A major key in keeping our dreams alive is love. Once we learn to lead with love + passion in everything we do and for everything we do, we are able to grow into our true purpose. As creatives, love is the way we express ourselves; it's what inspires us to keep going and create positive change in the world. 

DARLA's #14DaysofLOVE project features different creatives, their work + insight to how love drives them to make their Dreams And Real Life Align.

For the last 14 days, we've been using Instagram (@DARLAmedia) to share the things that inspire us the most, from Tupac poems to Ertha Kitt's views on love. What keeps you inspired and driven as a creative? How do you incorporate love into what you create? — Keep the love alive + share your responses with us!



"I read somewhere (an Oprah book) once that the act of creating is a prayer to God, and it stuck with me. Throughout my life, I've fallen in love with the process of creating and bringing my ideas and dreams to life. When I'm creating is when I truly feel connected to a higher power, to my highest self, and that experience of real love is what drives me to do what I do.
As the Creator of #projectDARLA most of my days revolve around creating all types of new content and strategies. My passions for photography, designing, writing + editing is what helps me accomplish my goals... But my love for connecting with people and learning the stories behind their work is why I do what I do. There have been times that I've felt like I wasn't built for the challenge of running my own company, or maintaining a media outlet... And I've been able to get rid of those inhibitions by simply doing what's natural to me; by continuously creating through the doubt. For every time I've wanted to give up, there has been a message within an interview that's encouraged me to keep going.
I believe that some of the things in life with the highest values are Awareness, Understanding, Compassion and Unconditional Love. By practicing those things every day and by expressing ourselves, I believe that we're able to start the conversations that inspire revolution within ourselves and the outside world as well; the conversations that reveal that despite what dreams we're chasing or our social status, we're all one + we're all born to be creators.
For me, DARLA is about learning to Love and have a passion for life -- the ups and the downs. It's about highlighting the little moments that lead to bigger ones, and capturing all of the good things to piece them together like a scrapbook that we can look back on and re-inspire ourselves with... Because Love, is timeless.
When I create with Love, I'm creating harmony in my world. It's not always the smoothest process, but it's magic almost; something you can't always see or define, but you can feel it, you know? 

And that -- creating with Love, for Love, by Love is what makes my Dreams And Real Life Align."



"Everything is connected in some way— you just have to discover it, or in my case, you fall upon it. I always wanted to impact the community and have my own way of contributing to the uplift of people of color. Everyone around me found their niche, and I felt like the only one who had no clue. It wasn’t until I started Sovereign, a magazine at Penn State, (the first magazine for students of color at the University Park campus), that I realized this is how I can make my Dreams And Real Life Align. During that time, I was more passionate and more involved than I ever had been in anything. I finally found what truly made me happy.
It’s hard to pick what I loved the most about it, because I loved everything. I loved covering our community, I loved discovering cool creatives, I loved all the cool graphics and videos we made, I loved helping oversee the entire process. It was hard and rough at first, but I still loved every minute of it. Unfortunately, I cannot bring Sovereign with me as it’s a Penn State organization, but I will eventually own my own business and impact the community in a slightly
different way. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Because I know being a creative is what I’m most passionate about and love the most, I don’t stop learning. Since my goal is to always be the best, I can’t settle. I can’t get comfortable. There’s still a lot for me to learn and a lot for me to master. Of course there are days where I’m tired and don’t feel like doing much, but when you push yourself during those times you’ll really see results. I know my hard work will pay off soon, and I know when the time is right my business will emerge. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

During this self journey, I am grateful to have found DARLA and be a Contributor + Social Media Associate. I believe in Victoria and her mission with DARLA. Her passion for it is similar to what I had with Sovereign, and being able to work with someone like that is a blessing that I don’t take for granted.
If you have found what you love to do, don’t let it go. So many people leave their dreams behind everyday and settle for a life they truly aren’t happy with. If you haven’t found it yet, try to expose yourself to new things.

You never know what you’ll fall in love with if you don’t explore. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take the first step. I could’ve just waited for someone to create a magazine for the students of color at Penn State. I could’ve been really discouraged that I never really worked on a magazine before. But I took that first step, as scary as it was, and grew. Growth occurs when you’re uncomfortable."



