Pretty Smart Talks to Teens

Why Pretty Smart?

10,000 girls ask Google every month if they’re pretty enough. Google is not kind with its answers.

Many girls around twelve lose their confidence. They start worrying about how they look more than how they’re doing. Girls start to self-select out of activities or raising their hand in class because they don’t want to draw attention to the way they look.

There are higher rates of depression, anxiety, cutting and poor body image than ever.

While we can’t blame this all on media, media messages do reinforce the notion that being pretty is pretty important.

The 1.3 trillion dollar beauty industry consistently tell girls to look thinner, older, sexier, tanner, fitter, healthier! Be Real Campaign recently surveyed 1000 young people and 69% were worried about going to school because of their appearance. That’s a lot of worry!

Our daughters can’t change the industry, hell we can’t change the industry and we’ve worked in marketing for years, but we can change what girls know about it.

Pretty Smart is a talk to equip young teens with critical thinking. It teaches them:

  • how to navigate media images and messages and understand what’s real and what’s not.
  • that beauty is more powerful as a feeling than an adjective.
  • that while fine to want to feel pretty, they don’t need to be hoodwinked by the industry coming after them. Because they’ll never win.

Studies show that if teens are taught how media and advertising work they are less affected by it.

Unilever conducted a two-year worldwide global survey and reported that only 2% of ads show women being intelligent, 3% in managerial positions and only 1% show women being funny. The rest show women as something to look at. That’s not funny.

We want to help teens navigate this world.

We want to raise a generation who feel Pretty Smart about what they see around them.

We want the next generation to be warriors, not worriers!

Praise for Pretty Smart Talks:

“A wonderful informative talk! Our girls were challenged to think differently. Angela’s talk opened an honest conversation about the pressures of social media, media and peer pressure.

Rachel Maitland-Smith, Ponsonby Intermediate, Auckland. 

“As a former marketer, a current mental health worker and a father of 12 and 10-year-old daughters I could not speak highly enough of the quality of the content and delivery of Angela’s talk on body image.  The topic feels like a minefield but Angela’s empathic, down to earth delivery, and fearlessness in taking on what has become a culture of marketing by deception, without any consideration for the well-being of our girls and young woman, is a true gift  our family is extremely grateful for.”

Nick Brown-Hansom, Parent, Auckland.

Angela is an effective communicator who engages well with young people, respecting their wonderful uniqueness and at the same time enlightening them about issues in society which could affect them. With her background in advertising and marketing, she is able to explain the importance of being aware of images and messages, and how these may be constructed rather than real. She is passionate about addressing issues in society which affect our younger generation.

Marianne Duston, Assistant Principal, Saint Kentigern Middle College, Auckland.

“I think that the presentation was really inspiring because it tells us young women and young men that looks aren’t everything. You don’t have to change who you are to be accepted. This slideshow was AMAZING and I want every girl to know that they are beautiful, and don’t believe what they see in magazines like Seventeen magazine because that does NOT define beauty.”

Mya McGraw, 14-year-old student, San Francisco.

 “I learned about Angela through an 8th-grade student who had attended her presentation and was so moved that she asked me to bring Angela to speak to the girls at our school. Her presentation was poignant and powerful. The girls attending left with a better understanding of how the media influences girls’ body image and manipulates people into wanting to spend money on their products to try to obtain the image of beauty they portray. This understanding was very empowering for these students.”

Barri Aji, Middle School Counselor, French American International School.

“Totally inspirational… on point and delivered in a way that the girls understood and listened and related.”

Jane Blakey, parent to 12-year old Izzy, Auckland

As a teacher and a parent I was aware of some of the issues raised in the presentation, what I was fascinated with is the way in which companies market their products completing the cycle of making people feel that they are imperfect. This presentation highlights this in a way that is easy to understand. I would have no hesitation in recommending the presentation to other schools, it was brilliant! I made the comment to Angela that I thought it would also be great for boys to see.

100% recommend the presentation (Dave Wileman, Teacher)

Talk to Angela about visiting your school (in Auckland) or get a group together at home.
Email Angela
Grab the FREE PDF: 7 ways to ensure your teen is MEDIA SAVVY 



Angela Barnett founder of Pretty Smart, woman of adventure. Saatchi & Saatchi ex-pat. FABIK flame fueler. Writer for the Huffington Post. Swimmer in the sea any time she can.


Emma Wright has been kicking diet-culture in the arse since 2008. Writer. Thinker. Woman of action. Founder of the BodyBlossom Practice