The Girls!

Clare Noelle

Black BeltPhoenix, ArizonaStory & Photos by Lauri Levenfeld
As teens,  there are inevitably awkward and uncomfortable times where we question who we are. And times when friends and others confront us to follow the pack and share their views. But what do you do when your passions tell you to follow a different path, to lead with your heart rather than by what you peers think? For Clare Noelle, a martial arts expert growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, she too has not been immune to the taunting and bullying of others. Yet through the mastering of her craft, she has gained confidence to stand up for what she believes, as well as compassion, understanding, and respect for others and their opinions. Noelle chooses to concentrate her energies on positivity and building her dreams, rather than on negativity and excluding others. One of her biggest goals to surround herself by super girls, those who lift her up and empower her even more. Today, she shares a bit on how she stays true to herself and offers up ways we can all benefit from social media (one of her fave ways to share & communicate) by protecting ourselves, creating community, and staying supportive and positive for all girls. 

1. Who are you? And what were you like as a child?

“Don’t pay no mind to the demons, they fill you with fear.” – From the song “Home” by Phillip Phillips. Hi! I’m Clare Noelle, and this line from “Home” is one of my mottos. I believe you should ignore negativity and fear and just have confidence in yourself. I’m a 14-year-old black belt, local actress, and fashionista who loves to bake, sew, and spend time on the beach. I was born and raised in Nebraska and moved to Arizona two years ago because my parents love the desert. The first thing we did when we arrived in Arizona was to go on a nighttime scorpion hunt with a local hiking group. We used purple lights to see them glow, and by the end of the hike, we counted about 95 scorpions. Talk about a dose of creepiness!

 

My mom tells me that I was pretty strong-willed and a bit temperamental. If I didn’t get my way, I would stomp my feet, fold my arms, and glare. One time when I was younger, I was walking my neighborhood in the hopes of selling girl scout cookies. It was January in Nebraska, which means it was below freezing and the snow was up to my knees. Regardless, I wanted to sell as many cookies as I could, so I insisted that my mom and I keep walking, despite our chattering teeth and numb feet. I wasn’t going to let the cold stop me from reaching my goal of selling 100 boxes because I wanted to earn the top prize. Persistence can be uncomfortable at times, but the reward is worth it!

2. What are the advantages of being a black belt?

One advantage to being a black belt is that the years of training have increased my confidence. Punching a bag a thousand times to kicking targets until you finally hit one makes you realize that if you try hard enough, you can succeed, which is an incredible feeling. Martial arts also teaches self-control. It’s easy to get upset with people or with situations, but my martial arts training has taught me that no one but me is responsible for my actions, so I’d better make good choices.  

 

Martial arts has taught me how to defend myself with words as well as action. It makes me feel empowered and strong, which is something every girl should feel. Through my training, I learned that if someone is bullying you, don’t ever be afraid to tell people who can help, like your parents or teachers. Tell as many adults as possible until they hear and understand you. I’ve been bullied in my life, as most people have. When I was around eight, my school friends often made fun of me for really dumb things, such as liking cats. My “friends” would often talk about their brothers or their dogs, but I couldn’t relate because I didn’t have any of that stuff. So, to feel included, I would talk about my sister, or my cat, because I wanted to fit in. But, my friends responded with strange looks, and they even called me a “crazy cat lady!” Through martial arts training, I learned how to defend myself with words and action, so I walked away and found new friends. After all, true friends don’t hurt your feelings. 

 3. I know you love fashion!! Tell us about this.
A simple thing that makes me crazier than ever. Fashion is a craze of mine, and it doesn’t have to come from stores. I’ve been sewing for about five years. It all started when my best friend Karmen asked me to take a sewing class with her. She’s the one who inspired me to sew, and I haven’t stopped since. One time, I was watching my grandma and mom sew a dress for one of my dolls and noticed a jar of sewing pins. I wanted to pick one up since they had little colorful tips. I put my hand in the jar and pulled out three to five pins, all stuck to my skin! They didn’t go in deep, but it freaked me out! I’m still afraid of sewing needles, but that hasn’t stopped me from sewing. If anything, I’m now more aware of what not to do!

