Exclusive Interview with Student-Athlete Dalis Connell

Many young women hold one shared priority: to go above and beyond in any task she should undertake. Each one does so inspired by the sometimes frightening, often thrilling anticipation of asserting herself in the real world; meeting new challenges and opportunities with both fervor and perseverance. These girls can be labeled as a “go-getters”: the ones who love discovering new talents and abilities within themselves, followed by the urge to apply these in an effort to succeed. It’s a revolution that is spreading quickly throughout the girls of this generation, and will undoubtedly result in the most successful wave of women in human history. These young ladies are the future, but that perspective can be so easily lost in the chaotic period of post-adolescence. With this in mind, Girlish Writings has decided to highlight a nineteen-year-old student who can be viewed as a prime example of just what talent, determination and a great sense of work ethic can result in.

Meet Dalis Connell: a student, athlete, motivator, and innovator. After living with her mother in Southern California, Dalis moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee when she was 16 and is now a track star for Tennessee Tech University, admitted on an athletic scholarship and a sterling reputation. If there is one way to describe Dalis, it is passionate: she has taken her focus of study in Pre-Physical Therapy and Personal Training to the highest degree through her athletic achievements, providing advice on diet and fitness, and a newfound career in modeling.  As an author of several fitness blogs, and with more than 23,000 followers on Twitter, Dalis not only vigorously pursues her own goals, but is also acting as a great inspiration for others. Another way that Dalis gives her time and energy toward a greater cause can be seen through her significant involvement with community service, as it gives her a great amount of satisfaction to enrich the lives of others. One thing is evident: Dalis has an insatiable thirst for success and tangible results. Girlish Writings had the pleasure of discussing her views on personal fitness and the modeling industry, how she has gotten to where she is today, and all the incentives that have helped push her along the way.

The Evolution of Levis Commercials

In 2009, American Clothing Company, Levi's, previously known for their advertisments based on sex appeal, submissiveness, love and relationships , shocked the world when they released a commercial, called "O Pioneers!". The commercial was an advertisment for Levi's new campaign ,Go Forth, an organization in support of creativity, independence, pushing boundaries, and generosity. It was this commercial, along with ones released after it's publication, that signified, to me at least, an evolution in marketing strategies, which also meant a major change in what's important to our generation now. As seen above, the commercial provides us with various clips of young people, like ourselves, engaging in acts of fun, craziness, love and laughter while a recording of Walt Whitman's recitation of his poem "Pioneers, O Pioneers" plays in the background.
 What makes this commercial so refreshing and inspiring is not only the obvious transformation in Levis marketing campaign, but also the reminder that we are in fact an evolutionary generation that is still continuing to change and grow. We are generation that carries out in acts of absurdity side by side with the kind of people, that once in history were not seen as equals. Together we carry out our fun with revolutionary dreams, pride, optimism, perseverance, a positive attitude, and a sense of unity. But now, according to Whitman, it is time we leave our youth behind in order to take on a bigger responsibility. It now time that we put forth our revolutionary characteristics and ideas towards changing the world.
Levis' Commercials throughout the decades

Commercials after 2009

Author: Athena Gomez-Hipolito
Company: Levi Strauss & Co.

Dance Baby Dance

For dancers and choreographers looking for inspiration, YouTube videos are like gold. Being a Zumba® instructor, I subscribe to a number of different YouTube channels to keep my creative juices flowing and my dance moves fresh.
Girlish Writings touched base with Emily Sasson, a dance instructor at Cherry Creek Dance in Denver, Colorado. Emily’s YouTube channel, featuring choreography to the hottest songs, is one of my most visited—but I’m not the only one checking out her vids. Any one of Emily’s videos has gotten between 100,000 and 5,000,000 views… and those numbers are rapidly creeping higher.

Emily is originally from Madison, Connecticut, teaches in Colorado, and travels quite frequently back and forth from the East Coast working with various studios, as well as collegiate and professional dance teams.

