Deja Foxx was unpacking her dorm room at Columbia University when she received a DM from Meena Harris. Vice President Kamala Harris’s niece was in search of somebody to affix her aunt’s presidential marketing campaign on the digital staff. She despatched Deja a job description, and the then-19-year-old began brainstorming some mates that might match the function.
“‘Oh, I have some friends that just graduated. Let me send you some recommendations. I know some people that would be a good fit,'” Deja recalled throughout a dialog with POPSUGAR for Instagram’s Creator Week. “And [Meena] stopped me and said, ‘I think you would be a good fit. Have you considered it?’ And I said, ‘I’m packing my dorm up. I’m repacking. Don’t even worry. I’m on my way.'”
Fearless. The phrase sums up Deja’s resolution to dive headfirst into a brand new political function, and, funnily sufficient, it is also the phrase she has tattooed on her arm — in Kamala’s handwriting. But Deja’s fearlessness did not begin because the VP’s youngest marketing campaign staffer. She’s well-practiced in making brave decisions, as evidenced by her well-known confrontation of Jeff Flake in 2017.
At 16 years outdated, Deja requested the Arizona Senator to elucidate his stance on Title X. “I come from a background of poverty, and I didn’t always have parents to guide me through life. You come from privilege. So I’m wondering, as a Planned Parenthood patient and someone who relies on Title X, who you are clearly not, why it’s your right to take away my right?”
“I’m questioning what being an expert looks like, feels like, how we justify who’s qualified.”
A clip of her question rapidly went viral. Reflecting on the previous few years, Deja recollects how “exciting” and additionally “unsettling” it was to see her life explode in a single day. “I’d learned how to tell my story. I’d learned the power of media and the landscape around reproductive justice. But that doesn’t change the fact that when I woke up in the morning, I was still a 16-year-old girl who was really scared that so many people now had access to me being my most vulnerable self.”
Deja’s vulnerability turned her superpower. As an activist, the founding father of Gen Z Girl Gang, and an influencer, she constructed her platform with authenticity at its core. Deja purposely poses in bikinis and promotes vibrators on her account to point out she’s not curious about hiding who she is. Politicians aren’t normally recognized for being real on-line (though Deja spotlights Alejandra Campoverde, Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Jon Ossoff, and in fact, Kamala among the many few who’re), however she has plans to vary that together with her personal future presidential marketing campaign.
“I’m really challenging what it means to be respectable, what it means to be taken seriously,” she stated. “And I think that that’s incredibly powerful. I’m questioning what being an expert looks like, feels like, how we justify who’s qualified. And I’m doing that in so many ways. Not just by the way that I dress, the way that I look, the way that I talk, but also the background that I come from and the way that I bring that community and that experience into my work and integrate it into being a whole person.”
Deja thinks we should always all be reframing the best way we take a look at elected officers. “At the end of the day, they are representatives, and they should be representative of people,” she defined. And that is the place her calling lies. “When I think about what I want to be in this life, it’s not president. It’s not a content creator. It’s not famous or rich. It’s a good role model.”
“When I think about what I want to be in this life, it’s not president . . . it’s a good role model.”
But even together with her pledge of authenticity, Deja acknowledges the worth of boundaries, particularly on social media. The on-line dialogue round politics is a breeding floor for trolling and harassment, together with the immense stress of expectation, which implies Deja has been compelled to place cautious practices into place. “I’m not perfect at this. I don’t think anybody is. I get lost in my own comment sections and spiral out about the one thing that someone said about me,” she admitted. In these instances, she depends on the precious recommendation of her eighth grade trainer: “Other people’s opinion of you is none of your business.” Deja retains her mates shut who can step in and verify in on her, typically even taking up her accounts to place distance from hateful feedback.
“You’re just a person. You’re going to make mistakes, just like everybody else. And so knowing that that’s a weight too, and acknowledging that it is a toll to be a role model, it is a toll to set an example, it is a toll to share your story, that those are all work, and to acknowledge that.”
This acknowledgment is simply one other instance of Deja’s fearlessness. She presses onward, understanding she’ll mess up alongside the best way. It’s a courageous, tireless effort, one thing the ink on her arm will without end remind her of. And, hey, maybe on her personal Inauguration Day, Deja will lastly be capable of present Kamala how her phrases actually left their mark. Until then, Deja will proceed combating for the an developed future. “I hope that by the time I run for president, I’ll have set an example that changes society’s expectations of women and women of color and, more importantly, changes the way that they see themselves in leadership across any discipline.”
Image Source: Deja Foxx