 

4. How do you use Social Media to communicate with the world?

In 2014, I created an Instagram fan club for my friend, Francesca Capaldi, who at the time, starred in the Disney show “Dog with a Blog.” Over time, I reached almost 20,000 followers, which proves how many people like Francesca!!! Social media is a great way to communicate with people and to spread positivity. I always try to post meaningful things, such as a quote of the day or just something to make people smile. While social media is fun, it can also be a scary place.

Here are my top five tips for keeping safe while posting:

  1. Don’t talk to strangers. If a strange person DMs you or asks for personal information, don’t respond. Instead, tell your parent and block them.
  2. Don’t post personal things on a public account.
  3. Never post something that makes you uncomfortable. If you have to think twice about posting something, then don’t post it.
  4. Always ask your parents before creating an account.
  5. Protect your privacy. Don’t include personal things in your bio, such as your school name or where you take dance lessons.

5.  What does TPFG mean to you?

I wanted to be a part of The Project for Girls from the beginning. I think it’s great for girls to have a positive place to go and to read about other girls whose triumphs and struggles inspire and motivate. Hey, if a girl my age can become an award-nominated actress, then why can’t I? (I’m talking about you, Francesca!) I believe you should always think big and dream bigger.

 

6. How can girls empower one another?

Empowering one another is easy and starts with you! Be kind to everyone, especially the girls who seem alone and lonely. In other words, don’t be so quick to judge a book by its cover. Basic, right? Find a support group of friends and family who have your back and whom you can share your feelings. It all about sharing good vibes. Once I was sitting alone at recess, wishing that someone would talk to me. A girl I didn’t know came up to me, smiled, and said one magical word, which was ‘hello!” She asked me to join her friends in a soccer game. It made me so happy. You never know what someone is going through, so smile and offer a dose of friendliness.

 

7. Who are your super girls/super women?

Well, I would certainly say all my friends are my super girls. Together, we make a super team! My friends make me laugh and uplift my spirits so easily. I don’t think I’ve ever gone a day without laughing at lunch or wherever I am with my friends. I think it’s so cool that all my friends have insanely different backgrounds. Some were born in different countries, and some live in different states, but one thing they all share is their passion for friendships and the freedom to be their own person. It’s okay to have different opinions and points of view from your friends, but it’s never okay to hurt their feelings because of it. And, if they hurt your feelings, let them know. As for superwomen, they’re in my family. From my mom, who just started grad school at age… (whoops, I’d better not say!), to my sister who starts college soon. And, my grandmothers – both who’ve struggled with the challenges of cancer and Alzheimer’s. I’m reminded of their courage daily, and I continue to be in awe of their strength and resistance.

 8. What are your Dreams? And where do you need help accomplishing them?

Well, for me, dreaming big is part of my life. I do it every day! I would say some of my bigger dreams would have to be owning a famous coffee shop in Hollywood. I have always loved coffee shops. I find them to be the nicest spots to do homework and just hang out. If I started a coffee shop, I would have a huge white wall where all the celebrities could sign and write funny or inspirational things. I also really want to start my own clothing line. I recently saw Maddie Ziegler’s new line, and I think it’s insanely awesome that someone my age can do such big things. Again, another amazing inspiration for all of us girls. If I had a clothing store or boutique, I would name it Clare Noelle…original, right? The bigger the dream, the better!

 

9. Have you ever had an “aha” moment?

I would say one of my most recent” aha” moments would have to be last year when I was in my school play. I always thought I’d enjoy acting, but when I performed for the first time, it hit me just how much I

 

really enjoyed acting. Just seeing how all the line memorization, play practice, and positive self-talk came together at the exact moment I stepped onstage thrilled me. You’ll know when an “aha” moment has hit you. It’s the perfect combination of excitement, joy, and complete fulfillment. Oh, and it can even leave you breathless!

 

10. If you could change one thing socially, politically or environmentally, what would it be?

I’d like to see people be less critical and judgmental of others. With social media, people tend to say things that they wouldn’t normally say in person, and the result is hurt feelings or worse things yet. If I have an opinion on something, please don’t tell me I’m wrong and call me names. I’ve had that happen, and it saddened me to see people behave that way. We all have feelings. Expressing your beliefs and standing up for them are admirable traits, but remember that other people have beliefs, too. Just because they’re different doesn’t make them wrong or bad. It’s all a matter of mutual respect. It’s a good thing and shows the world who you really are. 

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