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From Trauma To Queendom – Exclusive Interview With Ellen Damaso

Ellen Damaso, a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, transformed her life through healing and personal growth. She founded 'Inner Bling Styling', a coaching practice empowering others to reach their next level. By 2024, Ellen manifested a life beyond her dreams, owning multiple overseas properties, traveling the world, and growing her wealth. Ellen's message of hope, healing, and self-love has made a sought-after speaker, author, and mentor inspiring people worldwide.

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Ellen Damaso, Change Maker and Founder

Introduce yourself! Please tell us about you and your life, so we can get to know you better.

Hi. I'm Ellen. I'm an energetic, motivated individual with an amazing ability to keep my brain cache full of all my to dos. I have the memory of an elephant and makes being an overachiever an easier process. Just think, more memory in your PC allows your programs to run faster and retrieve info easier. Years of engineering have served me well in all areas of life, making me a lifelong student and teacher.


I love to learn and strive to be 1% better everyday by reading, self-reflection, taking on new tasks and getting better at older ones. I am a yogi and working on my yoga teacher training. I have been practicing for over 20 years. I love the mindfulness, mind-body connection, and peace that it brings.


I have one son who is 19 years old and is in college studying architecture. He's an excellent student and very efficient with his time, so much so he even fits in his naps daily. I ask him where was he when I was studying engineering, I could've used those skills instead of pouring 14 hrs a week for 1 hour lab. I also have a 14 yr old cat named Walter that loves to nap on me for hours a day. He's enjoying cosmopolitan life in downtown Austin and I find him staring at our high-rise view.


What inspired you to embark on your journey of healing and self-discovery after experiencing trauma, and how did you find the courage to commit to it?


It took a long time to even realize I had trauma. It took me years to realize a past relationship was domestic violence. That couldn't happen to me. DV wasn't something that happened to educated, smart women like me, or so I thought. It also took me decades to acknowledge my first sexual experience was assault. It was buried so deep. I had thought it was normal until I had a great first experience with a man where he had candles and nice sheets. That was a huge difference of the first time when I was taken to an abandoned house and we had no prior agreement that we would be experiencing. 


I realized how unhealthy my childhood and young adult life was. I thought because I laughed and had a good attitude, I was fine. But, after a mental breakdown, I realized I had to unpack the many years of trauma. I realized I deserved better and that my self-worth was in the toilet. I didn't think I was worthy of any good thing. I definitely didn't love myself and I allowed so many toxic people in my life.


I started my journey with a good therapist. She told me when I started that journey with her, I had the mind of an 8 yr old. I wasn't the grown woman I thought I was. I made decisions on not rocking the boat, people pleasing and not acknowledging the pain others caused me.


I made strides to practice yoga, mindfulness, and journaling. I began healing and started having a vision of what I wanted. I started really believing I deserved the good things on life just as much as any other person did. So I did the hard work to get back into engineering after a decade of being damaged and being on a caregiving leave.


I found growth and development programs where I changed my mindset and started manifesting a better life for myself. I took control of my money, health and nutrition, then I mattered to me. I treasured myself, loved myself and acknowledge the talent and intellect I had.


And all this didn't happen until I hit rock bottom a few times and stopped fantasizing about suicide. It was tough, but by the grace of God, I am still standing today. And now, I'm in control of my mind and life. I decide who gets access to me. I stand up for myself and my beliefs and don't let anyone bring down my queendom. 


Can you share some of the key practices or techniques from therapy, inner personal work, and spirituality that helped you reclaim your power and rewrite your story?


Yoga was a huge catalyst and learning to be present (which is a constant work in progress) allowed me to develop my power in the now, instead of being defeated by my past or worried about my future. I found a therapist who really resonated with me and helped me dig deep inside and do the hard work. I started really spending a lot of time journaling and getting to know myself deeply: what I loved, what caused me pain, and what excited me. Two tools that really helped me in that journey is an AI mental health journal and the app Insight Timer. And I started manifesting what I wanted instead of listening to the world telling me it couldn't be done or not to dream so big. I set myself from the prison of the ghetto I was brought up in and knew I was destined for greatness in every way. I watch how I talk to myself and got rid of the fear and doubt. I've replaced it with an attitude that I can do anything, I just have to ask the right questions, find the right resources and take one step at a time.


