Brandy Amstel is an Award Winning Filmmaker, Austin’s Fearless Woman of the Year and a creative entrepreneur that defines her purpose as to awaken, transform and empower people to powerfully choose a life by their design; one where they are living the life of their dreams now, not someday when they finally have the money or time, but Today.
Hard to believe when you find out that she grew up on a remote ranch in West Texas near the Big Bend National Park with no electricity or telephone. The nearest grocery store was 1.5 hours away and the nearest town, Marathon, was an hour away and it didn’t even have a stoplight. Her nearest neighbors where miles and miles away. The mountains, canyons and fields were her playground and her dog and horse were her best friends. It was the peace and serenity of being submersed in nature that has her be very grounded and connected with Mother Earth today. Back then she remembers that the rules were easy. It all was very black and white. She was free to do whatever she dreamed as long as she wasn’t stopped by a deadly rattlesnake, angry feral hog protecting her young, or mountain lion passing through. Death or Freedom. This provided a lot of room for creativity and her imagination was all that limited her.
Brandy was home schooled for most of her middle school years with her little brother and two cousins. She learned discipline like nobodies business from her Aunt, who was a certified teacher. Each day in class they did rituals just like regular school rooms with the pledge of allegiance, singing My Country “Tis of Thee”, the Lord’s Prayer followed by all of the classes. They didn’t have much in the way of schoolroom facilities just an old cattle trailer with four little desks, some book shelves, and a rock/cactus garden. This was total heaven to Brandy and expanded her creativity even further. Her recesses where mountain climbing, playing with her baby goats, and basketball at the hay barn. She was very eager to learn and cherished her time in school. It started her on a path of growth and expansion always looking for ways that she could be an even better version of herself.
Brandy came from a long line of cowboys. Her dad was a ranch foreman and her mom took care of her and her little brother. Without the luxuries of modern life like television, she had to make the most of her evenings with the family. They spent many nights playing board games and card games or just watching the sun set on the mountains. Brandy’s parents taught her to appreciate the little things in life like a good meal with friends or smell of greasewood after a rain. They always wanted more for her than what they had and encouraged her to be a leader.
Like most people in America today, Brandy grew up in a middle class home with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, beans and bread. Most of the family’s meals were at home. Since the time Brandy can remember, she and her brother each had to prepare one meal per day for the family. This taught her responsibility, pride in her work, and how to cook.
As a kid, she was taught to be seen not heard and to say, “yes ma’am” and “no sir”. It was necessary to be polite.
Brandy’s dad’s boss and wife had a huge impact on her life. They would occasionally fly in on their private plane with their personal pilot bearing groceries from the city. Things that she had never had before. It was fancy foods for wealthy people. JP and Mary Jon were spiritual, healthy, fit, happily married success people that made a difference in the world. Brandy knew that she wanted that for her life. She listened to the stories they told her parents and figured out how she was to be like them. She determined that she needed to study hard, make good grades, be athletic and excel at whatever she did. This seemed like a great recipe.
She went on to become Val Victorian of her class, an All District basketball star, was on the 4H Horse Judging team, All Far West Texas Queens 2nd Runner up, Best Actress in One Act Play, played tennis, ran track and field. She achieved her goal of being well rounded and was ready for the next phase. She quit high school at the end of her junior year in high school, because she was on the quick path to success. She felt like she needed to rush on to college. She entered an early entry program to college and then took her GED when she turned 16. After that she was eligible to enter college as a regular student.
When Brandy went to college, she wanted to expand her horizons. She moved from the desert mountains to the piney woods of East Texas. It was an adventure of epic proportions. Her environment had dramatically changed, she didn’t know a single person, and she was 14 hours away from home. It was sink or swim. She was in culture shock, but she knew that this what was next on her path. She needed independence. While there, Brandy pursued her passion of being an artist. She wasn’t exactly sure how this was going to get her where she wanted to go in life, but she did know that it made her happy when she was creating and she felt alive. It was an expression of her spiritual connection to the place where she grew up. Much later in life she realized that it isn’t about the medium that she was working in necessarily, it was the act of creation whether she was creating a piece of art, a film or creating a company that had her feel accomplished, fulfilled, and connected to source.
