IAmLikeOtherGirls started as an Instagram account on November 14. Their mission was to “redefine what it means to be like other girls,” because “many girls try to achieve individuality by distancing themselves” from other women. In less than a month, the project, this brainchild of two friends Tara Anand and Ellie Lee, has stormed the InstaNet garnering over 2000 followers and an engagement rate of over 6% — for perspective, Kim Kardashian West only gets 3% of her followers to actually interact with her social media. TLC caught up with Tara and Ellie to find out more about them and their delightful project.
Tell me a bit about yourselves and your experience in the art and activist fields?
Our names are Tara Anand and Ellie Lee we’re 19 and 18 respectively and we both study illustration at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Tara is from Mumbai and Ellie is a Korean-American artist born in NY.
Ellie has worked on numerous personal projects in the past. Her work tends to rely on narratives and own experiences, however, she is also a part of the team of Susie Magazine, which is an activist-based art and literary collective for women and non-binary folk. She also hand-makes and sells jewellery under RetroBabeOfficial. You can find her on Instagram and Etsy.
Tara is from Mumbai and does primarily narrative, character focused illustrations inspired by literature, history and cities. She also collaboratively runs The Thursday People, a Mumbai based Zine collective!. Both Ellie and Tara are very involved in the zine-scene and you can probably find them in Bluestockings under a pile of zines drinking hot chocolate.
Which country are you based in — we see posts geotagged on a global level
We’re currently based in NYC, Ellie is from New York, but Tara is from Mumbai India. Our posts are geotagged with the location from which we get each response.
Whose idea was it to start this project?
Ellie: It all started when we had a very intense conversation with our friends about something we heard someone say about not being like “other girls”. We were upset by the fact that many girls would go around saying things like “girls are petty, and there’s always so much drama.”
The fact is that phrases like this are so normalised in the society that we don’t even realise the damage it’s doing. Think about how much hate for your gender you must have been taught growing up to cast it away like that? So that’s when Tara suggested that we should do something to help create solidarity in womanhood! We were so shocked when we realised how many people felt the same way as we did.
What is your hope of what shall come out of this project?
Ellie: We hope to disassemble the negativity associated with femininity and get girls to stop saying stuff like “oh, I’m not like other girls,” hence the name of our project!
How many girls fill in your Google form per day or week?
Approximately 30 a day!
How do you decide whom to illustrate?
We plan to illustrate every submission we get.
Who does the artwork for your Instagram?
Tara (@taraanandart), Ellie (@ellieleeart) and some friends who kindly volunteered to help us when the numbers began to grow – Lee Dandrow (@ldandrowart), Emily Shih (@emilytheoverlord), Eliyana Beitler (@firstaidkits_), Priyanka Paul (@artwhoring), and Xiao Mei (@xiaome1) are some of them. We are also looking for some people to join the team right now.
Ellie: We want to thank our small team of artists right now who have voluntarily taken on more work to help us! We know that without them this project would be impossible to finish–and we still have a long way to go–and we don’t get reimbursed for our illustrations in any way, so this project is based entirely on the desire to grow and spread our message!
If you two had to fill in the google form, what would be your lines?
We did actually! These are us.
What are your favourite Instagram accounts that you follow?
Yuko Shimizu, Susie Magazine, Loveis Wise, The New Yorker, Homegrown, School of Doodle, Broadly, New Women Space, and Hunter Schafer.
Your name bears a resemblance to the US Insta account I am that girl — is that intentional or was it a coincidence?
What are you hoping to highlight with your project?
Tara: We’re hoping to show people that “being like other girls” is not something to be ashamed of. One cannot expect to generalise an entire gender so when one says they aren’t like other girls, what does that even mean? Almost half the population of the world are women, and so they are an incredibly diverse group — there are different races, social status, interests, abilities and preferences! Being like other girls does not mean anything specific, whatever you do/are/like, there are probably thousands of other girls who share this with you so you are like other girls and you should be proud of it!
Why only use the colour Pink as a background for all the posts?
Tara: Pink is a colour commonly associated with femininity and therefore one that many girls strive to stay away from in their attempts to distance themselves from their gender. Our project wants to make girls proud of being girls and to associate pink and the concept of the “traditionally feminine” with a more diverse set of traits and ideas, to represent what the female population looks and feels like!