Gina Otto: Empowering Women...One Girl at a Time
The one thing I have learned throughout my journey as a writer, publicist and dreamer is that you never ever give up on what you believe in, no matter how daunting the task may seem. And that's why, when I got the chance to host a brunch featuring Gina Otto, the author of the new children's book Cassandra's Angel
and founder of the brand new Change My World Now website, I instantly learned that no matter how much you've achieved in your career, if you're not using your talents for good, you might as well pack it in and call it a day.
That's exactly what Gina did just a decade ago. As a top film and television commercial producer, she was truly at the top of her game. Gina worked in film, television and fashion with talented visionaries at Lucasfilm, NBC, CBS and Viacom. But something funny happened on the way to fame, fortune and success. Gina was producing a diet cola commercial and noticed how incredibly thin the young models looked during the shoot. And as she thought about what that image conveyed to young girls, Gina realized that she no longer wanted to build a career centered around sharing negative messages about body image to young women. And so, she quit.
Leaving her glamorous Hollywood life behind, Gina began visiting schools where she spoke with tween and teen girls about the issues that they felt were most important in their young lives. Little by little, the students confided their innermost thoughts - sharing their insecurities about body image, the problems they faced with peers, family and much more. The school visits soon turned into a book idea called "Cassandra's Angel" which sold more than 50,000 copies and eventually became a concept for a musical. And as fate would have it, when Gina set out to do a reading of the play, hundreds of people filled the theater and then asked for a DVD of the performance. Soon, word of the reading spread across the coast to a Broadway producer who invited Gina to New York so that "Cassandra's Angel" could be developed into a full fledged musical.
Fast forward to this fall where Gina has just embarked on a 20 city nationwide bus tour to promote the launch of "Cassandra's Angel" with Sterling Books as well as the premiere of Change My World Now, a safe social networking site for tweens that will provide them with the tools they need to make a difference in their community and the world. Take a look at the Change My World Now launch video which has already received over 24,000 views since it debuted last week:
Throughout the next several months, Gina and the cast of her engaging musical will be visiting schools, malls and children's museums where Gina will be dispensing heartfelt advice and inspiration while sharing readings and musical performances with students, educators and their parents. The goal behind the tour is to get kids to share what's going on in their communities while offering them the resources and advice they need to effect change in their own hometowns. For more information, visit www.cassandrasangel.com or www.changemyworldnow.com.
Posted in: TV on 10/23/2011