Woman Wednesday: Michelle

Q and A with Michelle, Tampa, Florida

“Get to know others, step out of the bubble, and really connect with people. This is how we grow.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about how women can be each other’s best allies. When I launched my book Blue-Collar Beauty, Confessions of a Plastic Surgery Coach, I assembled a team of friends, family, former colleagues, etc. that came together to help me reach number #1 [seller] on Amazon. It was amazing! I was so moved by the experience, literally weeping from the overwhelming support from these incredible women and their willingness to help me on my journey. What struck me profoundly was the personal and professional diversity in my connections…women coming together for a common bond. It was powerful, and I could not stop thinking about what’s next.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I was blessed to have an amazing upbringing. I come from a small town in upstate NY and was raised in a solid loving nuclear family environment, which I believe has impacted me beyond measure. My parents are both schoolteachers and my father is a coach. I was surrounded by sports and a growth mindset from before I could walk. I had a deep love of music and played several sports all the way through my collegiate years, which too, has contributed to my success and well-being. One of my business partners always mentions to people that I was the prom queen in high school, and it makes me laugh. Yes, I was, and it was because I was friends with everyone.  


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: What I have learned is that we all have a story, and shared experiences are what connect us. Get to know others, step out of the bubble, and really connect with people. This is how we grow.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism, as the definition appears, is about equality. We live in a male-dominated world and any woman who has worked inside corporate America has shared experiences on this. Feminism, to me, is standing together and supporting one another as women. All women, regardless of our differences, whether that be faiths, class, gender expression, sizes, shapes. We, as women, need to stand together, support, and uplift one another.


MORE FROM MICHELLE: I have spent twenty years working in the plastic surgery industry. I have met with thousands of women wanting to look and feel their best. There are so many layers to this; however, at the core, it is about doing what’s right for you. This is why I am jumping in feet-first with our new platform-Ask Us Beauty, a digital magazine for women on all things beauty and wellness. We want to take our power back from mainstream marketing and provide a platform with real influencers to educate and empower women so that we can all define beauty on our own terms.

Ask Us beauty launches in August and you are going to love it! Sign up for our inaugural issue which we are offering free! www.askusbeauty.com and follow us on IG @askusbeautymagazine



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Woman Wednesday: Camille


Q and A with Camille, Nueva Ecija, Philippines

“Just do what you love; it’ll take you somewhere far.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about anything that requires creativity. I am currently a brand and marketing designer, and I also enjoy calligraphy and DIYing crafts as a hobby. Some say I inhale and exhale the art of designing. I’ve been designing for almost half of my life because of our family’s printing business. My eye for design has been my bloodline since I became an entrepreneur. I found joy in creating for other people. I formally started doing this for a living in 2018. Before I worked with actual brands, I tried offering my design services for free to support my friends who are just starting out, and that became the foundation on how I was able to have a good portfolio to attract my first paying clients. I chose my career path as a designer for other companies because I know they deserve nothing less when it comes to building a credible visual language. My creative solutions are the ones I wished all entrepreneurs had easy access to when starting out.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in the province where children from my era spent playtime at rice fields. My parents were blessed with four daughters, me being the third child. Creativity runs in our family. My dad and my eldest sister love photography A LOT. My dad is an engineer and used to be a well-known photographer in our locality, while my sister pursued professional fashion photography while juggling it with her corporate work. My second sister loves modeling and is also an online beauty influencer, our youngest is an architect in the making while my mom is the greatest cheerleader and support system in the family.

It was funny that as love for art is present in the family, I was the only one who never learned how to draw. During our younger years, my sisters enjoyed creating handmade paper dolls, coloring books, and sketching gowns…and I find it so boring! I enjoyed lettering my classmates’ names instead. I spent most of my childhood in our little printing shop sitting on the computer desk, exploring MS Paint, Print Artist (it’s like Canva during 90’s), or watching my uncle photoshop ID pictures of our customers. [She laughs.]

