Jamia Wilson grew up thinking about the impact of media on the world, first modeling herself after Christiane Amanpour and thinking about a career as a war correspondent. But it was a teacher in journalism school who changed her life: he told her she was smart and articulate, but if she didn’t straighten her hair, she wouldn’t have a career in mainstream media.
Did she heed this misguided piece of advice? Hardly. Jamia went on to change her major and spend every day from then on challenging the cultural expectation of how women should look and how they should act if they want to have careers in the media.
Whether managing youth outreach at Planned Parenthood, organizing thousands of young people in the March for Women’s Lives or taking a leadership role in the SPARK Movement and challenging the sexualization of girls in the media, Jamia is using her voice, her strength and her ideals to help young girls thrive in the world. As Director of Youth + Tech + Health, she educates and advocates for young adults on health issues using the reach and power of technology. “I’m grateful to that professor because he pissed me off enough to want to devote my life to this.” Jamia spoke on the 20th anniversary of the Anita Hill trial (Don’t know Anita Hill? Google her for another example of a woman who stood up for herself) and talked about how it ignited a fire in her to advocate for women.
And there’s no stopping her now. “I do it looking the way I do with no apologies.”