We were also honored to have guest speakers Heben Nigatu and Ashley Ford (Buzzfeed), and Nisha Dua (AOL Cambio now in partnership with Girls Write Now) share their experiences as women writers in an online world. Ashley Ford wrote about mingling with mentors and mentees at QWERTY in her blog post:
All of the girls who participated had mentors. Some of them had been working with their same mentors for years. It was fascinating watching the way they interacted. It was somewhere between sister and teacher, a line of respect, love, and inspiration.”
– Ashley Ford
Before they addressed the public, our speakers held a Q&A exclusively for our mentees. Here is a behind the scenes look:
Heben Nigatu, Ashley Ford, and Nisha Dua.
Footage taken by mentor Katie Bancroft. Music by Bensound.com
For mentee Angel Pizarro, QWERTY was her first opportunity to display her digital writing for an audience. We asked her about her experience at QWERTY:
What is QWERTY?
QWERTY is a space open to different ideas and expressed the creativeness of female writers. It was like being inside the mind of Girls Write Now. QWERTY was like a visible representation of everyone’s stories. I am not aware of another place that showcases digital work by young women. I think there should be more communities that promote this. It is a powerful thing to see that a woman’s voice matters too.
Tell us a bit about your project and what it was like displaying it!
I chose to display my blog about music. I thought it would be best for QWERTY because I had many things to connect music to, such as poetry and art. I was able to show the many things I valued and worked on. It felt great to expand my ideas instead of having to limit myself. I am a writer with a wide range of interests and passions, and this project is an accurate representation of that.
What did you think of the other mentee’s work?
I think the other mentees have so much talent based on their projects. It was clear that they all worked extremely hard and deeply cared about their work. There was a video that had clips of the city and people, which really stood out to me. It looked like a short film created by an actual filmmaker.
What did you take away from the guest speakers? Did anything they say stand out to you in particular?
Ashley Ford’s story really stayed with me after QWERTY. I felt that we were very similar in many ways. She revealed to us that she had wanted to be an actress, but realized she didn’t have what others crave. What she realized she really enjoyed was telling stories, and that was what she was best at. She saw herself as a bit introverted, and so the internet was where she felt most comfortable. I have felt the same way about all of these things, from wanting to be an actress and a storyteller, to feeling introverted. I thought it was very inspiring to see her success afterwards, and I’m grateful that I’m not the only one who has gone through those stages.
What sort of digital writing do you see yourself doing in the future?
I can certainly see myself blogging in the future. All the guest speakers were inspiring because they pursued what they loved doing the most and became successful. I can only hope the same for myself.
- Awesome photos from the night by Dominique Taylor