Back and Better

Work, Travel, Eat and Love Alone: 11/13/18

I feel like it's been a minute since I've written a personal piece. From time to time I get the occasional "writer's block" or more so a general lack of inspiration. That's what happens when life is constantly asking for more. I'm not like your average 20-something woman, or at least if I am - I don't want to be. I do most things alone and frankly, I prefer it that way. I've grown so accustomed to my own company that sometimes I lose myself in crowds of people or even in a group of my peers. 

Sometimes it can be overwhelming when you've adjusted to being independent, but I like to think I manage delicately. If you catch me out and about, I can only apologize for my grogginess. I work two jobs (a professional 9-5 and a part-time hostess position/7 seven days a week), model, all while trying to maintain a basic social life and sleep schedule, so yes:

Days start to blur together. 

I'm usually half asleep until a full cup of coffee. Or two cups. 

Sometimes I fall asleep on myself watching Gossip Girl or Breaking Bad by 8 o'clock. 

And wow, what's an off day? 


Yeah, life happens while we're busy making other plans - isn't that how the saying goes? As exhausting as everything can be, I've never felt more in my own element. Contrary to popular belief some of us millennials enjoy working and staying constantly busy. My parents hate it but I've never been one to just 'sit tight'. I'm always on the move. Whether it's traveling across the country to see my best friend or just driving out of state for the weekend - I am usually my happiest self on the road. "Some songs need air," and yes I am notoriously known for blasting my favorite songs while all four windows are down: especially in the summer. I think its important to appreciate the moments you have everyday with yourself. As a woman, it's practically drilled into our heads that the ideal woman will marry a wonderful husband and create a beautiful family. Maybe we should accept the idea that we can rewrite our own happy endings and it doesn't have to include any of that. How about this: include yourself. 

I know too many young woman who are afraid to be alone, shit I'm afraid of ending up alone or not marrying 'the one'. But we should ask ourselves, what are we willing to give up for that happy ending, if it also means giving up yourself? Don't put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect or trying to find the right guy. 

In the end, life works out the crinkles and the creases. 


Eat. Eat. Eat. 

Who says you can't find yourself through actually spending time getting to know yourself? 

Learning about what you like, different foods you want to try, cultures you'd like to study, you name it. It took me an entire 365 days to get comfortable with dining alone. It's okay. Take a deep breath, it's not as bad as it sounds. 

Now do I get the obnoxious questions about solo dining? Of course, but don't fret - some people never learn to be comfortable with their own company. I thoroughly appreciate a delectable meal. However, sometimes I prefer to dine alone mainly because so many people hate it. 


Don't be afraid to take the different route. I take solo routes all the time and I believe I'm better for it. I've learned to love myself first and the rest will come or it will go. Either way it's up to me to live, learn and grow into a woman that I can be proud of. 


Evolve into the person that you know you can be. 

We all have the ability to reach our fullest potential. 

Ultimately, you can't truly love someone until you learn to love yourself. 



P.S. It's okay to do it alone. 

Photographer: @djteck_ 

Which Moments Define Us

We Missed Our Moment: 7/14/18

"I think I have a chance at love but knowing me I miss it
'Cause me dedicating my time just isn't realistic."


It's funny how much those words can have an impact on a person's life, especially when you look at your life in retrospect. I think I've missed many moments in my life. Many moments, opportunities, chances to make a different choice or go another route. I have all these thoughts in my head, like, what if I had done things differently? Would it have made any difference? The truth is, we won't know. There are no re-dos in life. Maybe second chances, sure - but sometimes, we just miss the moment. I carry these thoughts with a heavy heart and a flustered mind because it's unsettling. I wonder sometimes if I'm the only one; the only one feeling uneasy about the loss of a friendship, relationship, missed communication and missed connections. Interaction means everything to me, especially making it count. I think it's because of those missed moments and chances that I never took to say how I was actually feeling. 

Those moments mattered and now their gone. 

I find myself at a crossroads: do you believe that things happen by chance or is it fate? 

Maybe it's our destiny? 

Or do the choices we make have any impact on the outcome of our underlined destiny? 


I've always believed in those constant beliefs. 

For as long as I can remember, you could say I was a hopeless romantic. 

Still am and not ashamed of it. 

Maybe most women are, or maybe it's the movies. 

