Posts in "Feature"

Meet The Evoluer House!

What comes to life with a mixture of  BOLD, POWERFUL + simply UNSTOPPABLE teen girls? The Evoluer House! This innovative and  dynamic nonprofit organization, delivers empowerment programs that help girls to envision a future devoid of disadvantages and filled with possibilities. Reaching  girls of color in Philadelphia ages 13 to 18, The Evoluer House  curriculums are designed to promote emotional, mental, and social well-being. It equips girls with the tools they need to become college-bound and career-ready.

Founder and Executive Director of The Evoluer House, Cheryl Ann Waldington, has been on a mission to advance all of girl kind! As a former national fashion and beauty journalist, she is an influential global change agent and leading consultant in the field of personal growth. Cheryl is an accomplished writer, television personality and sought-after motivational speaker, who has reached millions of people with her advice and perspective through media outlets as Vogue, Elle, Self, Life & Style, Lucky, C-Span and Glo.com. Her passions unfold in inspiring  youth and making a positive and lasting imprint on their lives!

Let’s get to know Cheryl Waldington + The Evolouer House a little better…

Evoluer House empowers young African American girls in the Philadelphia area through different curriculum and professional development, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I founded The Evoluer House 12 years ago because I believe every girl deserves the best opportunity to achieve her dreams, regardless of what zip code she is born in; and I was also aware that girls of color experience a unique set of social and emotional challenges and barriers to success in the U.S.. So I decided to take action to address those challenges and expand opportunities for marginalized girls for color. Our mission is to equip the most underserved and hardest-to-reach girls in Philadelphia with essential tools to become college-bound and career-ready, thus breaking the cycle of inter-generational poverty. Our organization has served over 1,200 teen girls of color, and I am very proud that 100% of Evoluer House graduates finish high school on time and go on to attend a four-year college or other forms of post-secondary education. Many of them have earned advance degrees.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of programs and events does Evoluer House host?

The Evoluer House offers two 8-week programs (the Youth Workforce Development and Evoluer Personal Development Programs), that encourage girls to think bigger, dream higher and be the best that they can be—women of character who are motivated to lead both personally and professionally.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My parents and brother are my inspiration. They instilled in me the belief that I don’t have to be like everybody else—to be myself—which has served as my foundation. This helped launch my career in fashion as a journalist and image consultant and instilled in me values that charted my life and defined success for me. They also underscored my responsibility to help others along the way and never let me forget that God is the rock upon which I stand.

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

You can indeed be whatever you want to be. Tune out anyone who tells you otherwise. Sing your own song in your own key and groove to your own beat. Dream big and learn to live life FEARLESSLY.

Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with your girls?

I am thrilled to see girls throughout the country speaking up for their rights and taking an active role in making a difference in their community and beyond. They also understand the importance of empowering each other; and they’re inspired to change the world in big and small ways.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you and your organization?

Girls deserve a world where they can be proud and unapologetic with the right to express her culture however she defines it, without judgment. To hear our graduates describe how Evoluer House helped them find the confidence to achieve their goals, this is what we know for sure: “An empowered girl will stay healthy. Save money. Build a business. Empower her community. Lift her country. Change the world.”

Fun Faves!
Holding “court” with my girls.
Weight lifting

Fave Food?
Anything healthy

Artist? Song?
Right now I’m loving: Andra Day: “I Rise Up” and Kelly Price: “It’s My Time.”

Find out more about The Evoluer House here:
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Meewha Bell X Maria Miller!

Dreaming about diving into the fast-paced industry of fashion? Well, you’re in luck! Our teen writer Maria had a chance to pick the mind of the creative Meewha Bell who has carved out her path in the inspirational field of fashion, style + art.  See the gems of wisdom Meewha left behind with Maria after they chatted it up in NYC!

Who influenced you to choose this particular career path?

I can’t say one particular person influenced me. When I was going to college I didn’t know what I wanted to do and waited until the last minute to declare my major. Then when I declared it, it was too vague so when I graduated I still didn’t know what to do. At the time I had worked a lot in fashion and it became a passion of mine so I decided to pursue a career in fashion. So it wasn’t one particular person or thing that influenced me. It was more of me following my instincts and what I felt was right for me.

What do you love the most about Product Development and Design Innovation?

I like being creative. As a product developer you are the liaison. You are the business designer. You work heavily with the design. They bring ideas, designs, concepts and sketches to you. Then we work with everyone to bring them a product. After that we go through the edits and necessary changes. My absolute favorite part, however, is developing the design.

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You had 3 internships, two in London and one in Paris. Which did you like the most? And which did you learn the most from?

I liked them both. They were both very different. The one in Paris was for a black designer originally from Chicago . He was in charge of the specialty collection for a small company called Lee Cooper. Working with them I was the design assistant. It was very hands on, which is something I loved because I got to be really creative. In London it was very different. It was more corporate and big scale. I made a lot of good connections, but it wasn’t as hands on. However, I built a really good relationship with our designer so I exposed myself to a lot of design projects. I put myself out there. I saw how big corporations would run their office. I learned the most from the London internship because I learned the importance of building relationships. I went from a little intern to an assistant manager. I learned that in order to succeed you really need to get out of your comfort zone.

