Posts in "Feature"

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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Vintage Ghosts

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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…
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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.
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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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Meet STEM From Dance!

A couple of weeks ago I visited students and founder of STEM from Dance at IS 145 in Queens where I got to see the program in action. STEM from Dance is an organization that combines dancing with science and math to help encourage young girls to gain confidence within them and science. Their mission is to reach under-represented minority girls by using dance to encourage girls to seek STEM careers later on in life. I interviewed the founder, Yamilée Toussaint, about her organization.
Let’s get to know Yamilée + STEM from Dance a little better…
Echoing Green
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’d say there is probably two types of schedules when it comes to my day-to-day activties.  I’m either going to a school at some point in the day to see the program in action. Usually, I’m there to observe, support, lend an extra hand, and offer feedback with an outsider’s perspective to the instructor to see where we can add improvements.
My time outside of the school is spent running the rest of the organization which entails having conversations with people who do similar work or who are interested in partnering in some way.  It could also be managing our finances, reviewing a grant application that somebody else wrote for us,  or prioritizing on how I’m spending my time with the organization.
So either I’m at a school tending to the little things or being absent but focusing on the items I need to do to keep the business afloat.
What is most challenging about your job?
There are so many things but I’ll just  try to name a few.  One challenge  is that a good amount of what I do I’m doing for the first time and learning as I’m doing it. I’m constantly wondering  ‘Am I approaching this in the best way?’ Should I be seeking more opinions before I make this decision? Is their somebody who has done this already that I can learn from?
I’m always questioning and making sure that I am choosing the right choices so I’d say the second-guessing is challenging.
 A second difficulty is convincing others of the value in investing in supporting what we’re doing.  I think people sometimes feel the concept of using dance to draw young girls into stem is something that is unusual and confusing. The challenge is to make sure that partnered schools and organizations genuinely understand what we do and don’t think that we’re using dance as a gimmick.  Explainining that our program makes an impact can sometimes be a difficult hill to climb.
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What is most enjoyable about your job?
I’ve had the option to use my engineering degree and get  a job in that field but I knew that I wanted to directly impact the minority community. It’s important to empower those who are disempowered that’s why that my main reason why I chose not to do engineering full-time.
It’s enjoyable to do something that aligns with my personal passions. I’m just grateful that I love what I do for my full-time job.  To be able to empower youth while using my educational background is such a privilege!
What makes your program stand out compared to other programs?
I think the core of what we do is look at the population of who we want to serve and think about what they are already excited about.
The key is to use their personal interests to bridge the gap towards  careers that  may have a reputation of being whack and boring you know?
There’s still a lot of work to do to make math + science more approachable and so I think that we have an advantage to draw students who just like to dance.  We are offering the chance to dance to create and perform as well as  leading them down a transformational path that could be very promising for their future.
Did you have a program like this when you were younger? If not, then how do you think a program like this would have affected your life?
Not exactly, so I’ve been dancing since I was 4 or 5 years old.  I went to this dance school not too far from where I lived and I was there 6 days a week which was a large part of my upbringing. But on the flipside I particpipated in math club on this side but was never able to  practice them together.
I developed strong friendships because I was surrounded by individuals with similar interests. I went to a school focused in technology so I was around people with the same  passions which naturally encouraged me to move forward.
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Who or what inspires you?
My father because he is an engineer and would bring me to work all the time. Even when he came home he had the mindset of naturally creating solutions to any challenges he was ever facing. He was my inspiration and so clearly he was a big influence in our lives.  My mother always made sure I was exposed to different opportunities such as dance and music. So it was a perfect mixture for my life!
Where do you see this program in 10 years?
My long-term vision is to continue to use relevancy and tying them to opportunities of today’s youth. I want more students to have access to the program not only by location but also to those who are interested in different activities outside of dance.
 We want to expand beyond dance and make subjects that youth may not neccesarily be enthusiatiastic about yet  and make them more attractive.And even go beyond students and adults who are looking for a new career or trait!
We are all about EMPOWERMENT at C.O.R.E mag, what does empowerment mean to you?
There is something special about discovering untapped potential and realizing that we are capable of more than we think.
A major moment in life is when we realize that we naturally put limits on ourselves until we’re exposed to something better.
 I remember when I was in high school I was doing well academically and during freshman year I was receiving low to high 90’s. I thought I was doing great!  But one day I was at my neighbor’s house and saw their report card. He was receiving over 100 because our school offered extra credit. I didn’t even know you could receive over 100! But all I needed  was to discover it was possible and voila!
The rest of high school I began performing at that level so I think it’s just being able to help somebody realize they’re potential and encouraging them by exposing them to something new.
You can find more about the organization at the website, stemfromdance.org and follow
them on twitter: @stemfromdance
Interview by Xandria Milligan

