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Conversations with the Inspiring Samantha Paige

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Paige.

Samantha, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at age 21, and subsequently the BRCA 1 genetic mutation. I spent the majority of my 20s in and out of emergency rooms, and facing crippling PTSD, chronic migraines, and debilitating panic attacks. I found myself outsourcing my well-being to all the ways society told me I would find happiness, success and security. I was ticking off boxes and then realized that I had become a stranger in my own life. All the degrees, jobs and even relationships had not brought me peace or authentic connection within myself.

Following the birth of my daughter in 2007, I began taking steps forward in my life, undergoing a preventive double mastectomy with breast reconstruction and seeking help to unravel years of trauma. Thus began a period of “last cuts,” or significant life changes, to create a life that felt more like my own. I eventually closed my jewelry business, got a divorce, moved and made other significant changes.

In 2016, desiring to feel even more at home with my body and self, regardless of the aesthetic outcome, I elected to “go flat” and remove the silicone implants I’d elected with the earlier mastectomy. With my explant surgery, I decided to be vocal about that choice. In that moment, Last Cut Project was born with my sharing my story through vulnerable, raw writing and photographer Lisa Field’s intimate, connected photography. After a few months, I realized that my explant- a literal last cut- was the perfect metaphor for something we are all doing all the time. If we are paying attention to how we want to navigate life, there are constantly choices to make that create greater congruency between our inner and outer worlds. From there, I started a podcast, Last Cut Conversations, to interview others about these pivotal moments in their lives, and wrote my first book, LAST CUT, which outlines a framework for living in line with our authentic self through seven universal steps. The reality is that these last cuts are ongoing. There is never one last cut. It is a process.

Last Cut Project’s mission is to shatter stereotypes and create a new paradigm for individual potential and growth. We now have a Storyteller’s Platform that highlights and amplifies the real, raw stories of anyone open to bravely share their truth.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has not always been smooth or direct to this period in my life where I finally feel like an authentic and accurate iteration of self. I certainly fell into the trap of looking outside of myself for direction and guidance in both my health story and personal choices for years. It can be far too easy to look outside ourselves and see what other people are doing in life. Yet, I discovered over and over again that formula is a recipe for disconnect, stress and often pain. I said “yes” to a lot of things in my life when I should have said “no,” and vice versa. What I learned is that I would prefer to make challenging decisions upfront that align with who I am. In the long run, that effort is worth it rather than having to back out of choices that I knew were not right for myself, but were lined up with what others thought or projected onto me. This is so much of what I speak to in LAST CUT, the book. What do we need to do to continue to make choices that celebrate who we are instead of who we think we should be? We all, especially women, should be taught from childhood to trust our own knowing of ourselves. Like anything else, this way of being takes practice.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Last Cut Project story. Tell us more about the business.
Last Cut Project is a supportive community for radical truth-telling. I was called to share my personal story publicly in a very open and raw fashion. When I modeled topless, baring my mastectomy scars, in Equinox’s 2017 “Commit to Something” campaign, I made the statement that there is no shame in showing up in the world as we truly are. In my writing, podcast interviewing and public speaking, I always seek to show up in that same fashion. That type of storytelling is now embraced in the Last Cut Project space. We are a platform where anyone and everyone can share their story safely and with pride. Our ongoing goal is to amplify the voices and stories of all. Anyone can come to our website and share their last cut story. No filters. No judgment.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
My daughter continues to be one of my greatest inspirations in life. Her birth literally helped me regain trust in my body after years of doubt and pain after my thyroid cancer diagnosis. I had late-onset preeclampsia the day I went into labor with her. Even though the doctors wanted me to have a C-section, I somehow intuitively knew that was not necessary. In bringing her into the world, I found a confidence in my body that I thought I had lost. From that day forward, I have been inspired to show her, and the world, my truest, bravest self.

I am also inspired by other artists and writers who choose to share their raw truth. Patti Smith, Zoë Buckman, Rebecca Woolf, Monique Mitchell, Beyoncé, FKA Twigs, to name a few. My friend, Yuri Angela Chung, who we lost to breast cancer in 2018, was a huge inspiration to me with her honest telling of her experience in a body that presented ongoing challenges.

Pricing:

  • LAST CUT Book, $28.95
  • LAST CUT Workbook, $12

Contact Info:

  • Address: 11271 Ventura Blvd #130
    Studio City, CA 91604
  • Website: https://lastcutproject.com
  • Email: hello@lastcutproject.com
  • Instagram: lastcutproject
  • Facebook: lastcutproject
  • Twitter: lastcutproject

Image Credit:
Lisa Field for Last Cut Project

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