"I find an internalized, self-propelling necessity to create constantly. Every moment, even as I write this, I'm overwhelmed with ideas and things I want to create. Whether I'm creating posters for film festivals, or traveling across the world to produce music, there's an endless world of possibilities, and something I've learned recently is that the difference between those that do, and those that don't, is simply "DOING."
Something I've struggled with has been leaving the comfort zone of my mind and bringing ideas completely into fruition, but I've learned how powerful creation is, and how the mere physical existence of a creation can change the world and reality as we know it. That's why my motto, "Never Stop Creating" continues to motivate me and others because there a true power in creation that we all posses and once realized can not be stopped. ⠀⠀
More Importantly, that's what I love the most about my work. I do what I do, to inspire others. Eventual and almost inevitable fame and fortune are all byproducts of me chasing my true passion to keep the world motivated to do what they love and stay in tune with their talents. You never know what your content will mean for someone. Inspiration is the birthplace of all creation, and to be responsible for leaving a legacy of innovation and progression through inspiring the world, is really all I'm here for."



"The thing that keeps me most driven to achieve my goals is my faith in God. I believe that all the work I do is for a greater purpose and that's truly what drives me to keep going through the ups and downs that come with being a creative. My goals are big and I have a vision of myself literally creating a more positive future with my mind, my hands and my voice. What I love most about the work that I do is my intention behind my work. When it comes to my art, everything I create starts with an intention; a purpose that I can articulate. I truly love people and making them feel important, and that's what fuels my passion for creating beautiful images and telling the relatable, inspiring stories of people of color, especially women. I think that is something we've been missing in media for a long time; a spectrum of representation for multi-dimensional women of color. Women are incredibly dynamic and I believe we need to see more of that in our mainstream media. Through my work, I hope that in the future, no little girl will be able to look on TV or in a magazine and not see herself represented and reflected. I hope that I can remind people that they are important and their stories matter. I hope to lift the esteem of the people I work with and shine my light in their lives by impacting them in a positive way. I hope to be one of the people who obliterates the statement "the first black (female) _________." I hope to continue paving the way for us and to be a representation of a Black female creative who followed God in creating the life of her dreams and positively changing the world."



"Passion comes after love. Love comes after self-love. ⠀⠀
It was an extremely hard lesson to learn as the days and the years went on. For a long time, my dreams stayed dreams because I didn’t believe enough in myself for them to become a reality. Lack of love for your reflection will make looking out of every window blurry. Lack of love for myself hindered the love and passion that would have become of my inner creative side. In every way, shape and form, I tried to suppress my talents until one day I had enough. Self-worth introduced itself profoundly to me and since then, I was never able to revert back to who I used to be. Love from within was able to exude out into my work, and my goals, and my dreams. No longer did the “No’s” or closed doors bother me. No longer did anybody's thoughts or presumptions move me. Every friend lost and heartbreak that broke me have yet to touch the women I am today. It, now, was the love I had for my present self and my future being that helped me; through every give-up point and every tear. Your dreams will never become a reality until you conquer fear. The only fears you are born with was the fear of falling and loud noise. Not failure. No matter how close I’ve came to giving up, I would always envision myself being as successful as I know I can be. The love for being a creative and the passion of modeling never allowed me to stop.
As of recently, I realized a lot more about my journey. I am more than just a model. I am a visionary, a poet, an artist and soon to be…an icon. My passion since June 2017 has become to create things, no matter what they be, to inspire and uplift every person to aspires to make a wave in the industry. You can’t be selfish with your greatness and your work. It took me years to figure out how to segue my dreams to reality. All along it started with the belief in myself. After that, nothing or no one could come between it. I couldn’t love what I do until I found love for who I was.
Love is what makes you and your dreams inseparable. Passion is what keeps it strong, no matter what difficulties are to come."



