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#BlackGirlMagic Darrel Kennedy Wins $100,000 On Girl Starter For New App

Women in stem is a win!

This is an update to this article. Darrel Kennedy is our cover model for our Summer issue. You can catch the full interview in our issue here.

Imagine being the average young adult — going to school and going to work. Although your life is simple, you have dreams of doing extraordinary things one day. That used to be Darrel’s life. Now, she is $100,000 richer after winning Girl Starter with two other people. Together they created an app called ‘Tolli’ for starving artists. How exactly did Darrel end up on TLC’s Girl Starter? “One day I was greeted by a random flyer about the show in my email accompanied by a passionate voicemail from my mom encouraging me to apply,” she says. “My first thought was, ‘mom, chill’, but little did I know sending in that application would change my life.” Before Girl Starter, Darrel was looking for a way to live out her filmmaking dreams. She juggled working in hospitality and going to school.”I moved to LA after a semester of college and decided to create my own path for my future.” She thought that going to the film capital of the world would give her more opportunities, but she faced some hurdles. “I learned quickly that being a pretty girl with a vision wasn’t enough,” she says. “I had to get my hands dirty and put in the countless hours of practice, research, and make the sacrifices necessary to becoming the one woman crew I’ve had to become.” In an exclusive interview, Darrel talks to us about what life has been like since winning Girl Starter.

 

Did you underestimate yourself, or were you super confident?

I was confident in my television presence for sure, because I knew just being myself wouldn’t be much of a challenge for me.  I was more so worried about my abilities as a entrepreneur. When I applied with RINKI DINK studio, it was nothing more than a functioning idea with a unofficial brand I scraped together for the sake of the Girl Starter application.

To be honest, I didn’t think I was qualified enough to get picked, but I knew my drive and desire to learn everything about business is what I brought to the table.

I knew I would fight to stay every single week, not just for the prize or the money, but to make sure I learned everything Girl Starter had to offer me. When I got to the house and met girls like Lola, Claire, and Neha who already had functioning businesses with clients outside of their close friends, I was reminded that I had to fight for this. In the iconic words of Ms. Sofia, “All my life I had to fight,” and this competition wasn’t any different. I had no other option but to win.

 

Your most challenging challenge on the show and why?

Hands down, the Air Force challenge. We were required to wake up at three in the morning to ride out to New Jersey  after working on our businesses all night. Most of us were functioning on little to no sleep, and we were required to sit in on this informational power point that would prepare us before we went onto the battle field. I tried my hardest not the be rude, but I couldn’t help myself! I was so tired.  I was legit nodding so hard that I damn near fell out of the chair right there onto the floor. Worst part was that they were filming the entire time as almost every girl embarrassingly slept through the presentation like it was a 6am lecture hall. I mean, that’s basically what it was. I’m just surprised they didn’t use any of that footage. I was expecting that laugh.

I heard you guys literally worked 24 hours, what was the process?

We would wake up around 5am every day  to be able to leave the house at 7am most days… Our house mom would call that wheels up , and if you were late, you’d hear her screaming it throughout the halls. I’m actually surprised how little I was late in the mornings, though it did end up doing my makeup in the car everyday.  We would get to set and would immediately be strapped into our mics, which meant the day was truly beginning. We had around 12 hours filled with challenges, office time, presentations, and other surprises on set. After we were done filming, which was usually around 8pm, it was time to go home. That didn’t mean the work day was over though. You have to remember, we were building real businesses at the end of the day. Any moment we had where the cameras weren’t rolling, we were taking important phone calls that couldn’t happen otherwise. We would stay up all night researching, planning, organizing and doing basically everything else necessary to start  business in six weeks. It’s so hard to explain! You’re basically juggling two extremely time consuming things on a never ending schedule in an impossible window of time.

Read more in our issue here

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