Get to know Sarah Akiba.
A close friend of the Gee women and dedicated philanthropist, creative director and celebrity stylist, Sarah truly does it all.
Between her charity work, activism and passion projects, Sarah is a never-ending source of inspiration of how we can contribute to our communities. Today on the #GeeEdit, we are honored to be featuring Sarah and learn more about how she's making a difference.
You've created an amazing girls club called AWOM - how did it start?
AWOM, an acronym for Angel Watching Over Me, stemmed from the loss of my father and using my struggle as a superpower. Being in the fashion industry, the program fell into my lap through a woman named Audrey who was simply doing a good deed and putting together a Mother-Daughter tea Party for young girls who wanted to learn lady like etiquette because they didnt have the opportunity to ever learn such things in their homes due to their hard situations and lack of opportunity.
This woman went into my mothers antique shop looking for Tea Cups and when she told my mother the story, she called me and said I needed to hear what Audrey was up to. She told me how she wished she could put together a fashion show for the girls and at the time, I had over 50 racks of clothing in storage. I told her I could put together a full fashion show for her… in THREE DAYS and I did just that.
I called all of my local friends and got hair and makeup, gift bags from Saks fifth avenue, top local wardrobe stylists, built a full runway, and a DJ to make it feel like a real fashion show. After the show, these young girls came up and gave their testimonies about how this fashion show helped boost their confidence, how before this they had suicidal thoughts because they never felt anyone cared for them, how some girls that usually bullied them helped them get dressed that day.
I simply went to the principal after, never knowing anything about the school, and asked how I could do more here. She told me “I dont know, but we’re here.” I made a commitment that day to show up to the school every Friday before Shabbat and make it my weekly good deed to just go and have good conversation with the girls, be present and be a listening ear.
Every week during lunch time I became Ms. Sarah, and my lunch table was full so I built the first ever AWOM Girls Club room, a safe space where we met weekly to speak everything self love, self confidence, personal hygiene, kindness, and the importance of community. It’s been 8 years and we have our annual fashion show so the girls can walk the runway of life and to prove to themselves that they are models from the inside out.
Learn more about AWOM
We're so inspired by your activism + charity work - where do you get your drive and passion?
My drive absolutely stems from seeing my parents always lending a helping hand. I think it definitely has a lot to do with being taught that giving should be in our nature to make this world better. For me, it runs through my veins. I cannot see something wrong and not take action, especially if I feel so passionately about the subject. It’s sort of the motto “If you see something, say something”, but I take it a step forward and Do Something. Even if it’s something small I think the domino effect is so much larger.
One small thing ripples into something so much bigger.” - Sarah Akiba
As someone so passionate about helping the community and others, what's your advice to someone who might not know where to start?
If you dont know where to start I would say start by following someone who inspires you or even a subject that inspires you and simply reach out! Volunteer without expecting anything back and just show up. Some people dont have the means to donate financially so I always say take some time out of your day to help.
All non-profits or people need a little help sometimes. This also doesn’t have to only be for charity work. Ask a friends or family member or stranger how you can help them today. This can change their whole world. Even a working mom, ask her if you could watch her kids for one hour, or make them dinner, just take one task off of their list - the little things make a big difference!
Don’t be afraid to ask how you can help.” - Sarah Akiba
You recently launched The Pull - a hub where creatives can borrow high fashion pieces. What's on your dream fashion wish list?
The Pull is a total passion project because I have gathered such a gorgeous collection from styling over the years. This closet is a hub for one of a kind pieces that I either have designed myself or collected. As for my wishlist, this is a tough questions because it’s nothing you can simply find in a store, but I look for more one of a kind pieces that no one else has. I love a good vintage piece that is timeless!
Gee Edit Takeover: Nat Rosenfeld
How would you describe your personal style in 3 words?
Easy, Comfortable, Accessorized.
We love how you love Gee Beauty makeup! What are your Gee essentials?
Gee Beauty is the only makeup in my makeup drawer because it is simply so light and perfect for that natural glow. My go to is definitely the Color Sticks, a good lip liner (love Talk To Me) and A Gee Thing lipstick always!
Connect With Sarah
With the holidays around the corner, one of our core values - human connection - becomes even more meaningful and it's also a time to connect by giving back.
Gee Beauty is so proud to contribute to AWOM's mission to provide access to a support group and safe space for middle school girls in Miami, where they can talk and learn about improving self-esteem, self love, compassion, female leadership and support from bullying.
Happy holidays! xx
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