"Embracing your femininity is the answer to being powerful and passionate women, who compliment men, not compete with them."
TYLA HOWARD grew up in Zimbabwe until she was 6 years old, when her parents moved to Australia to give her a more promising future. Though she struggled with dark times, she chose to find the light. Now she's decided to use her voice to help others by launching a movement called Smile Seeker Movement, in which she shares stories about bringing light to dark situations. We are so excited to see the movement take off. Congrats, Tyla! :)
Every Ella: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Tyla Howard: Hi there! I’m Tyla Howard. My big passion is people. I created the Smile Seeker Movement out of my small dream of bringing light to the dark situations people face. When I’m not gushing my heart into the Smile Seeker Movement, I am either drawing random scribbles, painting random blobs, studying towards completing a Business Degree, spending time with my amazing friends and family, volunteering at my Youth Group, in the confectionary aisle at the supermarket, or at the local pet shop jaw-dropping over a cute pooch!
What was it like growing up in Zimbabwe?
Growing up in Zimbabwe was normal for me, as it was all I had known! But when I compare it to the life that I have the privilege of living in Australia, I notice some definite contrasts. In Zimbabwe, every house is hidden behind 6-foot thick concrete walls dotted with metal spikes pointing to the sky. Whereas in Australia, some people don’t even have fences! I remember my family members always subconsciously on the lookout for potential thieves or burglars. Our house had metal bars on all of the windows to prevent break-ins and we had a metal gate that would be locked at night time to lock the bedroom side of the house off - keeping my family safe.
What made your family move to Australia when you were 6 years old?
The Zimbabwean government was corrupt and were bulldozing over people while they were still in their homes. Friends had been told they had 2 hours to leave their property, or everything alive will be killed, and my dad’s brand new car had been hi-jacked. This all sparked the need to move. My parents wanted my brother and I to grow up in a place that was free of this kind of tragedy.
You started a blog and website called “Smile Seeker Movement.” Can you tell us about it?
I started Smile Seeker Movement when I was 17 (I’m 19 now). It is a work in progress, but it is a global movement that is passionate about bringing light to the dark situations we all face. It aims to be relevant to a generation so thirsty for hope. It is life-filled, darkness-defying and hope-giving. It has a blog that features inspiring posts written by myself and various guest writers, as well as a creative section too.
What inspired you to start this movement?
I’ve always been ‘that weird girl with too much going on in her mind’ haha! I’ve always had weird and whacky thoughts, so I thought it would be cool to finally put them in written format! So I originally started blogging out my mind, without realising that my dodgy blog would progress into the Smile Seeker Movement and would actually gain more traction than expected!
What are your goals and ambitions for Smile Seeker Movement and for yourself?
I would love to start earning money through the Smile Seeker Movement. This money would go toward improving the movement, as well as helping friends, family, and others who cannot leave Zimbabwe, out financially.
What has been the most exciting part for you?
The most exciting part has been hearing the amazing feedback after all the hard yards i’ve been putting into the Smile Seeker Movement! Some people have said that they read the Smile Seeker Movement blog every day for before they get out of bed to get their inspirational kick, and others have said the blog has given them hope to keep fighting through their family member’s severe illnesses. I am just totally humbled by how far it has gone. From something I thought only 10 or so people would read, to having people from countries all over the world actively reading and interacting with it brings me so much excitement!
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced with Smile Seekers Movement?
Probably gaining traffic and interaction with readers. So often people read something without giving a response. So it has been hard to generate a response from readers.
Name one female who inspires you.
Lisa Bevere. She is an inspirational speaker who kicks butt in equipping and celebrating women. She’s the real #FanGirlEveryday haha!
What advice would you like to give to girls today?
This is by far the hardest question! I have so much to say… but i’ll try and keep it short and sweet: Sometimes when it comes to being powerful women, we get a little confused, right? Occasionally, we think that to be powerful, as a woman, we have to act manly, and so we try to prove ourselves. We try to beat men, or displace them to show that we are powerful. But we are made to be first class women, who are wonderfully made. And we can’t do that if we are too busy running around being second-rate men. Embracing your femininity is the answer to being a powerful and passionate woman, who compliments men, not competes with them.