What would be your dream company to work with at the moment and why?

A small company, but also a company that focuses on the artistry of fashion. I would love to work with companies like Marchesa which specializes in beautiful gowns. There is also a designer based in Greece who is amazing. He makes a lot of beautiful gowns and he recently started doing ready to wear that are based off his evening wear collection. They are interesting looking ready to wear dresses that you could wear in the daytime. Those are definitely two companies/people who I would love to work with.

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Do you someday hope to have your own company?

I’d love to have my own company. If you’d ask me this five years ago or when I graduated college I would have said absolutely not. There’s pros and cons of having your own business, but after being in the fashion industry– in the job market period– and seeing how much time I put into work, I realized I really have to love what I’m doing. And what better way to love what I’m
doing if I’m doing it for myself. What’s the point of putting all your time and energy into something, just to make someone else’s dream come true. It’s definitely a lot of responsibility, but
it’s your baby. If your company is successful than so are you and everyone who helped create it.
But if something doesn’t go according to plan, then it’s your money and hard work gone to
waste. However, at the end of the day if you love what you’re doing it won’t even feel like work.

Has your minor in African, Black and Caribbean studies helped your career?

I don’t think it necessarily helped me in the design aspect, but it definitely helped me in the people, management and relationship aspect. In business you have to know how to deal with people. This minor helped me understand different people and the importance of understanding
different cultures.

Has there been a moment where you believed this career would be impossible to achieve or that you should try to pursue a different career path?

meewha5Many times. There was one specific moment where I felt like pursuing something different. The evolution of my job at that location had me thinking that maybe this wasn’t the right career for me. I wanted to be really creative all the time not just some of the time. I wanted to be be heavily involved in both the creative and business process. I like having my opinion heard. I like giving influential feedback and at the time I wasn’t expected to give my opinion so no one would ask me. It was incredibly frustrating on my part because I have a background in business. Some of the things they were doing didn’t sit well with me, but I had no say in the matter. I needed a different position or a different industry which is something I later realized.

If you had a chance to go back and do something different in your career, what would it be and why?

I definitely would have stayed overseas to explore more, but that’s pretty much it. All my bumps in the road have led me to where I’m now and everything has been a learning experience for me so I don’t really regret anything.

What are you working on at the moment?

Right now I’m going back to school and majoring in graphic design. I was torn between the graphic and fashion design, but the more I talked to people in both industries I felt graphic was the right place for me. It was something different. It was also something I feel I could tie back to the fashion industry. Many of my friends in the fashion field have told me I don’t need a degree in fashion. I personally know after taking classes in fashion that I like it enough to teach it to myself. I want to pursue something new.

Many people believe fashion design is one particular field. That there are not other areas to tap into. If that’s true, could you give examples of what you could do if you’re not actually designing in the fashion field?

There’s a lot of different avenues and ways to be creative. It all depends on what you like and are good at. We have fashion marketing,PR, technical design and so many other options. It’s also up to the company and its role. One thing I did learn is that you don’t necessarily have to be an artist to be in the fashion field. That was actually one of the reservations. I’m no artists and there are definitely some designers who can’t draw, but have great ideas. It’s all about finding ways to communicate your ideas and working with people who could draw.

If you had to give advice to any young person who might be interested in the fashion industry what advice would it be?

There are ways around things you may think you are not good at and could potentially stop you from succeeding in a particular industry. You don’t have to be perfect. You just have to know what you’re good at and use that to your advantage. Be confident. Whatever you do, you will learn something. Whether it’s by hitting and missing or succeeding, it doesn’t hurt to just go for it.

 

Interview by Maria Miller

Featured Girl Of The Week!

Name: Semhar Solomon

Age: 17

City: New York City

Grade: SENIOR

 

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What is your dream job and why?
My dream job would have to be a pre-teens counselor. I love working with kids and acting as a support system for them. I know what it’s like to form a great bond with a counselor/mentor and I want other kids to have that experience.

Which hobbies do you enjoy?
Some of my favorite things to do would have to be binge watching old t.v series on netflix, listening to music (R&B and hip-hop), and shopping.

Who is your biggest crush?
My biggest crush would have to be Jesse Williams, A.K.A Dr. Jackson Avery from Grey’s Anatomy!

What’s your fave song to jam out to right now?
Right now my favorite song would have to be Caroline by Aminé.

If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

If I could change one thing about the world it would have to be the new president of the United States. I wish Obama could have stayed in office forever.

What does Empowerment mean to you?
To me Empowerment means realizing one’s strength and confidence. Using that power to positively voice any issues or concerns.

What are your plans after high school?
After High School I plan on going to away for college, preferably to an HBCU but I’ll be keeping an open mind about that.

