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Draper—After noticing a dearth of strong, positive role models for girls, two mothers compiled their talents to make a whole group of characters for girls to look up to.
The Rising Empress series, launched at an event at Draper Historic Park Wednesday, aims to give girls relatable characters to help them develop talents in a positive way, said Rising Empress CEO Cindy Harris.
“They’re basic talents—everybody likes to dance, everybody likes to sing—and basic values, like helping each other,” Harris said. “We want girls to say, ‘I’m a little like this character, I’m a little like this other character, I’m not like this character at all but that’s ok.’”
The series is rooted in books about each of the characters, but also includes character trading cards, collectable stickers and online tools to find out more about each of the nine empresses. Besides each character representing different qualities, Harris and her Rising Empress partner, Margaret Lee, tried to give the empresses different backgrounds to make them even more accessible to a diverse audience.
Harris said the project has been in the works for years.
“I’m very big into empowering young girls. We empower women; why don’t we give girls a chance to become empowered when they’re young?” she said.
She met Lee after Lee, an artist and designer, created a mural for Harris’ sister’s neighbor. They got talking about the project, Harris said, and found they had similar passions and vision. By presenting the stories in various mediums, she said, readers can unfold the tales bit by bit, making the process more interactive.
“The bottom line is these are timeless, classic values, and we’re trying to encourage young girls to find their own gifts and talents within,” Harris said.
The launch featured local girls dressed as the empresses for autographs and pictures, and arts and crafts and face-painting for young attendees.