Not only are we pleased to introduce Freida Pinto as our latest FRĒDA Woman, but we’re thrilled to be collaborating with her this month on a limited-edition LIBBY Sneaker. She embodies the strength, perseverance and love we foster within our community of women every day. When she agreed to partner with us, Freida wanted to incorporate an organization close to her heart, the Lower Eastside Girls Club and we couldn’t think of anything we’d like more.
Behind the scenes of our shoot, we sat down with her to talk about community, her experience with the Lower Eastside Girls Club and more.
WHAT DOES THE BLUE COLOR ON OUR LIMITED-EDITION SNEAKERS MEAN TO YOU?
For me, blue culturally symbolizes peace, bravery and determination. It’s the color on the wheel of the Indian National Flag, called the Ashoka Chakra and it is also the color of the Indian cricket team’s uniform which is huge in Indian culture.
So, it needed to be something that combined my culture and the work done at the Lower Eastside Girls Club. Here, the color stands for the bravery and determination of these girls and the people who keep the organization going. It’s just such an honor to have seen their work in person and be able to share it with the world. I cannot thank FRĒDA SALVADOR enough for being so collaborative with this idea.
Community means everything. Once you become a mother or a parent, it becomes even more relevant. In our Western world, we have become so used to individualism and independence. This is great, but I believe our need for that social being within you to feel fulfilled could be what is making people very depressed and low these days.
So, being able to continue sharing not just my highs but also my lows with a community of women, people, or friends—both new and old—is how we as humans thrive and stay mentally healthy. Not having a community is a huge problem. Looking back at the beginning of the pandemic when we were all forced into isolation, it became even more apparent how important community is and how important it is to show up for each other when we need it the most.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE LOWER EASTSIDE GIRLS CLUB?
The first time I got involved with the Lower Eastside Girls Club was on my 33rd birthday. I’m not a big party person, but this particular year I wanted to bring together my community of friends and use my birthday as an excuse to celebrate something else. That something needed to speak to me in an organic fashion and be something I believed in and was excited to support. This ultimately was the Lower Eastside Girls Club.
On my first visit to their center, I saw not only the amazing things they do on the education side but also how they built confidence, honed the girls’ true talents and let them shine. And for me, it was just such a beautiful afterschool program—a way not just to keep these girls safe but also to keep them engaged, their confidence boosted, always encouraged and inspired. I immediately wanted my community to show up for these girls by bringing their talents to share with them for inspiration. And that’s how they came into my life.
WHAT MAKES THIS ORGANIZATION SPECIAL TO YOU?
This organization has taught me more than I have given them. You always walk into these things thinking you're going to inspire and change lives by doing this and that. Investing your time, talents or finances are all good, but really it was the other way around for me.
These girls motivated and inspired me to do more and be better. Their interest ranged from cooking to DJing. I remember one particular girl interested in fashion, and then two years down the line, she was enrolled in a fashion course in New York. Another girl loved outer space and they have the most beautiful planetarium there for her to learn in—it is just fabulous. I walked away from meeting these girls inspired and feeling they had given me more than I gave them. Which makes me want to keep going back to match what they’ve given me.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL EMPOWERED?
What makes me feel empowered is my vulnerability. It’s knowing that I have the ability to feel vulnerable and not be weakened by it. I don’t feel ashamed for feeling vulnerable, I think that it is my true sense of being empowered.
It becomes even more apparent when you are a parent. I am a first-time mom and the number of pressures you feel and things you are faced with from your own past, anxieties and insecurities pile up then come up and stare you straight in the face and say, “deal with me.” Sometimes you cannot deal, and you have to say out loud, “I can’t deal with this right now, I just feel low, sad, insecure and not good enough.” But then owning that and believing you are good enough. Owning up to my vulnerability makes me face the things that I am most afraid of in the most empowered fashion.
HOW DO YOU USE YOUR VOICE TO ENCOURAGE YOUNGER GENERATIONS?
I feel like it differs. I’m not a social media person, so I don’t use that vehicle. Instead, I look for like-minded people to collaborate with and get my voice out there. Collaboration is one of the most important ways to use not just my platform but the collaborators’ platform as well to get the message that I am putting out there loud and clear.
I try to do it in the most organic way possible. I need to be inspired. I cannot just jump into something without being inspired, it must come from an authentic space. The collaboration can’t be a thing I’ve been forced to talk about but because I’ve experienced something that has shifted something inside of me, changed or motivated me.
That sense of genuine love, inspiration, excitement and honor to speak about a cause or a wonderful thing a person has done is how I use my voice and how I make sure that I am being heard.
WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL SUPPORTED FROM THE GROUND UP?
Friends and family make me feel supported from the ground up. There are days when I don’t feel good enough—and if someone close to me thought I wasn’t good enough either, I would pretty much stay down and in the ground forever. But in those moments, I have my strong social support system around me—my community—to remind me how special I am in their lives. They are who help me heal a little bit and keep me from feeling so scared and low.
As much as I have all the confidence in the world, it's not always enough. Sometimes, even a stranger can do something your community cannot do and tell you the absolute truth of what they see. And in moments like that, you get uplifted again.
WHAT PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
My favorite professional accomplishment is not the movies that I’ve made or the money that I’ve earned or the movies that I will make. It’s that I have managed to keep my head on my shoulders in an industry where temptations are running so high all the time, you can really corrupt. I’ve kept my feet on the ground, my head on my shoulders and that’s it—staying grounded.