We asked Emily some questions to learn a little more about her and from where she draws her inspiration.
Girlish Writings: How long have you been a dancer? Describe your process, history and the steps you had to take to get there.
Emily Sasson: I didn’t start taking dance seriously until I was about 15. From there, I studied all forms of dance offered (ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical etc.). My Connecticut studio didn’t really have ‘hip hop,’ so at 17, I started teaching my own hip hop classes at my studio—traveling back and forth from NYC to take classes at Broadway Dance Center and Steps. I went off to college and chose not to study dance, but I continued with my training. Shortly after I graduated I became a teacher for various different studios in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

GW: What is about dance/hip-hop that you love so much?
ES: Hip hop is forever changing. As a choreographer and teacher, one constantly has to keep evolving to create fresh new ideas for students—It keeps me on my toes! For those who aren’t dancers… compare it to fashion. Think of how often clothing styles change… its very similar to the dance industry.

GW: How do you feel when you’re in the middle of performing or dancing in general?
ES: It’s an incredible feeling to perform no matter where you are. I don’t think any dancer ever really loses the nervous, butterfly, excited feeling in your stomach that comes right before you step on stage. It’s an indescribable feeling!

GW: Describe your YouTube videos—Where did it start? Who are the lovely dancers in your videos?
ES: I was incredibly lucky with my YouTube videos. I posted my first video around this time 3 years ago and it was to “Starstruck” by Lady GaGa. This was right before she became famous, so the song was highly searched on YouTube. As a result, my video kept popping up.

At the time, dance videos were just starting to get big on YouTube so my friends told me to start making some videos. I had never even edited a video before so they’re all raw footage. I uploaded them and never looked at it again until about a month later and I had almost 100,000 views! I was so excited! From there I started to gain an incredible fan base and just kept uploading videos.

Dancers come and go throughout my videos, some just drop-ins for my classes, but I do have a few that are still there and they give me such inspiration to keep on choreographing!
First dancer is VQ… She’s my best friend and my roommate. She and I are constantly bouncing choreography ideas off each other & dancing around in our living room. VQ’s a
choreographer too (find her on YouTube… she’s amazing)!

Next is the ever so popular, Valentino. He came to me about 2 1/2 years ago and had never danced before in his life (check out his first video, it’s “Boom Boom Pow”… hilarious)! Regardless, I saw so much potential in him and all he wanted to do was learn… So he started coming to my classes 4 days a week, training in all different styles and now he’s living in LA on the Edge Scholarship pursuing his dream. Paige (tall blonde) and Alyssa (tall brunette) have also been around for about 2 years and are incredibly talented and dedicated dancers! Recently, I’ve started asking some of my younger students to take class.—you’ll notice Chera (12) and Kaylin (14). I’ve been teaching Cher since she was 8. She is the epitome of a driven and talented dancer not to mention the sweetest kid you’ll ever meet. Kaylin joined us about a year ago, and we all just love her energy and style. Sorry to ramble… I love my students!

GW: Who’s your biggest inspiration/motivation?
ES: I would say the first artist to ever inspire me was Janet Jackson. My dream as a child (and still now, haha) is to be her backup dancer. Tina Landon was the first choreographer that made me want to become one myself. Those were my constants throughout the years, but as I said earlier, it’s always inspiring to watch all these incredible choreographers that are on the map. YouTube is an incredible tool to help future dancers and choreographers keep up-to-date with styles. My motivation – hands down – is my students. I teach almost 30 hours a week, give or take, and a majority of my students are under the age of 13. As I watch them grow, they push me to get more creative—otherwise they get bored… and they’re not afraid to tell me (haha)! They’re always coming to class saying things like “Did you see this??” “Can we learn how to do stuff like that??” “I want to do tricks!” They’re the best!

ES: My goal for 2012 is to start expanding and traveling more. I love having my home base here in Denver, but am looking to work with more teams and studios throughout the US.

GW: What’s your biggest dream for yourself?
ES: As cheesy as it is, I am living my dream right now. My life is dedicated to teaching and working with dancers of all ages. I want to continue doing this as long as I walk! Then I’ll probably just teach from a chair (J). But becoming a traveling teacher/choreographer would be pretty awesome!

