Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, this story could be triggering. For support, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
Meghanlee Phillips grew up in the suburban outskirts of the Twin Cities in Minnesota and was raised by her maternal grandparents. As one of only a few students of color at school, being biracial often made her feel like an outsider. Undiagnosed dyslexia made studying difficult. But eventually, she discovered her gifts for fashion blogging and theater, and they became her passions. As Meghanlee headed to college, she moved away from those things, thinking she was taking the more stable route. But what should’ve been carefree career exploration instead became a tumultuous time filled with the breakup of an unhealthy relationship and a series of traumatic events. When it seemed like there was no other way out of the pain, Meghanlee attempted suicide.
At a turning point in her recovery journey, a therapist asked a powerful question: “When are you going to live for you, not other people?” Meghanlee was moved to return to her first love and started hosting fashion shows. She donated a portion of the proceeds to causes close to her heart. They were a positive, creative outlet for her and helped with her healing process. Later, after being denied from joining an overseas mission trip due to her previous suicide attempt, Meghanlee was determined to tackle societal stigmas and created a fashion show specifically featuring stories of people living their lives with mental health conditions. Afterward her email inbox was flooded with notes of support.
Meghanlee decided to continue using her personal experiences to create a platform that highlights the beauty of inclusivity and raises awareness about important issues like mental health. In 2016, she followed her ultimate dream and launched The Volk Magazine, a quarterly publication that features the latest fashion and beauty trends, inspiring stories, plus information about projects that promote the welfare of others. She and her team work with local Minneapolis/St. Paul creatives of all backgrounds and aim to use fashion and art to make a difference in the world. A portion of each issue’s profits goes to Threads for Teens, a nonprofit that provides on-trend outfits to homeless youth.
Meghanlee is enjoying the challenges of building a purpose-driven enterprise and cherishes its growing community of supporters. Though she’s busy as ever, she finally feels content. In addition to the magazine, she holds a full-time job, is married and a mom to an active toddler. She is outspoken about the importance of self-care and making time first for family. And she’s passionate about using her story and her success to show others there is always hope.
To learn more about Meghanlee’s business, visit TheVolkMagazine.com.
Photo: The Volk Magazine
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