For over a decade, the Dove Self-Esteem Project has helped young people develop a positive relationship with their appearance. This year, in celebration of International Women’s day, Dove teamed up with actress and body-positive advocate, Dascha Polanco, to mentor the next generation of young girls from the Boys & Girls Clubs of New York City. The #HourWithHer event included confidence-building activities as well as vocal and physical empowerment training to encourage girls to advocate for themselves.
Image by: Dove
We reached the Orange is the New Black star by phone to speak about her collaboration with Dove.
Why was this the right fit for you, right now?
Being a woman and being Latina, I feel like this is the right timing especially during the time that we’re going through in the United States. [Dove] was ideal for me because I’m so vocal about loving yourself and having confidence and self-esteem.
Have you always been this confident?
I’m always portrayed in the public eye as being very confident, and I appreciate that, but it’s been such a long time for me to get here. There are so many other women and young girls that feel alone and don’t realize that so many of us have gone through it. I work on the things that bother me and I like using my social media platform to be positive and to just spread the love.
Tell me about the project.
I didn’t know it started in 2004, which is amazing. Knowing that more than half of young girls suffer from low self-esteem and feel like they don’t have a voice, [Dove has] a website with resources so they can use now and as a life-long tool. It’s something I was missing when I was a teenager. If three minutes of the Shonda Rhimes video for Dove affect you in such a way that you can emotionally connect, imagine what an hour does to a young lady where you take the time out to listen and to motivate and inspired.
You brought your teenage daughter with you today.
I was so happy and excited when [Dove] invited my daughter and I, because these are things I want her to be part of. I want her to be more confident and have the self-esteem that I lacked at that age. I want her to know that she has the capability to do whatever she sets her mind to.
Have you always used Dove products?
Yes—Dove was the only soap I grew up using on my skin, nothing else. My mom was super healthy and looked up the pH balance on the soap to see which one was the best. My hairstylist [Cynthia Alvarez] usually uses Dove products.
Who is someone that really inspires you?
She’s no longer here, but I looked up to my mom. She was like my grounding source. She saw the beauty in [the things] I would criticize like my legs. I get body shamed all the time but I remember my mom used to love my legs. Her words mean so much more to me than anything else out there.
Image by: Dove
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