Meet Brittney Grant!

Living life to the fullest is what we thrive to do and with helpful hints sprinkled along the way it  makes the journey so much sweeter! Brittney Grant is the creator of KeepingupwithBritt.com who shares her vibrant spirit of loving and creating. Her goal is to continue to inspire and help individuals in their everyday lives through her knowledge and personal experience. Healthy Lifestyle and Beauty Enthusiast with years of first hand experience, she empowers you and throws some of  her simple, easy and affordable life hacks your way too!

“Remember, no one can take care of you like you can take care of you, so please take care! A Happy, Healthy life is the best life.” – Brittney Grant, KeepingUpwithBritt.com

Let’s get to know Brittney a little better…

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You’re a fly lifestyle blogger hailing from Brooklyn, NY! What made you want to blog about health and beauty?

I’ve always been passionate about Health and Beauty! Growing up, health was an important part of my childhood, my family stressed the importance of “Good Food” and the effect it had on our bodies and overall health; my parents made an effort to ensure that my diet was rich in fruits, vegetables, home-cooked meals and healthy lifestyle practices. I was probably the only kid in my junior high school who knew what a green smoothie was!

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

KeepingupwithBritt.com has allowed me to share my love for Beauty, Fashion, Food, Photography and Graphic Design in a way that has allowed me to inspire and help others in their everyday lives.

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Health is sometimes a topic that is overlooked in the black community, why was it important to blog on your healthy lifestyle?

That’s just it, health is sometimes a topic that is overlooked in the black community and I am on a mission to change that through my blog. KeepingupwithBritt.com mission is to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a specific race, age, be an expert or make a certain amount of money to make health conscious decisions. My simple, easy, and affordable tips, inspires and helps others in their everyday lives.

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

I am naturally an over-zealous perfectionist but in times when I need a little motivation I tell myself that “ I want to rule my destiny”…. so much so that nothing and no one should stand in my way. I accept and understand that there will be obstacles, but they are only there to make the journey more worthwhile.

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We tend to pull characteristics from people we admire, who inspires you and why?

My Mom may no longer be here physically but her spirit and life has taught me the importance of Love and Dedication. Her commitment to being a Mom and a role model has helped me through the most difficult times in my life thus far.

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

To empower is to encourage, inspire and motivate a group of people or a cause. Empowerment enables one to outstrip their sense of powerlessness and lack of control bringing forth self-confidence and change.

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

 CELEBRITY CRUSH – Trey Songz

ARTIST – Bob Marley

FOOD – Avocado Toast

MOVIE – Love Jones

Check out more of Britt here!

KeepingupwithBritt.com

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Meet Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart!

“Beauty and confidence is defined by one’s perception of self, not that of others.”

