Meet The Queens Behind The Cover Of The October 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: The Ms. World Universal 2021 Winners

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World Universal is a unique organization that celebrates ALL women. They seek to provide a platform and events where all women are represented and supported. World Universal accepts ALL women and through the Universal Language of Love, seeks to lift up and empower these women, and together we can make a better world. To support this mission, World Universal works with multiple charities globally from helping women who have experienced domestic violence, to LGBTQ youth, to Cancer research.

GEQ Magazine recently caught up with Nancy-Ellen Martin, the executive director of Ms. World Universal, and here’s what went down:

What makes Ms. World Universal Unique?

A lot of pageants either divide women up into categories based on age and size, or even if they say they are inclusive, that is not represented in their titleholder, and far too many systems have rules stating that their participants must be “natural born females”. We seek to provide a platform and events where all women are represented and supported. Our events are open to women aged 25 and over of all heights, sizes, ethnic backgrounds, orientations, and identities. Your marital or parental status is also not a factor. Our new International Titleholders represent many ethnicities from around the globe, sizes 0-14, ages 27-56, 5’2-5’7 inches tall. Some are single, some are married, some are moms, some are not and one is about to welcome twin grandchildren! This is what DIVERSITY really looks like. In addition, we have also founded a sorority to be inclusive of women who are excited about our sisterhood and philanthropy, but maybe are not interested in being on stage. We are truly building a place where women can support each other and work towards common goals.

What categories do your delegates compete in?

Our delegates compete in one on one personal interviews with each judge for 5 minutes each and this is worth 40% of the score. They then participate in fitness wear with an emphasis on body positivity (25%), evening gown where we expect our delegates to bring the glamor (35%) and our finalists can earn up to an additional 10 points with their on-stage questions.

Can you tell us a little more about your titles?

Sure! At the national and international level, the highest overall title of World Universal is awarded to the delegate with the highest score regardless of age. The second highest title is the World Universal Elite, awarded to the delegate age 40+ with the highest overall score. Our 3rd title is our Ms. Global World which is awarded to our 3rd highest score regardless of age, and then finally our Ambassador title is awarded with input from all the staff, the titleholders, directors, online judges, and our panel of judges. This goes to the delegate, who through their reign has demonstrated that they are living the mission of the organization. This year at international, we decided that given everything that has happened with the pandemic, with some titleholders having held their titles for almost two years, and some newly crowned in 2021, and our international having been being postponed multiple times that we would also elevate one of our preliminary awards to a title, and this is our Spirit of Ms. World Universal. Like our Ambassador, this is someone whose passion for our mission is clear! We are so thrilled with our 2021-2022 International Court!

What is next for World Universal?

Ms. USA World Universal will be happening November 18-22 in New Orleans, Louisiana. We are also in the process of scheduling other national pageants around the globe in 2022, including our new brand Monarch International which gives opportunity to all those who identify as male, for all genders of individuals competing in the art of Drag, for non-binary people, as well as crowning for just talent. Additionally, Monarch will have a separate division for Mermaids! We are so excited about this new brand, and you will be hearing more from us in the coming months. We are also very excited that Ms. World Universal’s international will be in Sydney, AU July 16,17,18,19,20, 2022.

How can someone get involved in World Universal or Monarch International?

Check out our website at: www.worlduniveralproductions.com or find us on social media @worlduniversalproductions.

If you want to find out who the 2021 Ms. World Universal winners are then scroll down below:

Akela Douglass (Ms. World Universal 2021-2022)

Akela is a Sacramento native and graduate of California State University Sacramento with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Finance. She is currently a professional hairstylist and has created beautiful looks for numerous brides, models, hair shows, music videos, magazines, and even New York fashion week. In July 2017 she opened her own salon Akela’s Hair Studio in San Francisco, CA. She also travels throughout the country as a Brand Educator for the world-renowned Wella Company. Akela recently achieved back-to-back wins at the Beauty Envision Awards for Textured and Creative hair designs. During her reign as Ms. World Universal, she will continue to support the Pretty Ponytails Organization, which provides haircare kits for young girls in foster care and transitional housing.

Rosie Moore (Ms. World Universal Elite 2021-2022)

Rosie is a Latina of Puerto Rican and Dominican Republic descent. She was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. She now calls Florida her native home. She is a registered nurse with a Doctorate of Nurse Practice degree from Capella University. Her focus was on creating a toolkit for the neonatal intensive care unit. This would allow her to manage her nonprofit The Gift of Life, supporting parents of premature babies.

She is currently an independent nurse consultant for injured workers. When she is not working in her charity, you can find her coordinating weddings and travel as well as authoring kids and adult books. Most recently she started a podcast called Tea Time with Just Rosie Moore to support women with inspirational devotions and stories.

During her reign, she hopes to continue reaching women on a global level to encourage them and meet them where they are.

You can get to know Rosie better via her website: www.Rosiemoore27.com.

Maricelle Redona-Manzana (Ms. Global World 2021-2022)

Maricelle Heather is a first-generation Filipina-American from Hawaii. She received her master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from Capella University in 2018 and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst/License Behavior Analyst in Honolulu, Hawaii where she works with children with unique abilities. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in psychology from Northcentral University. She hopes to one day open her own Applied Behavior Analysis clinic to serve the underserved children in her community. Her platform is named Perfectly Imperfect, a scholarship foundation she founded to help the underserved around her community and in the Philippines continue their education. She hopes during her year as Ms. Global World she will be able to grow her scholarship foundation and expand to more regions of the world to encourage more children and adults to continue their educational dreams.

