It’s Friday! We can hardly wait to share not one but TWO kickass women with you today. Julia and Shelby are this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY. These two dynamic ladies complement one another perfectly. It’s beautiful to see how these ladies collaborate together, which is by recognizing and acknowledging each other’s unique strengths while still having fun! They remind us that it is so important, today more than ever, for women to support one another, and they are determined to lead by that example. Like the strong-willed and ambitous women who have inspired them, Julia and Shelby continue to push the boundaries and stop at nothing to achieve their goals.

Both ladies have impressive resumes. Shelby is Director & Editor for a documentary called "Bread Machine", and the Co-Director & Editor for an upcoming documentary called "Summer Reading", set to be released in 2019. She is also the Post-Production Assistant for the Animal Planet docu-series "Ocean Warriors" and the Director & Editor for the short film "Creatures". Julia is the Editor-In-Chief of “Visual Opinion” and the Video Artist for “Boyfriend Material”, under the mentorship of Margot Norton. She is the Curator for New Museum, which was displayed at the SVA Chelsea Gallery and the Video Artist for “Johnny”, which was displayed at 214 E 21st Street Gallery. Julia is also the Director of Photography for the documentary “Bread Machine”, the Co-Director & Director of Photography for “Summer Reading”, the Director of Photography for the short film “Creatures” and the Co-Director for the video art piece “Humann”, installed at Zentrum Für Kunst Und Urbanistik in Berlin, Germany.

We are so inspired by these two phenomenal ladies because they represent everything empowered females should be. They motivate us to live life exactly how we want and embrace ALL of who we are without zero apologies. We appreciate how they encourage us to give ourselves permission not to fit the mold, and they believe in getting comfortable with the idea that others may not always understand us. It’s easy to follow the crowd and we often lose our individuality by trying to fit it in. But just like Julia and Shelby, YOU can go against the grain and live your life exactly the way you want. Thank you ladies for being such incredible role models. We hope all of our YGTGirls can live as fearlessly as you!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

We love that you two ladies are working together to make your dreams happen! What’s it like working with another woman and being able to form a creative partnership with your friend?

Creative relationships, even general friendships, between women are so rarely documented, and that's a big piece of this work that we're doing. We've been collaborating since the beginning of college, but it was only just recently that we realized why we work so well together–it's because our creativity is different. The places we draw from for inspiration are on opposite ends of the "art" spectrum, if you could call it that. Because of that we have this almost poetic way of meeting in the middle. And also being best friends means that work meetings don't really feel like work, which is always nice. 

Who were your biggest female inspirations growing up?

Shelby: Of course my mom. She's a pretty badass business lady currently trying to navigate a world of businessmen and doing an incredible job. Throughout my childhood, facing both illness and financial setbacks, she's always pushed through and made it known that "this is what she's going to do and nobody is going to stop her." She's pretty inspiring. Then in addition to my mom, and this may sound silly, I was always inspired by Rachel Carson, environmentalist and author of "Silent Spring" (1962). I made a documentary about her in high school, and she just kind of stuck with me.

Julia: I’m from a big family, and one that’s mostly women! My grandma is one of my great influences, and I guess sort of the origin of all the badass ladies in the family, really! She took a pretty immense leap and moved back--she grew up in Milano--to Italy when I was about 8 years old. When I was 14 I started spending summers with her there. She and that place completely changed my life. I was bullied quite a bit in middle school; so much so that I even switched schools in 8th grade. Being there with her allowed me a new lens for looking at myself that was detached from the way that I had been framed within the scope of middle school. I’m 5’9 and blonde with blue eyes, so I don’t exactly blend in when I’m in Italy. So suddenly, I was in this place where people noticed me in positive ways! She taught me to take pride in myself while I was there. And, she taught me that I was and should feel beautiful, which in turn really opened my eyes to how beautiful all women are. That sounds cheesy, but I mean it in all sincerity!

What can women do to support each other more?

We think women need to realize sometimes, that the success of another woman does not hurt them. There is nothing wrong with supporting another woman in the same field as you, and helping, to lift them up beside you, instead of feeling like it will become them "instead of" you. Because the truth is, that no other person will be you, everyone is different. Another woman's strengths and weaknesses are different, and lifting her up beside you gives you both the chance to not compete with, but complement each other.

If you had a room full of 10-year- old girls in front of you right now, what would you tell them?

Shelby: Just for them to be as weird and as feisty as possible. It's okay to be different and not to fit a mold! There is no reason to ever stifle your talent or passion, and as you discover what you like, help your friends discover what they like too. 

Julia: Like I said before, I’m comin’ from a whole tribe of women! I have two sisters, 11 and 13, and four girl cousins, two of who are 13. The other two are one year-old twins, so they’ve got some time. I think my best advice for them--and I’m not always perfect in this respect--is to be kind and generous! Be you. Be weird. Some people won’t get the you or the weird, and some will be unkind, but treat them with kindness too or else simply ignore them! 

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

Shelby: A young woman who simply refuses to give up at all costs. 

Julia: A woman or girl who really does her best to show herself and others love!