-Kamelah Muhammad, Founder & President of Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart

The most powerful gift we can give is unlocking the potential in another individual. Kamelah Muhammad is doing just this as she’s paving the road for others while walking in her purpose! Seeing the negative impact that traditional and social media was having on the self-esteem of teen girls and women around the world, Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, Inc. (SOTTH) was born. Founded in Brooklyn, New York on November 22, 2014, SOTTH’s founder, Kamelah Muhammad, wanted to create an atmosphere where teen girls and women came together in an effort to bond and hold each other accountable for uplifting one another. This is accomplished by motivating through life’s stories and promoting self-worth.  We create programs and experiences of empowerment.

Every teen girl and woman should be the definition of BEAUTY and the definition of CONFIDENT. We encourage each person to create and represent what beauty and confidence means to them. SOTTH, Inc. is about sharing a journey from woman to woman, state to state, country to country.

Let’s get to know Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart a little better…

Women in Need NYC PEACHY Experience

Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart, Inc. empowers teen girls by motivating through life’s stories and promoting self-worth, what made you launch this powerful organization?

I honestly wanted to make young girls and women feel good about themselves and to be comfortable in their skin. It’s pretty tough to think of yourself as beautiful especially being a woman of color when the media doesn’t promote your blackness as beautiful or important. Therefore, I saw a huge need. Our mission is to promote just that, beauty and confidence. I wanted to create an opportunity for women to come together, bond, laugh, share experiences and uplift one another. Our logo represents that. It is a
variation of different sizes and shades of peach to represent different women coming together and connecting. The color peach represents courage, elegance and immortality and these are the attributes that I wanted every young girl and woman to embody.

Being a voice in the community motivates others to be great, what type of events and courses does Sisterhood of the Traveling Heart host?

I always like to say that our events aren’t just events, we call them experiences! Our current experiences allow for bonding through authentic, fun and uplifting activities. For instance, during our Sisterhood PEACHY Experience, attendees are encouraged to unleash their inner confidence through dance during our choreography component, get wardrobe advice from our fashion consultants while shopping through free items, learn about the cosmetic industry while getting free makeovers and make vision boards that speaks to their future. We cater the activities to the wishes of the organization we work
with. We also host prom-themed experiences as well as back to school focused events. Our workshops allow for more in depth discussions around lifestyle improvement and empowerment. These workshops more so focus on etiquette, educational and professional development. We are happy with what we have accomplished thus far and are looking to grow and improve one step at a time.

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

My mother, Darlene Pierre-Muhammad! I honestly don’t know what I would do without her. As I’ve grown older, she really has become my best friend. It really doesn’t click when we are younger but everything she told me then makes so much sense now and I am happy our relationship has grown to where it is today. I talk to her pretty much every day. I’ll even call her at work and say “Hey mom! What are you doing” and she’ll respond “Work, girl!” I always laugh (lol) and then if she can spare a few minutes to talk,
she always does. She is the true definition of a strong woman and I always pray that I will be half the woman, half the wife, and half the mother that she is. She has shown me patience and compassion. Through her, I have learned what sacrifice and being a blessing to others really means. She is extremely supportive and for that I am forever thankful to God.

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?

I would let them know that God doesn’t make any mistakes. It’s important for all girls to know that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I want girls to understand that beauty comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. I encourage girls to say words of affirmation on a daily basis to boost their confidence and to know that they don’t have to look like the girl on TV in which media is promoting as the standard of “beauty.” You are beautiful just the way you are. We must do better as a society to make sure our young girls understand their worth and value themselves.

Teen Living Programs Back to School Block PartyL

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

Resilience. I must say that after interacting with the young ladies that I’ve had the pleasure of working with, I’ve learned that the trials I have had to overcome in life has been so minuscule compared to what these girls deal with on a day-to-day basis. One of the moments that really stuck with me is at an event we were hosting, every purse in our ‘store’ area had been claimed by other attendees. A young lady – about age 13 – who I had been interacting with throughout the day came to me and asked if we had
anymore long strapped purses such as the one I was wearing. It was tough having to tell her all the purses had been claimed but I then told her I had a special one for her. I proceed to empty my purse (which was a favorite) and put it around her. She gave me THE biggest smile and hug. My eyes watered. From there, instead of creating a vision board for herself, she created a thank you board for all the volunteers. I am getting choked up reflecting on this. It’s those moments which makes me know that I am truly walking in my purpose. It has been such a humbling journey since I’ve launched this organization. These girls are so strong-willed. It makes me happy knowing that even if for two hours, my volunteers and I can create a moment in time where they don’t have to have a care in the world. Our goal is to create an escape and true girlfriend-like bonding experiences. I love seeing them smile and having a good time!

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

To empower others means allowing your personal journey through life be another person’s inspiration and motivation. Empowering another means to allow some vulnerability and openness. It means having the courage to share experiences, good or bad, in hopes of inspiring the person who is on the receiving end to overcome and to trust their own process. To empower oneself means to take control of your life.

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

Song – Literally every song is my JAM so it’s hard to narrow down but I am such a fan of 90s R&B

Food – Fish Tacos, French Fries & Cookies

Artist – (Current Artist) Drake

Celeb Crush – Michael B. Jordan

Check out more here!

Sisterhood Of The Traveling Hearts

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Meet She’s All That!

The key to life is to be so confident that you encourage others to be confident as well and that is exactly what She’s All That! does. This powerful organization was founded by Conchetta Jones in after hearing the young ladies she was mentoring using the term in a negative way about other girls. They would say “she thinks she’s all that” whenever another young lady aspired to be the best she could be. Conchetta wanted girls to realize that thinking ‘she’s all that’ is not a negative thing but a very positive way to think.

She’s All That! was founded on the premise that every young woman should have access to programs and activities that would inspire, empower and educate. To empower, inspire and educate girls through informative workshops, cultural outings and real world experiences. Girls learn life skills, self-esteem, integrity, relationship building, conflict resolution, health and fitness and etiquette lessons.

Let’s get to know more about She’s All That!

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She’s All That! is an influential organization that encourages, empowers and motivates young ladies, what made you want to create this platform for empowerment?

For over 10 years I worked with girls from my church and in the school system. I would listen to how they interacted with each other. There was a lot of negativity. Some girls were shunned if they did not wear the “right” clothes, or if they hung out with the “wrong” person. There was a code to how a girl was supposed to act to be considered “cool” I would watch as girls would be uncomfortable, but go along with the crowd anyway. They were too afraid to go against the “in crowd”. There was a lack of values among the young women. They looked up to the women in the Reality television shows. I created She’s All That! as a way to give girls a safe space to be themselves. During our workshops we give them skills that help them to say no and to stand up for themselves. They understand that they don’t have to follow the “in crowd” to be popular.

Your organization embraces the term ‘she’s all that’ as a positive statement, how do you help make the mental shift to girls to accept their power and love who they are?

During my school stint, I found out that a girl thought she was “all that” if she did positive things, like go to class, do her homework, be respectful, not hang out or sleep around. This disturbed me. When working with our girls we challenge them to stand in their power. I urge them to think that they are all that. Because they are. They are precious, priceless. I urge them to think before they make any decisions. And to let the decision be hers. Because good or bad her decision will come with consequences, and she should be willing to accept that. We do a lot of self-esteem activities, affirmations and journaling.

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

Right now I am blessed to be surrounded by women who are movers and shakers. They are everyday women who are doing big things. From them I am inspired to never give up (Caprice O’Bryant) to go after what I want (Felicia Houston) to speak boldly (La”Keisha Gray-Sewell) to love hard (Da-Nay Macklin) to make sure I have foundation before elevation (Monique Caradine) to give and to support others (Peggy Riggins, Keana Jones, Priscilla Williams) to never stop hustling (Cara Aljoe) to take time for self and breathe (Crystal Iris) to share resources freely (Tiffany Fincher). To look for the beauty in the simple things (Iris Connor) and to see God’s hand in everything (Jakki Smith). And my dream team, Angela, Roxanne and Shanta who support me in everything I do. These are just a few of the powerful women in my everyday life.

