My name is Laura Peña, and I am originally from the Dominican Republic.
I deeply believe that girls are the future, so last year I decided to put my entire life on pause to go on a journey around the world to capture and tell the stories of teenage girls. I created a docuseries and called it "She is the Universe".
After asking myself "what brakes your heart, Laura?", I realized that seeing girls not being able to see their own value is what brakes my heart. Growing up I didn't see my own value. I thought that what I had to say was not important. But deep down I knew there was something I came here to do, and that my passion for storytelling was a clue about what that was. I believe we all have a gift inside of us, but so many never get to see it, let along share that with the world. So I made it my mission to go in person to each one of these girls, in remote places like the Amazon jungle, the mountains of Colombia, Iceland, the Dominican Republic and tell them myself.
I am on a quest to capture and share the stories, dreams, hopes, struggles and triumphs of 111 teenage girls of all shapes, sizes, colors, languages, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. I have interviewed 51 girls so far and their stories are incredible. I have been spreading their stories and the messages they have for the world online and offline.
My ultimate goal is to not only offer their unfiltered stories, but also create a place for them to see themselves in others and find a sense of community, mentorship and possibility.
This is my calling, and I think my 13 year-old self would be proud of me for following my heart and in turn opening the hearts of so many others.