"What I love the most is the effect my work has on people. Art is such a powerful thing -- particularly when it comes to storytelling. I get the opportunity to create new worlds for people that allow them to escape into alternate realities. Whether someone has a shitty day or is going through a tough time, none of that matters for the 30 minutes or 2 hours that they are watching a television show or film I helped to create. They can forget about their problems, their fears, their struggles and instead get lost in the entertainment -- and be happy. Even if it's just for a moment.

It's the passion for what I do that keeps me driven. I genuinely, sincerely, and fully LOVE what I do. I love acting. I love producing. I love developing new stories and making people feel something. Every second, every minute, every hour, when I first wake, and before I close my eyes I'm constantly checking in on scripts, production schedules, creative developments, and even jotting down my day dreams that could potentially spark new ideas. From the art to the business -- what i do is so fun to me that I crave to do it at all times. -
And to be honest, I want to be one of the greatest to ever do it. So the fear of falling short of that is also a factor that keeps me on top of my shit.

[To make Dreams And Real Life Align] I'm just honest with myself enough to pursue the things that I'm truly passionate about. I started off with a career in fashion, which was great, but I started to notice that I didn't really dream about making the greatest clothes. I'd be on the subway in NYC and day dreaming about acting and filmmaking. So one day I decided that for now on, I'm only going to pursue the things that I love and am passionate about. That's my gut check. For everything I do in life I ask myself -- Would you love to do this, if you weren't getting paid? That'll reveal a lot of inner truth."



"I've never seen the difference between dreams and real life. I'm not one to give up, ever, and I believe anything is possible if you never stop working towards it. If you really dedicate yourself to doing what you love, you can only succeed. Self-love motivates my work, and it took me awhile to get there. I realized to stay motivated and inspired I had to become my own muse. I surround myself with things I love. Anything that sparkles, clothes that are colorful, feminine & soft, my grandma's vintage rings that never leave my fingers. I light palo santo every day to cleanse negative energies and for calming fragrance. I love that my work can bring beauty into this world and I love that others can benefit from that. I hope that when someone purchases a Golightly art piece and incorporates it into their space, that they can use the vibe it brings to help them become their own muse too."



"Without love and true passion there wouldn't be true creativity. Love motivates me to create and to desperately express how I truly feel. What keeps me driven to achieve my goals is my soul for art. It doesn't stop reminding me to keep trying and not to be afraid of failure nor afraid of what outcome I'll get. What I love most about my work is that it's fun to try different styles and different ideas that work good together and that really stand out in a simple way. I love to create vintage looks with a pop of graphic art, some may say it's a little humorous. What I hope to achieve with my work is to inspire others and also a career where I can expand my ideas. I do art for the pleasure of myself I just can't help to look back at my work and feel excited for what's next I have so much more to come and so much more [room] to grow."



"Creativity has become such an important part of my life. I cant see myself living a life without being able to create in any way or form. There is something extremely soothing about the time I spend creating. Through good and bad times, I feel completely free and completely me when I am creating. 

Being an individual who is aware of her emotions and thoughts, creativity has been the perfect space to express how I feel. It is the best therapy! Growing up I got constantly asked, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" and, "What are you passionate about?" implying that I can only be passionate about one thing only. It used to be a struggle! And I would try to stick to only one thing, only soon to find out that my heart would be yearning for something else. However, I soon accepted that I am a creator. I dont need nor want to only have one passion, as my main passion is to create, share, express and tell stories! Whether that is through photography, videography, poetry or designing clothes. I am a creator! And the love I have for creating is what keeps me going. The feeling I get while I am designing or editing is beyond words! My mind is filled various images, colours and sounds, I feel liberated and I feel love. Because it is during that time I feel at my best, accepted and content.

My aim with my work is to inspire, share and tell the stories of others. Through creativity we are able to grow and prosper as individuals, feel confident and learn to love ourselves. There is much more than just creating a piece of clothing or an image, it is the process that is a blessing. And it is through focusing on the process that we grow to become our best selves."



"Since I got to college, I've learned to surround myself with people that would only lift me up and not bring me down. I let go of a toxic relationship and toxic friends. To me, it’s important to love someone who knows what it means to care for another human being. I can only truly see myself being with someone for the rest of my life who is as passionate as I am about their work."