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Babe Fest 2019: Women Celebrating Women in Nashville

"I hope people see there’s a lot of women business owners and it takes a lot, but mostly it takes courage."

“Oftentimes, women in our society are taught to play it small, not step on any toes or shine too bright. I think that sabotages a lot of careers,” abstract artist Ashley Trabue explained ahead of Babe Fest 2019.

Trabue knows the importance of supporting female business owners which is exactly what she did during the festival last weekend in Music City.

“I see a lot of networking and women lifting each other up,” she said of the event. The weekend’s festivities included live music by The Band Sawyer, cabaret shows by Truvy’s Rhinestone Cabaret, pop-up shops featuring local female-owned businesses and two new Diskin releases. The craft cidery unveiled their Impeachment, a peach Bellini cider, and CITRUS, a hard seltzer with fermented fresh-pressed apples, grapefruit, lemon and lime juice.

Trabue didn’t just support other women during Babe Fest, she also set up shop during the event. Her artwork, including line portraits she drew during the fest, hung along the walls. Through her art, she explores issues of self-acceptance, body positivity and emotional intelligence. She’s currently tackling topics through a project she created called The Body Positivity Project.

Courtesy of Ashley Trabue

The abstract artist was inspired to launch the project while in college and recovering from an eating disorder. She was lucky enough to be surrounded by a group of supportive women who inspired her.

“I couldn’t find beauty in my body, but I could appreciate their bodies.”

Women in Nashville have started contributing to the project. When they do, Trabue creates a piece through painting, digital prints or pattern design. It’s a way for women to share their stories and diversify the type of bodies that are portrayed in the world.

“It’s been super inspiring to just watch women claim their bodies,” she gushed. The new collection, which features the local women, will begin to drop this week and new portraits will continue to be unveiled in the coming weeks. 

Since Trabue’s work centers around empowering women, participating in Babe Fest 2019 felt like the perfect fit. Her goal was to help women leave the festival knowing their worth.

“There’s a lot of wisdom in knowing what your magic is and knowing where your deficits lie. I think it’s far more important to learn how not to question your worth.”

Shauna McCoy

Trabue spent the weekend spreading her message along with other female business owners, like Donut Distillery’s Shauna McCoy.

“All the women here are amazing. I’m all for empowering more women and women-owned businesses,” McCoy said. 

McCoy started her delicious donut adventure back in 2017. Back then, it was only a food truck. Fast forward to now and she has a brick and mortar in East Nashville. Sweet treats from the Distillery include mini donuts, CREMA coffee, soft-serve ice cream and even spiked milkshakes!

One of McCoy’s goals throughout her venture is to ensure her daughters know what it’s like to be a woman running her own business. Her oldest daughter is getting to see this first hand by overseeing Donut Distillery’s marketing and social media this summer.

“I think it’s been a great learning experience for them. They’ve seen me struggle and it’s like, hey sometimes you fall down and you gotta get back up and nobody’s going to get you up unless you get yourself up and work hard.”

McCoy hopes that Babe Fest attendees (and her daughters) learned that, despite having to work a little harder, women really can do anything.

“I hope people see there’s a lot of women business owners and it takes a lot, but mostly it takes courage,” McCoy said. 

Babe Fest 2019
Emily Thornburg for Nashville Noise
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