Safeword X Ultra5280 : A Look Into the Boss Babes of Denver

Logo by Justine Henderson

Logo by Justine Henderson

We took some time to interview Bryn Carter and Shayla Preeshl, to talk about the amazing girl power forward collective that they started. Bringing boss babes from all walks of life together, creating connections, promoting local businesses, and sharing good quality time together,

Photo by Sara Palandeng

Photo by Sara Palandeng

Tell me a little about the bad ass babes that created Safeword. What are each of your backgrounds? What brought the two of you together? What things started happening in your life that drove you to wanting a project of this nature? What was the turning point in your life that brought you to this thing that is Safeword.

B: I’m a Midwest girl, I moved here from a city outside of Chicago called Rockford after living in Australia for a while. The two of us actually met on a shoot a year ago – Shayla was styling and I was modeling. We clicked immediately and started hanging out after that. In all honesty, the idea for Safeword was really finalized one night at my house after a lot of wine haha. But before that, we had attended creative meet-ups (where we found a lack of female attendees) and women entrepreneur events (which we found to be full of cliques) and realized there was a real need for a place for female creatives and entrepreneurs to come together and network while growing alongside one another both personally and professionally. We refer to it as our coming-to-Jesus moment that night but between the two of us, we know so many amazing women in this city and our hope is to get these women working with one another and eventually take this to other cities as well.

 

S: I hail from small-town Montana, and have a background in wardrobe styling and marketing. I had lived in Denver for a few years, and found it difficult in my time here to connect with fellow creative women. Another turning point for us was when we had attended a local meetup, and it felt the opposite of welcoming for the babes who attended. We realized we need to do something for the ladies, there is too much talent here that is underrepresented!

 

Tell me a little about Safeword itself. What does the word mean/why did you choose this title?. Y’all have thrown some awesome events over the last few months, I attended the last at Ft. Greene and had an awesome time. What’s the purpose of events like these?

Well, we like to play a lot with words and their meanings. For example, on our website we have a section called ‘Centerfolds’ which has always referred to usually a sexy woman in the middle of some raunchy magazine. We wanted to reclaim these words that may have been used to degrade or to put down women and now our ‘Centerfold’ section is where we interview amazing creative women and entrepreneurs who share their stories. Safeword is the same – we wanted to use a work that represented a safe place that women could come together and feel comfortable.

The purpose of these events is to do networking differently – we like to have amazing artists and business owners there who can show their work, do their work, sell their products and meet some incredible women along the way. From our previous networking experiences, we had felt a sense of in-authenticity. Interactions felt robotic and forced. We always describe our events as hanging out with your girlfriends. We have a ton of ladies who come to them alone, and end up leaving with a babe squad worth of contacts and friendships by the end.

 

What was the goal in creating this group? How has it been going and how can local babes keep perpetuating the growth of that?

The goal is simple really – get all these amazing women together in one spot so they can network and build this business while also building their friend groups. We had a lot of women who just moved to the city come to our last event and reach out to thank us after because they were having such a hard time meeting women, and after our event they had some genuine new friends to hang out with. It’s things like those moments that let us know we are doing something right and hopefully will keep growing Safeword into something great. We hope to bring this to a national level, as we know of markets that are even more difficult to meet women in these industries than Denver. One other goal we focus on is creating an open dialogue amongst women, so instead of being pit against one another we can conquer avenues together through those relationships. The support we have received locally has been overwhelming. We launched this as a passion project, but had no idea how our audience would react. The fact that it has exceeded our expectations in growth by a long shot continues to motivate us.

Photo by Sara Palandeng

Photo by Sara Palandeng

 

What upcoming events do we have to look forward to? Any extra awesome stuff coming in the near future?

 People always ask why we aren’t doing events all the time haha and we get asked weekly to partner with people on other events, but end of the day, we are not an event company and we really have to commit to why we started Safeword and stick to the quarterly networking events. Shayla and I also do this as a side hustle – she works full -time for a bad ass, women-owned and operated PR firm in town, I am a realtor and working to open a women’s co-working space (details coming soon babes). This is something we feel so strongly about and we are beyond thankful for all the amazing women we have met and the support we have been shown. Safeword is what it is because of the incredible babes of this city. Look for our next big event in the winter but might be one or two beforehand – we will be sure to keep you informed.

