The Freelance Life

I turned 27 this year, it is 2018. I have never been represented by an agent although I like to consider my network of friends and fellow freelancers/professionals to have been the best connection to all of my achievements in my career thus far.  It IS possible to support yourself with art and to do it all on your own, especially as a makeup artist. Every single person's talent and style is different so it goes without saying that each person will have a different journey. I can only speak about what my experiences have been but I wanted to give anyone interested but unsure of where to start some insight. When you make the decision to operate as a freelance you become personally responsible for achieving any of your goals. You are personally responsible for taking classes and growing with techniques.

This might be a long one but I’ll break it down in to small segments. Freelancing is not an easy job and it requires a lot of time and attention. It requires a lot of time spent developing your brand, a lot of your money will go into establishing a kit of client worthy products, and some will have to work many other day/night jobs on the side until you can support yourself fully with freelance client work. I'm going to do my best to outline the most important things I've learned and try to stay off memory lane as much as possible. I know some amazing people and they have been instrumental in developing me over the years. Those are the people you need to find and start working alongside them.

Consider Your Goals, Your Options & Your Happiness: What do you want, How do you achieve it, Is it all worth it? 

>>>Here’s how it happened for me

Chapter One

Paul Mitchell was the most innovative school at my fingertips in Harrodsburg Ky after deciding that college was not the route for me. After a few fashion based events at Paul Mitchell in Lexington, I knew right away that fashion was where my heart was. I was more attentive and more inspired than I had ever been by a full foil highlight. Right before graduating, I had won a retail competition that got me on a plane to an event in Las Vegas called CAPER. By the time the event date rolled around I had actually already graduated school and was working in a salon extremely unmotivated. CAPER is essentially a weekend of fashion inspired looks with live demos, motivational stories and on-hands training with the most influential stylists in the industry. This was what I needed! I became so inspired- My goal was now to be on set as much possible- working as a hair and makeup artist for fashion shows and photo shoots. I just had to figure out how to make editorial styling just as profitable as a highlight service. 

After CAPER, I was back in Lexington considering my current level of happiness. I really wanted to learn how to apply makeup yet I didn’t have enough money to keep a personal supply of products to play with. I made the decision that I wanted to apply to work full-time at Clinique as a cosmetics beauty consultant. I was walking through the cosmetics floor one day at the mall and observing as much as possible. I didn't have a portfolio of makeup work or any proof that I could do the slightest bit of makeup. This became my next goal:  learn makeup as fast as possible, build a portfolio and get a job working consistently doing makeup. I got an interview! I have always had an easy time communicating with people and this skill really helped me get this job but I also had sanitation training, had learned about skin and had experienced a lot of customer interaction. 

 

There was ZERO hair involved so you could imagine those around me were slightly confused. I had just spent a year of focusing on hair, skin, and nails;  had been given tools to thrive at that skill. At times I get this vibe that most people don't consider cosmetics sales to that big of a career move but for me it served as a launch pad to the rest of my career in editorial makeup. I have worked with multiple brands in a retail setting since Clinique and have learned so much about the application of makeup while working with all skin types/textures and tones. I have learned about each product line themselves and how to use them creatively and efficiently. Most importantly, I learned how to work easily with people from all lifestyles.  

 

A phrase that was projected in school was to "fake it till you make it". Simply meaning that experience comes from doing a skill over and over but you have to possess the confidence that you're going to do a killer job, even if you may be very new. You may not yet have all of the skills as a person that has been working for 10 years but you have to live that dream out daily if it will ever be a possibility. Where we start should never discourage our plan(s) to get to where you want to be in the future. 

 

Life doesn't just roll over for you, you have to plan and execute.
In the beginning, my option was to work in a salon, buildup my clientele and save money to start building a more extensive kit. I didn't even know what to have in my kit. That seemed like the best option at the time but to be honest it was the only one directly staring me in my face. It was after I realized that I would never find full happiness being in a salon environment that I realized I needed to find some other options. I started to think that I just spent so much time and money going to a cosmetology school and graduating only to find out that I didn't relate to the environment. (If you are on this same path- DO NOT let this thought consume you. The skills I learned in school are so valuable and I use them every day, just in a different way than stylists working in a salon might.) I got a minimum wage job and started back on coming up with better options. You may spend a lot of time working minimum wage jobs or even just jobs that are outside the industry in general. The work you do to establish and secure a future in fashion or beauty is done on your off days and during your free time while being on your own dime. 