Who is your role model and why?
My role model would have to be Madam C. J. Walker. This woman was an African American entrepreneur and was the first self-made millionaire. Walker started off with nothing and built an empire selling hair products. Being both black and a woman definitely made it harder but she didn’t let that stop her future success. If she can do all of that in the early 1900s I feel I can do anything I set my mind to.

How have you helped someone in your life lately?
I’ve recently been busy helping a close friend plan her 18th birthday party, which I believe should turn out to be a huge success!

Teen Talk! Maria Miller x Victoria Pannell

Interview + article by Maria Miller

If you’re passionate about something go for it! Don’t let age or what people may think stop you. That’s something I learned from the brilliant Victoria Pannell who has done so much for not only her community, but for people everywhere whether its directly or indirectly. At such a young age she has accomplished so much and she has only gotten started. Tools for Change is a growing organization that will only get bigger especially since it’s in such capable hands. Want to start your own organization? What are you waiting for, go ahead and do it. Want to make a change in your community? It’s possible, I know you can do it. Just remember it doesn’t take a village to make something happen, all it takes is one dedicated person.

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What is Tools for Change and what was the reason that you started it?
I started Tools for Change, because you can not tell young people to have hope when all they see is bleakness in their future. They need tools to have a better future. They need state IDs, passports, bank accounts, jobs and financial literacy. They need to learn to use social media as an effective networking tool. They need to know that money for college will be there for them. They need an organization that will supply the necessities to help achieve their goals. This is where Tools For Change comes in.


Please share where you see Tools for Change in the next couple of years.
Because I am getting ready to go to college, I would love to start a chapter wherever I am at. I want Tools For Change to expand into chapters all around the country. I also would like to have my own building.

When did you realize that you wanted to do something for your community and why?
I was the youngest volunteer in a hurricane Katrina relief effort and seeing so many homes destroyed made me realize I wanted to help people in general. I didn’t know in what area I wanted to help in yet, but I knew I wanted to do something for others.

How do you manage your time between Tools for Change, school and all your extracurricular activities?
It’s really hard and I barely get any sleep. The only way I handle all of it is by incorporating everything. I look at everything as the same thing, under the same umbrella which makes things a lot easier. The school I attend is also very socially aware and active so I get to discuss Tools for change with them. And even though I mostly keep to myself, the two or three friends I have help me out with everything. Keeping a calendar, which is a little nerdy, not only helps me remember things, but it also keeps me organized.

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Did being on the show Law and Order- SVU bring out any acting passions you might have or was it purely done to bring attention to the issue of sex trafficking?
I’m actually a professional actor since age four and it’s something I really enjoy. I get the opportunity to meet so many people and celebrities. Acting gave me the chance to build my craft, dive into different characters, and it was a great boost to see more of life. And although it’s fun, I have moved away from acting now that I’m older and moving into something I want to pursue in life.

Could you share with us how shutting down Lil Wayne’s music came about?
I work with the Emmett Till foundation and try to keep his name alive by going to schools and telling people his story. Emmett Till had allegedly flirted with a white woman, so her husband and his half brother beat, tortured, and dumped him in a river. Lil Wayne came out with a song comparing the beating of a woman’s female parts to the beating of Emmett till. The Till foundation had reached out to me so I could help them do something since I was young and I could reach out to other young people. Therefore, I reached out Mountain dew through social media and after 24 hours they contacted me with the news that they were suspending the tour he was doing using that same song. I was thanked for my work and received a letter. That day I realized that my voice had power and could make a change. I learned that young people can do whatever they put their minds to and we shouldn’t let others say that we can’t do something.

How did you feel knowing some of Lil Wayne’s followers might verbally attack you?
I didn’t care. I go head first into an issue without caring what people think or how they will feel about it. I knew people who are Lil Wayne’s fan, but I simply didn’t care. I felt that what I was saying was more important than what people might think or them bashing me. I’m going to tell you how I feel without letting others stopping me.

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Have you encountered people that have doubted you or believed you to be too young or naive to actually help? If so, how did you deal with it?
Being the youngest member on the community board is a lot of pressure because several of the members have been serving on the board for 10 years or more. They look at me as if I don’t know what I’m doing which is quite frankly pretty intimidating, but I always have to remind myself that I’m here for a reason and a purpose. I know what I’m doing and talking about. I face people who doubt me all the time and the best thing to do is know your worth because people are going bash you and not support you, but you have to support yourself. If you don’t you won’t make it far.

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Who is your idol or role model and why?
Even though my mother can get on my nerves, she is most definitely my role model. She has encouraged me to do things and taught me lessons that I will always carry with me. She has taught me to know my worth and value which is so important because a lot of young people let others walk all over them and tell them what they can and can’t do. She always tells me to stand up for myself and my beliefs because people will try to push me down. I learned to stand by people who believe and support me and that I shouldn’t be too quick to trust.

