Be a Badass

Local Women proudly tag themselves as ‘that’ girl.

Local Women proudly tag themselves as ‘that’ girl.

I Am That Girl in Northern Virginia
Photo courtesy of Mr. Aesthetics/


“I’m a badass because …” Each of the eight women sitting in the back room of Chimole in Leesburg one April evening start their introductions. Because “… I realized I’m not going to get everything done, and that’s OK.” “… I’m opening my own business. I’m scared shitless. But I know it’ll work.”

These are not women who have come together because of some harrowing experience or loss. They are not fighting a disease or cancer. They are women who are supporting each other in daily life; those small stresses that when built upon gnaw at your mind throughout the day (work place competitiveness, starting a new business, moving, friend quarrels).

The members of  Northern Virginia’s first chapter of I Am That Girl speak honestly about issues they are dealing with in a judgment-free space around other women who help them realize that what they are doing is enough. The I Am That Girl movement was started in 2012 Alexis Jones and Emily Greener, and has women all over the world pledging to “collaborate instead of compete and remind other girls of their worth when they’ve forgotten.”

Debbie Love, president and founder of Embrace and Love Change, started the first Northern Virginia chapter in January (a second group is being started by Kimberly Warfield in Middleburg) because she saw how many women were competing with each other; suffering from low self-esteem; and, being in the wellness business (a nurse for 37 years and a consultant), she was tired of people selling hope. Through community outreach the group is working to get I Am That Girl groups started in the local high schools, and plans are in the works for one in Loudoun County starting this month. “Girls, particularly in high school, are struggling daily with self-esteem issues … comparison and competition about what they wear, who they are friends with, and what is “good enough,” says Love. “I also believe that they are potential leaders who I [want] to mentor to help other girls who may be struggling.” —Lynn Norusis

(May 2014)