I may say that I was exposed to the digital world of art, especially graphic design, as early as six years old. And it is still clear for me as if it just happened yesterday how I really loved creating my own play-money, greeting cards, and fair tickets from scratch then print them in our dot matrix printer and manually cut them with scissors.

During my elementary age, I developed my love for graphic design even more. I was the youngest staff in our shop to be able to attend to our customers’ requests like photoshopping blurred documents, enhancing photos for reprinting, and creating cover arts for school projects while kids my age only played video games.

When I entered high school, I became our official newspaper’s layout artist. I’ve designed numerous shirts and uniforms for different events, and that continued till college where I sometimes received monetary rewards for my work.

At first, I never knew that graphic design could be a decent profession. So, what I chose to take on during college was a bachelor’s degree in political science and shifted to mass communication. Although I was not able to finish my degree and contrary to what others think of me, I am finally earning a multiple 6-figure as a graphic design specialist.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I could not stress this enough, but this is the value I want to share with others: *Just do what you love, it’ll take you somewhere far.* My story has been a roller-coaster ride. I became a parent at the early age of 19. Since then I never stopped exploring options on how I can make a living. My life partner and I paused from studying to become full-time parents and providers and we thought that if we didn’t finish college our career is bound to nowhere. My parenthood journey turned my world upside-down that it made me forget myself and my interests. My child became my everything and subconsciously forget what I loved doing – designing. It took me years of exploring what’s missing and why I still feel empty even we both earn enough. Until my partner and I decided to quit our corporate job and build a small digital printing company from scratch, our capital was from loans and credit card, our knowledge in equipment operations are all self-taught. I started designing again for our own business and I felt so alive. Everything went well from there. Until the pandemic came, back-to-back lockdowns affected our operations. To escape bankruptcy, I made a shift and use my design skills to offer it to a bigger market, and that’s when I became a freelance brand designer and it allowed me to earn 5x of our business’s profit. Without having to worry about the pandemic and lockdowns. I was able to reach greater heights for my family. Truly, doing what you love won’t fail you. It’ll take you farther than what you have imagined. Some have judged me that I could do more and earn more only if I followed the career path my degree will take me. But I chose clarity over certainty. My passion gave me clarity more than anything else and I know for sure that as long as I use this skill to help others, I am on the right path.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: For me, feminism is standing up that you are more than “just a woman”. It’s equal rights = equal access to opportunities. I believe that feminism leans more towards equality, not female superiority. And that equality is what all genders deserve, not just us women.


MORE FROM CAMILLE: I am 25, a corporate escapee, and now the creative mastermind behind Miles Creative Co. (a brand and marketing design company I started a year ago). I live in the province of Nueva Ecija, Philippines. I have a 6-year-old daughter and am expecting our second baby girl in July. I love having multiple businesses. I have an online boutique, and I also help my partner manage our small restaurant business.