Films, books, poetry, music has made me this romantic, that is indeed hopeless.


"Shit got me feelin' pinned down, pick the pen up and put the pen down.
I'm writin' to you from a distance like a pen pal, but we've been down.." I tend to lose my concentration and focus which is why writing has always been my outlet. When I was younger, I needed to write it all down. It became easier to process, analyze and evaluate how I was feeling once it was all put to paper. 

Thoughts can be overwhelming for all of us, and it's necessary to find your outlet.  

Music and writing has taught me how to express what I normally wouldn't have the courage to say or admit. 

And sometimes the hardest truths are the ones that you have to say out loud to yourself and about yourself. 

Nevertheless, these moments make us who we are. 

Did I miss mine? 

Did I miss my opportunity to do something great or to make a significant impact? 

Did I miss the chance to make things right? 

Did I miss my chance to say, 'I love you?' 

Maybe. 


I don't want to live in the past. "Never backwards, only forward." However, sometimes we have to go back to our past in order to make changes for the future. 

I think I missed my moment to tell Mphatso how much she really meant to me. I'm never going to get that chance now. 

But she knows, at least I hope she does now. 

It's in those moments that you realize not only who you are, but also maybe who you are meant to be. 

Maybe those moments are exactly that: moments - to teach us, help us, remind us of our mistakes in order to create a better future. 

I think I missed many moments to be the better person. Many moments to apologize, to grow, to be better. 

And now, I just don't want to let another moment pass without being the best version of myself. 

Because at the end of the day it matters. All these moments - matter. 

6/26/93

Birthday Vibes: 6/26/18

That’s me, miss 20 something. 

Not gonna lie, I can't believe it. I’ve been through so much in my 20s that yes, I amaze myself how I’m still standing strong from time to time. You really have no idea what is going on in another person's life - we have to remember to be kind. There are so many people will try to break and bend you. Let those people mold you into exactly the person you want to be. When they show hate, you need to show love. It's important because it will make you better, and anyway, it's not about them. Don't be afraid to walk alone, as cliché as it may sound - I've had some of the best moments all by my lonesome. If you don't learn to appreciate your own company, how can you expect anyone else too? Even on some of my worst days, I had to toughen up. I'd shake off the thoughts that were creating stress, left my fears at the table and had to find my own way. 

I think that's the true essence of beauty: we're all different, uniquely different. 

We all have something that makes us, well us. 


For me, it's been a constant judgement on my personality. I've gotten the latter: positive and negative feedback, as well as the grey area underlying the surface. You know, the comments that are either open-ended or just curious statements. I spent so much time in high school and college caring what people thought about me. 

What would they say about me

To be honest, it's hard not to care. To just brush it off if you do get a bad reaction from someone. That shit hurts, but I've learned that it doesn't have to define you. People have their judgements or biases and in most cases it might not have anything to do with you. When we aren't happy within, it's easy to try to bring other people down with us. I wouldn't necessarily say it's human nature, but I do firmly believe in the saying: misery loves company. Like I said, we feed off of each other, especially the people closest to us. Whether that is through good or bad, it's important to stay true to your roots. 


We evolve as people over time. 

As Brooke Davis once said, "Once you lose yourself, you have two choices. Find the person you used to be, or lose that person completely." 

It took me awhile to find my way back. Frankly, it took several failed relationships and broken friendships to realize the woman that I can't ever be. 

I need to be better for me, in order to be better to all of the people around me. 

My life thus far has been full of treasure and tragedy. 

However, it’s what you do with both that defines you. 

I've loved and I've lost. 

There is beauty in despair, it just takes some time recognizing that life can never be perfect. 

Yet, we get perfect moments. 

Twenty-five for me is a chance to become a woman that I can be proud of. 

That other women can be proud of. 

That my family and friends can be proud of. 

So that can only start by living each day in the moment. 

Acknowledging that sometimes it's gonna be easy and other times it's gotta be really fucking hard. 

That's life, that's how it is here. 

That is what growing up has taught me.  

I'm happy that I've been blessed with 25 years and hopefully more beautiful years to come. 


These amazing shots were taken by Kaise White, an amazing upcoming photographer in the DC/Virginia area. 

