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Interview with Hayley Gripp

Brianna Vacca

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Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to accurately reflect Hayley Gripp’s accomplishments. Inaccurate information provided to College Media Network has been removed.

Hayley Gripp is somebody who came to mind when thinking about female inspirations. 

Hayley Gripp is a vegan, anti-bullying and disabilities right activist. She is also prominent in the entertainment industry as a print model and actress. 

As an actress, Hayley has landed national campaigns, shot multiple commercials, had a reoccurring role on Lifetime original series Killer Kids and is currently filming the The Ginger Girls.

Gripp is an advocate for anti-bullying, special needs children and ending cruelty for animals. As someone who grew up with Tourette syndrome, Hayley understands what it’s like to be different. She chooses to see this as a positive thing, and a way to educate others on acceptance of those with disabilities.

She has spoken to many people across the country on the bullying epidemic, and continues to speak nationally. After being hit by a crazed driver a few years ago, Gripp began to merge her acting and advocacy work into one effort.

In 2017, Gripp gained status as an influencer who uses social media as a platform to empower and uplift her followers. Via social media, Gripp answers over 50 messages weekly from people being bullied.

Photographer: Mark Sanders
Stylist: Celebrity Style by Melissa Souza
Makeup Artist: Katelynn Jean Artistry
Dress: One Trieu You
Showroom: Mason Privée PR

The same year, Hayley launched a female empowerment vegan lifestyle website called www.girlswhoeatplants.com with three other vegan girls.

This year, Gripp filmed a documentary on her Tourette syndrome, is hosting an exclusive wellness event in May for Tourette Syndrome awareness month, and will be releasing her first ebook. Currently Gripp works as a social media concierge and branding consultant, a motivational speaker and dedicates ten hours a week to doing autism behavioral intervention in Los Angeles. 

In her words, “Having a victim mentality doesn’t do anyone any good. Using that experience to help others is how I choose to see the good in situations. No matter what I face in life, for me.. life is worth living”. 

Who is Hayley Gripp?

I think the question “who am I?” could go so many ways. I have a long bio that says exactly who I am on paper and explains what I have accomplished. But I think I’m going to take this opportunity to answer this question in a way I never have before. In all honesty, I’ve been through a lot in twenty five years. I fought a lot of adversity but I also spent a lot of time attempting to be what others expected from me. Right now, I don’t know who exactly I am. I am in this stage in life where I am finally putting myself first. So right now I am in the process of falling in love with myself and figuring As for my childhood, I come from a loving family who fought for me. Growing up with Tourette was not easy. There were a lot of tears and struggles, but than there were the moments where having a disability showed me what true compassion was. There is no right way to raise children with disabilities. So if a parent who has a special needs child reads this, just know that by simply caring, you are already doing a great job.

Seeing that you are a very passionate individual, what are some organizations that are close to your heart that you believe in?

I support many charities, but my favorite ones to support are ones that are affiliated with children, disabilities, animals, women or anti-bullying/self worth. A few favorite causes I support are: 

Scholastic Tourette’s Supporters 

This non-profit gives high school graduates with Tourette Syndrome the opportunity to receive a scholarship for college. 

SoCal Special Olympics 

This non profit is incredible. It gives people of all levels of disabilities the opportunity to play sports. I’m a big fan of them! 

Traci’s Paws 

This non profit helps raise money for pet adoptions and grants for animal shelters. 

San Diego Chihuahua Rescue

A great non profit that helps find homes for shelter dogs. I adopted my pup Stitch from them in October 2018! 

Invisyouth Charity

This non-profit supports people with invisible chronic illnesses and disabilities 

I support many others, but these are a few I can think of at the moment. I am a firm believer in actually supporting causes I believe in, and I do not believe in doing anything for attention or press. Everything I do is with integrity. 

Who are your influences and idols and why?

I have a great amount of respect and admiration for many people. Since I was young, I have always been a big fan of Audrey Hepburn. She was the epitome of class and elegance. This is just one example. I feel if I had to choose just one influence or idol who has impacted my life, I wouldn’t be doing myself justice. 

What made you who you are today?

In all honesty, my life has not been easy. I have dealt with an extensive amount of adversity. I have been knocked down and rebuilt more than should be humanly possible. But it’s through these experiences that I learned the true depth of my strength. Every experience, the good and bad, has helped me to grow as an individual. Having Tourette Syndrome was a huge test of faith as well as being bullied severely by a teacher with no laws to protect me. That was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever dealt with! But,  the incredible experiences and moments such as being given the gift of incredible friendships or opportunities like filming or lobbying to pass laws in DC have also taught me how enjoyable life is. No matter what happens, I consciously choose to see the good and focus on the positive. In life, holding onto negativity can only hurt me. I do my best to make the best of every situation I am placed in. I also remind myself to never forget where I came from and to always be grateful. 

Who are females you look up to?

I look up to quite a few empowering women! Maria Shriver: I mean she embodies strength, beauty and is an incredible voice for the voiceless. I really have a love for Tina Fey as she is fearless, hilarious, a brilliant writer.. AND she is all about women empowerment. The primatologist Jane Goodall is someone I have always really looked up to. She dedicated her life to animal conservation, the study of wild Chimpanzee’s and founded The Jane Goodall foundation. I could most likely list twenty women who I look up to, but these are the first who come to mind. 

Do you think that there’s a double standard in entertainment?

Yes. I definitely do. But there is also most likely a double standard for most industries. I am blessed to live in a day and age where women are taking on more leadership roles, and speaking out against this problem. Sadly, women are still affected by this issue every single day. In the entertainment industry, there are definitely different expectations for women versus men. Women can’t do the same things without being burned at the stake. We still have a long road ahead of us. I have hope that one day women will be equal to men with the same standards held for us both. D

Have you experienced situations where you feel you were treated as a lesser person simply because of your gender?

Yes, I am a business woman as well and I have had people only take meetings because of my looks. I purposely try to dress more conservative the majority of time so people see me for my mind versus my physical features. I have also had to prove myself because people didn’t think a woman could do something. Luckily I am a fighter! 

What would your advice be to young girls breaking into this world of publicly and social media?

Find your niche. If you want to get into publicity or social media, try to do it in a field you like food, wellness, beauty, fashion, talent etc. This makes doing our job so much more enjoyable. What could be better than promoting or helping something we admire or appreciate find success? I truly love getting to lift other help and to watch their process at finding success. Also, sometimes work can completely consume us.. So never forget to take time for yourself! This is so so important for the well-being of anyone in publicity or social media! 

I’m very excited to see how far Hayley Gripp will go. She is somebody that all females, personally, should look up to. 

Follow Haley on Instagram. 

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Brianna is a sophomore at the University of the Arts studying Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology and Creative Writing as a minor. She is a Grammy U Campus Ambassador at the Recording Academy, VIP Ambassador at CID Entertainment and a Promotions Assistant at Townsquare Media. She has a passion for the Music Industry, Entertainment, Radio, Writing, and being an active Singer|Songwriter.

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