Girl Zone

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I’ve had the luxury to recently team up with Erica Portillo from GirlZone.com. GirlZone is a wonderful website for young teen girls. The site covers a variety of topics on relationship advice, boys, fitness, and fashion along with blogs,  fun featured quizzes and book reviews all catered to the lives of teenage girls.

Here’s a brief interview to learn more about the lead editor Erica and GirlZone.com. cruise 2 (245x350)

What is your role at GirlZone?

Erica: I get to do a  little bit of everything, which I love! I was just named editor, which was quite an honor. I also run all the social media, so I send out tons of tweets a day. I have a bit of an addiction to FB & Twitter, so this works out perfectly. :) The best part is I get to write, which is my passion and fills me up. I write a blog, Erica’s Inspirations and am the GZ Advisor.

How did GirlZone get started?

Erica: MJ Reale, the GirlZone president, wanted to create a place for teen girls to read about all the issues important to them, as well as help them to discover their identity and learn how to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Have you worked for GirlZone since it first launched back in 1997?

Erica: No, I was actually in high school when GZ began. :) I started writing the GZ Advisor column about 3 years ago. Girls send me their questions about boys, friends, family, etc, and I give them my heartfelt advice. I have my masters in school social work and provide counseling to teens at schools in Chicago, so I have an understanding of some of the issues teen girls face today.

What is the range of age groups that visit and benefit from GirlZone?

Erica: 12-17 years old

What are some of GirlZone’s most popular features?

Erica: We have quite a variety of topics on our site! Whatever you’re feeling that day, fitness, book reviews, fashion, relationship advice, we’ve covered it! I would say the most popular features are our quizzes, advice columns, and blogs.

What is your personal favorite feature on the site?

Erica: I love the “Your Body/Mind” section because it gives tips on how to manage stress, has healthy recipes, and works to motivate you!

When you write for the advice blog, what are some of your favorite topics to respond to and why?

Erica: The most common questions I receive are about crushes and boy problems. Relationships also happen to be my favorite topic to give advice about, probably because I went through a lot of the same issues as a teen. Boys are complicated! I want to share what I’ve learned through much trial and error over the years.

What were some of your own issues that you struggled with as a teen?

Erica: I was painfully shy in middle school, so I had to come out of my shell and learn to speak up for myself. Relationships definitely had their ups and downs. I was sensitive, so if someone didn’t like me, it would take a knock at my self-esteem. I used to think, “Well, maybe if I were skinnier, he would like me.” Thinking back, that sounds so dumb! I realized that I had to build up my confidence and self-image, so if a boy broke up with me, it wasn’t the end of the world. I just had to cry, wipe my tears, and move on. Time and friends heal all. :)

Does GirlZone have any current advice on what you struggled with in your youth?

Erica: Yes, absolutely! :) I think a lot of teen girls struggle with their confidence, self-image, speaking up for themselves, and of course, boys. We have advice and articles on it all!

If someone wants to share a life story or get some advice from GirlZone, how would they connect the website?

Erica: Life/Love/Family/Friend Questions email: gzadvisor@girlzone.com

Health/Body Questions email: Ms.Knowbody@girlzone.com

If you want to share a life story email: YourWriting@girlzone.com

Also, please feel free to follow us on Twitter: @GirlZoneGZ

Check out Erica’s latest video on how to get over your first love. :)

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