Asuka Kobayashi(Ms. World Universal Ambassador 2021-2022)

Asuka is from Niigata,Japan. She has been a dental and mental specialist for over 20 years and has been involved with more than 35,000 people helping them care for their minds and bodies. She has published a book about parenting, runs an online support group, and conducts workshops to support mothers and parenting. She also holds seminars at schools and medical sites to foster the richness of the mind, helping others create a place conducive to parenting and guidance consulting. Asuka is also a mother of three and their smiles brighten her world.

Maria Beall (Ms. Spirit of World Universal 2021-2022)

Maria Beall is an American College of Sports Medicine Exercise Physiologist, RYT 200 Yoga Teacher, Nutrition Consultant, Real Estate Investor, and Fitness Instructor. Maria has been in the wellness industry for 32 years and holds a degree in Community Wellness and Marketing. She is a Golden Key Honor Society member and graduated second in her class from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has mentored, trained, and taught thousands of individuals as she has changed countless lives. Maria is a Hashimoto survivor and is thriving with F.I.T.- Food, Inspiration, and Training and is a spokesperson for AARDA.org, organizing yoga classes to bring awareness to autoimmune diseases. Maria also serves on 2 boards in Richmond, Virginia, and has created a committee that participates in area clean-ups to protect the James River. She and her husband have been featured on Animal Planet, TLC, and HGTV’s House Hunters and are landlords to multiple properties. She has been married to Michael since 1987 and has 3 sons, 2 daughters in law and soon to be a grandmother to twins. When Maria is not living and teaching in Richmond, she can be found walking along the beaches on the Gulf of Mexico where she and her husband own a vacation home. Maria’s true passion is coaching women and girls to find their voice with her coaching business, Beallisma Coaching *and* encouraging her community to fight for equality and human rights with activism and advocacy.

10 Quick Hacks To Fix Fashion Emergencies ASAP

Life is full of unforeseen glitches. You’re running to a meeting and you snap your heel. You reach up and a button on your trouser comes loose, or your bra straps start to show while wearing your favourite cocktail dress. It seems like wardrobe malfunctions always occur at the most inconvenient times …. just ask Janet Jackson!

Here are the top 10 suggestions for solving your common fashion emergencies:

10. My poor pilled sweaters

Don’t just stand there pulling lint off yourself! These can be removed either with a lint sandpaper (rub across sweater to remove pills) or a razor. Sticky tape works well for this too. Leggings and coloured tights are in full force this winter, and it’s all about experimenting with patterns and different lengths. If you are starting out, you can find some cheap leggings from shops like Valley Girl or Hipster.

9. Oops, I snapped my heel!

As Mentos-sy (remember the commercials?) as it may be, snap the other heel off & dash to the nearest shoe store!

8. Eww, makeup stains!

Baby or make-up wipes are ideal for removing or reducing makeup stains on clothing. However, do not try to remove any stains from silk – go to a dry cleaner.

7. Can you see my pantyhose runs?

A small run-in pantyhose can soon develop into a full-fledged tear. Use clear nail polish over the run to stop it from spreading.

6. Where did my hairpins go?

Dancing your head away in a concert can make your hairpins come loose and go missing. You can’t do much other than stepping out of the ball just to buy some new ones around the corner. So tuck those stray hairs behind your ears for a smouldering sexy look.

5. My hems have fallen!

For a make-do hem in a hurry, use Hollywood tape or Res Q tape. This is double-sided tape specially designed as a temporary fix for clothing.

4. Noo.. not my bra straps!

There is nothing more annoying than forever having to pull your bra straps back up onto your shoulders. Use some double-sided tape to avoid slipping straps. Cut and re-sew the back straps further in toward the centre of your back, or purchase bra clasps – these are attached at the back and pull the two back straps together, however you will need a second person to do this for you.

3. My most uncomfortable: Static Cling

This often happens with skirts. For a fix on the run, rub hand cream into your thighs (through pantyhose if necessary). The best way of preventing static cling is to spray “anti-static spay” to the inside of your skirt. You can buy this at supermarkets in the hosiery section and in the lingerie section of department stores.

2. My zipper is stuck

First run a lead pencil along the teeth, if this does not work rub a bar of soap or a wax candle onto the problem area. With a little manipulation, the zipper should come unstuck.

1. Can I leave my buttons loose/frayed?

A loose button can quickly turn into a missing button. Dab the top of the button with a little clear nail polish to prevent it from completely falling off. Re-sew it back on firmly ASAP.

Remember to wear your leggings as if they were tights…leggings worn as pants are not a good look unless you are going to the gym.

You can extend the wear from your summer wardrobe. Dresses and short shorts look great over leggings. Team them with a pair of boots (long leather or short slouchy are in right now) and a waisted belt for a truly hip look. Have fun with it and mix and match items until you find a look that says “You”.

For those who aren’t blessed with super skinny, toned legs, wearing leggings underneath shorter outfits can be much more flattering and you will feel more confident.

Leggings look great under long tops or shift dresses. Try a sweater dress with a cute scarf to keep you warm and looking great.

