As a talent agent, I have the opportunity to work with many different people from different backgrounds, cultures, and individual career aspirations. Through my work with high-profile women such as actors, models, media personalities, and the Miss Michigan USA organization, I have become increasingly aware of the risks and rewards associated with being a highly-visible public figure.
As technology’s beat marches on, it has been unbelievable to witness how new media has begun to facilitate immediate access to individuals, especially through social networks. What really prompted me to think was when I learned of the rush of Facebook friend requests received by the Miss Michigan USA winners after the September pageant. Within hours of the crown ceremony, a throng of admirers all vying to be their “friend” bombarded the contestants. Most were people that they had never met and, of course, most were fans. However, I have been in this business long enough to know that there is a price for being a celebrity and while some may consider it part of the job, I was genuinely concerned for the safety of these women, unprotected and in the public eye.
As these thoughts continued, I realized that this problem spans far beyond the world of acting and modeling talent and is a serious concern for all women. I began to consider the importance of self-defense awareness and how beneficial it would be for women to be educated on awareness, empowerment, and physical defense techniques. This essential knowledge would help them execute preventative and protective measures against unwanted advances.
I recognized this as a unique opportunity for The iGroup to initiate a positive change in our community. I contacted Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and together we developed Oakland County’s first-ever Women’s Self Defense Awareness Month by partnering with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit, and the Miss Michigan USA organization. Throughout October, the YWCA of Metropolitan Detroit was generous enough to host four, day-long complimentary self-defense classes for women taught by an expert, female Oakland County deputy. The classes were a huge success, and each was filled to capacity.
It felt wonderful to rally Oakland County organizations and take a stand against violence and a step up for women’s health and safety.
Although the annual free classes have come to a close, it is still important for women to take the initiative to protect themselves. Extended self-defense courses are now being offered through the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department, and The iGroup will have more information about additional free Women’s Self Defense Awareness courses in the area soon.
For more info, you can visit http://www.theigroup.com.