Like most of us queer women born in a certain era, Ellen DeGeneres as a child was forced to wear dresses, pinks and a lot of “girly” things her mother made for her wear – sigh.
Talking to Mashable, Ellen said
When I was growing up I didn’t have a lot of choices, as most kids don’t. It really starts when you’re young. It starts when you’re able to express yourself…”
Enter GapKids x ED and the #heyworld campaign, which launches this week. A clothing line that Ellen hopes will allow children to express their authentic identities and empower girls to embrace what makes them different.
In the past, Ellen says she tired to appease her parents by wearing traditional girls’ clothes out in public — from school to church — and afterward immediately changing into comfortable outfits, similar to her sartorial tastes today.
It’s really important to dress in a way that is you, and these clothes that we have designed together are very unique and very powerful and very different.”
Besides DeGeneres, other influencers such as Hilary Duff, Victoria Justice and Nikki Reed, have joined the crusade and will be hash-tagging “heyworld” on social media, for young people either seeking advice or encouragement.
I’m a comedian, I’m funny some of the time, but I’m not funny all of the time. I’m definitely sad sometimes. I have my days when I’m down, and my days when the world is overwhelming and sad things happen. You should look for ways to feel better about yourself and not get down on yourself because you’re having a bad day.”
She wants people to use the hashtag campaign for this purpose, and to talk through tough times.
I want to see what people are writing, what they choose to express, and what they choose to say. I want to see if socially they are going to send us message [about] who they are, what sets them apart, what makes them unique.”
Tricia Nichols, global lead of consumer engagement and partnerships for Gap, added
Ellen represents an American icon with a commitment to individuality. ED by Ellen is all about “being allowed to be the individual you are.”
Along with DeGeneres, Gap plans to highlight responses and inspiring stories that come from the movement — on her show, Instagram and Twitter.
Hopefully young girls are going to get empowered by this, which is my goal,”