Samantha Ray is the epitome of what an inspirational person looks like.
As it often happens, when I first met Samantha Ray of LULA Hair + Makeup, I had no idea what a close friend, inspiration, and fellow awesome #girlboss she would become to me. When I was thinking on who I wanted to feature in some of the early #peoplewhoinspire pieces, Sam came to mind immediately. Not only is she a breathtaking hairstylist and makeup artist, but she is a wonderful friend. She has a peaceful energy about her that translates both in her personal and professional life. Sam truly radiates joy, beauty, and kindness. I can go on and on about how much I adore her, but I will let her blow you away with her eloquent interview. I leave you open to be inspired, dear readers!
J: Tell the readers the story, albeit the short version, of how you got to where you are today. Did you always want to become a pro ladies maid? Or did it happen by chance?
S: I never thought that what I've been doing with hair and makeup the last few years, and what I'm doing today, could even be possible! I've always enjoyed the art of a good makeover (thanks Carmindy on What Not to Wear!) and loved doing them on my friends in middle and high school. I just love the experience of seeing all the natural beauty in someone and bringing those features to light even more, and then watching someone see themselves in a new way. I thought, "if I could just do updos and makeovers as a job, I would!" but I didn't think there was any other option than salon work. Over time friends began getting married and asked me to do hair and makeup, and the industry was changing to be much more individualized. I saw a place in the market that wasn't occupied, and took a chance on it. I'm really glad I did!
J: On any typical day, what inspires you or where do you garner inspiration from?
S: I gather inspiration from so many different places - I just try to keep my eyes open for it because it can come from anywhere, and then it's good to ride that wave! I try to spend time each day reading scripture, which is full of grounding inspiration. Taking walks downtown with good music, making a great meal, BBC shows (the more boring the better!), going to the Farmer's Market, picking my husband's brain on things, coffee table books, and hiking are also some of my go-to's for daily inspiration.
J: Who has been the biggest inspiration in your life to date and why?
S: I am really lucky to have 3 best friends from high school who are some of my dearest friends to this day. I think they have been my biggest source of inspiration in my life. They push me to get out of my hiding place and open up, to keep creating, and to be totally myself. We've gone through so many stages in our lives, some triumphant and impressive and some not-so-graceful and super difficult. I have loved watching each of them grow, change, break, heal, express themselves artistically, become mothers, inspire others, remain humble, and go through their daily life with so much grace and love.
J: What has been your biggest struggle personally or professionally? Were you able to endure it? If so, how did you persevere?
S: My biggest struggle professionally has definitely been to not compare myself to what others are doing. It's hard though, because it's helpful to have a business community and know what they're up to so you can be a support. It's a slippery slope to envy, being territorial, or getting down on yourself for all you should be doing but aren't. I try to keep my insta-scrolling to a minimum and, most importantly, to spend time face-to-face with those business friends. It's way better!
J: If you could gift our readers with one piece of life advice to take with them, what would it be?
S: Laugh as often as possible. Every day, give yourself a heaping portion of laughter! You'll be amazed to find that when this is your goal, the day's happenings have a much lighter, brighter feel to them.
J: What inspires you today?
S: Today I'm inspired by Philippians 2, rolling down the windows to enjoy this beautiful NC weather, great music (The Weather Station is a current fave), fresh baked bread from Yellow Dog, and texting hilarious throwback pictures to my friends while I try to get some work done.