"My own choice of my name as a professional was to keep it gender neutral. Our world is almost pushing us to reflect on gender and see that it does impact everything. When I was at school at the Chicago Art Institute there was this male student who wanted to explore what it was to be a female artist so he painted only flowers. It was ridiculous, does it really need to be that obvious? People come up to me while I am working and ask, "Did you do that all by yourself?" I would never have to have my basic skillset questioned if I didn't happen to be born a woman." - AJ Kinney is a painter living in New Orleans.
"I got fired from my job once because I wouldn't do something illegal. He, the boss, was trying to get around paying taxes by doing something with our tips. I wouldn't do it, so he fired me. Pretty sure he just didn't like me." - Lucy is a waitress in New Orleans.
"When I got married I had a party for the family in New Orleans. At the party, my grandfather Deville said, "Well there goes the acting career." He was right because I gave up so many opportunities. My husband was not supportive of my acting career, he wanted me to be his secretary and have babies. I stayed married for 12 years and left when I was 30. If I were a man I wouldn't of had to ask anyone's permission or question any of those opportunities." - Bambi DeVille owns a vintage clothing shop in New Orleans.
"I come from a background of women who didn't know their worth or see themselves as goddesses or know that they were goddesses. They didn't even have standards set for men to even meet. It's been interesting stepping into my own. There's no self-sacrificing that I am going to do. Too many women don't know how to keep to their standards or how to live their standards. I am the table, you bring the gift. I am the Queen, not you. In ancient stories the woman came first." - Mina McCree is a musician/writer who lives in New Orleans.
"The power of grace, women, we just have it. This grace, it's a gift. I love being a woman and I would never choose otherwise. To me, grace means being educated, fancy, sexy and terrific inside and out. And having a loving and inviting spirit inside and out." - Shawn-Michelle Rudism is the owner of the vintage clothing shop, Fraulein's World in New Orleans.