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Farrah Krenek – Understanding Creates Solutions

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Farrah Krenek: Understanding Creates Solutions


Bullying has been going on since Goliath taunted David, which turned out to be a bad move on the part of the massive giant, who was felled by a simple slingshot and a rock. But not all who are exposed to teasing and taunting escape their tormenters. Unfortunately, bullying can have a lifelong negative impact. Children and adults can be heartless, negatively impacting the self-esteem of the person on the receiving end of their cruel remarks.

But Orange is the New Black actress Farrah Krenek has taken her experiences and turned them into a positive, giving hope and strength to herself and others. Tall for her age as a young girl, other children would taunt her, claiming she looked like a boy. “I can’t remember exactly when, but it started young. Growing up, I definitely didn’t fit in. I dreamed of creating a scenario where I would have friends,” revealed the 38-year-old. “But I’m grateful for my upbringing because it was the way I became the person I am today. I learned that you must stand up and say stop. But most importantly, you don’t change who you are and never doubt the beautiful person inside. No matter what you’re going through now, don’t think that tomorrow will be the same.”

Interestingly, those same attributes she was tormented for as a youth have turned now to her advantage. Her 6’2” frame could land her on Fashion Week runways and her makeup-free skin is rich and golden, highlighted by shortly cropped blonde locks. While her looks now signify a lovely woman, it is her spirit of forgiveness and encouraging others that drives her beauty.

“In order to be understood, you have to understand. Don’t turn someone away because they were harsh and mean; they’re filled with pain, too. You have to give that person the opportunity to apologize and repent. If not, then you’re part of the problem,” Farrah stated. “I also say don’t be so fearful and enjoy life, even though it certainly isn’t perfect. You make it perfect by being the real you.”

Diversity and Authenticity

These words guided her to realize her life-long dream of becoming an actress. It hasn’t been easy, filled with ups and down, but she persevered to land a role on the hit series Orange is the New Black. “Orange is the New Black became successful because there are so many different characters, personalities and body types, and we were able to touch many people. The viewers identified with these characters,” noted Farrah. “I want others to say that she’s just like me.”

Finding similarities is extremely important to Farrah because as a child, she didn’t have a role model to follow until the movie Boys Don’t Cry was released. She identified with the characters, finding the opportunity to develop her own voice and to reach out to others to develop theirs.

Partnering to Encourage Dreams

A segment of her efforts to give back to others and the community is focused on reaching out to young women. She’s now the UChic Ambassador for the State of the Girl series, a new content series aimed at uncovering the challenges facing young women along with potential solutions. Farrah kicked off the sessions with a keynote address at KU in September in partnership with the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equality and the university’s Student Union Activities.

“You have to have a dream and the courage to go for it. Hearing Farrah’s story and that she’s going for her dream is so encouraging,” remarked Christie Garton, founder and CEO, UChic, a lifestyle brand dedicated to empowering young women with scholarships supported by product sales. UChic is also the sponsor of 1000 Dreams Fund, with the goal of funding a thousand girls nationwide to realize their dreams with grants up to $1,000.

The Message: Persist, Believe, Achieve

“There is struggle and sacrifice, but we must learn to never give up and to give something back. I wanted to be an actress and I’ve realized that goal, but I succeed because of you,” Farrah told the attendees. “I came all the way to Kansas City to deliver this message. When you’re 18 or 19 years old and in college, you’re embarking on a career and you might be falling head over heels in love. When it comes to love, never stop believing in it, but don’t settle for anything less than wonderful.”

Farrah certainly isn’t settling for anything less than wonderful for her career. Her work on OITNB continues, and she’s involved with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey in the film Sisters, out in December, and also with Julianne Moore and Ellen Page in the movie Freehold, currently in movie theatres.

“I’m 38 years old; I can’t believe it. Life goes by so quickly, in a blink,” she said. “No matter what life hands you, I say take all of the poison and turn it into medicine, not only for yourself but others. Don’t lose the importance of your self-worth.” HLM