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Joy Karmeli

Healthcare worker and model

Growing up in the Bay Area was a complex experience for me. Raised by a hardworking single mother, I faced unique challenges that shaped my outlook on life. With the untimely passing of my father at a young age, my mom had to take on multiple jobs to support our family. Eventually, she became a sex worker, exposing me to that world of vice from an early age. After completing college, I decided to embark on a different path and moved to Southern California to pursue a career in modeling. The allure of the industry captured my heart, but as time went on, I realized that modeling was more of a passion than a sustainable career. Consequently, I transitioned to the medical field, where I currently work full time. Perhaps my biggest hurdle in life was growing up with a kind of "secret life" that people didn't know about because it was illegal. Acting like a regular kid while knowing my friends, teachers, and neighbors don't know anything about the challenges at home was very difficult. While my mother managed to maintain steady employment, circumstances led her down a path that impacted all of us. What I started to notice in fifth grade became a concern for me in junior high, but I was stuck and needed to make the best out of my siutation. Overcoming these challenges required me to come to terms with the fact that I was loved, albeit poorly cared for during my childhood. During my college years, I grappled with anger and resentment towards my earlier situation. I loved my mom, but I was frustrated at her decisions. However, as time went on, I began to realize that those experiences instilled in me a unique boldness and strength that has carried me far in life. Modeling, for instance, became an opportunity for me to "own" the attention I had craved, empowering me to embrace my own identity. Throughout my journey, I have encountered several moments of immense pride. Graduating from college was a significant milestone, marking the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Additionally, my first paid modeling job served as a validation of my passion and talent. On a professional front, being promoted to a managerial position in my office highlighted my growth and commitment in the medical field. Beyond my career achievements, conquering the challenging hike to Vernal Falls stands as a testament to my perseverance and determination. While accomplishments and personal growth are important, it is the people we surround ourselves with who truly make a difference. In my life, my best friend and roommate, Becca, holds an irreplaceable position. Through thick and thin, she has provided unwavering support and has been a constant source of strength and companionship. Amidst the ups and downs, one profound life lesson I have learned is the significance of empathy. Before speaking or acting, it is crucial to put ourselves in someone else's shoes. By embracing this perspective, we gain a deeper understanding of others' experiences, fostering compassion and fostering more meaningful connections. My journey has been one of self-discovery, growth, and resilience. From the complicated circumstances of my upbringing to the pursuit of my passions and the embrace of empathy, each step has shaped me into the person I am today. By acknowledging the challenges and transforming them into sources of strength, I have found the courage to overcome obstacles and live life on my own terms.

Connect with Joy on her Instagram here

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