRRL xo

Spunky

That feeling when you go away but it’s just like coming home. That’s what reading Lydia Valentine’s story about what GRRRL Live meant to her reminds me of.

“Ever since I became aware of GRRRL Live and it’s inception in 2017, I knew I needed to go.  I had already followed GRRRLS from all over and I wanted to meet them all. Rarely do I stay interested and passionate about things in the “fitness” industry. But, I have only grown more involved and intense about this brand and what it’s about.

I work a full-time job on a college campus that prevents me from leaving town during the school year. But when the opportunity came up for me to attend GRRRL Live 2018, I did everything in my power to make it happen.

I had had a long few weeks before the weekend of GL and found out last minute that I could get coverage at my job, so I made a decision and did it. I was so tired from the week when Friday rolled around (my flight was at 10pm) I almost wasn’t excited about it; I just wanted to sleep. But I’m so happy I made it happen.

Through the GRRRL Facebook page I was able to find one of my GRRRLS who was landing around the same time as I was. We took an Uber to the Golden Nugget together.  She ended up being my closest friend for the weekend and we always knew we had someone to hangout with. Shout-out to Krystal Schmidt for being my airport buddy! We finally got to the hotel. But, sadly it was after the pool party had finished and we hadn’t seen any GRRRLS until we went to the lobby to check in. Who was the first person we saw? None other than Kortney Olson herself!! There may or may not have been some crying. I was exhausted but, I’ve never felt more comfortable around a group of women.

For 2 days I forgot about my other worries. I let myself feel completely free and comfortable in the company of these amazing women. They were nothing but welcoming, friendly and loving. All things good. I tend to get caught up with how I look. I’m afraid of doing things that I want to do in fear of looking stupid and I worry about what others might think.  At GRRRL Live I was entirely free from that feeling. I learned about myself, and how to be a better person for the people in my life

You know when you get so accustomed to something and you figure that’s just how it is? But, then you try this other thing and it’s so much better? and you’re like, “this is how it’s SUPPOSED to be.” That’s how I felt when I was surrounded by these women. I was accepted for me exactly as I am. I normally surround myself with supportive people but this was a whole new level!

GRRRL will always be a part of me and I couldn’t be more thankful that I had the chance to attend GRRRL Live 2018.”

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky

 

I had a lot of fun in the body confidence break away session at GRRRL Live and I know all of you GRRRL’s did too! There was so much energy and freedom in the room that day.  Here is what Yassmin Diab  had to share on her experience with teaching us all about the beautiful art of belly dancing:

 

“What an absolutely incredible opportunity this was, not only to be present for GRRRL Live 2018, but to be a part of teaching a workshop with 2 other bad ass women.

When I approached Kortney after GL17 about teaching a belly dance workshop, I was really doing so on a whim.  Kortney didn’t know very much about me outside of being a part of the GRRRL Facebook group, and that I live in Vegas.  But she was all for it!  How thrilled was I?!  A few months later, she emailed me about combining dance workshops to create one MEGA workshop, and that sounded like WAY too much fun to pass up!!

I’ve been a student of Arab Dance for 15 ½ years.  I’ve taught various classes and workshops over the past 10.  This was by far the most challenging, and the most rewarding.

I say challenging, because I’m used to teaching for an hour to an hour and a half.  The structure of this workshop allotted myself and the other two GRRRLS about 35 minutes each.   Who doesn’t love a challenge?

Preparing was hard.  There is SO much material that I wanted to cover, I overwhelmed myself a bit.  I’d go off on crazy tangents, I had well over 3 hours of music to sort through and select.  However, with the help of my amazing GRRRL Supporting husband, I got the structure, the material, and the music laid out and ready.

I loved the concept of the workshop, too:  Body confidence through movement!  Leslie and Iryss both brought incredible classes!  Leslie’s twerkshop was super high energy, and had GRRRLS dancing on the walls!!  Iryss brought the super sexy chair dancing, strutting, and hair tossing!  It was amazing to share time with them.

