Interview: Emilie Roll, Founder of Female Empowerment Network The Gaia Gang Based in Oslo and London
Burlesque Queen and founder of The Gaia Gang, Emilie Roll (27) has her priorities set straight: she’s growing The Gaia Gang into an international global network of female empowerment. With a diverse background in personal training, project coordination, entrepreneurship and massage therapy, Emilie found her passion whilst completing her studies for a Bachelors Degree in Creativity, Innovation and Business Development. The Gaia Gang originally started out as an exam project created by Emilie and her two best friends while preparing for their exams back in 2013, when they discovered that all three of them had a passion for empowering and inspiring young women, and so The Gaia Gang was born.
“As we looked around at other young women, we saw so many beautiful, talented, incredible “super women” not doing what they wanted and seeing how amazing they were, nor were they living and creating their ideal lives for themselves. With The Gaia Gang we wanted to change this, and inspire and empower young women by creating a community where everyone was cheering on and supporting each other”, Emilie explains.
They started arranging events and developing concepts, trying and failing and learning a lot. Her two initial partners eventually went on to other projects, but Emilie decided to turn The Gaia Gang into a serious business and has spent the last two and a half years developing the company on her own. The main focus is currently on the Gaia Burlesque concept, which has been a huge success both in London and Oslo, where the business is based. In August 2017 she launched The Gaia Membership, which enables free access to events, the opportunity to sign up to Burlesque classes and deals and discounts with a wide range of amazing collaborating partners.
First Of All, How Did You Start Your Day Today?
I started my day off with a bulletproof coffee.
Where And Doing What Do You Feel The Most Inspired?
Traveling and meeting new people is something that is very important to me. Doing that gives me new input, a fresh mindset, and I get very inspired by other peoples’ stories and learning from their strengths. Dance and music is also very important for me to feel good and inspired.
What’s The Best And Worst Thing About Being Your Own Boss?
The best part of being my own boss is the freedom. I have the freedom to be wherever I want to be whenever I want to, and design my own workdays. I also love the freedom to be creative and to express myself, and my personality is a big part of The Gaia Gang brand. Sometimes this freedom affects me in a negative way too though, since I’m a big procrastinator.
How Do You Pick Yourself Up And Keep Going When You Feel Discouraged?
If I feel discouraged, I usually acknowledge the feeling and just take some time off to do something different. If I need to boost my mood, I spend time with my closest friends.
Tell Us About Something You’re Really Proud Of In Your Business And/Or Your Greatest Achievement (Don’t Be Shy)
I am very proud of the Gaia Burlesque concept, as I can clearly see a change in the girls who take the course. Discovering their femininity and sensuality, and embracing their uniqueness, I see them grow into a more self-loving confident version of themselves – which was exactly my goal and intention in starting this business. I’m also very proud of not giving up. When you’re starting your own business there are a lot of ups and downs- you get slapped in the face a lot and have to fail many times to grow and learn, and so I’m proud of myself for believing in my dream and knowing that I am capable of amazing things.
Name Any Woman (Or Women), Past Or Present, Whom You Admire And Look Up To, And Please Tell Us Why
I really look up to my two best friends, Maria Katarina and Elin.They are amazing in so many different ways and I have learned, and am still learning, so much from them. The radiant, loving, inspiring and badass women that they are, keeps inspiring and motivating me every single day. Another woman that I admire a lot is my mom. She is my hero and a big part of why I started The Gaia Gang in the first place. By being strong, confident and loving, she has always inspired me, helped me and believed in me. My mom has taught me to dream big and that anything is possible.
What Do Scandinavian Women Need More Of? Less Of?
I believe Scandinavian women need to boost their self-love and self-confidence, and celebrate and fully embrace their uniqueness. They definitely need less of the ‘Jante Law’.
Name 3 Qualities You Admire In Other Women
Playfulness- The ability of letting go a bit and not take life or themselves too seriously.
Confidence – A confident woman is so beautiful and powerful.
Generosity – To be generous with yourself and with others – spreading love and light, wishing other people well.
If You Have One, What Is Your Personal Or Professional Motto?
If you can dream it, you can do it!
When, Where And Doing What Do You Feel The Furthest Away From Your Comfort Zone?
For me, I think doing extreme sport or something involving a lot of adrenaline is when I’m the furthest away from my comfort zone.
Tell Us One Thing That People Would Be Surprised To Know About You
Since The Gaia Gang brand is kinda sassy with a lot of attitude, people might be surprised to know that I have a very shy side.
And Finally, Do You Have Any Advice, Big Or Small, To All The Ambitious Women Contemplating Starting Their Own Business Too?
Believe in yourself and your business, and never let anyone tell you that your dreams are too big. Surround yourself with the right people – the ones who cheer for you, inspire you and push you to be better. And don’t hesitate to ask people for help. Let go of the fear of failure and the fear of what other people might think of you. Failure is a good thing, and other people’s opinion doesn’t really matter as long as you stay true to yourself and your calling in life – and always remember that you are capable of whatever you set your mind to. You go, girl!
[Please feel free to share your thoughts and reflections in the comments section]