What a whirlwind the past couple months have been. But it’s almost here— my podcast, Heroine, is launching this month on the 19th!
One of my early interviews is with Helena Price, whose heroine journey shows us how raw determination can turn passion into a successful career. And “successful” is putting it modestly. Within two years of deciding to make photography her full-time pursuit she was named “Silicon Valley’s Most Wanted Photographer.”
Her latest project, Techies, (featured in Fast Company, Refinery29, The Guardian... the list goes on) seeks to show a side of the tech industry the world hasn't seen before. It's composed of 100 portraits and interviews of people from underrepresented backgrounds: women, people of color, disabled individuals, LGBT individuals, and more. I'm ecstatic to have been a part of it. Here is the portrait she took of me. (And if you'd care to read, our interview captured my more vulnerable side. I talk about my roots, where I come from, and where I see myself in the years ahead).
Helena's story, like every heroine on the podcast, empowers all of us to strive for alignment between our core desires and our actions in life. It’s not always easy, but these wise, creative, and powerful women show us how extraordinary things can happen by embracing the unknown.
As a little treat, I wanted to share an excerpt from my interview with her, which will eventually be available on the podcast. I hope you enjoy this little peek into her amazing journey! It’s one of many to come.
Majo: Do you have any thoughts for any of the women listening, who may be working full-time thinking, "I want more creative expression in my life, I want to give that expression, but I’m feeling held back"?
Helena: What worked best for me was to stop overthinking things. And to stop worrying about the constraints you have that aren’t really constraints. Things like time, or having a full-time job, or resources, and just focus on getting into the habit of being generative when you’re not working.
So maybe you have a full-time job, keep doing it. Think of your job now as the funding for your other work and then you’ll have a better relationship with that job. Just focus on the positives, learn as much as you can. Ideally, you’re efficient at your job and don’t have to put too much of your soul into if it’s not something you plan to do forever. Make your money, put it towards your other work, and spend your weekends being generative. Whether it’s writing or taking pictures or crocheting rock lyrics… whatever your niche project is.
You just have to get in the habit of making stuff, and not being so scared about getting started, or overthinking what your final product is gonna look like or what your creative identity is gonna be, because you have no idea. You just have to spew out thousands of prototypes and then at that point you can start picking and choosing which from those you like.
And you can spend just as much time researching the work of others and informing your style that way. Spending time on Tumblr, Instagram, blogs, or Pinterest, and picking apart other people’s work, just from a guttural level. "That resonates with me. That doesn’t." And you’ll be amazed at how much that ends up informing your own style.
Majo: What’s exciting you right now? What are you working on?
Helena: I’m working on a project. It’s my first real personal project. I’ve finally reached a place in my life where I have optimized for time. I finally have a savings account. I have learned how to work really efficiently so that I have days off during the month. It also came about because I was feeling a little bored by the paid work that I do (at some point, doing commercial campaigns of people using an iPhone can start getting repetitive).
So, New Year’s Resolution style, at the beginning of January I was just sitting in my living room, and it was like, Okay, it’s time. I’m gonna do a personal project. I’m gonna make it three months long, I’m gonna sprint, barely work on commercial stuff, and do something kind of insanely aggressive, something important to me. I chose to do a project that profiles 100 people in tech, people who are not your typical idea of a “techie.” I’m focused on underrepresented folks like women, people of color, LGBT, disabled, over 50, parents, that sort of thing. I’m doing 100 interviews and 100 portraits, and my goal is to show the world a side of tech that they haven’t seen before.
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Photo of Helena by Pei Ketron.