Making a Career Change...twice.

Even though I was always #artistic growing up (my dad is an amazing #illustrator so I grew up watching him), it wasn't what I had planned on doing for the rest of my life.

I was a dancer, and by the age of three until I was 23, it was all I ever planned on doing; I even went as far as #dancing #professionally with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. That was my voice and my #identity. But life had another direction it wanted me to go...



I left the dancing world, after a career ending back surgery. Don't worry, I can still dance, but don't want to ruin the hardware that I have in my back, it was a tough-adult-decision and even though I miss it every day I think I made the right choice. (Happy Anniversary New Back! It'll be 11 years on February 1st 2019)

Actual x-rays of my back before and after surgery. Left: is my two bulging discs pushing onto my spinal cord. Right: is my fusion and artificial disc above that.

In 2009 I moved to California to go to Cinema Makeup School to be a #Makeup Artist. I thought it was the perfect next step.

I remember as a little kid listening to Michael Jackson, more specifically the '#Thriller' album and obviously loving the songs. Then I saw the music video...I instantly fell in love with the dancing and the makeup!!! Then, one day (I was about 16 ) when I was renting a movie at our local 'Family Video' (which is actually still there to this day, congratulations guys!!) I found the video "The Making of the Thriller". All my dreams came true!!! I thought, if I couldn't dance anymore, THIS is what I wanted to do! Seeing Rick Baker turn Michael into all those infamous characters, watching his process, I fell in love! (Side note: I actually met Rick Baker, in 2009ish, shook his hand, got an autograph, and briefly told him that amazing story...) Lol.

Anyway, there I was in California just finished Cinema Makeup School and was working as a Freelance Makeup Artist. Shortly after, in 2011, I got a job at Knott's Scary Farm doing the makeup for their annual event, #Halloween Haunt.

(Images: top left to right: store bought foam forehead painted and applied by me for student short film; Richard Thompson's Cabaret of Souls Orchestra Member; Special Effects Final at Cinema Makeup School, sculpted painted and applied by me.

Images: bottom left to right: pig twin sculpted by me; Seven Deadly Sins, Sloth, sculpted by me, Dead of Winter Demon, sculpted by me.)


A couple years later I started running the foam (making the masks) and sculpting the

monsters for #BuenaPark's annual Halloween Haunt event, and for other Cedar Fair Parks events across the U.S. and Canada. It was an amazing experience and a great job, but nothing ever made my soul feel like dancing did...


So one day, December 2014, while on a break at work one of my coworkers and best friends, Danielle her Instagram is (@r2jade2) was drawing something. I wanted to draw too, so I found some paper but didn't have anything to draw, so just started doodling on the paper.

The next day I brought all kinds of stuff with me, paper, pencils, watercolors... we spent any time we could drawing. I randomly put these #doodles together with animal faces and I was hooked. I had no idea what these details were called or if they even had a name. (Looking back to boring classes in High School, I would constantly be doing this stuff in the margins on my notes. I even had one teacher give me a graded paper back with the words "Not Productive" written in red above my beautiful work. Yes, I should have been paying more attention the movie "The Great Gatsby" (the original, not the one with Leo) and answering her questions.) Anyway, I did some research and found out the highly #detailed patterns and things I was

one of the first little drawings I did at work.

drawing had a name and it was called, #Zentangle. I was loving this and people at work were starting the #commission me to do drawings of their #dogs or their #spiritanimals!!!! Drawing these gave my #soul the same feeling as dancing had done when I was growing up. I had found my voice again.


So in January 2016 we quit our jobs, with no savings, and no idea how to do any of this as a business, but we HAD to make it work. I'm so thankful that I have my amazing #futurehusband, who acts as my manager and business partner. We get to do something that we love; travel, see the world, and make it a more beautiful place to be.

So what I've realized throughout all of this, you have to try and find something that sets your soul on fire. Think of something that you would want to do when you retire, and if you can, make THAT your #career! Chances are you will be able to get through the hard times, and struggles, you'll be able to deal with the doubts, and even the times that it seems hopeless with a little more determination because it's something that you TRUELY #love and not just something that you happen to do. It took me a while from the time I stopped dancing, to the time that I found my voice in another #artistic form, but I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything.

-Haylee

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