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Ambassador Spotlight: Gabriella Carballo

We virtually sat down with GirlsGotThis ambassador Gabriella Carballo, former Miss Mandaue 2018, founder of the Green Wave Project and current medical school student. Gabriella shares with us her childhood, her motivations and why she loves working with GirlsGotThis!

Gabriella giving a lesson to students on proper waste management through her non profit movement The Green Wave Project

Tell us a bit about your childhood and your journey to get to where you are

I was born in Miami, Florida and moved to Orlando, Florida when I was about 3 or 4 years old - I was very quiet and shy back then. Looking back at my childhood, I may not have wanted to do ballet or gymnastics, but I ended up discovering various facets of my character through sports, music, theatre, dance, literature, school leadership positions - you name it.

After moving to the Philippines in my teens, I remember feeling so frustrated because it didn’t feel like I was actually good enough at any of the skills I learned.

Gabriella at the age of ten

When it comes to being a beauty queen, though, I never made the decision to join a pageant for the reason of being “popular,” as cliche as it sounds; but my gut feeling told me to do so, and so I went into the competition back in 2018 thinking about what I could do to help my city if I actually ended up winning. Therefore, prior to even officially becoming a candidate, I had plans to implement a project for local issues that I personally thought needed to be addressed.

I’m currently a first year medical student, and there is still a long way that I want to go when it comes to what I envision for my future, but taking time to reflect on how far I’ve come since the quiet and shy version of myself is so crucial to waking up each morning with a heart full of gratitude and the drive to keep pushing forward.

Gabriella at a women's basketball game in 2012

What motivates you?

I feel a consistent need to find ways to better myself and see every day as a new chance to learn something new. I think it’s important for us to ask ourselves the question, “If there were more people like you, would our world be a better place?” Aside from this, I am also motivated by the company I keep - my family has never failed to be supportive of my decisions and my friends are all my biggest role models. I am so blessed to have a community of love around me that serves as my launchpad for any direction I want to go.

(Photo below is me turning over school supplies that my group in my university org and I raised money for!)

Gabriella turning over school supplies that her group in her university raised money for

Why is GirlsGotThis important to you?

GirlsGotThis is important to me because this organisation aims to give other young girls the opportunity to find parts of themselves as well through the power of play and sports while encouraging them to stay in school - something that is so crucial in the Philippines. On top of that, I believe that the empowerment this organisation aims to help these girls find will be monumental in their character development, helping them to become even more valuable members of society.

What changes would you like to see for women?

Although in recent years, women across the world have already made great strides in the workplace, I am aware that so many young women in the Philippines still end up not finishing their education and therefore, are unable to break the cycle of poverty by getting a well-paying job to support their family. I want young women and their families to be aware of the importance of education and do their best to ensure that they finish as it will truly pay off in the long-term.

Gabriella recently studying for her medical school examinations

What advice will you give girls and young women facing adversity?

To girls and young women facing adversity, know that we never get to choose the cards we’re dealt, but we can choose how to play them. Therefore, obstacles are inevitable, but we can either choose to sit in our discomfort or find ways to move through them. Easier said than done for sure, but know that there is nothing you cannot do - your choices, both big and small, will always make a direct impact on the projection of your life. As there will never be an easy path, choose which you’d rather endure - to continue to struggle? Or to take a step toward your destination of choice?

Follow The Green Wave Project here

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