Introducing Oliver Zak & Selom Agbitor, The CEO’s & Founders Of The Very Successful Mad Rabbit

Oliver Zak and Selom Agbitor are the CEO’s and founders of the very successful Mad Rabbit. The East Coast EY Entrepreneur of the Year finalists, Oliver and Selom, appeared on “Shark Tank” in March where they met Mark Cuban and accepted a $500,000 offer for 12% of their company. Cuban also recently took part in their closing of $2M Seed Funding Round Led by Acronym Venture Capital, along with NFL star Stefan Diggs.

Oliver and Selom, who earned finance degrees at Miami University, started the company Mad Rabbit, which produces natural solutions that help keep tattoos looking vibrant, as a side hustle in college, mixing batches of their first balm in Oliver Zak’s apartment.

Mad Rabbit reported more than $2.8 million in revenue in 2020 and is on track to hit eight figures this year. “We look forward to reaching a larger, more inclusive community of tattooed consumers with our products,” stated Oliver Zak. “Our vision for the brand is that it will someday extend far beyond skincare.”

Global Elite Media Group recently had a one on one interview with the 2 CEO’s and here’s what they had to say:

Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business? 

Selom: After moving from Ghana to the U.S., I was always driven by the sacrifices my parents made for me and my family. Seeing their strong work ethic motivated me to work hard and create my own story.

Oliver: I grew up watching my father transition from a surgeon to an entrepreneur after an unfortunate life-altering event. I was inspired early on by his drive to succeed no matter what the odds are and found myself pitching in entrepreneurship competitions in high school.

What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?

We’re working on new products and new packaging, to tell our story that we think our customers will really love.

What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years? Influencer marketing.

What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness? Instagram.

What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?

We appeared on Shark Tank in March and were lucky enough to receive two offers from two sharks. One of the toughest decisions was choosing between Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban. We chose Mark Cuban in the end who invested $500,000 for 12% equity.

How has your business been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?

When Covid hit, many companies decided to stop or reduce ad spending, but we decided to at least double our ad spend, which was a big risk but ended up paying off because it catapulted us into being the top brand in the tattoo aftercare space

How have you adapted your business operations in response to COVID-19 and its associated impacts?

We have increased our influencer marketing and social media operations to have a direct channel to consumers and hear their voices.

What have been some of the most important lessons you have learned because of this pandemic?

With a startup, roles are fluid, walls can be non-existent, and cross-functionality is expected. The downside is that nobody is good at everything, and it is our job to place our people in the best positions to succeed. Creating jobs and growing our Mad Rabbit Tattoo family is one of the most exciting parts of our jobs as co-founders. The fact that we’ve been able to increase hires during the pandemic is an exciting accomplishment for us.

What do you hope to see happen in the near future for small businesses all over the world?

Inspire people to innovate and provide a solution to an underserved market. Conditions are always changing, and this can be good or bad for a business. When Covid hit, many companies decided to stop or reduce ad spending, but we decided to at least double our ad spend, which was a big risk but ended up paying off because it catapulted us into being the top brand in the tattoo aftercare space.

What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up a new business in this pandemic?

Don’t try to do it alone. Starting a business solo drastically increases your chances of failure in the early days of launching a startup. Not only is it important to hire quality employees, but it might be more important than those employees are in the right roles. With a startup, roles are fluid, walls can be non-existent, and cross-functionality is expected. The downside is that nobody is good at everything, and it is our job to place our people in the best positions to succeed.

Top 5 Qualities Of Highly Successful People

Did you know that most successful people share 5 traits that make them unique and successful?

One of the most powerful rags-to-riches stories is that of none other than Chris Gardner the founder of Gardner Rich & Company. His life was made into a film ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ starring Will Smith back in 2006 and he’s a multi-millionaire stockbroker and motivational speaker, who was once homeless and is now reportedly worth $60 million.

The reality of life is that every success comes with rejection, if you’re not failing at all then you’re not trying hard enough. It’s the massive hunger that’ll get you from where you are now to where you feel you should be. Chris Gardner had the massive hunger to keep moving forward for his son, at all odds, finally becoming a stockbroker and eventually becoming a multi-millionaire. Here’s the rub: there’s no one path to success. However, there are certain traits that highly successful people have in common that contribute to their ability to succeed when others seem to fail. Below are 5 examples:

They’re willing to do whatever it takes

Chris Gardner was pretty much homeless and bankrupt back in his early days but he was able to turn his life around because he was prepared to put forth the work. Dedication and hard work are equally as important as talent and brainpower. It’s doing whatever you’re doing extraordinarily well, if you want to be successful then you need have to put 110% into everything you do, doing something half-hearted will never get you anywhere. Unfortunately, not everyone has the dedication to follow through with their passion – if you want something bad enough then you need to go out there and get it.

They don’t take failure personally

It’s quite standard to receive failure and negative criticisms on your journey to success. If you’re not failing at all then it simply means that you’re not trying hard enough. No matter how many times you fail, you can’t look at your failures as a reflection of yourself. Failure is simply a stepping stone to success, if you’re failing a lot then that means it’s going to be much sweeter when success finally comes.

They are prepared to take risks

Have you heard of the saying “high-risk high reward?” If you want to be successful one day then you need to be prepared to take risks. If you’re not prepared to bite the bullet and take calculated risks then you will never reach your full potential. Sometimes you just have to go “all in” if you want to achieve success.

