Working in the bright lights of Hollywood is a dream for many young women. Following a stellar TV hosting career in Australia, Asha K not only dared to dream, but works hard to bring her dreams to life. Asha moved to Los Angeles to pursue her television career and use her extensive producing experience wherever possible.
A native to all things digital and social media, Asha is also Creator and Founder of a brand new online community, Girl Talk HQ, which aims to inspire and empower young women between 18-35. Here Asha shares with Women in Focus her passion for leading the next generation of confident women and create something meaningful and lasting.
Congratulations on launching Girl Talk HQ can you share how the site, and movement, came about.
Thank you! It was something I have been passionate about for a while but wasn't sure exactly how to articulate it. Having worked in TV for 10 years as a presenter and producer, I started to realize I didn't just want to be another entertainment reporter or a "pretty face" that could read off a script. I started to become passionate about wanting to inspire my generation of young women as all I could see were websites and TV shows telling us that to be beautiful successful and loved you had to look like Kim Kardashian, Snooki, or a Real Housewife. I wanted to create and share content where girls can come and read stories, recognize who are important role models out there and be motivated to live their best life according to what they already have inside them, not just what the media tells them.
What differentiates you from other sites that aim to empower and inspire other girls and women?
Doing constant research on women's sites and blogs, I found there is a huge market for the "Oprah" generation but not a lot of power women doing the same for the 18-35 demographic. I think it is important to sow some good seeds into the next generation of women so they can lead the charge and I am hoping GirlTalkHQ will start a culture of more sites like ours. There is a huge need for what I am doing, but someone needs to start the conversation, and that's why we are different.
You call your site an anti-pop-culture site. Why is that?
I guess I should clarify. We don't hate on pop culture or entertainment. We want our readers and young women in general to be able to separate fact from fiction. To recognize that a reality show "star" is there simply to entertain you for an hour, not to inspire your general path in life! So we don't just report on all the other pop-culture news out there because there are already plenty of those sites in existence. We call ourselves anti-pop-culture because we stand to make a difference and want our readers to do the same with their lives.
One of the main themes of your site is that beauty is whatever you want it to be. What is your idea of a beautiful woman?
One of the great things I have learned about "beauty" is that there are so many definitions from each woman! I personally think a beautiful woman is someone who is confident in who they are. Someone who doesn't use their physical appearance or body as a tool to get ahead in life, but, invests into their intelligence and talents. Someone who is friendly, warm and encouraging and always sees the good in others.
You’re breaking into the US market. How difficult has this been? How have you had to adapt?
Because I have been living here for the past 5 years it just made sense to launch GirlTalkHQ in the US first. I was nervous because I didn't know where to start, but after seeing other friends who have launched their own lifestyle and entertainment websites I knew I just had to take the leap.
There is such a huge market in the US and I have been blown away with the positive responses and how readers have just gravitated towards the site! However, I am very conscious of making sure the content we put out there is inclusive of all regions. I think launching in the US has been the best decision as it seems to hold a lot of weight when I talk to people in other places like the UK or Australia.
16 500 followers on Twitter is an impressive number, you have a lot of people listening to you. How does this make you feel? Do you draw strength from your followers?
It is a huge compliment to know that people are listening and like what we do! I once heard a saying from a casting agent here who often talks about actors building their own "brand". She says, "Build it and they will come," and it is so true. I really believe what I am doing is important and needed in our culture so the feedback I get on twitter is amazing. It gives me the inspiration to keep going.
What are you hopes for Girl Talk HQ? Are you expanding out into other areas?
Eventually I would love it to be a globally recognized movement and brand, just like Oprah has done with her branding. This year my goal is to secure advertising on the site and to expand into video content. I like to set short term goals so as not to become too overwhelmed.
I have been contacted by so many women who want to blog on the site and contribute content so that is another area I want to include on a more regular basis this year.
What does 2013 hold for you and for Girl Talk HQ?
I personally want to travel more, meet more amazing people and hear their stories. I am also pitching a TV series targeting the same demo as GTHQ which I would like to be an extension of the GirlTalkHQ brand.
I always want to be learning, growing and listening.
How can Women in Focus help you to achieve your goals?
Being part of the Women in Focus family is amazing! To see a network of dynamic Australia women from all types of industries and backgrounds is very exciting. The best way you can help us is to keep spreading the word and recommend us to anyone who is looking for a website like ours. I love that Women in Focus is a unique network that will support women like myself and what I am doing. So thank you for everything!
Connect with Asha via the Women in Focus Community here.
Follow Asha on Twitter @thisisashak and join all the action on www.girltalkhq.com
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