By Aiden Willis
Erin and I knew of each other all of college and yet never quite became friends until we got to work together right after our undergraduate careers. Erin soon became more than a co-worker but a friend, and when she said she wanted to help out with BEAM, I was like oh girl I got just the thing for you. This would eventually bring her on as our amazing Creative Director! Erin is legitimately a jack of all trades. Seeing Erin grow in her love for our Savior has been such a joy. Erin is kind, hilarious, smart, loving, and a creative. We asked her a few questions about her journey, and here is what she had to say!
Where are you from and how did you end up in Memphis?
I am from Tupelo, MS. I attended the University of Memphis for undergrad (Go Tigers!) and I decided to stay after graduation. Memphis feels like home, so I will be here for a while.
What's your Jesus story?
My Jesus story… okay, so I am going to try to keep this as short as possible. I have been in church my whole life. I come from a family of singers, and although I can hold a note or two, that was never really my thing. I was into praise dancing. That was the way that I connected with God. When I dance, it feels like no one else is in the room—it’s how I have conversations with God. My favorite way to worship God is through dance and movement.
Now, even though I have always been in church and around it and had a relationship with God, it didn’t become REAL to me until college. While it was one of the best experiences of my life, college also brought along some of the worst moments of my life. I’ll spare you the details for now, but life got ROUGH for me. I dealt with some of everything in those four years—anxiety, depression, divorce, and heartbreak, among other things. Despite all of those things, college did show me that there’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to loving God. I used to be shy and awkward when it comes to talking about God. That was until life hit, and I realized that the ONLY reason I am alive today is because of God’s grace, mercy, and love. So, the girl who was scared to talk about God has become a woman who will proudly profess her love for her Saviour. Needless to say, I am nowhere near a perfect person, and the people who know me can attest to that. I do, however, serve a perfect God.
How are you inspired as a creative?
Wow… it’s so weird thinking of myself as a creative, but that is probably the best word to describe me. From a young age, I was always fascinated by the creation of things. Not only that, but the thought process behind the creation. I express myself through many creative outlets, so I have a deep understanding of creative and artistic expression. This expression, whether verbal or nonverbal, can impact people’s lives in unimaginable ways. Think about your favorite song and how it makes you feel… Multiple people allowed their creative expression to touch that song and turned it into this amazing sound that evokes emotion.
Okay, so I said all of that and didn’t answer the question. Goodness! Let’s get back on track… how am I inspired? Gosh, there are so many things. One of the main things would probably have to be seeing people’s passion and helping them bring their vision to life. I love seeing how a word, a movement, or a photo can expand into something greater. Creating is also an outlet for me—it’s so much fun for me. I am also inspired by the people around me. Usually when I am creating something for a person or group, I try to capture their essence. God made each person unique, and I feel that it is a part of my purpose to help others embrace their individuality. God gave us different gifts and talents and personalities for a reason—to use them to glorify Him.
What do you think makes you a phenomenal Black Woman?
I am a phenomenal black woman because of the love and support from other women around me. My mother, who is literally my heart and my backbone, is the most amazing woman I know. It’s her faith in God, strength, and grace that has molded me into the woman I am today. She has always encouraged me to dream big and let me know that with God I can achieve anything. Also, I cannot forget about the other women in my family who have been there for me (grandmothers, sisters, and aunts). I was blessed with a family full of strong-willed women. And it wouldn’t be right if I did not mention my friends. Yall, I literally have the greatest friends in the world. They have taught me so much about life and love and what being a friend actually means. They give me the confidence to be myself—no matter how weird I think I am. My friends push me to become a better person, even when it is uncomfortable. It is such a blessing to have women in your life who build you up and give you love with truth.
Erin, we are so proud of and grateful for you! Seeing you walk in your purpose and trusting in the Lord is a sight to see. Sis, we pray that you continue to dream big, and connect with God however you see fit. We love you!! Continue being a bold black woman!