Stepping Out and Making an Impact
Guts.Glam.Grace is making headway when it comes to seeking out a diverse roster of interesting and influential people. One area that specifically needs more attention from the general public is philanthropy. Bambi Weavil has been active in fundraising, harnessing the media for positive exposure and addressing the needs and concerns of the LGBTQ community for years. She has made herself available and visible for the cause, pushing issues of the gay community while simultaneously getting some real results through her various projects. Originally from North Carolina, Bambi faced some issues coming out to her own parents, but has since worked through negativity and turned it into a life goal of leadership and support for others. She has worked as a music columnist, public relations agent for professional wrestlers (her “secret pleasure”), and marketing manager for Curve Magazine from 2006-2007. She left Curve on amicable terms to launch her own website and public relations enterprise. Bambi is CEO and publisher of Out Impact Inc., and Out Impact Productions, separate entities yet both very close to her heart. She is dedicated to making a positive impact in the community by raising awareness and appealing to a diverse audience of gay men and women and their allies.
Out Impact Inc. is an Omnimedia company launched as an online lifestyle-based gay publication June 2007. The focus is on events in the gay community that also serve as opportunities for various nonprofits, joining philanthropic, artistic and activist agendas. There is also sense of openness with Out Impact that reaches to build relationships with allies, those organizations and people that might not be gay but “get it”, in Bambi’s words; they understand the relevance of partnership and the genuine promise of a better world for all when cooperation drives nonprofit work.
Out Impact Productions is more of a PR company, not specifically serving the gay community yet still committed with the same passion for providing creative services to its clients in the entertainment world. Bambi is definitely becoming a veteran among startup companies, widening her exposure on Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon.com and various company profile websites.
GGG: Who do you identify as allies?
Bambi: Anyone that doesn’t have an agenda to ban people from regular life. Sees me as a person not a sexuality. I have the advantage of being mainstream in appearance, but many others do not.
GGG: What have been some barriers you faced and overcame en route to where you are today?
The biggest challenge professionally has been mostly sponsorship; trying to get people to understand that we are a for-profit company helping nonprofits. That has been a very hard thing to sell even though I think it’s an easy concept to understand. However those that I have worked with have been amazing. I haven’t faced any extraordinary discrimination of any sort so I am very lucky. Usually I am the one approaching people so I am prepared for questions. I lead with my heart, follow my instincts. I’ve either gotten a polite “no” or a “get back to me later” response.
I’ve been fortunate to talk to some celebrities like Cyndi Lauper. Some other groups I’ve been lucky to work with are GLAAD, the Trevor Project and Sylvia’s Place. You have to wake up everyday and do what you love.
GGG: What do you think about New York Senator’s Kirsten Gillibrand’s recent push for Congress to review the legitimacy of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the military?
Bambi: I think that the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy should be overturned, but it’s one among many. There are so many things going on. If we get one victory it would be remarkable, but I don’t think it’s the right time. I am curious about her motivation in pushing this. I think marriage equality is the most important thing for the gay community, for example being able to go and see your loved one in the hospital. The Hate Crimes Act…having legislators acknowledge that if someone is beat down within an inch of their life or killed, that it could possibly be because they are gay. Hate crimes are not acknowledged in North Carolina if you are gay. I think Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is important but not the most important issue right now for the gay community.
I try to not pay attention to a lot of the extreme right or left that come up to me, because there is nothing I can do to change their mind. It’s hard for me to comment on particular groups when I don’t know all the information, but they don’t represent me therefore I kind of let that stuff go; too much negativity. I am not a fan of Perez Hilton. He’s gay, I’m gay, but I wouldn’t buy him a drink. I think there are always people that take it too far, but I don’t concern myself with people out there doing extreme activities.
GGG: What do you say about your achievements thus far with Out Impact?
Bambi: There are plenty of people that have walked before us. I am proud of my work and I have to say thanks to the gay community for being so supportive. We are unique in that we are more focused on activism than other publications. With the internet more voices can be heard, more perspectives can be acknowledged. We try to be an all-inclusive publication. I am happy to have straight people work with us and even write for us. It’s about personal responsibility and people knowing where their money is going, not just partying.
GGG: What do you hope to accomplish by talking to Guts.Glam.Grace?
Bambi: I am happy to be in your magazine. The one thing that I have been unable to do is reach out to the African-American community successfully. I am half Asian and half white, and I have always wanted to work more with African-Americans, so if I can reach that audience that would be great. I am excited to make more inroads, and I am accessible by email.
GGG: What will you be doing in the future?
Bambi: I am in a resting period now after doing events for four months straight. We are thinking about becoming a nonprofit to get over some of the struggles I’ve had to deal with over the last two years. We are hoping to change the game and get to the next level. We haven’t had a lot of advertisers, and Out Impact has been funded out of my pocket. Next year I want to get back out and do events in New York and keep writing, and diversify.
GGG: Words of advice?
Bambi: Don’t give up, hire a good webmaster. Manage your money carefully, do your best to get freelancers. Don’t substitute quantity for quality. The worst you can hear is “no”. If I didn’t work for Curve magazine I wouldn’t be where I am today. I look forward to working with them in the future. If you are looking for a broad audience have a broad staff. I am open to reaching out on networking advice if you are interested.
Note: Headshot photo courtesy of www.fastpitchnetworking.com
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