 

My First Creative Photoshoot

While living with my great friend, Raina Trimble, we had both experienced how cathartic creating art was through these events at Paul Mitchell. I graduated slightly before her but we got to spend each night together brainstorming ideas and daydreaming about what we were going to do in the future. I had been on facebook looking at photographers in the Lexington and Louisville area and came across two names and portfolios that were exactly what I wanted mine to look like. Great quality, fashionable, expensive looking. It looked like these guys had put artistic thought to the concept and gave the model an environment instead of a backdrop and some colorful styling. Looking back, avant-garde fashion photography and beauty was very popular and to find it done right in Kentucky made this an opportunity I had to chase. I sent them each a message- I've always been pretty good at communicating with people and have zero fear starting a conversation.  *If you are a person that isn't as comfortable networking and talking with new people, this will need to be something you work on. Get a job that requires you to do a fair amount of time talking on the phone and interacting with people. *  I introduced myself to them. Who I was, where I lived, what I did, and how much I loved their style. Raina was the perfect addition to this equation and was definitely involved with this plan the entire time. Her headpieces were extremely artistic and I was/am forever inspired to create something to play with her work. Honestly, I thought that if I could just keep being influential in the organization of a project with them that it would happen and I would be the Makeup Artist.

When I sit down and really think about everything that happened for me to start doing makeup for photo shoots it was a combination of a few elements but the timing played a huge role. I had recently met a few other people living in the fashion lane- Maui Crane and Laura Kirkpatrick. They were hosting fashion show events at a local nightclub, Trust Lounge.  Turns out that Clay and Josh, who were from Louisville, had just collaborated on a project titled Searcher/Spector and Maui was hosting an event in Lexington showcasing the series and inviting everyone to dress accordingly to the light and dark theme.  

This was my look- bald, white around my eyes and a black hand print. Raina had mad a cage mask to go around her face, way more bad ass than anything anyone else was doing- which is Raina's theme when she creates (just in case you havent seen her work) . Long Story Short, I made a story board and tested out makeup and looked at so many photos for inspiration and finally the day was here. My

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Long Story Short, I made a story board and tested out makeup and looked at so many photos for inspiration and finally the day was here. My very first photo shoot, it felt like I had faked my way through the entire time. I showed up with my basic makeup kit from Paul Mitchel including a few new products I bought because I needed them to get the job done. I sat everything out that I thought I would need for the first look and then got started. Luckily, I have a bit of raw talent that always helps me stay a little more confident in new situations. I would never go back, I knew that somehow I would be involved with the groups of people that get to do this for a living. This first shoot was comprised of three models and they themselves had two changes, so this was a long day working on location in rundown warehouse. Only the first look was done in a comfortable situation but the rest were to be done in this place without chairs or tables or light. After a few years of experience you know that this is just a possibility anywhere you go so you have chairs, and tables, and your own light but for the beginner me, this was new info.

 

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If you're considering a profession in freelance hair styling or makeup artistry you need to actually take the time and consider your goals, consider how much passion you have and how much your willing to sacrifice to get there and you HAVE to consider your happiness along the way. If you're feeling stuck in a job that leaves you creatively unfulfilled, its up to make a difference. For some that may mean leaving your current "comfortable" working situation entirely, or maybe it means getting a night job to work for yourself during the day or on the weekends or whatever it may be. I've met many people working 2 jobs to support their art although, they love their other jobs so its a synergistic working relationship- we call these people "blessed" #killingit.  I've also met people doing that same thing to support the end of those jobs and the beginning of their own business. Some of these jobs may be in the beauty industry but if you're like me just dont cut it simply because you are not the boss. This all comes down to freedom to make your own schedule, operate as you see fit for yourself and your clients and control everything that is within your control all by yourself- no corporation. 

