Today we’d like to introduce you to Shay-Lynn.
Shay-Lynn, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Well, it all started when I was about five. My earliest memory is being in a leotard and a tutu in a small play. I can not remember the name of the play or what it was about but I do remember being really happy and proud of myself for being on stage and saying my one line correctly. It was the best!! From then on, I was involved in theatre as much as possible.
I would walk to the church across the street from my school to rehearse or audition and as I got older, I realized that there was nothing I wanted more than to have a career in the arts. My parents thought I would grow out of it like my sister but when I didn’t, they supported me through everything. They drove me around to my rehearsals, came to all my shows, and helped me find schools to apply to after high school. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without them.
As high school graduation loomed, I was desperately trying to find a school with a good theatre program. One day I got a letter from AMDA saying that they wanted me to go to their school. I had no idea who they were or how they got my name but I took their invitation to heart and when I looked them up, I knew I had to go to this school. I came down to LA, auditioned and waited for my acceptance letter. It came in February and my future was sealed. It was the only school I applied to.
My journey through college was honestly the best and worst experience I’ve ever had! I learned so much about myself, found life-long friends and discovered new interests like songwriting and photography. I also had to go through heartbreak, depression, and thoughts of giving up to get everything I have. I wouldn’t change anything about my experience there, it was the turning point in my life.
Now I have a photography business that I’m getting off the ground, a bunch of good friends, and amazing opportunities around every corner.
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?
Oh, God no! I had to struggle a lot to be who I am now. I had a lot of insecurities and emotional scars from being bullied as a child. I felt like no one truly cared for me and contemplated running away a lot. I even had suicidal thoughts when I was in middle school. I’m very happy to say that I worked very hard for years to deal with those thoughts and insecurities and I’m much better now.
I also suffered from emotional and mental abuse and depression while I was in college. While studying in New York I was in a relationship and it was only after we broke up and I left that I realized that I had been stuck in an abusive relationship. I was depressed for a few months and was spiraling but luckily my school had a counselor/therapist and while I didn’t see him for very long he helped me out with some of my issues and gave me the tools to work on the rest by myself.
I dealt with issues of not feeling good enough, putting myself down when I wasn’t perfect, and afraid of looking stupid. I had to work hard to overcome those issues and if I’m being honest, I’m still struggling. But I won’t let my issues keep me from doing what I love.
Alright – so let’s talk business. What else should we know about you and your career so far?
Well, my business is called Shay-Lynn Photos and I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished. I turned an idea that I had into a reality in less than a year. All of my photos are taken with my phone and every time I do a shoot with someone, I make sure that they feel comfortable and safe, especially right now. I apply social distancing, I wear a mask at all times, and my models only take off their mask when there is no one around.
I also try to make sure they feel good about themselves. Sometimes I’ll play music and tell them to dance and just let loose because that’s the best way to help them relax. I usually discard those pictures but sometimes I’ll get one lucky shot that is candid and beautiful and those are the moments that I love to bring to light.
I started mostly taking pictures of nature and posting them on Instagram but felt encouraged to do more when I got a lot of positive feedback from my peers. All I want is to make people feel beautiful and comfortable in their own skin. I struggled with feeling pretty in photos so I try not to make others feel like I did.
I’m also an aspiring actress and am always looking for the next job. I was in an original musical back in February called Silver Bullet. It was about a young soldier who comes back from war suffering from PTSD. It was a very fun experience and a pleasure to work on such a project. I’m also currently involved in the making of an 8 episode web series about drug addiction.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Yes. Some of my favorite memories are of when I was a child at my grandparents house. My Grandma had a room full of toys that I could play with and my Grandpa had a garage full of trains. I don’t have a specific memory that I loved really, I just have a lot of small moments like when my Grandpa would tell me stories about when he was a train conductor and my Grandma making me lunch and staying up watching movies with them when I slept over. I love my Grandparents with all my heart and I hope they are proud of me.
- $60 per session
- $15 per extra look
- $50 for professional makeup
- Website: www.shay-lynn.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shay_lynn_photos/