We had the good fortune of connecting with Tenille Livingston and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tenille, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
As a mother of twin 18-year-old girls, I am always concerned about their safety and well-being. When I saw the story of Aniah Blanchard on my Facebook newsfeed, it hit close to home and made me realize how vulnerable young women can be to outside threats, particularly human trafficking. I felt a strong sense of responsibility to do something to protect not only my daughters but also other girls and young women who are at risk.

That’s when I decided to start Not Our Girls, a business dedicated to educating and empowering young women to protect themselves from human trafficking. I knew that education was key, and I wanted to create tools that would not only inform but also provide practical strategies for staying safe. This was particularly important for me as a mother because I wanted my daughters to have the knowledge and resources they needed to protect themselves.

My goal with Not Our Girls is to raise awareness about the issue of human trafficking and provide tangible solutions that can make a real difference. I believe that by working together and advocating for change, we can declare an end to human trafficking and create a safer world for all young women.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is all about inspiring and empowering young people to stay safe and protect themselves from human trafficking. I knew that I had to be creative in my approach because young people can get bored easily, and they may not want to talk about sensitive topics, especially with their parents. That’s why I came up with the idea of creating superheroes that they could relate to and be inspired by.

To bring my vision to life, I partnered with my best friend, Marcus “The Visual” Williams, who is an incredibly talented artist. He was extremely supportive of the Not Our Girls project, especially being a girl dad himself, and was very passionate about using his art to make a difference in the world.

Throughout the process of launching Not Our Girls, I have encountered multiple challenges, particularly since I launched it right at the start of the pandemic. It has been a very emotional journey, and I have had to overcome various obstacles to keep the project going. However, I have been fortunate enough to receive a tremendous amount of support throughout the process. Recently, Gospel Artist James Fortune, who is a 2x Grammy Nominee, and Stellar & ASCAP Award Winner, saw what we were doing and decided to partner with us to support our mission. My ultimate objective is to distribute our educational card game to households all over the country and to achieve this, we will be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon. Despite the difficulties encountered, this has been the most fulfilling and rewarding experience of my life, and I am excited to see what the future holds. We’re excited to announce that our Kickstarter Campaign is now live! As we strive to bring our vision to life, we welcome and appreciate any support that comes our way. Whether you’re a fan of Not Our Girls or simply want to help us make a difference, your contribution means the world to us. Join us in making a positive impact today!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I enjoyed creating the itinerary for a week-long trip to Houston and found it exciting. My aspiration is to take my business, Not Our Girls, across the country and learn about diverse cultures around the world. However, you still look forward to the day when you can explore Houston. I would encourage those that are planning to take a trip to Houston to check out the places that I have researched below:

Day 1: Arrival and Relaxation

Check-in to the Hotel Granduca Houston for luxurious accommodations and spa treatments
Brunch at The Kitchen at The Dunlavy: A beautiful spot overlooking Buffalo Bayou that serves a range of brunch dishes.
Visit the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston: One of the largest art museums in the country, featuring a range of art from around the world.
Spa day at Milk + Honey: A luxurious spa that offers a range of treatments, including massages, facials, and body scrubs.
Dinner at Nancy’s Hustle: A hip spot in the East End that offers a rotating menu of seasonal dishes and natural wines.
Day 2: Art and Culture

Visit the Houston Museum of African American Culture to explore black art and history
Stop by the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum to learn about the history of African American soldiers
Grab lunch at the Turkey Leg Hut for delicious turkey legs and Cajun-inspired sides
Visit the Houston Museum of Fine Arts to see world-class art collections
Head to The Continental Club for live music performances and dancing

Day 3: Poetry and Music

Start your day with a yoga session at Black Swan Yoga Houston
Grab breakfast at The Breakfast Club (different from The Breakfast Klub) for a tasty, healthy meal
Visit the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft for an introduction to modern craftwork and design
Attend an evening poetry slam at the award-winning venue, Write About Now
Head to the Arena Theatre for live performances by neo-soul artists

Day 4: Houston’s Hidden Gems

Brunch at Lucille’s: A restaurant that serves Southern-style cuisine with a modern twist.
Check out the quirky and funky Art Car Museum
Stop by the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center for a peaceful hike and nature walk
Attend a show at the Alley Theatre for a taste of Houston’s world-class theater

Day 5: Space and Science

Visit the Space Center Houston for a hands-on experience of NASA’s space exploration history
Grab lunch at The Rustic for Texas-inspired dishes and live music
Explore the Museum of Natural Science for a fascinating look at science and history
Head to the House of Blues for more live music performances

Day 6: Parks and Gardens

Visit the stunning Japanese Garden at the Hermann Park Conservancy
Stop by the Menil Collection, an art museum featuring an extensive collection of African American art
Grab lunch at the popular Local Foods for healthy sandwiches and salads
Explore the Houston Zoo and see exotic animals from around the world

Day 7: Departure

Have breakfast at the Le Peep Restaurant for a hearty start to the day
Take a scenic drive to Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park, where you can take photos in front of the iconic 64-foot-tall waterfall
Head to City Winery for a farewell dinner featuring live music and great food
Depart from Houston with great memories of your trip!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Absolutely! As I reflect on my life and the path that has led me to where I am today, I can’t help but think of my grandmother. Growing up, she was a constant presence in my life and took us to church every other Sunday. Looking back, I realize that those early experiences instilled in me a deep sense of faith and spirituality that has been a source of strength and peace in so many seasons of my life.

My grandmother is a strong woman who faced many challenges and obstacles in her life, and yet she never lost her faith or her sense of hope. She taught me that even in the darkest of times, there is always a glimmer of light and a reason to keep going. Her unwavering love and support have been a constant source of inspiration for me, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am today without her influence.

I also want to give credit and recognition to the countless other people who have supported and encouraged me along the way, from my family and friends to my mentors and colleagues. Their belief in me and their willingness to lend a helping hand or a listening ear has been invaluable, and I am so grateful for every one of them. Their support has helped me to overcome challenges, take risks, and achieve my goals, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Website: www.notourgirls.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/Not_Our_Girls/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NOTOURGIRLS

Image Credits
Provided are the Not Our Girls Card Game along with our Informational Journal.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutHTX is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.