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Conversations with the Inspiring Laura Pavlakovich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Pavlakovich.

Laura, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have lived with type one diabetes nearly all my life. I completed a photojournalism program after high school that led me to live in 8 different countries! The program was based on injustice poverty and allowed me to instantly realize that I wanted to take photos that would make a difference for the rest of my life.

It wasn’t until I met the mother of a newly diagnosed young type one, that I figured out I could merge my passion for photography with her lifelong disease.

It didn’t take long for me to find You’re Just My Type – a non-profit designed to connect people all sharing the same highs, lows, victories, and struggles – no matter what side of the world they may live on.

I set out to photograph as many other type one diabetics as I could and share their stories – to break down stigmas, spread awareness, and put a face to this invisible disease.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think I quite realized what I was taking on when founding a non-profit at 24. All I wanted to do was be able to get to every type 1 diabetic that wanted to share their story and I knew to become a 501c3 was my best shot. I remember there were times, I was so completely overwhelmed with paperwork, scheduling, and forms that seemed as though they were written in a different language. I have reminded on multiple occasions that, “If starting a non-profit were easy, everybody would be doing it.”

I would sit on my ideas for so long without taking action. I would scour the internet looking for similar projects like the one I had an idea for and make up every excuse why I shouldn’t even bother.

But the truth was – there was nothing like my idea out there and I finally convinced myself enough that if I wanted to see photos of type 1 diabetics, rather than statistics – I would need to take them myself.

My advice to fellow women who are just starting their journey would be to stop comparing to yourself to others, stop taking bad advice from people who don’t want to see you succeed and pave your own path.

What should we know about You’re Just My Type? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Maybe, you follow the incredible account Humans of New York. If so, that’s the best way I can describe what I do (and if you don’t you should look it up right now because it is an incredible project featuring strangers in NYC). It’s Humans of New York meets Type 1 Diabetics.

Everybody who gets featured on my page gets asked the same 4 questions. It is so incredible to see the vast similarities and differences in what everyone who is living with the same disease has experienced.

If the person lives in/near LA, we set up a time to meet, so I can get to know them in person and take their portrait before putting up their photo and story on my page.

Very quickly, people started reaching out to be featured from not only all over the country, but all over the world.

I’ve been very fortunate to receive sponsorships from companies in the past that saw the need for what I was doing and would fund trips for me to visit these new cities and be able to photograph the eager storytellers with type 1 diabetes there.

I have since made You’re Just My Type facebook groups for each state, giving people a place of community, bringing light to a support group in their area that they might not have known existed. Seeing the people in these groups plan their own meetups has been the most rewarding thing for me to witness.

I feel so lucky to get to speak on panels around the country, meet such incredible people who share the same condition as me, and feel like I am making a difference in the community.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Laura Pavlakovich

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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