In 2008, while backpacking through Europe, Yvonne Midkiff became a canyoneer. “It was something I always wanted to do,” says the field engineer for Pankow Construction. “Basically the guides take you up a mountain, and you work your way down any way you can – rappelling, jumping off small cliffs, hooking on to a zipline. About three-quarters of the way down, I felt I had gotten over a fear, I realized I’m not going to break my neck!”
Midkiff’s fear was not unfounded. In 2003, she became paralyzed from the neck down after breaking her neck jumping off a waterfall at Maunawili Falls. “I never panicked, but I just had this oh-shit-that’s-it kind of feeling,” she recalls thinking moments before she was about to blackout underwater. “Like, lucky me, at least I had a good life. I’m dying under a waterfall in Hawai‘i, I love my family, they love me – it was the weirdest peace.” But fate had something different in mind for Midkiff, and she was pulled from the murky, cold-water pool.
Today, when she’s not in steel-toe boots on the construction job site, Midkiff is heavily involved with the Society of Women Engineers, planning galas to raise money for the Green Building Council, organizing engineering conferences, and mentoring younger girls at the junior high and collegiate level. “Whatever I do, I just want to feel like it’s benefiting the community in some way,” she says. “We’re all gifted with talents, and I feel you shouldn’t horde it all just to make money.”
This summer, she plans to take a leave of absence from her work to finish her thesis, the last step remaining to obtain her master’s degree in civil engineering. Her topic is controversial, to say the least. “I’m writing on Hawaiian burials, and I know I’m pretty much damned either way. I know I’m not from here,” says the Oklahoma-native, “but it’s such a unique facet of Hawai‘i and I wanted to bring an academic, bird’s-eye view guide for people in construction.” Midkiff may come under a wave of criticism, but as with anything, she won’t know until she jumps.
GET YVONNE’S LOOK!
by Royal Silver, Timeless Classic Beauty
“To achieve Yvonne’s makeup look, I chose colors that naturally occurred in her skin, from the slight variations of brown in her eyes to the champange color that illuminates from her skin. Using a lightweight moisturizer to create a buttery texture to enhance her skin only complemented the light aplication of foundation. I used several shades of foundation to conceal, highlight and contour, and then set with powder and bronzer. For extra contour, I used non-shimmer deep bronzer to sculpt forehead, cheeks and jawline. Using light yellow powder, I highlighted under the eyes, the arch of the brows, the center of the nose and above cupid’s bow (the little indentation above the center of your lip). I filled in her lips with a lip pencil color very close to her natural pigment and finished with an application of a set of natural lashes.”
Swimsuit by Acacia Swimwear and necklace by Sticks X Stones Jewelry.
The Modern Man