The Girl Up Leadership Summit kicked off yesterday with Michelle Obama and the event continues online today and tomorrow. Girl Up is a “movement to advance girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to be leaders". Summit attendees are between 13 and 22. Click here to learn more about the summit and the presenters and performers scheduled to participate.
Yesterday Mrs Obama spoke about the importance of education and how education is often stolen from girls by poverty and gender and racial injustice. The research proves that when girls are educated, communities improve, societies improve.
Today it was Meghan Markle’s turn. Meghan acknowledged the work that young leaders are already doing and encouraged the next generation of female leaders to stand in their power and expand and share it. She reminded them that they are more vital than ever:
“I know you have already done so much and made so many people’s lives better. The moment we are living through right now asks all of us to do more. It’s a moment where your voices, and your action, have never been more urgently needed.”
She also recognises the contributions that so many young women have made to the Black Lives Matter movement and in the mention, she validates the spirit of BLM and its value – and you know the significance of this. Because there are some people who consider equal rights too “political”.
“Girl Up members are organizing Black Lives Matter protests around the world, you are creating films to encourage your peers to become activist leaders, you are reforming the criminal justice system, you are telling your school boards we need more mental health resources for all ages, you are leading coalitions to end gun violence. You are standing up and demanding to be heard, yes, but you’re also demanding to own the conversation.”
As I have said many times, Meghan Markle is such an effective public speaker – and this is a skill I spend a lot of time studying because I’m a television host. My job is to speak in public every day. So I know many of the tells, I know the tricks. I know when someone is good at reading from a prompter and when they could use more work. I know when someone has their sh-t memorised and can deliver it like they just came up with the thought. That’s what Meghan delivers. Her remarks were obviously pre-written because you don’t commit to speaking at a girls’ empowerment summit and don’t come prepared, but as you can see, she’s able to deliver the message without sounding like she’s reading or reciting from memory. And there are different layers and levels to her public speaking proficiency – the key is to be able to adjust to the audience and change tone where required. Speaking at Girls Up would not be the same as, say, presenting at an award show or addressing a group of tech industry philanthropists. A lot of people starting out on the speakers’ circuit don’t change their delivery from one room to the other. Meghan has those gears.
She also has very long hair right now, longer than we’ve ever seen it. I just had a pang of regret because Jacek cut six inches off my hair three weeks ago and now, instead of going down to my ass, it stops at my back bra strap. I have easy hair to cut though. It’s just straight and straight across. You have to have experience with Black hair to be able to cut and style it properly which, on showbiz sets, is often a problem because some hair and makeup artists are not trained in all hair types, which is another way that Black performers can feel otherised and excluded and less-than. Prince Harry wouldn’t be able to just grab a pair of scissors like my husband and trim straight across. I really like the longer length on Meghan though. Wonder if she’ll keep it for a while like this even after lockdown.