Posts in "Feature"

Meet Muhga Eltigani!

We always hear about how important it is to nourish your body with fresh foods but what about your tresses? Muhga Eltigani, Founder and CEO of NaturAll Club, proves that superfoods promote superstar strands! This dope beautypreneur started making hair products in her college dorm room. Frustrated with commercial hair products that left her hair dry and brittle, and supported by a small youtube following, she committed to a three-month journey of using only FRESH and NATURAL ingredients in her hair, and absolutely no chemicals. Those three months turned into three years, 32 inches of growth, and a youtube following of 40,000. In 2016, this dynamic entrepreneur launched NaturAll Club to share products and empower young ladies + girls everywhere.

Muhga continues to build and blaze a path in the beauty industry! She was featured as Forbes 30 Under 30 Honoree 2017 and was the only black entrepreneur included on the retail list! She was also featured on CBS and Fireside Chat with Gary Vee just to name a few.

Let’s get to know Muhga a little better…

We’re in a day and age where more girls + women of color are embracing their natural curls! What made you launch your fresh hair care products, NaturAll Club?
I wanted a product that would celebrate women’s natural curls rather than damage them. I was frustrated with the current hair product options that left my hair feeling dry, brittle, and unhealthy, so I decided to create a better line.

We love that you allow beauties to personalize their products for their specific hair texture! What motivated you to create a variety of selections to cater to all natural hair types?
There is no one size fits all for curly hair types, contrary to what some commercial brands would like you to believe. In order to understand the many needs of different curl types, you have to understand density, porosity, curl pattern and more. We customize to different hair needs at NaturAll Club so we can give curly women the very best results!

Being an entrepreneur + running your own business can sometimes get to be a bit overwhelming, how do you regroup and motivate yourself when you’re feeling a little defeated?
When I feel defeated, I grab a pen and write out on a piece of paper why I am feeling that way. Putting my feelings into words helps me deal with them and think more logically about next steps. I am my own biggest cheerleader and motivator, so I start out my day with positive mental messaging in order to recover more quickly with each new hurdle.

Health is an important aspect of beauty! Why did you focus on using FRESH avocados in your hair masks?
We go the extra mile to hand-make products with fresh avocados to ensure that your hair gets the best nutrients. Fresh avocados contain vitamin B, which is essential for hair growth, and vitamin E which helps repair damage on the scalp that may slow or prevent hair growth. When mixed with the right oils, avocados act as an incredible moisturizer for curly hair. There’s a big movement right now to eat healthy and watch what we put in our bodies. But our hair is part of our body, right? Why don’t we take the same care with what we put ON our bodies as we do with what we put IN our bodies? This is the mission and reason I decided to start NaturAll Club.

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?
The longest relationship that you will ever have is the one with yourself.You wouldn’t speak harshly to your longest best friend, so why would you do that to yourself? Practice using kind words for yourself everyday. You’ll slowly start to see a shift in your mental energy. Remember, you are the most beautiful you!

We tend to pull characteristics from others in our lives or from people we admire, who inspires you and why?
I draw inspiration from my mom. She transitioned from being a stay at home mom to going back to school, and finally became a doctor. So many people assume they can’t advance in their careers or start something new once they start raising children, but my mom showed incredible persistence. Her determination inspired me to move forward and start my own business, and when I feel like I have a lot on my plate with NaturAll Club, I just think of her going back to school while raising four kids.

We’re all about empowerment at C.O.R.E Mag, what does EMPOWERMENT mean to you?
A person who is truly empowered helps others. Empowerment means the ability to share with others what you have learned in order to uplift them.

Fun Faves! Fave Food? Artist? Song? Celeb Crush?
Fave food: Baba Ganoush (eggplant dish)
Artis: Alicia Keys
Song: If I Ain’t Got You by Alicia Keys
Celeb Crush: Trevor Noah

 

Check out more of Muhga + NaturAll Club here:

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Meet Brianna Young!

When AMBITION meets PASSION it instantly begins to carve out a bright future and Brianna Young is walking boldly on her journey! With a beautiful spirit and a huge heart, she launched a non-profit called Sisters All Around Inc. to encourage a life of  empowerment. The organization consists of  a group of teen girls helping young ladies to stay on the right path while encouraging self-esteem, self-confidence, self-respect, and self-etiquette. She was motivated to launch her non-profit because she did not want other girls to ever feel inadequate in life.

Brianna also ran for Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2018 where she was inspired to use her platform to educate others on Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy as well as showing the world that a covered Muslim girl can indeed take the modeling world by storm!