 

2. What to expect when Freelancing ( see next post )

From Film to Fashion Week (part II)

Years Ago, When I was just starting to fall in love with editorial work one goal that was at the top of my list was to work behind the scenes at New York Fashion Week. I am insanely thankful for the designers who enlist the help of myself and the rest of our team to provide the beauty styling backstage for their collections. I am also thankful to be a part of a great team that link up in different cities around the globe to do killer work. A hairstylist, Heather King, from St.Louis and a Hair and Makeup Artist, Derek Moser, from Charlotte NC do the scouting and scheduling of gigs for our team of stylists called HiDefintion Professional. Thanks to all of these individuals I have been blessed to work two years at New York Fashion Week and lead a team at Paris Fashion Week. 

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Fashion Week, for myself, was a short get in do a lot of work and get out gig. I was I the city on the 9th and 10th of September and spent the same amount of time traveling to and from on the bus. I wasn't even sure if I was going to have the availability to go until a couple of weeks before and by then the price of a plane ticket just wasn't the best option. This trip was my second time working at NYFW but my first time on a Greyhound Bus, especially for 24 hours. My good friend and I spent the day of the 9th walking around SOHO and Manhattan shopping, picking up last minute kit supplies and getting lost. When I first knew that there was any chance of me going I immediately started sending emails to a few talent agencies that I have been following for some time now. I was prepared to stay in the city for longer than expected if I landed a meeting with any of their scouts but unfortunately, I did not receive any response. This is my next big goal as a makeup artist, agency representation, and this was my first small attempt. If I could give one piece of advice it would be to never stop trying but don't forget to evolve as you move forward. Try doing things differently all the time and you will more than likely learn from your mistakes and perform at a higher level. There isn't a manual to help you through the hard parts in life but if you're learning from your mistakes there is only growth waiting for you. 


My first set location of the day was at New York's First Stage located in Downtown Manhattan at The Dream Hotel. Nina Tiari's makeup look was a simple rose gold eye with a dewy complexion. Not too much shade in the cheek and a soft brow with a red glossy lip. I was paired up with three separate models to work with and they were all so diverse. I was set up alongside three of my favorite people, Louisville stylists Matthew Tyldesley and Isidro Valencia and a stylist from North Carolina Ashley Ortiz. The music selection was great and the entire team was extremely organized. Just like in France for Paris Fashion Week the team was sponsored by Redken and NYX Cosmetics. It was my first time working with NYX primer Honey Dew me up as well as their Dewy Setting Spray and they were both absolute perfection. I definitely recommend these products to anyone looking to create a glow on the complexion as they give a great finish and are extremely versatile while being easy to work with. It was a little strange doing such a minimal look. We were able to knock everyone out fast but there was this weird feeling that we were missing something. 

After wrapping up Nina's show we taxi'd over to the next location at Hotel Pennsylvania. This time we were styling for Stevie Boi, a designer that I have worked with a few times prior to this gig. His SS18 Noir collection was showcased at Walk Fashion Show. Multiple designers were showing and space was limited so this meant sharing backstage space as well. Things were much louder and much more crowded compared to the first set and this time I was assisting the hair team instead of doing makeup. Together we all knocked out 40 models. It has been extremely exciting to see the success that Stevie Boi has had. He is extremely talented and creative in a very genuine and unique way. I feel very fortunate to have met him and experience his passion for art and creation. The show has been featured in a few popular media platforms already such as Harper's Bazaar Espana, Elle Italy and Spain, The Impression. 


Fashion Week was definitely a success and I left the city with a few more names and amazing talent in my pool of friends. Working backstage during Fashion Week is a huge dream of mine come to life and one of those goals that you cant ever really stop working towards. I am excited for the day that I can walk on to set and provide makeup for some of the fashion greats and trendsetters such as Christian Dior or Jeremy Scott. Until then, I'll keep my eyes to the sky.   

 

These images above are from backstage at Nina Tiari and a couple from the runway. Nina has also had some great press from this show and it is well deserved. She was hitting every major trend and even got spotlighted in Cosmopolitan for her attention to detail and flair bell bottoms. MoodBoard Magazine and Fashion Week Online were also there to cover all of the hard work produced on the First Stage. Also, huge thanks to Beauty Launchpad and Heather King for documenting the Behind the Scenes action on their Instagram story that day.  I am proud of artists on this team and could not be more excited for the work that we do to be shared on so many different influential media publications. 

