BEYOND THE CAMERA

 A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME

I go by many names that come with a hat of their own . . . wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, designer, photographer, actor, model, producer, writer, organizer, visionary, adventurer, dreamer, world traveler . . . I've worked as a waitress, clothing store rep, billing coordinator, realtor, event planner, graphic designer, photographer, at-risk youth leader, volunteer coordinator . . . and the list goes on but so do the learning experiences!

 

I was born and raised in the Midwest but after my first volunteer trip overseas at the impressionable age of 15, my life changed.  My roots were in the St. Louis area but my heart longed to be abroad.

 

After my sixth grade teacher couldn't remember my name at a parent teacher conference, I figured it was time to move on . . . and attend school somewhere "where everybody knows your name" (loved that show!). I graduated from a very small private school where you literally knew everyone by name - and when I mean everyone   - that included students from Kindergarten through twelve grade in one building!  

 

I dabbled in acting and modeling as a young teen but didn't stick with it long.  I took some classes and acted in a couple small school productions but still thought I wanted to sing as a career. Along with lots of music classes, I took a large amount of film and acting electives to fill my roster. Then during a short one-year stint at Greenville College, I met my husband and changed my major.  Neither of which I planned to do.  Fast forward . . . 

 

Over fifteen years of marriage and two kids later (I'm happily out-numbered for life with all these boys in the house), we have an exciting life that I wouldn't change for the world. 

 

I decided around age 25 to get back into the entertainment industry and to my surprise, I loved it!  In fact, I loved it more than I ever enjoyed singing.  One of my first commercials I shot was with my two boys.  My dream for a daughter came true on set that day . . . my youngest, who was only two months old at the time, was dressed in a pink onsie and named "Maggie." Great footage to use at his high school graduation or wedding.

 

In 2006, I started my own business, Under The Tree Designs, offering graphic and web design and event producing . . .  and discovered my love of photojournalism. This hidden soul-feeding talent is a passion and allows me the opportunity to give back by documenting the work of nonprofits around the world every year. The money I make in the entertainment industry many times funds these trips to provide pro bono photojournalism to ministries and organizations . . . thus providing them with professional images to tell their story and further their cause.  My travels have taken me to over 15 countries like Romania, Hungary, India, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Tunisia, Dominican Republic, Jordan and Uganda. 

Over the years, Under The Tree Designs slowly changed as did my love of acting. My focus shifted from a hobby-like mentality to a career. And, I stepped away from design work to help others with branding and producing, casting and directing for film/TV/in-house projects.

 

I love to tell stories! To draw people into new perspectives. To show beauty in brokenness. To find relatable traits of a character.

 

I'm always excited to see what door opens next and am anxiously pursuing new opportunities. Whether it's a new role, a challenging character or a new culture to photograph.  I'm ready for the next adventure on either side of the camera!

 

 

FUN FACTS

 A LITTLE BIT more ABOUT ME
  • I graduated high school one year early.

 

  • My tongue is long enough to touch the middle of my nose.

 

  • I assisted the Secret Service for one day when Vice President Cheney visited my workplace (ministry) in St. Louis.

 

  • I've had dinner with a superbowl champion and his family many times.

 

  • I've lived in three countries by myself since age seventeen.

 

  • I've visited thirteen different countries outside the United States.

 

  • I paid for the first two years in college by waitressing at Tippins Pie and Restaurant.

 

  • I have three degrees:  Associates in Broadcasting and Communication, Bachelors in Media Communication and Masters in Media Communication with an emphasis in Public Relations.

 

  • I've eaten alligator, cow tongue and goose fat but passed when offered grasshoppers and flying ants in Africa.

 

  • When I was younger I wanted to be an astronaut . . . then a fashion designer . . . and then a singer which I pursued for a couple years in college and then changed the focus to the communication field.

 

  • My husband has been mistaken for my brother and my little (yet taller) brother mistaken for my husband.  

 

  • I love mint chip ice cream, New York pizza, goat cheese and fresh fruit (but not all together at once).

 

  • I'm the only person in my family that will ride roller coasters.  

 

  • I was treated in a Uganda hospital and while waiting for an EKG, a rat ran past my chair.  I never even flinched...just smiled.

 

  • I love to parasail, kayak and drive ATVs.

 

  •  I played one year of basketball, many years of volleyball and was a cheerleader in jr/sr high.

 

  • Because none of my girl friends liked action movies, I would go to theaters alone to watch movies like Saving Private Ryan and sometimes was the only female in the room.  

 

  • I've been told that I laugh in my sleep.  

 

  • A friend and I were once left behind at night and walked along a dark road on a Romanian mountain with only the moonlight guiding us . . . and a handsome young man who did't speak a lick of English.

 

BEHIND-THE-CAMERA:

PAST PERSONAL BLOG: