Every month I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!
So without further delay, let me introduce the wonderful Alysha Haugen and Magali Meagher…
Alysha Haugen and Magali Meagher love to bring together their knack for creating music with their knack for creating community, and to do this they’ve just started Toronto’s very own Girls Rock Camp!
Girls Rock Camp Toronto is a day camp for girls ages 8-16 that will be happening July 18-22, 2011. Girls come for a week long crash course in playing an instrument, songwriting, zine making, self-defense and more. At the end of the week, campers get to perform their original song with their band at a local live music venue. Girls who attend the camp don’t need to have any prior music experience, and instruments are provided.
What drives you to do what you do?
We like weaving music-making and community-making so starting a Girls Rock Camp in Toronto makes a lot of sense to us. The electricity that comes out of working with others to make cool stuff happen really charges me up and makes me happy. I love learning new things and I do this all of the time when creating through music and organizing in my community.
How does being a woman empower / challenge you?
Rock music has not traditionally been a place where women are supported to succeed. Don’t get me wrong, there have been and are lots of outstanding women in rock who have made their art on their own terms but in many instances their achievements are in spite of the industry. In some ways the challenges end up empowering me to flip things around, persevering and collaborating with other women and men who are into creating a different reality. Women have a long history
of surmounting obstacles and it’s inspiring to learn from the experiences of others.
What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?
Off the top of my head, here are a few things. Know yourself and don’t be embarrassed to admit what you know and don’t know. Don’t be afraid of the “specialty shop”. I used to be so afraid of going into a music store where the cliche of a guy doing some wanky solo super loud and a guy behind the counter calling me “lil’ lady” was a reality (for real! being called “lil’ lady happened in this century!). I now know that asking questions is a real show of strength. Being confident, and
that includes showing what you don’t know, is unsettling to those who make assumptions about where you fit or don’t fit in a given situation. Also, teaming up with other people is a great way to
accomplish things that you wouldn’t be able to get done as easily on your own. Don’t sell yourself short. It’s a true fact: girls can rock as hard as boys.
What is one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?
Know yourself! I already said this but it’s something that I’ve been working on my whole life it seems. Knowing who you are, what you believe in and what you want in your life and for the people you love and live around helps you make better decisions. It’s probably different for everyone but I find that getting out into nature, getting right up and personal with a blade of grass or going for a walk surrounded by a bunch of tall trees fills me with lots of joy and
calms me down.
What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?
I don’t know that there is one answer to this question but here are two things: Be kind and speak out when you don’t think something is right.
If you are interested in attending the camp or volunteering to help out, visit Girls Rock Camp Toronto at www.girlsrocktoronto.org.