Imagine if an Olympic Gold Medalist, a Grammy-nominated singer, an actress, an entrepreneur and a fitness mega-influencer all joined forces to inspire today’s women and girls. Now imagine a slogan so powerful – All Strength, No Sweat – and a video so hypnotic it played on your phone for days. Secret Deodorant imagined exactly that…and we can’t. Stop. Watching.
What makes this message so empowering? Why should a clarion call from Olympian and business executive Swin Cash, Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Jessie Reyez, actress Shenae Grimes-Beach, entrepreneur and actress Camila Mendes and fitness guru and influencer Ainsley Rodriguez spark such a movement, encouraging women everywhere to pursue their passions without sweating the obstacles?
It’s empowering because it’s personal.
It’s empowering because it’s real.
And it’s empowering because today’s girls are watching.
Role models matter and role models who inspire us to sweat, strive and succeed can impact a generation. Middle school Être girls who watched the video were instantly enthralled, raising points about ambition and equality as their toes tapped to the beat. When they were handed an opportunity to interview Swin Cash, WNBA player, Olympic gold medalist and currently the VP of Basketball Operations and Team Development for the New Orleans Pelicans, they jumped at the chance.
Ê: OK, we are crazy excited to talk to you, especially during National Mentoring Month! The All Strength, No Sweat campaign offers girls inspirational role models in sports, entertainment, business and fitness – who was your first mentor and why was he or she so important?
SC: Mentors are really important, and one of my earliest mentors was a man named Bob Gallagher. He was always supportive of my playing basketball, and when he realized that I was having a hard time financially keeping up with the sport (the travel got really hard), he stepped in. He got to know my family, he helped me out, and then he taught me everything about business. He has been a mentor and a sounding board for me since I was fourteen years old.
Ê: Our age! Some studies say that between ages eight and fourteen, girls’ confidence can drop by almost 30 percent and they are quitting their sports at almost twice the rate of boys. Did you ever feel like that?
SC: Actually, sports gave me my confidence at that age! Playing against both guys and girls made me feel stronger, and it was only when I felt pressure to move away from the activities I loved that I lost confidence. My mom was another big role model at that age, because I was a tomboy until I was fourteen. It was only then that I got into fashion and started wearing my mom’s hand-me-down dresses. My mom encouraged me, showing me I could be more than one thing: I could be an athlete and win the school’s “Best Dressed of the Year” award, and I didn’t need fancy labels or a lot of money to do it. All that confidence happened in middle and high school – when my mom said be different. Be yourself.
Ê: We feel like that’s kind of what the Secret Deodorant All Strength, No Sweat campaign is saying too! What was it about that company’s message that first attracted you?
SC: The thing that resonated with me the most was the idea of empowering who you are. This made sense to me, because I always had obstacles and hard times and there were many times when I could have quit. But because I learned that inner confidence when I was a young girl, I didn’t. That’s what Secret is doing – inspiring women to stay true to who they are. They have women from different backgrounds and professions (and their commitment to diversity, inclusion and equality is very important to me), and they are speaking to all women, everywhere.
Ê: Diversity and inclusion are also important to us – we really like brands that pay attention to this. Why isn’t this a number one priority for all brands?
SC: Because change is scary for a lot of people and change isn’t always liked by everyone. But, it’s important. Individuals need to stand up for change and say diversity is important to us. Inequality is not OK. Then, it becomes worth the risk for companies to change. There is strength in numbers and in unity, and that is how you move the needle.
Ê: We believe in strength in numbers, and we want to tell everyone we know to be All Strength, No Sweat! Our last question: What is the one thing you wish you could tell your middle school self?
SC: Hmmm, not a typical question for me, but I’ll give you two answers. The first is what I would tell my middle school self: You don’t have to have it all together. It’s OK to cry, to let it out and have emotional highs and lows. That’s what makes you you.
The second answer is what I would tell girls everywhere: Stand up. Stand up for what you believe in and use your voice as a platform for change. Find brands that have the same values you have, and support them. Find shows on TV that feature people who look like you, because what you watch should reflect who you are. Be loud, be proud, and make changes that bring us a better tomorrow.
Yep, role models matter. Role models like Swin Cash and her campaign co-stars have the power to influence today’s women and inspire tomorrow’s leaders. If we want our girls to raise their hands with unbridled confidence – in the classroom, in the locker room, and later in the board room – then arming them with inner strength and the knowledge that brands like Secret Deodorant will have their back is important. Making it irresistibly cool with a campaign like All Strength, No Sweat…well, that’s just smart. And if we can pass it on, echoing Swin Cash’s charge to be loud, proud and bring a better tomorrow, that’s the ballgame.
Illana Raia is a lawyer and the founder of Être, a mentorship platform for motivated girls. She has contributed to Thrive Global, HuffPost, Ellevate and Ms. Magazine, and her first book Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be? was released in 2019. She cannot stop watching the “All Strength, No Sweat” video and is grateful to Secret Deodorant and Swin Cash for inspiring girls everywhere.