Having friends is something that I’ve always taken for granted. Prior to moving to Calgary, I lived in small town Ontario, where everybody knew each other, and you were sure to run into someone everywhere you went. My entire high school had been at the same party at one time or another, and I was comfortable with the people I surrounded myself with. It was jarring when I left for the west, moving across the country to be with the other half of my family, and looking for new opportunities. I spent a lot of time alone, more than I ever have. I got to know myself and what I wanted, and I made a few good friends along the way.

Photo Credit: Kennedy Enns

It wasn’t until I reached my second year of university that I found the people I know are my soulmates. They came in many different forms. Some I had classes with and got to talk about my interests in music, fashion, writing, and photography with. We would go to school parties together and talk into the night. I met some at a party at my friend’s residence, and they had set up an area in someone’s bedroom with a poster on the door that had “Woman to Woman Healing Centre” written on it.

Photo Credit: Amber McLinden

Some of them were people in different programs who I met through volunteering with a social innovation group called Enactus at my university. We shared a passion to change the world with business, and with them I got to work on numerous projects, including one that I eventually got to lead. EmpowerU is a project that assisted women leave the sex trade by teaching financial literacy and life skills to them, and I got to help it grow. That was an experience in itself. These people built me up and showed me how I could prosper in business even though I was a communications major. It’s something I didn’t think was possible, but now I hold the title of Vice President of Project Development with the group.

Many of them were  friends that I had throughout high school. I had absolutely taken for granted the presence of these people, and didn’t realize the work it takes to stay in contact with them. These are friends who support me no matter what I do, not because we share the same interests, but because we genuinely support each other in everything we do. Without these friends, I would have not made it through some of the tougher parts of my life.

All of these amazing women play a specific role in my life, and have helped me grow and prosper into the person I am now. Without my university friends, I would not have realized my potential as a writer. Without my Enactus friends, I would not have reached into the world of business as a woman or as a communication student. Without my high school friends, I would have nobody who has known me long enough and understands me to help me through my problems. I owe to them my success, because without them I would have never been involved in starting Vamp Media.

Photo Credit: Amber McLinden

I am one of five women who founded the website. Our mission is to publish journalistic content by women, for women. We publish a vast array of articles and photo projects, including news, commentary, arts and culture, lifestyle, humour, profiles, and LGBTQ content. I truly believe that the amazing female friends that I have in my life inspired me to create this website. It’s so important to surround yourself with other strong women to help you build yourself up.

Starting what is essentially a business, and building a brand from the ground up isn’t easy, and I can guarantee I wouldn’t be doing as well if I had to run Vamp Media alone. Having four other dedicated and driven women to share the burden of this has made it a lot easier to handle, not to mention more fun. This doesn’t mean you need to start a business with four other women to be successful, but rather to make sure you have a support system around you so you never feel like you are alone.

I took a page from the book of Taylor Swift’s squad goals, and realized that the best kind of friends are the ones who build you up, not tear you down. It’s vital to have people in your life who will always support you and be there for you, through the good and the bad. These people are invaluable, and they are rare, but they are the best part of life. Without my friends I wouldn’t have accomplished half the things I have. This is something Vamp Media stands for, and this is why we created it. Let’s create an amazing group of women in Calgary that support each other and flourish as a community.


Amber McLinden

Amber is a communications student at Mount Royal University who also does freelance writing in her spare time. She is the co-founder of Vamp Media, Current and Profiles Editor at the site, and volunteers her time as Vice President of Project Development with Enactus Mount Royal.

Twitter: @ambermclinden

Instagram: @ambermcli

Check out Vamp Media at www.vamp.media, and on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @thevampmedia.

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