HGC Blogger of the Month: Charity Girl Problems Connects Community through storytelling
It’s been a while since I’ve introduced you to a new HGC Blogger of the Month, but I am delighted that the latest one is someone who I’ve come to personally get to know and love- so like the saying goes, “late is better than never!” Brooke Marston is the CEO and Creative Director of Charity Girl Problems and I’m so excited to introduce you to her and her awesome fashion for good, HGC-approved blog.
Brooke and I have a lot in common- we love animals, we love Sam Hunt and we LOVE brands that give back. Through Charity Girl Problems, Brooke shares stories of many amazing and inspiring women who give back through the #WCW Spotlight series, she shares numerous ways to give back fashionably- through shopping fashion for good brands, and also through her community of Charity Girls.
At House of G&C we love her for so many reasons we can’t stop counting them! She’s a fashion savvy blogger and she’s crazy smart. She’s an activist who loves connecting the people to their passions and looks cute while she does it. And she’s a product guru: For any “give back” fashion items from necklaces to notebooks, and from pillows to the perfect picnic utensils, she’ll have great recommendations for the best giving goodies.
Me to We is an innovative social enterprise that provides products that make an impact, empowering people to change the world with their everyday consumer choices. Brooke models one of the Me to We rafiki bracelets that help support mamas in Kenya.
HGC: I LOVE your classic and feminine style. Tell me – in a nutshell – more about your background coming from development.
Brooke Marston of Charity Girl Problems: In college, I actually majored in screenwriting. Equal to my love of words is my love of photography, so I spent a lot of time in the dark room as well as in front of a computer. I have always been drawn to story telling, both through words and pictures. After college, I was lucky enough to fall into the world of television series development, which combined both passions – working with writers and words to create visual stories for the screen.
I never really imagined myself a writer, but I have always loved the opportunity to tell the stories of those making a difference. So much of what is out there is so negative – I really want to change that narrative. There are so many unsung heroes doing amazing, kind, unnoticed things for others on a daily basis. These stories are the important ones to share, in my mind. Everything I learned in college and during my time in series development gave me the skills and confidence I needed to create a platform to inspire change.
Charity Girl Problems came to life as a way to share these stories – the stories of people using their unique talents and gifts to benefit the lives of strangers, whether through starting their own charities, donating their time and/or skills, or through fashion.
HGC: Who are some of your favorite style inspirations or icons?
BM: My style icon has always been Audrey Hepburn – classic, understated, and powerfully feminine. Not only is she my style icon, she’s a lifestyle icon. She chose love during a time (and despite being a recipient of) unjust hate. And rather than repaying hate with anger or more hate, she chose to dedicate her life to loving and caring for others.
Recently, I have also been obsessed with Emma Watson’s style. Not only is it classic and feminine, she goes out of her way to ensure what she wears is sustainable and ethically sourced. Emma is a great example of what’s possible when you decide to live out your values and lead by example.
HGC: How would you describe your style and what are some of your fashion must-haves?
BM: My style is very simple, understated, and girly. My mom always taught my sister and I that we should invest in great classic pieces that will last forever and add personality with accessories. Shoes have always been a personal favorite of mine – they are a great way to add a surprise pop of personality.
As for any must-haves, I love a good statement piece that will spark conversation. 1:Face watches are super fun way to add a pop of color while also making a bold statement about causes important to you.
HGC: How do you look good?
BM: This is something I struggle with daily. Beauty is such a transient thing, subjective to sooo many opinions. What I have learned recently is that beauty is also contingent on actions and personality. You can be pretty in the traditional sense, but if your personality is selfish and spiteful, your beauty disintegrates as we learn more about a person’s heart. On the flip side, as we learn more about the hearts and passions of those who do not fit into the traditional “beauty box,” their beauty grows exponentially; good will always be beautiful and transcendent. So feed your soul, surround yourself with people who inspire you to continue to grow into a better person; feeling beautiful and looking good will follow. You will fall in love with the person you become – that’s the most contagious way to look good.
HGC: Do good?
