A few weeks ago I photographed Ruthie Lindsey for Quest for Beauty in a beautiful garden in the West Village. I am not exaggerating when I say she is one of the most beautiful people (inside and out) I’ve ever met! Her sunny and positive energy is beyond contagious and her smile is something the world needs a lot more of!
Ruthie is an incredibly talented interior designer, creative director, stylist and public speaker based in Nashville. Her creative accomplishments include hosting dinner parties for Free People, Kinfolk and many others; Mentions in Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy and her beautiful house was used to shoot Taylor Swift art work for her album RED.
In highschool she survived an horrific car accident that caused her a broken vertebrae. She was able to walk out of the hospital soon but a few years later she started feeling excruciating pain. For 4 years doctors couldn’t figure out what was causing it and then they realized that the wire that was used to reconnect her brain to her brain-stemmed was now broken and she needed surgery if she didn’t want to lose her ability to walk.
After multiple surgeries Lindsey was able to keep walking but nerve damage and infections caused her do be in chronic pain and to rely on painkillers. Because of the pain she was forced to be in bed for years. Despite the depression and hardship that came with it, Lindsey managed to find the strength to overcome it. By finding beauty in brokenness and focusing on loving those around her she was able to turn her life upside down, and look at her now!
What is beauty?
I am for sure drawn to aesthetically pleasing things, places and spaces but for me beauty is so much more about a feel. a girl could be the most beautiful person in the world but if her heart isn’t kind and loving than to me she doesn’t seem as beautiful. i am do drawn to beautiful spirits more than anything.
What does Beauty mean to you and how did it affect your life?
I love having a home that feels lovely and beautiful to me and it does for sure affect my spirit. i love walking into my front door after a long work day or after being on the road bc my home feels peaceful, warm and lovely to me. comfort and peace feel beautiful to me
What’s the most beautiful thing in the world for you?
My friends smiles
What was one of the most beautiful moments you’ve ever lived?
I was working in nicaragua last year and one night we had a bonfire on the beach and someone noticed that there was phosphorescence in the ocean, so i went swimming with all of my clothes on with a large group of friends under a full moon and a sky filled with the brightest stars. i cried from pure joy!!
What makes a woman beautiful?
When she has a loving and kind heart
What makes a woman unbeautiful?
Oh i dont know that anyone is un beautiful. i dont love when girls are mean to each other or put other women down, that makes my heart hurt when i see that.
Do you feel beautiful?
You know, as women we can be so hard on ourselves…we pick ourselves a part and scrutinize all of our faults. i use to be really hard on myself physically but a few years ago i started feeling so much more comfortable in my own skin. i feel beautiful bc i feel so loved, by my friends and my family. i have a fella that tells me im beautiful everyday and he sees me at my worst and still finds me lovely and beautiful. that sort of unconditional love changes the way you see yourself.
Anything beautiful you are working on right now?
Hmmm, well i have about 10 different projects that i am juggling at the moment and of course i want them all to be beautiful:) but i think the thing i am most excited about is my new venture as a public speaker. i get to go around and share my story of beauty spilling out of brokenness and how their is so much hope for us all! i got to film a video about it this morning…and i just felt grateful. i feel so lucky to get to do this work and getting to share my story and hopefully help others makes my chronic pain feel purposeful!
You went through a lot of pain and a lot of brokenness in your life and you were able to find beauty in it, what helped you find it? and what’s your advice for people going through pain right now?
Well, after handling pain really horribly basically living all of my life in my bed for 7 years, i had a massive mental breakdown. i wanted my life to be over. i felt only hopelessness and despair. hitting such a wall made me want to change everything bc obviously what i was doing wasnt working. i decided to ween myself off 7 years of heavy pain meds i took for pain from breaking my neck in a car accident. and i started trying to start focusing my energy outward. looking for the beauty in everyone and everything around me and speaking it out loud. when i am out doing that and connecting with people and loving people, im not thinking about my pain. but when i stay in my bed, all i think about is my pain and it compounds it!
i think there is hope for all of us to live rich, full and beautiful lives. if there is hope for me, who was a total nightmare for such a long time, than theres hope for all of us!