It’s a rare and special occurrence for us to meet with such an accomplished 20-something whose TED Talk has resonated across all age groups. After being rejected from a renewed spot on the USC Song Girls team her sophomore year of college for having, as she elucidated in her Talk, “too wide of hips,” Alexa Trujillo set out to create an incredible legacy of support and empowerment among female students.
Amidst those early college days, questioning her purpose and worth, Trujillo began to realize just how much other girls struggled with similar feelings. During an interview with ConnectWithLife.com, Trujillo stated, “They were either not smart enough for the engineering school, not pretty enough to join a sorority or not physically appealing enough to be, for instance, a dancer [ . . . ] So, I decided I wanted to do something about it.”
In her junior year she founded the USC chapter of I AM THAT GIRL, an organization dedicated to providing a safe space for girls to meet and talk about whatever life topics matter most. Weekly discussion topics are decided based on the highest voted topic on the group’s Facebook page. Subjects range from body image to confidence to sexual orientation. Anything is fair game.
“What reinforces my love for this work is when someone new comes up to me at the end of the meeting and says something like, ‘wow, I’ve never connected so well with a group of strangers before,’” recalled Trujillo, “Knowing that our conversation really resonated with someone is so rewarding.”
Currently, the 2-year-old chapter boasts 200 members, with a loyal core of 50. Boys have even started joining in on the meetings, eager to participate in the weekly conversations. Trujillo hopes that the group will continue to grow in size and effectiveness.
“I want it to be a safe space where people can take down their barriers. At USC there is a culture of perfectionism that can be so exhausting. You always have to pretend you can do it all and have it all, “ she explained to us.
In addition to I AM THAT GIRL, Trujillo also spent time mentoring/tutoring 8th grade girls in the Los Angeles community as a part of Women and Youth Supporting Each Other. She painted the typical mentorship session for us, stating, “We talked to these girls about everything under the sun, from healthy relationships to eating disorders to thoughts about college. [ . . . ] Our job was to give it to them straight.” Trujillo is still in contact with many of her mentees, occasionally receiving texts from them asking for advice or company.
Our conversation shifted and we began discussing the future of the national women’s rights movement. In Trujillo’s eyes, supporting women, whether they are younger or older than you, is an important action that more female Millennials need to start taking. “Instead of just talking about women’s rights it’s time to actually do it. Ask for a raise, believe you can get the promotion, work towards becoming a CEO and actually help other girls,” she urged. From this belief bloomed Trujillo’s life mantra, a saying that was constructed during her time at USC. She stated,
“My kind of mantra that I’ve learned through college is that you’ll never be enough for someone. There’s never going to be a Prince Charming. And if you can be your own Prince Charming, so many doors will open for you. A lot of girls waste away on their weaknesses. If you will just give attention to your strengths, you will accomplish a lot more in life.”
A 2016 honors graduate from the USC Marshall School of Business, Trujillo’s future plans include a marketing specialist position with Deloitte, a management-consulting firm. She’ll no doubt be a force to reckon with out in the real world. Congratulations on the graduation, Alexa! We can’t to see what you do next!