Tarte's My Big Ego Leadership Summit Is Giving People What They Need To Be Their Most Confident Self

by Kelsi Zimmerman
Courtesy of Tarte Cosmetics

Back in April 2019, Tarte Cosmetics released their Big Ego Vegan Mascara, a long-lasting, volumizing mascara made up of all clean, vegan, good-for-you ingredients. And at the same time, the brand announced the launch of their first-ever leadership summit that would go hand-in-hand with the release of their new mascara. On Saturday, July 20, I had the pleasure of attending Tarte Cosmetics' My Big Ego Leadership Summit in Orlando, Florida, and the event was nothing short of inspiring for everyone involved.

When Tarte launched their Big Ego Mascara, the brand had the idea of celebrating the launch in a much different way than ever before. Unlike other product launches, where brands typically celebrate with media-only events or getaways with groups of influencers, Tarte decided to host a summit for young people to meet and be inspired by some of their favorite influencers who represent more than just the beauty industry.

Tarte's initial decision to create the summit came after their discovery of some pretty unfortunate statistics relating to young girls (in comparison to young boys) and feelings of self-doubt and fear of failure. In a poll conducted by Ypulse with The Confidence Code For Girls, researchers found that out of 1,394 girls, ages 8 to 18, eight out of 10 of those girls surveyed wanted to feel more confident in themselves, three in four girls worried about failing, and more than half of the girls polled felt immense pressure to be "perfect."

Though Tarte is a beauty brand, it understands that developing a firm sense of confidence goes beyond any beauty product. Thus, the Big Ego Leadership Summit was born to help instill that sense of confidence in young people and encourage them to embrace their ego — because an ego doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing.

“It’s disheartening to see how low the rate of confidence is in young girls,” said Maureen Kelly, founder and CEO of Tarte Cosmetics, in a press release sent to Elite Daily. “I wish I could tell these girls what I would have told my younger self. Own your strengths unapologetically. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them. Shout your opinions from the rooftops. Always pick the best seat in the house. Never take no for an answer.”

Courtesy of Tarte Cosmetics

On April 16 (the same day that the brand announced the launch of the mascara on, Tarte launched a contest to grant lucky winners the chance to attend the brand's first-ever Big Ego Leadership Summit. To enter, Tarte-lovers had to fill out an application that asked questions like "What female inspires you and why?" "Describe an experience when you wish you felt more confident," and "What would you bring to the Tarte Leadership Summit that no one else would or could?" The contest was open to U.S. residents and they could apply via the brand's Instagram account, through the brand's influencer partners on Instagram, on, and through promotional emails. The application was open from April 16 to May 15, during which time Tarte received over 2,300 applications.

In the end, Tarte selected 25 winners who the brand felt exemplified strong leadership qualities. They flew each winner out to the Four Seasons Hotel in Orlando, Florida, where they then attended the summit on Saturday, July 20, and spent the following day in Orlando's Disney World. The winners ranged in age from 14 to 18 and hailed from 15 different states.

As for the summit itself, the day began with an ice breaker for each of the attendees to get to know each other, followed by three panels that covered a range of topics, from building a social media presence to being a boss to spreading positivity. As mentioned, Tarte also invited 13 influencers to join the summit to speak on panels and lead games and activities for all of the attendees.

Courtesy of Tarte Cosmetics

All three panels were moderated by host and beauty reporter Kirbie Johnson and covered a range of different topics that deeply resonate with young people today. First up was the creativity and authenticity panel, where influencers Andrea Russett, Camila Bravo, Nicol Concilio, and Rachel Levin spoke about topics like taking breaks from social media and how to grow a social media presence with tips on what kind of content performs best on Instagram (spoiler: it's videos), and tools that make content creation life easier.

The second panel was a Girl Boss Bootcamp panel that included Loey Lane, Sazan Hendrix, and Heart Defensor Telagaarta, and revolved around all the ways you can work toward being their most confident self. This included conversations surrounding women who motivate the speakers (hands were all the way up for the moms out there), lifting up other people, building a solid support system, working collaboratively, remaining positive, failing, and claiming your beauty. The conversation was peppered with so many important ideas and thoughts for everyone listening to walk away with. "You're beautiful in your own skin," said Loey. "And not less than or 'pretty, but...,' just 'pretty period.'"

The third and final panel revolved around bullying, where Jessie Paege, Kristen McAtee, and Montana Tucker lead a conversation detailing how they respond to negativity on social media (and in real life), spreading positivity, killing others with kindness, and removing yourself from situations that don't make you feel good.

Courtesy of Tarte Cosmetics

When I spoke to some of the summit attendees, it was clear just how different each person who attended the summit was, but one thing remained the same among them all (besides loving Tarte products): the lessons and confidence they gained from the summit was a memory that would stick with them long after they returned home.

One attendee named Parker expresses to me that she had some pre-summit jitters, but thanks to the Tarte team, she was immediately put at ease at the start of the day. "I walked in and the energy was so great, fun, and loving, and I was OK. I walked in and I felt like I was at peace and just really ok," says Parker.

The loving energy that permeated throughout every aspect of the summit seemed to be incredibly apparent to the other attendees as well. It even helped one attendee infuse that loving energy into herself. One inspiring young woman named Caroline tells me she finally learned "to love [herself]" that day. "I deal with a lot of learning to love myself kind of," she says. "I don't accept myself sometimes. I have my good days and my bad days." However, she tells me that "listening to the panels" and the messages "to love yourself and accept yourself" helped her to do just that.

Courtesy of Tarte Cosmetics

At one point during the Girl Boss Bootcamp panel, influencer Sazan Hendrix spoke about ways that she deals with hard times and mentioned that her faith is one of the things that gets her through difficulties. And one attendee named Allison says that Hendrix's confidence in expressing her faith empowered her to do the same. "My family is very religious, so I'm very about my faith," says Allison. "I love how, even on such a big platform, for [Hendrix] to talk about that, she was so strong that she's confident enough in her faith ... I get really nervous talking about my faith, even though it's a really big part of my life and who I am. And in that moment, it let me know that you can do it."

Tarte's My Big Ego Leadership Summit wasn't only inspirational panels and an infusion of confidence-boosting messages and activities. The brand also chose three people out of the 25 attendees to receive a $5,000 scholarship to go toward tuition at the college of their choice. The scholarships were awarded through Tarte's non-profit organization Heart To Tarte to those people who Tarte felt exemplified stellar leadership qualities .

These highlights merely brushed the surface of all of the inspirational moments, conversations, and all-around uplifting energy at Tarte's first-ever summit. And fortunately, this is just the beginning — literally. Tarte announced at the summit that this would be the first annual leadership summit, and the brand will continue to hold them for many years to come.

Although the leadership conference was geared toward people aged 14 to 18, as a 28-year-old, I, too, left the summit having learned quite a few things. The summit helped me realize that everyone faces struggles, goes through hard times, and doesn't always love and accept themselves. But as long as you remain positive, spread kindness, and understand that everyone is just out here doing their best, you can feel a little more comfortable and confident in yourself, regardless of what you're going through or dealing with.

While all of these lessons are valuable to people at any age, it's absolutely crucial for young people to consume these messages so that they carry them throughout their life. I know I am not alone in walking away from Tarte's first-ever Big Ego Summit with many lessons and inspirational thoughts, so I am very excited to see the brand continue to help instill confidence in people for years to come.