What is something you would tell other young adults who want to help the community like you have but don’t know how to start?
Identify an issue that is important to you and stays on your mind no matter what it is. Then do your research and find out everything you can about your cause. You don’t want others to say “you’re an activist, but don’t know what you’re talking about”. After you have done that, start working with other organizations that support your cause until you decide you want to start an organization yourself. One of the most important things you could do is know the benefits of social media. Used appropriately, it can be your best friend which is why it’s so important to keep your page clean.

Find out more about Tools For Change here!

Meet Suga Babes!

You’re never too young to get swept up by the fresh spirit of entrepreneurship! Layla + Mya Parish are two sisters who run a sweet business called Suga Babes which consists of scrumptious sugar scrubs, lotions and great smelling soaps.  Layla, 15, and Mya, 10, always had an urge to dig into their mother’s sweet bath gifts and was often told to stay out of her stuff. So they took their passion into their own hands and launched their beauty company!

Suga Babes is both all natural and gluten free. They use only premium ingredients in their sugar scrubs, body creams, soaps, and bath teas.  Their scrubs and lotions aid in eczema as well. Not only do they create a fantastic product line but also offers mobile spa parties!

These amazing sisters have  been fortunate to use their business as a platform to give back to the community and inspire other young girls to conquer their dreams.

Let’s get to know the Layla + Mya a little better…

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Going into the beauty biz with your sister is awesome! What first motivated you to launch Suga Babes product line + mobile  spa services?
We launched Suga Babes initially because we would use our mom’s bath and body products and she would always run us out. So we thought why not create our own product line of sugar scrubs, lotions, and soaps! We told our mom our idea and she helped us to make it a reality. We started our business April 2012. Shortly after getting our product line up and running we thought how cool would it be to include mobile spa parties. We launched our mobile spa service July 2012, and it was a hit! Moms love us! We offer mini services which would include mani’s, pedi’s and facials. And at the end of each party we give a inspirational message to our clients.

It’s beautiful that as you’re building your business as young, female entrepreneurs & giving back to the community! Why is that important to you both and what changes do you want to see in your generation?
Our mom has always taught us the importance of giving back and serving others. As we were putting the plan in place for our mobile spa parties we thought it would be awesome to use this service as a platform to motivate and inspire other young girls that there is no limit in what they can do in life when they put God first and believe. Then they take it a step further by putting their plans into action. That’s exactly what we did!

We would love to see our generation be more involved in their communities; and to remember those who came before us and what they had to endure for us to be able to enjoy the things we enjoy. We are our communities and we can make a difference. We all are a part of the puzzle and we fit perfectly.

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Being young and having responsibilities can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?
We have balance. Our mom makes sure of that part. We have time where we work Suga Babes and a time where we let our hair down from being young entrepreneurs to young girls. Our mom is our motivator. She constantly tells us we can do this! She does a lot and supports us 100%. She makes sure we are not burned out or overwhelmed by having checks and balances in place. We also watch our peers who are entrepreneurs and that motivates us to keep going because if they can do it we can too.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?
Our mother. She is our inspiration and biggest cheerleader! Our mom is a strong woman who has experienced a lot. She is organized, smart and very pretty. She is full of wisdom and strength. When we came to her with our idea she didn’t hesitate to help us. She was a single mom at the time with one income.  Every extra cent she had went into our business. We are so grateful for her and all of her sacrifices that she has made just for us! She is our “first lady”, “celebrity” and “rock star!” Our mom totally ROCKS!

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What are 3 pieces of advice you would give girls to be confident in themselves?

To believe in yourself and your abilities. To step out of your comfort zone. Take risks and never give up.

We are all about empowerment, What does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?
Empowerment means to have the power and will to achieve your goals. To never stop. To never quit. To make it happen.

Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?
Mya: Jace Norman. Ariana Grande. Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. Home.
Layla: Jacob Latimore. Solange.  Cookies and Cream Ice Cream. Stomp the Yard

Check out more here!

Suga Babes

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Meet Kristen Ariza!

Passion + talent continues to flourish from actress Kristin Ariza as she shares her flair with the world! Hailing from Orlando, Florida, she captivated audiences in memorable roles including American Horror Story, NCIS: Los Angeles, Scorpion, Castle, Bones, Criminal Minds and Grey’s Anatomy; in addition to recurring roles on Parks and Recreation and Lie to Me. Fans will also recognize her from her role in HBO’s Emmy-nominated movie Confirmation, the Anita Hill v. Clarence Thomas story.

Drawn to acting at a young age, she earned her BA in Theatre from Florida State University and went on to the acclaimed Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia before moving to New York and eventually Los Angeles.

You can catch her sizzling performance in the gritty world that is STARTUP, the newest original scripted drama series from Sony’s streaming network Crackle!

Let’s get to know Kristen a little better…

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As an actress you’ve played powerful roles such as ‘Judy Smith’ in Confirmation and currently ‘Tamara Dacey’ in the new drama ‘STARTUP’, what motivated you to step into the world of acting?

