Stephanie and I grew up in the same small town in Wyoming. I never really talked to her while growing up, but I knew of her. It wasn’t until we connected many years, later on, Facebook, as friends, that she and I talked about her work. I love art of all kinds and enjoyed her photography for its vivid use of blues and the way it captured seemingly natural objects and slathered them in an intense and sexy aura. Though I have never met Stephanie in person, I think that the hip and edgy work that she is doing should be known by everyone.
The few times that I spoke with Stephanie, I enjoyed her curious and often philosophical mind. When asked what she is passionate about she said, “I am a curious person by nature, I’m interested and passionate about 75 things at a time. Theosophy, art, photography, medicine, science, biology, astronomy, oceanography, cinema, literature….. What NOT?”
Currently, you can see more of her work, by clicking on the social media links below. Stephanie says, “I’m a terrible self-promoter, in a way. I’m a photographer and I like to think that speaks for itself. But that is the idealistic Aquarius in me. I have some weddings I’m shooting this summer, and a few concept photo shoots I’m working on….”
When asked what she is most proud of she said, “My children have grown to be good, decent, wonderfully passionate people. Isn’t that the reply that one usually expects? In this case, it is true. They have all three overcome great oppression, emotional and some physical trauma/abuses, and a myriad other successes, failures, experiences, disappointments and victories that have shaped them into the beautiful people they are.”
I really think the story she shared when I asked what people should know about her tells a lot about her character. She shared, “I’m not sure what people SHOULD know about me. I often struggle with WHY people would WANT to know anything about me, and if so, what exactly would it be? My favorite color? If I was an animal, what would I be? That can’t be it. I’m vain. I’m intense. I’m funny. I’m sarcastic but not mean. I’m smart but often doubt myself. I have strong faith but question everything. I’m deeply sentimental and an idealistic romantic deep down, while on the surface I remain aloof. I’m like a cat. I’ll love you. But not on YOUR terms. Don’t make me sit in your lap. I’ll come to your lap when I’m ready. And when I’m ready to go I will. When you have my attention, you have all of it. But it might not last forever. That about sums it up. I almost hate the word, survivor. It’s been over-used to the point that it is almost meaningless. Instead of saying that I survived, I will say that after 19 years in an emotionally, physically, religiously, and mentally abusive marriage, I found the courage to escape it with my children. Not without wounds and certainly not without scars. My eldest daughter who was 16 at the time gave her edict a year before I mustered the bravery to get out and said: “You’ll never leave because you’re too weak. But if you do, don’t you leave me here with him.” Those were the words that lit the fire. A year later we had our Exodus.”
Hopefully, the above story will give someone else the strength to leave a similar situation, and save their lives and maybe their children’s lives. AND, then follow their dreams.
What advice would you give the teenage you?
Think for yourself.
One word to describe politics?
It often brings out the worst in people….
Name a place you would like to visit?
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
If you could be any profession at all, what would it be?
Full time journalistic or high-fashion photographer… wildlife photographer. Did I say, photographer?
How important is music in your life?
I listen to music every day. Nearly all day long. It is a link; a bond; a trigger; a heartbreak; a moment…an eternity; it is everything and nothing. As CS LEWIS said, art, (like friendship) is not necessary to man’s survival, as food or water, but it makes life WORTH surviving.
If you could afford any type of clothing, which fashion designer would you wear?
Calvin Klein. My lifelong favorite designer. Simple. Clean. Sleek. Classic.
Give money to the beggar on the street or tell them to “Get a job!” Which one are you?
Do you have a nickname? How’d you get it?
Stevi. My dad. It’s, of course, some diminution of Stephanie, however, my mother thought she was having a boy and had already named me in utero; Stephen Shay. Stevi could be derived from this?
What is one attribute you got from your Dad? How has it been a benefit to your life?
Curiosity and hunger for new experiences, new knowledge, new relationships. It is sometimes a benefit, and sometimes a hazard.
Do you prefer to vacation with the locals or all-inclusive resort.
I have never been to an all-inclusive resort. i wouldn’t reject it. But the genuine experience of trying on the local “garb” so to speak seems much more interesting.
What is a question you would ask the next interviewee?
Are you being completely honest during this interview?
Do you believe in Aliens?
I believe in supernatural (supernatural in the literal sense: outside, or above nature) beings. Call them aliens if you wish.
Three songs on your funeral playlist?
Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. Mozart’s Musical Joke. That’s only two I realize. That’s enough.
There are so many!!! Clint Eastwood. Jude Law. Billy Idol. Tom Hardy. Gregory Peck. The list is just so long….
What is the coolest thing you ever won?
The Junior Miss Scholarship Pageant. I was a contestant on a dare. Won the main title and three other awards, which included scholarship money. Went on to the state level and won scholarship money there, as well. Freak-accident to be sure!
What is your favorite accent?
Have you ever cried when a celebrity died?
Besides being yourself, what is one thing you do better than anyone else?
What is your horoscope sign? Do you feel it fits you?
What was the first album, cd, download you owned?
Depeche Mode; Some Great Reward
Have you ever seen a ghost?
I have seen both the beatific and demonic. Eyes wide open. Perfectly lucid.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
How much money do you think is enough?
Whatever I have today is enough.
What is your favorite time period?
Do you think we can achieve world peace?
What do you think is the key to a healthy relationship?
Say what you mean. Mean what you say.
If you won the lottery what 3 things would you do first
pay off any debt my parents and children have and gift them with extra $$$. Buy a Porsche 911 Carrera. Let’s be honest.
Do you have any strange fears or phobias?
Spiders. That’s not so strange.
Do you believe in soul mates? What does this mean to you?
Yes. Whether once together and now apart, or “forever” together, the soul is eternally, irrevocably linked cosmically. Regardless of circumstances…. I can’t explain it any other way. And certainly not concisely.
How big of a house is enough?
The one that keeps you warm and safe.
Have you ever thought of killing yourself?
What do you think drives violence in this world?
Fear. Jealousy. Pride.
Do you think slaughterhouse animals feel pain? What do you think they are thinking when they are being slaughtered?
I believe all animals feel pain. I’m not sure animals are equipped with an “ego” that says “THIS IS ME. THIS IS WHAT I FEEL. THIS IS WHO I AM, THIS IS HOW I’M BEING PUNISHED, AFFECTED,” etc. I definitely think they feel pain, and their instinct is to get away from the pain. Reasoning through that pain? I just don’t know.
What’s the longest road trip you have ever taken?
Orlando, Florida to Wheatland, Wyoming
What is a myth that you think might be true?
UFOs. Not sure that’s a myth, per se. If you’re referring to GREEK myths…well gee. ALL OF THEM!
What is the scariest thing about growing old?
Not being able to think clearly, reason, remember. Not being able to recognize love. People. Failing in both mind and body.