Valencia King is the Founder and Executive Director of MissFancyPants, Inc., an organization whose mission is to empower girls and young women to achieve positive body image and self-esteem through a fashion, arts, fitness and leadership based curriculum.
Valencia has worked extensively in the Fashion and Beauty industry in New York and it was through her experiences that she felt inspired to begin this organization. She recalls a life changing moment for her while attending a NY Fashion Week show in 2009 “ I was so excited to receive an invite and even had the privilege of sitting front row at one of my favorite designer’s shows—as the lights dimmed and the chatter silenced the models begin to take the stage. The gowns immediately took me and I was enamored by the intricate designs and artistry of them all —however, I was quickly distracted when I took my gaze off of the garments and into the eyes of the young models. There was a sadness that I had never paid attention to—these young women were no more than 16 years of age and in my heart I felt that they were crying for help. Their bodies frail and for a few, bruised down their spines (completely visible under the bright lights). I wondered in that moment how many of them were truly happy, happy with themselves, their future, did they feel valued, loved?”
That was the turning point for King—She imagined a place where girls and young women would learn to love themselves first, be loved supported and nurtured. She thought about the life changing potential and power understanding and fully embracing oneself could have. How might this world be different if all little girls grew up appreciating self and valuing the life and purpose of others? From those questions MissFancyPants, Inc. was born.
Since its incorporation in 2011, Ms. King has been able to reach hundreds of young women. The Fancy after-school program, hosted at various public and charter schools in New York as well as the annual ‘Camp Fancy’ conducted in conjunction with The YMCA Bedford-Stuyvesant Teen Camp has propelled many young women to explore new outlets and seek social change & justice. After journeying to Niger, West Africa in 2012, where she taught ages 5-18, she realized the need to expand her program on a global level.
Educating girls and young women about the importance of positive body image and self-esteem is not just a domestic need, this very basic ideal can reach young women all over and provide them with increased confidence and self-assurance while equipping them with critical tools that will help them to succeed academically, socially and professionally
Valencia is currently pursuing her Masters of Women and Gender Studies at George Mason University. It is her goal to deepen the conversation of beauty, its standards and the implication it has on not only women but also men globally. Valencia also serves as The Director of Women’s Programs with The Global Media Project. It is through these viable partnerships that honest change is created and the continuation of positive opportunities for young people is developed.
Her mantra: Motivate. Inspire. Change.