100 Strangers: Main St., Downtown Houston, TX

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(Left)  "What am I thankful for? Hmmm that's a good question because I've started this list all month. Immediately the things that come to mind are (you know) family, my job, good friends, etc. But it's sometimes the little things that really resonate once you take a moment to really think about it. And sometimes it's just the opportunity to be the one crawling around the floor with my nieces and having them say 'you're a horsey Auntie Mae!'. It's little moments like that. Like those are the things I'm truly thankful for! Everybody says, family, health, prosperity, blah blah blah; but to me it's all about the those really small itty bitty things that matter most...

OH... and I'm thankful for this costume..."

(Right)

I play roller derby... so I'm thankful for roller derby!! (laughs)

100 Strangers: Metro Rail Downtown Houston, TX

Candace

"Most of the time when people look at me, they think I'm evil, rude and bitchy and I don't really know why. But I'm honestly not as hard as (I guess) I give off to other people. I think that I do kind of hide that little part inside of me because I don't like being vulnerable."

"I have zero positive relationships to look at and I think that's why I'm single. My dad had been married for 25 years and now they're getting a divorce. Like I haven't witness lasting Love before. My grandmother and grandfather, as far as I can remember, stayed in two different rooms in the house. My mom and dad broke up when I was 2 years old. They both remarried somebody. She (mom) got divorced during my sophomore  year in college. "

100 Strangers: Million Man March 2015, Washington, D.C.

Brianna and Mary Jane

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Brianna- "I'm from New Jersey but I'm currently attending George Washington University getting my graduates degree. I'm here because I feel like I need to be here. It's a moment that will definitely go down in the history books. Along with everyone out here, I'm also here due the great of amount of police brutality and prejudices that's been going on as well.

I live in a white Jewish town, and notoriously  every year the cops would shut down our birthday party while letting everyone else do whatever they want to. Like, literally. Everyone else could be having a fireworks party and the cops won't shut anything down.

I hope that when this is all said and done that there will be a decrease in the  violence in D.C. because it's been a great amount of it lately..."

Mary Jane- "I'm simply here because black lives matter."

100 Strangers: 57th Street, Brooklyn, NY

Adriana

"I've been living in New York City for 2 years. I was raised in Bogota, Colombia. I moved out here (NYC) for freedom; Freedom to express myself and to be exactly who I am without being judged for it. New York is also a great place to follow the dream I've always had in being a tattoo artist. I've been obsessed with tattoos all my life.

Back home I always felt like I didn't belong there. Like, I never felt accepted by the people around me. 

I'm really optimistic about finally being able to open up shop as a tattoo artist. I look forward to giving people wonderful pieces of art that they can wear for the rest of their lives. I love tattooing so much, one of my biggest fears would be if something bad were to happen to my hand.  Like, not being able to draw scares me..." 

 

100 Strangers: Tout Suite, Downtown Houston, TX

Brandie

"I fear not realizing all my potential. Like that's seriously my biggest fear. Like the one thing that wakes me up and gets me off of my butt when I'm being lazy and not trying is me imagining laying on my deathbed asking myself, 'what if I would've have done this?'. That scares the heck out of me. It's definitely a fear of regret from not trying. Like right now at this very moment I don't have a fear because I'm actually living life. But years down the line, oh my God, I feel like I wouldn't be ready to die. So while I have this life and this ability to try, I have to get on it!"

100 Strangers: Million Man March 2015, Washington, D.C.

Layla

"I'm coming from Silver Spring, MD. I wasn't really planning on attending the Million Man March for sure until a friend of mine came over to my house and told me a guy that he hangs out with had gotten murdered. This hurt me so bad. Like, this really affected me because it's happening all the time and it's happening by our own people and being handled by a f**ked up system. So I feel like it's best for all of us to attend these kind of meetings to hear the truth about our people because the system and the media aren't telling us the truth..."

100 Strangers: 600 Travis, Downtown Houston, TX

Ce'Mone

"It's crazy because I recently lost a baby but my mom just found out she's expecting again. I feel like that's God's way of saying I'm about to be a mother because my mom was never really a mother. 

 Me and my mother are finally getting real close but It wasn't always like that though. I use to despise my mother with a passion. My mother was physically there but was never really emotionally there. Like she didn't really raise me, you know? Like, how can you be there but let me get "assaulted". And my dad stays like 30-45 mins away calling and checking on me because he's getting bad feelings about my well-being. But she couldn't even tell when I was going through something when I was living with her. 