From Film to Fashion Week (part I)


I often find myself reflecting on all of the opportunities and awesome experiences I have had while working in this industry. This past month has been so satisfying and I am thankful to have reached this level of happiness. I was able to work as Key Makeup Artist on a film as well as attend New York Fashion Week as a stylist for the second year in a row, all within 3 short weeks. My heart is extremely full and I wanted to share my experiences with you. First up: Film and trying to keep up on set. This film is still in production so I cant share any photos just yet. 

I was recently referred by a friend to a film crew that was in town and looking for a makeup artist. The Department Head reached out to me and asked if I could be available for a full day starting at 6 am. I already had a PM shift at the restaurant that I could not get covered that quickly so I said I was available until right before that and took the opportunity with little knowledge of what I was going to be doing that next morning. I knew the film was set to take place in the 80's era so I packed a lot of bright colors for eyeshadow and blush and an array of foundation, powders, q tips, alcohol; pretty much the basic products that would allow me to do anything on any skin type/shade. I had worked on a few short films in the past and I remembered the work environment as being very similar to being on the set of a photo shoot so I was feeling pretty confident. Those short films were so much fun and you guys can check them out if you want, they were our team's submission for Louisville's annual 24 hr Film Festival: Green Glass Door (this one I was in front of the camera, exciting stuff), The Paper Tiger and  The Awakening where I was makeup artist. 

That next morning, 4 other artists and I set up in a large room to prepare for a day of doing looks and touchups on background actors. Little did I know, that meant 400 faces over the next three days. ((After that initial first day on set I was asked to come back for two more days of shooting and I was just barely able to adjust my pre-existing schedule to where there wasn't any conflict with prior commitments. )) At the end of those three days of filming, I had clocked in 3 consecutive 16-hr days. While the environment may be very similar the work that you do is completely different. This was also a MUCH larger production than what I had experienced on a set for short films. In moments like these, I remember a motto we practiced within cosmetology school, "Fake it till you make it". I have honestly practiced makeup with this mindset for quite some time and I strongly believe that you will only perform as best as your confidence in yourself will allow. If you have a great foundation with your work ethic, knowledge, talent and overall professionalism you should be able to confidently portray the lead part in any of your wildest dreams.  

I really had no idea what to expect but after finishing the looks on all the background I looked around and saw each artist around me start to pack up to head to set. They had these clear set bags that were very neatly organized, easily transported and stuffed full of all of the essentials. I, on the other hand, had the choice between a heavy metal kit OR a Kroger bag. Needless to say, I felt like a loser and chose to pack everything essential for touchups into my Kroger bag. Once on set our task was to watch for the continuity of our background actors. Continuity is making sure that while filming one scene everything starts and finishes the same way. For example, if the hair was on one shoulder at the beginning of a take, it HAS to be replaced that same way before starting another take. To build onto that you have to know which characters are being seen in the previous scene or the scene to follow and how their appearance was for both so the scene can transition smoothly.  If one background actress was seen in the previous scene with a glossy lip with her hair pushed off of her shoulders, her hair must be placed in the exact same way before beginning a take. Continuity is extremely important for the accurate and smooth transition from scene to scene. (Scenes aren't always filmed in order of their appearance so you have to keep the characters and their looks organized.) After those three days, I returned back to my usual grind where I had two shoots to prepare for, a few bridal trials and some shifts at my other two jobs.

On Wednesday that next week, I received a phone call from the Department Head asking me to return back to set the next day to fill in for the Key Makeup Artist. She had a family emergency that pulled her away from the project and I would be stepping in for the rest of filming. The problem this time was my entire weekend was booked solid. I needed to do some major maneuvering for this to work but I started immediately. I always try not to miss any opportunity that comes to me for makeup and I was definitely not missing this. I had sat behind the monitor the week prior, but in the very back so I wasn't in the way. I had daydreamed of being KEY and I had no idea what it was. Our call time was 2 pm, meaning we could shoot well into the night. There were a few night scenes also and the sun sets around 8 pm so I was definitely prepared for a late night. This time it was just three artists and we had a trailer. Tara was our Department Head/Makeup Artist and Ashton was the Department Head for Hair. I was joining them near the end of the project as Key Makeup Artist and Hairstylist. They knew that this was my first experience and made sure I was as prepared as possible. There were three main characters and a few background actors that had lines or would be seen on camera. I was doing hair and makeup on one main every single day but I was the one taking care of background as well. I got a ton more experience being in front of the monitor and focusing on continuity. I had a lot of fun just watching the crew work and set up for each location and camera angle. The whole crew of big box trucks and trailers were traveling around Louisville, more often in Old Louisville, and filming in places that were pretty small and crowded. 

While stepping into this role of Key Makeup Artist I was able to focus on building some new skills that I don't utilize while on the set of a magazine editorial. One of those skills was consistency. Getting an 80's style high pony to tilt to the right with a little piece of hair left out in the front to hang in the face can be kind of tricky to get to look the exact same every single day. The same can be said for curls and getting them to have the same texture and integrity of curl each day. For me it was much easier keeping the makeup consistent because I was working with a good complexion that didn't require much, it was basically all lip touchups when we were given time to check looks.

The similarities in both fashion and film are pretty recognizable but the differences in production are extremely interesting! Film definitely comes with much longer days that require an extreme amount of your attention but I am going to focus more of my energy on film and learning more about the opportunities that come with the industry (that is of course after New York Fashion Week was wrapped). If you have any recommendations or tips for me please email me thehouseofhood@gmail.com.


Getting it Right in Camera

All of my creative interest has been focused on being the Professional Makeup Artist on set for Photography or Film-Making. I have been blessed to provide makeup for fashion editorials in printed magazines, backstage at multiple fashion weeks, feature story portraits, celebrity appearances/special events and feature film productions. In Louisville, that means that I am creating makeup looks that the local publications, The Voice of Louisville and Modern Louisville, need for their fashion editorials and their feature stories. For every new editorial, I join a team of professionals that work together to create a final image that is to go to print in each issue. 

When I'm on set, I challenge myself to provide a final product that is as clean as possible. This is the standard that the elite artists working and thriving in the industry are held to. I believe that makeup isn't to need many alterations once it's finished. Whether it's for a commissioned client or simply the look you're wanting to wear for the day, makeup is art. I would never put a filter over a photographer's final image and personally find it hard to put a filter over the makeup that I do. Sidenote: Let me also say that I do have a lot of fun playing with photo editors. Adjusting the saturation and exposure, sharpening or adding more contrast. One could easily spend 30 minutes editing one selfie. It's a lot of fun to create a different feel for one of your photos but I am mainly referring to the over-editing of skin. It is extremely easy to spot a photo that has been extremely edited and I think that it affects the client, whether they are future clients or present, in a negative way.

Makeup for photography can be extremely challenging and requires a lot of practice but investing in proper training and a kit stocked with professional products anyone can become a really great artist. This doesn't happen overnight and you aren't a professional makeup artist in the beginning phases but there isn't anything wrong with that, we all have to begin somewhere.  Even during this past year, my 6th year out of cosmetology school, I have spent more time practicing and learning new techniques on all different skin types to get a better foundation finish. There are a couple of steps I take when completing a full face of makeup and I'm going to outline them below. They are simply guidelines I follow that always set me up for success and give a look that's great straight out of camera. 

1. Complete the Eyes First: I'm always working in a strict time frame and tend to be more talkative with my clients so there is usually zero time for mistakes or cleanup.  Heavy shadow looks can open up the window for lots of frustrating fallout to slip underneath the eye. You can always place tape or a shadow shield for super easy application and protection. I usually just go for it and wipe away the fallout before I go in with concealer or foundation. When the eye shadow falls on to a face that has already been covered with a concealer or foundation but is not set with a powder, you would have to spend time cleaning that up or correcting any change in color or brightness in that area. Doing the eyes first gives me the freedom to move quickly without worrying about the integrity of the skins finish. 
 

