Emilie Nelson has been a Cabinet Member for Future Female Leaders for two years and shares the message of conservatism to young women through social media, writing articles for the Future Female Leaders website, attending events with FFL.

When asked about Emilie Nelson, Amanda, the founder of Future Female Leaders, shares “Emilie is such a joy to work with. We finally met in person this summer at a conference she was attending with FFL. The day before the conference, she came by to say hello and a few staff members and I were starting to set up the Future Female Leaders booth in the exhibit hall. There are many non-glamorous parts of getting ready for a conference that no one sees! Instead of saying a quick hello and leaving, she jumped in, volunteered, and stayed for hours to help us set up the booth. This really stuck with me. It’s easy to want to join in on the fun and exciting parts of a conference, but I always take notice of the people who volunteer to help with grunt work. I think that is a perfect example of what kind of person Emilie is.”

As a part of the next generation of conservative women, we sat down with Emilie Nelson to ask her questions about issues she’s passionate about, misconceptions, and advice she’d pass along to new activists.

Name: Emilie Nelson

Age: 26

Hometown: Osceola, WI

What issue are you most passionate about?

The one issue that elevated my interest in politics and has been a driving force in my passion for politics ever since is abortion. This was solidified a couple years ago as I watched my sister struggle with infertility for a long, long time. The day she told me she was finally pregnant was one I’ll never forget. God blessed her with twins, and I know their lives are nothing short of a miracle and worth protecting at every stage, inside the womb and after birth. Not only do I advocate for pro-life policies because of my Christianity, but also because of science. My heart is wrapped around this issue, and the facts back it up. I’m proud everyday to stand for life and it’s an issue I’ll never compromise on. 

What’s the worst piece of advice you’ve been given?

To not let myself get lost in my passions, or that the things I was interested in were the wrong things. I’m a passionate person by nature and these passions have led me to where I am today; a few of them being faith, politics/patriotism, and sports. When I get excited about something, I get excited. This side of my personality didn’t always mesh well with those around me and I let myself be convinced that I should hide this part of myself to be accepted. I eventually realized that passion cannot (and should not) be tucked away; it will find a way to shine through one way or another. Let yourself be excited about things. Let yourself become so passionate about something, it changes your life. One of my favorite quotes comes from Olympic Gold Medalist, Mary Lou Retton. It says, “Each one of us has a fire in our heart for something. It’s our goal in life to find it and keep it lit”. Keeping those fires burning inside me shapes who I am, and the important thing is that I let them. 

What do you think the biggest myth/stereotype that surrounds young conservative women in today’s political environment?

That we only identify as conservative because our fathers, brothers, husbands/boyfriends, or other males in our lives have told us to do so. News flash: it’s 100% possible that young women can think for themselves and come to a conservative conclusion. Just because we have differences in opinion on policy does not mean we are borrowing that opinion from a male. On the contrary; with how easy it is to be a young liberal in this country, young conservative women have gone against the grain, done their own research, and choose to identify as conservative, knowing full well how difficult it can be to label yourself as that these days. Why would we put ourselves through that if we didn’t truly believe what we were saying? We know what we’re getting ourselves into, but we do it anyways because we believe in conservatism. We’ve done the homework, have defended and fine-tuned our views, and are strong enough to handle the backlash we all know is around almost every corner.

What do you want the world to know about conservative and Republican women?

No two of us are the same. There is so much diversity of thought within the category of conservative/GOP women, and putting all of us into one intellectual box is a mistake. Some are pro-life. Others are pro-choice. Some are pro-wall, some are anti-wall. Some are pro-2A, some are pro-gun control. And maybe most importantly, some are Trump supporters, but not all are. But the awesome thing is, we all still support each other and are capable of having respectful, thought-provoking conversations surrounding these differences in opinions. I couldn’t be more proud to be a conservative woman. 

What is something you wish you could tell yourself just starting out on your political journey?

Your skin will thicken with time. When I started to form my own political opinions, I learned pretty quickly that these opinions were not popular among my peers or on social media within my generation. I was so terrified to even like something on Facebook or Twitter without someone calling me out on it. At that time, I had thin skin and backlash really got to me. One negative comment could throw me off for a day or two. I craved relationships and communities that shared similar opinions with me, and began to search them out (enter FFL). The more time that passed, the more conservative friends I made; and the more I was open with my political opinions, the more comfortable I felt. The negative comments didn’t stop, but each one builds a callus. I started to become thankful for them, in a way, because I knew I was on my way to a place where they didn’t bother me anymore. I’m immensely grateful for circles like the ones I’ve formed with FFL, because they helped me find my voice and empowered me to speak it unapologetically. So, find your people, don’t be afraid to speak the truth, and remember the value of respectful conversation. 

What issue, in your opinion, doesn’t get enough attention? 

Not an issue but a group of people: women who have had an abortion. My pastor mentioned this group of people in church a few weeks back and it made me realize how repeatedly they are left out of the abortion discussion. Politics aside, these women often feel great regret, pain, and guilt after getting an abortion, and it can affect them the rest of their lives. I know a few who feel heavily burdened from it and it breaks my heart. I do not speak for these women and will not try to pretend I know what each one has been through, but my heart goes out to them and I wish the pro-life community would put a higher importance on showing them support and love. Being pro-life does not mean we hate or even dislike women who have had an abortion. Because I am a Christian, I understand the significance of forgiveness and I want these women to know it too. 

What is something that brings you confidence, no matter what? 

Family, prayer, my relationship with Jesus. I know my identity lies not in who I am, but whose I am. When I understand that my worth comes from a God that never changes and is good all the time, nothing and nobody else can reverse that. Hey Alexa, play “You Say” by Lauren Daigle.