Please check out some of his work, @kaise.white 

God's Call to You

Friendship. It's Complicated: 5/27/18 - 6/9/18

"And when you left, I didn't see it comin'
I guess I slept, it ain't like you was runnin'
You crept out the front door slow
And I was so self-absorbed I didn't even know
And by the time I looked up it was booked up
Put it all behind you, the bad and the good stuff
A whole house full of dreams and steps
I think you'd be impressed with the pieces I kept
You disappeared but the history is still here
It's why I try not to cry over spilt beer
I can't even get mad that you're gone
Leavin' me was probably the best thing you ever taught me
I'm sorry, it's official
I was a fist-full, I didn't keep it simple
Chip on the shoulder, anger in my veins
Had so much hatred, now it brings me shame
Never thought about the world without you
And I promise that I'll never say another bad word about you
I thought I saw you yesterday
But I knew it wasn't you, 'cause you passed away, dad" 

- Atmosphere


When someone leaves us on this Earth, where do you think they go? If you believe in the afterlife, or maybe they become ghosts who have unsettled business to attend too. Like 13 Reasons said, "friendship, it's complicated." 

You have been my friend since kindergarten. We would eat lunch together, make up dance routines, chase each other around in aftercare, and then suddenly time just flew past me. We started applying for high schools, but we both wanted to go to Bishop McNamara high school. I'm not sure if that was her mistake or mine. Maybe it was ours to share. We wanted to go there in hopes that we would be popular, like our older sisters. 

Mphatso's high school experience completely different than mine. She had found her niché and a group of friends that embraced her fierceness and compassion fully. She was high into fashion, just like the walls in her room were covered from head to toe with styles and accessories - plenty of inspiration for the fashion icon herself. I, on the other hand, fell into a weird group that I wouldn't necessarily call friends. And I didn't really have her like I used too. Something had changed by the end of my sophomore year, so I transferred my junior year. I had to leave McNamara in order to get my mind right. 

When I left McNamara, she was the only person who kept in consistent contact, she even brought me as her date to homecoming, tailgated with me before football games, but more importantly she just made me feel as if I wasn't missing out on much by not being at McNamara. That meant something to me, I hope you know that now. 

Graduation and Prom, so fucking cliché. Yet we came, saw, and you know the rest. Mphatso did, and I did not. By the end of our senior year, I transferred back to McNamara. I guess I thought I had something to prove, that I wasn't scared of what those people might think. But of course I was terrified. I went right back to the same group of people, trying so desperately to fit in. Mphatso was nominated "Best Dressed/Most Fashionable." At least our school wasn't filled with complete neanderthals. She deserved it, but it finally felt like she was finding her way and how could I not be proud of her. I was. 

But like I told you, friendship gets messy. We graduated, leaving our mark and we were on to our next journey - together. 

We got into the same university, Mount St. Mary's University. 

So let me start off this chapter in our lives by saying, people are really mean. And maybe friendship doesn't have to be this complicated thing - maybe we just never learned how to be good friends. 

Or maybe I didn't know how to be a good friend... 

I wanted to be cool more than being a good friend to Mphatso, so I tried to impress the girls around me. Don't get me wrong - we were still friends, just not as close as we once were. And you wanna know what's even worse? Is that she lived two floors below me. All I had to do was reach out, be there, like I had always been. I would give anything to go back and knock on her door, see if she just wanted to talk. 

Sometimes, we're afraid. We're afraid of the people that we love the most, maybe we're afraid of their reaction to us or the lack of one. 

Mphatso's heart was never in Maryland. You know how some people can just embody an entire state? That doesn't really make sense, but she was made for New York. Everything about her: style, creativity, fashion, the hustle and bustle. But I was afraid for her, I wanted her around for my own crutch. She was my balance through everything after all. Yet she was completely somewhere else in the heart and in the mind. The school year ended, Mphatso and I spent the moving day together. I remember sitting on her bed, glancing over acceptance letters to fashion institutions in New York. Again, I was happy for her - I was just scared. I didn't want her to get her heart broken if things didn't work out. I had hoped that they would, but they didn't. 


I want you to know that I'm sorry. 

I could have done more, but maybe I was too afraid to give you the support that you really needed. And with that, I will eternally be sorry. 

13 Reasons Why made me feel hopeful again. 

If we really care, we can always do more. 

For the next young woman or man feeling hopeless and lost. 

