By Savanah Bandy
Amanda Felix is a woman who knows how to turn tragedy into triumph.
Born and raised in Joplin, Amanda has gone on to become a model, actress, published author and rising Christian singer and songwriter. She is also the founder of Be Still Ministry, in which she works as a teacher, coach and mentor to support women and children in need.
Amanda has achieved all of her remarkable accomplishments through a scrappy resourcefulness instilled in her by her mother. Her story begins in Joplin, mowing lawns in exchange for voice lessons.
“We grew up in poverty but never wanted for anything,” Amanda said. “My mom used to have me mow the neighbor’s lawn across the street and stay after to go over things on their keyboard with them as I sang. What I didn’t realize was my mom was exchanging me mowing the lawn for singing lessons.”
Amanda said she’ll never forget the first time she sang in church. It was a huge turning point in her life.
“I was little … maybe five or six years old,” she said. “I was frozen. I couldn’t do it. The next Sunday came around, and I froze again. The third Sunday, the pastor had said, ‘Okay, is she going to do it this time?’ They were always patient with me. My mom knew what I carried, and she saw a lot in me that I, of course, didn’t see in myself. But, I remember it was the third Sunday, and I got up and sang. I got a standing ovation!”
Amanda continued to sing throughout her school years. Her family couldn’t afford dance lessons, so she learned from her friends. Despite the lack of formal training, Amanda attended NEO A&M College in Miami, Oklahoma, and then Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, on dance scholarships. After graduation, she danced professionally for the Tulsa Talons Arena football team.
“Things weren’t always easy,” she said. “I had to work extra hard for everything. There was no money backing me up, and no one in the stands cheering me on. My family was supportive but could never make it to come see me.”
As Amanda worked hard to put herself through college and lay the foundation for her future, a series of tragic events struck her life that almost derailed her completely.
“I started dating a man and moved to Arizona with him,” she said. “It turned out to be a very bad, abusive relationship. I was completely isolated. I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t drive my car.”
With the help of a friend, Amanda escaped that relationship with nothing but a suitcase and returned to Oklahoma.
The next dark days struck when she lost her father in 2012.
His passing was another huge turning point. She remembered a piece of advice he gave her: “Leave the boys alone and follow your dreams.”
“So, I did that,” she recalled.
Amanda moved to Miami, Florida. She found an agent and started her acting and modeling career. She modeled for Coca-Cola, beauty product lines and has appeared in commercials and television shows. She even acted in a faith-based movie called “A Message for Breanna.” She also met some local musicians and started dabbling in songwriting.
Things started to really take off for Amanda in 2018. She recorded her first Christian music single “You’ll Find Your Way,” which hit Christian radio and streamed well on iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music. The music video is on YouTube and available for use in Instagram reels.
She also sang at a tribute following the February 2018 shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
For Amanda, the floodgates of creativity were open, and she was finally starting to find meaning in everything she had been through when tragedy struck again.
Her mother passed away unexpectedly October 12, 2019.
“For the first 6 months, I wouldn’t let myself grieve. Instead, I wrote a book and a full album in honor of my mom. Then, after everything got silent and I was called to grieve, I picked up everything, put it in storage and ran away. I grieved so badly, I didn’t want to be here anymore, but then God picked me back up and carried me home many, many times. I lost people along the healing journey, including myself, but you would have never known it. Because I wouldn’t stop and kept going. I was crying over her loss while y’all saw a girl on a billboard!”
The book is about the obstacles she has overcome.
“By the end of it, you’ll be like, ‘How is she still alive after everything she’s overcome?’ But I hope that it shows people that if I can still keep going, they can, too.”
Amanda is currently recording with a Christian music group called AOD Collective and doing some motivational speaking.
Locally, Amanda coaches modeling and acting classes online under the leadership of The Maple Leaf Music Academy located in Carthage, Missouri.
“I love giving back to my home state and hometown any way I can,” she said. “If I can teach any techniques and skills that have worked for me, then I am game.”
Amanda is a woman who has found ways to turn tragedy into triumph all her life. Despite setbacks, she stayed in the driver’s seat and kept on moving forward.
“I don’t regret anything I’ve been through,” Amanda said. “All the hardship has made me the woman I am today. I’m not a victim, I’m a victor. When people come to me and learn from my experience, it’s giving them light in their darkness.”
Meet Amanda Felix and get an autographed copy of her book “Be Still.”
Blue Moon Boutique
613 S. Main St., Joplin
Dates TBD – Follow Blue Moon on Facebook @BlueMoonBoutique for more updates!
Find “Be Still” online on Amazon and at www.AmandaFelix.com.
Find music by Amanda Felix on iTunes, Spotify and Apple Music.
See more photos in the August 2022 print edition of Show Me the Ozarks Magazine