Inspiring WomenIn 2014 we had the chance to interview some truly amazing women. We interviewed a range of inspirational women from a bone cancer survivor who is now a model to two sisters who opened the first plus size designer wedding dress boutique. It was brilliant to share their stories and learn things from these accomplished women. From the interviews we learned a lot about ingenuity, perseverance and passion.

(Related: The 11 Best Celebrity Wedding Dresses From 2014)

These are the lessons we learned from talented women we interviewed this year:

1. Turn your hobby into your career.Well Of Ink Kelly Shannon Evil Mermaid Nails

(Via Instagram/WellOfInk)

Nail technician Kelly Shannon‘s husband gave her a nail stamping kit when she had a foot injury. She had always been interested in painting and art, but doing nails became “an obsession and an outlet” when she was injured. Many people encouraged her to go pro and she also began to ask herself why she wasn’t turning her love of nail art into a profession.

2. Don’t let anything limit you.Elesha Turner

(Gokhan Goksoy/VR Agency Via Facebook/EleshaTurner)

Elesha Turner is a bone cancer survivor and model. She had cancer in her leg and had two muscles removed, and a few bones and her knee were replaced with titanium. She had to learn to walk again and go through a grueling rehabilitation process but she is now a model, the face of the Models Of Diversity campaign and raises awareness about bone cancer.

3. Be creative.Brides By Design Heidi Elnora Ashley Fitting

(Via TLC)

Alabama-based designer Heidi Elnora creates customized wedding dresses. She showed that there is no challenge or client’s idea that you can’t turn into a reality, even if it seems impossible at first.

4. Don’t let negativity affect you.Too Fat To Run Group

(Via The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running)

Julie Creffield started her blog, The Fat Girl’s Guide To Running, to encourage people to get active, not to drop dress sizes. She started the body positive blog after a kid shouted negative comments at her during her first race. She turned the negative experience into positive and now she inspires people.

5. We can make a change.Models Of Diversity

(Via Models Of Diversity)

Angel Sinclair started Models Of Diversity because she wanted to see models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and abilities represented in fashion, beauty and marketing industries. Models Of Diversity calls on the industry to “recognize the beauty” in differences, and the movement has helped get a more diverse mix of models represented.

Click the next page to see more lessons we learned from the inspiring women we interviewed this year.

6. Be passionate about what you do.Lauren Napier

(Via Lauren Napier)

Lauren Napier is a celebrity makeup artist. She has worked with countless celebs and on Saturday Night Live. Despite the very quick changes, she love the environment and says working on SNL is “the most fun I ever had at work.” She also started her own makeup line, CLEANSE by Lauren Napier because of her passion for skincare.

7. Change a negative situation into something positive.Curvy Brides 4

(Via TLC)

When Yukia Harris-Walker was shopping for a wedding dress, she found it extremely difficult to find a gown in her size. She was even laughed at in one boutique. After her awful expereience, Yukia and her sister Yuneisia Harris, decided to open the first designer plus size bridal boutique, Curvaceous Couture.

8. Communication is key to overcoming issues.Smart Cute Stop The Beauty Madness

(Via Stop The Beauty Madness)

Robin Rice and Lisa Meade started the Stop The Beauty Madness campaign to do away with the impossible beauty standards that have been created. The campaign exposes “the ugly truths” and encourages discussions about the topic because they believe “the more we talk about this, the more we will discover the ways to change things.”

9. Remember to put things into perspective.Vanilla Blush Black Lingerie

 (Via Vanilla Blush)

Nicola Dames founded Vanilla Blush, a lingerie line for people with different types of stomata and ostomies that is functional and fashionable. Her philosophy “I am still 100% woman, 100% sensual and nobody can take that from me” is about being alright that you’re not completely perfect and that it’s a good thing no one else is. Furthermore, it’s fine to initially be upset about it because it allows you to see things clearly and move on.