Let’s get to know Brianna a little better…

 

Sisters All Around Inc. empowers young African American girls in the Newark, New Jersey area through different programs what made you launch this powerful organization? And share with our audience the mission of Sisters All Around non-profit.

I decided to launch my nonprofit organization “Sisters All Around Inc” because for a long time I grew up watching girls get bullied about how they look or what they wore. Besides that, I’d listen to a close friend/sister talking about how she’s too fat and need to lose weight.  I always say “God created us on earth a certain way because in his eyes being different is the new unique, not only that everybody is beautiful inside and out just the way they are”.

For my organization the mission is to help grow young ladies in self-esteem, teach them etiquette, share volunteer opportunities, expose them to trips, and much more. Empowering young girls is very important for the fact that we are the main source for developing humans.

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

Sisters All Around Inc. hasn’t hosted any events yet. Since we are an up and coming non-profit organization, things are just beginning. However, we are currently working on a project to gather feminine products and clothes to send to Puerto Rico while connecting with “Celebration of Womanhood” and a S.T.E.M program.

What made you decide to run for Miss New Jersey Teen USA 2018? And what message do you want to share with others on your platform?

Honestly for Miss NJ Teen USA, I didn’t even know it existed until I heard about Halima Aden. She blew my mind! The very first muslim girl to participate in a pageant fully covered and at the time I was learning Islam so I immediately went to the pageant website and there was still time left, so I applied. I had an interview over the phone and the next day received a call saying: “Congratulations! You have been selected as an Official Contestant in the 2018 Miss New Jersey USA® / Miss New Jersey Teen USA® pageant!  We feel that you have the necessary qualifications based on your photograph, telephone interview and the recommendation of your interviewer to become the new Miss New Jersey USA® or Miss New Jersey Teen USA®!

The Miss New Jersey USA® and Miss New JerseyTeen USA® pageants offer young women a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we look forward to working with you for an unforgettable life-enhancing experience.”

From that point on my mind was blown and full of excitement, I wasn’t going into the pageant to win I was there just to share my story which is my platform about how the past year has been challenging, as I was recently diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. This process has taught me a lot about myself. My strengths, my weaknesses, and also strengthened my religious beliefs. Although it has sidelined my track career, it hasn’t stopped my dream of being a model. In addition too, over the past 2 months, I have been offered many opportunities to explore the field of modeling. When my health and time allows, I am also a YouTube blogger, photographer, I partake in a teen mentorship program, as well as volunteer work. As Teen USA, I would use my platform to educate others on Epilepsy as well as showing the world that a covered Muslim girl can indeed take the modeling world by storm. My dream is beyond this world and I am here to make it a reality. Which I did, the crowed was amazed by me which felt so good. I did come home with Miss Congeniality 2018! Whoop Whoop! It was truly an honor and great experience, I hope next year I can do it all over again.

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

I recently stated that Halima Aden is the whole reason I even went into the pageant. She’s who inspires me the most not only because she is covered all the time, but she’s standing out so that people like her can know that it’s okay to be different. Which I totally agree with, we are who we are and nobody has the right to judge us by our appearance when they don’t know our background or hasn’t spoken one nice word to see how the reaction would be. There’s people in this society they say Islam is a terrible religion because of all the negative things that’s happened and still is happening but if you look at Halima Aden, if you look at Sahar (SimplySahar) who’s a covered YouTube girl and plenty more we’re all just humans that bleed the same way. Halima is a huge inspiration to all young muslims but more so muslim girls.

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

One piece of advice I’d give to other girls that’s struggling to be comfortable in their own skin is to get up go outside whether it’s in your back yard or in the front of your house and just yell “I’m just as beautiful as the girl next to me” because you are, everybody is built differently. We all have different features but that’s normal. You yell “I’m just as beautiful as the girl next me” wherever you are just to make you feel better I bet you, you’ve just made another girl feel better. It’s a girl power thing, we stick together thruogh it all. Nobody gets left out because nobody belongs left out.

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

EMPOWERMENT within my organization means everybody has a say. Nobody opinion is left out. We work together as a team and make stuff happen. At the end of everything I’m trying to get my girls to a place where they are capable of speaking up and holding their own. After all for some strange reason girls are doubted but not mine, you know why. This is why, because together we stand strong, together we are sisters, together we are a powerful pact but when I let them go they hold their heads up, stand tall and proud while still being the voice for our Sisters All Around!

Fun Faves!
Fave Food? I absolutely love pizza, if that was the only thing on this earth to eat I’d be fine. Pizza is life!Fave Artist? As of right now my favorite artist is Jhené Aiko. I’m loving her new album. Although it does relate to the loss of her brother, R.I.P Jhené’s brother. There’s one song I can listen to all day
Fave Song? My favorite song now would have to be “Live Up To My Name” by Baka. That is my theme song!!!!

