In a period of time when we're inundated with what feels like consistent bad news, we wanted to put some emphasis on the positive. This is the another instalment in "Collective Conversations," a weekly series focusing on a woman we think is awesome + what she's all about. This week we're talking to genetic counsellor + colour enthusiast Miranda Lewit-Mendes. She was a student for six years before landing her dream job. She now provides information and support to people impacted by genetic conditions and diseases, all while sporting blinding shades of neon and fluffy leopard-print coats- naturally

1. Describe yourself in three words? 

Extravagant, enthusiastic, and empathic.

 2. How have you been staying motivated?

I have been lucky enough to keep working through quarantine, which has helped me maintain some form of normality. Having patients and colleagues depending on me has really helped to give me a purpose, even when I haven’t been able to do most other things I enjoy. I love being busy, so I have tried to focus on using the extra time to enjoy things that I might not usually have a lot of time for, like learning to cook and caring for my rapidly expanding indoor plant collection.

3. Something that you’re passionate about? 

Genetics and bright outfits - an unexpected combo perhaps! I find science absolutely fascinating and I have been very fortunate to recently get a job in my dream career as a genetic counsellor, where I get to learn about new genetic conditions everyday and support people impacted by these conditions. Styling wacky outfits has also been a passion of mine almost my whole life and brings me a lot of joy everytime I get dressed (sometimes to the point of changing outfits multiple times a day...) When I first started working as a genetic counsellor, I wasn't sure whether my two loves would be mutually exclusive - thankfully they're not...or at least in my mind they're not! Let's put it this way, my workplace is slowly becoming accustomed to expecting neon green and orange outfits or fluffy leopard print coats from me. 

4. Who do you most admire? 

I admire people who do things they want to do for themselves, not because they think they should or because of what other people might think. It isn't always as easy as it seems to do something without the help or approval of others. I also have a lot of respect for people who work hard and are motivated to achieve their goals, whether they are big or small.

5. What scares you the most about the unknown?

Time goes so quickly and this is quite selfish but I'm terrified at the possibility of missing out on the things that I love doing for a long time to come. If I had to describe myself with a fourth word, it would be excitable. I get very excited about everything, whether it's travelling or going to a festival or dinner plans with friends. Unfortunately when these things don't happen, I feel the same amount of emotion but in the form of disappointment. 

6. What is something you’re proud of? 

Getting to where I am in my career. I spent many years trying to work out what I wanted to do, working random jobs and then studying for 6 years to be able to work in the role I am doing now. After a lot of persistence and weekends spent doing assignents, I'm proud to be working in a job that I love.

7. What's something you do to be kind to yourself? 

I'm the type of person that relishes crossing tasks off a to-do-list, which can be very satisfying but also very guilt-inducing if I don't achieve all the tasks I want to. So I'm trying to be kinder by allowing myself to also spend time doing what I enjoy, even if it isn't necessarily something productive or useful. 

8. What are you most looking forward to post-isolation? 

Going to festivals and music events with my friends. There is nothing on earth that makes me happier than to be dancing to music I love and see all my friends dancing and smiling around me. In glittery and ridiculous costumes if possible!

9. How do you align and connect with your intuition?

I like to think and think and overthink things...I think I struggle to connect with my intuition and as a result I spend a lot of time in my head, which is not necessarily always helpful. My job involves a lot of self-reflection, which I think is really useful for helping me recognise how I react emotionally and understand how I am affected by certain things in my personal life as well as in my professional work. But I definitely still rely on a lot on consciously analysing things, rather than trusting my intuition. I think perhaps this is just part of my personality...I spent a lot of time thinking about my answer to this question so maybe there is your answer!

10. What's an assumption others make about you?

Because of my love for eclectic outfits, and somewhat extensive wardrobe collection, people often assume I work in the fashion industry!

11. Is there an item you would like to see from Collective Closets in the future? 
I'm in love with my blue check pants that I got years ago and I wear my green check bag almost every day, so please keep the bright check prints coming! I feel like check is timeless and the electric colour schemes of Collective Closets keep the print feeling completely new and exciting every time. 

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