2. Work With the Proper Tools: There are SO MANY different types of brushes and companies that produce great tools for makeup artists. My favorite has been Morphe Brushes, MAC, NYX, Real Techniques, Sonya Kashuk and so many more that I'm leaving out. Brushes can definitely have more than one use but each different part of the face will require a certain brush for the best finish or precision application. For example: in the photo below I used an angled brush from Morphe Brushes to give Alex's brow a sharp edge and high arch. On her eyes, I used a MAC #217 brush to blend out the edges of the lighter shade of shadow to her brow and underneath for a softer coverage. The darker brown shadow was applied with Morphe's G15 packing brush on the top lid and the same angle brush that was used for the brows was used again on the bottom lid. That angled brush is perfect for applying a precise thin line of liner or shadow that traces along the lower lid. I could have used a fluffy brush to apply the second shadow as well but it would have given me a softer finish and a more translucent shadow finish where as I was wanting a full coverage smokey eye.

There are a million brushes that can give a great finish for your foundation but each different style of brush will give you a different coverage. On Alex, I used a stippling brush to deposit my foundation all over and then finished with cosmetics sponge to blend out any spots that needed it . Real Techniques has a sponge that is really fantastic and it's only $5. I really love the look that finishing foundation with a sponge will give on the skin. First: I spray Fix+ from MAC to dampen the sponge. This helps the product go on more smoothly instead of drying out (you can use a little water for the same effect.). The sponge soaks up any excess product that sits on the skin as well as meshing any existing foundation into the skin. It gives an airbrush finish to traditional style makeup. Each artist will have their favorite brushes for certain tasks but they are almost always very similar in bristle diameter and shape.  
 

3. Work With a Lighter Touch: Unless the look you are trying to achieve is on the blunt side, the key to softer edges, blended shadows and a gradient effects on the cheeks is working with little pressure on your brushes. If you have deposited all of the color/product you want on the eyes, cheeks or wherever on the face you then go in after with a cleaner loose bristled or "Fluffy" brush to sweep and blend the color around. If you're using a heavy touch when practicing this technique the color will be pulled around more severely compared to an even displacement. It takes a little more time to go in a blend out your shadows or blush color but the effect is much more polished.   

After outlining these simple practices, they seem so elementary and practicing these techniques alone will not guarantee a flawless makeup application. There still needs to be some knowledge of the color wheel and peoples existing skin tones as well as understanding skin and the steps you should take to properly prep it. I will touch on some of those topics in a future blog but to keep it simple these are three techniques that you can start practicing when depositing color products on the skin. I choose the colors for my eye shadow before starting and I base them on what will make the eye color and skin tone look the most flattering. I usually select two colors for blush so that I can create a soft gradient from between the deepest part of cheek bone upwards to the temple and right under the eye. 

If you have any questions or would like for me to elaborate more on any of the techniques discussed in this blog please leave me a comment below or send me an email at thehouseofhood@gmail.com. I would love to elaborate but unfortunately, no one wants to read a blog that's centuries long. Keeping it short and sweet!

 

This photo below of model, Alex Hepfinger, was taken from my iphone. The final photo below it was taken by photographer, Jacob Roberts. 

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My Fitness Testimonial

I'M GOING ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE BEGINNING... it's a lengthy testimonial but I believe it could inspire a lot of you reading or at least give you a look at how I got to where I am today. It definitely wasn't pretty
 -Bethany 

Growing up, I was not surrounded by the freshest of ingredients or the most balanced nutritional diet. My family was middle class and always put food on the table that would keep me and my three sisters fed and even that, I could imagine, was a task in itself. I'm not saying it was all boxed or canned food but big dinner meals usually consisted of butter soaked veggies, high in fat content and carbohydrates as well as other typical southern cooking staples. From the ages of 7-14, I was sitting in the obese range when taking statistics into consideration. Where I am from that was a pretty average weight and I was still active enough to where I didn't feel any different. 

sidenote: I am thankful for everything I had and didn't have when growing up. I am just stating how it was. This is not me complaining or bashing my life or the food my family provided me. It kept me alive and it kept me growing. Its a huge problem that we see in middle class and poverty stricken America. The household income doesn't always allow for a family of 5 to eat as well as they should. Anyway, back to the good stuff.