GL18 was incredible.  There were so many important topics discussed over the weekend, I can’t possibly describe all of them with the attention and accolades they deserve. One that did have a profound impact on me was the Intersectional Feminism talk and the Panel. This tied directly into my portion of the workshops the next day:  as a white woman who studies, performs, and teaches Arab dance, I am always conscious about cultural appropriation.  I don’t want to pick and choose bits and pieces of the dance, leave the rest, and claim it as my own.  I have the utmost respect and love for Arab culture.  I study with Arab musicians, dancers, and teachers. This dance is someone’s culture. I have a responsibility to educate my students about it. Even if it’s something as brief as making a statement about where the dance originates from before diving into movement, or using as many of the Arabic terms for movements as possible. 

Having the opportunity to not only educate the incredible GRRRLS who took the class about the origins of one of the oldest dance forms in the world. And also sharing my passion, and hopefully help impart a bit of the confidence that studying dance has granted me, has been an incredible experience.   Every single GRRRL present did an amazing job picking up the minute and a half routine I presented.  I couldn’t be more proud and more humbled to have been a part of this incredible event.  I hope there will be opportunities in the future for me to do this again, and again, and again!! ”

 

Changing the game one GRRRL at a time

Spunky 

Your stories from GRRRL Live 2018 are starting to roll in and I’ve made it my mission to share as many as I possibly can! That weekend meant so many things to so many of us. I find myself wiping away tears while reading all of the beautiful recaps of sisterhood, new friendships and strength. My inbox is flooded and I’m loving it!

I caught up with Clinay Cameron  and here is what she had to say about her experience in Las Vegas last week:

“I want to first start off by saying thank you for reaching out. I’m honored to share my experience with you. I wrote a lot because I had a lot to say. Words can’t describe how great my experience was.

I came to Grrrl Live 2018 with my friend and teammate Inky from Northern California. We both had no idea of what to expect but we were ready for anything. On Day 1, I was excited to have seen and/or met surprise guests such as Chuckie Welch and  Amber Galloway. With them having roles in events like this (big or small) just makes the experience much more impactful, because you have that true form of representation in the conference. To be able to physically speak with or hear from a person you resonate with on a more personal level, is both refreshing and empowering.

I was also greatly appreciative of the themes we went over for each day, which included public and interpersonal issues we as women deal with on a day to day basis. It was awesome to see Kortney and her team of speakers addressing topics such as intersectional feminism, and the public issue of immense lack of diversity and inclusion in society as a whole.

Lastly, I was hesitant to participate in either of the Strongwoman or deadlifting competitions because I didn’t want to intimidate any of the GRRRLS from trying because of my size (and I have bad stage fright when it comes to competitions). So, I definitely did not dress or prepare for the occasion. But, what hit home for me, was seeing many of these GRRRLS go out of their way to support and cheer on one another during these two workshops. The positive energy was AUTHENTICALLY INSANE! I attempted to stay off to the side to support, but Inky and several other GRRRLS were not having it and encouraged me to deadlift and do the Strongman medley. Had I not listened, I wouldn’t have had the experience of hitting a 400 pound deadlifting PR with the #GRRRLARMY rooting for me! That was one hell of an experience I’ll never forget. I’m one who encourages people to step out of their comfort zones for a living and my hand was dealt to do do the same.

I want to give a special thanks and congratulations to Kortney Olson for doing it again! We could not have made this visit possible if it weren’t for your love, encouragement, and support. I’ll be seeing you, and thank you for all you do.”

 

Thank you Clinay for sharing your awesome #GRRRLLIVE2018 story!  Congrats on that badass deadlift PR!

Peace, Love and Lollipops GRRRL’s

Spunky

 

 

Hey GRRRL’s Hey, it’s Spunky. I’ve made it my mission to catch up with as many of you ladies who attended GRRRL Live as possible over the next few weeks! GRRRL Live meant many different things to each of us. We loved, we hugged, we cried but most of all we GREW. We grew so much we came home different. I know I did. That’s sisterhood. That’s what happens when you create a space for women to step out in freedom. It’s a beautiful thing.

