Badassery Magazine March 2018 Issue22 - Page 15

G rowing up as a young child in the foster care system made childhood a challenge for Charell Star, a prolific fashion blogger, journalist and advocate. For 9 or 10 years, she bounced around between foster care, which are usually strangers, to kinder- care, which are usually relatives or people that your family knows. Around age 11, she was reunit- ed with her mother and was awarded a scholarship to go to a private boarding school in Ar- izona where she learned new skills like horseback riding. From there, she went to college in Boston and started her career in public relations and writing. Her blog, Not Just A Girl In A Dress, started through writing about things she cared about and was passionate about. As she focused on writing about what she loved, she grew a healthy following who loved to read her posts and share them on Facebook and so- cial media. From there, she began to contribute to other outlets, like Business News Weekly and tele- vision new segments. She remains passionate about telling stories that can bring joy to people’s lives. Charell is one of the new class of micro-influencers who focuses more on the value and engage- ment her community provides to the brands she collaborates with rather than sheer numbers alone. Charell states, “I’ve got about 5000 followers on Instagram. And, yeah, it would be great to have a million, but I appreciate my 5000. When I’m lucky enough to work with brands...they appreciate that even though my following is small, it does move the needle for them… It’s not actually about having a million followers, it’s about having people who are actually engaged with you, and that’s the real value.” As part of her influence, Charell focuses on helping to support the foster system she grew up in as a youth. One of the programs she works with is aimed toward helping kids who have aged-out of foster care. Normally, when a child reaches the age limit (either 18 or 21, depending on the state) the child is no longer supported by the system and they are left on their own to support themselves. City Living NY provides concrete resources, tools, and support ser- vices to empower youth who are aging out of the foster system. Another organization Charell vol- unteers for is CASA-NYC, which stands for Court Appointed 14