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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 message that the media sends of what is beautiful is all smoke and mirrors. That that level of perfection is created by a team of people and photoshop. Do not compare yourself with something that is not real and is impossible or dangerous to attain. I urge them to love and to appreciate their own unique beauty.

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

To live in the moment and to dream big.

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

Empowerment means having the courage to live your own reality. To dress how you like, do the things you want to do, to have the confidence to stand up for yourself and to not feel like you have to follow the crowd.

Check out more here!

She’s All That!

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Meet Blogger Myah Rebecca!

Trendy + stylish are just a few of the fab traits that UK teen Myah Rebecca possesses as a  blogger! With her fashion forward taste and her distinct eye for all things beauty, Myah is on the road of sharing her inspiration to the world through her readers. She covers beauty, fashion, style, entertainment, health, interviews and much more!

As she continues to share her voice to the world her motto is (which we love!)  “It’s a long road but I’m dressed for it.”

Let’s get to know Myah a little better…

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You’re a fly teen blogger hailing from the UK! What made you want blog about fashion & beauty?

-I started reading blogs like fashion toast and Blogging was something I’ve always wanted to do. I love fashion and beauty and it seemed to be the perfect thing to blog about, as it’s always changing and progressing and its individual too. I felt it was the best thing for me to blog about when I spend 80% of my time online shopping and the other 30% real life shopping.

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

-Well My blog is hosted by WordPress, and WordPress is very flexible as there’s and app so I can blog on the go, it’s super easy to make pages and change themes which allows me to put just about anything I want to online so I’ve created a trends page where typically monthly I post what trends I’m loving in order to express myself.

Style is a way of expressing yourself without speaking, how would you describe your personal style?

-I’d like to think that I have quite an on trend style. I’ll be honest I love shopping for the latest items, I love predicting the trends too and beating everyone to it. I honestly get joy out of buying a new item and seeing it a few weeks later in magazines and on my favourite celebrities. Always makes me think that I’ve inspired them to wear it, ahaha I know I haven’t though.

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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?

-A good little list always helps me to be able to put my problems into perspective. My responsibilities is school, work and my blog. I have recently started a job and I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea based on how little time I have to do anything. School always goes first so homework, course work and revision is always a top priority. Blog posts no matter how much more I’d rather be doing them comes second. When it feels like I’m drowning in work and can’t get a blog post out anytime soon I get in contact with guest bloggers so there’s always something on my blog for my readers to read and know I haven’t just fallen of the face of the earth and I wait till the holidays and schedule posts then for later on when I may not be able to write for a while.

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

– It’s going to sound typical and soppy but it’s true, my mum is my main inspiration in life because she’s so driven and creative and understanding, for example when ever we would have fancy dress days in primary school if I wanted to be an octopus she’d help me make the best octopus outfit, we did win best dressed every year. Doing things like that from such a young age I feel really gave me the confidence to do creative hings on my own such as my blog.

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

-Empowerment to me means that I am independent and strong. Typically being in a society were racism is such a big issue yet I am able to feel important, respected and on par with other women of different races. Not to say that the world is accepting because that’s one thing it certainly isn’t however there are communities where you can feel accepted and the teen blogging community so far feels like it’s opening up.

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

-My favourite Artist would have to be Beyoncé for obvious reasons like she’s the queen of everything.

– My favourite food would have to be pizza, bbq base though it’s the future.

-To be able to pick a fave movie is such a hard thing to do. My favourite movie at this moment would be untouchable it’s a French movie but I there’s always subtitles. It’s the sweetest movie ever. Another movie I’m really loving and have been for a couple of years now is attack the block it’s the funniest thing you’ll ever watch it’s full of wanna be gangsters and aliens, also it was one of John Boyega’s first films.

Check out more about Myah ….

Myah Rebecca Blog

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