The Surrey Girl Project

I am so excited to finally launch The Surrey Girl Project! After months of planning everything is coming together and today marks the official beginning of what I hope will be something amazing. This project is about being proud of where you’re from, speaking up for something you believe in, and having some fun in the process (you can see where it all began in this post).

“This city is my home. It gives me everything I need and want, and I get to live the best life I can”.

Carolyn Turkington, High School Teacher 

The term ‘Surrey Girl’ is something that a lot of us from this City (BC’s second largest) get called, and it’s time to put an end to the rude/ negative association and make it something we’re proud to tell people (no more saying ‘I’m from South Surrey/ Vancouver/ White Rock’!). Being born/ raised in Surrey isn’t what defines us, but it’s a part of us, and shouldn’t be something we get shamed for or made fun of. A label we didn’t ask for isn’t what defines or shapes us, it doesn’t limit us, and we hope to show that amazing things- amazing people– are coming from this diverse city. This project is about taking a negative and turning it around, making it something positive. We’re having fun with it, and the hope is to show how amazing it is to be a Surrey Girl, a girl from Surrey.

The women in this series were raised in different neighbourhoods throughout Surrey. Some of us were born and raised there, some of us grew up there, but either way we want to share the Surrey we love and maybe shift what people think of when they think of Surrey and ‘Surrey Girls’. We’re not trying to ignore or downplay challenges that are present there, but our hope is to share the positive (and there’s a lot of it) and to maybe even help further shift the City’s reputation in a positive direction. It is a large and diverse city, and the people living there reflect that. With this project we will share about our favourite memories growing up throughout Surrey, what we love about the City, and why we are proud to be Surrey Girls. This is the city we call home, the city we were born and/or raised in. It’s important to be proud of where you’re from, and we hope to show the beauty of Surrey, in all it’s glory. Imperfections and all.

“I am excited to be a part of the movement to show what we’re really about to my daughter and our future generation of young women. I’m from Surrey and I’ve always been proud of it!”

Kristy Powers, Photographer & Small business owner

It doesn’t matter where you’re from, I hope that this project resonate with you. The mantra and the message behind it is that you can take charge of a situation and take something that may be viewed as a negative and turn it into a positive. To take ownership of something. I am so grateful for everybody who has helped me bring this project together including the ladies featured in this series, as well as the collaborative partners who helped me bring this project to life. Over the coming weeks these 9 women (10 including me) will share about their experiences growing up in Surrey, favourite memories, and why they’re proud of where they’re from: 

Carolyn Turkington, High School Teacher, Softball Coach, and Camp Coordinator of the Okanagan Softball Camp

Piya Sandhu, Owner of The Handpicked Home

Monika Levarsky, Nursing Student & Behavioural Interventionist/ Respite Care

Ally Matos, Photographer, Videographer + Blogger-  AllyFotogafy Media Co. + Blog

Steph Hassell, Co- Owner of Violet + Ruby

Natasha Raey, Entrepreneur, Co- Founder SheTalks Global, Women’s Empowerment and Medical Marijuana Advocate

Kristy Powers, Photographer & Co- Owner of The Local Space

Jenifer Wiens, Stay at Home Mom, Co- Owner of Cedar Creek Fencing, Small shop owner Cozy Darling Crochet

Samantha Lenz, Freelance Journalist & Blogger

A big thank you to Locomotive Clothing, Surrey 604, Ally Fotografy, and Priddy Music. Without you this project wouldn’t have been possible. And to the ladies who are included in this first series – thank you so much for your passion and interest in this project. You are all inspiring and amazing women- examples of strong and beautiful women inside and out for all to see- and I am so excited to share your stories through this project.

To learn more and find out who’s a part of the first series, check out the video produced by Ally Fotografy below (in the clip of me at the end, I look really intense/ grumpy, but I was actually in a really good mood and had just been in ‘director mode’ during the shoot! 😉 ). I hope amazing things will come out of this project and that those who learn about it, regardless of where they are from, will find something to relate to. All future posts for The Surrey Girl Project will be published on Surrey 604, so make sure you keep an eye out for the feature posts of the amazing ladies included in this first series. Thank you again to everyone for their love and support. Here we go!