Maybe next time we won't be so scared.

Not because of the countless tragedies, because it's the right thing to do. 

Support each other. 


I want you to know that there isn't a day that I don't consider you the best part of my life, because you are and you always will be. You brought laughter, sun, happiness, music and all the things I hold dear. You taught me so much in 12 years, that I'm proud to have grown up with you. I'm proud to have loved you. And to be honest, I don't think it'll ever go away - the pain, but the pain has reminded me how I got here and how I need to keep going. 


It took me almost a week to finish this, maybe because everything I say somehow still doesn't seem like enough to honor you. I'm proud of the woman that you were, even when you weren't. She saw light in me when others could only see darkness. I'm grateful for the time I got to spend with her, it's in deepest parts of my fondest memories. I just wish I could tell her how much she really meant to me, but I just hope she knows. 


"...I loved her. 

I loved her so much. 

And I ask her everyday why she did what she did, but I get no answers. 

She took those with her when she went. Leaving me, leaving all of us - angry, empty, confused.  

And I know that hurt won't ever go away, but there will come a day where I don't feel it every minute. 

And the anger won't be so hot. 

And the other feelings will fade. 

And I'll be left with only love. 

A good friend once said to me, I can love you and still let you go. 

So Hannah, I love you and I let you go. 

I miss you. 

And I hope that wherever you go next, you feel peace, you feel safe. 

In a way that you never did here. 

Wherever you go next, I hope you know that I love you." 

- Clay, 13 Reasons Why

Honesty Hurts When You Gettin' Older: 4/24/18

My mother always told me to save yourself -  your heart, your mind and your body for somebody who really loves you. But the truth hurts, and we usually end up loving too quickly, moving too fast, hurting, and leaving. I just want a constant. I've never had that high school boyfriend - the type to go on dates with, see movies, meet the parents, or the guy to ask me in a cute way to prom or a formal. I never had any of that, but am I the only one? I mean I see all these beautiful relationships around me and I wonder why can't I have that? Do I not deserve it? What do I do to push men away and not pull me in closer? I've always told myself that it's better to walk away if you aren't receiving the love you want. Yet, I'm broken after, and are they? No. They get to move on so freely and willingly. I don't understand it. 

I'm going to speak on a topic that hurts me, but it's the truth. My mom told me that it's important to tell my story 'cause you never know who you might be able to reach. Maybe I just need to reach something within myself. 


I lost my virginity when I was eighteen years old. I wasn't experimenting in high school and to be honest with you - I never even looked at my body in a sexual manner, until college. I rushed, spun out of control fast. I tried so hard to hold on to somebody that just wanted, well, what he wanted. I'm not mad, not anymore. I thought it meant something, until I got insecure. I couldn't handle the idea of "just friends with benefits" I mean what is that concept to most people? If anyone is like me, one person will always feel more than the other. It's sad, but true. Maybe most people don't have mothers like mine - who are hopeful for their daughters. She taught us to not settle, be strong, lift other women up as well as yourself - but how many of us really listen to our mothers? Eventually, I had to walk away from the situation, because I could never be okay being one of many. I can't, I tried to be okay with the idea and it destroyed my self confidence. He probably didn't even realize or care, and I'm not sure what I could have expected. We weren't close, there was no foundation to build a relationship. Did I want one? Yeah, sure, but I know deep down I wasn't ready for one. A relationship. I wanted the concept, mainly out of infatuation, and he wanted the "new girl." 

I never wanted to demand love and respect, I just wanted to receive it - freely.


For some, college is the best times of your life. I'm not going to say it hasn't brought me the best memories that I hold dear. Yet reminiscing about college - hurts. It hurts because the personal challenges I faced took a toll on who I am, or at least who I thought I was. I lost myself because of excessive damage. After Mphatso died, my childhood best friend, it's like everything fell apart. She was my balance, my constant. I didn't have that, don't have that now. Those broken friendships and destructive relationships that I didn't walk away from sooner. Don't get the wrong impression, indeed I was part of all these problems. I didn't recognize or value myself throughout my collegiate career. It always takes two to tango. 

"Hurt people hurt people." 

I hurt those I cared about the most, just as they hurt me. I remember being twenty-one and telling a girl about my story, she listened and when I was finished she replied "did you expect people to be different?" Honestly, yes. My mother raised me to love unconditionally and to always put my best foot forward. So where do we disconnect ourselves from our parents, or maybe some people aren't raised with any love at all. 