Check out more of Brianna here..

Instagram

Personal: @breezyy.briii

Modeling page: @briii.young

Organization page: @sistersallaroundinc

Pageant page: @2018teenusa

Clothing line page: @artisticadvocate

Twitter: @realbreezyybrii

YouTube Channel: Breezyy’s Life

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Meet HUMAN INTONATION!

Making a fashion statement in today’s  age is more than rockin’ the latest trends! Verneda Adele White combined her style for powerful social change. She’s the Founder and Creative Director of HUMAN INTONATION, the premium, charity-driven apparel brand dedicated to raising awareness while donating 20% of each sale to pertinent social & human rights issues. Following her family’s personal experience with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the loss of her closest cousin and best friend to AIDS, Verneda began designing men and women’s graphic tees, tank tops, and dresses made from her own original patterns, using organic materials, to draw attention to re-building efforts in the Gulf Coast.

Her national platform of using fashion for social change, related community events, and speaking engagements has since extended to education for children in Darfur, rebuilding Haiti, and the brand’s primary focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment. Verneda has received support from the likes of Usher Raymond, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Wyclef Jean, and Hydeia Broadbent, in addition to lifestyle mogul B. Smith who wore her own Human Intonation tee during a cooking segment on The Wendy Williams Show. Human Intonation has been covered by VH1, the Black AIDS Institute, NV Magazine, Black Enterprise, AOL, and Uptown Magazine

 

Let’s get to know Verneda Adele White of HUMAN INTONATION a little better!

HUMAN INTONATION is an awesome charity driven apparel brand, please share with our audience what inspired this concept.

My greatest inspiration is the opportunity to impact the lives of others through fashion. As a premium, charity-driven apparel brand, HUMAN INTONATION® (H.I.) is dedicated to using fashion as a platform to raise awareness and funding for a number of social and human rights issues. Originally inspired by my family’s personal experience with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I started Human Intonation as a creative space to raise funds for recovery efforts in New Orleans. During my first volunteer trip to rebuild New Orleans, I had the opportunity to meet and was inspired to pursue my vision by one of music’s true artists, Usher, who not only continues to give back, but has been a supporter of Human Intonation since our inception. In the same year following Katrina, I lost my closest cousin to AIDS when he and I were both just starting out in life after college. These were two back to back life experiences that greatly shaped my entrepreneurial spirit, and continue to inspire me to use Human Intonation to champion causes that impact us globally.

Today, Human Intonation is an international platform with related events, partnerships, and speaking engagements, along with working with Non-profit organizations to develop compelling apparel that meets their branding and fundraising needs. While our primary focus is HIV/AIDS prevention, testing and treatment, our brand is accessible, not only in giving voice to social and human rights issues that affect all of us, but in being the most wearable, soft, organic, and uniquely cut conscious t-shirts and tank tops you will find.

How has fashion and style shaped and impacted your lifestyle?

I have always loved all things fashion, from producing fashion shows to developing my own original t-shirts for our H.I. Collection, but my journey with fashion and how it impacts my lifestyle is constantly evolving. As a personal lifestyle, I feel I am often more in tuned with the rhythm of the business of fashion than with any one particular style of the moment. Sometimes I’m on trend and sometimes I walk to the beat of my own drum. I want to be comfortable and stand out all at once, and when I really want to rock something special I call my stylist @MsDaniDK. What fashion gives me is pure adrenaline, motivation, creativity, and belief that anything is possible. I seem to have super human strength during Fashion Week (New York and London) while attending, getting my hands into production, and reviewing as many shows as possible. As a brand, I am constantly looking at fashion, but our silhouettes and designs are inspired by our customers and followers. One of my biggest lessons in business has been to understand that the end product is not always going to be what I would wear. It’s truly about what our customers want.

What message do you hope people will receive and act on by purchasing HUMAN INTONATION designs?

For us, the power in Human Intonation is that we are able to inspire people to start the conversation about social and human rights issues in a way that can change perceptions, change choices, change lives. With the designs and messages in our collections, we often include a call to action to empower individuals to have a positive impact on their own lives or the lives of others. When it comes to HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment, it is my hope through Human Intonation that even one family may have a different experience than my own. It is important for all to understand that HIV is 100% preventable, and it starts with each person taking the action of getting tested and knowing your status. Currently, I am excited to be featured in the “Bare It All” Ad campaign (http://bit.ly/2sacmco) from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to raise awareness for sexual health, and encourage all, including LGBTQ New Yorkers, to talk openly and honestly with their doctor about their sex lives and drug use in order to receive the treatment and services one may need.

