Sure, she goes to school, does her homework and hangs out with her friends like every other 14-year-old. But when it comes to career pursuits, Shelby is ahead of her peers.
The Cary resident is the creator of "Girlz on the Move! 360," a glossy, color quarterly magazine for girls ages 8 to 16. The periodical, which Shelby first published when she was 12, focuses on what she thinks are the important aspects of being a pre-teen or teenage girl.
“At the time, I was going to middle school and reading a lot of teen magazines,” she says. “A lot of the magazines my friends were reading were focusing on clothes and how you look, but they didn’t focus on your insides and how to become a better person. So, I created 'Girlz on the Move! 360.'”
The content of her magazine is decided by readers, says Shelby, a student at Cary Christian School. For each issue, Shelby asks girls around the world to write articles to submit to the magazine. She also has hired five of her peers to serve as writing staff. The combination of regular and guest writers gives the magazine variety and hooks people who are interested in many different things, she explains.
Shelby edits, designs, publishes and distributes the magazine all on her own, with just a little bit of help from her family.
“I can’t drive yet, so my mom drives me wherever we need to go and handles all the legal stuff,” she says. “My dad and grandfather give input about the business side. But I’m learning, and it’s getting a little bit easier as we go along.”
Her family has helped financially with the publication, she says, and so has her entrepreneurial spirit.
"We sell advertising, magazines, donations, a little bit of everything. My parents had to donate some money, and I have to take some out of my savings account. We are breaking even right now," she says.
Shelby says her parents have instilled a sense of dedication in her, which has helped her success.
“I remember telling my mom and dad that I wanted to do this, and they just wanted to know if I really wanted it,” she says. “They don’t like for me to quit, so they made sure I wouldn’t give up right away. They are so supportive.”
Her parents also have taught her to reach for the stars, and Shelby is doing just that. She says her ultimate goal is for "Girlz on the Move! 360" to be an internationally circulated magazine so that girls all over the world can learn that they can do anything they want.
Although the magazine is less than two years old, Shelby is making progress toward that goal.
“We met a teacher from South America, and she took the magazine over,” she says. “The children wrote to us for the pen pal feature, so now people here have pen pals through our magazine. And the kids from South America sent some articles, too.”
Shelby says that although her career goal is to be a U.S. Supreme Court justice like her hero, Thurgood Marshall, she hopes to keep "Girlz on the Move! 360" running for a long time.
“Even when I pass the age range of 16, I’m still going to talk to 8-year-olds and 16-year-olds to know what they want to read,” she says. “Plus, hopefully by then there will be a lot more people on the staff, so they’ll know the age range really well.”