KRISTEN: Acting actually found me.  However when I discovered the joy I had in creating characters that I was moved by and that also moved people, I was hooked.

What has been your favorite role to bring to life and how do you connect with each character?

KRISTEN: That’s a tough one…I’ve enjoyed playing so many varied roles. One of my favorites belongs to the stage.  The role was ‘Kate’ in the play, GOOD PEOPLE by David Lindsay-Abaire.  I loved it because it’s about not good people, but real people…flawed people.  We are all a product of our circumstances and was so happy to explore this concept. Also, I absolutely love the theatre.

Sometimes fear can get the best of us, what advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams + passions?

KRISTEN: Fear isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s in us for a reason. It’s our internal gauge to help us make the right decisions and keep us honest. To those who are interested in pursuing a less than
conventional path- whatever it may be, I say: train, study, observe. Become a student of whatever it is you are wanting to do.  That is how you lessen your fears and get closer to your dreams.

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We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

KRISTEN: I’m tremendously inspired by my family.  Though we don’t live in the same state, we are very close.  They inspire daily.  As an artist, even without realizing it, you pick up on things.  You become
a parrot of behaviors and isms.

You’re busy building your fab acting career and at times it can get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?

KRISTEN: From a young age, I’ve been involved in sports- basketball, track, cross-country.  Now, I hike, I run. I’ve done several marathons. Exercise is a great motivator for me.  It’s my way of
escape and my way to regroup.  Let’s face it, anything you’re trying to pursue full-time isn’t going to always be a bed of roses.  I find it helpful to have something reliable and positive that you KNOW, just
by the nature of you doing it, will make you feel better.  For me, that’s lacing up my sneaks and hitting the pavement.

We are all about empowerment, What does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

KRISTEN: It means making someone (including yourself) feel more confident.  So, to me, it means embracing your-SELF. Embracing knowledge. Embracing all of the interesting, quirky, unique things
about YOU!

Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

KRISTEN: Celeb crush??  I might have one for every letter of the Alphabet!  Artist? A lot of ‘girl power’ on my radio right now. Listening to Andra Day, Lissie, Marian Hill, Beyonce  Food? I will
crumble over some good chips and salsa  Movie? Recently I really enjoyed ‘Hell or High Water’ but truly, there is so much great TV out right now. I could binge watch for weeks!

Find out more here

Kristen Ariza

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Meet I Am Gracious!

Planting the seeds of confidence + courage into the budding beauty of girls is the key into sparking the next generation!  The mission of  I Am Gracious  is to link together young girls throughout the Southwest Louisiana area to encourage, empower and motivate them on their journey to womanhood. This powerful non-profit  founded by Trista Ledet Ames encourages young girls between the ages of 12-18 years old from diverse backgrounds, regardless of size, shape, race or color; all while promoting self-esteem and self-confidence and empowering young girls in making responsible choices.
 
I Am Gracious builds up self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as teaching girls about the importance of participating in a positive way in their family, schooling, and community. Another way is by teaching them how to conduct themselves as positive role models to others by being a light in their own lives as well as reflecting that light into the lives of their peers, so that they may in turn be positive as well.
 
Let’s get to know I Am Gracious a little better…
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Princess Ball which allowed each young girl to come in & feel like royalty while dressing in fancy gowns & meeting The first black Mrs. Louisiana, Mrs. Nomica Guillory.

I Am Gracious is a powerful organization that encourages, empowers and motivates young women, what made you want to create a platform to allow young people to shine?

I would see so many young girls who seemed so focused on getting attention based on the way that they looked and seeking to get that validation from young men or just about anywhere they thought feasible. I wanted to share with them the validation that I had received from my parents and as well as teach them that validation comes from within oneself. We live in a society where the media implants a false image of who and what a young woman should resemble, so I vowed to take a stand to teach the contrary and impart knowledge and wisdom in the young females lives.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, how do you teach teen ladies to be a positive role model?

We do this by teaching them about the importance of participating in a positive way in their family, schooling, and community. Another way is by teaching them to speak positively. It may sound simple, but even we as adults have a hard time doing this. How many times in your life has someone ever said to you, “You’ll never lose weight.” & you took that and literally and didn’t lose the weight? There’s a scripture that says “Death and life are in the power of the tongue”….If I speak negatively, I’ve killed a dream before it has been able to take root. So, I teach the girls to take the negatives and turn them into positives. This means to speak positively about the situations that you are handed in your life, no matter what they may be.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

I have to say that one person who inspires me is Tamron Hall. She is beautiful & well poised, down to earth and doesn’t allow her image to be defined. But I’d be remised if I didn’t say that the assignment of I Am Gracious wasn’t inspired by God. I would wake up out of a dead sleep and write down visions of things that I was given. Being the person that I am, (very shy and always a background person) I would think, “Why would God give me something like this to do?”, but I had to learn to that it’s not my will, but His.

Founder of I Am Gracious, Trista Ledet

Founder of I Am Gracious, Trista Ledet Ames

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with being comfortable in their own skin, what would it be?

