What is it that empowers you most?
I feel most empowered when collaborating with people in creative settings. I love hovering over a roll of trace and madly scribbling ideas with a design team--- teaching international students how to dougie whilst repping the “stank face”--- painting murals with inner city children and watching their faces light up with each brushstroke--- I live to ignite that spark in others. Architecture, dance and art have been my favourite catalysts
What do you love most about yourself?
I love my ability to discover latent potential in anything, from abandoned objects to dilapidated cities. I refuse to look at the world as a static, impervious place. With imagination, there is always room for positive change.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Dancing. Any place, any style. There is nothing quite like getting lost in a song and trusting your body to explore the extents of the rhythm.
Who is your biggest role model?
My biggest role model is my nana. She has experienced loss at unfathomable levels her whole life, and remains the most selfless person I know. Her patience is unwavering, and her faith and love for her family, indestructible. She is also fluent in six languages [self-taught]. Oh, and she is by far the best cook ever.
In addition to my nana, I want to take this moment to celebrate all of the incredible people in my life:
Here’s to my dad, who taught me how to hold a hammer, and the value of hard work. He never fails to remind me of my strength when I feel down.
Here’s to my mom. Words cannot describe the extent of her love. I am proud to have inherited her passion, emotional dynamism and zest for life.
Here’s to my siblings, for enduring all of my [continually] weird phases, and having my back no matter what… even provinces apart.
Here’s to my grandparents, for spoiling me with food, stories and warm hugs.
Here’s to my best friends, for the dance parties, hysterical antics, and heart-to-hearts over bottles of wine.
Here’s to my brilliant, goofy boyfriend, who supports my wildest ambitions and loves me unconditionally.
Thank you all for making me who I am.
Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I want to address all the female STARchitects out there… not the “Zaha” types per se, but the women who juggle stellar careers, raise families, and simultaneously make time for themselves. You are living evidence that we do not have to choose one or the other to accomplish great things. In my eyes, you are true heroines.
If you could pick one fictional character to be for a day who would it be and why?
Arya Stark from Game of Thrones. She is tiny, clever, and fiercely independent. AND she has her own sword. So badass.
What is your biggest life goal?
In the cheesiest sense, my biggest life goal is to make a positive difference in the world. I want to find what I am most passionate about, push it to the extreme and share it with others. I want to make a hefty dent in the development of my hometown, Winnipeg, Manitoba. I want to inspire at least one person who is experiencing self-doubt to realize their own strength. I want to share my life with loved ones. I want to travel the world and design spiritual spaces and places of healing. Lastly, when my time comes, I want to know that I lived my life to the fullest for the good of my community, without regret.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
Graduating from my Bachelor of Environmental Design studies in architecture… or perhaps more importantly, recovering from 4 consecutive years without sleep, living out of the trunk of my mercury sable and the inevitable downward spirals from critique after critique.
I am proud of myself for taking time to work, for rediscovering favourite past times, moving to a new city and pursuing my masters degree. I am proud of myself for taking risks, maintaining important relationships, and forming new ones.
What is your favourite quote?
“What if?” – Jae Sung Chon
“Love wins. Love always wins.” – Morrie Schwartz
“Sometimes it’s the people no one expects anything from who do the things no one expects.” (The Imitation Game)
And because I am a Harry Potter fanatic:
“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” – Albus Dumbledore
“Nothing like a nighttime stroll to give you ideas.” – Alastor Moody
If you could tell your 12 year old self one thing what would it be?
Stay weird. Wear artsy hats and sweatpants. Dance your heart out. Do not waste your energy on those who do not respect you in return. Four years of braces will be worth it, I promise. Find inspiration in something small every day. Trust yourself and always push the limits.
What does feminism mean to you?
Feminism is the destruction of the stigma that women are lesser, demanding equal opportunities and respect for all.
Breanna is a Habitat Visionary and Space Planner in Vancouver, Canada