I had the pleasure of catching up with Leslie Parker who opened up the first part of our Body Confidence workshop on day 2. Leslie Parker is the creator of the TWERKXING PROGRAMM she is also a fitness and boxing instructor. This woman possesses such incredible soul and energy. She’s next level in the BADASS department! It was hard not to feel comfortable while attempting to shake my own ass! That says a lot because twerking and I were not friends before this workshop. Here’s what Leslie had to say about her experience:

 

I had an incredible time in Vegas last weekend with all those amazing GRRRLS.

I discovered a spirit where it’s more about how can I use my difference as a strength. Where one doesn’t judge the other because she doesn’t answer to the society code about how a female body has to be to be great.

During our workshop, I really enjoyed seeing freedom in all those women who had suffered with their appearance or body-weight.  

They really played the game. They were shameless and had a lot of fun. I love seeing happiness when I teach a class and I could feel a huge positive energy in the room during my workshop.

Some of the girls came over to me at the end of my twerk & fitness class to tell me thanks!

The energy with Yasmine and Iris was super cool. We motivated and supported each other. Our goal was to give our best to make the group feel comfortable. I could feel what we call “sisterhood”

As a badass as I am, I’ve had a hard time with people in the past. But with these GRRRL’s, I could really feel a support and a validation of our deep talent.  We are all different. We all have a talent and this spirit helps highlight our greatness.

I hope you will understand my text I’m French and I have to improve my English!!

Big thanks to Kortney and her super team. Long life to GRRRL”

Leslie Parker.

 

 

Hey everyone it’s Kelly AKA The SpunkyCanuck checking in with the scoop on an awesome GRRRL fairy tale.

Recently, I had the pleasure of catching up with Lizzie and Suzy two GRRRLS who have an amazing story to share. I was familiar with part of their story catching bits and pieces of it here and there in our closed FB group and on Instagram. But, after spending some time with these ladies, I experienced first hand the love that they share for each other.  It’s evident that this couldn’t have happened to two more deserving women. After our talk, I was left feeling inspired and hopeful that real life whirlwind, butterflies in the stomach type of romances actually do exist and still happen.

Lizzie, 26 a sweet fun loving pastry chef from Christchurch New Zealand and Suzy, 37 a passionate children’s daycare worker in Chicago IL, had no idea that their lives were going to be completely transformed in EPIC proportions when they became a part of our closed Grrrl Facebook group. I must  say that I did get a little emotional putting together this interview. It’s just really nice to see genuine beautiful people fall head over heels in love and come out on top.

Kelly: Tell me the story about how you each found GRRRL Clothing.

Lizzie: I came across Grrrl while I was looking for some new gym wear. I had just started going to the gym with an Olympic lifting friend who was slowly getting me addicted to lifting heavy shit! I loved the clothes so much and through them, I found the Facebook page. I fell in love with the vibe  in the group and all the amazing Grrrls. I started talking and interacting with Grrrls and made some really cool friends around the world. Jumping on the Grrrl page felt like coming home.

Suzy: I found Grrrl through a close friend whom I used to Crossfit with. I was down dark path and at the end of bad relationship. I was Literally starting my life over again after a 5 year relationship. One day my friend says to me  “Have you heard of Kortney Olson?” and I’m like “who?” and she was like “ what you have never heard of Grrrl?” I hadn’t so I quickly checked them out on Instagram and was added to the FB group shortly after. I was in awe!! I was amazed at all the strong females. And even though I was in the group, I didn’t feel quite up to par. There were so many lovely Grrrls commenting and building me up. Slowly, I was finding my way and.making a couple Grrrl purchases at a time. Even at my heaviest, I was sporting around in shirts that exposed my sports bra and all my jelly rolls. I didn’t care because I represented a brand that was about something. I even attempted to get a Grrrl tattoo  however it was spelt accidently with and “ I” in it. I didn’t care, I was invested in this movement. I was a Grrrl!

Kelly: How did you guys meet?

