Women Who Inspire
Marine Conservationist, Diver, Photographer & Filmmaker
Abbey and I met through friends at Humboldt State University. She was finishing up her last semester as I had just transferred to the school. Sad to say goodbye so soon but happy that our paths had crossed, I have been following Abbey's world travels and environmental conservational projects ever since!
When and how did you first learn about your field of work? How did you know it was what you wanted to do?
I've always had an interest in nature from a young age, and since I learned how to swim I have had a lifelong fascination with water. As I got older I felt compelled to integrate that passion into a lifestyle that would impact the world in a positive way, but wasn't quite sure how to make that happen. I remember watching Jacques Cousteau explore the unknown of the deep sea in his series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, and I never got the idea out of my mind how I wanted to be discovering the ocean and learning more about our world. This led to a thirst to explore life underwater that I still haven’t been able to quench. With my eagerness to learn as much as I could about marine life and share what I saw with others, photography became the medium to communicate that. After discovering scuba diving and free diving while living in Greece, I decided to take my love for the natural world and the ocean and use it as an avenue for what opportunities I could find in life. For the past few years I’ve been focusing on on free diving to capture my images and found it is a more natural and intimate way to connect with the ocean.
Tell us about you and your partner’s collaboration ‘The LoveWaters’. Have you been able to integrate your passion for marine conservation with your work?
The Love Waters began a little over a year ago when my boyfriend and business partner Devin – a film director, photographer, and diver – and I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii. We had been traveling for the past four years around the world, exploring the ocean and documenting it. We were traveling on a very tight budget, so we found work wherever we traveled. We taught scuba diving, filmed and produced promotional videos for diving schools, and photographed sailboat races, just to name a few. On our travels we were constantly meeting people who were water men and women, people who depend on the sea for their livelihood and had a deep rooted love and respect for the ocean. We wanted to share our love for the ocean with the world, and with thousands of images and videos in our portfolio, we formed a platform where we could use our underwater photography and videography as an avenue for ocean conservation and awareness. Our images and stories showcase the beauty and diversity of the marine habitat, as well as environmental pressures such as climate change, coral bleaching, over fishing and plastic pollution that impact global marine environments. One of the main goals for The Love Waters is to complement the renegade scientific research we do with visually compelling imagery that can lead to conservation and awareness about the marine ecosystem. Ideally everyone can become a Love Water, just by considering your impact on the ecosystem as an individual and by leading by example.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
For anyone wanting to start their own business, I'd say be patient, and that hard work, authenticity, consistency and networking pay off. Don't expect to see a profit for the first 3 years, but don't let frustrations and setbacks keep you from working hard and staying focused on your dreams. Keep your overhead low. Set goals for yourself. Take time to celebrate the small accomplishments. Collaboration is KEY! Collaborating with others who have the same values and interests as you and your business can really help launch your accessibility to the world. It helps boost confidence in yourself as a business owner as well as in your product. Ask questions and reach out to people with an open mind and honest heart. One of my favorite sayings is "Siga, Siga". It means "slowly, slowly" in Greek and has become a daily mantra of mine, helping me remember the and enjoy the "slow" moments in life.
What are some of the lessons you’ve learned in your field of work?
The main lessons I can think of are never turn down an opportunity for adventure, don't let fear hold you back from what you really want, and SMILE!
Why are natural/ethical/organic/sustainable products important to you?
So many skincare lines go are going organic or all natural which is great to see, but it is still difficult to know which ones are actually using sustainable methods and ethical products. I had a good friend tell me once after I was using some off brand sunscreen, "If you can't read the ingredients, why would you put it on your body?" It made so much sense. I decided to change how I thought about the products I used and how powerful my purchasing power is as an individual. When you buy organic, sustainable, and ethically made products, you are using your dollar as your voice, giving the power to the people who are creating products with the earth in mind. Humans generate an insane amount of waste, and 80% of pollution that enters the ocean comes from land. Reducing your daily consumption of single use plastics is not only beneficial to the environment, but it has now become convenient and easy, thanks to businesses like La Lune. Skin care has always been important to me just as a means of simplifying the idea that great skin does not come from wearing tons of products. After I learned about Meghan's launch of La Lune Apothecary, I knew it was going to be magical. I had to try it. It stands for everything I would want from a skincare line : "Your beauty and self-care regime does not have to be toxic to you or the planet. " Exactly.
What is your favorite La Lune Apothecary product and why?
There are so many lovely products it is hard to pick just one! I absolutely adore The Strawberry Hydrosol (Its sweet and earthy aroma gives me a refreshing boost I can't just spray it just once!) and the Beamé Lip Balm (I brought this on a recent trip to NYC - it's so portable! I kept this in my purse and used it throughout the day every day. Mostly on my lips for a dose of serious moisture without a lot of shine, but it can also be used on dry skin. It seems to last forever no matter how much I use it, too!). My all time favorite has been the The Cellular Revival Anti-Aging Roll On - this stuff kicks ass! It has become a staple in my nightly routine, the ingredients are so simple and effective, and it is also the the perfect size for travel.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I find inspiration from meeting new people and experiencing new things, it's one of my favorite things to do. The ocean, my travels, and the people I surround myself with also inspire me daily.
Can you share what project(s) you are currently working on?
Yes! Something quite different and exciting! I was most recently a Production Coordinator on an independent feature film, and we are currently in Post-Production. My business partner and boyfriend, Devin (who directed and co-wrote the film) and I got the opportunity to make the movie after meeting an investor on the beach in Hawaii.
What are you looking forward to in 2017?
I'm looking forward to a bunch of things, but definitely submitting our film to festivals and seeing what opportunities arise. I am also in post-production of a documentary about Micro Plastics and their affect on marine life around the Big Island, focusing mainly on the manta ray population. I took 7 water samples from various sites around the island, and when the results came back it was devastating to see that every sample, even the ones taken 2 1/2 miles off shore, contained micro plastics. I'm looking forward to not only continuing this project, but challenging myself to discover new ways to help advocate for the ocean. Humpback whale season is almost here in Hawaii too! (Dec-May). I’m just really thrilled to be back near the sea.
How can people connect with you/check out your work?
To find out more about The Love Waters and see what you can do today to Learn, Respect, Admire and Protect our oceans, please visit:
Find us on Instagram and Facebook as well:
You can also check out the film, Making a Killing on IMDB : http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6116568/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Photos by Devin Hume