On this episode of Vertigo, Irini Fournier (MSB ’24) sits down with Gianna Valencia (MSB ’24) to discuss her newest endeavor of promoting confidence through social media. Tune in to hear more about Valencia’s take on social media, confidence and fashion.
IF: From The Hoya, I’m Irini and this is “Vertigo,” a mini podcast series on the mindfulness and discipline behind entrepreneurship, the balance of maintaining a healthy work ethic and navigating Georgetown socialization without losing your purpose. We invite speakers that exemplify successful mentalities and achievements in their approaches to health, business, studying, socializing, clubs, internships and really any troubles students may relate to.
IF: Hello everyone! We’re back and are here with Gianna Valencia. She’s a sophomore in the MSB majoring in what was it again?
GV: Finance and OPIM.
IV: Finance and OPIM. Hardworking girl.
GV: And a minor in accounting. I mean minor in computer science.
IV: Mainly your main project is now something that you’ve started on Instagram called bygiannavalencia. Tell me a little bit more about that. Like, what’s the source of it? Why did you decide that you needed to do it? It’s more of a hobby right now, isn’t it?
GV: Yeah, it is. It’s more of a hobby. I started during quarantine because I was very bored and I sort of wanted to have this sort of creative outlet and platform where I could post anything I wanted without feeling constrained. Because ironically, even though the page is public, I felt more free to post whatever I wanted on that page, instead of my private account. At first it was just anything I wanted, but then it sort of grew into more of like a fashion page because that’s what I really, really like, it sort of became like my safe space and it sort of had these unintended effects on other people as well. Because it has really helped me with my confidence journey. And I feel like a lot of people don’t realize, like, for me, fashion is a form of creativity, like a creative outlet, but also it’s a way to show people who I am in a way that words can’t describe. If that makes sense. It sounds so cringy, but it’s true.
IF: Yeah, I mean, she’s done great. You’ve done an amazing job at uniting, especially sophomore girls, but girls all around campus. Right before spring break she had this really cool haul with one of your friends, Angeli. Well, she’s also my friend. Hi, Angeli, who has a… shout out to Angeli who has a really cool project of her own. Yeah, Ella Por Ella, Ella times Ella the English speakers. And you sort of did this styling thing where you would style girls’ outfits for spring break. And it was so inspiring. And you got girls talking about what they were going to wear. And you saw in a lot of people, outfits that they would never think of wearing but looked really good on them. And you gave them that confidence to do it.
GV: It was a giveaway, and I decided you know, before spring break, everybody has all these events, and everybody’s always stressed on what they want to wear, so it’s something fun for me, like making outfits for fun. And so I decided, you know what, I’m just going to do this for someone if they want. And a lot of people ended up commenting that they wanted it or whatever.
IF: What did you usually look for when you were styling these girls?
GV: One of the people that I styled was Angeli and the first thing that I asked her was, I want to make sure that you understand that I’m not styling you based on my style. It’s based on your style and what makes you feel comfortable. The things that you like to wear, if you like to wear skirts, pants, this or that, like at the end of the day, it’s what makes you the most confident.
IF: I can’t begin to describe the times that I’ve fully confided in a few of my friends to style me for going out and stuff and, and suddenly realize that, something bad better not happen to me today because I won’t have that armor that I usually have of like my style and the things that make me be myself.
GV: I love how you say that your clothes are like armor, which is true. I feel like once you’re confident in what you’re wearing, you’re confident and, you feel like you can take on the world. At least that’s how I feel. And I know that a lot of people including you feel the same way about it.
IV: And it’s not something that should be looked at as a petty thing.
GV: And I always say that a lot of people don’t. Every time I say I dress for myself and not for anyone else people think it’s that I’m lying, but I literally like during quarantine when literally nobody was, I wasn’t gonna see anybody, I would pull out a forfeit on like everything, because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m ready for the day. And it, yeah.
IV: You said you felt constrained, but it’s kind of ironic, because the Instagram that doesn’t constrain you is public and the one that does is private.
GV: I think it’s more about just the fact that I post so much on bygiannavalencia. Like I post every single day basically.
IV: Like a glamorous Finsta, per se? No because some people genuinely feel constrained by their Instagram like they feel like they can not share specific things.
GV: Which isn’t bad but at the same time you know, if you want to post it, post it. Don’t restrain yourself because of what other people are gonna think.
IV: Yeah, it’s kind of hard, like, I’m not gonna lie.
GV: I felt the same way. I know that. You for example, I wanted to ask you what, sorry, I’m…
IV: She’s chewing ice, it’s fine.