But regardless of all the sh** I went through and going through right now, I'm still planning for a brighter future."- Ce'Mone

100 Strangers: Tout Suite, Houston, TX

Mary-Frances

"...I just got off from work. I work for a women's center and I'm a therapist there. So about half the time I'm counseling and the other half I'm on call. Whenever I get that call, I'm going to one of the medical centers to help someone who's been sexually abused.  I've been wanting to get certified as a sex therapist ever since I started college back in 2007. I really want to work with people and talk to them about sex just because. Many people think I want to do this because I have an obsession with sex. But it's not that at all. It's just that I'm not scared to talk about it. And in order to be a good sex therapist you have to be willing to not only be comfortable talking about the subject matter itself, but you also have to help other people with it as well. 

I believe Finland is the country that starts sex education at the age of 5 in the school system. And they start from day one. The children there know the correct anatomical names for their body parts. But the thing is, everything they teach has an element of Love to it. 

I personally don't think there's an age too young to talk about sex. Unfortunately here in America... the baby boomer generation... I think it was because of what they went through in Vietnam and the drug scare, etc. All of these things unfortunately created this element of fear. And what the older generation has to understand is that- whether it's drugs, sex, alcohol, or whatever; with young people, if we pretend like it doesn't exist, it makes them want to do it more. Even worse, they'll do it less informed and they'll make poorer decisions than they would if they were fully educated."- Mary-Francis

100 Strangers: French Quarter, New Orleans, La

Gypsi

"... It's something I tell myself all the time and I would tell others also;

'be gentle with yourself.'

Especially now where we live in a world of comparison. Whether it's your craft, your financial standing, or the number of degrees you have or don't have; you're always looking at the person next to you.

You should never compare your art to anyone else. And your art can be your life. You know, from the way you wear your hair to the way you dress, it's your art.

So yea, be gentle with yourself. Be gentle with your body. Don't push yourself too hard. Be gentle with your heart. Don't Love to heavily... 

Be gentle with yourself..."- Gypsi

100 Strangers: East End Studio Gallery, Houston, TX

Kristen

    "Some people want the house, the car, the lawn, the lawnmower but I don't want that. I want to travel!"  I always tell everyone this: When you start traveling,  your whole mind does a 180. You're not like 'this is my culture and this is where I need to be' because  you start realizing the world is so big and people are so diverse and everything is so beautiful. Why would I wanna stay in this little box?"- Kristen Curette

 

"Some people want the house, the car, the lawn, the lawnmower but I don't want that. I want to travel!"

I always tell everyone this: When you start traveling,  your whole mind does a 180. You're not like 'this is my culture and this is where I need to be' because  you start realizing the world is so big and people are so diverse and everything is so beautiful. Why would I wanna stay in this little box?"- Kristen Curette

100 Strangers: East End Studio Gallery, Houston, TX

Jackie

"I'm a photographer so my dad always thought of it as a hobby. So my dad always looked at it as a hobby and never supported it as a career. So it eventually got to the point where I was like 'eff it'. You don't want to support it? Cool.  So I just used that as a motivation to keep going forward to achieve my goals..."- Jackie

100 Strangers: East End Studio Gallery, Houston, TX

Janice

I'm originally from New York City and I've been living here in Houston for 8 years now. My family moved out here when I was in High School. I'll probably be one of the first to say this, but I definitely like Houston more than NYC. Houston is super chill with great vibes. I'm a photographer and I attend the Art Institute of Houston.

I'm the ultimate optimist. I like to think that everything in my life is going to go how I want it to go.

One of my greatest challenges was finding my freedom. I was in a 6 year relationship where I found myself stuck. So I had to be brave and be honest and decide to do what's best for me. I took a trip to Costa Rica where I participated in an  Ayahuasca Ceremony. It really changed my life and opened my mind to a lot of things. Mother Ayahuasca filled me with Love towards all living beings. She took away all my guilt and all my doubt. I felt reborn after that. I feel like a different person."- Janice Contreras

100 Strangers: East End Studio Gallery, Houston, TX

Emma

 "I was born in Russia, raised in Washington D.C. and I've been living in Houston for the past 9 years.    I most optimistic about my stubbornness. I have long term goals on doing humanitarian work and I'm really expecting that in my lifetime I'll be able to accomplish something and change things. Seeing people getting hurt and mistreated is what motivated me to set these goals. I was seeing racism since I was little. I couldn't just sit back and watch anymore."- Emma Shahriari 

"I was born in Russia, raised in Washington D.C. and I've been living in Houston for the past 9 years.  