They are prepared to learn from their mistakes

Most people who are highly successful had to go through insane hardship to get to where they are. If you are prepared to accept success then you must also be prepared to accept failure and mistakes – they go hand in hand. You need to be able to accept accountability and learn from your mistakes and move on to bigger and better things.

They are always ready for a change

The only thing permanent in life is change so if you are unable to adapt when the changes come then you’ll never be successful in life. You have to bear in mind that life is tough and it can throw you plenty of curve balls so your ability to adapt to change will set you apart from other people.

In conclusion

Success comes in a number of ways and forms. The interesting thing is that most successful people have very similar traits. Successful people also set realistic goals for themselves so that they know they can achieve them and they have a way of somehow measuring their success. How do you stack up against this list?

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

5 Simple Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

10-year old Nyeeam Hudson wasn’t wearing the ‘right’ shoes at the park one day. He was wearing Fila’s and as result, he got bullied for it. But the New Jersey boy wasn’t going to let his tormentors off the hook that easily. His response to them saw his Facebook video go viral with millions of views. Nyeeam tells of his encounter: “I just wear FILAs because I like the color and I think they are cool. They might not be what’s popular today, but that’s what I like. So I told the kid, it’s not about what I have on my feet, it’s about what I have inside my head. No matter what I’m wearing, no matter what I have on, it’s about my information, the knowledgeable things in life. These sneakers are not even going to fit you in 20 years from now. So it’s about what you have in your mind. Your wisdom. Your knowledge. The power to inspire others. And parents, please don’t raise your children like the materialistic type…they are going to feel like they need the gold or the Jordans or the cool stuff, the popular stuff, to make them feel important.”

Nyeeam’s video highlights a link that psychologists have long known about. That is, between self-image and materialism. While the intensity of the link peaks in teenagers, it is not confined to it. It becomes a vicious cycle where when self-esteem lowers, materialism increases. But as materialism increases, it creates low self-esteem. But there is hope, increasing self-esteem will break that cycle and not only will your wallet (or your parents’ wallet!) thank you for it, so will your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

1. THINGS DON’T LAST FOREVER

As Nyeeam says in his video, he won’t be able to fit in his shoes in 20 years and the same is true for whatever it is you buy to fit in. Trends change and things wear out. But who you are – mind, body, soul – and the legacy you leave behind will never go out of style.

2. REMEMBER: SOME PEOPLE HAVE IT WORSE THAN YOU

I grew up in the Philippines and I had daily visual reminders that I was a lot luckier than most children. I would see children begging in the streets with barely any clothes on and wearing flip-flops, if any at all. Children in first-world countries don’t have that daily reminder. Sure, you see the commercials on TV but it’s much easier to dismiss than being confronted with a child with his hand out asking for help. Keep in mind, the next time you ask for a new pair of sneakers (and you already have 3 or 4 barely used in your wardrobe), a parent in another country probably made those shoes just so their child can eat. They can only dream of bringing home those shoes they’re making.

3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CROWD

Establishing your self-esteem with your own negative self-talk hammering at you is hard enough, but then you surround yourself with a crowd who seem to be unable to say anything good about you is a recipe for mental and emotional disaster. My high school inner circle comprised of a group of strong, independent young women who didn’t give a hoot what anyone said about them. They, we, weren’t the ‘cool’ group but we were respected – not just by our peers, but by the teachers as well. And that, I tell you, is a far more important thing to possess than any latest accessory.

4. WHAT YOU SEE ISN’T ALWAYS WHAT YOU GET

What better illustration of this statement is there than any one of those makeup video tutorials on YouTube?? You see the ‘before’ and ‘after’! If your self-esteem is rooted on the ‘YOU’ before the makeup goes on, then you’re good. But if it hinges on the ‘AFTER’ look, then you’re in big trouble. Same as if you compare your life with what you see people share on social media. Unless your phone instantly uploads and shares any photo you take, the social media projection of your life is heavily edited. You, yourself, would choose only the best pictures to put on Facebook, right? Then what makes you think other people don’t do that?? So, if you’re envious of the travel they’re doing, the experiences they’re having – use it as inspiration instead and go and do them yourself.

5. STOP MAKING COMPARISONS

Consider this (and every time I do my mind gets blown away): the current world population is just under 7.5 billion and in that 7.5 billion, there is only one YOU. Only one individual has your set specific set of DNA. Only one individual has your specific set of experiences and circumstances that made you and your life the way it is. Only one individual’s journey saw you take the step after step after step that finally led you to reading these words right now. How unique and special are you then! So stop comparing yourself to others! Figure out how to be the best version of yourself. Sure, you’ll get it wrong sometimes, but learn from those lessons and use them to grow even more. Grow, learn, live until you can look at yourself in the mirror and can truthfully say: “I like everything about me, flaws and all.”

Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

3 Benefits And Challenges Of Cultural Diversity In The Workplace

Multiculturalism is the bread and butter of Australia, especially when it comes to the workforce. According to the 2016 Consensus, 45% of Australians reported having a least one parent born overseas, and 19% of the population is born overseas; it only logical to have the workforce accommodate the growing melting pot that we have.

Having a culturally diverse team in the workplace means an inhibition to tackle a project from different perspectives, knowledge, and experiences. Chances are hiring staff from different backgrounds can be good for business.

