Shawna Ramlow is a powerhouse. And we get it, that term gets thrown around a little too much to hold much meaning anymore, but really, she brings so much wattage to any room she walks in it’s hard not to think about how her infectious energy could power up a whole city.
Shawna came and visited Spark*l HQ in San Luis Obispo recently. Boy, was it ever a time when there was so much momentum in the right direction mixed with an infectious kind of positive energy that nobody wanted to let it go. Shawna eventually had to bid us farewell and get back to her family in Illinois, but like all acts of nature, she left a devastatingly classic band in her wake.
Below, a few excerpts about this one-of-a-kind woman and what keeps her fueled and in “go-mode” all the time.
Visiting Spark*l: “It was hard for me to leave San Luis Obispo. It was incredible. I actually did Instagram stories the night before my last day and had a total meltdown. It’s so special—that little piece of heaven. I was on the roof of my hotel, looking over the edge and bawling my eyes out. Courtney and the Bonzi family—you can see how great they are on House of Bonzi, but—how should I say this? You see a lot on social media that doesn’t match up in real life. Not the case here. They invited me into their home with neighbors and friends. I never felt awkward, never felt an uncomfortable silence. They treated me like a true friend. I’ve never had such an experience as I did being with them and being there. I’ve never felt more welcome, more praised at the work that I do never felt more at home being away from home. It was—let’s just say—hard for me to leave.”
I’m no stranger to hard work, and when I’m passionate about something, I give it my all.
What makes her go: “I’m no stranger to hard work, and when I’m passionate about something, I give it my all. I wake up at six in the morning and go to bed at three in the morning. When I introduced myself to Spark*l to be an ambassador at that time, I had less than 2,000 followers. So I was a small fish. But my email was just me, unfiltered. I told them I would be an ambassador who’s going to bust her ass. It’s funny to look back on, but it’s like I needed them to know I’m not just a number. This is me, and I’m going to work really hard for you. And the more I got into it; I started realizing what I had: I started asking for swatches and stones. I can spend from eight in the morning to the time the lives drop showing [my] audience different liners and stones for the band. It’s a new adventure every day.”
Her chosen charity ‘To Write Love on Her Arms’: “In my darkest moment, my then-fiancé committed suicide in front of me, and I was addicted to pills. I’ve fought through depression, and self-injury, and suicidal ideation, and addiction. When I found out about “To Write Love on Her Arms,” that was it. The story behind how it began, one person selling T-shirts—it just resonated. As an addict who didn’t have anyone who believed in them because, you know, we burn so many bridges, It hit home. It reminded me of my [now] husband. Before I could seek help from a doctor, being hooked on pain medication, you have to put yourself through withdrawals. I had to take a pill every four hours just to maintain. And this man, he set me up in front of the TV. Tissue box, water, and garbage can. He was the one that was my person. He believed in me. He stood in there with me. “To Write Love on Her Arms” having that one person who will stick it out and then for it to evolve, I relate to that. A lot of my following follows me because of my authenticity. I put myself at risk of online torture and losing a lot of people, but I have to be honest about where I come from and then the glow-up. Getting help instead of grabbing pills was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Not everyone has the resources to go and do that. If I can help give others the same chance I got, that’s everything.”
On inspiration: “There’s so much. We binge “Schitt’s Creek” [laughs]. I want David to be my best friend. One person who’s always influenced me is… I’m a Lucille Ball junkie. I can narrate every single episode of “I Love Lucy.” On one of the trips I was on in Southern California as a child, I got taken to her home. I put grass and twigs from there in a bag. I mean, she would’ve done it too—she jumped the fence for grapefruit [laughs]. As a child, she was just so funny to me. But as an adult, to know what she went through and she just hung in there and did what she had to do for her family. Her being her authentic self and just keeping going when it wasn’t normal for a woman to be a comedian and run the show. You should see all the Lucy stuff I have: slippers and dolls and blankets and salt and pepper shakers—scrapbooks with receipts signed by her, oh my God, she had no fear. Whenever I’m pushing through barriers, I think of her. I’m not a young, tight twenty-something and not your typical Instagram model and influencer. I’m me. And it works. And I don’t put on an act, and I never will because that’ll never go. I don’t come on all the time with a full face of glam, and there’s a lot of days when I show I’m a real person and, you know what, that’s for the best.”
Spark*l is Courtney’s baby, and it shows. There’s love in every item; there’s fun in it all.
Shawna’s favorite: “For me, it’s the clear Louis bag. Most women cannot afford a Louis Vuitton. But when I show women my sunglasses case and my little wallet, and my little wristlet—your own little piece of luxury without the price tag, it resonates. You’re not paying five or six grand, you’re paying a little to look and feel fabulous. Spark*l is Courtney’s baby, and it shows. There’s love in every item; there’s fun in it all. From the minute I saw it, I decided I wanted to be a part of it. I’m so damn passionate, and styling all my outfits like that wasn’t something I thought I’d do, but here I am. It’s crazy, but it’s real. I get comments all the time. I get back ten times what I put in. And I get up the next day and go for it again.”
To support Shawna and ‘To Write Love on Her Arms’, find Unbreakable by Shawna here.