Welcome to Friday’s Featured Female!
This weekly series features inspirational stories from admirable women. IMHO, it’s always good to be reminded of how strength, determination, hard work, heart and ingenuity can impact the quality of one’s life and I’m proud that these women will allow me to share their stories here.
Today I have the extreme pleasure of featuring Amanda Joy (AJ) Feuerman@ConfessionsOfAFatGirl on the blog today. Even though I met AJ (for like a minute) not long after I moved to LA, it was only via social media that I got the chance to learn of this woman’s quick wit, dedication to music and overall love of pop culture. AJ also shares a bit of my bicoastal affinity (as you’ll soon find out).
AJ is a master with words (both written and spoken as I learned when we roomed together at the Women Get Social conference) and her ability to communicate, educate and make you laugh at the same time is something that is rare in a person who also has a great heart. I’ve really come to look forward to any and every interaction I can have with this woman and so will you!
Sooooo, have you met AJ?
Oh goodness, where do I begin?
When Melissa honored me as “Friday’s Featured Female,” I was immediately flattered. Melissa is a bright, witty, sharp-as-a-tack broad who is pretty selective about whom she calls “friend,” so I do not take that role lightly. And so while I am proud to be featured, the pressure builds…. What story of achievement or struggle can I share with you?
Well, I guess the biggest story I could tell is about how I got where I am. (The short version – otherwise Melissa will never have me back.) MB note: I’ll have you back anytime you want!
Most of my friends from high school went to college in California. Southern California, in fact. But I moved to Tucson to study musical theater and media arts. It was only lonely at first – I made incredible friends there; friends I still have now and still love a lot.
Too many late night study sessions in Arizona.
Then at the age of 19 I had a mini life crisis. After much debate and emotional turmoil over leaving my little Wildcat family, I transferred to NYU from the University of Arizona because I’d miraculously been accepted into the Tisch School’s screenwriting program (at the time they took 20 or so freshman a year + 3-4 transfers). I was living a dream. I was going to one of the top film schools in the country and someday, I was going to be directing, writing, producing… All my life, all I’d wanted was to work in “the biz” and this was going to get me there.
My Tisch Grad Ceremony at NYC
But no. I graduated in 2001 and crisis set in again. Did I really want to live the life of a struggling artist? Did I want to start my adulthood out facing a parade of rejections? Trying to get just a toe in the door of some production company or agency where I’d undoubtedly have to start in the mailroom making crappy money over 60 hours a week?
I didn’t. But now what?
To be clear, I will never ever regret the time I spent at NYU or the time I spent trying to find myself after. Everything happens for a reason and perhaps if I’d not walked that path, I would not have ended up moving back to LA to find myself and then, later on, enroll in graduate school at USC to study communications. Perhaps I would not be a publicist or blogger now. Perhaps I wouldn’t love to write as much as I do. I certainly would not have met many friends I still have in my life today.
If I look a little silly it’s because I’m wearing 19 layers of clothes in 99 degree weather.
When I think back on it all casually, it seems pretty normal to me. I went to college, I graduated, I got a job… I don’t give myself much credit for any of it. But now, writing it out, I realize how brave I was time and time again. Leaving home for Arizona, only to leave my life there for Manhattan and then coming back to LA where I essentially had to start over. Making the decision to go back to school and changing career paths in the process. In a way, I’ve changed my life half a dozen times.
And who knows, I may not be done doing that yet. But at this point I know I’ve got a good head on my shoulders and that everything always turns out the way it’s supposed to. I really believe that.
To connect with AJ, you can find her at the following social media outlets:
What would you tell your college self, if you could?