“The first time I saw Rachel, her outfit screamed of awesomeness,” reminisces Girls Write Now mentee Kiara Joseph. “From that moment I knew I wanted her to be my mentor.”
Clothing choices aren’t the only thing about Kiara and her mentor Rachel Krantz that are awesome. Although the two are only in their second year as a mentee-mentor pair, they’ve already helped each other break through.
Rachel works as a homepage editor and reporter for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and reporting is Kiara’s favorite type of writing, so journalism was a natural choice for the two. Through the Girls Write Now workshops, though, the two discovered a new favorite genre — poetry, and they’ve made strides in their writing with each other’s support.
“Through the course of each workshop, I have learned that when I get a good prompt, I can write in ANY genre. Without the program, I would have never gotten the experience of being out of my comfort zone as a writer,” says Kiara. “At the beginning of Girls Write Now I was just a journalist. Now I am a writer.”
Their willingness to try writing in new genres, says Rachel, allows the pair to “continue to challenge each other in a way that feels increasingly honest and exciting.”
For Kiara, her first year at Girls Write Now was not only about exploration in writing, but about exploration of her own self as well. Finding her voice through workshops and sessions with her mentor, Kiara says, helped her gain self-confidence.
“I look at myself in a new light,” says Kiara. “I may look the same, but now, I accept my differences and value them […] Instead of feeling powerless, weak, and feeble, I feel strong, confident, and empowered.”
In fact, this year, Kiara’s tackling junior year of high school — and has joined a debate team too. Her confidence is helping her become a key part of the Public Forum Debate team and compete in tournaments.
No matter what they’re delving into, Rachel and Kiara have got each other’s backs. “She is the best mentor I could have imagined,” says Kiara. “Rachel is truly a blessing.” Of her mentee, Rachel says, “Kiara is truly a remarkable young woman, and I feel honored to be a part of her life. I can’t wait to see how we both continue to grow as writers and friends.”
Others are taking note of Kiara’s creative work: in her first year, Kiara received a prestigious Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Honorable Mention — for her poetry. More achievements are sure to come for Rachel and Kiara. Whether they choose to explore another new genre or return to their roots in journalism, our headlines will always read “Breaking News: Kiara and Rachel are unstoppable.”
- Kiara and Rachel first started working together in Fall 2012. Check out Kiara’s Narrative Poetry portfolio entry from their first workshop!
- Kiara wrote about her newfound confidence in our 2013 anthology, New Worlds. Find out more about the book!
- Check out Kiara and Rachel in action at last spring’s CHAPTERS reading, where they performed a co-written piece on stage together: