Q&A with TEDxPasadenaWomen RISE speaker Amanda Southworth

Tell us about who you are, where you’re from, what you do, and what makes you tick.

I’m Amanda Southworth, a 15-year old-iOS Developer, who was born in raised in Running Springs, California.

What is something people might be surprised to know about you?

I can play the violin quite well, and I’ve been playing since elementary school.

What inspired you to give a talk at TEDxPasadena Women RISE?

The fact that I needed to discuss a topic that wasn’t usually discussed, and that TED gave me a platform to use my voice.

Tell us about your talk for TEDxPasadenaWomen RISE.

I discussed how I found a way to empower myself through years of suicidal thoughts and mental illness by using programming to empower my voice and opinions.

Amanda Southworth, TEDxPasadenaWomenWhat was your process like in preparing your speech for the big event? How did you choose what you wanted to share with the audience?

Honestly, the only thing on my mind when preparing for the event was how this was going to help other people. I was so nervous, and all I knew was that I wanted to share my story to help others. That’s what really powered me through all of the training and the writing of the speech, is knowing that it would go to something greater than me.

What did you want viewers/listeners to walk away with after hearing what you had to say?

I wanted them to see how mental illness affects everyone, even people they least expect it from, like me.

What is a TED/TEDx Talk everyone should listen to and why?

My favorite is “Casually Suicidal” by Sarah Liberti. She discusses why we use humor to cope with our pain, and how in turn, it’s hurting us even more.

After having given a talk for TEDxPasadenaWomen, what project(s)/goal(s)/plan(s) do you have up next?

Right now, I’m working on building my first startup, and creating the foundation for that. I want to graduate from high school in the future, and I’m planning on attending college sometime soon!

Do you feel any differently now that you have given a talk? Do you see your life changing in any way?

I feel like I’ve contributed my voice to a meaningful conversation we should have about our society’s reaction to mental illness. As of now, it hasn’t came out, but when it does, I hope that it makes people feel that they’re not alone, and that it gives them hope for the future. Overall, I feel better, knowing that I’ve done something that is physical proof that I got to this point in my life without giving up.

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