Follow the Safeword website here and follow these lovely babes on Instagram to keep up with the amazing things to come!

Photo by Kim Desmond

Photo by Kim Desmond

Denver Is Stronger Together: Women's March 2017

Last Saturday will forever remain one of the most powerful, uplifting and hopeful experiences in my life, as I’m sure it will for an abundance of people globally. For two weeks I’ve been trying to find the right words and to form adequate sentences, to try and piece together every positive occurrence, pertaining to the largest collective, international protest the world has ever seen. Disturbed by Donald Trump and his administration's looming agenda, on Saturday January 21st, 2017, women across the world marched, however long, however far, in however many numbers, for equality, for women’s rights, for their children’s future and for our nation’s future. 

Image from: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/19/womens-march-against-trump-turns-global-day-action

Sister marches in large international cities such as Madrid, London, Montreal, Sydney, Dublin, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam all showed their support in large numbers. Even more awe-inspiring were the small, but still significant, protests that expanded over all seven continents. 15 women in Sandy Cove, Nova Scotia, marched down a local highway and with them Kenyan citizens in the capital of Nairobi, a small fishing village in Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica, 30 people on a small expedition ship in Antarctica and my little home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan. They were all among hundreds, if not thousands of Women’s Marches around the world. They stood tall with their signs and chants, holding the hands of their children, partners and friends to send a message to the world: Our voices are strong but stronger united. 

Here in Denver, I had been watching the Facebook event’s numbers grow with anticipation for weeks. I had no idea the size and attention of the protest as initially I clicked “interested” on my invite back in November. Denver’s numbers grew from 2,000 to 10,000 to Facebook’s final event numbers at almost 50,000. As we know, those numbers still don’t properly reflect the size of the attendance that day. The Denver Post is now estimating more than 100,000 women, men and children marched on our city. No wonder I couldn’t find any of my other friends! 

Rebecca Shook, 60-year-old Hawaiian resident, is the powerful initiator behind this historic movement. She was, like a many other women November 8th, 2016, devastated with the election results. She called into question if women could march on Washington on Inauguration Day as she expressed her anger and frustration on a Facebook post. With the help of her friends, she created a Facebook event. Shook was unaware of how receptive people would be to her idea. Shook’s event was shared on popular intersectional feminism, LGBT, racially and religiously inclusive secret Facebook group “Pantsuit Nation.” That got the event the media attention it needed to spark the fire. 10,000 people confirmed their attendance in less than 24 hours. Over the last couple of months, the fire traveled: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Denver and Seattle were among the largest other U.S. cities in attendance. 

Denver’s crowd was lively and emphatic from Civic Center Park up 15th Street, Glenarm to 17th, 17th to Champa, Champa to 14th and back to Civic Center Park creating our 1.5 mile loop. All the while, our voices filled the streets and bellowed through the crowds, “Love not hate, makes America great!” “All four years, we’ll be here!” “This is what Democracy looks like!” “Her body, her choice! My body, my choice!” Police lining the streets appeared almost bored as the march was 100 percent non-violent. From local office windows and restaurants, messages and posters displaying love, equality and resistance were seen throughout the march route. One construction worker held a sign of “Peace” 10 stories high in an unfinished apartment complex as we all waved our appreciation in return. The amount of love and unity was astounding to say the least. Strangers complimented each other’s messages and art, friends and lovers shared hugs and kisses, and generations stood together, fighting for their family’s future.

Denver, I know a lot of us are hurting. A lot of us feel scared and deceived, powerless to the fate of ourselves and our nation. There’s still a lot we can do to increase and expand awareness, and to remain positive and proactive. Call and email your senators and representatives. Senator Cory Gardner, Senator Michael Bennett, House of Representatives members Ken Buck, Jared Polis, Ed Perlmutter, Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman, Mike Lamborn and Diana DeGette, have all of their contact info listed in the link below. 

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/01/24/how-to-contact-colorado-congressional-delegates/

Contact our state legislation and let them know what issues are important to you. 

http://www.cairco.org/legislation/colorado-legislators

Create, and/or sign petitions to express and voice your opinion on what you believe in. There are many petition websites currently: Change.org, Petitions.whitehouse.gov, iPetitions.com, act.credoaction.com, etc. 