My advice to teen girls struggling with being comfortable in their own skin is to really take a look at yourself & know that you are a beautiful, unique creation made from God Himself. EVERYTHING that God has made is perfect in His own image. Speak these positive things to yourself daily until you begin to believe it!

Working with youth both parties learn from each other, what’s one trait you have learned from working with girls?

I think that I’ve learned the “Hear us out” trait lol! Why couldn’t someone figure that out when I was a teen? Lol Seriously though, they’ve taught me that they really just want to be heard. Their ideas, dreams and hopes, their side of the story, etc. If we would take a moment to pause and just listen, we would find that each girl is on a journey to find themselves and they may need you to be their “compass”, but in order for you to be that to them, you must listen to them so that you can help guide them on the right path.

The day of their completion ceremony from The W.A.I.T.S Plan - A 12 week abstinence awareness program

The day of their completion ceremony from The W.A.I.T.S Plan – A 12 week abstinence awareness program

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you + your organization?

Empowerment means to uplift any and every individual that you may come in contact with. We never know who may need encouragement, motivation or even a smile to make it through the day!

Fun Faves! Song? Food? Artist? Celeb Crush?

Fun faves about me: I love to mud ride on 4 wheelers (It’s a country thing!), Travel and spend time with my family…We are a big bunch, so it is always a fun time. Favorite song- I love so many different songs that it would be very hard to choose just one. Favorite food – My goodness, I just love food, but I’d have to say my dad’s Jambalaya. My favorite artist – again there are so many, but I’d have to say (Male) my baby brother Joshua Ledet with his soulful sound and crazy range& (Female) Toni Braxton with her deep tone. Now, I don’t really have a celebrity crush, because my husband is one wonderful man that no one compares to him in my book (it’s ok to smile Kevin) 🙂 but if I have I just have to list one, it would probably have to be Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Only because he seems like a genuine, and caring person by the way he shows such care when speaking about his mother and his life & of course I think he’s a pretty good actor in these roles that seem to show his compassionate side for people/children like The Game Plan, Walking Tall & Gridiron Gang.

 

Find out more here!

I Am Gracious

 

 

Meet Tyece Wilkins!

Mapping out life at any age can get tricky but it’s something about those twenties that can take you for a loop! Thankfully, we have Tyece Wilkins who gives her honest approach on life and motivates women to embrace the twists + turns of growth.  She is the voice behind Twenties Unscripted and author of Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity. Her Twenties Unscripted mission is to cultivate a personal blog that sparks young women to connect to the best, bravest and boldest parts of themselves.

Since Tyece began documenting her twenty-something journey, Twenties Unscripted has appeared in major media outlets such as USA Today and xoJane. After being named by Clutch Magazine as one of the “Top 5 Most Underrated Blogs You Should Read”, Twenties Unscripted went on to win Best Personal Blog in the 2013 Black Weblog Awards. The blog later received the 2015 Black Weblog Award for Best Writing in a Blog. Tyece was dubbed “The One Who Keeps It Real” on My Creative Connection’s second annual list of “45 Millennials of Color Who Are Blazing Their Own Paths.” She has also contributed to many online publications including For Harriet, Brown Girl Bloggers, The Frenemy and Thought Catalog.

Tyece also shares her journey as a speaker and spoken word artist. She has spoken at Southern Illinois University as well as D.C. Blogger Week and has had her work spotlighted by Busboys and Poets as well as WRTR Real Talk Radio. Each year she curates and directs a one-night showcase entitled, “See. Speak. Feel.” where she brings together local artists and performers across the D.C. metro area to share their work with an intimate audience. “See. Speak. Feel.” has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Afro American and East of the River magazine.

Tyece earned a bachelor’s in communications from the University of Maryland. She resides in the D.C. metro area.

Let’s get to know Tyece a little better…

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Sharing your journey and being authentically you not only liberates yourself but encourages others to as well! What first sparked the idea of you launching Twenties Unscripted?

I started Twenties Unscripted at a very different time from the current online world we live in. It was less noisy. Less crowded. Less focused on some of the pomp and circumstance that runs rampant now. So when I started it, I didn’t see it as a launch as much as the continuation of doing two things I loved-writing and blogging. I’ve been blogging since 2009, but after attending the Blogging While Brown conference in 2012, I was encouraged to really get serious about the online space I was carving out. Shortly after the conference, I purchased the domain for Twenties Unscripted and hired a graphic designer to help me with the look and feel of the site.

You recently transitioned your blog into your book, Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity. What did you learn from the process of you writing your 1st book?

Phew, I’m still learning a lot after having written the book even though it’s been a year since it was published! But, there are a few key lessons that reverberate in the back of my mind when I think about the book. Don’t be afraid to leave it all on the page. There were a few people who really wanted to probe about certain stories I told, and it was important for me to create boundaries. I published the work I did for a reason; I left certain stories out for reasons as well. As an author, it’s not your job to explain your work. It is your responsibility to write honestly and deeply enough that the work speaks for itself.

