Farrah Krenek Helps Launch 'State of the Girl' Series

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Friday September 25, 2015

In an effort to help college-aged women secure advances in education, "Orange Is the New Black" actress Farrah Krenek has teamed up with UChic to launch their "State of the Girl" series.

"UChic sparked my interest because it was offering scholarships. I'm all for women in education; it's very important, and my mission to inject women with courage," said Krenek. "If somebody needs help, I would like to contribute courage and self-motivation, and let them know that no matter what they do in life, they have to be strong."

UChic is the only lifestyle brand to empower teen girls through scholarships. Their new series will take a hard look at what the everyday girl faces today, share relevant and timely statistics, and find actionable solutions and support for the next generation of leaders. Born and raised in New York, Krenek found her voice early, often mistaken for and teased as a boy. She will use that voice to engage in media appearances for the organization.

"Education is useless if it has no strength to back it up," she said. "Girls have book smarts but no confidence; if they had more of that they would set the world on fire. I was a very good student, but growing up it was not okay to be gay, although I'm sure everyone knew. Now it's embraced, but we have a generation that's very scared. I never want a single girl like me out there who's scared and doesn't think that she's good enough. So this is like I'm talking to my younger self."

Krenek said that girls today struggle with body image and aging, having major eating disorders in childhood and worrying about wrinkles. She wants girls to be fearless in life. Part of the problem, she believes, is the fear that society injects into its youth.

"If you find a beautiful, talented, wealthy woman and ask her if her life is perfect, she'll say no," said Krenek. "There's always something we're not happy with. Nothing is perfect; it's up to us to make it perfect. So I remind them that no matter how poorly they think of themselves, in my eyes and someone else's, they are beautiful."

Krenek said she feels it's important to give girls a voice, because she never had one. As a child, she never found a role model she could identify with, until movies like "Boys Don't Cry" came out, and she found girls who looked like her.

"That's how you end up liking actors; they resemble you or do something you've thought of doing," said Krenek. "I want to do something like that, to be the face of LGBT cinema -- not in a glamorous way, but so I can help."

She considers the cast of "Orange is the New Black" to be her family, because from the first day she found herself surrounded by talented and kind women, she was at ease.

"The show is such a success because it's natural and organic," she said. "It doesn't show cookie-cutter images of perfection; it shows everything that's real. That's why people love it so much, because they identify with them."

Krenek is also involved with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey in the film "Sisters," the trailer for which is currently out.

"Having the opportunity to work with Fey and Poehler and sharing endless hours with them was amazing. Thank God they had such wonderful senses of humor," said Krenek. "I portray an athlete, and it's a good role for me because I'm in a sporty outfit doing my thing. I was embraced by the director and fellow colleagues, and that's such a warm feeling."

She balances this against the many auditions she's done where she was asked to put on a wig or something else that made her feel like she wasn't herself, and maintains that if you aren't successful as a person, no matter what you do in life, you won't be happy.

Krenek is excited about her upcoming role in the film "Freeheld," with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page, the story of a New Jersey police officer whose dying wish is to leaver her pension to her younger partner.

"At this point, find it ridiculous that we even call them same-sex couples; they should just be called couples," said Krenek. "Marriage is not just a piece of paper; there's a long generation of people who have bastardized what marriage is. People jump into it easily, and if doesn't work they get divorced. They don't value what it means: once give your heart to somebody, there is no greater gift."

"You share your life and moments with someone, give 100 percent of yourself and so do they. And once you have those happy and sad moments, nobody else should touch what belongs to you both -- government officials or family members shouldn't have a say in that. They just want to be there for good times," she continued. "So many times people say they love their brothers' spouse, and then God forbid something happens, and it's 'Who are you?' A person who seemed so loving can turn into complete stranger. It would be nice if this generation started believing in love again, real love, not just three years of texting. Life isn't just about likes; there's that moment you turn that 'like' into love."

In addition to speaking out for girls' rights via UChic, Krenek is involved in an anti-bullying campaign Free2Luv.org, promoting love and acceptance to LGBT teens, and teens in general.

She also has several films in the work, which allow her to maintain her rugged, organic look, and even embrace it.

"Years ago, I was laughed at and teased because of it, and it's a foreign feeling to know they're embracing me because of me," said Krenek. "Someone took the time to give me a kind word, and they need to know what that meant to me. It's the same message I send to these girls who are graduating; they need to know the importance of their lives, that happiness and success are just words if they're not shared. Never underestimate the power of your presence."

For more information, visit https://uchic.com/

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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