Served Like a Girl

Served Like a Girl

May 28, 2018


Lysa Heslov, Seth Gordon, and Linda Perry

Meet the many sides of women in combat as they go from helmets to heels, in Served Like a Girl.


About the Documentary

Served Like a Girl is a powerful and poignant look at a group of diverse female veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life after serving tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Struggling with PTSD, homelessness, broken families, serious illness, physical injuries, and military sexual abuse, these inspiring women find ways to adapt to the challenges they face through participation in the “Ms. Veteran America” competition.

Ms. Veteran America was established in 2012 to encourage women veterans to recognize and support their sisters as they return to civilian life. More than a vehicle for shared recovery, the competition’s main mission is to raise funds and awareness for America’s 55,000 homeless women veterans, a goal that resonates strongly with the women profiled in the film.

Guided by event founder and veteran Major Jas Boothe, the women featured in the film work hard to prepare for the competition, and, in the process, recover parts of their identities they’d lost on the battlefield. Ultimately, this band of sisters prove that battle scars can’t camouflage grace, poise, and beauty.

The Filmmakers

Lysa Heslov

Lysa Heslov (Director/Producer), along with her husband, Academy Award-winning producer/writer/director Grant Heslov, founded Children Mending Hearts eight years ago, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering disadvantaged youth in the U.S. through educational and humanities programs that build empathy and global citizenry. Served Like a Girl, her directorial debut, premiered at the 2017 SXSW Film Festival and won the Jury Award for Best Documentary at the Bentonville Film Festival in May 2017. Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Heslov has produced such indie favorites as Black Circle Boys, Attention Shoppers, Bug, Mailman, and Hank Azaria’s Nobody’s Perfect.  Black Circle Boys, Mailman, and Nobody’s Perfect all premiered at Sundance. Nobody’s Perfect was awarded best short at the HBO Comedy Film Festival. Bug was awarded Best Feature Film by the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Seth Gordon (Producer) 
started in documentary film directing the feature The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. Chronicling the intense rivalry between two Donkey Kong aficionados, the film won Best Documentary awards at a number of festivals. In 2012, Gordon produced Undefeated, which took home the 2012 Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature. He also produced the critically-acclaimed documentaries New York Doll (2005), Mitt (2014), Print the Legend (2014), Finders Keepers (2015), and Gleason (2016). Gordon has directed three studio feature films, each of which grossed over $100 million domestically: Four Christmases (2008), Horrible Bosses (2011), and Identity Thief (2013). All of the five pilots Gordon directed for Sony Television, including The Goldbergs, have gone to air. Last year, he directed and produced the pilot Sneaky Pete for Sony Television; it was written and produced by David Shore and Bryan Cranston and premiered on Amazon

Linda Perry (Producer) 
is a Grammy® Award-winning singer-songwriter and record producer. She started her career as the lead singer and songwriter of 4 Non Blondes. Since then she founded two record labels and composed and produced hit songs for several other artists, as well as contributing to albums by Adele, Alicia Keys, James Blunt, Gwen Stefani, and more. Some of the hit songs she’s written include Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” Pink’s “Get the Party Started” and Faith Hill’s “Cry.” Linda co-wrote the end song for Served Like a Girl, “Dancing Through the Wreckage.”

Full Credits


  • SXSW Film Festival

    Grand Jury Award (Nominee)

  • SXSW Film Festival

    Chicken & Egg Award (Nominee)

  • Bentonville Film Festival

    Best Jury Documentary

Learn more about the documentary

Join the Discussion

Shout out the women warriors/female veterans in your life. What challenges have they faced? Can you be a soldier and still feminine? Would a competition like Ms. Veteran America appeal to the woman soldiers you know?


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