Harpeth Hall was thrilled to welcome Kate T. Parker and her family to campus on October 22 to speak to our girls about her book Strong is the New Pretty.
Strong is the New Pretty started as a personal project for Parker. She is a professional photographer, a wife, and a mother to two young girls. Parker wanted to showcase her girls as they are...loud, messy, silly, fearless, independent, confident and fierce. Through her images, she wanted to combat the messages the media sends to women and girls: that beauty is a hairstyle, a certain size or an outfit. Parker's goal was to show that true beauty is in being yourself 100%. Confident is beautiful. Messy is pretty. Loud is great. Silly is awesome.
What began with taking candid photos of her daughters in what she calls their "tomboy" stage, resulted in a viral sensation and now an international best selling book. The book celebrates what she sees as the best part of young girls: their untempered fearlessness. Parker's images capture girls in moments of defiance, ferocity, and ambivalence, with their looks refreshingly irrelevant.
Parker's book is described as: Girls being fearless. Girls being silly. Girls being wild, stubborn, and proud. Girls whose faces are smeared with dirt and lit up with joy. So simple and yet so powerful, Strong Is the New Pretty celebrates, through more than 175 memorable photographs, the strength and spirit of girls being 100% themselves.
Parker shared her path from being a fiercely competitive collegiate soccer player at Wake Forrest to becoming a professional photographer to her success today with her passion projects. She encouraged the girls to "embrace what makes you different, what makes you YOU." Because what makes you different is what makes you beautiful.
For Parker, she said her intensity was a defining characteristic, and embracing that has helped her in her life.
"The girls in my book are JUST LIKE YOU," Parker said. "Because they are every girl. I wanted this book to show the strength and the power of the girls that I saw everyday, and I didn't want to change them. What we're seeing in the media and in magazines and advertising was not our reality. I wanted my girls to know that their value does not reside in what they look like."
Parker was an inspiring speaker, and the girls had many questions for her. We are grateful to Kate Parker for visiting Harpeth Hall!
Parker has three new books coming out this year. Learn more at her website: https://katetparker.com/