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UK Ambassador Kellessee Thomas is just 9 years old, but already making big changes in her local scene, with a push to help girls engage in action sports and gain confidence in themselves. She does this all through her company Like a Girl Co. We interviewed her to learn more about what it was all about.
Tell us a little about how you got started in action sports - was skateboarding your first love?
My mum showed me a video of people skateboarding and asked me if I want to try it. I said yes as long as I can do it in a tutu.
Which 3 things would you take with you to a deserted island?
My longboard, a tutu and a Unicorn. Ooh can I add nail polish to that.
Are there any other sports you're passionate about? What about something the SheShreds ladies do that you'd really like to try?
I love snowboarding, actually I Love it more than skateboarding. And I love longboarding.
I'd love to try motocross. Can you wear a tutu for that? And wakeboarding, windsurfing, rock climbing, surfing.
Not many girls your age have their own businesses - what made you decide to take that leap?
I want to inspire other girls to be happy being who they are. Some girls don't have women around them to show them that it's ok to be just who they are. And I'm a bit shy and some people think it's a problem, my mum tells me that it's ok to be me, that it's great to be me, doesn't matter if I'm shy, as long as I'm being myself.
I have my Mum and my Aunty to show me how to be a good person and how to be a great woman. I want other girls to have that. And to feel like they belong to themselves. Not trying to be somebody else. And have a place and people who support, care about and love them.
How is your company name name "Like a Girl" meaningful to you? Why did you choose it?
It's means Just Be You, like me just being myself, I'm a girl. I have 5 brothers and people expect me to dress like a boy and to act like a boy, whatever that is. But I'm not, I like pink, glitter, handbags, nail polish, tutus and dolls. Did I say tutus. I also like to skateboard and longboard in a tutu.
I chose it so that girls can feel proud about being themselves and not trying to be like a boy, like what is that, anyway? When they say LIKE A GIRL® I want them to feel good about who they are. That's why my slogan is "Just Be You."
You don't have to like dresses or like wearing jeans. Just being yourself is perfect.
What about skating inspires you to be courageous?
I try new things that sometimes seem scary, like dropping in on 11ft vert bowls. And it encourages me that I can do these things. I don't like competitions but sometimes I enter them to inspire other girls to try skateboarding or longboarding.
How can that help other girls who struggle with self esteem?
Once you show yourself that you can do something like that, it helps a lot with your confidence.
Who designed your company logo?
I did. I had a different logo before. It was good but it didn't have exactly what I was looking for. I wanted my logo to be Cute and Rebellious at the same time.
We can see that you have a unique sense of style - and not necessarily the traditional "skater girl" look - tell us what inspires your fashion sense!
I have a unique style, really!? I didn't even know that.
I love clothes. Especially tutus. Like bright colours. They have to match. Oh and I love handbags, I really love handbags especially if they match my clothes. And nail polish, I have about 36 bottles of nail polish.
I love to design my own clothes. What inspires my fashion sense? I don't know! I just see something I like and that's it, really.
Tell us about your experience as an ambassador to SheShreds so far - what have you enjoyed?
I love that everyone is so supportive. It's like amazing. The girls like my posts, message me, we're gonna do a meet up. It's like having lots of sisters, but you don't have to share your clothes.
Tell us about any cool happenings you have coming up with Like a Girl:
I'm doing press coverage for The Telegraph Ski and Snowboard show. I'll share my videos on my YouTube and on insta. I'll be at the Snooks Girls Launch party. I'll be at the Shextreme festival.
I'm working on a few projects at the moment, I'll let you know about those soon.
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