Exclusive: Meet Sophia Amoruso's Newest #GIRLBOSS Protégée

Sophia Amoruso is no stranger to headlines. There was the runaway success of her #GIRLBOSS book last year, her move to step down as CEO of Nasty Gal, the discrimination allegations against the company, and the news of her contributing editor gig at Marie Claire. But her latest passion project deserves all that attention — and then some.

Amoruso has established the GIRLBOSS Foundation, which awards a $15,000 grant to women in design, fashion, music, and the arts on a biannual basis. The goal? To help them become their own GIRLBOSS, naturally. To date, the foundation has granted over $70,000 in funding. Today, Nasty Gal has given Refinery29 the inside scoop on Rebecca Hui, the foundation's latest recipient. Hui is the founder of a company called Toto Express, which enables talented artists from rural villages to be discovered through an online licensing platform.

"Rebecca is an incredible artist and has an amazing eye for these artisans," Amoruso told R29. "She has found rare talent in faraway places and a way to bring their work to the masses — while preserving their craft and providing income for them, as well. The idea for Toto Express is entirely unique and something that resonated with a lot of our committee."

For Hui, the admiration is mutual. "I'm completely in awe of the independent, scrappy, make-it-work girl who turned her passions into the fully structured, effective, and revered empire that is GIRLBOSS," Hui told us.

Hui was inspired to start Toto Express after she began working and researching in rural India four years ago. "When I investigated why the life quality metrics were so poor, over 90% of respondents cited lack of income," she told us. "My vision is to build a world in which artists have the ability to financially support their communities through their skills."

She intends to use the grant towards paying artists and running workshops in villages, financing new product lines with manufacturers, maintaining and building an online store, and more.

As for future GIRLBOSS hopefuls who wish to follow in Hui's footsteps? Amoruso has some advice for your application. "Go all in!" she said. "Make sure it doesn't look like you copy-and-pasted from another application. Check the application criteria to ensure you've completed everything before pressing send. And good luck — you don't get what you don't ask for!" Ain't that the truth?
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