Countless studies have reinforced the importance of having a culturally rich workplace. These are three key benefits that motivate a workplace to be culturally diverse.

  1. Enhance business performance and productivity.

According to Deloitte and the Human Rights Commission, fostering an inclusive and culturally diverse workforce will significantly improve business performance and productivity. When employees work with someone who has the same background as them, it gives them a sense of familiarity.

  • Employees’ ability to innovate increased by 83 percent.
  • Responding to changing customers needs to be increased by 31 percent.
  • Team collaboration increased by 42 percent.
  • There also find that employees likely to stay at work because they feel more included, which decreases the attendance rate.

As a result of having a culturally rich office, the 2017 McKinsey report, companies that have fostered a solid ethnic and cultural diversity in their executive teams were 33% more likely to bring in business than companies with homogenous teams.

  1. Thinking Innovatively by breaking language barriers

Reports have concluded that if cultural diversity initiatives are appropriately implemented, innovative thinking amongst staff members becomes more collaborative.

By the staff of different backgrounds, they can understand the intercultural differences and help decipher the dynamic between the company and their clients. As a result, overcoming language barriers by hiring staff with diverse backgrounds is viewed favourably by a client with the same background.

As for innovation, reports have shown that CALD workforces perform better on brainstorming solutions and ideas. Due to the diverse ways of thinking, experience, and perspectives from ethnic groups, they identify cultural nuances from an ethnic audience.

It’s also worth noting that as the world becomes increasingly globalised, there is a need for a company to establish an international presence, which means there is an advantage for CALD staff who bridge into Australia’s neighbouring trade partners in Asia.

  1. Promotes team morale, health, and wellbeing.

Although being a multicultural country, Australia has its fair share of racial discrimination. It’s never fun to be a token of an ethnic or racial group. It will lead to further ostracisation if the individual feels there are surrounded by the majority Anglo-Celtic workmates.

There is solid evidence to suggest that racism can be debilitating for a person of colour’s mental and physical health. Anxiety, depression, stress, and poor quality of life ensues if there is no sense of belonging when it comes to the workplace.

People who faced racial discrimination regularly are also more likely to be overweight or obese or engage in destructive habits (i.e. smoking).

When cultural diversity initiatives are correctly done, a multicultural workplace is beneficial as it maximises profits, efficiently solves problems by tapping into intercultural communication, and improving the overall team’s morale.

Meet The Superstar Behind The Cover Of The September 2021 Issue Of Global Elite Entrepreneur: Gwen Stefani

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By Allison Kugel
 
Gwen Stefani spent her childhood and adolescence in Anaheim, California, a suburban girl living just a stone’s throw from Disneyland. It was her older brother, Eric, who founded No Doubt, the hybrid ska/punk/rock band that would help Stefani make her way into the musical limelight with their 1995 breakout album, Tragic Kingdom. The band’s unique sound coupled with Stefani’s platinum blonde hair, red lips, and punk rock fashion sensibility, brought the singer to Rockstar status in the 1990s.

With lyrics torn from the pages of Gwen’s personal diary about falling in love, breakups, makeups, and mending a broken heart, her music has always drawn in listeners with its raw vulnerability. Her down-to-earth nature and self-deprecating sense of humor helped to seal the deal with fans, making her one of the most successful female recording artists of the past twenty-three years.

Her first solo album, 2004’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby. and L.A.M.B. fashion label catapulted her into the music and style icon stratosphere in the early 2000s. Follow-up albums like 2006’s The Sweet Escape and No Doubt’s 2012 reunion album, Push and Shove capped off two decades of non-stop recording and touring for the Grammy-winning artist, as she focused on raising her three sons with then-husband, Bush lead singer, Gavin Rossdale.

In the summer of 2015, the California girl experienced a seismic 8.5 earthquake in her personal life when her marriage to Rossdale imploded amidst a cheating scandal. An unexpected romance came in the form of country crooner, and Gwen’s The Voice costar, Blake Shelton, whom the Hollaback girl began dating later that same year. Gwen then did what she does best, pouring her emotions into her most personal music to date, with 2016’s This Is What the Truth Feels Like album and a subsequent tour.

From October 22 – November 6, the hitmaking mom of Kingston, 11, Zuma, 9, and Apollo, 4, is preparing to embark on her Las Vegas Residency at Zappos Theatre at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino. It’s called, what else? Gwen Stefani: Just A Girl – an homage to her first single to make the Billboard Hot 100 Chart and her own personal anthem that she says still holds true today. I sat down with Gwen to discuss this new chapter in her life and career.
 
Allison Kugel: Was this Las Vegas Residency a family decision? Did you sit down with your three boys and say, “Mom’s going to perform in Las Vegas instead of touring. What do you think about that?”
 
Gwen Stefani: Honestly, my kids don’t really have too much of a say on what the schedule’s going to be. But as a mom, if you look at my touring for the last ten years, I haven’t really toured. In the past, I did tours for seven years. It’s hard with the kids, because they’re in school and I’m not homeschooling, and you can’t pull them out. It’s not fair on them. I did my last tour because I had this unexpected life crisis and then the music came pouring out of me from that. I didn’t even plan on making any music. It was such a lifesaver and a beautiful moment for me to be able to write again. I put that tour on at the last minute (referring to her “This Is What The Truth Feels Like” tour) and went on a summer tour with the kids. It was so much fun for them. They love touring, but it isn’t realistic. So, I’ve been thinking about doing the Vegas show for a while now. The Las Vegas Residency will really work for me as a mom, because it’s these little chunks of time where you can fly in and out, and it’s workable.
 
