I always wanted to be a stunt woman. In the early 2000’s, the portion of MTV with the crazy adrenaline junkies and prankers rarely showed women who could handle this stuff but it’s all I wanted to become. However, stunt related spinal injuries years down the line would prevent me from some of the simplest sports forever. Yet I always held onto that speculative awareness – the lack of representation of women. I did not know that this mindset would shape my entire life into a new passion for myself.
After putting my Hollywood stunt double dreams aside, I picked up the camera. I had issues with friendships throughout high school yet once I had the camera and the desire to photograph everyone, my closed off interior suddenly saw opportunity everywhere.
There was a student in my group therapy session that mentioned senior photos were due but she couldn’t afford to get the photos done, nor did she feel good enough about herself to be photographed. I offered to do them discreetly and invited her over to do hair and makeup – the whole nine yards for my high school self – and what happened changed my entire perspective on my meaning and path. The oversized, lethargic, unkempt, tangled, hidden mess I first saw in this girl was dramatically transformed when she saw the potential I saw in her through portraiture. And ever since she saw herself that way, she was coming to school with brushed and then styled hair, and then lip gloss and accessories, baggy jeans to skirts…. It was like I gave someone something through those photographs that made them feel genuinely better within themselves. This is what I always strive for and continue to strive for.
I just want this generation to know that we hold so much potential within ourselves and you can dramatically change someone for the better through your craft, your skills, or even your interest. In a world like this where negativity, depression, self-doubt exists too heavily – we can actively be aware of the help we can give anyone who could use it, even if it’s just a conversation or a photograph.