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Trailblazers: Peoria

The editorial team has a special attachment to our new series, The Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative, because so many of us feel that media portrayals of women have been too one dimensional. Today, women are doing incredible things in all fields – from science and technology to finance, law, business, athletics and more.  With the Trailblazers series, we hope to highlight and celebrate female role models, encourage more equal and just representation in the media, and help foster a more tight-knit community locally helping women find mentors, business partners, friends and more.

Below, you’ll find some incredible trailblazers from in and around Peoria that we hope you will check out, follow and support.

Deborah Brandon

Weddings came as mostly referrals from friends of friends and the more of them I shot, the less I wanted to diversify. Slowly over a few years, I cut different offerings from my business. I no longer shoot newborns at all and most of my family clients have been with me for 5+ years. I am beyond blessed, that my husband is the hardest worker I’ve ever met and his hard work allows me to do what I truly love. Read more>>

Kayla Aguirre

Taking and sharing photos has always been a big deal for me whether it be from my travels, experiences or just daily life. I think it’s important to have tons of photos because they’re always going to bring you back to a time in your life and they’re something you can share with others years from now. Read more>>

Melissa Maddock

Once I graduated high school at 17 years old, I went straight to community college and working full time as a receptionist. After the first semester, I felt like I was stuck. So, initially, I wanted to take a year off. That year turned into Wednesday – Saturday at Penrose Academy studying cosmetology and Sunday – Tuesday as a receptionist. Read more>>

Brandy Kocks

I went to a community college and took tons of different elective courses, in hopes something might spark my interest. I found through taking classes I still had a major desire to do something hands on. I learned I do best with things that allow me to be creative. During this time, girls were still reaching out to me for makeup sessions. Read more>>

Destiny Hamid

I think my love for natural medicine and nutrition came from my love of reading and cooking. I specifically remember checking out a book of natural medicine from the library when I was about 15… I was fascinated that herbs and food could be used to heal! Read more>>

Julia Kolb

I recently decided to do a career change. I am almost 30 and as terrifying as it was, I decided to quit my job in the medical field and go to beauty school. I’ve always had a passion for fashion and beauty industry. In fact, graduated from MCC with fashions design & merchandise and costume design & production degree. Read more>>

Katie Benford

I am working on starting my own blog where I’ll discuss travel, manifestation, self-love, and gratitude. I believe that being the best possible version of yourself is the most empowering thing in the world, which is exactly what I’m working on right now. Read more>>

Pamela Hardwick

The first memory of myself feeling beautiful happened when I was 12 years old. I went into my grandmother’s bathroom and found the most glamorous red lipstick I had ever seen. I made sure the bathroom door was locked because I figured I would get into big trouble if I was caught wearing lipstick at this age. Read more>>

Jasmine Bojorquez

Everything was falling apart in my life and all I wanted to do was give up. There were endless nights of crying and confusion and no amount of hiking could give me an answer to what was happening around me. I stripped down and went for one of the most awful rides of my life. Read more>>

Megan Wilson

As a film buff, movies inspired me first with on-screen heroines and unique characters rockin’ some serious face. Since then, I am always discovering new styles and embracing learning the latest techniques and trends. Read more>>

Lauren Detweiler

I bought my cutting machine. At first, I just wanted it for myself. To make my own shirts, party decorations, etc. I then had a friend ask to do a pretty big art installation and I was so proud of my work, I wanted to share it. And thus Ivy + Olivia Custom Goods is born. Named after my incredible daughter and outrageous Frenchie. Read more>>

Jordan Leddy

I get asked all the time, how did you get into spray tanning? Well, to start this off since I was about 14 years old I was introduced into Tanning Beds* going through all the years of getting a UV tan and knowing it wasn’t good for you I decided to give the Spray Tanning Booth* a try. Back then there wasn’t many personal spray tanners out there so it wasn’t really known of yet. Read more>>


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