For Robin Roberts, being a role model to young women is still, admittedly, “kind of weird.”
“It’s humbling that I’ve now gotten to the stage where young women in particular look up to me,” the Good Morning America anchor tells PEOPLE exclusively. “You don’t set out for it to be that way, but it’s a privilege.”
Roberts was recently selected as a mentor for Disney’s #DreamBigPrincess campaign, where she was paired with a young woman from Girl Up, an organization founded by the United Nations that seeks to empower females around the world to pursue their goals and change the world. Through the campaign, 21 teenagers from across the globe were paired with famous role models such as Emily Blunt, Jo Malone, and Roberts. The Girl Up participants then interviewed their mentors, and shot and produced videos of the experience in celebration of International Day of the Girl on October 11.
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In Roberts’ video, produced by aspiring journalist Marisa Umeh, 18, who is a student at UC Berkeley, Roberts shares how she used to want to be a professional basketball player before getting into journalism, and how she first broke into the field of sports reporting.
“As a woman, and a woman of color, I didn’t have a lot of people that were doing what I wanted to do,” Roberts says in the video. “I knew that if I didn’t do a good job, it would lessen the likelihood that somebody else like me would be hired.”
“You’re going to make mistakes, and that’s okay,” Roberts adds, before detailing that she’s made plenty of mistakes in her career and figured them out. “If you’re waiting on a time when you don’t have that fear, you’re going to be on the sidelines a long time. So many successful people in any industry are fearful.”
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Roberts still translates plenty of her sports background into her morning TV show routine. Before going into the studio for GMA, she blows two kisses up toward the sky—one for her father who passed away in 2004, and another for her mother, who passed away in 2012—before fist bumping Joelle, an employee who stands in the box.
“It’s the athlete in me,” Roberts tells PEOPLE. “I’m an athlete at heart. I used to have a pre-game ritual and now I have this.”
Roberts’ video, as well as the 20 others, were announced on Good Morning America on Wednesday, and can be seen on Disney’s website. For each social share between now and Nov. 20 of any video with #DreamBigPrincess on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, Disney Worldwide Services will donate US $1 to Girl Up, with a maximum donation of $1 million.
Disney Parks are also getting in on the celebration, as they will be hosting all 21 of the Girl Up filmmakers in their parks this week, and encouraging all of their guests around the world to visit their parks dressed in outfits inspired by their favorite female Disney characters.
For Roberts, that character would be princess Tiana.
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“I love the fact that she was the first African American princess in the Walt Disney sphere,” Roberts tells PEOPLE. “But the fact that she was about hard work—it wasn’t like she was going to need to be rescued or anything like that—that’s what I loved about her.”
“I remember with Frozen, hearing that the original version was that she was going to be rescued and then [it became] no, let her sister rescue her. It doesn’t have to have a man,” Roberts adds. “It’s okay to have your Prince Charming—nothing against Prince Charming, but what I love that about this series is how you see the different princesses evolve.”
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