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Two Moms' Passion Project Empowers Girls in the Best Way Possible

Bright Lite is a new quarterly magazine for pre-teen girls. The founders, Christa Renee and Ami Komai, are both Los Angeles moms and have managed to create a journal that raises up young girls' voices in a way we rarely see. It's not glossy and polished. It's not filtered through social media and therefore subject to a slew of likes, favorites and comments. The magazine is not packaged by a brand to sell the girls something. Instead the contributors—all girls—are offered a platform to give unfiltered versions of their lives via words and images. For moms of girls, it's exciting to see these kids hold up their own mirrors and empower each other with real stories.

1. Why start a magazine for pre-teen girls?

Christa: After my daughter Wes was battling low self-esteem, I realized that there wasn't a community out there for girls her age. I really wanted to fill that void. I wanted to give Wes the validation that she wasn't weird or different from other girls. I think 10 is such a special age, and I want to support her journey. It's been amazing working with her, seeing her ideas come to life and watching her talk to other kids and grown-ups about the project. My hope is to make this bigger than a magazine—a community, not just for my daughter, but for all girls everywhere. These girls have so much to say! We want to support them and make sure they know they're amazing and their work is important.

Ami: All the opinions I formed about myself, good and bad, I formed as a pre- teen girl. I remember growing up and thinking there were no role models who looked like me, or anything representing my experience. This made me feel like I was in this bubble; feeling like nothing I did mattered. I want to change that, not only for my daughter, but for all girls. I want to try to represent all girls in a way that's genuine, inclusive and meaningful.

2. What are you hoping to achieve with Bright Lite?

Ami: It's the first interactive publication for young girls by young girls, that lets them engage with each other on a variety of topics, from arts to science. We hope to empower young women to express themselves and celebrate others' differences and similarities. No two girls are exactly alike, nor should they be. They're all perfect just as they are. We're creating a world in which girls don't have to fight for their voice to be heard, and no one questions whether they're equal or not.

Christa: We want Bright Lite to accomplish nothing short of changing girls' lives, creating a platform and a sense of being that will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

3. How do you find contributors and what are you looking for in a contributor?

Ami: We began by reaching out to everyone we knew; soon enough, we were getting submissions from girls all over the country. The reactions we got reaffirmed that there is absolutely a need for this publication—an outlet where girls know they and their ideas are perfect as they are. No glossy, unattainable images, or grown-up ideas and opinions. We are looking for anything from essays, to pictures, to poems—anything creative and expressive. The only criteria is the theme, which changes each issue.

4. Who designs it? We love the design!

Christa: My husband Eric Pfeeger helped us design our first issue. Going forward, we will also be collaborating with Meghan Kerr, a dear friend and talented creative director.

5. You are both moms. How do you balance the magazine work with the rest of your lives?

Christa: Ami and I meet once a week in person and are in constant communication with each other. It's a lot of work, but so worth it. We also have a lot of support from our staff, family and friends. Email, lists and deadlines are our best friends.

Ami: I'm not going to pretend it's not hard. My days are packed, but Lola (age 2) contributes greatly by coloring her belly-button with markers, sticking Bright Lite stickers all over the car and demanding gummy bear breaks in 30-minute intervals. She reminds me to keep things fun and light, and not take anything too seriously.

Photos via Instagram

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