Judy, the eleven year old winner of the Barbie You Can Be A Journalist contest has written a number of articles for YMC.ca. Part of her prize was to interview Tessa Virtue which she wrote about for us.
Tessa Virtue is an inspiration to many young women today and is continuing to motivate girls as a Barbie Dream Gap Ambassador. This year, Mattel launched their own Tessa Virtue doll to the market and gave a lucky group of skaters an opportunity to attend a special skating session at McCormick Arena in Toronto. The skaters were brought together to practice and challenge themselves on the ice with the promise of a special guest joining them on the ice. Little did they know the surprise special visitor was none other than Tessa Virtue herself.
As the skaters got themselves prepared with their skating gear, the media and other family members attending filled their stomachs with delicate and delicious treats since it was early in the morning. Then the young skaters warmed up on the rink and practiced their performance piece. After a few more minutes of sharpening all their moves, Tessa skated over to them with surprise.
When she skated up to the kids, their faces lit up with excitement, not believing what they were seeing! Tessa told the skaters that if they work hard enough and continue to dream big, then they can be anything. After some time talking on the ice, the skaters showed off their performance and stunned everyone in the audience with their wondrous skills. All the skaters have worked incredibly hard and it paid off. After finishing, the skaters were able to skate with Tessa and learn from having her around while landing tricks and chatting with Tessa.
Barbie has been inspiring girls for over 60 years. When girls play with Barbie, they can imagine everything that they can become – including an Olympic ice dancer! Lisa Perry, Barbie brand manager from Mattel, also attended the event and gathered the skaters in the middle of the ice rink to give some inspiring words of encouragement. Lisa told the skaters how impressed she was with their hard work and dedication. Lisa encouraged the skaters to follow their dreams. Before all of the children left the ice, the journalists and audience watching the special practice were given an opportunity to ask Tessa Virtue some questions. Barbie gave me a special opportunity to fulfill my dream of interviewing Tessa Virtue and I got to ask her questions during a one-on-one interview – just like a REAL journalist!
Here is the interview I had with Tessa Virtue:
How did you feel when you were asked to continue your adventure with Barbie as a Dream Gap Ambassador?
“I feel 100 times more excited than I was a year ago. It was surreal to think that I am able to continue this partnership and that I can share this doll with so many people. This doll is adorable, and it is like my little pocket person.”
What is your favourite part about being a Barbie Dream Gap Ambassador?
“It is the ability to connect with so many young women and that really is the best feeling since the Olympics. And also sharing that message because what Barbie stands for is so special and so critical especially right now. She’s had over 200 careers so she really can be and do anything and that is really positive messaging for young girls to have that visibility to know what is possible.”
How does it feel to know young girls can own their own Tessa Virtue doll to look up to?
“It’s really special and it means a lot to me. I think more than anything in a sense that everyone can have this Tessa Virtue doll that allows them this ability to play through imagination. And maybe that is interaction with other dolls or maybe the Tessa Virtue doll isn’t always skating, she can try other things. I think it’s up to the individual person, whoever has the Barbie. That's when they can take on any shape or form since we can be many things.”
What is your favourite part about today?
“It is definitely skating with the kids. It was really fun and they have worked so hard on these performances. I am sure they were quite nervous because of the cameras and all those people watching but they embraced it and overcame the fear which was a really beautiful moment.”
What does it feel like to be able to inspire so many young girls today to achieve their dreams?
“It’s incredible but it does come with a lot of responsibility. I want to be good enough for them and I want to be a good role model. I want to be someone that they can look up to. I also have two young nieces and I constantly think about the women that they will look up to and in every sphere whether that is an athlete or a scientist or a doctor or a teacher. I just think about that visibility and access to the role models. I think there is space for everyone. Just because someone else achieves something that doesn’t put us down at all, this only proves that there is also room for us to be lifted up as well and for us to come together and support each other.”
After we finished chatting, the skaters had one last chance to speak with Tessa, get their photo taken with her, and their very own Tessa Virtue Barbie doll that was signed by her. The day was a massive success and has left everyone with a feeling of motivation. Through this event, the young, ambitious skaters have gained an extra boost in confidence as now they have living proof that the dream they are reaching for is not impossible.
Tessa Virtue and Barbie have greatly influenced my feelings towards achieving my dreams of being a journalist. Tessa is still glowing with a passion to help others and continue her journey to motivate young girls to pursue their own goals in life, including me. She has never stopped inspiring those around her, even after she stepped off the Olympic ice rink. She truly is a fabulous role model for young girls and women today.