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Q&A with Janell McCovey of Perfect Girls Ain’t Real

Live on Purpose and Giavanna's Closet
participants model the newly launched Live On Purpose t-shirt with the quote “Purpose Will Take You Where Passion Won’t” and girly dresses by Giavanna’s Closet.

One of the reasons that I was interested in journalism was because of the traditional news media’s reluctance to publish or air stories about people like Janell McCovey. Janell is one of the founders of  a Connecticut based community group called Perfect Girl’s Ain’t Real, one of the many organizations formed to inspire and  make a difference in the lives of young people in our urban communities.   

Last week, I was invited to attend their Live on Purpose Fashion Show and Launch. According to the invite[t]his show will debut a line of carefully designed shirts, in various designs, that will remind women to live with purpose, by living ON purpose!”

I had never heard of the organization or event but was motivated to attend out of sheer curiosity. I showered, dressed and grabbed Ossie’s canon, just in case. What I witnessed was a beautiful and inspiring fashion show featuring young women who were appropriately dressed, well rehearsed and poised. Janell also gave a wonderful closing which inspired this Q&A.

Jannell McCovey, founder of Perfect Girl's Aint Real (PGAR) takes her walk across the stage for the shows closing.
Jannell McCovey, founder of Perfect Girl’s Aint Real (PGAR) takes her walk across the stage during the final presentation.
Can you tell me a little bit about your organization and why you started it?

I co-founded a community group with my best friend, Remila Triumph, called Perfect Girls Ain’t Real (PGAR). Our mission is to cultivate, educate, and inspire young women of distinguished character, by virtue of mentorship, activism, and advocacy; seeking to redefine the stereotypical ideology of self and employ the perfect power that lies within the imperfect woman.Simply put, our aim is to identify purpose, deliver hope, and ignite the flame of promise that is in the heart of each young woman. PGAR was birthed from the desire to inspire. According to the Confidence Coalition and Do Something:

• 7 in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school, and relationships with friends and family
• 70% of girls, ages 15-17 avoid normal activities when they feel bad about their looks
• 75% of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, and disordered eating
• 20% of teens will experience depression before adulthood
• Women are routinely degraded in everything from pop culture to casual conversation
• Every 15 seconds a woman is battered
• Just 2% of women think they are beautiful

(confidencecoalition.org/statistics-women)

Every woman needs to be reminded of their worth. Women are often adorned with so many crowns: student, employee, sister, friend, perhaps mother; that we often lose sight of the power that we possess, the strength that God has equipped us with, and the very essence of our beauty. It was our aim to be that reminder!

Is this a summer program or year-long program?
PGAR is an ongoing empowerment group. We participate with local businesses, churches and organizations year-round to mobilize our mission.

How do I contact you if I want to join?
If you are interested in contacting PGAR for an event, we are happy to be in touch with you by emailing us at: [email protected]

Where can we buy the t-shirts that were featured in the show?
Live On Purpose is a line that I was inspired to create because of PGAR’s philanthropic efforts with young women. These shirts will be available at http://liveonpurposeshoppe.bigcartel.com/ beginning August 1st!

Live On Purpose Fashion Show and Launch
Performers from the event and the most fashionably dressed members of the audience.
The Live On Purpose Fashion Show and Launch was made possible with the participation of the following vendors: House of NATIV, Get Crowned and Giavanna’s Closet.
XoXo, Natasha

About Natasha Samuels

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10 comments

  1. I agree with Beth, as a mom of a little girl, this is frustrating, and scary to me…especially when all I see is beauty when I look at her. Love the message of this organization, and look forward to learning more!
    Dana recently posted..Zucchini FrittersMy Profile

  2. Please excuse me if I missed it but what is the link for the group that put this event on? Do they have a website?
    GoodLooknOut recently posted..Summer Gypsy Style, The Right Way!My Profile

  3. Ugh. 2%. But very inspiring story! AS the mom of a little girl…this worries me. We can do better.

    • I hate to say this but I believe our insecurities are driven by the images that are presented to us from the media and was compounded by the adults around us who had insecurities of their own. This is one of the reasons that I decided against having children. It took me a long time to get to where I am mentally and every now and then I slip back to that dark place. Confident moms rear confident daughters. (-:

  4. What an inspiring post! Also, I just love that picture of Jannell- she looks incredible!

    xx Kait
    Kait recently posted..Meatless Monday: Vegan Maryland “Crab” CakesMy Profile

    • Thanks Kait. She is a younger woman too actually very close in age to some of the older girls that participated in the show. I heart for organizations like this.

  5. This sounds like a wonderful organization.

    How sad that only 2% of women think they are beautiful. The times, they are a’ changing!
    Bonnie recently posted..Cash Mob CT at Country Paint and Hardware in North Branford CTMy Profile

    • I seriously exhaled when I found out what the mission of the organization was. We need a Janell on every street here in Hartford.