From courageously speaking out against Larry Nassar, which helped lead to his lifelong incarceration, to suing USA Gymnastics and US Olympic Committee for their roles in the decades-long abuse she and hundreds of others suffered at Nassar’s hands, Aly Raisman has proven herself to be a formidable champion for women’s rights. Not to mention she’s won six Olympic medals as a gymnast, making her a badass athlete to boot. Last year, Raisman teamed up with Life Is Good, a clothing company with a mission firmly rooted in optimism (10 percent of net profits is donated to kids in need), to create a line of t-shirts for women with her own positive spin. The Aly Tee Collection features five tees with empowering messages and designs that take casual dressing to a totally inspiring place. We chatted with Raisman about her partnership with Life Is Good, the pitfalls of social media, and her definition of “life is good.”
Brit + Co: Thank you so much for chatting with us about your latest project, Aly! Can you tell us how this Life Is Good collab came to be?
Aly Raisman: I’m from outside of Boston where the company was founded, so I’ve really grown up loving the brand and what they stand for. The shirts are so comfortable and I always loved the positive messages. When I learned more about their philosophy on optimism and the work they do to help kids, I knew I wanted to get involved. We decided to partner on a line of t-shirts that would instill values that we share — kindness, authenticity, and courage — in the younger generation.
B+C: On a similar note, how did you come up with the designs for your t-shirt line? Were there certain messages or values you knew you wanted to include?
AR: Life Is Good has been using t-shirts as a vehicle to spread optimism for the last 20-plus years, so I thought about the most important values in my life and worked with the Life Is Good design team to turn those messages into t-shirts, and we kept these values at the core of the process.
We chose the message “Power in Kindness” to show strength in all forms, and that it’s accessible to us all. For the girls wearing the tees, I hope the messages serve as subtle reminders that I am strong, I am brave, I am fierce. I hope the messages remind people that everyone is going through something and we need to support one another and respond with kindness no matter what.
B+C: You’ve always been a vocal advocate for young women to own their voice and strength. What are the major challenges and worries you see them struggle with most often? What advice do you give to help them through these issues?
AR: I see a lot of people who doubt their potential. I notice that young girls seem more insecure at an earlier age. I am no expert, but I feel that because of social media there is so much more pressure for everyone. My advice would be to talk about it. Use your voice if you feel you are having a hard time. It is okay not to be okay. We’re all human, all survivors of something. We also must tell kids (and everyone else) they need a balance with social media. Social media is fun, but we need more time in the moment and with our friends, and more “me” time.
B+C: It does seem like social media is both a tremendously positive force and an overwhelmingly negative one, depending on where you look. Do you have any advice for young women who are struggling with self-esteem in the social media age?
AR: I feel social media puts a lot of pressure on everyone to show the best sides of ourselves. We have to remember to not be ashamed of our hardest and toughest times too because we have all been through something. We are all going to get through it and be stronger in the end. We must be kind to one another and stop cyberbullying. Bullying of any kind is unacceptable. I’m very disappointed in the amount of hate on social media lately, in general. It’s important for us as adults to set a positive example and lead with compassion and kindness. That’s one of the reasons I set out to do this line of tees with Life Is Good.
B+C: What does “life is good” mean to you personally? How has that changed as you’ve gotten older? What do you hope it means in the future?
AR: My concept of “life is good” has changed a bit as I’ve gotten older. Life Is Good’s philosophy is that life isn’t perfect, life isn’t easy, life is good. And that really rings true to me. Life can be really hard and seem unfair at times, but when we choose to focus on the good despite what adversity we might be facing, life is good.
I think it’s easy to get consumed by the negativity today, but if you choose to see it, there is a lot of good around us. I think it’s on us to focus on the good and keep an eye toward solutions so we can continue to move forward together.
Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know what you think about Aly’s tees.
(Photo via of Life is Good)