GV: I know that you post a lot. Like you’ve sort of opened the door to a lot of I don’t know even how to like phrase this.
IV: What are you trying to say?
GV: In bygiannavalencia, I’ve started to talk more to the camera, which is scary and daunting, but I know that you’ve been doing it for a long time.
IV: Talking to the camera?
GV: Yeah, like singing and posting stories of you singing or like talking, doing things like this, like doing the podcast.
IV: Do you think I don’t second guess myself like 100 times every time. It’s so scary. And also, I get so much criticism for it. Like just funny jokes from my friends, that makes me feel so bad sometimes, like, I always get scared that it’s just weird or too much. But if I don’t do it, I’m not myself and that I’m not gonna give up.
GV: You can’t let other people’s perception of you dictate your actions and how you think of yourself because if not, you’re never going to grow as a person. And I feel like that’s so important. Because if you’re constantly trying, if you’re constantly doubting yourself and trying to live up to other people’s expectations, or prove people wrong, then you’re never going to be your true self. And you can’t let other people take that essence away from you.
IV: Dude, and honestly, like, what are those expectations? Who dictates what cool is like? Why? Why is this specific thing weird? If a celebrity were to walk in a ridiculous outfit down the street? You wouldn’t think that it was weird. You think? Oh, of course, of course, it must be like a new trend that some fashion brand has come up with and they’re the ambassador. But if a random person that you don’t like, recognize, if you didn’t recognize that celebrity, and you saw them walking down the street, you’d think what the hell is he wearing? Because at the end perception is more real than reality itself.
IV: Oh, 100%? Are you kidding me? The stronger your frame is about something, the stronger you believe in yourself. Rather than other people’s perspective, the more attractive your own perspective becomes.
GV: I feel like it’s more about how you view yourself than anything else. And like, the way that you talk to yourself, words are very, very powerful. And I don’t think a lot of people realize that. I’m actually taking a physics class this semester.
IV: Oh you told me about… Oh, my God this is insane.
GV: And one of the things we talked about was waves and vibrations. And this is like, he was saying how everything in the universe vibrates constantly. Everything, even if we can’t see it, string theory, it’s constantly vibrating. And so words hold vibrations, and negative words hold lower vibrations. And they like, create physical manifestations and like they actually physically affect you. I was reading this book the other day, by this, like, Japanese researcher called Masaru Emoto. I think it’s a book about water. It’s called the hidden messages in water. And he was studying how water reacted to certain actions. And one of the sections of the book was how water reacted to certain words that he said to it, and how it crystallized it was negative words and positive words. So like, he would say, like you disgust me or you would say thank you. It would crystallize in this snowflake-like form. And then when it was negative words, it would crystallize in this like broken…
IV: The same, the same solution, the same?
GV: Yep, everything. And it would, it’s crazy. If you think about it, humans are 60% water.
IV: I heard you told me a lot about them, the issues that you had with what I mean, with the people that you were styling that they were a bit insecure about the mask mandate, I was talking to a lot of my friends and they were all when like Georgetown removed the mask mandate, they were all very scared of like showing their face, which was crazy to me, because it’s like you were born with that face. And you’d be thankful. You know, like, every time you think of negative things about yourself, like push those thoughts away. Confidence is a mindset. It’s not something you’re born with. And it’s something that you have to work on. Constantly, every single day, you can’t wait around for people to come and like to hold your hand and constantly compliment you and constantly validate you, you have to do that yourself. Because at the end of the day, it’s you, you know, you’re you’re living with yourself for the rest of your life.
IV: I think, especially like now at college, we start realizing that, yeah, we’re not kids anymore. Like it’s not a poor thing you like, if you want something to happen, you’re gonna make it happen.
GV: If you’re constantly pitying yourself, and you’re constantly like, putting these restraints and limits, then you’re going to be limited.
IV: If you had figured things out, you would have probably done something about it. Or if you thought of or if you could figure it out, you would have probably figured it out.
GV: I think part of like, getting into this journey of self love and finding your confidence is being okay with being uncomfortable. And that’s something that I had to learn as well the hard way. When I was in high school, I used to let students, especially in ninth grade, I was so self conscious. I was always thinking about what other people were gonna think of me. I never wanted to, like, reach out to people like upperclassmen because I was so afraid of them not wanting to talk to me or this or that, so I was kind of a friend that would like tag along with all of my friends.
IV: Dude, it’s crazy for you to say that because nobody would ever say that Gianna was the girl like the typical girl who just tags along in high school.
GV: I sort of realized, you know, what, I’m never gonna grow if I’m not okay with saying yes, and, and going out of my comfort zone, even if it’s the tiniest thing, like, even if you’re comfortable, for example, always wearing sweatpants, that’s completely fine. But if you want to get out of your comfort zone a little, then start off with, you know, wearing a different type of shirt, or not wearing, you know, whatever. And it can be little things like that. But if you slowly work on it, it’s gonna, you know, you’re gonna, at the end of the day, you’re gonna look back and you’re gonna see that you’ve grown so much.
IV: Especially because I feel like just by doing bygiannavalencia, you learned so much, and you learned so much about exiting your comfort. So when I started G Tech, I had to literally like, email people that I didn’t even know. And literally, like, email them a video of myself, like analyzing their business, and hope that they would respond. And it was hours and hours of work that could go down the drain. Just if one mistake was made, or if just the person didn’t want to, like, just look at my look at my email. And the amount of times I was ignored, like, trust me, like when you start something you learn to deal with rejection, because the amount of times that people just don’t respond to your email, because they’re like, oh, spam.
GV: Yeah, no, no, that’s so important. I think that’s why a lot of people don’t take that next step to like, get out of their comfort zone, because they’re afraid of failure. And that’s something that a lot of people have to work on. I’ve had to work on myself, I hate failing, especially in front of people. But at the end of the day, if I don’t put myself in these situations, I’m not going to. I feel like I’m not gonna get anywhere. And I mean, Georgetown is known to have like the bet the worst like club exclusivity.
IV: Oh, my God.
GV: But at the same time, you know, you still have to apply to these things, even if you’re gonna get rejected, because at the end for internships, for example, because if you don’t, then that’s an automatic “no,” you don’t even have that hope or that chance and failure and having someone say no to you doesn’t take anything away from who you are and like your value.
IV: It annoys me that so many girls get to that point, where they’re thriving, they do everything they need to do they get to where they get, they reach their objectives, because they’ve really like gone through every single psychological and physical barrier that they’ve had to go through. And then they’re called, like, scary or intimidating or too loud. Like, what’s your opinion on that?
GV: First of all, women historically have been told to be quiet, and to, you know, stay in the line, stay in their lane, do what they’re told, or whatever. And then when there’s like this one girl that speaks out or does something that is not typically known, then they’re criticized. But what people have to realize is, a lot of the time, lack of confidence is due to what you’ve been conditioned to feel. So the people that whether it’s your family, or the people you surround yourself with, or anything you’ve seen in social media, you’ve been conditioned to feel that way. And sort of realizing that finding the source, understanding the source and detaching yourself from that is so important. Because there’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, what you feel
IV: It’s 80% of the work. If you walk into a room like you own the place, people won’t second guess you. And as far as being intimidating goes, there’s a really big difference between being an intimidating person and intimidating someone who’s just too insecure to like, to, like, maintain a conversation with you just because maybe somebody who’s insulting you is just challenged by your presence. Like that’s not something that you should work on. That’s something that the insecure person should work on. Right. So ultimately, just like… I just ran out of things to say, but, that sounded good. I felt smart saying it.
GV: What people have to realize is that insecurities are loud and confidence is silent. Down and we’re getting deep, bro.
IV: Quote us, we’ve literally, we’ve literally, like, not had any experience whatsoever. We’re literally what, like, 19 and 20 years old, but like, life philosophies right here. We’ve read books, coaches, coaches don’t know because honestly I’m saying all of these things and I still need to work on that myself. You know what I mean? Like, even though I know these things, like I still obviously feel insecure sometimes. And I questioned myself and I, but at least I know these things and I tried to say them to myself and make them believe.
IV: I love how we’re just like, yeah, meanwhile, like five minutes before this, we’re like trying to, we literally spend like 10 minutes like, wait, can you try this angle? And like, how does this look?
GV: I feel like the way that I know when someone is confident is if, by the way that they react to how other people see them or how other people or like failure. You know, like, if you, for example, you’re playing like a board game or something, and you lose, you take it like a champ. You’re like, okay, yeah.
IV: I’m such a sore loser. So that means I’m not confident, I guess, because I’m so competitive. Like, if you beat me up monopoly–
IV: Monopoly. Monopoly, like, the amount of satisfaction I get when I fully just like when monopoly like, I won’t, I won’t let anyone like, I will literally start writing down their debts if they have no money. Because I’m gonna believe it takes like, hours, like, I’ve invested part of my life in this, I better get a hotel in the one with the credit cards is amazing, though. And then when you have no money, it’s like.
