There’s nothing cooler than a woman who does what she damn well pleases. She wears what she wants and follows whatever path tickles her fancy. Some days, we want to be the cool girl, but aren’t sure where to start.
Today, embrace the one thing you want to do. Maybe it’s boldly wearing that brown argyle sweater from your college days, the one your sister still makes fun of. Or maybe it’s dancing down the grocery aisle while pumping your favorite tune through your earbuds. Sure, you may get some critical looks from straight-and-narrow folks, but do you know what a cool girl would say?
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 7.8 Percent
A complaint I’ve often heard from female office workers is that they want to get away from a computer and just do something expressive with their hands for a living. Well, ladies, why don’t you? There are all kinds of jobs out there that require the creative use of your hands, from pastry chefs and florists to welders. You heard that right—welders.
The demand for more skilled workers in this typically male-dominated industry is crazy high, yet women make up only 7.8 percent of the welding, soldering and brazing workforce, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s why the American Welding Society is encouraging more women to consider a career in professional welding, taking up good-paying jobs in the auto trade and construction, manufacturing, and the oil-and-gas industry.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Alli Meade, Owner of Old Soul Studio
Speaking of cool girls moving on up in male-dominated fields, meet Alli Meade. She’s a wickedly good metal sculpture artist and the owner of Old Soul Studio, through which she fabricates all kinds of handcrafted work, from fine art and furniture to custom-made handbags.
Alli’s designs are wildly imaginative, like one adorable sculpture called “Junkyard Dog” that she created using an automotive oil pan and other bits of scrap metal. And her industrial-chic handbags and laptop bags, made from aluminum, leather and some unlikely materials, like fire hoses and even a vintage wrench, may inspire you to ditch your designer purse in favor of a one-of-a-kind carryall. And if you want to be even more wowed, check out her furniture. One of her most remarkable pieces is a bright-red Chevrolet tailgate she refashioned into a funky and stylish coffee table by adding some steel wheels and pistons.
When this crafty lady isn’t creating magnificent works of art, she’s teaching welding classes at a community workshop, learning center and creative space called Columbus Idea Foundry. Oh yeah, and she’s also super busy being a full-time firefighter in Columbus, Ohio. I told you she was a cool girl!
Glamour recently featured Alli’s Instagram account as part of a piece about inspiring women, and she says she uses the social-media platform to connect with those throughout the world who share her passions for art and welding.
Obviously, Alli is kicking butt in a few industries traditionally dominated by men. And her desire to not be put in a gender box started when she was just a girl. In sixth grade, Alli desperately wanted to sign up for shop class, but her girlfriends pushed her to take home ec with them. She did, but regretted that decision, and resolved she would never again choose a path just because it was expected of her. Now, as a passionate firefighter and welder, Alli hopes to inspire all the sixth-grade girls in the world to have the guts to follow their own path.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Follow Alli Meade’s lead and conquer all the things you want to in life. As Maya Angelou said:
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.