KATE NASH Q & A AT GIRL RISING SCREENING
We all know Kate Nash as a singer, songwriter and musician, but what we didn’t know about her yet is that she became an ambassador for Plan’s Because I am a girl initiative. Balancing the release of her new album Girl Talk and finishing her US tour, Kate managed to find some time to take a trip to Ghana to participate in a cause that’s dear to her heart. Using her voice and natural charisma, Kate is speaking out on behalf of the girls who lack access to education and live in poverty. Because I am a girl campaign is reaching out to girls all over the world and has a huge potential – with the help of strong individuals like Kate of course – to change their lives forever.
Girl Rising is a latest project and a collaboration aimed to tell the story of struggle and courage experienced by girls all over the world. The movie is comprised of nine chapters, which are all shot differently, and each tell a different story. The segment shown at the screening was shot during an Arab Spring in Egypt, and included a story of Yasmin, a young Egyptian girl who falls prey to a violent man. Because of several security issues, and also because of the nature of the story that chapter of the film was animated. I had a pleasure to be invited to the private screening of Girl Rising, and to hear Kate speak about her collaboration with Plan, her travel experiences in Ghana and her future plans.
It’s not the firs time that Kate is participating in the charitable causes and trying to help girls. “I’ve always done work for girls in the UK. I started a school club in the UK because I found out that there are less female composers than male, and that made me really angry. I wanted to change that. I’ve gone with a bunch of friends to six different schools in UK to educate girls and really work on self-esteem issues. And we had drum, base and guitar sessions.… We worked for months and we did this performance.… My girls went from not being able to perform in front of their classmates to standing up in front of 800 people and performing songs they have written, and having a place to pull their angst and insecurity, and owning it. And that just feels really good to me. That makes me really happy and excited about thinking that things could change in the future. It’s about my generation, but also the next generation of girls.”
Sharing her thoughts and talking about her experiences working with Plan’s Because I am a girl campaign, Nash adds, “I’ve set down with Plan in January and straight away I wanted to work with them to have the opportunity to work with girls from parts of the world I’ve never been to, learning about the countries and addressing some quite heavy issues. I felt really passionate about doing that.” While in Ghana Kate was able to connect to kids on a universal level, to speak to them in a way that made it possible to relate and open up. Her sincerity and down-to-earth demeanor made them trust her. “Teenage girls from all over the world are all the same, same interests, [they are] going through adolescence and are able to relate on emotional level. If we are all down-to-earth, then you can really relate to anybody, I think. Even if you had completely different lives.”
It is definitely difficult for Plan to navigate through the difficulties of each situation; a lot of things need to be considered, especially long-standing cultural traditions. But even if there couldn’t be a happy ending to every story, the work that’s been started needs to move forward, so the next generation of girls won’t experience the same fate. “There was a boy’s voice in a group of girls who said, ‘My parents told me girls are not equal to boys, but through this group I’ve been educated and I now teach my parents there are opportunities for the girls, they are not just supposed to be in the kitchen.’ And that was revolutionary; that kid would’ve grown up with a mindset that girls are not equal to men. And now, because of Plan he doesn’t think that, and he is teaching the older generation the truth and reality. I just think, it’s amazing and groundbreaking that his thinking would be changed not just for him, but his friends and family also.”
Kate appears to be changed and humbled by this experience in her life and she certainly has a new found appreciation for the simple things in life. “It was a lot to take in when we went on a trip, especially so that it was so short and a lot had happened. I’ve never been to Ghana before, it was a sensory overload.…What I loved about it was how these people cared about their community and it made me want to do that as well. And it makes me appreciate the simple things in life [like] seeing a kid with no shoes on because she chose education [instead]. It’s like a wake up call seeing how lucky I am.… I grew up in a safe and loving environment with sisters, I wasn’t abused growing up. So that’s something to be grateful for.”
One of the things that every willing participant can do to help this cause is to talk about it, to spread the word and educate. Educate women and men especially. The message Kate is trying to send about men’s’ involvement is clear, “It’s about protecting women around us. Everyone has a wife, sister, child or girlfriend. Everyone loves different girls and, I think, the men have to be involved, so it can move forward. Boys can be role models too. Someone to look up to and teach them how to treat women. Women need to learn to stand up for themselves and not take [the abuse]. So the men need to be educated as well. And that boy is the perfect example of that. People are affected by the way they are raised, and it’s amazing that the boy was so open-minded at such a young age.”
Changing mentality and engaging the public by making projects and films like Girl rising is a great way to start the conversation and bring everyone closer. “I believe in everybody changing their mentality; everyone is being affected by something. Watching this you might think about how you are treating somebody, so I believe that any individual can make a change. Sometimes we look at the world and think, it’s so big, and I am so small. The fact that we just watched a film about one girl that we didn’t have knowledge of before, and we care about her now. That shows that individuals do really matter. When someone smiles at you on a subway, it can totally change your day. Tiny things that happen to you on a daily basis can make such a world of difference.”
Girl rising is scheduled to open in select Regal Cinema theatres nationwide on April 19th. It is also currently being dubbed to be shown internationally.