Only last night our ‘This Girl Can’ TV ad launched. Since then it has been viewed over a million times, been trending on Twitter and rallying the celebs (including Missy Elliot of course).
At a press screening at BAFTA last week Claire Balding interviewed the ‘real’ women in the campaign. Not an actress in sight. Here’s what they had to say.

CB: The advert is empowering, inspirational, and it makes you feel something really special. As women, we can look at that and say ‘that’s like me’.
Here are the real women who are in it…

Sam, your catch phrase is ‘I jiggle therefore I am’. I love it!

Sam: Thank you! This is all a bit overwhelming to be honest. I really believe in it.

CB: Is that why you wanted to get involved?

Sam: There are very unachievable ideals of what women are supposed to be like and I’m just not like that. I do jiggle. I have got cellulite. But I get out there and try the best I can, and I feel amazing for it. I hope somebody else might be inspired by this.

CB: What is the message you hope your daughter takes from this?

Sam: That she lets go of all the unachievable body images and is herself, has fun and does some more running with me!

CB: Victoria is a paediatric nurse in A&E. Your catch phrase is ‘Damn right I look hot’. Basically, embrace the sweat?

Victoria: Absolutely. I like sweat. Sweating means your body has been working really hard. And if you’ve been working really hard then you’ll feel better,  more confident, and loose some weight.

CB: What difference has exercise made for you?

Victoria: A huge difference! I’m a happier person when I feel good about myself. I’m better at work and have more energy. Before I start a night shift I go and blitz for 45 mins at a spin class and by midnight I’ll have a rush of energy.

CB: Val, in the advert we see you standing on the edge of a pier without a wetsuit on and about to jump into very cold open water. What does it feel like when you jump into that water?

Val: It’s fantastic! Hard to explain but it’s just a sense of absolute freedom. I care full time for my Mother who has Alzheimer’s and it can be really challenging. This is almost like a transfusion for me. I get sluggish and slow if I haven’t swam in open water for a few days and once I get out after a swim I feel totally re-energised!

CB: And it allows you to indulge in your favourite treat?

Val: A piece of cake? Of course!

CB: Julie is part of the Zumba class we see in the advert. They have an incredible shared energy.

Julie: In my clip ‘Julie vs. inhibitions’ you can see I like to let everything go when I’m at Zumba. I’m an A&E nurse which is very hard work, and I find Zumba is a great release. You’re dancing to your favourite music , and it doesn’t matter if you miss a move because everyone is trying their best. I remember my first Zumba class and I felt so uncomfortable and never imagined I would be capable of doing this. The more that I went the more relaxed I became and the more I enjoyed it!

CB: Skyla is only 14 years old. When did you start boxing and why?

Skyla: I started when I was 12. I have always been a sporty person and I began with karate and moved onto boxing.

CB: Has there been anybody in particular that’s inspired you?

Skyla: When I saw Nicola Adams in the Olympics I was inspired because she proved that girls can do it.

CB: There’s more to it than throwing some punches isn’t it?

Skyla: It’s all about dedication and discipline outside the gym. You have to train and diet.

CB: You’re studying for your GCSEs right now. How do you think boxing has helped you?

Skyla: I’m doing GCSEs that involve PE, so I’m fit and ready for the lessons.

CB: Grace, why did you put those lovely flowers on your bike that we see in your personal film ‘Grace vs Pace’?

Grace: When I first got a bike, I didn’t want to be taken seriously as I’m not a serious cyclist and that’s why I’ve put the flowers on. I think it worked and the bike looks cool!

CB: Has cycling helped you feel more confident?

Grace: Definitely. You get energy from exercising. Once I’ve cycled I jump off the bike and I feel like I can do this! This girl can! It helps me feel a sense of confidence and freedom.

CB: A lot of women find making time to exercise a problem, particularly with young children or as a single mother. So Kelly has come up with this rather brilliant solution for what you do if you have kids shown in her personal film ‘Kelly vs Mummy’. Kelly involves her children in her exercising routine. You should have your own online classes of how to use your toddler as a weight! How did it all start?

Kelly: When I was on maternity leave I nearly lost all self confidence and self-esteem because I didn’t lose the baby weight. It hit home when I had to get back to work and I didn’t want to go to a gym as I felt insecure about the way I’d look doing exercise. Also I didn’t really have the time! Just before I was due to go back to work I was shopping for clothes and a size 16 didn’t fit me and that really shocked me. And then it was mind over matter. I started eating more healthily and doing exercise at home – starting with the stairs and fitness DVDs – and before I knew it the kids were getting involved and really enjoying it. I just put the DVD on when I fancy it and the kids get involved. It’s something that I hope they’ll see as fun and enjoyable rather than a chore. To all the mums and women, little by little, start getting some exercise!

CB: Finally, for all of you can you sum up in a few words what you hope this campaign will achieve?

Kelly: I hope it can empower and inspire women so that every girl realises that she can.

Grace: I hope that it makes a difference to just one person and then we know we’ve done our job.

Skyla: I hope it makes girls and women get into more sports.

Julie: Even if you have insecurities it’s about saying that we all have them but we can get over them because we can.

Val: If this girl can, that girl can!

Victoria: I hope it brings confidence and achievement to girls.

Sam: I hope it empowers women.