My meeting with Ms. Cheryl was nothing short of magnificent. She brought so much energy, personality, and was unapologetically herself. She offered me advice as a young brown girl, a writer, and a soon to be dancer. After the interview and it was hard for me to remember I had just conducted a serious interview. It felt as if I was speaking with a friend. I hope you consider voting for her and getting to know her through social media and her wonderful nonprofit as I have. Enjoy Ms. Wadlington!
Cheryl Ann Wadlington is the 2016 White House recognizer of Champion of Change. She is also an accomplished writer, tv personality, and motivational speaker. She has taught fashion journalism at Temple University and helped many young people get internships. She is most known for her role as founder of The Evoluer House for 16 years, a nonprofit organization for young girls of color to build empowerment.
Read Cheryl’s full bio here
Quick Questions with Cheryl
Podcasts that Cheryl is currently listening to include The Evoluer House podcast. “Gen z black female voice is most important. Black girl voice hasn’t been heard throughout society. 1.1 billion girls in the world and this is the largest generation of black girls. It’s important we invest in these girls and make sure they’re empowered and change the world.”
Her favorite color is black, and her favorite food right now is falafel sandwiches with garlic sauce. She loves dancing. “I studied ballet but started lifting weights after an injury from dancing. I still listen to music and dance for hours if we can with friends.”
The Evoluer House
Ms. Wadlington grew up in a family with 4 generations of civil rights activists. She grew up realizing how important it was to give back to the community was, and knew she had to make a difference for young brown and black girls. The only problem was how. “I said there was nothing for young girls, and I asked where they were.”
Cheryl admits to growing up troubled. She was sent to reform school and continually being suspended. Her mother signed her up for dance, beauty pageants, and art programs. Anything to shake the rebellion from her child. The community welcomed young Cheryl with open arms. For this reason, she seeks out those type of girls to help especially.
A little after moving to New Jersey to work for programs that helped local cities, Cheryl was moved to Philadelphia where she was in charge of as many as centers for young black girls. The Evoluer House was born after that.
Like mentioned before, Cheryl had a difficult childhood. After losing her dad at a young age, she was a rough child. “I’d play football with the boys, tackling and stuff.” Her mother worried about her daughter, but never tried to tell her who she was. She let her find her own path, and the outcome was a young lady who loved herself.
Cheryl mentions a few of her mentors to be David T. Richardson (a state representative), Alvin Ailey (dance choreographer), Naomi Sims (model), Patrick Kelly (designer), Mark Ruffin (costume designer), her mother, and her brother.
Why the Evoluer House is Important
“First, if we don’t help these girls who will? Nobody cares about black and brown girls, they are the most mistreated, discriminated against, and invisible girl in the nation.” Cheryl realizes the trauma that being a WOC brings in America and seeks to heal and raise the young girls up. She wants to hand them their voices back.
Cheryl recalls both her personal and The Evoluer Houses’ to be beautiful and necessary journeys. She wouldn’t trade the bumps in the road for anything. “I’m proud of my journey and who I am today.”
Though what Ms. Cheryl is doing is nothing short of magnificent, she does recall there being naysayers. Throughout her life, she was told she wasn’t going to be successful by countless people. People who were supposed to be on her side. But, she didn’t listen to any of them and continued to do her own thing. “I think all of my haters were and still are crazy, so I don’t listen to them.”
Being recognized by Barack Obama
In 2015, The Evoluer House was recognized by Barack Obama and his administration as a champion of young girls. They received a letter from the previous president, and Cheryl was invited to be one of 10 women to speak at the White House about her nonprofit. “I cried, I screamed. I did.”
L'Oreal Paris Woman of Worth
Once again, Cheryl Wadlingon is one of 10 women nominated for the L’Oreal Paris Women Of Worth award. The nomination came with a 10,000 dollar donation to The Evoluer House, and by voting, she could win an extra 25 thousand dollars. The young girls that want to enter The Evoluer House are coming from houses that have severely been affected by Covid-19. They see their parents laid off work, they have to enter work, they see their family infected, etc. This money could really help these girls in getting them the needed supplies and care that they need during this time.
How Can People Vote?
You can go online to vote once a day until November 27. There will also be, for the first time, a primetime special for the L’Oreal Paris Women of Worth on NBC on November 25th and 8 pm EST. Don’t miss it, and please vote for Cheryl Wadlington!
A Woman of Worth
Ms. Cheryl has shown me through this summer that she is dedicated to helping young girls and getting them more confident in their skin. She has grown up and lived a vibrant and happy life, and I am more than happy to have her as a role model. I really hope you consider voting for her, thank you so much for reading!