Allison Kugel: It’s a shifting of priorities.
 
Gwen Stefani: Yes. After that last tour, I felt like, “God I’ve toured a lot in my life!” I love it, but it takes so much out of me as far as being able to focus on the rest of my life with the kids. I have three kids and it’s a big deal! Any parent would probably go, “How does she do it?” It’s almost impossible to do and it’s a lot of balancing. The Las Vegas Residency is just perfect for where I’m at right now.
 
Allison Kugel: What does performing live give you, personally and energetically?
 
Gwen Stefani: Being on stage for me, I always forget how much it’s a part of who I am. I’ve done it for my whole life, pretty much. I always think I don’t want to do it. I always think it’s fine if I never do it again. Then when I get on stage, even when I’m sound checking, I’m like, “Oh My God, I love this!” I love my music, I love being up there, I love the attention and I love being able to share that love with people and get that exchange. I don’t understand why I like it so much.
 
Allison Kugel: It feeds your soul. You’re connecting with the source and you’re in a zone.
 
Gwen Stefani: It’s my gift. It’s what I’m here for. I’m obviously at the end of my journey of being a musician…
 
Allison Kugel: Why would you say that?
 
Gwen Stefani: Well because of my age, and I’ve been doing it for thirty-something years. It’s perfect for me to be able to do a Las Vegas show, because not only does it work for me as a mom, but it also works creatively. It’s a new challenge. It’s going to be a way to express myself and do my whole catalog of music that defines every single period in my life; all the crises and all the joys. Creatively, I couldn’t have done it any sooner. I had to have all these songs. It just feels like the perfect next chapter for me.

Gwen Stefani, April 12 2018, Photos By Denise Truscello

Allison Kugel: You’re taking the audience on a journey of your life, and to do that you have to have lived.

 
Gwen Stefani: Exactly! And I also think people who are going out for that weekend in Las Vegas, it’s so different from, for example, if I’m performing in Philly and it’s about Philly culture, and the audience is just coming out for that one night and getting a babysitter. You know what I mean? This Vegas show is a bigger commitment for people. They’re going for the weekend and they’re making a memory. You’re competing with the Las Vegas nightlife, you’re competing with the gambling, the partying, and with the hotels and all the expenses. It’s a big commitment for people, and they’re coming to me from all over the world.
 
Allison Kugel: And they’re going to get a more intimate experience with you than they would in a stadium setting.
 
Gwen Stefani: It is a much smaller audience than I’m used to, under five thousand people. It’s going to be so different and that’s something I need. When you’ve toured for however many years I have, it’s super awesome, but let’s do something new! That’s why even doing The Voice for the last couple of years was so inspiring for me. I think everybody wants something challenging and new to look forward to.
 
Allison Kugel: You went to see Jennifer Lopez’s Las Vegas show, All I Have. I’m assuming the two of you discussed her Las Vegas Residency. Did she give you any advice?
 
Gwen Stefani: Me and Jennifer, I’ve always looked up to her in the sense that we’re exactly the same age, and I remember when No Doubt was coming out and she hadn’t done Jenny from The Block yet, but she had that song out, Waiting for Tonight. At the time I was working with Prince and he started comparing me and Jennifer, and at that time I didn’t even see how I was in the same category as her. She was Jennifer Lopez and I was in a band called No Doubt (laughs). But nowhere we both are doing these residencies all these years later, and we’ve known each other through the years. She’s always invited me to her kids’ birthday parties and things like that. She is a crazy worker. I cannot believe how much she works! I know I do, but I look at her and I’m like, “Wow!”
 
Allison Kugel: It doesn’t seem human, right? Multiple television shows, Las Vegas Residency, albums…
 
Gwen Stefani: I know. I don’t understand it. Going to see her, and I’d never seen her do a performance live, I was studying the production of her show. The show was incredible, and she works so hard on stage. I admire her a lot and it was so inspiring to see… and scary! When I came backstage to talk to her afterward, she comes out of the dressing room looking like a Barbie Doll. She was breathtaking on stage, but when you see her up close, it’s like, “What?! It’s not possible. You are so gorgeous!” She was just so glamorous. We talked for a while and she was like, “Yeah, I’ve just done 100 shows…” And I’m like, “Whoa, that’s a lot of shows!” (Laughs) And she still has forty more to go. She’s really enjoyed it, but she said it is challenging.
 
Allison Kugel: I think you’ll find it challenging, but one of the best experiences of your life.
 
Gwen Stefani: It is challenging, and as performers, we have a completely different perspective on doing a concert than the audience. The challenge isn’t about us. We’re going to be us every time we get up there. We may have that one night where we’re off because of whatever might be going on. A lot of times, you just never know what you’re going to be like on stage. But at the same time, we’re pretty much consistent. It’s really about the audience. What are they going to be like and are they into it or not?
Allison Kugel: What are you presenting to the audience, artistically, with your Just A Girl Las Vegas Residency? You’re also a fashion designer and you have a strong aesthetic vision. Between the sets and the costumes, how will everything tie together on stage?
 