What are 3 pieces of advice you would give to girls who wanted to pursue their dreams but are too nervous to start?

First and foremost, bringing any idea, business, or creative dream to life is not easy, no matter your age, background or level of education. With that being said:
Girls who set out to make their dreams a reality should know you are already ahead of the game just by making a beginning. I am constantly reminding myself there are so many who dream but never attempt to try. Start by writing your dreams down or making a vision board to make it concrete. Believe in your vision. To be successful you must first believe in yourself.

Learn to forgive yourself. Be fearless and unafraid of making mistakes because mistakes and setbacks will happen no matter how hard you try to avoid them. Do your best to learn the lesson, and keep pressing forward. In my experience, everything happens for a reason.

To jumpstart your dreams, put yourself in the best position possible by planning how you will take care of yourself. If you are making the leap from a steady paycheck to “do what you love, the money will follow,” put your savings together before you leap. Following your dreams always costs more than you think it will. Fortunately, it’s worth every penny.

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

At the moment, I am completely inspired and draw my energy from all the #BlackGirlMagic in the world. Parts of my character, from my determination to my unbridled ambition, comes from the #BlackGirlMagic in my life whether drawing from other women entrepreneurs, the imagination sparked by a Beyoncé or Serena Williams, or the very special #BlackGirlMagic that my mom has created in her lifetime. My mom, better known as Dr. Darlene Riggins White, was not only the first African-American woman to be accepted and graduate from the University of Buffalo’s School of Dentistry, she went on to become the first African-American woman to own her own dental practice in the western half of New York State. I am proud I have my mom’s entrepreneurial spirit! I had an opportunity to write about my love for all things #BlackGirlMagic earlier this year in my Huffington Post blog: http://bit.ly/2iveGpM.

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

For me, the ultimate form of empowerment is the being comfortable in one’s own skin. That’s what I strive to give to myself and others each day. Being comfortable in one’s own skin lends to being confident, to know that you can do it, you can survive even the most challenging situations, and be stronger for it on the other side. Don’t be discouraged by the naysayers. Naysayers come in many different forms, but each of us has everything we need inside to make a difference in our lives and to have a positive impact on the lives of others. When I made the decision to start HUMAN INTONATION by developing t-shirts from my own original patterns, to source my own fabric and build my own supply chain it was because I knew I could do it, but more importantly I wanted our t-shirts, tanks, and dresses to be able to empower others down to the very core of our brand. Education is also key, and in business it is critical to be both book and street savvy. Hone your craft and never stop learning. You never know when you will be able to take what you’ve learned and empower someone else.

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

I love this question!
Celeb crushes: Kofi Siriboe, I mean how can anyone not… but I can’t front like I haven’t fallen head over heels for Sterling K. Brown. Idris is still in the game because he will simply never go out of style.
Artist: Kanye, Solange and Kendrick Lamar (current), Lenny Kravitz and Stevie Wonder (classic)
Food: I am a total foodie which means I am always up for trying just about anything from around the world. If I have to choose, I would say my palate stays close to home with fried catfish, collard greens, homemade baked mac n cheese, or a pot of gumbo.
Movie: Again a tough one (of all time) … Coming to America

Check out more of  HUMAN INTONATION here:

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Meet PhDivas!

What do you get when you add brains, ambition, drive + beauty? PhDivas, of course! In a society where media loves to portray women of color as just beauty with no brains, it’s completely refreshing for Dr. Liz Wayne and Dr. Christine “Xine” Yao to create an empowering  platform that flips the script! PhDivas podcast covers  academia, culture, + social justice across the STEM/humanities divide. An engaging conversation between friends and scholars, PhDivas fills a niche for witty and insightful discussion and proves that PhDs in Engineering and English literature have more in common than meets the eye.

At over 50 episodes, PhDivas garnered a wide audience with a listenership from over 100 countries and over 20,000 plays. Two women of color Ivy League PhDs navigating higher education. Biomedical engineer meets literary critic. And of course, both fans of lipstick!

Let’s get to know Liz + Xine a little better!

PhDivasis a podcast about academia, culture, and social justice across the STEM/Humanities divide, what made you launch this powerful podcast?

