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“when i first started blogging it was to hone in on my creative side. when i entered the “real world”, as we call it, i was working on the business side of a dot com. i liked my job & the company i worked for, but i wasn’t challenging myself creatively at all. it started to get to me after a while so i knew i either had to pick up a hobby that allowed me to express my creative side, or i needed to go into a new field of work. starting over work wise sounded daunting, so after considering a fashion blog for a year or two i finally did it. best decision i ever made & eventually i moved from the business side to the creative side & now i get to be creative for work and fun, which is really exciting.”
“when i was growing up most of my drive came from watching my older sister. she’s three years older, i adored her growing up – & still do of course. but she really was the driving force behind my success in school, traveling the world, & making something of myself. she’s the person who pushed me to start my blog and hone in on my creative side as well, so she’s always been my biggest motivator in the sense that i looked up to her, and she can sense when i’m holding back or not pushing myself where i should be and she’ll give me a bit of a nudge to help get me there. she also can sense when i’m pushing myself too hard and need to reel it back a bit. sisters have a six sense or something.” “i’m still working on it, but i can be my own worst enemy at times. instead of focusing on the positives of where i am and who i am as a person, i’ll dwell on the negative or i’m too hard on myself. It’s challenging to love yourself, but i always try. i mean, at the end of all this, i want to love myself, my people, & the moves i made in life. i also have a tendency to go back & forth with decision making. decidaphobia, is what i call it. a few years ago my sister reminded me in casual conversation that there is no right move, there’s just a choice. i have the power to make my choices & when i make them, i need to own them & keep moving. probably the best advice i’ve had in a while & i remind myself of it whenever i’m at a crossroads in life & can’t seem to just make an effing decision.”
“on my way to work i never leave the house without eye drops, chapstick, khiels spf 30 face lotion (gotta protect that skin) & rose water. i probably shouldn’t say this because it’s frowned upon for good reason, but i apply this all on my drive to work because damn, traffic in seattle is cray cray so i have lots of time to spare. during the winter i add bronzer to the equation to keep myself from looking sickly pale. i wish i had that snow white pale skin that is oh so glorious, but i get a kind of green color in the winter that’s just not that tight. the order of application remains the same every day – eye drops, bronzer, lotion, rose water, chapstick. BOOM! so fresh & so clean clean.”” to me, home has various different meanings. my house is filled with furniture & pieces that define my sense of creativity. it’s a place that i can use to define my personality, experiences & interests through material things, as well as meaningful things. pieces that i may have found at a thrift store & had been searching for them for years, or the sofa from our playroom that reminds me of being a kid & watching countless hours of 90210, or the piece of art that i found on etsy & clicked “buy now” because god dammit it was seriously calling my name. but i also find home in people, places, & smells. my sister is my home, my parents are my home, my boyfriend is my home, my friends are my home, the smell of puget sound is my home. people that i feel really see & know me, & make me feel at peace, are essentially my home. they’re the home to my soul, i guess you could say.”
“if my house was burning down & i could only save one item it would be my boyfriend. if he was safe & sound i would grab my green suede leather jacket because shit, i just love her so much & thanks to icloud i know all my pictures are safe. my friend cass told me it’s my signature jacket, so i think i’ll keep it forever.” “people & friends usually comment on how loud my laugh is. when we’re in groups settings & someone joins the fun i often get “i knew where to find you guys because i could hear hayley from a mile away!” i actually used to be so insecure about it, especially in high school, but as i got older i got over it. i realized that i’m loud just like my dad is, who i could always hear laughing, even just talking, when i was on the soccer field, & i loved that about him, so i try & love that about myself. loud, free spirited & loyal would be how my closest friends describe me. i’m someone they go to for the good times & the bad, & i feel pretty good about that.” “i don’t necessarily always feel fulfilled in life, but with where i am at in life, i think i should & i make a strong effort to. realistically some days i do, & some days i don’t. we’re all human & there are ups & downs, but at the end of the day, i have friends & family i love, i feel loved, i’m healthy, i have a job i enjoy, hobbies i dig, & i live in seattle which is one of the prettiest places in the world, so when i think of all these things i’m able to remember how lucky & fulfilled my life already is, & will hopefully continue to be. the goal is to keep challenging yourself, experiencing new things, & embracing the world around you, & then i think you’re able to maintain a feeling of fulfillment most of the time, & that’s a win in my book.” “i want to be remembered as the fun loving & loyal best friend, soulmate, daugher, & sister that lived freely, creatively, & never stopped laughing. belly laughs are what life is all about.”

