Sisters are doin' it for themselves
We are Doreen and Joan Caven, sisters and founders of TGLM, based in Los Angeles & Washington DC.
We met under circumstances not under our control, and were forced to share a room, toys and a closet almost immediately after.
This went on for decades.
We dealt with this inconvenience by spending a good chunk of our childhood glued to the television screen, bonding over our love for movies & TV shows in our living room in Lagos, Nigeria.
We found that we were drawn to compelling characters, mostly female, who were smart, brave, witty, wicked, vulnerable and authentic. Some of our favorites were Whitley Gilbert, the Boujiee princess you grew to love in a Different world, Matilda our telekinetic Kween who came for you if you sent for her, and of course, the irreverently funny and hilariously vain nanny named Fran.
We loved these characters because they were relatable, flawed, and unapologetic about it. Their complexity of character affirmed our own, it led us to understand the power of storytelling. That although we may be different in a vast number of ways, we are still able to be collectively inspired, encouraged, reshaped and empowered by content that relates a shared humanity.
Simply seeing ourselves in other people, allows us to feel seen. And when we feel seen, we know we belong, and thus have more confidence to share authentically in our own voice, and be brave enough to forge our own paths.
It was an important lesson to learn as young girls, growing up in Lagos, surrounded by so many women we admired in our big extended family. We were close to our mom, our three older sisters, and my aunts who lived with us. So we grew up listening to and learning from brilliant, hilarious, strong Nigerian women. And never once did we see them as anything less than powerful and dynamic. Yet, we lived in a patriarchal religiously conservative Nigerian society that celebrated women not for these qualities, but for their endurance and adherence to traditional expectations. Where individuality, particularly in women, was treated at best as an immaturity to overcome, and at worst, immoral. We found that such a tragedy, because living in our authenticity was what made us feel like the most powerful versions of ourselves. So watching women around us gradually conform to the pressure of these expectations, and dull the most interesting parts of themselves, was frankly, terrifying. We wished there was a way to impress upon everyone, the feeling we got from seeing the tv characters we loved, overcome obstacles and succeed by embracing their true selves, despite being flawed. We knew it wasn’t real, it was the magic of screenwriters, far away from our reality, but these stories helped us dream. And dreaming inspired us to stand firm in who we were, knowing that if there was no place for it, we would create that space.
And we did. TGLM is the space we created to give women/femmes a reprieve from the pressures of their immediate environment. Using humor and set against familiar pop culture visuals, our content nudges you to think, to dream, to laugh, to question long held restrictive ideas, to see yourself as enough, to feel seen, and soothes you on your journey of self discovery.
Here, your individuality is encouraged and applauded.
On your journey, we are your friends, the soft kind that reminds you to take a second for yourself, and your gworls, the spicy ones that remind you to stand up for yourself and live your bestestest life.
Our community now has over 60,000 amazing gworls, come sit with us, we have room for you.