GV: You’re like, fully embarrassed in front of everybody. But no, I used to have this pink one. When I was little, of course, you had to pick one. Yeah.
IV: I put beads on it…
GV: I know, but okay, back to, I wanted to, like contribute to just the expressing the confidence part. So something that’s super important for people to realize is that confidence is not about being cocky. Or, like, you know, being all this, like, super strong presence, it’s about being 100% comfortable with who you are, like flaws and all, and accepting yourself. Like, fully,
IV: And it just reminds me of like, how so many people say, especially like older people, because like, we’re still like, in that age, but they’re like, Oh, my God, those were like my childhood years, not even my teenage years, my childhood years, were the best years of my life and I’m like, that’s kind of sad, like I barely remember, my childhood. You know, like, of course, like, I remember some things. And I was a very happy child. And I still believed in Santa Claus. And I believed in magic, which is something that a lot of people like, but don’t have any more like that sort of like believing in magic. Like, that’s something that’s very cool. That’s when you were most yourself, that’s when you were most sort of not confident with who you were. Because like, obviously, like children get scared and like children get very intimidated by adults. But that’s when you were most true to who you were, and like your natural impulses. And if you didn’t want to talk to like a specific kid, who might have been the cool kid in class, but that kid was mean to you, because you pulled your hair, you wouldn’t talk to that kid.
GV: When you’re, when you’re younger, you don’t care about, you know, what other people you just, you’re just yourself.
IV: There’s one thing that you said that I really like, I think you put in your highlights or something. It was this quote, it was like…
GV: If you can control it, then why worry about it. And if you can’t control it, then why worry about it. And that’s so true. Because like, a lot of people let their past define them, and their future and their future as well and are constantly trying to prove themselves to other people, and trying to, you know, control what’s going on. And worrying constantly worrying. And I feel like every second you spend worrying is a second wasted. So just understanding that if you can control it, you know, don’t worry about it, because you can control it, you can change what’s occurring. And if you can’t control it, then don’t worry about it either because there’s literally nothing that you can do.
IV: You abide by that quite a lot.
GV: I definitely do. And it shows because I think that that specific quote is very, it forces you to stay in the moment, stay in the present.
IV: And Gianna, like for whoever knows Gianna knows that, especially at a party, like you’re just vibing but she’s not by being like, oh, yeah, like I’m vibing but I’m dancing with you. But at the same time, I’m looking around to like, see if there’s other people I can dance with? No, no. When I’m dancing with you. Like when Gianna is dancing with you, she’s dancing with you. Or she’s talking to you like when you’re talking to me, I feel like I’m like you’re talking to me, “The Power of Now” talks about this a lot. I started reading it properly this year. And it basically mimics what your quote said, it’s focused on right now and then evaluates what your problems are. And what it’s like kind of tries to remind you and what it makes you realize is that your thoughts are constant.
GV: And so powerful.
IV: They’re so loud they’re so, your subconscious is so influential with everything that you do in your day. And the moment you try to actually, like, focus on what’s going on. Like I’m talking to you. We’re being recorded. We’re in like, we’re in the production room. The moment that you try to like realize like we’re here. That’s when you do that’s when you realize that you can’t because your mind is just talking to you constantly. And when you start being in your body and you start like sort of feeling, feeling your presence. That’s when you actually have fun.
GV: If you’re constantly looking for the next best thing, you’re never going to find it. Because you’re constantly, you know, reaching this unattainable thing. And then once you get it, then there’s the next best thing and then you don’t really like stop and enjoy what you have.
IV: A really cool thing that, like a really good tactic that people use that a friend taught me is something called Shadow questions, sit in your room, put on headphones, or just be quiet for 30 minutes. And answer the following style of questions like, why am I not worthy? Why, why am I not enough? Why? There’s other ones, it’s like, why don’t I deserve to be loved? Like they’re really hardcore. But you sit and you answer them, and you look at your answers, like 30 minutes after and you’re like, wow, okay, like, this is exaggerated. Like, I obviously don’t think about these things, but my first impulse was to answer this, so there must be some truth behind it.
GV: Maybe not even the truth more like I guess it shows you how you really view yourself. And then you can sort of tackle the root of the problem once you understand what it is.
IV: Just because those questions are uncomfortable, doesn’t mean that you don’t know how to answer them. Look, you just answered them.
GV: And that goes back to what we were talking about, about being comfortable with being uncomfortable. And with that, I think I’m gonna end it here. And thank you for listening.
This podcast was recorded by Irini Fournier (MSB ’24) and edited and produced by Mia Rasamny (COL ’24) and Valerie Blinder (COL ’24).