EXPOSÉ: Amanda Kao

// What does it mean to you to be a woman today?

Being a woman today means knowing your strength and putting yourself first even though you've been told your entire life you shouldn't. It's about supporting and elevating other women, learning about other disenfranchised groups in the world, making mistakes, and in turn knowing that making mistakes is a normal human thing. We are intelligent, thoughtful, strong, and resilient and many of us are now realizing what we can achieve. 

// Do you have a life mantra/motto that you live by?

We're all going to die so stop giving so many f*cks and live your life.

// In an effort to be vulnerable and true to yourself what do you want to expose to the world?

I see a therapist regularly. It was difficult at first to get over the stigma of seeking professional help, however I learned that even though I don't have a severe mental disorder, one of the healthiest things I could do for myself was to focus on myself and work/talk through traumas and triumphs. (Disclaimer: I am very aware that having the means to see a therapist is a product of my socioeconomic status and privilege and not everyone can do so - I am humbled by the millions of women in the world who march forward in life without professional support.) 

// What is something you’ve sacrificed in order to achieve success?

My health. Much like many women, I have felt the need to over compensate professionally in order to "prove myself" to male colleagues. However, being someone I wasn't ("just one of the boys") and working my ass off to no end caused me to put a great deal on stress on my body both physically and mentally. I have been hospitalized in the past because of stress and burnout. It's still a challenge day-to-day, but I am getting much better at being myself and knowing my limits before my body decides to tell me my limits.

// What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Never underestimate your worth. I have the tendency to self doubt and undersell my abilities, and it never feels good to not stick up for yourself. Just ask and what is the worst that could happen?

// What are 3 things you are grateful for?

Not to sound like a broken record, but my health is #1. I try to never take for granted the ability be physically and mentally capable to live the life I want and I try to honor that by taking care of myself. My family and food are next - honestly, what is life without good food and people who love you? 


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