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What's your story?

I was born and raised in University Heights. I'm a middle child and the only girl. I was a tomboy until I hit 5th grade, when I started adding color and a few skirts to my wardrobe. My wardrobe as an adult is very basic. I wear jeans, hoodies and tennis shoes daily.

My life was what I considered normal until alcoholism consumed my father. The verbal and physical abuse and the constant yelling got so bad that my mother divorced him and we moved to Birmingham, Alabama when I was 10. That is where I learned how to be a chameleon. I learned how to fit in anywhere I went and it works to my advantage now.

Anyway, my brothers and I hated it so much down there that we hopped on a greyhound bus and came back to Cleveland. We'd rather deal with our dad than be down south. My mom worried about us so much that she eventually moved back up here and remarried my father. Three years later they divorced again and my dad moved out.

My senior year I found out my dad had cancer in his liver from drinking. I remember visiting him in the hospital. He was blind in one eye and had double vision in the other. His body, so frail and my mom was there with him until the end. He died 6 days before I graduated. I used his life and how I felt about him as reminders of what type of man I will avoid at all costs. I never dated heavy drinkers, smokers or hostile men. They are all unattractive qualities to me.

It took me 10 years to graduate from Cleveland State University but I finished!! A year before I graduated, I lost my mom to breast cancer and this completely devastated me. I was a single mom with 2 kids and my older brother had just moved out of state for work. I thank God for my kids because if I didn’t have their smiling faces waking me up every day, who knows where I’d be. That pain was so excruciating and I hid it from everyone. I’d scream into my pillow and cry uncontrollably until I fell asleep for months.

Life moved on and I got married and had 2 more kids. I poured everything I had into my children. I mean they got 120% of me and my time. When you have kids, you don't realize how much you neglect yourself. My kids had everything and I felt like I had absolutely nothing. I started asking myself is this all there is to life? Is this all that I'm supposed to be doing with my life?

There was a big hole in my life that needed to be filled. I tried a couple different things but nothing really grew on me. But then… I was asked to do a monologue at a women’s conference for my church. The piece was called “Why Not Beautiful” and I felt a fire spark in my soul! I felt so alive after that performance! From that point, I started auditioning for plays and reading plays, going to theaters to watch actors perform, attending workshops etc. I found my purpose! I found my gift! I love what I do and I love who I am. I am an analyst, a mother, a friend, a wife, a chef, a dreamer, a believer, , a mover & a shaker and I am an ARTIST!

What makes you nervous about having your portrait taken?

The fear of not looking as good on camera as I think I look in my head!

Can I share some of your images?

Feel free to share!

What do you love doing that makes you feel kick ass?

I love acting. I love bringing someone's words to life on stage. Understanding or mastering a characters strength, fear, secret and ambition is so important. When all your hard work pierces the soul of each audience member, that is truly the kick ass moment for me!

What inspired your portraits?

I came to the photo shoot with one word in mind; "Yes". Whatever she wanted to do, whatever she wanted me to wear, the answer was yes. I wanted to be open minded and fierce at the same time!

What bad ass women inspire you?

Serena Williams, Meryl Streep, Phylicia Rashad & Whoopi Goldberg

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