ASU student meets idol whose club changed her life

Tears were evident during the meeting but it only added to the power of the moment

There’s a picture of a crying woman on the Facebook page of a female empowerment organization, I Am That Girl (IATG). She stands tall, unashamed of her tears, as she meets her longtime mentor.

The Arizona State University chapter of the nonprofit organization posted the picture of junior journalism major Kat Chapman after she had the opportunity to meet Alexis Jones, television personality, author and founder of IATG.

“We are all afraid. We are all confident. We are all warriors on this road of life, and we’re all a mess sometimes,” Jones writes in her debut novel “I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose.”

Since the organization debuted in 2012, Jones has preached messages of self-worth to the 244 chapters of IATG nationwide. Each chapter is a safe place for women to have honest conversations about how to achieve a better state of well-being.

“I joined the organization because its beliefs were things I already agreed with and I just didn't have a safe outlet to express them in,” Chapman says. “I now feel more confident when I'm talking about controversial things, especially to people with opposing opinions.”

Jones’ organization has had an enormous impact in Chapman’s life. Chapman was an early member of the ASU chapter, which was founded in 2014. Now, she serves as a member on the executive board. The confidence she has gained through the organization has allowed her to connect with many different women from all walks of life.

test

“The most important thing IATG has done for me is just remind me that there is still good,” says Chapman. “There are still people who want to make a difference and who don't want to accept the status quo and live a life of mediocracy.”

Design studies major Riley DeNoya serves with Chapman on the executive board. Her position has enabled her to grow in her relationships with other members.

“I am blessed to be able to be in I Am That Girl because I get to meet girls who I could have nothing in common with other than trying to build each other up and I love that,” DeNoya says. “I Am That Girl is so powerful because it's creating a space for girls who can be themselves in a world that tells them that being themselves isn't enough.”

ASU’s IATG chapter recognizes Chapman’s commitment to this message of female empowerment.

“She is her own person, she doesn't let opinions from others affect her and she is the perfect representation of self-love,” the organization posted in a statement on their Facebook page in October 2016. “She let herself be open and vulnerable with one of her idols, Alexis Jones.”

Chapman says she grew emotional when she had the opportunity to hear Jones speak at the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles. After Jones’ speech, Chapman was able to meet her longtime role model. Chapman’s tears were evident during the meeting — but it only added to the power of the moment.

"Crying does not make you weak or ugly, it lets people know you feel,” Chapman says. “I was crying because this woman, standing next to me, embracing me as much as I was embracing her, had just given the most inspirational speech.”

The demonstration of emotion has inspired other women to be real. ASU freshman and psychology major Natalia Nava admires Chapman’s passion.

“Kat is one of those people who loves to stand her own ground and isn’t afraid of doing so,” Nava says. “One can’t help but admire her for her infectious and unwavering passion that exudes from every fiber of her being.”

Chapman understands the importance of women building one another up. She has an important message for all women on the importance of collaboration.

“One of IATG's core values is 'Collaboration, not competition' and I think that's so important,” Chapman says. “When young women stop seeing each other as competition, as someone to beat, we feel more empowered to work together to solve problems and reach goals.”


Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.