How can you really give love, if you've never truly received any in return? 


All I've ever known is a constant relationship between my parents, maybe that's the reason why I've been hopeful for all these years. Even still, after everything, I'm hopeful. I want something to call my own, and I don't mind waiting until it's mine. To all the people that you think don't love you, maybe they were never taught properly how-to. I'd rather believe in that then to know that people go around taking advantage of love and kindness from others. You know why I believe, because I see children show real love and compassion, without even knowing what it means. What it means to us - the 20 somethings, the 30 somethings, the ones still waiting. 


Mphatso died searching for that love. I told her once a quote that I heard from Lady Gaga - "Your career won't wake up and tell you that they don't love you anymore." Maybe that love isn't in a man or woman, maybe it's learning to love yourself all alone. They say the journey is the ultimate destination. I want to love endlessly, but that's gotta start with Amanda. Who is she? What does she want? Where does she want to go? Who does she want to be? 

I think a lot of women are in search of a partner, a companion - but I think it's important for all of us to just stop looking. 

One day it's gonna hit us like a ton of bricks, and when it's real I guess you'll know it and it'll be all yours. 


Photographed by my beautiful Aunt Linda. 



Get Inspired

Your Deepest, Darkest Dreams are Real: 3/28/18

What inspires you? I ask myself this question quite a lot because there are so many things that motivate me on a consistent basis. 


Music, Writing, Modeling, Women, Politics, you name it. 


I've spoken about my passion for music, but it really derives from the spiritual. The first time I felt inspired by music, I was in elementary school. Picture this, I've been enrolled in Catholic private institutions since I was five years of age. Including my university, it's been my universal foundation. My elementary school shared "mass"  every Friday, which is the Catholicism practice to celebrate the act of church. As the school year would close out, the seventh graders would be passed down a candle by their fellow eighth grade peers. The mass was about carrying the torch as the leaders of the new generation, the new year. Our choir would sing a hymn called, "Carry Your Candle." When I was a little girl, I dreamed about passing down my torch for the next generation to come. It meant so much to me, and that was the first time I knew, I felt the music within me. In every moment of despair, I turn to music. It's been a lighthouse in a world that is overwhelmed with darkness and chaos. 


Believe it or not, I might just be a closet hoarder. It's always been difficult for me to let go of things: material and immaterial. In high school, I started scrapbooking. I know what you may be thinking - scrapbooking, what? I often would write poetry, short stories, collect photographs, ticket stubs, newspaper articles - I wanted something to remember my childhood by. I made three scrapbooks to date. My last scrapbook was about my travels to Greece and Italy. Holding on to these memories of my traveling and childhood has always brought me back to my center. Never forget where you came from in order to ensure where you are going. 


My mother often tries to remind me of a girl I once was, before life became hectic. Sometimes we lose sight of our aspirations, goals, and dreams while trying to maintain. Life needs to be more than just the day to day routine. There's something nice and safe, with the comfortability of routine. Often we grow complacent instead of going after the impossible. Audrey Hepburn once said, "the word itself says, I'm possible." Hold on tightly to what makes you tick, those are the ideas that usually stick.  Hobbies that build a sense of stability, balance and structure is food for the soul. God (which ever you may believe in) made us exactly the way we are. We should love that, embrace that message. It's powerful. You don't realize how many courses of action that were taken in order to make you exist. Think about that theory in retrospect. 


"You know it's been said that we just don't recognize the significant moments of our lives while they are happening. 

We grow complacent with ideas, or things or people and we take them for granted. 

 It's usually not until that thing is about to be taken away from you that you've realized how wrong you've been. 

That you realized how much you need it, how much you love it." 

- Nathan Scott, One Tree Hill


Photograph Taken by my lovely friend & companion: Arnold Farmer

Please visit his website for more at

https://www.arnoldfarmerphoto.com


We Could All Use a Little Help

My Modeling Tips: 2/22/18

Happy Thursday beautiful people! This post is going to be about five things that I have learned while modeling. 

We all have different methods to our madness, but I’ve been asked so I’d figured I’d share some tips: 


1. Don’t be afraid of the switch up. (Try different locations, accessories, even props - gotta stay versatile) Some of my best photographs have come from stepping outside of my own little niche.


