Q: Tell us about your journey through womanhood
A: Wow! What a question! I guess that would have to start with what that means to me. My whole life, I have been surrounded by strong women. My mother, my grandmother, my aunts and cousins have all shown strength emotionally and physically. To me a being a woman is, finding that strength within you to be yourself--to live freely. It is to be graceful with each challenge you face but with tenacity and confidence. It is to not cower in the shadow of a man.
My journey starts with college. After many years of partying, and fulfilling my biology degree requirements I was left thinking what every twenty-something thinks, "What am I doing with my life? Is it even meaningful?" I had goals of being a doctor, and OB/GYN. I wanted to deliver babies and inform women about their sexual health. My passion was deep, but it was also clouded. After many attempts at standardized tests, denied applications and hours of shadow experience I had to throw in the towel. It's hard letting go, I wandered this earth pretty aimlessly. That time even though I had no career goals; I had goals of becoming the woman I have always envisioned myself, just without the job. It took work, to find my confidence, my drive, and myself. But like a strong woman, I pulled through. To be honest, I still have no clue what I am going to do for the rest of my life but that is OK. I will figure it out, or most likely it will appear in my life kicking and screaming.
Q: What would you say to another woman who may be going through something you've been through?
A: To all the women worried about what they are "supposed" to be doing for the rest of their life: Are you kind to yourself? Are you taking the best care of yourself? Do you leave conversations without doubt or feeling like you had to pretend to be someone? STOP with the smoke screen. Because the more we live authentically ourselves, the more we will be open to what we are actually supposed to do. And I am a firm believer in if we all do something we love, this world will be better off for it. Let your calling actually CALL you.
Q: How do you feel when you look at your favorite photo of yourself from your shoot?
A: I love it! I love that even though I was lost at that point in time, I was still figuring out who I am. It is a time marker, it reminds me all that happened and all that is still left to be.
Q: What would you share with a woman who doesn't think she is beautiful enough to be photographed?
A: Do you genuinely think that? Because even without seeing you, I know you are beautiful. Be kind to yourself, being you is what this world needs. Photographs are reminders of that. Let the world see how amazing you are.
Q: What are your hopes for the next generation of women? What advice would you give to them?
A: It's ok to be lost. It is ok to not have every detail of your life figured out. Don't rush the process, but also don't wait for things to happen to you.
Q: What would you say to your sixteen-year-old self?
A: Oh, girl! Men are not everything, you are everything and more.
Q: What empowering message would you like to share with young women today?
A: Don't take change for granted. You are all witnesses to a lot of changes happening, politically. Don't forget all the people that have had to fight for equality before you. Do not take anything for granted.
Q: What's the biggest hurdle you've overcome career-wise as a woman?
A: Not knowing what my career is. I still don't, but my heart is open. I'm currently work for lululemon, and it has been such a great company to work for. Many people I work with say this company has helped them find what they are good at. So at work I take every opportunity to talk to interesting people, to do things i never would have done before. My hope is by putting myself out there and making myself uncomfortable, I will eventually find my dream career. Secretly, I would love to own a donut shop. But let's be honest, not many of them would make it into the case ;)
Q: What's the most empowering experience you've had as a woman?
A: Realizing my value, realizing my inner strength and my possibility. It wasn't one experience but a collection of many. A year ago my husband Andrew got matched to a program in Long Island. Let me preface, I knew no one and had no job prospects. The only thing I knew about Long Island were the Hamptons, the horrible traffic and the ice coffee was good. Being in this new situation I made a conscious decision to just put myself out there and see what happens. I set low expectations but high standards. I definitely gained self-love, learned what I am good at and became inspired. I spoke up more, did things I never would have done, talked to random strangers. I think the moment you decide to step outside your fear, is the moment you give yourself a little more out of life.
Q: When do you feel the most beautiful?
A: Working out, because somehow my inner strength (my self-confidence, my lack of doubt, my fearlessness) is matched by my outer strength. It is pretty euphoric.
Q: What do you love about being a woman?
A: Everything, my body, my mind, and my soul. The fact that I get to dress the way I want. That I get to make love to my husband. I can be a mother someday and have a special connection with another human. My strength, we are so much stronger than men.