Olivia is a photojournalist by trade and a coffee snob by choice. A few years ago, she stubbled into humanitarian aid and has been engrossed in the world ever since. One day, she will likely title her memoir, I Don't Know Know How I Got Here: the Olivia Blinn Story.
After growing up in the great outdoors of northern Minnesota, Olivia packed up her bags and moved to the greater Los Angeles area. Following four years of very little sleep, an excessive amount of coffee and long hours of work — Olivia graduated with a B.A. in journalism and integrated media and minors in both mathematics and biblical & theological studies. Following graduation, Olivia spent a summer as a nomad in Los Angeles and Orange County, eventually leading to a 2,000 mile road trip. (It'll make a great chapter in her memoir one day).
In an unexpected turn of events, Olivia received an offer to move to Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working for an international NGO. With a personal philosophy of saying "yes" to things that scare her, Olivia moved to Cambodia. She quickly fell in love with the country and extended her time there. Twice. However, when a 7.8 earthquake shook Nepal, Olivia received an opportunity to pack up and respond to the quake.
This time, when she said "yes," she had no idea that this work would be a springboard into a nomadic life of disaster relief. Olivia would go on to respond to the refugee crisis in Greece, an earthquake in Ecuador and a hurricane in Haiti. Afterward, she would find herself back in Nepal to assist in on-going recovery efforts. While there, she received a call to work in a trauma hospital being established outside of Mosul during the battle between ISIS and Iraqi Security Forces. Following six life-changing months in Iraq, Olivia moved to the Federated States of Micronesia to work for a UN agency.
Despite working in the humanitarian sector, Olivia still has a deep love of journalism. The latter half of her college career was dedicated to her work for the Chimes, a Pacemaker-winning newspaper, as photo editor and art director. Her photography for the Chimes has been recognized by the California College Media Association and the Associated Collegiate Press.
If you were to ask Olivia about her favorite project that she's worked on, she'll probably tell you about the Embodied Project. One of her most difficult and taxing projects to date, it combined many of her favorite things — photography, storytelling, honesty, controversy and theology.
Olivia is a firm believer in really good coffee, using concerts as therapy, actual therapy, red lipstick and the woods. She expends a lot of energy trying not to be a hipster, which is actually incredibly hipster of her.