Iowa native Stephanie Watts is the owner of Stephanie Marie Boudoir Photography Studio in North Liberty. “I’m lucky enough to get to work with and photograph women of all shapes and sizes to show them how beautiful and truly badass they are.” Learn about Stephanie Watts…
Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa
First job: McDonald’s. I was 15 and had to get a workers permit, but I have always been really driven to work and create a life for myself. I truly believe this was the first example of me being my own boss in the future. The management was awful, and I quit after working there for two short weeks.
Favorite ways to spend your free time in IA: I’m a workaholic to a fault. It was a difficult transition from “work work work” to “you can’t work,” but I enjoyed every bit of family time under quarantine. Pre-pandemic, I enjoyed traveling, coffee dates and happy hour with friends and more traveling. I’m really excited to get back to traveling.
Your biggest accomplishment and why: Raising a smart, strong, witty and talented daughter. She is 100 percent why I work so hard and why my ultimate goal is to uplift women and make them feel better about themselves. When she was about 10 or 11, I saw her start struggling with her appearance because of social pressures. It made me realize women are told at such a young age that we should be “perfect,” HOW we should be perfect, WHAT “perfect” is and that we should look a certain way. Perfectionism is B.S!
The biggest obstacle you overcame: Starting “over” and starting a business at 29 years old as a newly single full-time mom and college student in 2011. It was lonely and hard. Ending my marriage (and a large chapter of my life) was not only stressful and challenging, but I found myself in the process. I don’t even identify with the “old” Stephanie anymore.
Someone who inspires you and why: Without a doubt, my dad. He’s the hardest working, most positive dad and grandpa in the world. Even when my parents divorced, he never gave up on being my dad. He was there even in the really tough times. Being an entrepreneur and mom now, I see how challenging co-parenting and running a business in the 80’s and 90’s was. If it weren’t for him, I would not have the confidence to start my own business.
Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: Don’t wait. Start when you’re unsure, unready and/or scared. Show people who you are and your work and constantly try to better your craft.
Favorite quote: One of my personal quotes: “If I’m not changing women’s lives, what am I doing?”
Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I’m a Master Diver and an Air Force veteran.
What makes someone fabulous: Someone is fabulous if they treat people really, genuinely well, which is always a direct reflection of how happy they are with themselves.