May is National Foster Care Month. Through Kate Somerville’s partnership with Foster Nation and to help raise awareness of National Foster Care Month, we invited Southern California-based former foster youth to create a piece of art that symbolized transformation & hope during difficult times. Kate personally selected the winning design, created by former foster youth, college student, and artist Laura Bush. Laura partnered with our design team to create this limited edition ExfoliKate™ Intensive packaging featuring her winning design, now available at Sephora and on our website. We're thrilled to help Laura’s words, art, and story reach more people.
What inspired you to participate in the artwork contest?
I'm a naturally artistic person and after seeing the email a few times, something just told me to go for it despite my busy schedule. I actually had a lot of fun drawing this and choosing the colors.
What does defy impossible mean to you?
Defy impossible means to break down the barriers, to know that sky is the limit and that past experiences won't hold me down or define who I am and who I'm becoming.
Tell us about your experience seeing your artwork come to life on Kate Somerville packaging.
Seeing my artwork come to life has been a dream come true. From the initial creating of it to being picked as the winner. And then to come and see the process of taking a digital media and turning it into this awesome 3-D printed box. My favorite was seeing the ink rollers and how each roller adds a new color. I also found it interesting about how the colors are created. It was so cool to take the printed box home. I still have it on my altar to remind myself daily the power of defying the impossible.
One of our goals with this partnership is to raise awareness of foster youth journeys. What do you wish people knew about foster youth?
I wish people didn't have so many preconceived notions about foster care children. I wish they understood that everyone's story is different. We can't just all be lumped together as problem children. Our past experiences have shaped us into who we are today, and we may have lacked some vital experiences in our past, but it shouldn't define who we are today and how we are viewed.
What types of support would've been helpful for you while in the system?
I wasn't aware of all the services that are available to foster youth aging out of the system. I never knew about or received any rent help or assistance with getting an apartment. I was emancipated and then couch surfed for a while after that. Having a support system even after aging out would have really helped me focus on school instead of where I'm going to sleep. Once I finally found my support group in college (Guardian Scholars), I’ve been able to prosper and focus on bettering my future and obtaining the education goals I set for myself.
What was your biggest challenge when exiting the foster care system?
The biggest challenge was facing homelessness. I wish I had the knowledge I have today back then. I really believed it was me versus the world and didn't know about any outside help or resources. I made sure to get into school once I was more stable and am continuing my educational journey to this day.
When it came to applying for and attending college, did you have help? If so, who helped to navigate the college system? If not, how did you navigate it yourself?
When I applied for college, I had family members pushing me to do it, yet I didn't have anyone who helped me with the forms or picking classes. I remember the first semester I took business English, and I didn't even need it. I just assumed because I was going for business, I'd need this class. It wasn't until after the first year that I found out about Guardian Scholars. Looking back, I think GS coordinators should be reaching out to former foster youth and telling them about this resourceful program within the college system.
Tell us about your major and why you chose it.
I am going for Business Management for my BA and got my AA in Business Administration. I recently started my own business, which has been a dream of mine since I was young. My business is called Viiolet Moons on etsy (etsy.com/shop/viioletmoons). I create and hand pour intention-based moon phase candles. I have always wanted my own business and this year I was able to finally make this dream come true. I’m also hoping to get an internship before earning my BA. This would also give me experience in working for a larger company and seeing if I prefer smaller businesses vs larger ones.
What are your career goals?
My career goals are to have my own successful small business. I hope to grow my Viiolet Moons business and help build clientele. I also would enjoy starting other business ventures in the future. I am very artistic and enjoy using both sides of my brain, which is why I like creating things but also appreciate organization and numbers as well.
How does art play a role in your life?
Art plays a role in my daily life. I am covered in art. I have some tattoos that I've designed as well as people close to me have designed. I enjoy being creative with my hair and makeup as well. My hobbies are creating candles which I top with crystals, herbs, and flowers; I enjoy drawing and creating digital art also. Additionally, I really enjoy cooking which I also see as an art and having a creative process by trying new things and giving a visually pleasing experience as well. Gardening is another passion of mine. I'm always getting new plants and creating little plant displays to change the outside of my apartment. I believe I'm able to be myself through art and artistic expression.