I most optimistic about my stubbornness. I have long term goals on doing humanitarian work and I'm really expecting that in my lifetime I'll be able to accomplish something and change things. Seeing people getting hurt and mistreated is what motivated me to set these goals. I was seeing racism since I was little. I couldn't just sit back and watch anymore."- Emma Shahriari 

100 Strangers: Praire St., Downtown Houston, TX

Sarah

  "...I have no kids and I'm not married. People ask me why I'm not married yet. My reply is I don't want to be married. Then I'm asked why I don't want to get married. When I think about all of my ex boyfriends, it's no way I would want to go home with any of them.  Marriage to me just sounds like a silly idea.   I feel like... People change, I change a lot and I don't wanna have to live my life hinging on some other guys life and their insecurities and their hopes and their dreams and somewhere down the line we have to meet in the middle. We don't even have to do that, as long as we don't get married (laughs)  Marriage and relationships doesn't have to be your first priority. Live your life, meet interesting people and you might find someone that you might click with and you can both drive each other to greater things and whenever that runs its course, there shouldn't be an issue if you both decide to move on."- Sarah

 "...I have no kids and I'm not married. People ask me why I'm not married yet. My reply is I don't want to be married. Then I'm asked why I don't want to get married. When I think about all of my ex boyfriends, it's no way I would want to go home with any of them. Marriage to me just sounds like a silly idea.

I feel like... People change, I change a lot and I don't wanna have to live my life hinging on some other guys life and their insecurities and their hopes and their dreams and somewhere down the line we have to meet in the middle. We don't even have to do that, as long as we don't get married (laughs)

Marriage and relationships doesn't have to be your first priority. Live your life, meet interesting people and you might find someone that you might click with and you can both drive each other to greater things and whenever that runs its course, there shouldn't be an issue if you both decide to move on."- Sarah

100 Strangers: Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Yasi 

  " Growing up, I never really understood the concept of stability.. So, moving to LA after college seemed like an amazing adventure, but the experience was like being a fish out of water. I had to figure out where to live & how to survive in an unfamiliar place.. However, my greatest obstacle was not the move itself, but figuring out the balance of work & passion. I lost focus of my passion in order to survive working two & three jobs at a time.. But everything worked out in God's timing because I'm now at a place in my life where I can pay my rent & pay for studio time. I can comfortably live & live out my dreams."- Yasi     

 "Growing up, I never really understood the concept of stability.. So, moving to LA after college seemed like an amazing adventure, but the experience was like being a fish out of water. I had to figure out where to live & how to survive in an unfamiliar place.. However, my greatest obstacle was not the move itself, but figuring out the balance of work & passion. I lost focus of my passion in order to survive working two & three jobs at a time.. But everything worked out in God's timing because I'm now at a place in my life where I can pay my rent & pay for studio time. I can comfortably live & live out my dreams."- Yasi
 

100 Strangers: Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA

Shyann

    "I used to be very secluded after being in a very bad abusive relationship of 8 years. I was even very close to getting married in it as well.   But now, I have a lot more confidence in myself. Like, I'm learning to be alone. Not alone as in being by myself, but alone as in being able to just focus on myself again. And I love it! I've been going out more, meeting new people, I smile more, it's just this overwhelming feeling of being able to just breathe again!  When it's all said and done, I just aspire to be a great woman. If I can give you a smile and it makes your day better and you pass it on to others, that goes a long way. I just want  to make people feel good about themselves because that's what I've been learning to do for myself." -Shyann

 

"I used to be very secluded after being in a very bad abusive relationship of 8 years. I was even very close to getting married in it as well. 

But now, I have a lot more confidence in myself. Like, I'm learning to be alone. Not alone as in being by myself, but alone as in being able to just focus on myself again. And I love it! I've been going out more, meeting new people, I smile more, it's just this overwhelming feeling of being able to just breathe again!

When it's all said and done, I just aspire to be a great woman. If I can give you a smile and it makes your day better and you pass it on to others, that goes a long way. I just want  to make people feel good about themselves because that's what I've been learning to do for myself." -Shyann

100 Strangers: Crossroads, Downtown Kansas City, Kansas

Brianna

"I've been bar tending for about two years now. It' not something I'm truly passionate about but it pays the bills while I'm in college. I just want to travel the world and meet new people and see new things, ya know?

My biggest fear is failure. I feel like if I fail, then my mom fails too. She's trying to retire and if I don't succeed, it will hinder her retirement..."-  Brianna Tedlock 

100 Strangers: Sinclair Gas Station, Danville, MO

Norma

    "This is currently my 4th marriage. I've been married to my husband for about 15 years. I can't really tell you what makes a marriage work, but for me, me and my husband do for each other. I think that's what has kept us together for so long... It's the most important thing to me. That and being truthful with each other. I haven't been able to attend church because I'm always working here on Sundays. But keeping God in the center of the marriage helps a great deal as well."- Norma

 

"This is currently my 4th marriage. I've been married to my husband for about 15 years. I can't really tell you what makes a marriage work, but for me, me and my husband do for each other. I think that's what has kept us together for so long... It's the most important thing to me. That and being truthful with each other. I haven't been able to attend church because I'm always working here on Sundays. But keeping God in the center of the marriage helps a great deal as well."- Norma