April Diaz and Dakotah Kamp founded girlsworld512 to give young women girls a place to manifest their magic.
At the beginning of the pandemic, April Diaz felt like she was struggling to create relationships with other girls her age. All of the friends she made in Austin had relocated for their jobs. As a young twenty-something who did not go to college, she did not have the social opportunities that college often presents. This desire to find and create a community inspired her to create a private Y2K-themed Instagram account. Diaz posed questions like, “What’s your worst first date story?” thinking she would attract a small group of around 30 girls. Now a public Instagram, girlsworld512 unites over 3,000 female and nonbinary 18-year-old and older Austinites in friendship.
“[girlsworld]basically started to make friend[ships]and just connect other people with similar interests and heal your inner like teenage self, Diaz says.” “[To create] a cool creative safe space for friendship.”
The other half of girlsworld512, Dakotah Kamp, found the page in its infancy. The self-proclaimed “girlsworld512 number one fan” decided to offer aid when Diaz posted she needed help running the page. Since she and Diaz were already friends through the organization, Kamp saw the opportunity to put her love for the organization to use.
“It was definitely just like, I saw how girlsworld works for me personally,” Kamp says. “I was like, I would love to help other people find that community.”
When determining what was important for the group, Diaz chose three things: creativity, friendship and a safe space.
“We have a group chat on Geneva where you have different channels. We have advice, ATX recommendations, local spots, for sale, roommates, SOS. That could be like, ‘I have a flat tire,’ or like, ‘Can someone give me a ride somewhere?’ I’ve seen people who are like, ‘Does anybody have an outfit I can wear to my job interview?’” Diaz says. “Just a place where we can help each other.”
From the creativity inspired within those at girlsworld512, participants have taken their ideas to another level.
“[Girls have] started their own businesses,” Diaz says. “One of them started their own Depop shop. [Another] person started a candle business and [another]person got their big-girl job.”
For Diaz, the best part about the girlsworld512 community is seeing the friendships created. She recalls the joy she feels when she sees members talking to each other for the first time, then seeing them post about each other months later, calling the other girl their “best friend.”
“It’s just been nice to have that community I’ve always craved when I felt really, really alone during the pandemic and when my friends left and just like not being able to make friends as an adult,” Diaz says.
Right now, girlsworld 512 is just in Austin. However, Diaz and Kamp have gotten messages asking about whether they are also in Houston and Dallas. This shows the growing interest in their expanding organization.
Diaz also recently spoke on a panel where she shared the mission of girlsworld512. The attendees’ ages ranged from 27 to 35. This gave her the opportunity to expand the age range of participants in girlsworld512 activities.
“We checked the girlsworld account that same night, and we got a bunch of followers from that event,” Diaz says. “It was nice to see that not just younger people are interested in us. We could grow into something bigger, just for everyone.”
At times, Diaz cannot believe the group that she created has grown into something so large and positive. Although she is unsure about what’s next, Kamp says continuing to help people meet new friends will still be their goal as they head into the future.
“We do this for fun, and it’s definitely fun for us,” Kamp says. “And we want to keep getting more members, help more people meet their people, meet their friends. Maybe one day be some kind of profitable organization. But right now we’re focusing on throwing events, just having fun.”