You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t know about Fearless Girl, the bronze statue standing defiantly across from the iconic Wall Street Charging Bull. But there are some interesting behind-the-scenes facts about the girl that may come as a surprise.
Here’s what you likely do know: Fearless Girl was commissioned by asset management firm State Street Global Advisors to mark its initiative urging the 3,500-plus companies in which it invests for its clients to increase the number of women on their corporate boards. For an installation that is, in effect, an ad, Fearless Girl instantly resonated with the public; Senator Elizabeth Warren even tweeted a photo with her recently. And the creative genius behind the girl came from McCann New York.
And now here’s what you likely don’t know.
Fearless Girl was always meant to be a child
The team at McCann working with State Street always wanted the statue to be a girl rather than a woman because she is supposed to “represent a sense of optimism, hope, innocence and determination,” said McCann North American Chief Creative Officer Eric Silver.
The quick turnaround time was a challenge
Silver said the team had to figure out how to quickly pull off the effort begun in November since the statue needed to go up on International Women’s Day (March 8). McCann reached out to sculptors —females only — and because of the rush, a number of foundries turned the offer down until McCann landed on artist Kristen Visbal.
McCann created mood boards of Fearless Girl
Once the artist was on board, McCann created mood boards of what the girl could look like, including her possible stance, posture, facial expression, clothing and hair. Visbal took notes, found a model and made a sketch, which took six weeks of back-and-forth to refine until the team decided to incorporate another child who was Latina, said Silver.
Fearless Girl is Latina
McCann wanted Fearless Girl to be Latina so she could feel “universal” and “be an inspiration for everybody – fathers who have little girls and husbands who have wives [people who are] white, black, Indian – it should speak to the broadest audience,” said Devika Bulchandani, president of McCann XBC and managing director of McCann New York.
McCann thought up a creative way to work around the park permit
Due to time constraints and cost issues, the team couldn’t get a permit for Bowling Green Park, but it was able to get a street activity permit. To make Fearless Girl look like she’s part of the same island as the Bull, the agency sourced refurbished matching cobblestone and extended the length of the park to where she could stand.
The name Fearless Girl was a topic of much debate
McCann Worldgroup Global Creative Chairman Rob Reilly was “relentless” on the importance of naming the statue because if it was nameless, the public would end up deciding what she would be called, said Silver. Naming her became a “topic of much debate,” he added, but in the end, Fearless Girl won out for its simplicity.
McCann Leader Harris Diamond created a Twitter page because of Fearless Girl
McCann Worldgroup Chairman and CEO Harris Diamond created a personal Twitter handle to show his support for Fearless Girl because he said it’s “one of those issues that needs people to speak on behalf of” and it’s “something that transcends how we think about a piece of work and how it can break into culture and become part of society and create some controversy and conversation.”
Diamond’s first tweet was to the mayor of New York City.
It was a reply to New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s pro-Fearless Girl post, which said: “Proud to stand behind the Mayor to support women and fearless girls everywhere! #fearlessgirl.”