Amanda | THIS IS ME

Tell me your story!

“Having just turned 30, I’m realizing that I have been chasing so many things and not many of them have led to feeling that I’ve done enough work for myself. In 2009 I came to Florida as a 19 year old, alone, from a hostile home in Detroit. With all the determination I had I was able to put myself through college, be the first to graduate in my family and land a series of wonderful positions (my first serving as a marketing coordinator and fundraiser for Palm Beach Children’s Hospital.) In 2016, I lost the man I had hoped to spend life with to illness after he’d had his colon removed and fell prey to his own addictive tendencies. The same week he passed, I was laid off from the hospital… I was devastated but I still had the fervor not to fail myself and I pushed on to rebuild life on my own. It was not easy to carry that strength and I depleted myself to a point that I accepted so many failures and so many things as they were for fear of being alone, for fear of being perceived as too much, too loud, too difficult. It broke my stride and my passion. Since my birthday in November, I have been ill, had two surgeries and spent much of my time in a hospital. Now I’m back to work, speaking my mind, making healthy changes and feeling fully empowered to stop being calm and complacent. The feeling I had at 19, when moving from Detroit by myself, is back in full force. It’d mean the world to me to capture this fire again, in a beautiful tasteful way, for my own reminder that I can never be truly broken. I feel beautiful, I feel fierce and I’m not taking anything for granted. This opportunity to see my own aura through another’s lens feels undeniably right.”

What do you remember learning about beauty from a young age?

“I was raised by my father, I was taught to be a tomboy and beauty was never a discussion. It wasn’t until I was 17-18 and struck out on my own that I saw my own face and body as beautiful. It took my strike of independence, my own initiative to better educate myself and my own forgiveness from the years I’d heard my family tell me I’d never make it anywhere to see my own beautiful self. To be older and to never have been given a chance to see my body and personality as anything of value was a hard lesson.”

What sort of women would you like to see in magazines?

“Women with scars and moles, women with vitiligo and with stretch marks. Women who are naturally thin and women that have features that are both characteristically beautiful, but also bewildering. Women who’ve accomplished goals, beat cancer, lost weight, left toxic relationships… Every woman has a place in the representation of feminine beauty.”

What is your favorite physical feature about yourself?

“My eyes”

What’s your favorite thing about your personality?

“I’m cautious, but I care and love relentlessly.”

What’s one moment in your life you felt the most proud of yourself?

“The moment I left my fears at home and gathered my love for myself knowing it was the only thing I needed to become something more than the toxic abuse and neglected childhood that defined me. The moment I realized it wasn’t my fault and that I didn’t need to carry it with me any longer, I changed.”

Is there any advice you would like to share with others who struggle to see their own beauty?

“Mirrors are not just mirrors made from glass… Mirrors can be people too. Surround yourself with people that mirror the best things you see in you. Mirror the beautiful qualities you see in others. Never stop seeking to share the beauty you feel when surrounded with good energy.”

Why are photos important for you right now?

“I’m going to want to see this form, this feeling and remember that nothing is permanent. I am feeling more capable and more powerful each day. I want to know that neither the physical scars not the mental scars will ever detract from how I continue to build and love myself. This is a time for me in which I’ve grown and love my physical and emotional self more than I have in years. To capture it would be magic.”

Amanda, few words could do you justice in describing you, but one word that I see over and over again is GRITTY. When life presents an obstacle in your path, you manage to overcome it and come back even stronger. That is such a rare and admirable quality that will take you far in life. I believe this time in your life you are like a phoenix rising from the ashes and are going to thrive and be more powerful and happier than ever. It has been such a privilege to get to know you. Thank you for sharing your story and being a part of the This is Me Series!

If you’re interested in more information or applying for the This is Me Series, you can check it out HERE!