GW: If a person wants to become a hip/hop dancer what’s the best advice you can give them?
ES: I would say don’t ever give up! Keep taking classes of all different styles (hip hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet). Be the best dancer you can be! It’s always a bonus to be a well-rounded dancer. Also, get yourself out there! Facebook, YouTube, Twitter… the internet is a great tool to keep in constant contact with the world.

Thank you, Emily, for the amazing interview. Also, thank you for being an inspiration to all dancers and choreographers alike!

Follow Emily Sasson:
Facebook: facebook.com/emilysassonchoreography
Twitter: @EmilyGSasson
YouTube: YouTube.com/DancErGrl876

Advice From A Girlish Writer: Single and Getting a Bit Tired of the Word Mingle

A Question Submitted by Umassgirl13:
It's My last year in college and though I should be enjoying every minute of it, I'm feeling a bit unaccomplished. In these four years I have watched a good amount of my friends find guys that have kept them company throughout their years of school. Unfortunately, I haven't found anybody close to that, which is starting to get me worried and a bit insecure

Advice From Girlish Writer: Hailey Walker
It is my personal opinion that men our age (aka college boys) are not ready for serious relationships. Yes, of course there are some exceptions, it is not impossible to meet a great guy/potential soul mate in college, but realistically, the chances are pretty slim for most.
Guys our age are simply not ready to settle down in their prime years of adolescent adulthood. This is their time to have fun, experiment, go wild, and most importantly, get it out of their system. They don't want to miss out on the "college experience," just to regret it later in life (potentially leading to relationship problems, especially infidelity). Eventually, these same rowdy boys will realize that "partying" will not keep them happy forever, but for now, I think we should just let them be.
You haven't found "mr. right" yet, but so what? This is just as much your time to have fun as it is his. Don't dwell on the relationship you don't have, instead, take advantage of the great things about being single! Meanwhile, you can "do you" while you hold out for the man of your dreams.
The best advice I could possibly give you is to use this time wisely, because as soon as these college boys grow into educated, experienced men, you'll be wifed up in no time!
Author: Hailey Walker
Photography: XG_M and Girlish Writings
Model: Rebecca Germano
Icon: Jerany

When Wounded Rhymes Make Silent Cries

Sadness, a powerful paradoxical emotion, that many spend their lives attempting to fight or avoid. It doesn't take much to know that with sadness comes vulnerability, dwelling, failure to expectations, loneliness, mistakes, insecurities, self destruction, and possibly even death. Nevertheless, it's perhaps one of the most necessary emotions a person can have. Sometimes it's the only emotion one has, that many refuse to let go. Sadness reminds us and others around us that we feel, it shows our true selves, it haunts us into acceptance, and that we can't go through it alone. In April 2011, Swedish singer-songwriter, Lykke, Li debuted the music video for her new single, "Sadness is a blessing". Directed by Tarik Sale, the video opens with the singer, at a high end restaurant, drinking shot after shot, in front of a man, presumably her father or lover, portrayed by Stellan Skarsgård.
As she drinks each shot, she stares at the man, who suggestively represents sadness, with a conniving smile, aware of the fact that it is making him angry. Testing him even more, she proceeds to laugh at him; and when he doesn't react she angrily gets up from the table. One can suspect, through her actions and the expression of the man's face, that the relationship between the two is clearly not a good one. However, right now, It appears as though she's willing to get his attention at any means possible.
After she stands up from the table and whispers something to the man's ear,Lykke Li proceeds to drunkenly dance around the restaurant; an action alluding to perhaps a mental breakdown. As she dances and taunts the man , we are able to catch a glimpse of her detachment from reality and subjectivity. At the same time we are also able to see the man's heart breaking as he watches his either daughter or lover slowly losing her mind. It is only until the owner of the restaurant and the server attempt to detain her, that the man finally stands up and grabs a hold of her. He wipes the hair away from her face and looks at her, acknowledging that he finally sees her, and embraces her. The film ends with Lykke Li crying into his shoulder, giving in to sadness...

