Empowerment Series: Latina Co-Founder and CEO of Happy V – Daniella Levy Shares the Power of the “V” with AW
Women have long-lived in censorship to accommodate the invisible rules society dictates as to how we speak, act and carry ourselves. Saving others from discomfort has been a constant mission, forcing many of us to exist in a quiet life filled with shame, embarrassment, or fear of been judged. The use of the word vagina makes a lot of people uncomfortable despite the fact, it’s the medical term used to describe lady parts.
Parents jump hoops to avoid using the anatomically correct terms for their kids’ private body parts. Some adults blush when the word is used in their presence. Parents cringe at the sound of the word “vagina” coming out of the mouths of babes. I am one of three girls, raised in a Latino household. Discussions around menstruation, vaginas, and sex were carefully crafted to ensure our innocence was preserved. Explicit details about the how, when, and why of the birds & the bees were not exactly open for dialogue, while I was a child, so we got pretty good at reading between the lines.
In a world where taking on the topic of vaginas is intimidating and taboo, it’s refreshing to meet women willing to step up to the plate. Daniella Levy is one of a growing number of pioneer women willing to confidently speak their truth. She is the Co-Founder and CEO of Happy V, a woman’s wellness brand creating content and products to help women at every stage. Her TikTok videos show immense popularity, many going viral due to its authenticity and intentional approach when addressing the important dialogue.
The brand delivers educational information related to vaginal health in a real but playful way that makes it easier to digest. Daniella generates lively video sound bites encouraging women to be proactive about their health while offering guidance with the assistance of entrepreneurs, doctors, and scientists. The Happy V mission was born out of a need to lend a hand to women that are experiencing challenges with feminine wellness. She shares her intimate experience to bring some normalcy to the subject matter. Hopefully, she will inspire others to feel less ashamed when discussing these issues with a trusted circle.
AW is a platform designed to empower women in every way. Daniella’s vision is in line with my pursuit to bring the information that strengthens you in different aspects of life. Feminine wellness plays a major part in our overall well-being. Having the opportunity to speak to Daniella about her work was a beautiful experience that enlightened me enough to want to write about it. Her passion for the mission was evident, as she provided valuable details of all the amazing things she is doing with Happy V. It was a pleasure to have an open conversation on matters that can touch on sensitive areas for countless women. I’m optimistic that you will find this interview as useful and insightful, as I did.
For readers that are not familiar with your company, what is Happy V about and why do you think it’s so popular on TikTok? Happy V is a women’s wellness brand that creates natural solutions for women’s vaginal health in various stages of their lives. The teams working with Happy V create products that are scientifically sound and content to educate women, so they can lead healthier and more empowered lives.
TikTok has allowed for a new type of dialogue that makes various types of content easier to absorb. It is a great platform because you can be yourself and use humor to entertain while delivering your message.
If you are raised in a Latino household, you understand the traditional taboos ingrained in our culture. Did your friends and family give you a hard time about Happy V’s subject matter? I live in Miami where approximately 70% of residents are Latinos. In our culture, these conversations are off-limits due to the taboos ingrained in the culture. Growing up we would hear about boys engaging in as much sex as they wanted, while girls were told to save themselves, protect their purity. There are lots lenty of differences in the way females are treated that discourage sharing.
I struggled when talking about my own personal experience with BV (bacterial vaginosis). You go to a doctor, they hand you medicine but having an open discussion about what it is, how common it may be – not many women want to share. Although issues relating to feminine health should be normalized, women feel embarrassed when talking about the subject in public. The resistance to accept feminine wellness, as part of our natural body chemistry makes it difficult to discuss with anyone.
Conversations around women’s issues like menstruation, sex, vaginas, and others are sensitive topics. You made a decision to share your own experience by taking on a subject that can spark humiliation or shame. What gave you the courage to take on this mission? It wasn’t an easy conversation but talking to my partner and receiving his empathy gave me the confidence to share my experience in public. Having his support, helped me take the plunge, come out about it. The hope is to initiate the dialogue that can rally others to do the same, and ask questions.
What has been the most difficult topic you’ve tackled while managing Happy V? The most difficult subject has to be “bacterial vaginosis!” It can be difficult to talk to doctors on the subject. Instinctually, the go-to is antibiotics without consideration of natural products that can help alleviate it. Discussing BV with medical providers who resist alternatives is challenging from a patient standpoint. It took switching gynecologists five times before finding someone whose medical and holistic approach aligned with my own.
As a woman, I’m sometimes embarrassed when talking about my body or anything related to women’s health. What advice can you offer to help women break out of the shame? It is important to understand, sometimes language barriers can present themselves in Latino culture, a lack of communication and stigma on certain issues discourages women from sharing. We have to create new resources, collaborate with different communities to bring accurate information that will promote awareness which can help destigmatize the issues.
We should remember, we are not alone with our health concerns. Others want to be part of the conversation, it’s essential to look for opportunities that allow us to talk about our bodies. If we don’t discuss the things that make us uncomfortable or seek to satisfy our curiosity, it can lead to problems down the line. Be the conversation starter, initiate a dialogue with friends to help make space for the difficult topics.
May 9-15 was National Women’s Health Week. Do you have any thoughts you’d like to share with readers encouraging them to prioritize vaginal health, possibly, tips that can be critical to our well-being? The pandemic made it especially difficult to schedule or commit to doctor’s appointments but it’s we must remain diligent with our wellness checkups. Meanwhile, seek legit resources to educate yourself. There is a lot of inaccurate information on the internet, the DIY approach isn’t reliable. These few tips can promote good feminine health while you get to the doctor:
- It is good practice to wear cotton underwear. Avoid synthetic fabrics, they breed bad bacteria, as they thrive in a dark, humid environment.
- Can’t say it enough – drink a lot of water! It helps flush out bacteria by diluting urine. Making frequent trips to the bathroom, pushes bacteria out from the body before an infection starts.
- Eating the right nutrients goes a long way. Certain foods can hurt while others help improve a woman’s vaginal health. Plain yogurt, as we’ve heard over the years contains probiotics. It has live bacteria cultures that help keep our ph balanced which results in a healthy vagina.
- Preventive Action! It is recommended that you take the proper steps to take care of your body. Eat right, drink water, and do the things for yourself that improve the state of your lady parts. It is best to care for your body to save a trip to the doctor and learn you are on the road to infection.
In the Latino culture, you risk social suicide, if you go down the road of a trailblazer. It takes a certain level of courage to be the individual who opens the floor to conversations that challenge old ways of thinking and defies the silent taboos. Education can help break through gender biases, cultural differences, and lack of knowledge. Constructive learning is the first step towards freeing women from stigmas. We can support others by listening and having empathy for those that need it.
AW is incredibly thankful to Daniella for sharing Happy V to spread awareness around the world. It isn’t easy to publicly explore the subject of feminine wellness but normalizing conversations about it can encourage openness over time. My hope is that our interview sparks the confidence in you to be less intimidated by the tough subjects. We learn from each other’s experiences, advocating for women that are willing to cultivate new attitudes is a wonderful way of using our power.
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