In this exclusive interview, BYOU Magazine chats with Nickelodeon’s honorary teen, Allie Boyer, of their docuseries, The HALO Effect. This inspiring series honors teens who are making a difference in today’s world, and 18-year-old Allie Boyer from Chico, California is making a BIG difference globally by helping those who don’t have a voice: the orangutans!
Allie was inspired to help the orangutans when she read the book, Koko’s Kitten, an award-winning book about the gorilla Koko (who knows sign language) and her love for a tailless kitten named “All-Ball.” After reading this book, Allie began researching gorillas, and from there found out about the endangered orangutan. From that point on, Allie had found her passion for saving the orangutans and eventually began the non-profit, Purses for Primates, raising over $27,000!
In the summer of 2017, Allie will be releasing her new book all about fundraising and bringing awareness to a cause you care about! Allie and her Purses for Primates pals will be traveling to New York for the book release. (For more information on Allie’s book visit Purses for Primates’ Facebook page.)
BYOU Magazine spoke with Allie about her inspirations, her journey with Purses for Primates, her episode of Nickelodeon’s The HALO Effect, and Allie even gives some wonderful advice on how YOU can make a difference in the world.
“Overcoming insecurities and following what your passion is, helps tremendously with becoming a well-rounded woman.”
Check out BYOU Magazine’s Exclusive Q & A with Allie Boyer:
When did you begin Purses for Primates?
I started all of this in 7th grade, so I was 13. I was down in Carmel, California with my mom and we saw all of these gently used clothing stores and we really liked the concept of taking something that was already in existence and reselling, so there wasn’t any further manufacturing. We decided to start collecting purses because it was catchy with Purses for Primates and people have a lot of them. We ended up getting good donations and started having small garage sale-type sales around my town. And it just kind of grew from there, having more and more venues.
When did the passion of orangutans and primates start?
The orangutan inspiration came from a passion that I had since the 7th grade. I read Koko’s Kitten, it was her story about how she knows sign language and how she takes care of this kitten. That really inspired me to look up more information on apes and from there I found the orangutan. Just how intelligent they were as well, and reading articles about how endangered they were really sparked me to do something to help. And all throughout elementary school, I campaigned to raise awareness among my classmates so they could help save the orangutans from extinction by not buying products with palm oil because that’s the reason why orangutans are going extinct.
What is palm oil?
The simple explanation of it would be it’s a saturated fat basically that is from the African palm. Thousands and thousands of acres of forests are destroyed every day just to make way for these palm oil plantations. And that is destroying the orangutans habitat along with hundreds of other species. It’s also negatively affecting the native people. So it’s a very complex issue to solve but the best thing we can do here is to boycott products that have palm oil in the ingredients.
What kinds of products have palm oil and how can we know?
Cosmetics, processed foods, candies, anything in a box you find in the grocery store might have palm oil. I think it’s 1 in 5 products in the grocery store has it. It’s everything, it’ll say in the ingredients it will say palm oil.
Where do your Purses for Primates funds go?
The money is then donated to Orangutan Outreach, which has always been a huge supporter of my work. Richard Zimmerman (founding director of Orangutan Outreach) is actually the first adult to believe that me as a kid that can make a difference and make an impact in this world and do something big. So that inspired me to learn from him for a few years before I created the non-profit and then decided to donate to him. The money that I donate either goes to the rehabilitation of orangutans or the upkeep of rescue centers, food or medical care for orangutans. And just recently I helped pay for a third of the first rescue center in Sumatra!
Where do you sell your purses?
Just random little venues that we’ll find around town. We’ve had a Birkenstock store in downtown Chico let us sell in front of their store. Sacramento Zoo has let us have a lot of purse events there, which has been awesome. My grandma’s club house, just random little places around town.
Do you want to expand Purses for Primates?
Yeah, if any girl or boy wants to start their own Purses for Primates group in there area they can contact me. I made a step by step process on how you collect donations, how you can advertise on social media, how you price purses, and how you run your own Purses for Primates.
How surprised were you when you found out you were going to be on Nickelodeon?!
It was crazy! It was just a regular day after school and I got a message on the Purses for Primates Facebook page from Nickelodeon and we began emailing back and fourth. Me and my mom were trying to keep our cool because we thought they might not pick us or something. After the second interview I thought that I was just doing like casual interview but then, they said, “That was our casting director and you’re going to be on the show!”
What’s your episode of The HALO Effect about?
Lots of behind the scenes…like what we do to prepare for a purse party, collecting donations, putting up fliers, contacting people in the community to help us, and then we have a cool trip to the zoo where we actually get to make the orangutans some treats, which was really fun!
What tips could you give kids who want to make a difference?
Do not limit yourself to your age. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can accomplish really big and great things if you’re passionate enough. I had many adults tell me that my cause wasn’t important. If you really set your mind to it I think that you can do great things. I think that young girls should really be inspired to go after whatever dream that they have and whatever they have their heart set on.
Why is it important for kids to make a difference?
I think that with a cause like mine with the orangutans being endangered has opened up so many different parts of my life that I didn’t think were there. There was this orangutan passion that initially just started with saving orangutans, but then expanded to humanitarian issues, environmental issues, and all these other things that I could find myself helping in. If you get involved in a big global issue then you could find so many different areas and paths and different experiences.
Self-esteem tip for girls?
I really struggled with shyness. So, putting yourself out there, whether it’s public speaking, doing a play, or talking to people who you’re too shy to talk to, I would say throw yourself into it over and over again until you feel comfortable enough. It helps you so much in parts of your life are really important like your future career. My business career has taken off so much ever since I have gotten over my fear of public speaking. I think just trying over and over again until you feel comfortable in what you feel insecure about.
~Interview by Gabrielle Klebanow
BYOU Magazine also caught up with host of The HALO Effect, Sydney Park — check out her exclusive interview!
And be sure to read about The HALO Awards where BYOU Mag’s Girl Making A Difference Riley Gantt was honored for her nonprofit: The Rainbow Pack!
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