Author: Athena Gomez-Hipolito

Your Confessions: College Girls Really Drink Because .....

this gif is pretty tight
  • It feels good.
  • Everything's more fun!
  • Your body gets a little looser, you get a little more comfortable with your surroundings.
  • Nothing really matters.
  • I feel free and I have an excuse if I ever do something stupid.
  • Makes me talk more and I become extremely outgoing.
  • Everything seems funny when I drink and I am more prone to dancing if I am on my way to a party.
  • I am more worry-free. I'm too uptight when I'm sober.
  • It temporarily turns my filter off, I can say whats on my mind, and even better do whats on my mind.
  • It leaves stress behind haha
  • It breaks unnecessary boundaries
  • It's an escape from reality
  • It lowers my inhibitions and allows me to be more social. I feel invincible.
  • It always makes things more entertaining when no one can stand with out falling on their asses after getting off the ground two seconds earlier.
*To take part in these anonymous Secrets and Confessions make sure comment under the Question of The Week. 
*Note these confessions and secrets are not meant to glamorize or promote anything. We just recognize what some people actually think and do.  

Photography: Unknown found on Live Fast Die Young

Jasmine Osborne


Girlish Writings talks with upcoming actress Jasmine Osborne on her thoughts, feelings, and inspirations on acting. 
Video composed by Athena Gomez-Hipolito and Jasmine Osborne Music by Peter Johnson

10 tips From a Waitress

For three years I have not been able to escape the food industry. At sixteen I was a bus girl, at seventeen I was a hostess, and ever since I’ve been a waitress. Waitressing may be one of the better jobs available to someone trying to work their way through college, but it definitely has its disadvantages.
  • First off, working with people is always a challenge. Many don’t believe in having a front stage and a back stage self; they just let it all hang out. Therefore, if a customer hasn’t been having the best day because she chipped a nail, the waitress better watch out. Displacement should be avoided because it is not the waitresses’ fault for anything negative that may have happened to the customer prior to entering the doors of the restaurant.
  • Second, if you are going to go out to eat, don’t be rude to the waitress. They are there to serve you and want your experience (and theirs) to be as pleasurable as possible. It is a slap in the face to know you are doing the best you can to keep the customers happy, but then they make you feel incapable. Going hand in hand with this concept, rather than shouting “Hey You!” to get your waitresses attention, “Excuse me” is always a nice alternative or even go so far as to using her name.
  • Third, many customers don’t understand the simple fact that just because their food isn’t the way they want it doesn’t mean it is the waitresses’ fault; it is more often than not the kitchen’s fault. So for all of you who are guilty of tipping less due to something regarding the food, you should reconsider the next time this happens.
  • Fourth, if you bring children out to eat at a restaurant, you should be sure you know how to control them. Having rowdy kids in a public place disturbs others not to mention what does that show others about your parenting skills. Furthermore, it is nice to dine out so you don’t have to cook or wash the dishes, but at least have the common courtesy to clean up after your offspring.
  • Fifth, normally a waitress has far more than one table at a time, so realize she can’t tend to you for 100% of her time. Rather than first asking for a refill of Diet Pepsi and then upon returning, asking for another bottle of Ketchup, do it all at one time.
  • Sixth, if a waitress does do a good job, be sure to tip 20%…times have changed; it isn’t 1950 anymore. Waitresses earn $2.63 an hour, so without decent tips one can easily make under minimum wage in a shift.
  • Seventh, if the only tip you have to offer your waitress are the coins from your piggy bank, I highly advise you to not go out to eat.
  • Eighth, to you men out there, don’t hit on your waitress. She is simply there because she needs to work to live (not live to work). She is not interested in picking up customers (and vice versa); that is what going out after work is for. Sure, be nice, but there is a fine line between being friendly and creepy.
  • Ninth, a tip to you ladies, watch the way your man treats your waitress because that can potentially be a huge inkling to the way he will end up treating you in your relationship.
  • Tenth, when it comes to your waitress or even your customer service representative the bottom line is play nice. After all, we are the ones handling your food.
Author: Tori Sousa
Photography by: Benjamin Rudström


