PHOTO SUBMITTED BY NEVA PERROTT The first photoshoot that inspired the North Island Goddess Gala Movement.

Goddess Gala Movement celebrates North Island women

“I thought I want to do something like that for the women of the North Island.”

Two years ago, Neva Perrott saw a photograph that brought her to tears and set her on a path to create a movement for women in the North Island, which would eventually be known as the North Island Goddess Gala Movement.

Perrott, who is a home-based entrepreneur-mom in Port McNeill, saw a project from Comox Valley photographer Karen McKinnon that inspired her to do something similar with positive affirmations.

“I thought I want to do something like that for the women of the North Island,” said Perrott, adding, “It was just about affirmations and how we get caught up in the negative ways we view ourselves.”

She said that negative self-image had been a struggle for her and she wanted women to be able to come together and celebrate their uniqueness.

“The photographer was able to capture the magic in the moments and it was very raw and intimate,” said Perrott.

“Every single person in that room was gifted this amazing experience that we all got to share together.”

18 women were photographed that day, with each woman holding a positive word to describe themselves.

After the photoshoot, Perrott’s longtime friend Gaby Wickstrom, who was the president of the Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce at the time, asked to partner with Perrott on the project.

“Once the pictures hit Facebook, everybody was saying ‘what did we miss? What was that all about?’” noted Wickstrom. “I said to Neva ‘I think this could really go somewhere and could be really big.’”

Perrott said it is a really great partnership because they share a common vision, but both bring different aspects to the table.

“We’ve named our group the North Island Goddess Movement because we thought once a year there will be a Goddess Gala and any other time it will be Goddess Gatherings,” explained Wickstrom.

Since the initial photography session in Nov. 2016, some of the bigger events they’ve held include 50 people attending a luncheon and 100 people attending a panel discussion and screening of the movie “Embrace” which talked about body image.

“At that event too we had some people say ‘I was looking for a tribe like this. I was looking for somewhere to connect,’” said Wickstrom, who also noted the movement has a private Facebook group where women continue to connect with each other.

“We are in the middle of nowhere and typically people say small towns are cliquey and it can be hard to fit in,” said Perrott, adding, “So I wanted to have an event that wouldn’t exclude anyone.”

Perrott grew up in a family of five sisters and said that since moving to Port McNeill she has missed the feeling of sisterhood, and that recreating it has been a driving force in the movement.

Wickstrom pointed out that while Perrott always knew a movement like this was needed in the North Island, she, on the other hand, has also come to realize how important it is.

“There are too many times when a woman feels alone and not good enough,” said Wickstrom, who then explained that their goal has always been “for women to walk away feeling better about themselves, feeling supported, and ready to take on any challenge that comes their way knowing there is a tribe around her to cheer her on.”

Wickstrom and Perrott said they really hope the movement continues to grow and they have big plans brewing for the future.

They are currently planning an event for International Women’s Day on March 8, and Wickstrom confirmed that in the near future, monies raised will go to special scholarships for women.

“The dream is to be able to support women, whether we know them or not, just an unconditional love,” said Perrott.

“If one woman’s life is changed for the better, whatever that looks like, then it’s mission accomplished.”

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