Academia is a struggle for everyone, especially for those who are underrepresented minorities. Solidarity between women, especially women of color, is so important for surviving higher education regardless of discipline. Sometimes we have to be the change we want to see in the world or the inspiration we wish we could have had. This work is deeply personal: we hope to be part of a chain reaction that will make higher education a better place. As Liz likes to say, “Academia won’t be the space that was provided for me but one that I create — not the one I dreamed of but one that I build.” Join our community!

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, which past topics/episodes do you feel your audience responded to more than others? And why do you feel this topic had a large effect?

People feel the pressure to perform perfection all the time, but we try to be honest about the struggle and our anxieties. One of our most popular recent episodes was S03E23 “The Secret Life of Academic Conferences.” Perhaps drew our listeners was that we went beyond the list of practical, professional tips and advice that can be found elsewhere; instead, we delved into the social life and psychology of the conference experience that people don’t often talk about — especially not from the perspective of those who are junior in academia. One of our classic episodes S02E07 “Imposter Syndrome and Other Anxieties” speaks to the personal and structural difficulties everyone can have in competitive environments. Together we discuss the difference between responding to environments inhospitable to women of colour versus universal worries about expectations and performance.

Christine “Xine” Yao

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

We both love how Laverne Cox talks about possibility models instead of role models. For Xine that person is Sara Ahmed, a (now former) academic in the humanities working on feminist and queer of color criticism; not only does Xine draw from Ahmed’s theoretical models, but she is inspired by how Ahmed practices her principles in life, not just in research.

For Liz that person is Dean Gilda Barabino, the first Black women to be Dean of an Engineering School. She has led an exemplary career and she just an amazing and lovely person to be around. She gives me hope.

Liz Wayne

If you had to give one piece of advice to teen girls who are struggling with race and gender issues in their day to day, what would it be?

 Xine: There’s a community out there for you and those people are both more wonderful and more flawed than you can imagine. You will grow together when you work toward each other’s liberation. Oh, and you need to learn how to strategically stop caring or listening to those on the outside in order to make it through.

Liz: Some things we can’t change or help– where we live, who are family is, etc., but we can choose our friends and our life partners. Choose wisely. When the world feels like it has no space for you, surround yourself with people who want you to be healthy, happy, and successful. Don’t linger on the toxic relationships or the toxic social images. Having a strong support network has helped me deal with the struggles of the world.

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

Lift each other up!

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

Xine: Food: loves eating everything but if she had to choose it would be good ice cream. Artist: Gustav Klimt or Kara Walker (easier for me to think of this kind of artist and not musical ones!) Song: History Maker by Dean Fujioka (the theme song for the anime Yuri!!! On Ice) Celeb Crush: Riz Ahmed

Liz: Food: Chicago deep crust pizza. Artist:Titus Kaphar & Frida Kahlo. Song: Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks  ​Celeb Crush: Rihanna (because she puts in work work work work work).

Check out more of Liz + Xine here!

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Twitter

Website

iTunes

Soundcloud

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Meet Donshea Hopkins!

Photo credit: zxphilmz

When you UNLEASH your power, you light up the world  + actress/musical artist Donshea Hopkins is simply blazing bright! Not only does she play Raina St. Patrick on the hit Starz series POWER, she’s also letting her voice touch her fans through her beautiful vocals and empowering lyrics. Donshea Hopkins is making her mark across all platforms as an actress, singer, dancer, and model. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Donshea began her career as professional actress at the age of four and has since been on some of the biggest hit television shows including, Power, The Detour, Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie, Law & Order SVU, Sesame Street, “What Would You Do?”, Team Umizoomi, appearances in sketches on David Letterman, and an interview segment with Alyson Hannigan and Carson Daly on MTV’s TRL.  Donshea’s EP debut 3Point2 is available for digital download and streaming everywhere.  

 
Let’s get to know Donshea’s a little better…

Photo credit: @zxphilmz

You’ve starred in the biggest hit television shows including Power, The Detour, Orange is the New Black, Nurse Jackie, + Law & Order SVU just to name a few! What made you want to step into the acting world?
When I was younger whenever I saw kids on TV that were around my age, I would tell my mom that I wanted to do that. I started talking at nine months old, so when I would point to the television and tell her, she didn’t think much of it. She just thought that I wanted to do the ABC’s and 123’s since I was watching shows like  Sesame Street and Barney.

I was so persistent with wanting to become an actress that I would write my own scripts and commercials and perform them for my mom. On New Year’s Eve we have this tradition where we tell each other our goals and ambitions for the upcoming year. When I was 3 years old I asked her, “Why don’t you want me to be on tv?” And she said “It’s not that I don’t want you to be on tv, it’s that I don’t know what to do.” She began to tell me that when my birthday came around, she’ll figure out what to do and how to get me in the business. And the rest is history!