Join one of the many peaceful protests and events happening in our great city. Check Facebook for the latest organized petitions and gatherings. Upcoming events this week include: “STOP Colorado’s 3 Anti-Choice Bills” this Thursday February 9th. Protesters will meet to voice their disapproval of the three new anti-choice bills in the Colorado General Assembly. This Saturday protesters will join at Skyline Park to show their support for Planned Parenthood outside Senator Gardner’s office in the “Colorado Stand With Planned Parenthood” event. Saturday, February 18th is the “Defend Our Constitution March” at Civic Center Park where protesters will stand united for our rights and against hatred. Also February 18th is the “One Billion Rising Denver: 2017 March & Rally” at the Denver Pavilions. One Billion Rising is a global movement to end violence against women. Monday, February 20th is the “Rally for Justice,” where you can speak up in the fight for integrity in education. 

Next month on the 25th is the “Women’s Day of Service Denver.” Volunteers can choose a daily task that contributes to the community including refugee assistance, feeding the hungry, community gardening, and helping low income women, families and youths. 
The link to register is listed below. 
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Xp-W_HGsKNniIW5taoQ7bE13wXfF7FVosV26e3psoZk

This Earth Day, April 22nd the “March for Science - Denver,” will march for evidence-based policies for the common good of the public and to include all individuals in the education and career paths of science. 

These are just a few of the organized upcoming gatherings to get involved in. Be sure to keep up with happenings in our city on your Facebook events page. 

You can also donate to organizations you care about and need your support. 

Planned Parenthood: https://secure.ppaction.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app20109b?df_id=12913&12913.donation=form1&s_src=Evergreen_c3_PPNonDirected_shorturl&NONCE_TOKEN=1A40821157A3B351A95453895C10B536

ACLU: 
https://action.aclu.org/secure/donate-aclu

Green Peace: https://secure3.convio.net/gpeace/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app367a?df_id=3241&3241.donation=form1&s_src=header&NONCE_TOKEN=BFA6E0CE20C3A686B7CD8B705423B1EF

350.org: 
https://act.350.org/donate/build/

The Human Rights Campaign: https://give.hrc.org/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1954&ea.campaign.id=51848

National Immigration Law Center:
https://nilc.z2systems.com/np/clients/nilc/donation.jsp?campaign=15&

The many speakers at Denver’s rally urged us to run for office and control from within. If you or others deem your voice powerful and have good intentions, run for your local office, be a leader in your community, start an awareness group on topics you feel strongly need to be discussed and given attention to, join or create a student organization group on campus, or just spread goodness in your community. Hold open the door for the person behind you, compliment a stranger in line at the grocery store, express your appreciation to your barista when you get your morning coffee. Help others, appreciate others, empower others, praise others. Of course a lot of us already to these things in our daily lives. As Coloradans, we’re some of the kindest, compassionate and tolerant people in the nation. Keep doing good. Goodness changes attitudes. Good attitudes generate hopefulness. Spreading love and kindness with small, daily actions is the easiest way to create empathy and to spread ripples of change in your local community. Where there is empathy and compassion, things like racism, sexism and intolerance are diminished.

Whether you were a supporter of the marches or not, you can’t deny their numbers. Women of the world have come together to not only support their sisters, but also people of different races, religions and sexualities from themselves. This unity is a powerful force and one that can awaken the world to change the course of history. We’ve shown those in power that our voices will not be silenced, we are not afraid and we will not disappear. If you were as stirred by the Women’s Marches of the world as I was, hold onto that feeling–now is the time to act. If you’ve experienced fear that your rights are in danger, or sadness or outrage at the world around you, hold onto the strength you felt at the march and do not sink back into complacency. Fellow marchers, I still stride forward with you. Saturday, January 21st I was so overjoyed with unity and hope in this community. I love you, Denver. Stay awake. 


Cited Sources:

●    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/womens-march-world-cities_us_58836f38e4b096b4a231ee64
●    http://fortune.com/2017/01/21/womens-march-photos/
●    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/21/womens-march-on-washington-antarctica/96882184/ 
●    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/01/21/world/womens-march-pictures.html?_r=0
●    http://www.vox.com/identities/2017/1/21/14346500/women-march-world-photo
●    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/01/21/womens-march-on-washington-antarctica/96882184/
●    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/22/trump-inauguration-latest-womens-marches-held-around-the-world-in-solidarity-with-dc-demonstration.html
●    http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/01/19/womens-march-against-trump-turns-global-day-action