As women dedicated to creating for women, we believe in cultivating power and beauty from the outside in, as well as the inside out. This core conviction prompted our immediate kinship with Anna Doan, founder and chairman of Reveal NYC, a non-profit committed to “celebrating beauty and dignity for women recovering from abuse and sex trafficking through Cinderella and self-empowerment experiences.”
Born in 2007 from Anna’s “deep, burning desire to serve women and victims of sex trafficking and abuse” and her enduring love of all things fashion and beauty, Reveal hosts monthly workshops on everything from interview skills to self-care. Its annual “Ultimate Makeover” event comprises an entire day of pampering, styling and celebration. To date, these initiatives have helped over 800 women break the cycle of domestic violence, rewrite their personal narratives and reclaim their lives. And Anna is just getting started. She is in the process of expanding Reveal to the West Coast, with additional cities on the horizon. Meet Anna.
What is the most surprising lesson you’ve learned through Reveal?
That my dream to celebrate beauty and dignity for women recovering from abuse and sex trafficking is truly powerful — and is a catalyst for creating a ripple effect by inciting another’s dream. It’s not enough to desire to do good or to make an impact; when you actively pursue your passions and dreams with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, it will multiply tenfold and inspire others to dream big and do the same. I am convinced that you need to keep sharing your dreams and inviting others to journey alongside you.
Why is nurturing a woman’s external beauty important to fostering her internal strength?
A woman's beauty is like her armor - when it's full, strong and complete - it gives a woman boldness, courage and strength. Every part of her — from her hair, skin and mind to her strength, fears, dreams and desires — make a her who she is and worthy in all that she is. Everything (internal and external) is equally important, because she matters. Every woman matters. It will significantly impact those around her when a woman believes she truly matters and is deeply and utterly loved. This belief will be her strength. It allows her to invite others to embrace their worth and own that they are loved “with no strings attached.” Love multiples. It is not self-contained or meant to be hidden. Love is always giving.
An image of beauty
When do you feel most beautiful?
When I am completely vulnerable, exposed in all my imperfections, yet fully embraced, cherished and loved unconditionally — as if those imperfections were intentionally the most exquisite, unique crowns meant to adorn what makes me “me.”
A great speech by a woman:
What advice would you give young girls today?
If I had to give advice to my eight-year old niece, I would encourage her to keep embracing the things that maker her feel 'different', but also makes her unique. Self-esteem and self-loathing continue to be trends for young girls who are culturally adopting a critical view of themselves based upon what they see online, in magazines, on billboards and on TV, rather than embracing their unique qualities. You never know how your unique and personal story will inspire someone else or remind them that they matter.
What makes domestic violence difficult to battle?
The extreme lack of temporary shelter and housing is the largest and most prevalent issue for victims of domestic violence looking for tangible ways out of their intimate relationship with their abuser. This means more women feel a growing pressure to return back to their abuser which creates a vicious cycle.
This cycle effects future generations because often women seeking housing at domestic violence shelters are single mothers with young children. These children are directly or indirectly victims of domestic violence and have a higher likelihood of becoming victims or abusers in their adult lives.
An empowering song.
“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
How do you define freedom?
Freedom is the ability to choose courage, believe you are truly and deeply loved, and worthy and beautiful just the way you are.
What love looks like. Hundreds of volunteers who love fashion and beauty, and want to actively love and celebrate beauty and dignity for victims of abuse and sex trafficking: women who are worth it.
What are you are looking forward to this year, personally and professionally?
I look forward to launching Reveal on the West Coast and scaling strategically to other large cities where sex trafficking and domestic violence intersect the largest industries for beauty and fashion. Personally, I look forward to seeing my family more frequently as I travel coast to coast and embark on the journey to making my dreams for Reveal come alive.