Ivy League student, entrepreneur, author, girl power advocate and a beauty with brains. This 20 year old woman is already creating waves in the world of female empowerment. She is an inspiration to me, and I am so excited to share her words with you. Take note, world – watch as this star rises!
Haley Hoffman Smith
Alexandra Payne: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got to this point in your life’s journey.
Haley Hoffman Smith: My name is Haley Hoffman Smith and I am a “lover of words”! But, most importantly, I am a lover of women empowerment and I believe everything I’ve done to this point has been in alignment with that. I feel I am where I am today because I follow whatever feels magical or sparkling to me. That includes – learning, reading, writing, entrepreneurship, connecting with other women, and starting empowering movements.
AP: Your non-profit organisation, Lit Without Limits, is a truly wonderful idea. What is your mission?
HHS: Thank you! The mission of Lit Without Limits is to donate empowering books that promulgate values of kindness, courage, and educational pursuits to girls around the world with a curriculum I write to accompany it. The girls then go through the curriculum in a “book club” format – so they can come together and bond on the basis of the book themes! It has international reach and the most special part is that these international groups (i.e. in Pakistan and The Philippines) are getting in contact with each other.
AP: Tell us about your book, She is Without Limits.
HHS: It was inspired by my work with Lit Without Limits. As you know, the first book we were donating was I Am Malala, which was very empowering for the girls- but many testimonials shared that in some ways, it wasn’t very relatable because of differences in political context between Pakistan (where the story takes place) and the countries I donated to. It became clear to me that I needed to write a book with universal themes that are applicable to all girls – and thus, I seized the opportunity to pursue my lifelong dream of writing and publishing a book. She Is Without Limits evaluates the many limits we live with – some of which are subconscious, and some of which are hard to admit. It is reflective of the past three years of my life, in which I feel I have transformed into an entirely new individual because of the epiphanies and restructuring work I have done. How empowering it is to say, “I no longer need to live with these limits.” It explores topics such as “She Is Claiming Her Power”, “She Is Learning to Let Go”, etc…and includes other remarkable women such as Olympic medalist Lauren Sesselmann! A portion of proceeds will go to Lit Without Limits, so I can continue to donate this book and many others to my girls around the world.
AP: What lights you up inside?
HHS: I touched on this earlier – but soul sisterhood and writing light me up inside. 🙂
AP: Who, or what, inspires you?
HHS: I’m inspired when I see someone who has persevered “despite all odds”, as they say, because it’s an indication that there was incredible support, drive, and vision. I am most inspired by Oprah Winfrey for this reason – she is very clear on who she is and on her individual beliefs, and this has made her such a prominent public figure. She is so authentically herself and wants to give herself to the world in many ways.
AP: You have already achieved so much! It is very inspiring. How do you balance your studies at Brown University, your business roles with Lit Without Limits and She Is Without Limits, and play?
HHS: Thank you so much! It is a juggling act but I work on self-love and self-kindness. I take one nap per day! But in all seriousness, I make sure I’m not getting burned out by really checking in with myself. If something sounds more fun that something else (i.e. if I’d rather work on an essay than respond to emails in that given moment, or write a blog post instead of study) – then I do it! That ensures that the work is always fun. I also truly, truly, truly love everything that I do – including school.
AP: Literature is obviously a massive part of your life. What is your favourite book?
HHS: My favorite book is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte because it is the book that changed my life and inspired me to start Lit Without Limits.
AP: Describe your perfect day.
HHS: My perfect day would be waking up early and drinking coffee while the sun rises and getting some writing done! My favorite type of writing is when I don’t have to push it or think too hard – it just flows from some vessel deep inside me and I can’t control it, but what comes down onto paper surprises and rivets me. This is my favorite type of expression and creativity. Then, I’d go to brunch with my best friend and business partner Kelly Hart to talk about She Is Without Limits and laugh about old stories. The day would end with a Lit Without Limits fundraiser or a She Is Without Limits event – there is nothing more special to me than celebrating and fundraising with friends and families, and my best memories have been the fundraisers we’ve had so far with Lit Without Limits.
AP: What advice would you give to girls and women who are trying to empower themselves and make a positive difference in the world?
HHS: To read my book! Haha…just kidding..kind of. I think I touch on all of that in my book, but just to remember that you are the author of your own story, and you don’t have to be limited in the ways that you have been. You are the only person who can change your life and it is worth the extra work and evaluation. We all have it in us, and we all deserve to live our happiest lives!
Thank you, Haley!
Lit Without Limits is definitely a worthy cause, and I am excited to see what the She is Without Limits movement holds in store! If you want to find out more, head to litwithoutlimits.org; or, if you would like to order She is Without Limits and check out the upcoming She Is Without Limits community, go to sheiswithoutlimits.com.
I have read She is Without Limits and it is beautifully empowering – I can’t recommend it enough! (It is particularly great for teens, young adults and twenty-somethings).