2. It’s not a competition. (Healthy competition is great, but don’t get caught up in being the best. Focus on your craft, you’ll get there) Remember that each model, photographer and artist is trying to explore their personal boundaries. Relax and work.


3. Remember to smile. (How often I get told to stop smiling is hysterical, but you gotta have those genuine moments too) 


4. Study and practice. (Like with all good things, you have to continue working - hustle never sleeps) If you don't study different styles, facial features, framework - you can't really grow through photography. The more you learn, the more you grow.


5. Build your portfolio and expand. (Take your best shots, work with new artists and create a portfolio that you can be proud of) If your serious about your work, you should be ready to present it at any given time.


Photographed by Terence Daniels. 

More of his work at www.terencedanielsphotography.com


We're All Dreamers

It Was a Yellow SubMarine: 2/14/18

I look at you all see the love there that's sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps.

I don't know why nobody told you
How to unfold your love
I don't know how someone controlled you
They bought and sold you...


I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps...


The song above was written by George Harrison. I think it's pretty special that my favorite song by the Beatles was not written by the leads, John or Paul, but George. Each member of this band brought more than a sense of purpose, but a groove and a style, you'll know if for a fan fanatic like some of us. The Beatles carry a special sweet spot in my heart, right smack dab in the middle of my chest. Primarily because I knew I loved them before I fell in love with them. My aunt, Theresa, died of colon cancer when I was nine years old. I hardly knew her, but the very few memories I have of her are nothing short of beautiful. She was tall (well at the time she probably seemed like a giant to a nine year old) skinny, with long dark brown/black hair. She was graceful, and in such a short time of acquaintance, she was gone. After her funeral, she left a few things of hers behind for us to sort through between my sister, Ashley and myself. The first item I even picked up just looked cool. It had an animation cover of what looked to be a band. A nine year old with a VHS movie about a yellow submarine, seems pretty weird. I watched the movie and I wasn't really sure what to expect. For a nine year old, I think I enjoyed it. 


Six years have passed, and I'm about to watch a movie about the Vietnam War. Yes, you can say it: history nerd, so what. The film fulfilled every desire of what makes Amanda tick: music & history, my two favorite subjects. Only this music was different. I was touched. By something powerful. I felt the music through each word, chorus, melody, climax, breakdown, and each progression. There were scenes where I just cried because it meant so much to me. Some words just stick with you. You'll never forget them, they stay with you because it hit something. Something close to home. Afterwards, I researched the film and found out that the film was to paint a creative perspective on the war through the songs of the Beatles. I was elegantly moved, in more ways than one. I can't tell you how many times I've watched that film, and I can't tell you how many times I felt something different. 


The Beatles changed the way I view music entirely, for better and for worse. My expectations are exceedingly high for the generation of newcomers and artists. The Beatles became influential by breaking the barriers for bands, through age, background, social perspective, and eventually a revolutionary belief in real change. John Lennon was murdered on that belief. A belief in justice for all people: alike and uniquely different. 


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see
All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

Blackbird fly, blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night...


Photographed by the contrast and lighting guru, Marcus Carter. 

Please visit his site at www.opticalexpression.com


What Card Are You: Ace

Create Your Vision: 2/7/18

I've been feeling good. It's not that I don't normally feel good, because I do - it's just that I have a clear vision of where I want to be. I think the coolest thing about modeling for me is the amount of networking that we can do throughout the creative community. The social forum has opened a portal to meet, work, design, create and collaborate with people from all over the country. When people ask me for advice or even just general questions, I feel touched. It's very emotional for me because I wasn't aware that various people saw me as an individual to look up to, or even an experienced model. I don't say that to flatter myself, I say that with encouragement. Don't doubt yourself or your abilities. You never know who you might inspire.

Lately, when I’ve been asked for advice by models and photographers - I remember where I started. It may have been small and quaint, but it shows much me how much I can and have grown through photography.  If there's anything I've learned from other models and photographers is that we really are a continuous work in progress. We all essentially want to achieve the same goal: to create something beautiful. 

You've got to do what what fulfills your purpose. Whatever that may be. I have realized that setting aside negativity, doubt, regret, anger and opening yourself up to be the best possible version of yourself will envelop your happiest self. 


