Anyone who’s a fan of Disney has come across something from fashion and lifestyle brand Her Universe. Whether you’re a parks fan or prefer quirkier things like those found at Hot Topic, there’s no way you haven’t encountered something designed by Ashley Eckstein and her brilliant team. At her core, Eckstein is a huge fangirl of all things Disney and Star Wars. She’s also a believer in making the impossible, possible. Her book, It’s Your Universe: You Have the Power to Make it Happen is part inspirational autobiography and part personal journal/call to action written for girls in middle school and high school.
Eckstein’s first steps into building and owning a fashion company started when she discovered there was almost no Star Wars merchandise for female fans. What began as a desire to change the way female fans are viewed turned into a nationally recognized brand that’s expanded to offer options for all fans. That’s not all. The business owner is also an actress and voiced Ashoka Tano in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Her journey hasn’t been easy, but it’s led her to do amazing things, including writing a book. Eckstein tells her young readers, that they too can accomplish great things.
It’s Your Universe invites readers to experience Eckstein’s story as this particular one beings with Disney. Eckstein has always had big dreams. From wanting to be in a Disney parade, to having a role on the Disney Channel, she had a sense of certainty about those dreams and willingly set out to make them happen. Of course real life is never as easy as making a wish and Eckstein openly and honestly shares her struggles, mistakes, and successes. She highlights the advice and lessons that helped her find focus and ask tough questions when things weren’t going the way it seemed they should. She stresses the importance and value of hard work and that it’s up to you to make your dreams reality.
Eckstein speaks from her heart and has proven herself to be the real deal. Readers will know that her words are genuine. Her energy and passion jump off the page and her enthusiasm is infectious. She maintains a tone of seriousness and repeatedly emphasizes the power to control your own destiny. Somehow, she manages to provide an unlimited supply of kindness, positivity, and encouragement as well.
It’s Your Universe is written for teens and is full of drawings, pictures, quotes, and examples from Disney movies and Star Wars. At times, the Disney connections seem a little too heavy handed, but young dreamers and hardcore fans will love every reference. There are also questions from Ecksten to the reader and space for them to write their answers in the book. It’s a quick read and one that fans can and will return to when they need encouragement or help getting back on track. Eckstein’s transparency makes her trustworthy and sometimes, that’s exactly what young dreamers need.