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Charismatic • Joyful • Resilient

Her Story

Dakota Hamilton

Enter Stage Right

Dakota's Story

While writing this, I struggled to come up with an answer to this question: “what makes me inspiring?”. It has been very difficult to accept that I deserve to be recognized as someone who is uplifting to others, especially when so many of the inspirational people who have shaped my life have not yet been included. My sister, Vanessa Hamilton, must have seen something in me that I didn’t as she nominated me for this project. Unfortunately, Vanessa passed away this January. She left me with this incredible gift: the Women’s Portrait Project. I have been so magnificently blessed to honour my incredible sister while celebrating my achievements through my inclusion in the project. 

This year has been absolutely wretched but that hasn’t stopped me from being optimistic for the future. I’ve had to learn quickly that when life hits you with a challenge you have to hit back with courage, resilience, and optimism. As my counsellor once said “You’re making lemonade out of your lemons” and that my friend is the key to some of life’s troubles. Sometimes you just gotta make that perfect sweet lemonade out of your sour lemons to get through those hard times.

Throughout my life I have been taught to love others and to treat them with the utmost respect and kindness. I am constantly focusing on the needs of those around me before my own, as I truly believe that kindness is the key to continually being a light to those around you. I have come to the realization that my positivity, optimistic outlook, and overwhelming kindness encourage others even when I don’t see it. Clearly, there is a reason that my sister thought that I deserved this nomination so I am going to take this opportunity to spread my love all around. I am eternally grateful for the places that I’ve seen, the people who I’ve met, and the little bursts of joy that life brings. I still have a long way to go on my journey but I’m going to conquer it with nothing but positivity. So here I am, changing the world one smile at a time.