When you think of a campaign like Dressember that is focused on the imagery of a dress, certain qualities, such as fragility, may come to mind. Dressember editorial intern Courtney, however, is one fierce and strong lady, personifying our mission of reclaiming the dress while fighting for justice with confidence, strength, and just the perfect dose of gentleness.
As a seasoned Dressember advocate, Courtney has sometimes felt different for rocking a combination of gauges, tattoos, and dresses simultaneously. She describes herself as intimidating to some people, but she has been pleasantly surprised to reach a community more focused on freedom than fashion through Dressember.
“That’s what I love about Dressember. It links women from all different types of backgrounds, [coming together to] protect those who are in harm’s way.”
Courtney’s passion for helping others and speaking up for what’s right pairs perfectly with her boldness, making her an inspirational advocate and opening the door to endless possibilities.
Courtney is a Californian who spends her days making dreams come true by coordinating weddings and reservations at a camp in the mountains, and her nights writing, bullet journaling, and paging through the never-ending stack of books on her nightstand. As an avid blogger since 2003, writing has been an important outlet for Courtney through all the ups and downs of her life.
Navigating through a difficult past and embarking on a healing process over the past 5 years, opportunities have fallen into place to help guide her. At the age of 30, she landed a competitive internship at the faith-based camp where she still works today. It was in this internship where she heard Dressember founder Blythe Hill speak, and she was immediately inspired. Already familiar with trafficking through previous work as a medical assistant, Courtney felt a pull to hop on board the Dressember train. Sadly, a dress-less closet made things harder, and Dressember got put on the backburner of her busy life.
However, two years later, the time was finally right and Courtney dove into a month of dress-wearing, educating, and advocating that would have a bigger impact on her than she expected. When December ended and she had raised $200 over her goal, she started to recognize the unique impact she could have. The next year when Blythe came back to the camp to speak again, she and Courtney had an impassioned chat over coffee that left her with an inclination to do more. Now, as an intern, Courtney’s voice and passion are being used to spread light and empowerment all over.
“Being a voice to the voiceless means a lot to my heart as a woman - not just as an advocate but as healing from my own past.”
Writing for Dressember has also helped Courtney dive deeper into what she believes, venturing into new topics she wouldn’t normally research on her own. This drive to broaden her perspective and remain open-minded is part of what makes Courtney such a powerful advocate. Living in San Bernardino, only 20 minutes away from a prominent area for prostitution, Courtney is faced with the difficult day to day reality that what she writes about isn’t some far off idea but is happening so close to home. Rather than becoming frustrated, she is motivated to keep fighting, saying, “It’s hard to accept what’s so easily dismissed in our culture, but we can’t ignore it.” This mentality propels her to strike up conversations, embrace opportunities like Dressember and go out of her way to make a difference.
“If I’m calling someone else to do it, I’ve got to do it myself!”
When asked what advice she had to give to advocates, Courtney didn’t miss a beat before saying, “Take risks!” She believes in the value of boldness as a catalyst for change. Even if it’s something small, the tiniest of sparks can make an impact. It was a step of boldness that first caused Courtney to join Dressember, embarking on a journey that has brought her here, where she continues to make an impact. Who knows where this fire will take her next!
We’re grateful for you and your boldness, Courtney!
About the Author
Mallory Mishler is a Michigander, studying Women’s and Gender Studies and Peace and Justice. She is passionate about using her voice to advocate for the freedom of all people, especially through creative mediums. When not writing, she can be found climbing mountains, caring for her plants, or painting on things that shouldn’t be painted.