Lizzie: One day I was just cruising around the group seeing what everyone was up to and this Grrrl posted about her donut shorts. She shared about how she wore them to the gym and felt self conscious and awkward. So, I commented about how I have the same shorts and I understood the feeling. She looked amazing in them and I wanted to offer her some support. A little while later I saw she had posted again and I won’t lie, in my head I was like. “she is freakin hot!” After a while seeing her posts and commenting back and forth, I added her as a Facebook friend.

Suzy: I began friending girls slowly and getting to know them a little better. I friended a cute girl named Lizzie who was full of energy and life. I noticed that I could always relate to her quotes about life and relationships. We were literally FB friends for 6 months before we actually spoke to each other!

Kelly:  Can you tell me a little bit about how your relationship developed?

Lizzie: We continued commenting on each others posts but, we barely talked at all for several months. Then one day Suzy posted about a dinner voucher she had and that she needed someone to go with her to this dinner. So, I cheekily commented that she should take me on a date! The comments went back and forth about this imaginary date we were going to have. I decided to send her a private message to continue the conversation. I didn’t go to sleep till about 4am that night. I just wanted to keep talking to her. She was so interesting and funny. I was worried if we stopped talking that day, we wouldn’t talk again! How wrong I was!

The next day we just kept talking and to this day the talking hasn’t stopped. We slowly got to know each other. We got good at the time differences and at remembering each others schedules to maximize our talk time. We got up early and stayed up stupid late just so we could talk longer. We started sending each other music to listen to. All of our favorite songs and bands. The music became love songs and the conversation changed from our friendship to something more.

I remember one day I was wondering what her voice sounded like. I sent her a little video just saying “hi”. This is me and my kiwi accent, i’m wondering what you sound like.”  This poor little sausage was so nervous about sending one back. It took some encouragement, but she did it for me and a little while later she was comfortable enough to video chat in real time. We started having little dates on video chat. We talked about life and what we both wanted and cared about. It felt crazy to be falling for someone on the other side of the world, who I have never met. It happened so naturally and so easily. I never imagined that it would actually become something. When I realised I had fallen for her, I knew that I had to do something!

Suzy: In June of last year I posted about a birthday voucher and how I needed someone to come with me for dinner. I had no idea that my whole world was about to change. After chatting through a private message with Lizzy I knew I had found a solid friend. I honestly had no intention of finding love at this point. I had been talking to someone for a few months who lived states away. That relationship was pretty much at its end when Lizzie and I started chatting. I was very upfront about my situation. I had been in a dishonest relationship previously and didn’t want to hurt this dear person that I had just met. But, as we continued to talk everyday. I found myself not being able to get through my day without finding out what she had been up to, or what funny things she’d say. She was so very funny and so very charming. Our conversations consisted of real things. Hopes and dreams. She was also encouraging me to go back to school. This girl was amazing and I couldn’t get enough.

Kelly: Can you guys tell me the story about how you first met in person?

Lizzie: A friend of mine sat me down and basically told me that I needed to just go for it! I needed to go and meet her for real and find out if this woman is going to be my forever. My friend set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for my flights and my parents helped out a bunch. I have never traveled further than Australia (3 Hour plane ride). Traveling to America by myself was huge!! I was so scared but also crazy excited!  The trip was amazing and I never once felt alone. I knew the Grrrl Army was behind me and commenting on my journey as I was sharing it with them. It felt like all the Grrrls were there with me.

Suzy: I never wanted a moment to happen more in my life. To have this girl with me whom I barely knew, but was so quickly was falling for.

After months of talking, I knew I wanted to spend my life with this girl. Me!  The person who has been so scared of the whole marriage thing. I wanted nothing more than to make this girl my wife. I wanted her to help me raise my children. She is definitely one of the most selfless people I’ve ever met. I wanted a house and the whole nine yards. I wanted it all. Many would consider us crazy because there is 17 hrs between us. But, to be honest there was never a question of will this work or How will this work? Those questions never crossed my mind. All I knew is that she was mine and I was hers. I was going to make this work. I would do whatever it takes.

