Strength, happiness and inspiration.

Inspiration is a weird concept, especially when it comes to finding a celebrity, or even someone remotely notable, who inspires you. You go off, choose someone who you’ve never met (and might never have the chance to) and decide that their ideas and persona inspire you to become a better person. The majority of the time, inspiration and idolization can come from the people around us, but more often than not, it comes from the people we see in the media. 

For me, I’ve chosen to be inspired by many things throughout my life; movies, television shows, songs, novels, and of course, celebrities. Aaron Sorkin’s short-lived television show Sports Night has inspired me to follow my interests in video editing to a possible career in television production. Mary Chapin Carpenter’s songs ‘The Dreaming Road’ and ‘Only a Dream’ have helped me grow as a person, as well as motivate myself when things are hard. Hilary Duff’s film A Cinderella Story has helped me come to terms with my father’s sudden death when I was young – close in age to her character in the film. But most of all, I have found celebrities who have inspired me too.

Most of my celebrity inspirations come and go – Lisa Edelstein, Naya Rivera, Hugh Laurie, Emma Watson – just to name a few of the people I’ve followed over the years. Though, as most of you may know, my main inspiration throughout my life over the past year and a half has been Katie Derham.

For a bit of backstory, I was introduced to Katie’s existence when she was on Strictly Come Dancing in the fall of 2015. Like most people, the main interest of the show that had piqued my interest was my love of dance. When I was younger, I had taken various dance classes – mostly ballet and jazz – up until I was about ten. I also enjoyed preforming in theatre for a few years after that, where I was still able to pursue my love of dance. But being that Katie and Anton were my girlfriend’s favorite pair on the show, I naturally gravitated to support them as well.

But after listening to Katie’s radio show, learning about who she was as a person, and about her life – I began to realize that Katie’s world view seemed similar to my own. I also found that she spoke about certain experiences in her own life that I found myself relating to in ways that I hadn’t before. And in some way, I felt understood by what she was saying. Fast forward to the spring after that realization, and I decided that I was going to ask Katie for a slightly unusual request – a tattoo in her handwriting. My tattoos are all very significant to me and to ask Katie for one was not only my compliment to her, but a way of honoring the influence she has had over my life.

27 June 2016. I had the word ‘strength’ in Katie’s handwriting tattooed on my left wrist.

I don’t feel the need to go into detail about how much Katie has inspired me, the people who know how deeply she has influenced my life are very well aware of that fact. It’s not every single day who you find someone – anyone – who can inspire you and remind you to keep fighting to grow into becoming a better person by simply listening to how they’ve impacted your life. But Katie has done that for me.

In the past year, she has shown me far more kindness than I ever expected from someone who I had once believed I would never meet and wouldn’t see me as much more than a common fan. But by this point, I consider myself lucky to have found a friend in Katie, when I didn’t expect anything more than a simple acknowledgement. I will be forever grateful for the influence that Katie has had on my life, the kindness that she has offered me, and the time she has taken to listen. But I have been fortunate to have experienced what a kind and generous person she is and the friendship I share with her is one that I will treasure forever.

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