Be yourself and people will want to be around you. I genuinely believe if you put your best foot forward in everything you do - you can achieve great things. Now I can proudly say I've developed contacts, technique, different styles, locations, and my site is growing faster by the minute. Do all things with love, and see what you accomplish.



Photographed by the legend, Khalil. 

Find him on instagram @mindofkhalil

Let's Speak from the Heart

Expose All That is Good of Yourself: 2/5/18

When in doubt, choose you. This post is primarily about remaining yourself. Too many times we are faced with several adversities, but we should always remember to remain true to who we really are. The reason why I say this is because often times, I question my abilities. What does Amanda have to offer? I remind myself through my weakness, I also see strength. Just as in times of despair, I see hope. The years of our 20 somethings are a time to be selfish, I mean why not? If your parents had the opportunity again, would they? In fact, I think a better question is - did they, and will you?


I want to speak out about my best friend's death. It means so much to me, more than most people know. Sometimes even more than I am willing to share. Maybe some people might believe it is out of regret, but really it's out of love. Pouring love, endless love. Love that I didn't get to share because of my pride. She deserves that. She deserves to be celebrated, so this year I will be working on a foundation in her name, to present her as the gift she indeed was and will always be. 


One of my favorite authors, E. E. Cummings once wrote “it takes courage to become who you really are.” Saturday, February 3, 2018, I had the lovely honor of being the featured model for @exposure.pittsburgh ’s first event in Washington, D.C. It was beautiful to see so many like minded individuals and creative artists working together to create a beautiful and productive event. 


Modeling really has opened so many doors for me. I’m blessed to be even thought of for projects, collaborations, interviews, branding, and so on. I remember today and hopefully onward to  count my blessings in times of great triumph, and harsh defeat.  It is most important though to count how many times you love, laugh, cry and feel. I think we often forget how quickly the time moves. Time is of the essence, I just want to use the time that I have, wisely. 


This photograph was taken by my lovely friend, companion, and partner in crime - Arnold Farmer. Please visit his site for more of his work at www.arnoldfarmerphoto.com

More Personal Reads

Be Natural in Beauty

I remember the first time I wore my hair out natural, I got extremely insecure and instantly wrapped it up into a bun. Quite often I do this, I get so invested in my straight hair that I forget that isn’t even me — when I was younger, I didn’t know how to manage my curls at all. My mother did the best she could with various protective styles: cornrows, twists, buns, you name it. She actually taught me to roller-set my hair to protect my hair from heat damaging with flatirons or curling irons. I used to be the girl who got perms once a year to tame my curls. A forever mistake. We often judge ourselves by the European definition of beauty, but the world is constantly changing. I am proud to be part of a living generation that has made being “natural” a movement. So this is me, embracing my lion’s nest at full force. Be comfortable with yourself in a world that doesn’t want you to be. 

Don't Be Yourself, Be Like your Mother.

I’m constantly fighting a battle that can’t be won. Don’t expect people to have the same heart as you do. I take most things personally, unfortunately I can't seem to help that. I think its because we all want to be loved, but I've always spent so much time trying to force that love instead of learning and understanding when it's time to move on. I get so upset by the actions of other people, that I have to consciously remind myself about my mother. A selfless woman who gives and gives without expecting anything in return, from anyone. She does it because of her heart, and she reminds me to not close that off - what makes me, well me. I can’t change other people, I can only focus on making myself the best version of Amanda, and that can only happen day by day.

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13 Reasons Why gave me all types of feels. Primarily because I lost my best friend to suicide. Unlike those kids, my questions and thoughts were left unanswered. You can say I blamed myself, maybe I even still do. There was no note, no tape. No reasons why, at least to my dismay. However, the show really made me reflect on my own life, mind and body. You never really know what's going on in a person's life, or better yet inside their mind. It takes nothing to ask, and it takes nothing to be kind. Instead of slut shaming women, we should be praising our fellow woman for all that she is and all that she has the potential to be. Maybe that's the problem, instead helping these young women feel loved, we demean and degrade them in order to build another man's ego. I shouldn't feel self conscious to post this, yet I am because of the society we have been raised in. But contrary to popular belief, my body does not need your approval. It only needs mine. A major shoutout to Linda for always making me feel beautiful.