BM: It took me a long time to understand my talents + skills and how they can be used for good. My entire life I’ve loved stories. History was my favorite subject because it is a collection of stories of people who made a difference. I pursued a career in theatre (very briefly) and television because they visually tell the stories of people who using their life to do something inspiring. And now, I get to combine my passion for storytelling and writing by sharing stories of amazing women (and hopefully men, one day) who have found ways to use their unique gifts to give back and make a difference. That is how I’ve found my own unique way to do good in the world.
HGC: Give back?
BM: I am a big believer that there is no right or wrong way to give back. There is no gesture too small. Even the slightest gesture can be exactly what a stranger needs in that moment. We never know the journey of another or the battles they are fighting that day. Sometimes all it takes is a smile or holding a door to remind someone they are seen and valued.
Personally, I give back in many different ways – from choosing to wear brands with a socially responsible mission, to hosting a Mother’s Day Day of Beauty with Emily Oliver Beauty for the moms of PATH, cleaning up the beach with friends, to visiting homeless camps throughout Los Angeles. At the end of the day, my focus is always on restoring a bit of humanity to those who feel they have been forgotten.
HGC: What are some of your favorite causes to support or issues closest to your heart?
BM: There are so many other very worthy causes out there. As Charity Girl, I do my best to share as many as possible, with the hope every person reading will discover something that moves and inspires them to do something to affect change.
The three core causes closest to my heart are Human Trafficking, poverty and homelessness, and hunger/ food insecurity. To me freedom, a place to live, and the ability to go to sleep each night on a full stomach are inalienable rights as a human on this planet.
I first found out about Speak Your Silence Stitch kits through my friend Nick’s store Shop FOR A Cause, and have been really excited about them since. 100% of profits from these kits fund in-person, one-on-one counseling nationwide for those directly affected by child sexual abuse. For more info, find out about Speak Your Silence here.
HGC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?
BM: There are so many that I keep posted everywhere to keep me grounded. However, I would have to say the one that really resonates with me the most is from Wizard of Oz.
“You’ve always had the power within you, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”
Dorothy had to journey through Oz and face the Wicked Witch before she learned her true power; she had to face her fears to learn her true strength. I keep this quote as the lock screen of my phone as a reminder that facing what scares you is the only way to really learn what you’re made of.
HGC: Where would you like Charity Girl Problems to be in five years?
BM: My goal to build Charity Girl Problems into a community where people can come to find inspiration. Whether it be discovering how your talents can be shared with the world to make a difference, to starting your own non-profit, to researching new socially responsible brands and their true contributions, to finding regular volunteer opportunities in your community. I want Charity Girl Problems to be a place where people connect, collaborate, and share their talents + resources to leave something good behind. The era of the mean girl is over; instead, working together to empower others and solve problems is becoming mainstream. I hope Charity Girl Problems helps in continuing to push this movement forward.
HGC: The new website looks GREAT!!! What do you have on the radar for the rest of 2016?
BM: It is crazy that 2016 is already half over, time moves so quickly. With the rest of this year, I am planning to launch a volunteer group email list where non-profits can easily connect with volunteers looking to be more active in the community. There is a large group here in Los Angeles who want to be more involved and give back, they just do not know where to start. My goal is to help bridge this gap and get people connected again.
Another goal is to launch smaller sub-groups in communities outside of Los Angeles as well. While it is great to have an overall network of like-minded people coming together to share stories, for me it is equally important to connect people in their own community – everything is always better when done together.
Love it and LOVE that quote! For more info on Brooke and her Charity Girl Problems initiatives, be sure to check out her blog here: www.charitygirlproblems.com and follow her on social media: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
If you are an LA local and want to sign up for her volunteer list, email her here. I’m super excited to announce Charity Girl Problems as my next HGC Word of Mouth guest columnist! Stay tuned next month for her first HGC x CGP post!
Thanks Brooke for being our September HGC Blogger of the Month and making looking good, doing good and giving back so easy!
All photos provided by Charity Girl Problems unless otherwise noted