“The things that are most attractive to me now are more about what’s on the inside vs. the outside. A person’s presence that exudes self awareness and acceptance, emotional safety, a hint of playfulness and being comfortable in their own skin rather than having to achieve some model of perfection that’s not joinable or relatable. Don’t get me wrong, a strong sense of style is still something that catches my eye but it’s more about ‘owning’ it vs. wearing it.”
‘A person who leads with heart and with vision. Learning to live and to love with a sense of humor and no regrets. Open to embrace my strengths and my flaws with grace, integrity and a wicked sense of style! Sassy, classy, and a bit smartassy.’ This is Lani in a nutshell… and how she wants the world to see her too. Now that she is in the high 5’s, Lani has gained clarity and conviction about who she is, and – equally significant – who she is not. She is learning to trust herself over the years and knows that her voice matters. She listens well, writes what she knows, and speaks what she believes.
Today, if Lani sat down with her 20-something self she would say: ‘Sweetheart, Go ahead, speak up… use your voice… trust your gut… don’t allow others to steal your dreams, or your thunder. Worry less about following the rules because you were born to break them and not be bound by someone else’s crappy story. Start writing your own. Walk away the first time, don’t wait for the second. And oh… use more sunscreen and stop plucking your eyebrows!’
Discovering at the age of 27 that she was adopted and finding her birth family at 34, Lani struggled with genuinely seeing herself as others did. Because she didn’t see herself physically reflected in any of her family members growing up, she experienced a kind of invisibility that clouded her true view of herself – which was part of the motivation (and vulnerability) to be photographed in this way, at this time.
Lani has taught communities of youth and families about relationships and sexuality, later earning a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy; Lani has supported thousands of people navigating challenging topics, giving back something she did not always have growing up. This eventually led her to a longstanding commitment to leadership positions in organizational development, marketing, and fundraising for multiple nonprofits throughout the Northwest. Being a builder in all aspects, even 30 years later, Lani is flourishing in this sector as what she likes to say, an “Investment Matchmaker”. With increased self-awareness of the reality that she has more years behind her now than ahead of her, some of Lani’s ambitions for her future are to travel lighter (in so many ways) and travel more. Possess fewer choices in her closet, but love how each item reflects her true self and works with the embodiment of her own skin. Lani wants to work for herself, write a book, teach yoga, and experience more of what brings her deep joy – and dance. Even when no one is watching. Lani seeks to embrace a life with no regrets.