-hayley francis / neon doves

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“the night before the photoshoot with alyssa, i had gone to see man of la mancha, a musical inspired by don quixote. for those unfamiliar, miguel de cervantes’s story follows the misadventures of a pathetically comical old man who is so swept up by the “chivalric romances” he reads that he decides one day that he is actually a knight in shining armor himself. on his travels, don quixote mistakes an inn for a castle, a windmill for a giant, a barber’s shaving platter for a magical golden helmet, & a common whore for a princess. but don quixote is not just slapstick comedy at the expense of a doddering fool who has lost touch with reality. the genius of cervantes’s story is in how the other characters, who easily dismissed & derided the madman from la mancha, come to realize that don quixote is both a delusional, pitiable loser AND an awesome hero at the same time. don quixote’s imagination weaves a wonderful dream on top of a dreary reality, & if that means he experiences a better version of the world and the people in it, why stop him? & actually, who’s to say that he’s wrong?” “i was particularly moved by the courtship between don quixote & aldonza, the serving maid & whore of the inn. in man of la mancha, they sing:

DON QUIXOTE
my lady.

ALDONZA
i am not your lady!
i am not any kind of a lady!
i was spawned in a ditch
by a mother who left me there,
naked & cold & too hungry to cry.
i never blamed her.
i’m sure she left hoping
that i’d have the good sense to die!
then, of course, there’s my father.
i’m told that young ladies
can point to their fathers
with maidenly pride.
mine was some regiment
here for an hour.
i can’t even tell you which side!
so of course i became,
as befitted my delicate birth,
the most casual bride
of the murdering scum of the earth!

DON QUIXOTE
& still thou art my lady…

ALDONZA
take the clouds from your eyes
& see me as i really am!
you have shown me the sky,
but what good is the sky
to a creature who’ll never
do better than crawl?
of all the cruel bastards
who’ve badgered & battered me,
you are the cruelest of all!
can’t you see what your gentle
insanities do to me?
rob me of anger & give me despair! blows & abuse
i can take & give back again,
tenderness i cannot bear!
so please torture me now
with your “sweet dulcineas” no more!
i am no one! i’m nothing!
i’m only aldonza the whore!

DON QUIXOTE
now & forever thou art my lady dulcinea!”
“don quixote offers us a paradox. on the one hand, aldonza is right. she was born to & has lived nothing but terrible circumstances, & to survive, she had to recognize those circumstances for what they were and respond accordingly. the terms of her condition, in turn, came to define her. wanting to be valued doesn’t make you valued. it’s insulting & hurtful for don quixote to not recognize aldonza, & instead project his fantasies onto her. but don quixote is also right. he doesn’t need to account for reality. if don quixote values dulcinea, & aldonza is dulcinea, then aldonza is valuable. don quixote’s imagination rattles the shackles of aldonza’s reality, & gives her a glimpse into how she could define herself from the inside out, as opposed to being forced to define herself from the outside in. for better or for worse, don quixote shows us that our world is one in which believing something to be true can make it become “true.”
“i know what that feels like, on the “for worse” end, to have my image exploited & reputation rewritten according to falsehoods & other people’s agendas. i also know what it feels like on the “for better” end, when artists like alyssa take your raw presence & energy and transform it into art.”
“photographs themselves are paradoxes. cameras are only capable of capturing what is in plain sight all along, & yet, the way a photographer manipulates frame, angle, light, color…produces an artistic object that is more than its subject. in alyssa’s latest photographs, i see my body, my face, my clothes, my backyard…but i also see images that have a life & a beauty all their own. the porcelain-skinned girl with the dazzling eyes & the fur-lined, emerald coat—who is she? where did she come from & where is she going? i love that the answer is both: “she’s me, of course,” &, “your guess is as good as mine.”

-amanda knox

  1. Heather Hales

    What a lovely photo shoot and commentary! love Don Quixote! Take on your future, Amanda! You certainly deserve it!!!

  2. Nina Mesina

    Dear Amanda,
    The photos are beautiful. You are an amazing writer. I wish you peace and happiness.
    Sincerely,
    Nina Mesina
    Salinas, CA

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