Want to be involved? Show support?

Here’s how:

Be a part of the project! Use #SurreyGirl and #TheSurreyGirlProject on social media to help spread the word.

 

Proud to be a Surrey Girl #TheSurreyGirlProject

 

If you follow the blog on Instagram, you will have seen me talk about this in the past few weeks. It is something I am so excited about and can’t wait to launch later this month. I love where I’m from and proud, but the truth is there is still a lot of stigma surrounding Surrey and one thing in particular that I want to see changed: I want to change what people think about when they hear the term ‘Surrey Girl’.

If you’re not local to the area you may not know what I’m talking about (but chances are you do, because I’ve met people on the other side of the world who knew what a ‘Surrey Girl’ was), but for those of you who’ve spent some time in the Lower Mainland, you’ve probably heard the term, and we all know it isn’t meant as a compliment. And if you’re from Surrey like me, you’ll likely have been the target of cheeky/ rude/ derogatory comments because of where you’re from. And that’s a big part of why I wanted to see this project through- because I’m tired of the stigma and that even as an adult, I can’t escape the title of ‘Surrey Girl’.

 Since that term doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, I thought why don’t we change what it means? Change what people think of when they hear the term ‘Surrey Girl’? And that is the message behind The Surrey Girl Project: that being a female from Surrey is not a bad thing, that we are strong, diverse, and talented girls and women proud to be where we’re from. Surrey has come a long way and I’ve been shown some of those changes (more on that in another post), and I’d love to see more positive momentum continue on a level we can all participate in. The City isn’t perfect- where is?- but why should we pause when people ask us where we’re from and alter the answer because of the anticipated responses we might get (and yes, we get them- ‘ooooh you’re a Surrey Girl’ *wink wink*)?

So what is The Surrey Girl Project? 

The project will be a collective effort between OHP and several local businesses and organizations to create a series that features women from the area- born and/ or raised in Surrey- and highlight their talents and diversity, to show how amazing it is to be a Surrey Girl. Our hope is to flip the term upside down and give it a makeover. We’ll have fun with it, have a few laughs (because let’s face it, there has to be a little bit of humour with this, at least to start given what we’re trying to do) and hopefully start to change what the term means and what pops up when you search #SurreyGirl. I’m sure there will be some cheeky comments, some eye rolls, and critics, but that is exactly why a project like this needs to exist: to infuse positive and make change. I don’t expect every single female in Surrey to come on board, but for the ones who like what we’re doing, even if just a little bit (whether they still live there or have moved elsewhere), I hope they’ll help us make this project amazing.

The project will launch here on OHP later this month including a collection of photos of the women selected to be featured in the first series (we’re hoping there will be more to come), with individual profiles being featured on Surrey604 in the months following the launch. Thanks to Locomotive Clothing, each lady will be showing off her City pride in a Surrey Community tee, with Ally Fotografy helping us capture the message behind the project with her beautiful photos. We are also hoping to shoot a large group photo of any ladies interested in supporting the project as a fun way to include as many supporters as possible. 

We hope to have fun, create something amazing, and trigger some positive change. Be the change, right? So here we go. 

Want to be involved? Show support?

Here’s how:

If you like what we’re doing and want to help spread the word, please share about the project on social media and tag us #TheSurreyGirlProject  (add in #SurreyGirl too so we start loading that hashtag up with good things!).

If you’d like to include a Surrey Girl sign in your photo, I’ve created a few printables to choose from like the one in the photo above. To print, simply download and choose which one you want to use. Have some fun with it and tag us so we can see how you’re helping show what a Surrey Girl REALLY is! 

TSGP Printables

A BIG THANK YOU to the partners who’ve helped bring The Surrey Girl Project together so far:

Surrey 604 | Ally Fotografy | Locomotive Clothing