You’ve already accomplished so much at an young age! If you had to choose, what would be the biggest highlight in your blossoming career so far?
I’d say my music is definitely one of the biggest highlights in my career so far. Mostly because it’s my own project that I had complete control over, since I wrote/co-wrote and co-produced everything on my debut EP 3Point2. ( 3Point2 is available for download and streaming everywhere).

In your current role as Raina St. Patrick how was it to work with the cast of Power?
It’s one heck of a crazy exhilarating roller coaster ride, working with the cast of Power. Because everyone’s so different and unique and there styles and methods of acting are all so different that I learn something new every time I walk on set.

As you continue to travel on your amazing journey of dominating your craft, how do you deal with fame + being recognized? How do you stay grounded + focused?
I embrace it, because just how fast I got it, I can lose it. And I think it’s pretty freaking amazing  to be recognized for my work by fans. I’m just glad that my work has been memorable enough to be appreciated.To stay focused I start with the end in mind. I think about how hard I’m working and why I’m working hard, and then I think about how much my work is gonna pay off later. Whether that might be 5 months or 5 years, I know one day it’ll definitely pay off in a BIG way!

Photo credit: Zxphilmz


What advice would you give girls who want to follow their dreams and passions but are nervous or intimidated?
GO.
FOR.
IT!
You only get one life, so don’t be afraid to go after what you want.
And you’re not gonna get everything you want and that’s okay. Like for example if you go out on an audition and you don’t get it. Don’t be upset, because you got an amazing experience to audition for this company. And they might call you in for something else. Usually it’s not that they didn’t like you, you just didn’t fit the role or what they were looking for. So keep going and don’t be afraid!
Fear less, be FEARLESS!

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

Empowerment means taking pride in your culture and who you are. Empowerment also means lifting each other up and as people I feel like we tend to forget that sometimes. Instead of empowering each other we tear each other down. Which isn’t right, if we want to succeed in this world we must help each other in this weird thing we call life. Fighting has gotten us no where, but back to the beginning.

Time for  FAVES! Celeb Crush? Music artist? Food? Movie?
Justin Bieber. Halsey, Paramore, Justin (obviously) Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Selena Gomez, Melanie Martinez, Fifth Harmony, Little Mix, Florence + the Machine, Janine, Zendaya, and the list goes on! Popcorn/Vegan Sushi/ and anything with chocolate. The Princess and the Frog, Beauty and the Beast, The Professional, and Get Out.

Check out more Donshea here!

Donshea Hopkins

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YouTube

Facebook

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Meet T’masia Sade!

As summer break is in full swing so should your style! New York based designer + creative director T’masia Crowder makes sure your fashion taste hits every beach with her luxe swimwear brand T’masia Sade.  This past spring our intern, Maria was able to touch base with the designer who founded her line in 2012. The brand radiates the modern femme with bold fabrics, variety of colors, accessories, edginess and playful shapes. The goal is to take risk and embody fierceness in young women swimwear  beyond the norm.

Let’s get to know T’masia a little better…

What inspired you to make such bold designs?

I am inspired by all types of art and influences. Some of my designs are based on my eclectic/eccentric personality and style. Most of the time my designs are based on stepping out the box or bold colors.

Do you hope to someday expand your line to day and evening wear?

At the moment, no. I am looking to focus on expanding in my current market first.

What were some obstacles you have faced in the fashion industry?

One obstacle I would acknowledge is being discouraged, but don’t be. I typically do not get too caught up in the other obstacles in the fashion industry, I acknowledge them but I won’t allow them to deter me from my end goal. I aim to focus more on meeting my target market needs and adjusting with SOME trends.


What advice do you have for people interested in the fashion field?

The advice I would give to anyone interested in the fashion field would be to stick to your plan and to work hard/smart. Be passionate about what you are doing and don’t be scared to be an individual or an outcast. Most people/buyers relate more to designers who are true to themselves.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?

I was always artistic and my family kept me in different arts programs. However, I always knew I wanted to be a designer since early childhood. I would always work on alterations/bedazzling or vintage apparel with my grandmother, it was our thing!

What’s the best part, in your opinion, about the fashion world?

In my opinion, the best part of the fashion world is being free to create what ever you feel will impact someone’s appearance. The relationships you build with your clientele is also satisfying.

How did you first get your swimwear recognized?

I first got my swimwear recognized when I was selected to participate in the New York RAW Artist showcase. I remember being nervous because I just finished taking the leap of faith to start my brand at the time. However, by the end of that year I was so astonished that I was voted to participate in the RAW NY Fashion finale. That was my first debut to the world honestly and I was not even expecting it.

