AMLAhautehippiechic Amanda Mills, AmandaMillsLA.com, ubushobozi.org

Growing up in small town Texas and for now a California girl – Amanda Mills

Growing up in small town Texas and for now a California girl, Amanda Mills was born in Dallas and raised in Houston. Amanda grew up playing with the animals on her family’s ranch and designing her own dresses, enlisting the help of her maternal grandmother. “I would go to the drug store, buy the latest issue of Vogue, tear out a photo that I loved and take it to my grandmother and say, ‘I love the bottom of this dress but can we change the top..?’ I had no idea I was editing Chanel and Valentino, but my grandmother followed my directions perfectly. I remember she told me things should be as pretty on the inside as they are on the outside—for fashion and for life!”

With a degree in Social Work and Psychology, and graduate work in Psychology and Art History, Amanda has always been passionate about understanding what people desire and why. This former swimsuit model and international party girl is now a PR pro, luxury event planner, and devoted yogi with over 2000 registered hours training with the likes of masters Shiva Rea, Steve Ross, Tom Morley, Erich Schiffmann, Matthew Cohen, Dharma Mittra, Dr. Eden Goldman and the Loyola Marymount Yoga Therapy Program directed by Larry Payne. Amanda’s rich and varied background make her uniquely qualified to serve up the rich and varied best of what the world has to offer with discriminating wit, sophisticated taste, and open-hearted sisterhood. She’s the real deal.

In 2012 tragedy stuck Amanda’s life when she came home one day to find the lifeless body of her fiancé hanging in the garage of the home they shared together in Brentwood California. The love of her life I lost his battle with depression and died of suicide. How does one ever recover from this?

Such an event would crush most people, destroy their faith in anything good.

But not Amanda Mills.

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Born with a heart murmur and given up for adoption by her 16 year old mother, brought up in a faith-based Baptist home in Houston, after studying art and psychology at university, Amanda came to Los Angeles to study yoga. But did anything in her life prepare her for what she experienced that day? No, it did not.

So what did she do?Like Cheryl Strayed in “Wild,” Amanda set off on a journey to put the fragments of her life back together.

She went to Africa to spend some time in nature and grieve. But while looking for a yoga class in Rwanda, her driver directed her to an orphanage for girls who had survived the genocide of the Tutsis by Hutu majority.

“For my whole life,” Amanda told me, “I have been an adventurer, a seeker, a wanderer. I always considered myself pretty strong and fearless, but a few years ago when my life got turned upside down I decided to head off alone to Africa. There I found the Ubushobozi Project, and in doing so, I found myself again.”

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Ubushobozi Project is a non-profit, vocational skills training organization and yoga center founded in 2008 by Jeanne Siporin, Alan Siporin and Laura Boyea in Ruhengeri, Rwanda. Through education and skills training (sewing, weaving, crocheting and more) Ubushobozi seeks to end the cycle of poverty these girls have experienced throughout their young lives.

Each student is provided with a sewing machine, sewing lessons, fabric (and all related materials) and an outlet to sell their creations. In addition, students are provided with weekly stipends, daily nutritious meals and classes in English, mathematics, computers, health and sex education, and traditional dance.

“Seeing the resilience in these young women inspired me to find the resilience in myself and the power to realize my own dreams,” said Amanda.

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After spending the day laughing and dancing with these girls, Amanda was shown some yoga bags that the girls had sown and a light went off in her head. She knew what she had to do: she had to make a difference in the world by creating a company built on conscious commerce and philanthropy.

AmandaMillsLA.com, a highly-curated, socially-conscious lifestyle brand that blends California sensibility with cosmopolitan flair and provides a continuous stream of information and ideas that will keep you curious, engaged and inspired!

She says, “It is a dream come true to have a lifestyle brand that supports women in not only looking beautiful but feeling beautiful! Everything I’ve ever done has brought me to this point. I have finally grown into my own skin and it’s the most beautiful comfortable design I have ever worn.”