Samantha Anderson is a complete free spirit, but she had to go through a lot to get to be the woman she is today. In this interview, Samantha talks about her struggles with Lyme's Disease, being extremely self conscious in her body, and how she managed to move beyond her fears and create an Instagram dedicated to portraying her personal nude art.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Right now I am currently in Mexico so a typical day this week starts off with a very colorful and delicious breakfast full of exotic fruits. A quick workout (yes, I still workout on vacation) I think it’s important to not lose your routine entirely. Then, I get my salt-water fix in the pacific and beach bum for the rest of the afternoon with my boyfriend and the in laws visiting from Moscow. When my boyfriend and I are on vacation we usually go on some sort of adventure to find a cool place to shoot. We weren't too successful this vacation because it is a very touristy area. We got kicked out of a couple of places where we were trying to shoot haha.
When I am back home in Cranston, Rhode Island a typical day for me right now is pretty low key. I was recently diagnosed with chronic Lyme in October so since then I’ve had to lay low and just slow down. I was completely burnt out. Physically and mentally I didn’t have any energy left inside of me. I was traveling to New York like every two weeks for shoots, working at the hospital, babysitting my 2-year-old niece, and traveling for vacations every so often. My schedule was nuts; I developed insomnia from the stress. I wasn’t interested in doing photo-shoots anymore or even working out. I knew there was a problem when I stopped doing yoga and working out since that had always been a huge part of my life. Finally, I decided to concentrate on MYSELF, take it easy, and just get healthy again.
Last year I graduated from URI with a bachelor of science in Health Sciences/ Health Promotion. Next month, my boyfriend is graduating form a Gynecologic Oncology fellowship; so, starting July 1st we are taking 5 months off and traveling the world before we settle down in Long Island to begin working. For the last couple of months I have been trying to map out the entire trip, get ready, pack up for the move and just save up money!
What makes you become your most empowered self?
There are a few things that make me feel most empowered. I think one would definitely be exercising. I get this sort of high from a really hard workout. It’s like a feeling of euphoria that takes over my body and I feel like I can literally do anything, like a badass warrior Viking J Fitness has always been a huge part of my life and who I am. It's empowering to know that my body can do anything I set my mind to, like, running a sprint triathlon. I set a goal for myself and I do it, no matter what the obstacle. Being athletic and a tomboy has really shaped who I am as a person and has helped tremendously with the self confidence that I have.
Also, being naked is a very empowering feeling to me. For years, especially in high school and early twenties, I struggled with confidence and self-acceptance. I was extremely self-conscious about everything I wore; I didn’t even like my boyfriend, at the time, seeing me naked. The fact that I am able to take my clothes off, whether it be in front of the camera, on the beach, or going for a hike in the woods, and just shed the fear of being judged by others, is liberating. It’s the best feeling in the world accepting my body for every curve, dimple, or stretch mark and not giving a damn what people think.
Lastly, this may sound corny but my boyfriend makes me feel empowered. He is sometimes a bigger believer in me than I am in myself. He always makes sure I focus on the positive and stay optimistic.
How did you become the woman you are now?
I would definitely have to give credit to my boyfriend, Anže, here. He has helped me overcome so many obstacles the last 3.5 years. He is the one who encouraged me and cheered me on to start nude art photography. Every photographer I work with is always in awe of how cool my boyfriend is with the nude work I do. Through doing nude photography, I have gained more self-confidence than I could have ever imagined.
I would also have to give credit to my family, especially my mom and her side of the family. They are the biggest hippies I know. I have them to thank for my sense of humor, my openness, and being able to express myself so freely.
What did you have to leave in the past during your journey to becoming the truest version of yourself?
I truly believe that in order to succeed you need to surround yourself with positive people who believe in you. I’ll just leave it at that J
Do you have any role models?
Of course. I think we all have role models; they are who push and motivate us to succeed whether it is an author, a singer, model, or family member. Mine would definitely be my mother. After my parent’s divorce she had to basically raise 4 teenagers on her own. She did whatever needed to be done to put food on the table. She inspired me to be the first person in our family get a college degree.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
Ahh it’s hard to just pick one thing but I would say, stop comparing yourself to others! We were not put on this earth for all of us to have the same looking face, body, style, job, etc. Embrace every part of who you are!
And from one of my old IG posts, “Try not to just pass through life but to truly LIVE in it. Try to always see the bigger picture. Take more chances. Seize the moment. Change your perspective. Get naked more. Travel more. Love yourself more. Give zero fucks about what people think of you. Explore the wild nature around you. Love fiercely. Embrace change and vulnerability. Say “yes” and “I can” more. Smile more; it’s the most basic kind of peace work. Most importantly, put yourself first once in a while and don’t be ashamed of doing so.” J
What are you looking forward to?
To quit adulting, my job, and all boring responsibilities for 5 months! I can't wait to see parts of the world that I’ve never seen, meet new people, experience new cultures, live off the earth and the supplies I have in my backpack. I cannot wait to be on this adventure of a lifetime with the love of my life.