Gwen Stefani: I’ve really tried to put together a show that has a nostalgic feel. The show is full of hit songs that are recognizable and take you back to that time period in your life. And of course, the real reason for doing Vegas is the costumes. I’m working with Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn who I’ve been working with now for, I don’t know how many years. They are just incredible. They did Jennifer [Lopez’s] show, and they’ve also worked with Jennifer for years. They really get me. I think there’s going to be about five costume changes, which is a lot for me considering that with No Doubt I never did any.
Gwen Stefani, April 12 2018, Photos By Denise Truscello

Allison Kugel: I remember. With No Doubt, it was just you out there with your cut-off t-shirts (laughs).
 
Gwen Stefani: (Laughs) Yeah. But now I’m working with designers to see what they come up with. There are different chapters as far as what I want to look like, and I basically have it all worked out. Now it’s just putting it all together.
 
Allison Kugel: The title of your Las Vegas show, Just A Girl, is the title of one of your biggest hits, but it has a double meaning for you. You’re always saying, “I’m just a girl from Orange County…” Is that your way of keeping yourself grounded?
 
Gwen Stefani: Honestly, I think if you really knew me or saw my family and how I grew up, I am 100% the same person I have always been. When I wrote that song, Just A Girl, I was twenty-five years old, going to college, still living at my parent’s house, and I was very naïve. I had a boyfriend at the time that lived at his parent’s house. I was driving one day and I’m thinking, “Wow! I really have a different position in this world, being that I’m a female.”
 
Allison Kugel: Did something happen that made you stop and think, “I’m going to be treated a certain way because I’m a girl.”?
 
Gwen Stefani: It was just more of a realization that I had. I think we all do as females. I’m walking down the street and some guy just whistled at me? What does that even mean? Suddenly, you’re aware of your sexuality and that you’re ascribed a certain value because of it. It was when that hit me, that I wrote the song, Just A Girl. Nobody was paying attention at the time. Nobody was ever going to hear the song. I didn’t even know how to write a song. It was just so naïve. I guess I wanted to figure out a way to say, “This is my DNA.” And really, my DNA is I am just a girl from Anaheim [California]. I’m just me, and I’ve never been anything else. I know that’s what got me to this point, by being honest, real, and sharing my story with people. That’s all we can do in this life, and I’m nothing more than that. But at the same time, by using my gift, being aware of it, trying to respect it, and being confident in it, I’ve gotten this far. Music is so powerful, and for a song like that to still be relevant twenty years later? In a way, it’s even more relevant now. We have so much going on with female empowerment and what’s our place? When I read the lyrics of that song I think, “My gosh, that must have been a Godsend,” because I know I didn’t think that up on my own. I always thought it would go out of fashion, or I’d be too old to say “just a girl” but it still works.
 
Allison Kugel: Has Blake had any creative input with this Las Vegas show?
 
Gwen Stefani: Obviously he’s my best friend, so I’m bouncing stuff off him all the time. He’s one of those people in my life that’s super supportive and gets me motivated. There’s a whole bunch of songs about him in the show, so that’s fun. Like anybody with their best friend, we share everything together. I’ll tell him, “I picked my dancers. There were 500 girls that tried out!” And I’ll send him videos. Just things like that.

Allison Kugel: Did you choose Planet Hollywood as the venue?
 
Gwen Stefani: I feel like they chose me, and what’s really cool about it is that Planet Hollywood is also the Zappos Theatre now, and the Zappos team is just incredible. They’re taking over the theatre with their creativity and it has a very futuristic feel. I also give $1 of every single ticket sold to the children’s charity, Cure 4 The Kids Foundation. It’s going to add up to be a crapload of money! It’s something I’m going to be really proud of. You get very motivated about giving and helping, and making a difference, but you really don’t think as one person you’re ever going to in your life. I feel that to be able to get up there and share my story, and then make that kind of money to give away is amazing. I feel so proud of that.
 
Allison Kugel: What’s your routine before you step out on stage? Do you pray? Do you meditate? How do you gear up to give your best performance?
 
Gwen Stefani: I don’t meditate. I’m a prayer. I pray, but first I do my makeup (laughs). My makeup is huge for me. I have this song called War Paint. Putting on my makeup and getting ready, there is a kind of meditation in the preparation. Makeup is art, and it’s like getting into character when I put it on. I’ve always done my own makeup for shows. And praying for me is really important. We do a group prayer circle. In the last few years, and when I toured for the last show, the payer is not just before, but also during [the show]. When I think about how ordinary I’ve always been, and to think that I’ve created all these songs, I don’t know where they come from. I always think that it’s got to be a channeling and it just comes through me. It’s a spiritual thing that has been given to me to share. When I’m in the music, the music takes me right back to those moments in my life. And some of those moments are sickening, you know what I mean? Certain memories are upsetting. That’s why I say this is not just a show for me, it’s my life. It’s real for me and I think that’s why I’m very anxious about it.
 
Allison Kugel: It’s going to be a tremendous spiritual, emotional and physical undertaking.
 
Gwen Stefani: And I’m very lazy (laughs). I like to not have to work out and not have to be committed to something. And I love to be with my children, of course. But it is such an amazing opportunity and they don’t just hand them out to everybody. I feel really honored to be able to do it. I’m thrilled to see who’s going to show up and it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m going to look back on this and say, “I can’t believe I did that!”
 
