I approached Ms. Dawkins for an interview because we have been Facebook friends for quite some time, and I eventually started volunteering with her. During our interactions I observed her passion for non-profits, her commitment to the community, and her love for helping out women and girls. It linked me back to my passions, and quite frankly she inspires me. She is a twentysomething of color who is both regal and real, and she has shared her journey and wisdom with us. Enjoy!
RR: Tell us about yourself.
Dawkins: “I like getting into fun, and I do Girl’s Night Out, and non-profit work. I literally enjoy learning new things and exploring everything out there. I went to school for Broadcast Journalism. Also, I love family. I really like family structure, marriage, and family values. Basically having it all. I want to be a strong career woman, and hold down my family at the same time one day. I am a strong believer in exploring as much as you can to live your best life ever.”
RR: Did you experience a Twentysomething Crisis at some point?
Dawkins: “Yes, definitely!” “I think I had a couple,” she laughs. “At 23, I was engaged to get married and start my domestic life. However, we ended up calling the wedding off, and mutually decided to walk away because the time wasn’t right. It was a really hard time for me. I never thought I would find someone else like him, and I felt like a 40 year old divorced with kids. That was 5 years of my life. When I walked away from that relationship I didn’t know who I was.” “My 2nd crisis was at 25. At this midpoint to 30 I began to question, ‘How do I want the rest of my 20’s to look? Do I want to learn who Stephanie is?’ It was about rediscovering myself.”
RR: You started your own events for women called Girl’s Night Out? Tell us more…
Dawkins:GNO is something you have to experience. It is hard to explain. GNO started in the middle of the night at 1 am. I was 23 years old, just got out of a relationship, and in my one bedroom apartment crying. I woke up crying saying that I need to feel happy again. I don’t know where to start. I want my sadness and loneliness to end. I heard God speak to me, ‘how many other women are feeling that way?’ I believe God was speaking to me. I got up, got on my computer, and started
planning my first Girl’s Night Out Event. GNO was birthed out of pain, necessity, despair, and wanting to be healed from hurt. It has brought me so much joy and happiness! I have met so many women both young and old who I would never have known if I didn’t listen to God speaking to me that night.”
RR: It has been over a year since you did a GNO Event, why is that?
Dawkins: So I really had to think about this. Why did I stop? To be honest…fear of success. One thing about my personality is that I like to have fun. It started to get different when I was being held accountable to be fun for events. I didn’t want to let people down. I wasn’t sure where GNO was going to go. Fear of success is real ya’ll. I felt fear, like can I really do this? I don’t know if I’m cut out for this. But, the good part is that now I am coming back with a vengeance! I want to see all the girls out for my next event, even the girls from my very first GNO from 2009. I could use volunteers and performers. As for vendors there are only 3 spots available this time. But, I just want everyone to be there…all girls of any ages and backgrounds! I know I went on a hiatus, but everywhere I go people keep asking for GNO, and that’s when I knew that I must be doing something special if people keep asking for it.
RR: Describe your upcoming Girl’s Night Out event.
Girl’s Night Out sponsored by Church Girls Rock. Friday, August 24, 2012. FREE!
Manna Christian Fellowship Church ∙733 East 22nd Street ∙Wilmington, DE 19802
Dawkins: “It has been so long, but this event is sponsored by Church Girls Rock. Not sure how to articulate it because GNO is something you must experience. But, this night is a necessity. It is very, very necessary that I do this. I have been to multiple events this year, and I am taking everything I learned both the good and the bad into consideration for this GNO. I’ve been playing around with the name. My previous GNO was based on a book called, “I am a DIVA: Every Woman’s Guide to Outrageous Living.” I read it, and was thinking what could I possibly have in common with these older white women. Believe it or not—a lot! I used this book as the basis for a GNO. I want to incorporate that in. Also, all of the women’s organizations I have come in contact with such as National Coalition of 100 Black Women, and Girl’s Inc will be included too.”
“This event is free, and this is my gift back to the girls who come. For all the women who keep asking me when GNO is coming back or what I am doing. This is for you! There will also be another GNO later in the year, as well.”
RR: What advice would give to twentsomethings on finding your passion/purpose, a good job, or even love?
Passion/Purpose—“Ask yourself questions and listen to other people! What do you love to do? When I was little I would get notes sent home from school saying I was too talkative. Now I make money for talking because I realized that was my gift and my passion. Sit still, and really thing, what do you love? Really have to think and pay attention. Ask people—what do you think I’m good at?”
Finding A Job—“Build relationships. You can have LinkedIn and your resume to the nines, but you need relationships to get the job. My job was from a relationship, from me out living and someone taking notice. Putting the word out there and building key relationships.”
On Love—“Love Yourself! It seems so simple. It is one thing to like to look good. But, all the material things and exterior aside you really got to dig inside yourself, and think how do I feel about myself? Do I think I’m worth someone else’s time? Do I really think I am worth it, period? Am I worth someone loving me? What do I have to give? Love will come when you are absolutely loving yourself. Like attracts like. Wow, it’s like a perfume. Love yourself and watch what happens.”
RR: What have you learned about friendship?
Dawkins: “It is important to give of yourself, time, energy, your personality, your laughter, and your intelligence for friendship. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I have so much to offer. You would be amazed at what offers will give. But, give without expecting anything in return! You can fall in love, but there is nothing like the bond between friends and your girls. Nothing like sisterhood and uplifting each other to build up your confidence. It’s a different lane. There’s a void. If you’re in a relationship then you have a void of no friends or if you have friends but no man, you need to know what void you need to feel. You need your girls to rely on.”
RR: Is there a motto or favorite quote that you live by?
Dawkins: “Something my mom tells me, “It’s not about you. Just be happy God included you in his plan.” I am grateful for the gifts and talents that God has given me. As far as GNO I realized that none of this is about me. It’s about God’s plan that he has for me. I’m just going to work for him, and I am a worker bee. People see the glam and the pictures of me living, but they don’t see the nights I cry or times I felt lonely, or when I didn’t have a companion to lean on. I am just happy He included me in his plan. Be thankful. Be joyful. Wow, God thought so highly of me, not because I’m worthy or better than anyone, but this is the purpose and plan that keeps me motivated. I do GNO for the girls who are struggling, and the single mothers who only go to work and take care of their child, but GNO is that time for them to get dressed up and come out. I do this for women who are in need, and need to step out with their friends to feel better again None of this is about me. It’s about God’s plan that he has for me.”
RR: When you think of the word “regal” what comes to mind?
RR: When you think of the word “real” what comes to mind?
Dawkins: Genuine, Flawed, Imperfect but beautiful
She personifies ‘Regal Realness’ in every sense of the word! You can keep in contact with Stephanie Dawkins via the GNO Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/girlsnightoutevents while the GNO new website is under construction. You can also follow her on twitter: @stephdawkins. Interested in attending Girl’s Night Out, volunteering, performing, vending, e-mail Stephanie at: email@example.com.