When it comes to female advocacy, there’s no one you’d want in your corner more than Soledad O’Brien. As the co-founder of the O’Brien Raymond Starfish Foundation, which focuses on providing disadvantaged women with a higher education, the award-winning journalist is also behind the ongoing, highly impactful documentary series Black in America and Latino in America, produced by her multimedia production and distribution company, Starfish Media Group.
So it comes as no surprise that CoverGirl’s "Girls Can" movement -- part of the company’s initiative to help women break down and overcome barriers to achieve their goals -- has tapped the trailblazing O’Brien along with her production company and foundation to create an original series of true stories. The content will be dedicated to shining a spotlight on the challenges faced by many young women in the pursuit of education, as well as the underlying causes. "It seems a lot of what they believe in with the "Girls Can" movement is what we believe," O’Brien told Pret-a-Reporter. "[Education] is everything,” she added. “I don’t know how you can move out of one’s socioeconomic category if you don’t have education."
O’Brien, along with her husband, Brad Raymond, were inspired to launch their education-forward foundation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2011. Currently, the foundation is dedicated to annually awarding 25 disadvantaged women with scholarships and mentoring them to enter and complete college -- a number they hope will increase with the new partnership, thanks to CoverGirl’s newly announced commitment to funding additional scholarships and mentorship programs. "The world around them says they 'can’t,' " said O’Brien of the women in the program. "My job is to help them get to the 'I can.' "
Through the original content series, O’Brien also hopes to inspire viewers to get involved with empowering young women in their own communities, be it through mentoring or donating to a scholarship fund. "If you can tell a story well, you can move people to do something," she said. "For me, the goal is that people reach out and certainly support the empowerment we believe in."