Would you have pursued a different careers if your designs weren’t recognized?

No. Being recognize does not determine my career, recognition will eventually come. However, during this time I had just graduated from undergrad so I started my career as an engineer in the construction industry during the day and I was pursuing my designs simultaneously.

How important is communication in the fashion field?

As for any industry or relationship, communication is key. The communication keeps everything flowing and on track, it impacts every aspect of your brand and it also can assist with mitigating any risk.
What have you learned so far about fashion? I’ve learned that fashion can change within a blink of an eye and most trends repeat themselves. But most importantly I’ve learned that fashion is what you make of it, it’s the best way to express yourself without speaking.

Has living in New York somewhat influenced your designs? If so, how? 

Growing up in New York City I drew my inspiration from dope fashion in the streets. Most people in NYC are fearless with their fashion and sometimes out of the box. But that’s what makes it exciting and influential.

What do you hope to make people feel when they see and wear your designs?

I hope to make women feel confident, sexy, comfortable and edgy. I want them to say “I gotta have that” when they see my designs!

Check out more here!

T’masia Sade

 

Interview by Teen Blogger Maria Miller

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Meet Princess Jackson!

A kind heart, a beautiful spirit + a focused mind are the ingredients of young activist + actress Princess Jackson! This dynamic young lady birthed “Sock Out Poverty” because of her fondness for socks and seeing the need in the community. Princess came up with the idea to raise donations which would cover the needs of men, women, boys, and girls who were in need of a new pair(s) of socks. Her goal is to reduce poverty and provide socks for the less fortunate, therefore Socking Out Poverty one step at a time! Princess has continuously spread the word about her message on bettering the community which caught the ear of Steve Harvey where she was featured on his show!

Let’s get to know Princess a little bit better…

Sock Out Poverty, Inc. is an influential non-profit  that provides socks, clothing and other material goods to men, women, boys, and girls that are in need. What made you want to create this powerful organization?

Four years ago while I was on a blanket drive with my mom, I noticed the homeless had blankets, cardboard, shoes with holes in them, but they didn’t have socks to keep them warm. I wanted to give new socks to the less fortunate so Sock Out Poverty, INC was created.

You also share your gifts through acting, what do you love about the acting world? 

I love acting because it allows me to play in different roles. Improv (acting with no scripts) is my favorite. I able to pretend to be some someone else and have fun doing it.

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?

I’m active in acting, modeling, charity events, and school. I stay focus and have a schedule I go by so I will be able to accomplish my goals. I also take 30 minutes each day to listen to something positive and motivating.

The possibilities are limitless for your future! What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to be an actress and make music.

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

My mother and music artist ‘I AM JUSTIFIED’ inspires me. My mother inspires as I watch her give to others, it teaches me not to be selfish and give to others too. I AM JUSTIFIED inspires me because he always focus on positivity even when negativity is around. This motivates me to stay positive.

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

Empowerment means to be strong. My goal is when others see my strength, it will encourage others to be strong too.

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

Celeb Crushes are Chris Brown, Trey Songz, Bryshere Gray, and Basketball player Kelly Oubre. My favorite food is shrimp alfredo. My favorite movies are Major Payne and Rude Alone.

 

Check out more here:

Sock Out Poverty

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Meet Kheris Rogers!

Confidence, beauty + freedom overflows from the stunningly beautiful, Kheris Rogers! This dynamic 10-year-old is blazing the path for young women of color everywhere to embrace their beauty and to rise above insecurities + ignorance of others.

As Kheris began to navigate through her school life she dealt with bullying from her peers when it came to her flawlessly chocolate complexion. Having a strong family foundation her older sister, Taylor, encouraged her to be proud of her beauty + not let anyone dim her light. Her sister then went on to post a photo of Kheris on Twitter using the hashtag #FlexinInMyComplexion and it went viral while receiving much love + support. She then developed her campaign into a t-shirt line which combats colorism by simply encouraging others to  embrace their natural beauty!

Let’s get to know Kheris a little better!

You are absolutely gorgeous both inside + out! What motivated you to start the campaign Flexin’ In My Complexion?

I was motivated to start the campaign “Flexin’ In My Complexion” because after sharing my story, there was so many people that reached out to me to let me know how they relate to my story and went through the same challenges that I am going through now. This inspired me to start my own fashion line called “Flexin’ In My Complexion” so that others can proudly flex in their skin as well.

Your movement has not only inspired young girls but adults to love themselves! How did you tap into your confidence + overcome being bullied?