Your signature program, 'From Thrift to Fabulous', seems to combine personal style with inner transformation. How did you come up with the concept, and what do you believe is the connection between outer appearance and inner healing?

When I left engineering after my dad was ill, I was forced to reinvent myself in my hometown as there weren't engineering jobs. So I began thrifting as a hobby and eventually opened up my clothing resale boutique. I worked with models, on fashion shows and photo shoots. I styled myself with luxurious brands I found thrifting and I built my confidence. I had always thought I was too ugly to model. But in my 30s I began modeling to promote my brand and still continue to do so, with my confidence and skills continuing to grow everyday.


After I closed my boutique, I continued to thrift and found a need to create outfits to interview and get the job I wanted. I was on a single mom income and living with my parents, so thrifting helped me to gain a wardrobe that reflected my style, helped build my confidence for the professional world. I noticed when I had clothes that honored my body for where it was and fit me well, I felt good. I felt on top of the world and that I could do anything. I developed a system of what brands to look for, how to evaluate if it was in good condition, and also know the value of the pieces I chose.


Whereas, all my teenage and young adult life, I focused on what my brain could do and pushing myself to the limits, now I finally poured my creative energy into outfits and self-expression. It gave me an outlet to be myself and to like the reflection I saw in the mirror. I first started the journey just as fashion. But when I realized the empowerment of the styling piece, I knew I held the power within myself to create a new me, a healed me and that I was beautiful inside and out.


Could you elaborate on how you help others reconnect with their inner queen and create lives of joy, purpose, and abundance through your program? What are some common challenges people face in this journey?


I help others who identify as women to help find their queen by getting to know the ins and outs of that person. I uncover their passions, their professional and career goals, and all the ins and outs of their relationship to style. I don't have all the answers to guide them in their styling journey. I am a mere catalyst to help them see themselves inside and out, define where they want to be and help them find the answers within themselves.


I've found most of my clients are going through a tough personal and/or professional transition, whether they just got divorced, are stuck in a dead-end job, or just feel blah about their everyday style. Others have gone through physical changes and haven't yet learned how to embrace their current body. Many people always think of a future time of how their body will be and don't embrace the now. Now is all we have got and we have to put our best foot forward to love ourselves fully, right here, right now.


Tell us about your greatest career achievement so far.


I took the time to seek out mentors and learn about investing. There are do many programs out there and so many people willing to take your money for their self proclaimed programs. But I was able to find a millionaire to learn from who is real, transparent, available, and smart enough to break down all the asset classes.


For so long, I had felt I had no control over my money and wasn't able to even have savings as I was living paycheck to paycheck as a single mom. I believed other people deserved money and that I just was never going to be one of those people. But when I took this investing journey, I began to change my mindset and increasing my financial net worth to as high as possible became my new goal. I started believing I deserved money and success, no matter what race, gender or my story. With all this knowledge, I am now on my way to building my first million. I pinch myself all the time realizing I'm in a part of my life I never thought I would be or deserved.


So now. I know I deserve the wealth and all the good things in life. I know I can achieve anything I want. I won't let anybody stop me anymore or get in the way of achieving my vision and dreams. I don't tolerate negativity or drainbows. The limit is beyond the sky. And a Lambo and being the first Asian American woman billionaire sounds like a pretty damn good place to be.

If you could change one thing about your industry, what would it be and why?


I would change the attitude and treatment of mental health issues in the workplace. I don't think we allow people to admit when they have mental health issues or acknowledge that sometimes we go beyond our limits into a tough mental space.


I would like to see more access to coping tools, as well as education on mental health and stress. When we can remove the stigma of mental health, we can be a better-prepared society to allow people to have meaningful work and have work/life harmony.

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