In 2014, the seniors of my high school graduating class were asked by the yearbook staff to select a quote that represented their views and beliefs. I chose a line from Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All”: ‘If I fail, if I succeed, at least I live as I believe. No matter what they take from me, they can’t take away my dignity.’ What I’m about to share with you and others, is my testimony and or bio; filled with details of how far I’ve come in my so-called life; and the fact that I’m not done yet… My name is Micaila Samuels and I’m a 2020 graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah, Georgia; with a BFA in Illustration. However, when I was 2 years old, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. As a result, I faced many social and academic challenges. Based on one licensed professional’s assessment and opinion, my mom was admonished not to entertain the idea of me attending college. Throughout my academic years, only a few of the teachers that I met; recognized my learning style. As a student of these specific teachers, I began to thrive and excel in school. Amid all of it, I developed a passion for the arts. I remember tracing Disney characters onto notebook paper and that lead to me wanting to create illustrations infused with a love of fashion. In 2012, Mom and I moved to Savannah, Georgia to further my aspirations of attending Savannah College of Art and Design. When we first visited Savannah the year before, we fell in love with the city and knew that it was where we wanted to live. It was during my junior and senior year of high school that I came up with the concept of Ms. Understood. The name was inspired by my life as an Asperian. I encountered peers who didn’t get me, some teachers who had low academic expectations of me, and the overall angst of being new to my high school. Fashion was always my armor, and it propelled Ms. Understood. My ideas were stylish, multicultural, whimsical, and fun loving. The art is also infused with my love of pop culture, and illustration. Plus, Ms. Understood is also used as a platform…to bring awareness to causes close to my heart: Breast Cancer Awareness, Autism Awareness, and Greek African-American sororities. This past year has truly been one of creative discovery for me. As I explore being a freelance artist, I hope to introduce Ms. Understood to the world. This is only the beginning of an introduction for so many people like myself. I am an Asperian, an artist, a daughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend, and a believer in God, through whom all things are possible. Ms. Understood……Is a grassroots effort to share my love of fashion, pop culture and illustration through art.
Via Instagram: ms.understoodmls.