Hey there! Welcome to the launch of AGirlNamedElla.com. We’ll get to the real fun posts soon, but I figured I should probably introduce myself before we jump in. So, here’s a semi-serious fake interview I conducted with myself to let you know what’s what and who’s who. It’s dense like a loaf of whole wheat bread. Here we go!
Who the heck are ya?
I’m Ella Howard, a writer/videographer/photographer/general creative lady based in Portland, Oregon. I started working in online media in 2013, when a skittish and shy 13 year-old me posted a 30 minute long shopping haul video on YouTube that I filmed using my iPod touch. I didn’t edit it at all because I didn’t know how, and as a result you can hear my cat scratching my bedroom door to get in the entire 30 minutes. Things were weird. In 2016, after amassing a following of about 20,000 people on YouTube (crazy, right? I don’t know how it happened either, considering how we started), I stopped creating online content for about 2 years. You can learn more about why I stopped here. In 2018, in my freshman year of college, I decided I wasn’t happy when I wasn’t creating things. And so, this space was born.
Speaking of this space, what is it?
Very broad question, friend. In short, our mission at A Girl Named Ella is to empower girls and women through fostering creativity, compassion, and independence. In other words, content here is focused on answering questions like “how do I solve this problem by myself? How do I create a space that makes me happy? How do I succeed at this thing I really want to do? How do I foster healthy relationships in all aspects of my life? How do I make this thing instead of buying it? How do I get involved in this cause I’m passionate about? And most importantly, how do I become the person I want to be?” I’m hoping that with time, this space will help foster a community of like-minded people that support each other, help each other, learn from each other, and have fun together. You’ll notice that most of my writing here will be semi-serious, which is pretty much how I live my life.
Cliff notes version: a lifestyle blog with a sprinkle of DIY and a dollop of girl talk. Yum yum.
*side note*: When I say this is meant to be a space for girls and women, that is not meant to exclude people of different gender identities. ALL are welcome here! Most of the content will be written by me, and because I am a woman, I write from my experience as a woman. It would be super cool if a bunch of people who are not women wanted to read my writing, but I am also very aware that men, for example, often don’t seek out blogs like this one.
What are you doing with your life?
YIKES! Scary question. I’ll give you a scarier answer – I’m not entirely sure yet, but I think that that’s okay. I began college at Western Washington University straight out of high school and quickly realized I had chosen that school for the wrong reasons (read: I went there for a boy when I was fully aware that Western didn’t even have the major I wanted (and predictably, broke up with that boy before the school year even started (YIKES))) and decided I needed a change. Right now, I’m taking a gap year in between transferring to University of Oregon to study cinema and media studies. I’ve thought for a very long time that I wanted to be a movie director, but I’m starting to open my mind to the idea of making video promotional content for companies, being a documentary film maker, writing things, or becoming that person at animal shelters who chooses the names for adoptable dogs and cats. I would love to name a dog Clarence. This is all very much subject to change according to my ability to stick to decisions, learning and career opportunities I might happen to find hiding in the city of Portland, and the weather.
Who taught you how to do ___?
Boy, you sure love broad questions, don’t you? Unless otherwise stated, I’m self taught in most things you’ll see here. I’ve never taken a photography/videography/video editing/social media/blog writing course in my life (other than one introductory photography class in my freshman year of high school, in which I learned that no matter how good of a photographer you are you cannot make a red and blue high school look pretty). I learned a whole lot when I was making YouTube videos consistently, and being self-taught is, in my opinion, more rewarding than someone else showing you the ropes. I’d recommend it!
I’m snoring. Tell me something scandalous and secretive about you.
Tough crowd. Well, one time I tried to pee in a water bottle in my car 5 minutes before a date and it, predictably, got all over the seat of my pants. He pulled up as I was zipping up my pee pants and I told him I had slipped and fallen in a puddle. I’m not sure if he believed me until we were walking into his house and he slipped on the road. Guess what he slipped on? My puddle of pee I had thrown out the car window, which had frozen on impact as it was in Canada and it was snowing. The date went swimmingly, we fizzled out eventually, and he has never been the wiser.
Where are you from?
Portland, Oregon! I’ve mostly stuck around since. If you’re coming to visit (yay!) here’s my guide to the city.
Where have you traveled?
What’s your least favorite food?
Bananas. Cottage cheese is a close second.
Mini M&Ms and Weird Al, preferably at the same time.
What’s your favorite TV show?
I have a lot. I’m currently hooked on The Walking Dead, but other favorites include The Office, Gossip Girl, LOST, American Horror Story, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy, Seinfeld, Gilmore Girls, Sherlock, and Saturday Night Live.
What’s your favorite movie?
Moonrise Kingdom. Wes Anderson forever has my heart. Also The Sixth Sense, The Stanford Prison Experiment, Awakenings (with Robert DeNiro and Robin Williams), Pirates of the Caribbean, and, unironically, Teeth.
What’s your favorite city?
NYC without a doubt (hoping to move there within 5ish years!), but Portland is pretty great for now. I also really enjoyed my time in London and I would love to study/live abroad in England at some point.
Do you have any weird talents?
Yes. I can do a really weird tongue thing that I don’t know how to describe in words. But the only other lady currently in the US who can do it has a plaque at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, so there’s that.
Who are your role models?
There are SO MANY amazing women and men in my family and friend group that I look up to and admire. In terms of celebrities and such, I’d say Steven Spielberg, Anna Rifle Bond, Molly Wizenberg, Leandra Medine, Casey Neistat, and Ellen Degeneres.
What are you bad at?
NOTHING! Just kidding. I’m bad at lots of things. I can’t do cartwheels, which was understandably the biggest frustration of my entire childhood. I’m also a terrible swimmer, so if you ever see me in the water and I’m looking concerned and/or dead, please send an attractive lifeguard in after me.
I have a question you didn’t answer here.
Wahoo! I love answering questions I know the answer to. Drop it in a comment down below and I pinky promise I’ll do my best to answer it. If it’s a question you’d rather whisper privately, feel free to shoot me a message here. If you don’t have any questions, maybe send me a picture of your dog or your theory as to why the ending of Dexter was so incredibly bad and unsatisfying. All appreciated.
Wowza, that was a lot. I had a lot to say and I’m sure I forgot some super vital things. Such is life. For now, welcome. I’m so glad you’re here! I know things around here are a bit bare right now (is that a tumbleweed I see?), but it won’t look empty for long! I’m so excited for this adventure and I hope you are too.
An extra hugely special thank you to the incredibly generous people who supported this project from the ground up: Nicole McCullough, Abigail Phillips, Behrad Mousavi, Dana Hennessey, Susan Jette, Chris Hennessey, Sally and George Boehm, Irene LeVasseur, Rita Michaels, Cynthia Hinds, Debbie Brent, and Wayne Simpson.