When I got into High School, I became more self-conscious about the weight and not being like the other girls in my grade. My family's income level never improved and the convenience/affordability of a pop-tart (wasn't complaining), hamburger helper, fast food or canned vegetable diet was at its highest. As I began my senior year in High School, I was more physically active with my High School Marching Band and I had some money of my own and was able to start making some of my own dietary decisions. (Y'all might laugh at the Marching Band but the physical exertion was the perfect exercise for me. It taught me discipline and kept the heart rate up. We were pretty great and our practice style was very militaristic. A lot of my character comes from lessons learned in this segment of my life's journey). I lost a considerable amount of weight and started to develop a passion for being active. I was doing over 200 push-ups a day and running 2 miles on top of what we would do at practice. Without a gym membership, I was just left to train at the local parks or run through the neighborhoods. I was also training and on track to start a career with the Air Force right after high school. I was genuinely in love with being active and loved the challenge of setting and breaking goals. This was my first taste of fitness and I loved it. 

After High School, my life and my health took an unhealthy turn. Initially, I gained weight and reached a number that I consider my breaking point, 175 lbs. My mentality switched to the severe opposite and I became extremely strict about my daily macros and obsessive about what my diet consisted of. After months of persistence, I now sat around 105 lbs and was challenged with anorexia and bulimia. I already have this insane desire for perfection with everything that I do (I genuinely believe it influences my actions and decisions, whether its attainable or not I cant fight this need) and I became convinced that I had to work so much harder and that I had so much more to do with the way my body looked. I was convinced that eating a strict 1200 calorie low-carb and high protein diet was the route I had to take. This method would allow me to every now and then enjoy something sweet if I was prepared and had taken laxatives beforehand to flush it out. I was so blinded and uninterested in learning about any lifestyle habits that would require me to eat more food. I knew what more food would mean for my body and I was so focused on being the smallest I could be. I had gone from my heaviest of 176 lbs down to my lightest at 105 lbs by becoming so used to the feeling of being hungry. I tricked myself into thinking I was full by chewing gum or sometimes I would go to sleep early to avoid my stomach growling.

For my weight, I was eating what was appropriate for a fairly active person and was exerting myself in an obsessive way. In the next time to come, I experienced a monumental turning part in my life. I was raped in my apartment of Lexington Ky. Too small and weak to fight back, I felt extremely stupid for spending so much time in the gym and not seeing any benefit from the stress of "perfection". I don't think that this was the turning point for all of my challenges with my body image but I am now able to see that this was the moment I became alive. Up until then, I always tried to justify my actions, they were okay because I was staying active and pushing my fitness abilities ( I was getting pretty amazing at long distance running for a bit, I would run 8 or more miles a day with a 10 min mile) but I finally came to terms with the fact that anorexia is never healthy and bulimia could easily turn into serious health complications if I didn't stop abusing laxatives. My desire for a fit physique had finally found the right mentality and passion behind it. There was a purpose for my training and that was to cut the bullshit out and survive. 

I tossed my scale but kept the habit of logging food. I stepped up my caloric intake and started more weight training. I became obsessed with wanting to the biggest and strongest. I put on weight steadily and rose to 125 lbs, where I currently sit. In 2015, I enrolled to study at The National Academy of Sports Medicine and became certified to practice as a Personal Trainer. I have been through a lot of ups and downs physically during my life and I have learned something from every experience. I have learned that nothing good for you will come through practicing superficial habits. Our quality of health is directly related to our quality of life. Training at the gym or eating foods that support you properly isn't about looking as great as you want to but about making you feel as great as you look. After years of focusing on my health and fitness, I realize that I am in love with becoming a better me and I go through moments of obsessing but I am not the only one. You are allowed to obsess over your life and what you choose to do with it. I have been free of anorexia and bulimia now for 3 years.  I am human and I eat ice cream. I no longer abuse my body by hating it for how it stores that sweet delicious sugar-filled energy.

Tomorrow is a brand new day with new opportunities. Today is the day to build a better version of ourselves.