“It was an amazing crowd with amazing energy. I was so excited to see all of the young ladies there and their families. You had health educators, doctors, teachers, social workers, R&B singers, beauty professionals … all in the same room on the same team empowering the girls,” says Dr. Jasmine Zapata. “When you have that mixture, it’s pretty unique.”

There was an overwhelming turnout Nov. 30 at Meadowridge Library on Madison’s west side for the “Beyond Beautiful Girl’s Empowerment Book Launch Celebration.” Zapata and her mother Julia Grace Saffold took their movement of girl’s empowerment to the next level by launching two books last night.

“Beyond Beautiful” and “The Beyond Beautiful Treasure Box”

The books, “Beyond Beautiful” and “The Beyond Beautiful Treasure Box,” are intended to help young girls, specifically girls of color, build a sense of self-esteem, self-awareness and self-worth.

The girls at the event took empowerment pictures in between performances by Trilogy. There was bonding and chatting and games and Dr. Zapata did her “Beyond Beautiful” rap. “That’s always awesome because everybody always laughs at the rapping doctor,” Zapata smiles.

There were breakout sessions where the girls read one of the chapters on empowerment.

[Photo by Jordan Gaines]

“I have such phenomenal people on my team – the mentors that were leading the discussions in each of the breakout sessions are all women who are doing amazing things,” Zapata says.

Zapata started Beyond Beautiful six years ago as a medical student because she wanted to take a different approach to impacting community health outcomes. “Our mission is to be able to start book clubs and girl empowerment groups all over,” she says. “We’re hoping to see this movement continue to grow with events like this.

[Photo by Jordan Gaines]

“We talk about resilience, confidence, ignoring people that bully you. I can’t wait for patients to always come to the hospital for me to meet them there; we have to find creative and innovative ways to reach them,” Zapata adds. “That’s why I love combining the beauty industry with the music industry with health empowerment and self-empowerment. This is the model that I’m hoping to spread … an innovative way for health promotion.”