I want to thank these strong, beautiful women for their willingness to model for my website and for their belief in the jewelry and it’s purpose. Every person has a story to tell and I hope you will take a little time to read these women’s stories that they have so graciously shared.
Body Image Activist, Writer & Artist
I’ve been a body image activist for the past 8 years and often use my body as a political vessel and canvas for my work. In 2015 I stripped down to a black bikini and blindfolded myself with a sign and markers in a farmers market in downtown Boise in the name of radical self-acceptance. a video of the performance, along with a blog post I wrote, went viral (to the tune of over 200 million views to date!). My work and voice as a fat feminist mother gained international attention and I’m honored to continue fighting for self-love and body positivity as a writer, artist, public speaker, educator and founder of RADCAMP: A Body Positive Boot Camp for Feminists & Feminist Teens.
I believe in the power of women and girls to ignite real radical change by using the most important parts of our bodies – our hearts, minds, and voices. I’m honored to be part of the revolution of those speaking out and standing up with love.
Be brave. Be rebellious. Be yourself. There may be nothing more courageous. www.amypencebrown.com
Abuse and Cancer Survivor, Single Mom
Born Native American, my story started at a Mexican orphanage. Although I was adopted at 18 months old, the Mexican government decided my adoption was not legal and deported me back to Mexico when I was just two. I was eventually adopted by white parents and became a U.S. citizen at age five. My life has taken me down many paths and through many challenges, but today I have 8 years in sobriety and have achieved many of my life’s goals. I have earned my AAS in Business, raised a good son, continue to work full time while attending BSU, and I am a chief judge for the Ada County Elections. All of this has been possible through hard work, family, and sobriety. Life for me used to be about survival. I’ve survived abandonment, domestic abuse that put me in the hospital for 10 days, alcoholism, and cervical cancer. Through it all, I’ve found that not only can I survive — I can thrive! I continually work on bringing positivity into my life, and today I am happy, I am sober, and I am becoming the woman my God wants me to be.
Refugee, Activist, Single Mom
Asmaa and her two sons came to America three years ago and were the first Syrian refugees in Idaho. She is the epitome of a strong, brave, and kind woman. She didn’t want to leave Syria, but after her husband was killed in the war, she courageously made the decision to leave her parents and her Syrian life to keep herself and her sons safe. As a Syrian housewife she had a craving to learn English and taught herself the language while secretly watching American movies in her bathroom. She considered herself very lucky to get the opportunity to come to America. “there is a huge love between me and this culture. But I never expect I will someday be here”. After a short time in America though, she quickly learned about the stereotypes and fear of muslim refugees that some Americans possess. It is important to her to challenge these misunderstandings with patience and kindness. “sometimes, even if people look at me in a strange way, I keep smiling… I never keep not smiling. This is my goal: I have to educate people; I have to let people know what is Syria, and I have to let people to love what is Syria – as I love united states”. Syrian housewives have few liberties or freedoms to express their opinions or to stand up for what they believe in, it is not allowed. So when Asmaa got the opportunity to speak at the Women’s March last January, it was very empowering for her. She found this freedom of expression and speech to be emboldening and exciting. Although she will always have a love for Syria, she feels this is who she is and who she was meant to be. Asmaa came to this country with only $10 in her pocket, but now works full time as a case manager for other refugees helping them adjust to the American culture. “I need to be part of Americans who help others in need. I don’t want to be the ‘others who need’. I want to be the people who build the country and be part of the helpful citizen”.
Student, Speaker, Pacific Youth of the Year for Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Growing up was tough for me – like it is for most of us, right? I grew up never having two parents at the same time. I lived in homeless shelters, foster homes, sometimes in cars and sometimes with strangers. My mother and father were both drug users at some point, and that led to a childhood filled with traumatic abuse. I spent my teenage years questioning whether or not I wanted to live, and I struggled deeply with eating disorders and self-harm. My childhood did not set the stage for success, but I have always been a fighter.
Eventually, I was given a platform to share my story and use it for good. I have spoken at events and conferences around the country, and have worked with different organizations to promote leadership and healthy lifestyles among teens. My greatest passions lie in helping teens find a positive path for their life and empowering young girls to reach their fullest potential. I am a champion of women, and a firm believer in the power of a story. Amongst all of the hurts and heartaches in life, I feel as though there is nothing more important than to be unashamed to share our experiences with
one another and to remember that we define ourselves, and we write our own stories.
Dearest reader, know within yourself that you are always loved but never alone. You are not your body or the fame you
acquire. You are not the hate that’s been dealt to you. You are not your past or the childhood you were given. You are the
lessons you’ve learned and the lifestyle you choose to live. We are a product of our passions and the things we do for
others; not the things that have been done to us. Be boldly and uniquely you. There is nothing more beautiful than that.
