Nina Donovan is a courageous 19-year-old college student who used her talent as a spoken-word artist (think Hamilton) to rise up against the modern-day Goliath: politicians threatening to trample on equality in America.
Talented actress, feminist and strong woman, Ashley Judd, recited Donovan’s poem entitled “Nasty Woman” at the Women’s March on Washington. The poem was thought-provoking and powerful with a touch of humor. Judd’s presentation of the poem was dynamic.
“I am a naaaaasty woman!”Judd began with passion and conviction. “I’m not as nasty as a man who looks like he bathes in Cheeto dust. A man whose words are a diss track to America. Electoral College-sanctioned-hate speech, contaminating this national anthem. I’m not as nasty as the confederate flags being tattooed across my city.”
Those words captivated the audience of marchers and supporters (you can watch the full speech here). I knew right then and there, Nina’s life was about to change. Nina may very well be the next Gloria Steinem, Maya Angelou or Lin-Manuel Miranda. I caught up with her before she got too busy to chat with me.
one-on-one with Nina Donavan
April: Let me start by saying congratulations, Nina. That poem was amazing. You said what so many were thinking. It’s now been heard by countless here in the U.S. and in other places, too. This is your time! How are you doing? How are you feeling about of all the success and attention you are getting?
Nina Donovan: I’m excited. It feels like a dream! I just learned that ABC’s Nightline is going to be at my house tonight to interview me.
April: Wow! This has to feel surreal.
Nina Donovan: Yes, it does! I didn’t have any idea it would blow up like this.
April: What are your parents saying about all of this?
Nina Donovan: My parents keep telling me how proud of me they are. Family is everything, right? They’ve been to all of my speeches and performances and have supported me in everything I do. They’re happy.
April: What about your friends?
Nina Donovan: My friends are in disbelief. But they have all been supportive. Even old friends from high school that I haven’t seen or talked to in years have been in touch. They have all said kind and supportive things.
April: Let’s talk about the poem; how did it come to be?
Nina Donovan: I was watching the debate with my family and I heard Trump call Hillary a “nasty woman.” Immediately I knew I was going to write something about it. I got up and wrote it down. Then I would write a few words and I would go back and forth adding and changing things. It’s the longest poem I’ve written to this date. It took months.
April: How did Ashley [Judd] come across your poem?
Nina Donovan: She came to one of my [poetry reading] performances. Afterwards, she pulled a few of us aside and talked with us and then at one point she looked at me and said, “I see your poem going up at the D.C. march.” I couldn’t believe it! I was surprised and happy. I gave her full permission to use the poem and to make changes. Ashley is an incredible person. She’s even becoming a good friend.
April: Has Ashley given you any advice on dealing with all of the recognition?
Nina Donovan: She reminds me to be very careful and cautious, especially on social media, and to keep fighting for and speaking out on equality.
April: The Boston Globe used the word “wild” to describe your poem. Someone else in social media called it a “psychotic rant.” Have you experienced any backlash? And does it scare you at all?
Nina Donovan: I’ve gotten some backlash on YouTube. Ashley’s gotten more. I think it’s because of who she is. I’m not really surprised by it. Of course, I did have some fear for my family, myself and my dog, Diamond (I love my dog). But, I used my voice. I stood up for what I believe in! There’s more love than hate. I need to focus on that.
April: I agree! How do you feel about your future given the attitude we’ve seen in our new leader?
Nina Donovan: It scares me. Donald Trump can have such an impact on the young generation. I fear he will raise the younger generation to be racist and misogynistic.
April: What do you think comes next for you? Has anyone asked you to be a spokesperson for their company or brand?
Nina Donovan: I’ve had some companies reach out to me but I don’t know yet. I’m still waiting to hear from Michelle Obama (laugh). I just wanna hug her.
April: (laughing) Me, too! I just wanna hug her, too. Everyone wants to hug her, right? Tell her I said hello if you get to meet her! What do you want people to know about you?
Nina Donovan: Well, I’m a Scorpio and that means I’m very passionate. I have a lot of love to give. This is not an anti-Trump poem, it’s an equality poem intended to start positive discussions.
April: What do you want to be when you finish college?
Nina Donovan: A sociology teacher. But I’d like to be a radio DJ too. I have plenty of time to figure it out. I plan to continue to write, perform and educate no matter what I do.
April: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me! Before I let you go, I have to ask you some girlie questions; what’s the one, two or three things you can’t live without?
Nina Donovan: Hot Cheetos (laugh), my family, my friends, my little dog, Diamond, and my Mango Butter lip balm by Burt’s Bees. I am known for that lip balm. I’ve even written it into poems (laugh).
April: Well then, we have to let Burt’s Bees know that you would be a great spokesperson for them! Did you hear that Burt’s Bees? Thanks so much, Nina! I am wishing you all of the best as you move forward. Enjoy the ride!
To view Nina’s performance of Nasty Woman click here.
End of article