Sara Li, 20

“I refuse to be labeled as simply an activist or writer—my career is extremely broad and I have a multitude of projects going on at all times.”

Whoa.

When I was 17 years old, I started a non-profit organization in the confines of my childhood bedroom with wifi and a cause. Project Consent began as a social movement to raise awareness about sexual assault and human trafficking. I fused art with activism and created an organization that now has a collective following of over 13 thousand followers on social media and a 400,000 average monthly view. In the past three years, we have worked with the White House’s It’s On Us campaign to reduce sexual assault on college campuses, created viral campaigns that won over thirty international advertising and service awards, received thousands of messages of support from survivors of sexual assault, developed comprehensive sex ed lessons explaining the importance of consent to children and have been in multiple publications (New York Magazine, Cosmo, VICE) for our work raising awareness and combating sexual assault.

Outside of Project Consent, I have also built a separate career as a storyteller. When I was 16, I ran a lifestyle blog. I contributed to Elite Daily + Thought Catalog and was one of the sixteen youth writers for MTV when they launched their Founders team. I was listed as Her Campus’ 22 under 22 in 2016 and SheRa Magazine’s December Covergirl for Empowerment and Positivity in 2015.

In 2015, I worked on a body positivity campaign with Buzzfeed comedian Gaby Dunn. I interned for Viva Bianca (actress, star of  STARZ’ “Spartacus”) for a month. I became a mentor for Miss Heard Magazine and answered questions and offered guidance for their readers. I was a relationship columnist for Unwritten, a women’s digital publication. In 2016, I interned for NBC’s Benjamin To and interviewed the cast of Gilmore Girls in an exclusive one on one feature. I developed a creative writing curriculum for middle schoolers and taught it to gifted students at South Middle School. Now, I am working on my podcast, OMFG Sara, with former fellow MTV writer Elizabeth Emerson, and writing my first fictional novel.

And I did all of this while balancing life as a college student at the University of Kansas.

KC story

I originated from Topeka, Kansas and found my way to Lawrence for college. I’m involved in all areas of the KC community. When I attend Royals games, I love the spirit of thousands of strangers coming together to support our team. I love the KC fashion community and have bonded with designers and models in our shared passion for design and art. Whether it’s Boulevardia or First Friday or Hot Country Nights, I’m always looking for an excuse to spend time in my favorite city with my favorite people.

Being in Kansas City has made me more open-minded and approachable. I love that I can be dressed down in shorts and t-shirt or dressed up to the nine’s and still feel absolutely comfortable anywhere in town.

A day in the life

I wake up around 7 a.m. and make myself breakfast (usually based on a Pinterest recipe, I admit it). I make my bed and do 10 minutes of journaling with goals for the day. During the week, I go to my part time job at the University of Kansas (I work as a student press coordinator). I work out at Body Boutique in Lawrence afterwards.

Depending on the day, I usually then either stay at home or go to Starbucks to work on my other projects. This ranges from Project Consent to recording for my podcast or writing my book. I occasionally do freelance editorial work for magazines. I retire home, make dinner and catch up on my Netflix guilty pleasures until I fall asleep.

On the weekends, I try to get work done throughout the day until it’s time to socialize with my friends. I balance my work life with my personal life so I’m always productive, but having fun.

People are always shocked to hear that I’m only a junior at KU. Professional life aside, I’m still very much a normal college student. I stress about finals and boys, I binge watch “Gossip Girl” and “Scandal,” and I spend too much money on pizza and wine. People tend to get caught up in my achievements and they forget that I’m still in my 20’s, trying to live my Carrie Bradshaw-inspired life.

Protip

Make your own luck and you’ll never have to depend on anyone or anything else for your success.

Legacy

I’ve always been extremely personable and outspoken. I love conversing with people about their lives, so storytelling became my second nature. However, I refuse to be labeled as simply an activist or writer—my career is extremely broad and I have a multitude of projects going on at all times. I don’t necessarily have a dream job, but as long as I’m making a difference and making people laugh, that’s all that matters.