Boudoir Photography and Multiple Sclerosis with Manda Koolis | Ep 007


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Welcome to the Becoming Buoyant podcast, where we’re all about sharing our stories as entrepreneurs with chronic illnesses, making the invisible visible and breaking stigmas along the way.

In this episode of Becoming Buoyant, Manda Koolis joins us to talk about her road to Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis, how she plans her photoshoot days to prevent pain flare-ups, and understanding, accepting, and working with health limitations.


Manda Koolis

Being a military spouse of 10 years, professional photographer for 15 years and a chronically ill patient for the last 8 years means I've had my fair share of overcoming to do. It's hard enough to function as a professional artist without limitations, but what do you do when you move every 8 months-2 years and the odds are stacked against you with your health? You put on your big girl panties and fight for what you want. Obviously, there are days when my pity party box is unbreakable, but once I do get out of that box, I'm a force to be reckoned with. I've always been ambitious, but it's almost like my illnesses drive me more. I specialize in women's portraiture because I want to show women that even though we're all broken in some way, we're still beautiful. I freelance in other arenas, like graphic design, retouching and even virtual assistant work with the aim to keep myself busy so that I'm forced to focus on something other than my health or the disadvantages I have from moving so often. I focus my energy on bettering my spirit and, where I can, my body.



about the host

Emilie Steinmann is an experienced conversion copywriter, web designer, and marketing strategist. She is also the host of the upcoming podcast and YouTube channel, Becoming Buoyant.

Driven by cultivating real human connection, she takes pride in providing the best client experience possible. As the owner of Buoyant, an inbound marketing agency, her goals include building an empowered team, supporting her clients, and making a splash in the creative community through marketing education.

In addition to her primary job functions, Emilie has been volunteering as a Rising Tide Society chapter leader for several years and spoke on Diversity and Inclusivity at the annual Rising Tide Leaders Retreat in 2018.

She also has a mild obsession with latte art and colorful office supplies.


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