Born and raised in California, Michaela Ebuen is far from the average twenty-two year old. Ebuen started a non-profit brand called Fearfully Wonderfully Made, has done a fundraiser with the East Oakland Community Project which offers “emergency and transitional housing” to homeless families, is now doing her second fundraiser towards providing business attire to people in Oakland, and networks all of the ways that she can use FWM to consistently provide for others.
For the next installment of our Influencer Interview series, we have interviewed Michaela to ask her some questions ranging from how she started FWM, her current skin care secrets, what inspires her for motivation, and how God is an important role in her everyday life and future. To donate to Michaela’s second business fundraiser, visit here and share to help them reach their goal. If you would to learn more about FWM, visit here.
“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.Psalm 139;14
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself. (Where you’re from, your career, etc.)
- M: My name is Michaela Ebuen. I’m 22 years old. My dad is Filipino, my mom is Portuguese and Irish. I was born into a Christian family in Vallejo, CA. I moved to New York for half a year after high school to pursue a career in fashion. I wasn’t the biggest fan of how the industry treated young women so I left. In 2017 I started my non-profit, FWM! This June 2020 I finished my internship with City Team Oakland as a case manager for women in crisis. I design the clothes and posts for FWM. Also, organize events that serve different low-income communities. Lastly I’m in charge of networking for the brand or finding new ways to make a positive impact.
- Since our blog is called Glamour and Guide, what is your favorite beauty secret or go-to beauty brands — whether it’s clothes, jewelry, makeup, skincare, etc.?
- M: Oooo I love this question. Whether it’s clothes, makeup, or skincare I live by “less is more.” My favorite beauty secret would probably be (and sorry to all the aestheticians who will hate me for this) but I don’t use a face wash at night. I use dove soap to wash off my makeup, witch hazel toner, curology cream, and mederma scar treatment! I grew up with cystic acne and tried every acne brand known to man but nothing worked. For the past six months that has been my secret, my skin has never looked better!
- What inspires you the most in your life to give you motivation everyday?
- M: My family. I was blessed with four beautiful younger sisters. I love seeing their reaction to FWM’s accomplishments, bringing them along for photoshoots, or listening to their feedback. Knowing they’re proud of me, pushes me to be better than I was yesterday.
- How do you handle some of your most stressful days? What makes you feel most at peace?
- M: REST and knowing my boundaries is important. After rough days I’ll leave my phone in the other room and spend time with loved ones. Prayer brings me the most peace. Whether that’s alone or with others I feel lighter after verbalizing my emotions out loud to God. Easier said than done but I recommend everyone to have at least three people they can trust during stressful times to talk or vent to.
- You have a non-profit brand called Fearfully Wonderfully Made. Can you explain the meaning behind it for those who haven’t heard of it?
- M: The phrase “Fearfully Wonderfully Made” originates from the bible verse Psalms 139:14. I was in an abusive relationship during my teen years and did a lot to try and become someone I’m not to please others. I signed with a modeling agency in San Francisco when I was 17. This played a role in me constantly judging and changing my body/ look. After leaving the relationship, moving to another state and starting over, I remembered my worth in Jesus. The gospel truth that His death and resurrection set me free from sin and insecurity. Remembering when God created me, He made me perfect.
- When and how did you get the idea to start FWM?
- M: Following my answer to the previous question, I started FWM in 2017 as an online blog to help women of all ages celebrate their identity in Jesus. As well as joining a community that represents a variety of ethnicities, and social groups. In 2019, I began organizing events and fundraisers that served individuals and families living in low-income communities.
- You have a minimalist look towards your products (tote bag, t-shirt, and crewneck). Are there any products you are working on right now, or would like to incorporate into the future line of FWM?
- M: Yes. I chose a minimalist look so anyone from anywhere could support FWM, guys and girls included! Before Covid 19 I had a fourth piece ready but wasn’t able to launch. I’ll continue selling FWM items because part of the proceeds support our mission to assist others. It’s also a fun way for me to express my creativity through clothes.
- Besides the creation of your physical products, FWM worked with Faith Foods to deliver essentials to those who needed them during the pandemic, hosted two barber events for free haircuts, and handed hygiene products. What is your favorite thing or something you learned from these experiences?
- M: My favorite thing is the ability to connect with humans I wouldn’t have the chance to talk to on a regular day. I’ve learned the true definition of strength is not physical, but the way we manage our emotions. Men and women I’ve met have inspired me to keep working hard in my fight to bring equal opportunity, support, and change in the Bay Area. These events are simple but give others motivation to seek transformation when complete strangers show they care for their future. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for my parents encouraging me to do better. Helping and protecting the mental health of our homeless community is very important to me. If I can make a positive impact during their journey, that makes all the hard work worth it.
- Being stuck in quarantine for so many months has had everyone learning and picking up on new skills. Is there anything you did during that time which you learned, or started doing more?
- M: I received two certificates online with Harvard University in global and community healthcare. I’ll be attending school in Fall 2020 for Political Science. I’m on a good path right now but I believe school will advance me to the next level and guide me to being the best representative for my city.
- What is your vision for yourself, your life, and your future?
- M: I struggled with this question for a long time. It’s taken three years of healing and self reflection to understand what I really want to do in life. Despite the hardships and wins, I realize the one thing that makes me happy is helping others. I plan to go to school and enter politics when I get my bachelors degree. I’d love to run for city council and maybe congress. I want to be in a position of influence so I’m able to speak out against racism, sexism, homelessness, and issues within our education system here in the United States. I trust God has a plan for my future, He planted these seeds and knows the desires of my heart. I’m following the path He’s laid out and doing my best to be a light wherever I go, whether that’s in California or around the country.