In this interview with the photographer Ryan Fallon I asked: ” What is your favorite subject for your photography ?” And Ryan’s answer was , ” I love beauty”.
So, I finally made it to Florida! Let’s rewind a little bit and tell you the story of how I eventually made it to the sunshine state. I was born and raised in Upstate, NY. My parents divorced early in my life. My mother was a middle school teacher so much of my time was spent with my Italian grandparents. Growing up, I would take the school bus to their house and wait for my mother to pick me up. I can still remember playing with Legos and Matchbox cars on the living room carpet or listening to oldies on the radio as my grandmother would sew. My grandparents taught me the meaning of respect and the importance of family. I loved my grandmother’s cooking and she would always give me seconds during dinner. My grandfather would often moan and groan. He would say that I was her pet and he was right. At the age of three, I was diagnosed with a precancerous mole and required surgery. I was left with an eighty-one stitch scar and had to wear what looked like an astronaut helmet for a week. During my stay in the hospital, my mother slept every night in a chair next to my bed. She always made sure I was taken care of and felt safe. Growing up I was a shy child. Kids would often pick on me because of my scar and call me names. We always had dogs as pets in our family. Their unconditional love and caring was a great source of comfort for me and got me through many tough times. After college, I struggled to find my purpose in life. I applied to become a New York State Trooper but was denied. I worked at a car dealership for three months but I learned quickly that sales just wasn’t for me. I then started working at an afterschool program for children with developmental disabilities. It was this job that made me feel like I was making a difference in the world and in the lives of these children. I quickly advanced and took an office job as a Medicaid Service Coordinator. After a few years, I then took another promotion as a Residential Manager of two group homes. Soon after, unfortunately, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. I can still remember sitting next to her in the hospital when she told me. This news was devastating to me. I struggled with this diagnosis for weeks. My mother was my rock and I could always turn to her when I needed help. She fought for over a year going to various doctors and enduring round after round of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. She was down in Florida when she called me. She told me that cancer had spread to her brain and that she only had five weeks to live. I went numb and started to cry. She insisted that it would be alright and the last thing she told me was how proud of me she was. That was the last time I spoke with her. She was unable to speak the next day and passed away a week later. Her death pushed me to find my true passion in life, photography. I spent the next few years immersing myself in anything that had to do with photography. I watched hours of Youtube videos, attended countless workshops and read every magazine I could find. After attending a few shootouts in New Jersey, I was approached by the Paul, the man running the shootouts. He was so impressed with my work that he wanted me to assist in future shootouts. This was such an honor because I was able to work with an amazing fashion photographer, Stephen Eastwood. From this experience, I was able to network and work on a few commercial and fashion shoots in New York City as well as continue to build my portfolio shooting models.
As my photography improved, I quickly realized that if I wanted to be even more successful I would have to move to a bigger. I loved NYC but I preferred somewhere much warmer. Florida was a perfect choice as I would come down and spend spring break vacations with my grandparents as a kid. Unfortunately, life had a different plan for me.
As I was planning my move, my grandmother became ill and I had to move in with her and take care of her. My family was always the most important thing to me so I didn’t hesitate to make this sacrifice for her as she made so many for me. Living with her was full of many challenges but I cherished every moment of it. After six months, my grandmother passed away in her sleep as I sat beside her. A flood of emotion came over me as I realized at that moment that it was time to start the next chapter of my life. Fast forward to today and here I am, in sunny Florida!
I’m always looking to work with new makeup artists, stylists and designers who share my passion for creating something great. Contact me if you would like to work together or have any questions
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