Your Story – a little “About You” – How long have you lived in the Seattle area? Where are you from/why did you move here? What do you do for a living? Have you always done this?
I grew up on Camano Island, about an hour north of Seattle. I spent some time after high-school living in New York City and made my way back to Seattle proper in 2012. While living in New York I began my photography business as a headshot photographer and transitioned to weddings full time after moving back to the PNW. Since 2015 I’ve been photographing weddings full time and began incorporating birth stories into my business in 2017. After some pretty hardcore soul searching I decided to pursue training and certification as a birth doula earlier this year, and starting later this summer I’ll be an active apprentice within the Swedish Doula Services program at Swedish Hospital and Birth Centers.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A mermaid! No joke! But once I realized that wasn’t a suuuuuper feasible option I switched gears and wanted to be a Starbucks barista (probably because of the siren logo, let’s be real…) from the time I was a kid waiting in line with my mom at our local store. Looking back that goal of mine probably stemmed from a desire to serve people, which has translated into my adult life and career path in more ways than I can count.
Who are significant mother role models in your life & why?
My mom is a superhero. And a saint. And a rockstar. She made so many sacrifices while my sister and I were growing up to make sure that we had everything we needed to pursue our passions and dreams, all while working full-time and shuttling us across western Washington in our old green Subaru. Her dedication to my sister, my dad, and the rest of the relationships she carried shaped the way that I “adult” and interact with the world around me. I’m fortunate to be at a stage in my life where most of my friends are starting their own families, and witnessing this new generation of mamas take shape in a way that reflects the kind of grace and strength my own mama showed me inspires me to be more like her in every way I possibly can.
Why did you decide to pursue birth photography? And then becoming a doula?
My oldest and dearest friend had her first baby in 2017, and while she wasn’t the first of my friends to have a kiddo, hers was the first birth I attended. I was intrigued by birth photography at that point in time, but didn’t know where to start, and she gave me the perfect opportunity to support her (in a way very similar to the way I support my doula clients now!) and document the experience she and her partner were having at the same time. Everything in the world collided in that room the moment Finn was born, and I knew that birth stories were the ultimate storytelling opportunity for me. As I began to build my birth photography business, I knew I wanted to be able to lend more support and encouragement to my clients through the process and began exploring what the options for that looked like. Once I signed up for my first class at Bastyr, everything started to fall into place and has continued to do so – lining the perfect path for this photography and doula career baby I’ve created!
What does living a fulfilled and happy life mean to you?
Having a happy and fulfilled existence is something I work towards every day. It’s always been a huge part of my philosophy to live a life that’s full of learning opportunities and the chance to grow a little more in the direction of my dreams every single day. If I wake up one morning and just don’t have the drive to do what I’ve loved in the past it’ll be time for me to do something new – and I’ve surrounded myself with like-minded people (like the Om Mama tribe!) who support me and encourage me to stick with the things I love most.
When you get a quiet moment, what is your favorite way to unwind?
My best way to unwind is with sleep! It’s the ultimate self-care for me. Second to that, I love taking walks with my fiance and our dog through our neighborhood and local parks!
Do you have any personal mantras?
My best friend once told me that felt the best way to exist was to “live, let it look like love, and let it be like breathing.” Ever since then I’ve tried to keep that mindset at the forefront of my own existence, and it’s served me well so far!
What is your favorite gift to give? To receive?
I am such a gift giver – it’s hard to pick a favorite since they’re always different and inspired by the recipient! I’m obsessed with writing love notes to the people in my life that I adore, which are probably my favorite personal gift to share. And as cliche as it may be, if someone puts thought into a gift for me it’s going to go a long, long way!
What would your advise be to someone hoping to start their own business?
Trust your gut and give yourself some slack. You know what compromises will make sense and fit within your work/life balance, so don’t let anybody else try to tell you how to run the show.
What is your favorite thing about connecting with your clients?
The stories! I can photograph couples or families in the same physical spaces over and over and over but no two shoots will ever look the same because of the stories. We all have different paths that have brought us to this spot, and when people trust me to help tell THEIR story?! That’s the coolest thing in the world.
If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
If I had a superpower I’d use it to make ice cream that was always the perfect amount of melted – never too soft, but never too hard!
What is your favorite place in Seattle?
I’m such a homebody that my default answer to this question is “my bed!” but that seems like cheating… The thing I love most about Seattle is how diverse our community is, and how accepting and open the mindset is of the people who live here. That makes it really hard to narrow it down to one single place! If there’s good food and good people, I’m there.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you?
I’m inspired by what Carl Sagan said about the vastness of our universe being so simple… “The cosmos is within us. For we are made of star-stuff, and we are a way for the universe to know itself.” This quote gives me chills and hits me with a dose of perspective every time I read it.
What makes you excited about Om. Mama Co.?
EVERYTHING! I’m so excited to be a part of such a strong and smart group of women who are focused on creating a community of open arms and endless support. The passion behind this project overflows for all of us, and we’re onto some really beautiful things.