Name: Amanda
Age: 27
Hometown: Ontario,California (Inland Empire)

How did it feel to participate in the photo shoot for this project? Participating in this project was really uplifting. As a makeup artist I get the opportunity to work with some of the world's most beautiful women and connect with them on a deeper level. Applying makeup is a very personal thing and to be able to not only enhance the natural beauty of all the women involved, but also get to know their stories and things they've accomplished really made me so proud. Proud to be a woman and grateful about where I am in my life and with my self-love journey. 

What does "being a woman" mean to you? Being a woman to me means being everything, all at once. I was raised mostly by my dad and brothers, and even though I would definitely say I was a tough kid, I always had this burning desire to be feminine and beautiful. While I explored this side of myself I also found that I didn't enjoy feeling like I had to choose between being soft and delicate and rough around the edged. I wanted to be all of those things whenever the mood struck me. As women we have so much pressure on us to be pretty or thin or quiet, and by getting to know so many women in my profession, we've all managed to navigate our lives with these pressures and still turn out to be who we want to be. 

I am... determined. 

What are you most proud of in your life? I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to follow my dreams regardless of feedback and how difficult the journey is. When I was in high school I was in AP classes, I attended UC Santa Barbara where I received my BA and got a corporate job like I was "supposed" to do. But I didn't ignore my calling to my creative passion of makeup which I had been interested in since I was super young. So I decided to drop everything and follow it. Choosing to chase after your dreams takes courage, because it means deciding to go for something that you love, that you believe you're good at, but also that you may fail at (or at least not succeed right away). I think this fear is what keeps most people from trying or trying for a short amount of time. When your work is a reflection of who you are it's very difficult to take criticism and try and know that your efforts might not yield the results you want right away. But the people who make it are the ones who fight threw those moments, and I'm definitely not done fighting.