To understand #FLY one must first understand its founder. Annie Vandermyde is a Utah native who follows her passion for passion, beauty and photography. Annie fell in love with St. George when she attended Dixie State College and served as student body vice president and as a school ambassador. She now proudly calls St. George home along with her 3 crazy cool kids.
After college, Annie married. She and her husband moved to Kansas to pursue his graduate degree, and Annie attended and graduated from cosmetology school. Sadly, the marriage was not the stuff of dreams, and after 9 years, it ended. The marriage left Annie quite broken and having lost much of herself along the way.
One of Annie’s escapes has been to use her creativity. Since it is in her nature to also help others, Annie began seriously pursuing a career as a professional photographer while also applying the arts of human beauty that she learned in school. The genesis of Annie’s love for photography was in capturing the wonderful moments she shares with her kids. Photography continues to be a creative outlet.
One day, at a very low point in her life, both of these creative arts were used with Annie as the subject. Annie organized a makeover and a photo shoot for herself. She wasn’t used to being behind the lens and knew it would challenge her. That experience awakened something in Annie. She saw a strong, beautiful woman in those photos –one who looked distantly familiar yet attainable to her.
On the heels of this experience, Annie’s brother, wanting to “get Annie back”, gave her $500 to use ONLY to resurface the strong, beautiful woman Annie once was. Pondering what to do with this new gift, one of her brothers suggested that her own makeover and photo shoot worked so well for her, why not do that for others?
And so it began! Annie began her new mission by partnering with a couple of local shelters that help women who are recovering from abuse. She bought them a new outfit, completed a cosmetic session and did a photo shoot for these women –#FLY was born.
Annie is now CEO of #Fly, an organization that helps women who have suffered abuse to connect with themselves and feel beautiful again and have a lasting image from the experience.
Learn more about the vision of #Fly here: