BC’s Lower Mainland is full of so many inspirational women who have unique journeys that are sure to empower others when they are shared. One of the most enjoyable parts of the I Like Her Style Vancouver brand and a big motivator for starting this business was the opportunity we have to shed light on women like these with remarkable stories. It was no easy feat to choose just 5 finalists as all the entries touched us and reminded us why we set off on this media movement from the start – our passion for sharing style with soul to empower! After reading the entries from these 5 finalists, we immediately reacted with #ilikeherstory! We need your insight into the story that you feel deserves a feature in an upcoming issue of the I Like Her Style Vancouver Magazine. Be prepared to be inspired and read on to meet the 5 amazing finalists who have been nominated for the contest and most importantly, don’t forget to vote on Instagram @ilikeherstylevancouver!
NATASHA THOM @natasha.thom
Meet Natasha Thom. Natasha is a BC born and raised gal who battled the unimaginable at the very young age of 18 – cancer. Her strength got her through the darkest of times and her determination to use her journey to give back inspired her to get involved in a non-profit organization. This gal is unstoppable and doesn’t shy away from any adventure! See below for her contest entry:
I’ve never been one to shy away from sharing my story, so here it goes. I’m a North Shore girl born and raised. I love everything about the city – the proximity to the mountains and forest, breathtaking views – and yes, even the rain. At 18, I was diagnosed with stage 4 tongue cancer – the first case in BC as a female in my age bracket. Overnight, my life changed and the early portion of my recovery was the darkest and loneliest time of my life. The process was long and infuriating as I learned how to eat and speak all over again. I still vividly remember crying myself to sleep numerous nights in a row. But with the help of my friends and family, I picked myself back up and started to break down the walls I had built up at the beginning of my journey.
Fast forward a few years and I now work with a local non-profit called @thelipstickproject – an organization that provides free professional spa services to patients (and their caregivers) dealing with significant health challenges. In many ways, it feels like things have come full circle. It’s a service I wish was available when I was in hospital, and it constantly reminds me of the power of human touch and connection. Now I’m gearing up for my next adventure: being my own boss! In December, along with my business partner, we launched our dream company. As we take on the events and weddings industry by storm, there’s about to be a whole lot more laughter and fun!
TAYLOR ALLER @tayloraller
Nominated by @jakealler
Meet Taylor Aller, a woman who wears many hats – each of which share a common motivator – to live life to the fullest! Whether it’s in her practice as a RMT, teaching, speaking, writing for her blog, or volunteering, Taylor wishes to give back and empower those around her that you can get through anything that life throws at you! See below for her contest entry:
I would like to nominate my wife @tayloraller
I know I may be biased, but my wife inspires me everyday. She’s a beautiful example of living to your fullest potential, regardless of what life throws at you. She works as a Registered Massage Therapist, helping people rehabilitate from injuries, she teaches at West Coast College of Massage Therapy shaping the next generation of RMTs. She does public speaking to various groups, companies and organizations, all around the lower mainland, using the platform to teach and inspire. She also runs a Blog called @relationshipproject and although she’ll tell you we run it together, it’s really mainly her behind the scenes!
On top of her incredible hustle in her dreams and career, she makes time to volunteer, usually teaming up with South Vancouver Neighbourhood House to give back to the youth and empower young women. She’s amazingly talented, whether it’s with photography, art, or dance—I’m always shocked by how much she knows and is capable of. Her passion for learning and curiosity is my favourite thing about her.
Regardless of what life throws at her, she has a drive like I’ve never seen before. She’s battled suicide, depression and anxiety, body issues, and health issues. And come out swinging like a champ. And yes, I know, I’m in love with her, but so many others we know are, too. She is the most caring and kind woman I know and she deserves the recognition for all that she does, and how she manages it all with grace, realness, and joy. She deserves this feature in your magazine, because I know I’m not the only one inspired by her, she has so much to share, teach, and give. I witness it daily. Her story is worth listening to. (And she would never expect, it she’s way too humble for that!) Thanks for reading my love rant, I appreciate the time you’ve taken to read this far! I hope you choose her to be featured. Babe, you are amazing, I love you!
