After successful removal of implants after a preventative double mastectomy in January 2016, Samantha Paige determined that she needed a way to help people deal with the major life decisions they make. Titled “Last Cut,” the photography project she started has transformed into one that includes a podcast, an online and offline community, and events that all revolve around those moments that make or break us.
These decisions, which she calls “last cuts,” are what inspired her to start her project of the same name.
She tells HelloGiggles that the inspiration for the project came from…
“The realization that all these big decisions in life need to be sourced from a very internal place, from what we need to do to make ourselves feel most whole. But, there’s also a need for community, and raw and vulnerable dialogue, around these moments in our lives because we’re all having them constantly.”
This need for community and for conversation is the flame behind Last Cut. After months of sharing her own story, Samantha was inspired to share other stories as well. “We started to build a community in a bigger way by having these really incredible conversations, and then toward the end of last year, decided to turn all of that into a podcast and put it out into the world,” she reveals.
What started as a documentary project with writing and photos turned into a podcast, with its second season just being released. While last season focused on the last cuts and big decisions her interviewees made, Season 2 focuses on freedom, as well as the idea of feeling like a stranger in your own body and life.
While these last cuts may make us feel lonely, Samantha reminds us that we’re never alone.
While we may be the one who has to decide what’s best for ourselves, in the end, these last cuts are really valuable lessons. And it’s important to remember that we’re constantly making them. But, there is one big lesson Samantha learned from her’s.
“The series of massive, life-altering, earthquake last cuts that I have decided to make over the last five to six years — divorce, closing my business, another relationship I decided to end because it was unhealthy — all of these really led me to this place of ‘I can either stay in the same pattern, which is very comfortable, or I can step out in a direction that is acting on behalf of who I am and what I know to be most true and right for me. And to trust that I have my own back and that I know myself well enough to make an empowered decision.'”
All the last cuts we make lead us to a deeper sense of self, which is another theme of the project. The goal for Samantha with Last Cut is to create a global community around tough, truthful decisions. And to create a place where people can continuously come to share, be inspired, and talk about what it means to create a life that feels whole and authentic.
As for what’s next, Last Cut will be sponsoring an exhibit in New York called “Notes to a Friend,” which vocalizes a young woman’s feelings during her second time facing cancer. Samantha’s also working on her second book, and Season 2 of Last Cut Conversations is out now, which means this project won’t be slowing down anytime soon.
We couldn’t be happier about that.