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Woman Wednesday: Pinkelle


Q and A with Pinkelle from Kenya, Africa

Be the driver, but let passion be the drive.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about helping aspiring service-based entrepreneurs who are stuck and confused to stop going round in circles, gain clarity, formulate a strategy whilst leveraging digital marketing to continuously generate leads, and create a wildly successful business while they live the life they choose. Over the years, I have always been interested in marketing, and at the time, I didn’t know much about digital marketing. I started my job as a waitress in Dubai in 2012, whilst learning online about marketing. It took a lot of hustle, tears, hard work, rejections, training, and a huge mindset shift for me to finally land my first job in a marketing department in one of the fastest-growing cities (Dubai) and grow to become a marketing manager. Once I started, there was no stopping me; I read many books, learned everything I could, attended so many webinars. I worked successfully in the marketing field up to when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and we had to stay at home. At this point, I realized there was a lot digitally that I had already accomplished and a lot more that I needed to learn. So, once again, I decided to use quarantine time to study. That is how my journey with digital marketing started. It was quite easy because I had already had the basics, so it was more of just advancing my knowledge and thinking bigger.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up in a small village in Kenya, Africa. I lost my mum when I was 5. Honestly, I don’t know much about my background as I didn’t get to know my father to date. I grew up with my loving grandparents. There isn’t much to say about my background, except that I also had this fire within me that made me feel like I wasn’t extraordinary. I tried to fit in; I always wondered why I was different. Most of my skills are self-taught as I didn’t get a chance to study anything I wanted in college. I have always had a huge affection for orphans, which led me to start my foundation called TOF(Talented Orphans Family), which is geared towards developing orphans’ talents to make them independent and also teaching them skills that can make them dependable in society. This was the most fulfilling thing I had ever done, but as I was the sole financier, it came to a stop as I had an accident that caused a fracture that disrupted my earning and functioning capabilities. This would just be a tip on the iceberg to what I have endured over the years and also achieved. Everything has led me to my destiny. I am strong now, unstoppable, and ready to conquer then change the world. My experience has taught me to overcome any situation, to understand people’s situations, and to relate easily to them. I believe that this is the right time for me to make an impact.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: When you are at the saddest and lowest, most painful level you can be, that is where you get sharpened. That is the time you can become reborn. That pain is what, when used the right way, can turn you into someone very powerful. We all have this greatest strength buried deep inside each one of us; only a few people get the chance to fully experience this strength. The feeling of being unstoppable. When you have lost it all and there is nothing else to live for, you have a choice to give up or to dig deeper than ever before for your hidden strength. It’s more like a superpower. Digging and tapping into that inner strength will change you and make you as strong as steel. You will then be ready to become anything you set your mind to and there is nothing that can put you down because you already know how to get back up.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: When I talk about feminism, this comes to me on a personal level, coming from a background where women are known to stay in the kitchen and learn to be wife material. I do not want to be put in a box of what I am supposed to become or who I am supposed to be as a woman. Being a woman is just my gender; I should be judged by my capabilities, my skills, and my intelligence. When I am talking to fellow entrepreneurs, I need them to understand that being a woman or a man has nothing to do with how intelligent one is. If I succeed in something, it’s because I am just that good, not because of favors or because I am a woman.


MORE FROM PINKELLE: Something I have learned and would like to share: You do not need to make it perfect; just start and keep learning, keep improving. If you keep going, you will keep getting better.





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Woman Wednesday: Lauren T.


Q and A with Lauren T., Milford, CT

You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I love reading, traveling, learning about mindset, being with my dog, trying new recipes, and also being with my family and my partner. Walks on the beach or gazing at the stars has always fascinated me. I like adventures as much as I like quiet nights at home curled up on the couch and watching a suspenseful film (preferably with my own bowl of popcorn!). I am passionate about writing, which is what I am currently working on. I used to do affiliate marketing within the health and wellness field. However, I found myself dissatisfied. I knew I had a higher calling, so I hired a purpose development coach to help formulate my purpose (which ties into my upbringing).


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I grew up as the middle child in my family. I often felt unnoticed between my older sister and younger brother. I suppose it did not help that he was born exactly on my 5th birthday. Having to share my birthday led to bitterness and a sense that maybe I didn’t deserve a day all about me. My parents often fought and I acted as a mediator. However, that often backfired as no one took me seriously. School was very challenging because I was extremely shy. It was difficult to make friends, and the “cool” kids would sometimes make fun of me (my mom used to cut my bangs and did a horrible job…). I turned to focusing on my appearance. That I could control. I felt unloved on the inside and was desperate for attention. My life forever changed when I was 14 years old. I was hospitalized for depression and anorexia. But what really transformed my life was when a nurse came wheeling over an old book cart. Instead of handing me a book, she handed me a journal. And so, I wrote away my pain, shared my deepest secrets. I spilled my heart onto paper. It opened up a portal where I could give my heart a voice. Little did I know how big that portal would become. After I was released home, I continued journaling. I began writing inspirational messages and poems to others. I loved being a gateway to their soul where I could bring joy and self reflection. 21 years later, I’ve held on to the same dream, which is helping others express themselves through writing…to serve how I serve best, which is through pen and paper.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: You can conquer limiting beliefs. Hang in there because you are strong, beautiful, and powerful. I believe in you. I found myself in a mentally abusive relationship for 6 years that turned into a marriage. I didn’t think I was worthy of someone, something better. I was made to feel so low that it seemed like I truly would never find happiness. It took one person to plant the seed, “Why can’t you be happy?” That thought ate away at me, and it was like I began seeing my life and relationship with a different lens. One day, I asked for a divorce, unplanned, but something inside me was screaming it. Never forget you are in control of your life. You deserve to have happiness. Sometimes, that may mean facing pain to make it to the other side of the rainbow.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Seeking compassion and collaboration instead of comparison. Standing up for yourself and knowing your self-worth despite anything else. We (us fellow women) are all super unique and strong.