AMY LABONSKI @amylabonski
Nominated by: @metaphysicgal
Meet Amy Labonski, a woman who is living through a mother’s worst fear – watching her child battle sickness. Cystic Fibrosis has now become such a huge part of their family and Ronald MacDonald House their second home. Amy has been thrown so many curve balls and her resilience to not let it get her down is remarkable. Her and her son Seamus are fighters! See below for her contest entry:
I am nominating @amylabonski I Like Her Style Vancouver’s story share. I know I’m not the only person amazed by the unwavering strength of this young, single mom. She has humour, class, brains and beauty! She is the President of CF Yukon, and the example she sets for her young Warrior son, Seamus, while they raise awareness together about Cystic Fibrosis is truly inspiring. Oh, and Happy Birthday Seamus!
As said by Amy herself, “I am a writer by heart, photographer by dream, advocate by choice, mother of a child with Cystic Fibrosis by… well I haven’t quite figured that out yet. This is the messy but accurate tale of my journey through single motherhood, working hard to help raise awareness and find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis for my son. In these five years I have found inspiration, strength and courage; I have lost friends, my footing, and my mind. I am still here- standing strong and speaking loud. Doing my best to make CF stand for Cure Found.”
VICTORIA SENGES @victoriasenges
Meet Victoria Senges, founder of Vshop, a woman who watched her mother battle cancer for many years in many forms – four cancers in five years. Victoria and her Mother’s creative spirit shone through at this tough time. What once began as a positive outlet has become a celebrated local business that this duo now bonds over each day. See below for her contest entry:
Have you heard the story behind why we started V SHOP? Allow me to give you a glimpse into how it all began…
In December 2010 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. In June 2013 she was diagnosed with kidney cancer. In March 2014 she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. And in March 2015 she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Four cancers in five years. Those five years included multiple surgeries, treatments, and tests.
I am happy to report that she is doing well and has entered remission. WAHOO! During her fourth diagnosis, we really clung to scriptures and songs as a source of comfort and strength. This is when I decided to create ten prints that represented her favourite verses and song lyrics while keeping it with her signature black & white classy style.
My mom started blogging as well during this time to keep friends and family up to date on her journey. So I thought I might sell the prints on her blog while donating a portion of the proceeds to The Canadian @cancersociety. This is when she encouraged me to start my own business and sell them online through my own site. And so… that’s what started it! I titled the ten prints “The Journey Collection” and with each print that is purchased, a portion is donated to The Canadian Cancer Society.
Once the prints started gaining traction and support from others, I decided to try to sell a few notepads… and the rest is history! My mom is now my “volunteer” sales rep and stationery packager. We are working to get her paid this year! This spring we will celebrate two years in business and we can’t wait! Thanks everyone for all your support and love – it means the world.
MARIANA CAMPOS @eazu_wellness
Meet Mariana Campos, a Holistic Counsellor & Coach, who decided to take her life into her own hands…finally! She did what many fear to do and embarked on her own journey despite the opinions of her loved ones and searched for true fulfillment in her life. See below for her contest entry:
3 years ago I came to the massive realization that I was living life on autopilot. I realized that my negative life experiences had disconnected me from my true essence. I was living life for others and had no idea with what I wanted for myself. I didn’t know where I was going, but I did know that I wasn’t fulfilled and I wasn’t happy- and this was enough for me to make a change.
I decided not to finish my degree regardless of the turbulence it created with my family. I decided to surrender to the universe and trust that by getting rid of what wasn’t me – I would start to attract people, experiences, and opportunities that would allow me to get to know the real me. And so my path to self discovery began- a journey within.
I started reading every self help book I could get my hands on, I began joining meditation circles, and eventually I ended up hearing about @rhodeswellness – a Holistic school for Coaches and Counsellors.
Through my journey to self discovery. I found my passion for helping people heal themselves, overcome their blocks, become the best versions of themselves, and create a life that reflects THEM.
Follow your instincts. Follow your excitement for they will lead you to your purpose and soul path!
Well, there you have it – 5 inspiring and empowering women who are all deserving of a spotlight shining on them. We would like to shine that light even brighter for one lucky winner to be featured in an upcoming issue of I Like Her Style Vancouver, and who that lucky woman is falls in your hands. Please head over to our Instagram page @ilikeherstylevancouver and place your vote for the woman you would like to see featured in the magazine.
Best of luck to all 5 of these amazing women!
Jody Belanger & Kyla Getty XOXO
Founders of I Like Her Style Vancouver