Also, a book is a forever kind of thing-for better or worse. Sometimes it’s easy to forget this. The world is so social media driven and we have access to so much content that’s here today and gone tomorrow. But, a book is a much more permanent part of your creative history. I have to be willing to stand by the words in that book. The beauty of that, however, is that even a year after publishing the book, it is still reaching new audiences every day. It’s a marketing tool that I always have now to promote, and I absolutely love that.

tyece2

Being a performer, entrepreneur & writer can be tough to juggle. How do you continue to stay centered and productive?

Something I learned the hard way was the importance of carving out time for myself. I spent a lot of the early years of Twenties Unscripted mistaking creative/writing time with time for myself. The two are definitely not the same. While I love everything I do and have done with Twenties Unscripted, I am not my blog. But, I only realized that after countless breakdowns and burnouts. So, now I am a lot more intentional about making time for the woman behind the words and about doing things simply because I want to do them, and not because they provide any professional gain.

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

I have been blessed beyond what I deserve when it comes to the people in my life and the countless ways their presence inspires me. My mother has a heart that stretches from coast to coast, an inner fight that has pulled her through some of life’s ugliest trenches, and faith like I’ve never known. My father works harder than any other person I’ve ever met. My sister Alexis lives and loves with her heart wide open and is always so unafraid to put herself out there. My sister Makeeba stares every challenge square in the eye and somehow finds the nerve to rise above it. I am surrounded by hard work, heart, and resilience and have been insanely fortunate to inherit these things from my family. “Inspired” would be an understatement.

tyece1

What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions?

Something I wrote earlier this year was that “Sacrifice is the price of admission for success. That is a ticket that you can’t bootleg or knock off, as much as some people will try.” Success is not an instant thing nor is it a singular moment; success is the trail you trek by taking measured steps. So, don’t just be willing to sacrifice-be 100% ready to do it.

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

Empowerment means crafting a lifestyle that gives you the space and freedom to offer your most authentic self to the world. Empowerment also means surrounding yourself with the right people to enliven and embolden that most authentic self.

Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

Celeb Crush – Lenny Kravtiz

Artist – I’ll go for my big three:

Poet: Nikki Giovanni
Spoken word artist: Rudy Francisco
Writer: Cheryl Strayed

Food – shrimp and buffalo wings (not together!)

Movie – Can’t ever just pick one! My top 5:

Love Jones
Hitch
Deep Blue Sea
Mona Lisa Smile
The Social Network

Check out more Tyece here!

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Meet Cheyenne Jackson!

Writing comes from sweet spirits of the heart and teen blogger Cheyenne Jackson lets her soul flow with each piece she shares. Hailing from Ohio, the 18 year old pours herself into her blog called Vintage Ghosts. She uses this honest platform to be vulnerable and genuine which encourages her readers to do the same.  She shares her passion of cooking, activism, art, personal updates, reviews, beauty diy’s and much more. The sincerity of her blog is that she takes you on an honest journey of ups and downs as she navigates this thing called life with a curious appetite.

This young activist is unapologetic and stands for change! She is a huge supporter of #BlackLivesMatter, the LGBT community, and Color Of Change.

Cheyenne launched the Ghost Movement for anyone that has ever felt invisible or left unheard. This movement is for the people that have ever felt silenced for sharing their opinions. And to speak up about social injustices they feel that needs to be said or heard including slut-shaming, racism, bullying, homophobia, and mental illness. This movement is for those to influence change one step at a time and not feel alone.

This beautiful + brilliant blogger plans to use her art skills after High School in the study of Culinary in New York or France.

Let’s get to know Cheyenne a little better!

chey1

You’re a fly teen blogger covering all topics from tasty treats to beauty goodies to personal struggles. What made you want dive into blogging?

Thank you! I dove into blogging to express myself. I’m multi-talented so I was like why not showcase my talents and connect with other people that liked the same thing as me? I wanted to create a blog that not only covered food and beauty. But my life, sharing my journey with others. Covering a wide range of topics some teens would be uncomfortable to talk about. My goal was to make a blog for people like me feel free to visit and know there are others that can connect.

Blogging is a great outlet to share your journey, how does your site allow you to express yourself and your dreams?

Blogging has allowed me to share and express myself in many ways. On Vintage Ghosts I focus on being as open and honest as possible with my readers. It allows me to share my journey through life, whether they may be good times or bad. But it allows me to share my creativity with them and my dreams I hope to make happen someday.

chey2

You describe yourself as an introverted teen! It’s awesome that you’re discovering key personality traits about yourself already! How do you recharge as an introvert and do you get pressure from your peers to be more extroverted?

Thank you! I think having a good amount of alone time works for me. I love my friends and enjoy being around them, but I also need down time. Most of my friends are extroverted. So a great thing about our friendship is we both respect each other’s personalities. We don’t pressure each other to be a certain way. I believe that’s one of the great things about having friends that are extroverted. Although you may be different in ways you still respect each other’s differences and characteristics.