I am 17 years old and a student in Boise, Idaho. I am actively involved in the community and co-own a student run organization called People for Unity. Our goal is to spark intergenerational connections and promote civil rights for all. We promote this through peaceful action such as: marches, rallies, and meetings. I have had the great honor of putting on the Women’s March on Idaho as well as many other events. In all the years I have been involved in the community, I haven’t been able to vote, but I haven’t let that stop me. I love to get students of all ages involved in their local government. I have a love for Idaho, and a passion for politics and equality. My goal is to bring these two things together in order to make Idaho the best it can be. In addition to my activism, I also run my own custom dress making business that I created after learning how to sew two years ago.
I joined the United States Air Force in 1993 and am one of the first women to become a survival instructor and interrogator. It was very difficult having to prove my worth and skills and I was challenged beyond words. I wanted to quit, I wanted out, it was too hard. But I persevered and after five tours overseas I retired as a Combat vet with 20 years under my belt. Being a soldier takes dedication and sacrifice. As a mom I missed many birthdays and first steps but I believe my kids respect me and will hopefully follow in my footsteps. Be true to you… take the risk… empower others. I showed the nation that women can be exceptional and inspirational. Now it’s your turn!!
Actress, Writer, Masseuse, Cancer Warrior
I have a super amazing life doing exactly what I love the most: acting, writing, thai massage and dancing as often as I can. My schedule and time are mine and the flow changes day to day. I taught yoga for 15 years and then got to a point where it no longer felt like the thing to do and I followed that impulse and stopped teaching. Immediately in letting that go, it made room for more acting and writing work to come my way. I am learning to find the balance of being proactive and trusting the free fall. I have no spouse, no house, no savings, no retirement and no idea what the future holds for me and I am totally fine with that.. My cancertastic adventures have blown open new doors, shifted perspectives and priorities. As a woman in my fifties, I have never felt younger, healthier or more vibrant. I am always interested in the unexpected discovery, and I love the fullness of quiet. The expansive potential in the pause between the breaths is my favorite thing, next to my daughter Lily. I am quick to laugh, to be delighted, to say what is on my mind. I think being alive on this planet as a human is the greatest thing ever and not for the faint of heart.
Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, Mother of Five, Living with Parkinson’s
I own and manage Piece Unique Clothing Co., Est. 1997. It was 37 years ago when I purchased my first boutique at the age of 21. Without much planning, my new adventure seemed natural after watching my mom run her own business for many years, although very soon I began to understand how much time, hard work, and heart my mom had put into being self employed. Throughout the years I have found it necessary to re-create myself personally and in business in order to adjust to the economy and struggles that come with running a business. One of my favorite quotes is by Rachel Zoe: ” Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak”. Being an entrepreneur has given me many opportunities to help women feel and look their best and because of our consignment loft we are also able to make it affordable. I am grateful to be able to give back to my community by supporting local causes thru fashion shows, fundraisers, and donations, and entrepreneurship has also given me the flexibility to raise 5 beautiful humans.
Social Worker, Activist
I have been an advocate for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault for a very long time. I advocate for a society where women are safe, empowered, and free from abuse. My passion started when I was young – when I recognized the inequalities that women have – when I recognized the abuse women endure every day and asked myself why? Why do we live in a society where women are less? Why do we live in a society that normalizes abuse towards women? I knew then that I would dedicate my life to end abuse and work towards equality, empowerment, safety, and freedom for women. I knew that in order to be a real champion I’d have to work to understand, listen and be a voice for so many that have had their voice taken away. I am a Social Worker at a local domestic abuse and sexual assault agency in Boise, was one of the organizers of the Women’s March on Idaho, am a volunteer for Planned Parenthood and a member of People for Unity. When I’m not working I love spending time with my friends and family, backpacking, cross-country skiing, cooking and up-cycling. As a social worker, human rights and women’s rights activist, feminist, advocate, wife, daughter, and sister, I feel like now more than ever we need to come together to make the change we want to see. We need to speak out for what we believe in and never go silent.
Chef, Entrepreneur, Single Mom
While growing up in Maryland, I was surrounded by strong, female family role models. My mother worked two jobs to make ends meet as a single parent, including operating a travel agency from her home, and My aunt and cousin both owned their own businesses. I always knew that I, too, would become an entrepreneur when I grew up. Cooking came naturally to me early on and I liked experimenting with recipes using my god-given talent. I ended up marrying a serviceman, and opened my own bakery that I operated until 2003 when I decided to take nursing classes at NNU. However, a divorce, mortgage payments, and the responsibilities of raising a child prevented me from completing my degree. So I decided to go back to my love of cooking and open a food truck and catering business. I knew that being a single-parent business owner would be hard, but I decided to take a courageous leap and pursue my Brown Shuga Soul Food concept. My business is a family affair, with my parents and son working as employees to keep up with the demand. The pride of being the mistress of my own destiny, and the enjoyment of making people happy with good food keep me going through long work days. My culinary business has provided me many opportunities, including appearances on local tv shows, being selected to participate in the Idaho Food Bank’s premier fundraiser “A Chef’s Affaire”, and partaking in the Soul Food Extravaganza – one of the longest running soul food festivals in America. In addition to my food business, I enjoy taking care of people as a CNA, and my mom and I have decided to take another leap of faith to open a home for young females that age out of the foster system. Judas House will provide them housing, food, clothing, job training, and education as they transition to an independent adult life.