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United We Are a Force, and Individually We are W.O.N.

Images Courtesy of Meg Murray

Women of Note celebrates the unique talents of women of Hampton Roads and seeks to raise awareness of issues women face in the 21st century. We are well aware of the many hats women wear throughout the day as well as throughout their lives and we would like to give women the opportunity to share their experiences juggling these with our community. By sharing our experiences, we hope to inspire others, learn from their perspectives, and foster a dialogue that creates solutions. Today we spot light Meg Murray.

Affiliation(s) (past and present): United States Navy, Tidewater Community College, Virginia Stage Company, The Little Theatre of Norfolk

How long have you been (working in/participating in) your field? How did you get into it?

I guess about twenty years. It started as a hobby, then I started to get paid.

How long have you been working/ living in in Hampton Roads?

The Navy brought me here in 1984 and I never left.

What advice would you give young women going into your field?

Be confident and don't compare yourself to others. Focus on what you have to offer and not who might be better than you.

Does your gender influence your relationship to your work? In what way?

I really don't know. My work (costuming) is born from a hobby (sewing) that is traditionally female so I would say it is a majority female occupation. But there are many, many insanely talented male designers and craftsmen, too.

Have you faced challenges in your field because of your gender or have you found your gender to be an asset? What kinds of challenges or advantages, and how have they affected your life?

My gender might have caused challenges when I was active duty Navy back in the '80's. I put up with some verbal sexual harassment (never physical) and comments that no male sailor would have said to them. This was before sensitivity and sexual harassment training was a thing. My Dad told me before I enlisted I would just have to put up with 'boys being boys' if I was going to work in a man's world. I'm sure glad that is changing! As a costumer, a w woman-dominated field, I haven't really been challenged from a gender standpoint.

Has parenthood impacted your career or shaped your perspective as a professional? In what ways?

Parenthood was a major consideration in deciding to leave active duty and go reserve. Homeschooling four kids through high school was my priority, so I didn't costume until they were older, and didn't work full time until they were mostly grown. So, yeah, being mom meant my career didn't really start until my 50's!

What has been your greatest challenge and what have you learned from it?

Overcoming self-doubt and insecurities. Imposter syndrome? Yeah, big time. I am learning with each show that if I couldn't do the job, they wouldn't have me doing the job. So on I go-

Any closing thoughts?

I am one lucky woman to be where I am, doing what I love, and have the supportive family that I do. I. Am. Blessed.

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