Interview of Alanna Wall by Belinda Valdes
Hi Alanna! How are you doing?
I’m doing great, thanks.
Tell us about yourself.
Well, my name is Alanna Wall, and I am the founder and CEO of Polished Girlz, a non-profit organization that polishes the nails of girls that are hospitalized and that have special needs, while also promoting the importance of hand washing. I attend Stivers School for the Arts and play the violin. I live with my mom Valerie, my dad Jeffrey, and my little brother Jeffrey Jr. I also have an older sister, Ryan.
Where are you from?
I am from Dayton, Ohio.
How old are you?
I am 16 years old.
What made you want to start Polished Girlz? How did you start it?
I started Polished Girlz with the hopes of making our clients feel special and to take their minds off their situation—whatever it was. Polished Girlz started as a dream and hard work and support made it become a reality. My mom and I thought of a name, created a website and various social media accounts, and contacted places to polish, and Polished Girlz was born.
Why do you think Polished Girlz is important to girls with special needs and in the hospital?
Polished Girlz is important because it allows the girls with special needs and that are in the hospital to feel a little bit better by making them feel more confident. Polished Girlz also brings a companion to the girls in hospitals, because our volunteers are a wide range of ages.
What is the most rewarding thing about your company?
The most rewarding part of Polished Girlz is getting to enjoy the faces of the clients once we finish polishing their nails. When we’re done, the girls are always so excited to see their nails.
What are your biggest accomplishments and/or something you are proud of?
Some of my biggest accomplishments include being on Disney Channel’s Make Your Mark, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Nickelodeon Halo Awards, Dayton Business Journals 40 Under 40, and Steve Harvey and Essence Magazine’s Dreamers Academy.
What is something you wish to accomplish?
I hope to inspire people of all ages to help others and to change the world. I also want Polished Girlz to be as big as Girl Scouts. I would love for every girl to be either a client or a volunteer. We are also hoping to polish our 25,000th girl this year.
What are your hobbies?
Some on my hobbies include playing the violin in my school’s Philharmonic Orchestra and playing tennis.
If you are having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Watch movies on the couch and eat ice cream, or something like that!
If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
If I could visit anywhere in the world, I would visit Egypt. I love to travel, and there is a lot of interesting history there that I would love to learn about. There are also many beautiful sites that I really want to see.
You were on the Ellen Show! Describe that experience—how did it feel?
Being on Ellen was amazing, she was very nice and funny. Ellen was my very first big television appearance. Being only 12 years old, I expected to be much more nervous, but the producers and the assistants made me and my family feel very at home and comfortable. With the exposure we got from Ellen, the Polished Girlz went from about 50-100 volunteers to about 800. Our website actually crashed 3 times! When I returned to school after filming the show, I still hadn’t told anyone, but everyone began to ask me questions about it. Finally I asked one of my friends how they knew about the show and found out that one of my favorite teachers put in a large sign in the middle of the hallway that said, “Watch Alanna Wall on the Ellen show today at 4pm!” I was so embarrassed, but everyone was so happy for me and very proud.
What is something you struggle with?
I struggle with being confident in what I do and voicing my opinion. Because I am so quiet, people don’t always listen to what I have to say.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to start their own companies and pursue their dreams?
I always tell people that they are never too young to change the world.
If you were a superhero what would your name and power be?
If I were a superhero, my name would have to do something with glitter or polish. My power would be to shoot glitter out of my hands.
What do you love about being a girl?
I love that I can express myself and be whoever I want to be. I love that other girls can look up to me and that I can be a good positive role model for them.