MORE FROM LAUREN: I left my job that treated me disrespectfully and I would not let it compromise my values. So, here I am, full-time creative copywriter coach.





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Woman Wednesday: Holly R.


Q and A with Holly R., from a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA

Be your own advocate.”


Q: What are you passionate about? 

A: I am passionate about serving others. I have always been drawn to helping others. I am a scientist in a pharmaceutical company and have been so lucky to have been part of teams that brought three transformational drugs to the market to treat arthritis, IBD, and psoriasis. Now, I am also a ketogenic lifestyle coach–I believe strongly in the lifestyle to not only help people lose weight without feeling deprived, but it also is used to treat debilitating diseases like my son’s intractable epilepsy. I have a very holistic approach to living this lifestyle. I feel that it is very important not only to help my clients lose weight, but we also work on repairing their relationship with food with meditation, subliminal guides, and a program that is the most advanced human healing technology and a proven fitness and nutrition system that will make you love the process of looking and feeling your best.


Q: What were your younger years like?

A: I had a very loving upbringing. I grew up next door to my grandparents and other relatives, so I was always around a large family. My parents were very young and very involved in all aspects of my life from volunteering at my (and my sister’s) schools to coaching our sports teams and anything where they could participate. I didn’t have brothers, so I think that I became a surrogate son for my dad–he taught me how to work on cars, how to do home repairs, how to lift weights and scuba dive. It really affected my confidence–he raised me to believe that I can do anything. He gave me the strength to excel in college, buy my own house, start my own business. I never had any fears about raising my sons on my own, and I always had the support of my entire family behind me.


Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?

A: I want others to learn that we all have a badass successful woman inside of us–we just need to let her shine. All it takes is courage and believing in yourself. Another very important lesson I have learned from raising a son with a disability is that you have to be your own advocate. He didn’t have his first seizure until he was 14, and once he was diagnosed with epilepsy, everything changed. School didn’t want him taking the bus, playing sports, going on class trips. He has had job offers rescinded. I had to research disability laws and educate myself so that I could be his advocate. Everything would have been so different if I let others make decisions based on what is best for them.


Q: What does feminism mean to you? 

A: Feminism is the belief in social, economic, and political equality of the sexes. I believe that since I was raised to believe that from the start, I never thought about it much until I was older. When I began existing in corporate America, I realized that there is a huge inequality that needs to be addressed. As a manager, I became aware that men who reported to me make more money than I do and tend to get promoted much quicker. I can make a suggestion in a meeting, and it is dismissed. The same idea is mentioned by a male colleague a few minutes later and he is seen as genius! To call it frustrating is an understatement, but I am confident enough to call people out when it happens. I don’t always get a solution that I am happy with, but I still speak my mind.




MORE FROM HOLLY: If anyone wants to reach me or learn more about the ketogenic lifestyle, they can join my FB group Hot Mess Mamma’s Guide to the Ketogenic Diet (because you don’t have to be perfect to look and feel your best! It’s okay to be a hot mess).





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