When I met this girl at the airport and I held her in my arms for the first time and kissed her lips. It confirmed everything I had been feeling for the previous three months. If I had a ring at that moment, I would’ve proposed  to her right then and there. Having her in my space was the best reality I have ever experienced. She was there with me. It was everything. She is my everything. Later on, when I made my journey over to her it was just as exciting! Her world is so awesome and so are her friends and family. I can just tell they helped shape her into the beautiful person she is today.

Kelly:  I’m getting all the warm fuzzies just hearing you guys share from the heart. What a beautiful story. Lizzie you mentioned a crowdfunding campaign and the #GRRRLARMY being  behind you during that first trip. Can you tell me a little more about how that evolved?

Lizzie: The friend I mentioned earlier secretly messaged the MFCEO and asked her if it would be okay to get the Grrrl Army involved in a crowdfunding campaign to help raise the funds for my trip. Kortney set it all up and started sharing it everywhere. All these GRRRLS who we’ve only known online, sent money and left messages of encouragement. It was so incredibly humbling. I couldn’t believe how much people cared about us.

Kelly: That’s extremely heart warming and amazing. It’s so cool to know that this trip lead to your eventual engagement! Congratulations! Who proposed? And how ?

Lizzie:  Suz and I are super romantic, so I wanted her to have the big heartfelt romantic moment. When she booked her flights to come out here to New Zealand and meet my family, I planned this wee picnic in the garden for us. I had a ring made by this amazing kiwi jeweler, it’s one of a kind. When I proposed, about 5 seconds later Suz pulls this frickin ring out of her pocket ! She had the same idea!!!!

Suzy: Yes absolutely!!  She beat me to it!

Kelly: How incredibly special! And now in less than two weeks you will be getting married at GRRRL Live in Las Vegas! That’s insane! How are you guys feeling, are you nervous?

Lizzie:  I am crazy excited! My dress is just having a few final touches this week and everyone at my work is counting down the days with me!

Suzie: I’m super excited! However i’m a worrier. I worry about traveling and making sure everything will go alright.

Lizzie:  I know like we were planning on meeting for the first time and going on a date in Vegas and now we’re getting married!

Suzy: Oh how things have changed. It’s like they say when you know -you know and with Lizzie, I have always known.

Lizzie: I read this thing a while ago about how there are 2 types of people. Jumpers and toe dippers. I have never found another jumper before until I met Suz. Like we just went for it!

Yep, they sure did go for it. It’s amazing what a group of determined women can accomplish when they want to get something done. We’ve seen it with our even more recent crowdfunding campaign, The Self Love Rebellion Project. Grrrls are changing the world. I am very much looking forward to watching these two get married and sharing in that moment. It will no doubt be memorable. I am honored to be involved in sharing their story. I am honored to be a part of  an amazing group of women who are making shit happen every day! Stay tuned, I will be writing a follow up on these love birds after the wedding!

 

Peace love and Lolipops

Kelly

 

In response to criticism of GRRRL in respect of our recent dealings with Cris Cyborg, we consider it is necessary to present the background to what SHOULD have remained a private matter in respect of our commercial sponsorship of Cris.

 

A little over a month ago we entered into a 12 month sponsorship agreement with Cris, to cover a personal appearance at our GRRRL:Live event in Las Vegas combined with an ongoing 12 month commitment through Cris’s social media channels.

 

Unfortunately, within a matter of hours of appearing and speaking at our event, Cris was involved in “battery” of another fighter on the street outside a UFC retreat. Cris’s conduct in this regard has broadly been condemned by the fight industry and the organization by whom she is contracted as a fighter.

 

As a company with representation and brand ambassadors amongst girls as young as 6, we cannot publically condone this behaviour especially as the behaviour is directly in conflict with the messages Cris shared at the event, one of our speakers on cyber bullying and our company message to promote female harmony and unity.

 

This conduct has the potential to diminish the tireless work by our amazing network of women throughout the world to support female harmony and unity.

 

As a consequence of these matters, it is with regret that our sponsorship of Cris has come to an end.

 

We wish Cris well with her continued professional career. And every success in the future.

 

We are unable to comment any further in respect of this matter as it is now being handled by our legal team.