I along with some of the other Girlish Writers stumbled upon this video the other night and it definitely freaked us out. Nonetheless, it's definitely neccessary to watch. The thing about webcam hacking, that scares me the most, is that any person with basic hacking skills can do it. On top of that, your camera light doesn't need to be on in order for it to be possible. Though you can install spyware and other anti virus or lock codes to make your camera less at risk, the best thing to do is when you aren't using your webcam, put a piece of tape or some type of cover over it. Cheers!
Author: Athena Gomez-Hipolito  

Created & Directed by: Stefan Haverkamp, Jan Jaworski, Branden Kramer and Tom Kropp
Screenplay by: Branden Kramer
Cast: Jasmine Anne Osborne (Julia), Jamie Leigh Allen (mother), Thom Miller (boyfriend), and Kent Koren  
Editing: Lorraine Paul  
Sound design: Joe Philips

Your Confessions: Sex and College

Were you a virgin coming into college? Have had sex since entering? Why or why not?
  • No, I lost my virginity at 14. I don’t regret who I lost my virginity to, but I do regret how young I was. It certainly put me into a world I wasn’t ready to be in yet.
  • I was a virgin going into college but since then I have had sex because I really liked the person and we eventually ended up in a relationship.
  • I was not a virgin coming into college. Yet, I was in a very serious relationship and only slept with that one person.
  • Yes and yes. It was one of those things where I was in a new environment rather than a small hokey high school where everyone wrote me off as a wierdo. At college I was attractive and guys were actually interested in me so I ended up snagged a boyfriend pretty early on and got the sex out of the way. My rule with myself was not in high school anyways, and safe sex after that and that's what I did. I'm very sexual and enjoyed all the other things that I've done so I just bit the bullet and did it with my first college boyfriend. No regrets, although he was kind of a dink in the end, c'est lavie.
Photographer: unknown found on weheartit

How Some Girls Wake Up on The Weekends

I'm jealous...

Panic Pop . Be Jealous from Jeremy White on Vimeo.

Perfection: The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Growing up in the 1990’s and 2000’s, I, like all other young girls, have been surrounded by body image issues my entire life. Once we realize at a young age that our bodies are always under a microscope and that we are constantly being judged, we learn to care about what we look like a bit more than we should. Thanks to the endless pressure we feel to be perfect, we tend to fixate on the shape and size of our bodies, and some even take extreme measures to achieve the image that we desire.

This Past Summer's Photo Shoot with Lucy's League

 For more of Lucy's League click here!

Producer and Coordinator: Athena Gomez-Hipolito
Stylist & Art Director: Carla Williamson-Britt
 Photographer: Kristina Gomez-Mayer (XG_M&Girlish Writings) 
Models: Danielle Dimond, Justine Del Priore, Emily Page.

The Girlish Writer's Summer Visit to Lucy's League

In late June, I decided to take a stroll around Fanueil Hall to do a little window shopping during my lunch break. It wasn't before I came across a window full of mannequins wearing the most creative sports apparel, that I realized I had just discovered the countries first women's boutique dedicated to Boston Sports, Lucy's League. Soon after this discovery, I decided to get in contact with VP Tom Emmons, in hopes that he would allow us to feature and promote Lucy's League in the Girlish Writings Grand Opening. Once we got to talking, we were able to come up with a game plan in order to go about and produce a photo shoot.

With Lucy's League, being our first commercial shoot as well as one of perhaps Boston's unique fashion landmarks, I decided to get in touch with professional art director, graphic designer, and owner of website Colourful Carla ,Carla Williamson-Britt, to guide us in the right direction. After I got Carla on board, I contacted my older sister, business partner of Seraphix Media, and Girlish writer: Kristina Gomez-Mayer to take the photos. Once we had a team consisting of producer, director, and photographer, I set out to look for models. With an Interest featuring girls who lived in the North Shore, Metro West, and South Shore of Boston, I finally decided to use Girlish Writers, Danielle Dimond and Justine Del Priore. In addition, I contacted ballet dancer, Emily Page. On a July summer morning, we all came together to coordinate a photo shoot with what Tom Emmons once referred to as "a place where the city of sports passion meets the world of women's sports fashion." With the help and generosity of Tom Emmons and his Lucy's League Team, the creativity of the Girlish Writers, and the guidance and direction of Carla Williamson-Britt, Girlish Writers was able to succeed in our first and hopefully not our last commercial photo shoot.