After completing college, it was necessary for Brandy to find a job. She still had the vision of the life that she had seen growing up as a child with her dad’s employer and wife. To get there it was going to require a steady paying job, where if she just worked she would climb the latter to more money. Brandy pursued a career in the corporate world utilizing her art background as a visual merchandiser, in other words she dressed the mannequins in the windows of department stores. This was fulfilling for her. She was still creating. Each outfit on the mannequin was a creation. She utilized the principles and elements of design. She also learned management skills as well as procedures and processes.
Brandy was an achiever. She quickly rose up through the corporate ranks with pay increases along the way. When she reached the ceiling, she found herself frustrated and defeated. She had been climbing for several years just to find out that where she was going still wasn’t where she wanted to be. She needed to take the next leap. Brandy started her own company creating store fixtures and decoratives for retail companies.
Along the way she met an amazing man that inspired her further. He had the same qualities that she aspired to. They fell in love and started a journey together. Brandy still yearned for the growth and expansion, which she fulfilled by connecting with like-minded individuals in personal development programs. She participated at all levels from beginning to coaching to leadership, working on her own growth as well as helping others to achieve their dreams as well as making an impact on communities.
It was during one of these programs that Brandy had the realization that she wasn’t bound to one particular path just because that is what her work experience or education had been in the past. She made a declaration and reinvented herself, fulfilling one of her childhood dreams of being a movie director. Brandy immersed herself in typical fashion of 100%. She started her own production company, Set It Off! Productions, where she made several short films, shot some music videos and put together some live DVD production of concerts. Then she started producing corporate videos and writing screenplays. She became a movie director and built relationships within the film community. Her films have screened and won awards at film festivals world wide including Cannes Film Festival, SXSW, Traildance, and many more.
Brandy recognized that it was more than just making the films, as with all businesses, it is required to figure out how to sell the product. This sent her on a path of discover she never would have imagined. She started to look at the most successful independently distributed films to figure out how they did it. She found the movie, “The Secret” and was fascinated by the fact that they had sold over 3 million copies independently. She had to do even more research. Who was this audience that felt compelled to buy the DVD? There were a couple of the speakers from “the Secret” that resonated with her and it just so happened that one of them was going to be speaking in Austin in the next month. Brandy attended the event with James Arthur Ray and was amazed at the charisma. People ran to the back tables to sign up for his upcoming programs. It wasn’t that he was really teaching anything new, but the way he packaged the content was unique and he was pretty clever at marketing and sales techniques.
Brandy decided to attend his next event and bring her husband. They both got value from attending the event as it provided a structure for them
to contemplate parts of their lives that they didn’t often have time for. Sometimes the immediacy of life’s demands get’s in the way of what is really important on the larger scheme. She continued to attend what was called the “Journey of Power” with James Ray and became a part of his inner circle, the World Wealth Society. The biggest value for her was connecting with other like-minded individuals that believed in living life to the fullest, continuing to grow and expand so that they could all make a bigger impact in the world. They journeyed all over the world together from Hawaii to Lake Tahoe, to Cabo San Lucas, to Egypt experiencing all that life had to offer and growing together.
On the journey, Brandy was introduced to many different ways that she could expand her life by becoming more and more conscious to all areas of life from health, to finances, to relationships with self and others. She discovered ways that she could combine her life’s experiences to be more congruent with who she really was. It became easier to do less compartmentalizing. She could be an expression of who she was and not be reserved as to expose herself and be judged. She found that this was much more fulfilling and began a practice of being more and more authentic to who she knows herself to be inside.
On October 8, 2009, Brandy underwent the biggest challenge in her life to date in the infamous, Sedona Sweatlodge, where 3 of her friends died and many others were injured including herself. It was one of the single biggest learning lesson in her life. As a result of having that experience, she learned that it is imperative that we as human beings become more aware and conscious to make powerful choices, and more importantly to listen to our inner guidance. It is what saved her life. She will be sharing more of her story in the episodes to come.
Brandy has spent the last couple of years rebuilding her trust through some amazing healers and mentors. A few of them include Cynthia Kersey, Lisa Nichols, Marica Wieder, Tim Levy, Arthur Joseph, Lisa Sasevish, Loral Langmeier, Zig Ziglar and Jack Canfield. They reminded her that she has the strength, tools and resources to create her destiny just as it was meant to be. She continues to practice taking inspired action and living an authentic life daily.
- Code of Ethics for Spiritual Leaders (livingpowerfully.com)