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Rising Stars: Meet Makayla Steen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Makayla Steen. 

Makayla, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Growing up, my family was just barely middle class. My dad would work so much that my siblings and I barely saw him. He had to provide for my mother who was a stay-at-home mom to three girls and one boy. Life, when I was younger, wasn’t easy for me, as I’ve been dealing with depression as well as suicide since I was 10 years old. My parents weren’t the “happily in love” kind of couple. Even though they were married, they weren’t in harmony. So, there were fights and things that took place between them that children should be filtered from. When I turned 15, they separated, then divorced. My siblings and I thought this meant the hard part was over. For us, it had just begun. Things changed drastically over time. My mother was no longer the stay-at-home mom. She wouldn’t stay home much at all, in fact. We rarely saw my father at this point. It left my oldest sister and I, the second oldest, to tend to the household and care for our two younger siblings. As I matured, I started to realize a lot more. I wasn’t happy. I hadn’t been happy at all since I could remember. I turned 16. I met a boy from high school who was a much larger reflection of my father than I’d like to admit. I spent almost three years of my life with him. He spent those years trying to break me. I spent those years trying to survive. The pain he’d caused me mentally, emotionally, and physically was so familiar due to my environment growing up, so, unfortunately, I stayed and endured it. In 2020, I set myself free. I let go of that bond to my abuser. This started my journey of finding who I was. That time period felt so heavy. A huge altercation happened between my mother and I, then four months later with my father. I was left homeless. All I had was my car which I purchased before either of my parents had even taught me how to drive. I didn’t have much money to my name at the time either. I just knew I had to find my way on my own at this point. Luckily for me, earlier in that year, I started building credit. I started working from 6am to 10pm every day at my job to scrape up as much money as possible and got approved for my first apartment. Then shortly after taught myself how to drive and got my driver’s license (thank you YouTube university). I ended up starting my first two small businesses, then got selected to represent my city in the Miss Michigan USA pageant. It was an amazing experience I’d never thought I’d have. That was in 2021. 2022, I am now 20 years old. I recently released a YouTube video speaking on my experience with domestic violence in my previous relationship. I also spoke up about my abusive parents on my social media. My life experiences for my age could fill a book. Every situation prepared me for something much bigger. I have a lot of accomplishments I never thought I’d achieve. My proudest has to be who I have become as a person. I use my voice to encourage others to use theirs. I have encouraged women and men to speak up about sexual abuse, domestic violence, narcissistic abuse, child abuse, depression, suicide, and so much more. I am a motivational speaker for those who listen. I inspire people to be authentically themselves. I know I’m not the best version of myself yet. I know I’m not perfect. But I continue to learn, grow, and spread my positivity day by day. This is my story. 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Looking back, it definitely wasn’t a smooth road. The struggles I endured along my path have been greatly significant to who I am. Struggling with all forms of abuse from both parents and then from partners, at a young age…This made me mature faster. Being kicked out by my parents right after I turned 19 taught me to be independent. My failures were simply my path being redirected to something better. My challenges made me stronger. 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
On a business level, I am currently an employee for FCA Chrysler. Here I work on the vehicle body of the 2022 Jeep Wagoneer. Although, this is just a stepping stone to the career I actually am working towards in the near future. Which is Real Estate! 

On social media, I’m known as a brand ambassador for a few small businesses and I’m also known for my creative photography. I host my own photoshoots in my apartment where I allow my creativity to flow. I do this in hopes of being scouted by modeling agencies. Modeling professionally is also something I greatly aspire to do. 

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
My best advice for finding mentoring and networking is to utilize social media and hashtags!! I’ve been using hashtags on my Instagram posts for years and I can definitely say it helps attract the audience I want along with people who want to network. 

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