I have the confidence to speak out because of my family. They have also told me to stand up for what I believe in and to not be afraid to speak up when something is wrong.

We all have tough days when we’re feeling down, what motivates you to stay positive?

Just seeing the impact my story has had on people motivates me to stay positive. It lets me know that I am not alone with how I am feeling.

The possibilities are limitless for your future! What do you want to be when you grow up?

My dream is to get into acting or modeling so that I can open doors for more people who look like me to follow their dreams as well.

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

I am inspired by Michelle Obama because she motivates a lot of people to become a better them. She also works a lot with kids and looks stylish while doing it.

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

Empowering people is important because sometimes all someone needs is an extra push to become a better them.

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

My celebrity crush is Yazz (Hakeem from Empire). My favorite artists are Zendaya and Miss Mulatto from The Rap Game. The Rap Game is my favorite show as well. My favorite food is french fries that are extra crispy and alfredo pasta. My favorite Movie is Annie 2014.

Shop, support + follow Kheris here:

Flexin’ In My Complexion

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Meet Black Girls Smile!

Depression can feel like you’re drowning especially if you feel as if their is no one around to save you. In 2012 Lauren Carson created a life jacket for young African American girls suffering with mental health issues through Black Girls Smile Inc!  Lauren envisioned a society that through the normalization and dialogue surrounding mental wellness, all individuals, including young African American females would be provided the education, support and resources necessary to lead a positively mentally healthy life.

Let’s get to know Lauren a little better…

Black Girls Smile empowers young African American women to take ownership of their mental health and stability, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I was diagnosed at age 15 with clinical depression and suffered two suicide attempts at 19 and 20. After
my second suicide attempt, as crazy as it sounds I decided I wanted to live, and to do that I knew I had to focus on making my mental wellness a top priority. And I did! I graduated from a top university, got a job in NYC at a finance, and most importantly I was the most mentally healthy I had ever been. During this period, I took some time to look back over my mental health journey, and although I came out of it positively, there were many negative points that could have been avoided. I realized I was fortune to have the financial means and familial support to come out of my darkest moments well, but I also realized this is not the reality for so many other young African American females like me. I knew that I had to give my journey purpose that I had to do my part to uplift and empower other young African American women to lead mentally healthy lives. Black Girls Smile Inc. was born, and still today works to educate, provide resources and support to help encourage positive mental health and wellness.

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

Black Girls Smile Inc.’s mission is to promote positive mental health education, resources and education
geared toward empowering the mental wellness of young African American girls. We host various programming events and initiatives geared at educating young African American women on general mental health, illness and wellness. Our signature program, “SHE’s Mentally Prepared” also works with
young women to create a self-care action plan and empowers young women to find creative ways to cope with stressors and practice self-care. We also host Vision Board parties, Book Club series and other various events that promote and empower young women to lead a mentally healthy life.

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

I would honestly say everyone in my life inspires me, from family to friends to colleagues. I have been
very intentional as I have gotten older to ensure I surround myself with people that inspire me in various ways. My mother is and always will be my biggest inspiration. Her compassion, patience (and this is big, I always need to work on my patience), and ability to let others be themselves is something I have always admired and continuously try to replicate a fraction of this in myself.

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?

Take a breath, everything will be ok! I remember the intensity I felt in many situations as a youth, as I have grown and matured, I see the beauty and helpfulness in taking a breath and calming one’s self
down.Putting situations in perspective and being able to cope with life’s stressors is key!

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

I am in awe at the reminder of how resilient young women/girl are. Working with youth we are constantly reminded of all of the stressors that enter their lives and have the potential to affect them, however we constantly see youth thrive, grow, learn and mature. I am humbled to continuously work
with youth that display such resiliency and hunger for growth.

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

Empowerment means sharing to me and Black Girls Smile Inc.’s mission. Young African American girls
and women for too long have struggled with mental health difficulties alone and in silence. We work to
empower/share self-care methods, coping techniques and support to encourage individual and
community mental wellness.

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

My favorite food hands down would have to be hibachi; Japanese steakhouses where they cook in front
of you. I always enjoy it because it’s a communal dining experience, not to mention the food is always
amazing!

Alicia Keys “Girl on Fire”. I consider this song to be my theme song; an ode to young women and girls
ready to step into who they truly are and share their unique talents with the world. I try to be a Girl on Fire in everything I do.

My celebrity crush would have to be Jesse Williams. Not only is her very handsome, but he has
continued to speak up in Hollywood when others in his industry shied away from racial issues. I consider him dreamy and woke.

Find out more here!

Black Girls Smile

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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:
The Evoluer House
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