Author: Athena Gomez-Hipolito 
Fashion: Lucy's League

Behind The Scenes With Ashley Rose Custom Designs

Dear Ashley Rose Mersky,

"Thank you for providing us with wonderful corsets, beautiful models, and the terrific hospitality. You've created something beautiful and we are very happy and thankful we had the opportunity to work with you!!" 

Makeup Artist: Marissa Marie Malice
 Hair Stylist: Josslin Cardona 
Jeweler: Shades of Gray Directors
Producers: Athena Gomez-Hipolito and Emily McLaughlin
Photographer: Kristina Gomez-Mayer of XG_M Photography
Video: Lauren Duffy
Models: Lauren Oldani, Christine Tuccelli, Cailah McLaughlin, Naomi Holmes and Gina Russell

Our Summer Visit to See Ashley Rose Custom Designs

Once Nestled in the little Cape Cod town of Orleans is the studio apartment of Ashley Rose Mersky. From there, Mersky ran Ashley Rose Custom Designs, turning out one of a kind custom corsets, dresses and hair accessories.
Ashely Rose Mersky made her first corset in a college class where the point was to use grommets and boning. “It was love at first stitch,” says Mersky. This first corset inspired Mersky so much that she has been designing and sewing collections of them ever since.
After college, Mersky apprenticed with Michelle Fairbanks in Osterville, MA. It was only this past March that Mersky decided to push forward as an independent designer. She began by applying for fashion shows and was picked for the Spring Thing Fashion Show @ AS220 March 19. For the show, Mersky created a 7-piece corset collection and has been inspired to power forward ever since.
A week after the Spring Thing Fashion Show, Mersky was chosen to be in the “World Fashion Contest” at Bally’s Casino and Resort in Atlantic City, NJ. “Twenty-two years old and in an international fashion show… still makes me smile just thinking about,” says Mersky.
There is much we can expect from Ashley Rose Custom Designs in the near future. In her corsets are being modeled for Bella Morte Magazine. Then in August, She headed back down to New Jersey to participate as a designer in a Burlesque fashion show. In October, she collaborated with Modern Shades of Grey for Trisha Kelley’s fashion show at the Warwick Museum of Art.
“I have a lot of show offers I’m trying to fit into my schedule and budget. Everything I do is DIY, so I’m doing as much as I can independently,” says Mersky.

Mersky creates all of her pieces on her own, and is constantly sewing in any free time she can find. “I like to consider myself a traveling fashion house,” says Mersky. “I recently just moved to Orleans on Cape Cod which makes it my fourth time moving within the year.” Mersky isn’t restricted to sewing from one remote location. She takes frequent trips from the Cape to Boston and sets up shop in her car when she finds a few extra moments sew. “I actually sewed out of my car last week in a Stop and Shop parking lot waiting for my boyfriend. I guess that can be considered dedication?”
Mersky’s old apartment was filled with piles of fabric, reams of ribbon and jars of accessories. The corsets hanging on her racks all vary in color, pattern and style. Some are edgy, others are feminine, but there is definitely one to fit every style. “Corsets fit all personalities and styles. They are for the girly girl to the alternative girl,” say Mersky.
Each corset and dress is completely original. Every fabric is unique and the final piece is adorned with different accessories, lace additions and bows. One of Mersky’s inspirations, undoubtedly, is Betsey Johnson. “I’ve been buying her jewelry, bags and dresses since high school.” Both Johnson and Mersky have the same passion for using floral patterns, edgy cuts, and vintage accessories to create their creative pieces. ”I think we’d be great friends—she seems like so much fun. She is definitely my inspiration.”
Photography: Girlish Writings/ X_GM