Throughout undergrad, I worked as an NFL cheerleader and a professional dancer. I also dabbled in a bit of on-camera hosting and commercial acting to help pay the bills.
After completing my bachelor’s degree in advertising I decided to take a job in advertising sales. About one year in, the owner of one of my sales accounts asked me if I’d be interested in overseeing the marketing of a new cleaning company he was starting. By that time I was pretty miserable with my advertising sales gig so I decided to accept the offer and give the whole cleaning industry a go.
During the research and development stage of things, I noticed there was a lack of environmentally conscious cleaning services — especially in the commercial space, so I presented the idea of using all natural cleaning supplies and other eco-friendly practices to my new boss. Unfortunately, he wasn’t interested. But truly believing that I might be onto something, I decided to take a chance and start my own green cleaning company.
During my 5-ish years as an eco-entrepreneur, I decided to return to school to get my MBA and made the move from San Diego to Los Angeles to expand the company. It also didn’t hurt that I was curious to see where the on-camera stuff I had been dabbling in might go (seeing as how good ol’ LA is the mecca for that kinda stuff).
And like any other nieve 20-something-year-old, I sincerely thought I had my whole life figured out at that point. But as you may have already guessed, I most certainly did not.
It was about two years after moving to LA that I remember waking up one day and having this overwhelming feeling that everything felt wrong — the business, the whole ‘entertainment industry’ thing… even the relationship I was in at the time. Now I’m well aware of how dramatic that probably sounds to any mature adult reading this, but at the time, it truly felt like a quarter-life crisis.
That said, after some introspection and evaluation of everything that, at the time, defined who I was, I just knew that it was time for me to wipe the slate clean and start a fresh new chapter… heck, a whole new book.
I remember making myself write down what I loved doing and what I was interested in doing more of and/or learning more about, and a few things kept creeping their way to the top of the list — nature, travel, and creating. Knowing that none of what I was doing at the time relfected what was written on that piece of paper, I decided it was time to sell off my cleaning business and set off on a new R&D phase of my life.
That’s when I set off on my first solo trip to volunteer in South Africa, a place I had dreamt about visiting ever since I was a little girl thanks to countless hours spent at the Heart of Africa exhibit at the San Diego Wild Animal Park (now the San Diego Safari Park). It was during that trip that I got my first taste of working in wildlife conservation and my first real taste of being behind the camera. From that came my first conservation-inspired short-film, which you’re welcome to watch HERE if you’re interested, and after that, I was hooked.
The next few years following that life-changing trip would ultimately become a blur of working multiple freelance gigs and dancing as a nightclub gogo dancer to help fund my journey down this new wild-inspired path of travel, media, and conservation.