Teen Nick HALO Award Winner Speaks Up For Girl Power!

By Rocio Ortega

I usually don’t like surprises, but receiving the 2013 Teen Nickelodeon HALO awards was definitely the best surprise of my life.

In a bowling alley full of family and friends, stood Victorious actress Daniella Monet, to surprise me and tell me “congratulations Rocio Ortega you are a recipient of the 2013 Teen Nickelodeon Halo awards!”

I almost left the room because I couldn’t believe it! I had gone to Teen Nick Halo awards two years ago to interview celebrities on the orange carpet. I never thought I would be the one walking down the orange carpet to receive a Nickelodeon Halo award.

Rocio-Ortega-Chris-Paul

Rocio-Ortega-Chris-Paul

Chris Paul from the Los Angeles Clippers also surprised me as my celebrity mentor. He invited me to a golf tournament charity the following day. I’ve never golfed before so this was a new experience for me and what better way to do than with Chris Paul!

So on Sunday November 17, 2013 live from the Hollywood Palladium I was awarded the 2013 Teen Nickelodeon Halo awards for my female empowerment activism with a non-profit organization called Global Girl Media. I had received media training (film, edit, produce, etc) from GGM in 2010 and had come back every summer afterwards to help mentor the next class of female citizen broadcast journalists.

Working with Global Girl Media taught me the importance of having female leadership representation in the media. It’s important to empower young girls and women to find their voice and use the media as a tool for social change.

Rocio Ortega-HALO-Awards

The day was full of rehearsal, make-up, hair and dress rehearsal. I have never experienced this Hollywood aspect. What was more exciting for me was having the opportunity to do a commercial for make-up line, COVERGIRL. I was paired up with a young Latina artist I know too well, Becky G.

The 2013 Teen Nick Halo awards was the first year that the ceremony aired live on the Nickelodeon channel. I was nervous at first but after a while I was excited to go onstage and give my call to action for female empowerment.

I was introduced by Chloe Bennet, strong female character from ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As soon as I walked on stage I knew I had a mission to use this platform and raise awareness about the need for female empowerment. I felt the adrenaline rush as I walked up the stairs. I felt confident to speak up and empower viewers to take action. Knowing there were millions of people watching worldwide, listening to me saying “we need more female representation in this world and it’s up to us to make it happen,” was very rewarding. I felt like everything I had done with Global Girl Media, Girl Up and Running Start, had led to this moment. I had an audience and I delivered a call to action.

Rocio Ortega-HALO-Awards

Rocio Ortega-HALO-Awards

I felt honored to be recognized for a passion I live with every day. I truly believe in using media leadership training to empower young women today. After being a mentee for The Empowerment Project and interviewing co-creator of The Oprah Winfrey Show and President of her own Entertainment group, Ellen Rakieten, I was empowered to continue advocating for female leadership roles in the media. Working with an all-female crew created a sense of sisterhood and mutual agreement that sharing the stories of female leaders from various career fields, is necessary to help shape media.

The HALO awards may be over but that doesn’t mean the need for female empowerment will stop. If anything, I know there are more people involved. After the ceremony I was approached by Latinas audience members and girls ages 10 and below saying “we need girl power.” As long as the talk for female empowerment continues, we will come closer to achieving gender equality.

The HALO (helping and leading others) Awards is produced, created and hosted by Nick Cannon. It recognizes real life teens who have made an impact in their community.

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