For this post, I decided to interview a teen entrepreneur who despite all the COVID challenges - distance learning, postponed extracurricular activities, and struggles with maintaining a social life, ended up launching a movement that she wants to turn into a business.
Meet Lila Meltzer, a high schooler from Florida who prior to working on Her Secret Identity, spent her days competing in speech and debate and running her own ebay business. She’s still doing those things, while also spending about fifteen hours a week working on her new endeavor - Her Secret Identity.
Where did the idea for Her Secret Identity come from?
In my life, I often felt that people only saw me on my “good days” where things looked as if they were always going right. But, in reality, I don’t have it all together. Honestly, it was surprising how difficult it was to share this. But, it was also empowering to finally admit my vulnerability, and I wanted to give that power to other women. Her Secret Identity is an online movement that challenges society's assumptions about women, by inviting them to reveal their true selves…their secret identities.
Many people have ideas, but they don’t always take those ideas and make them a reality. What made you decide to take action on this idea?
I was tired of not taking action. For years I accepted this reality that women face, but as my parents told me since I was little, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” It was time to ask. I was ready to put myself and my ideas out into the world and embark on a mission to create change.
I know you recently launched Her Secret Identity on instagram - how did you feel leading up to that launch and how do you feel now?
It was terrifying. It was ready to launch for days, but since the very first photo was mine, I sat there staring at it, panicking about how I would be perceived. But if I wanted other women to share their secret identities, I had to jump in first. When I did, I felt more powerful than ever. I use that power everyday. There is something so liberating when you are honest about yourself.
Where do you see Her Secret Identity in 6 months?
I hope that hundreds of women from all different backgrounds, ages, and races will join us and share their secret identities. I hope to create a ripple effect where women feel empowered by seeing other women’s stories. When COVID subsides, I would love to travel around the country to hear women’s stories and collect their secret identities in person. But specifically, I really want submissions from women in each state - right now we have FL, CA, NJ, NY, TX, and MD. I’m also excited about hearing from people around the world! So, if you’re reading this and live outside the USA, please share your secret identity.
If people want to support this mission and get involved what do they do?
Go to tinyurl.com/HS-IDSubmit and fill in these blanks: “People think I ______” and “My Secret Identity is _____.” You can choose to submit anonymously or with your name and photo attached. You can also check us out on instagram and follow along. See other secret identities at https://www.instagram.com/her.secret.identity/.
What advice would you give to other teen entrepreneurs who might think they are too young to start something? Last week, an anonymous woman submitted her secret identity, saying how she sometimes felt lonely in the world. But what really got to me was her private message telling me that if a fifteen-year-old like me could find the strength to share my secret identity, so could she as someone in her sixties. So for every teen entrepreneur out there, you can make a real impact on people. Start now.
Thanks for chatting with me - anything else you’d like to share?
First off, thanks so much for interviewing me and giving me a chance to share about Her Secret Identity. I also want to say thank you to everyone that has helped and supported me throughout building this movement. And of course, thank you to my parents. Thank you for believing in me and loving me every day-- you are forever my number one cheerleaders. Also, every woman who has joined this movement - thank you! You are making an impact by sharing your story. Oh and Sheryl Sandberg, and Michelle Obama if you see this I’d love to have you involved in this movement.
Interested in learning more about Her Secret Identity - visit i nstagram