Being young and having responsibilities can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?

I try to remind myself no matter how hard things get I’m not alone. And that’s something I try to share with my readers as well. We all feel defeated at times but we’ll move pass it eventually, and become better and stronger. I also try to remember how far I’ve come and how much more I can not only bring others, but to the world.

chey3

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

I tend to get inspiration from everyone. There’s something from each person that inspires me differently. I’m a very diverse and open person. My inspirations can come from many people for many different reasons. From my art to my activism, to my writing, to my cooking.

We are all about empowerment, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?

Empowerment means to me reminding people that no matter what obstacles we may face in life, we can do almost anything. It begins in believing and empowering yourself to know you can go after any dream, or achieve any goal.

Time for faves! Celeb Crush? Artist? Food? Movie?

My celebrity crush would have to be Jaden Smith. I love his music and his artistry. I enjoy many artists and their creativity, so I don’t think I can say I have a fave. I love sweets so I definitely have to say ice cream is my favorite food. As for my favorite movie; The Perks of Being a Wallflower. It helped me so much during my earlier stages as a teen, while I was still figuring myself out.

Check out more of Cheyenne here!

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Meet Angel Brown!

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Feature, Latest | by — July 6, 2016

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Beautiful voice, undeniable passion and a bright future are the ingredients bubbling up from rising singer Angel Brown! Hailing from St. Augustine, FL and raised in Palm Coast, FL, Angel’s love for music started at the tender age of six. She would always shared her vocal talents around the house and eventually joined her choir throughout elementary & high school while gaining notoriety locally.

Angel later had the pleasure of performing in Kids Got Talent at the age of 12, Florida’s Best, as well as Amateur Night at the Ritz where she won 1st place consecutive times. Determined to make it she created a YouTube channel and began posting covers, covering the most recent and popular songs. Her videos were slowly getting recognition from different sources including American Idol and The Voice. She also caught the ear of Danielle Swinton who has aided in launching and developing her craft in the industry.

Angel is inspired by singers like Whitney Houston, Beyoncé and Selena Quintanilla, and performers like Prince, and the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. Angel wants her music to resonant with many and transcend genres. She wants the music she creates to be timeless, so right now she is developing her writing skills. Angel’s goal is to became the ultimate performer and hopefully a household name.

Let’s get to know Angel a little better…
angel1
You have a beautiful voice, what motivated you to jump into music?
Well, I never really  ‘jumped’ into music. My passion was always there to sing I just didn’t start taking it serious until I was about 10 years old. I was always coming up with songs and performing and trying to mimic different celebrities. Every time my school would have a talent show I’d be right there ready to sign up. I was just always ready to show what I had and learn more about my craft. I never rested on my potential.
Chasing + creating your dream can get a little tough at times, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?
It is really easy to feel defeated when you’re told “no” a lot in this industry. I’m human so of course there’s been times where I would feel down about my position but throughout that, my passion never left. Yes, I would take time to regroup and continue but I never gave up on myself and don’t plan on it. So when I get into a difficult place like that, I’ll watch different documentaries on amazing legends such as Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Beyoncé and just really study their come up in the industry and how they overcame situations similar to mine.
Style is a way to describe yourself without speaking, how would you describe your fashion + music
style?
I love wearing neutral colors, I love the basic and simple yet flirty and sexy look that’s really trending
today. Every now and then I’ll rock some sneakers but I’m more into sandals and heels and boots. My music style is definitely an Urban Contemporary Pop R&B style all formed into one. I want to bring back classic, feel-good music. I want to bring back timeless music.
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We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and
why?
The majority of my inspiration from the late beautiful Aaliyah and Selena Quintanilla and Beyoncé. I
admire Aaliyah and Selena both for their humility. They always remained grounded and humble and just full of life. They made amazing music that changed lives and the industry forever.  I admire Beyoncé for not only her music and the doors she’s open for so many African American women but also for her work ethic. That’s extremely motivating.
What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions?
My advice would definitely  come from one of my favorite quotes “Nothing worth something comes without a cost.” Every single thing in life requires some type of work to get to where you want to be. And that’s the price you would pay. If it was so easy to maintain your goals then the entire world would be fine. But to get to your goal and destiny you have to keep pushing and striving to get better. There’s always room to grow.
angel2
We are all about female empowerment, What does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?
Empowerment to me definitely means helping others even when you’re down. It means being selfless and courageous. It’s okay to speak your mind and still maintain grace and beauty. It means being self aware and spreading positive vibes all around you no matter the circumstance. It means not letting defeat get the best of you so that you can continue to prosper. It means loving yourself. Always love yourself and the way God made you and no matter what may come your way you’ll always be able to look at yourself at the end of the day and be proud.
Time for the Faves! Celeb Crush? Trey Songz Artist? Beyonce Food? Pizza Movie? Selena: The Movie

 

Check out more Angel here!

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