Allison Kugel is a syndicated entertainment and pop culture journalist, and author of the book, Journaling Fame: A memoir of a life unhinged and on the record. Follow her on Instagram @theallisonkugel.
 
Photo Credits: Yu Tsai, Denise Truscello

Meet The Woman Behind The Cover Of The September 2021 Issue Of GEQ Magazine: Michelle Walker

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Michelle Walker – Katz is a beauty queen who hails from Sydney, Australia. She originally grew up in Bondi and spent most of her youth at Australia’s most famous Bondi Beach. Her parents are from the entertainment capital of Ukraine called Odessa, but they speak Russian at home. She grew up watching Russian concerts and all sorts of Russian programs due to her mother’s love for them. When her parents migrated to Australia, they moved to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, where a Russian community had formed. Similar to New Yorks’ Little Odessa in Brooklyn. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Public Communications from the University of Western Sydney as well as a Masters In Media from Sydney University. Nowadays, she’s based in Sydney’s Hills District (North West of Sydney) with her family, two beautiful daughters, and husband and they’re working on hopefully completing the family soon. She’s also an entrepreneur – three years ago she started her boutique recruitment agency called Katz Recruitment. She’s a career recruiter who has worked in the industry for the past 17 years and she felt that it was finally time to make her dreams come true and become a full-time entrepreneur. At the Curves & Curls International Pageant, she was lucky enough to be awarded two titles; Brand Ambassador 2021 and Best Interview 2021.

Michelle’s favourite activities consist of going to a disco, watching a movie, and game nights with her family. Although Covid lockdown has dampened a little of her social butterfly efforts, she still meets with business friends and acquaintances regularly online to stay connected. GEQ Magazine recently caught up with Michelle to discuss her journey in the pageant world and here’s what went down:

How did you get into the pageant industry?

Earlier this year, I noticed a friend of mine posted about The Curves & Curls International Pageant. I have come to a stage in my life where I’m very comfortable with my curves and felt it was time to share them with the world. My friend had introduced me to the wonderful founder Maxine Simmons, and the rest is history. Maxine is the founder of Curves and Curls International Pageant and she has been very inspiring and supportive of my journey and I really appreciate that.

Photographed by: Sarah Keen/Truthfully

How were you actually ‘discovered’?

My discovery was destiny, I believe. When I came across the post about The Curves & Curls International 2021 pageant, I was just drawn to reach out and get introduced to the person who made all the magic happen. I had reached out late at night on Facebook, and at 5 am in the morning, I had a loud ping on my phone. Maxine, the founder, messaged me to let me know that I was in and had three weeks to get ready for I was a late entrant. I believe that sometimes the universe makes things happen. For me, this was the opportunity I had been waiting for.

What do you like most about being a beauty queen?

I love being a beauty queen because it allows me to express my gratitude for myself and how far I have come with loving myself and my body image. Being a curvy beauty queen provides me with a platform to inspire and encourage other curvy girls to love and embrace themselves. Growing up as a curvy redhead, I always felt invisible, but who would have thought that these days as a grown woman, makes me different and stand out from the crowd. I never imagined that I would be in the beauty industry, but why not. We’re all different and must make the most of what we have. In some ways, I feel like I’m part of a beauty revolution, something I never thought I would see in my lifetime, where plus-size women were encouraged to join a beauty pageant. When I had won a few titles, I seriously had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. I’m hoping that my gorgeous daughters, who are 6 and 7, won’t experience feeling less of a person because of their physical attributes. I want to do my part in keeping the changes coming so that my daughters and other women can go out into the world, aim high and do what their hearts desire.

Downside to being a beauty queen?

I don’t believe that there are any downsides to being a beauty queen. I honestly believe that we should have beauty schools that all can attend. Being a beauty queen teaches one to be confident in how you walk, talk and present. It also teaches you discipline, organisation, and how to smile on stage. These are skills and attributes that are important in all areas of life. In my business life, I run a recruitment agency. These elements are so important throughout one’s career life and even within one’s personal life. My dad always said to me that when people first meet someone, they judge them by their appearance and then take the time to get to know the person’s brain. This doesn’t mean that one needs to dress in the most expensive brands (it would be nice, of course). It’s more about being neat, tidy, and making the best of what you’ve got.

What has been the most memorable experience of being in the pageant industry so far?

Earlier this year, at my first pageant, my 6-year-old daughter Valentina had surprised me and had run out on stage to me while I was strutting my formal wear. She was being very cheeky and wouldn’t go back down to join the rest of the family. I told her that if she doesn’t go back down, she’ll have to walk with me and listen to my instructions. Valentina was fantastic. She listened to everything I told her to do and did a fabulous job. The crowd and judges were impressed by her natural ability. I’m sure she helped me score a few extra points because I kept the catwalk rolling and embraced the beautiful hiccup. I’m sure we’ll have some more pageant queens in our family in the future – both my daughters Rochelle and Valentina are excited to get involved in pageants in the future.

Who have been the most interesting people you’ve met so far?

To be honest, the women in the pageant industry that I have met so far have all been extremely inspiring and empowering. Always so patient with newbies to the industry, sharing their skills and knowledge with us – it has been a beautifully heart-warming experience.

What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned while in the pageant industry. This can be about the industry or yourself.

One of the most important lessons pageants teaches us, just like the entertainment industry in general; is that no matter how nervous you are or whatever is going on in your life or your head – You need to collect yourself, smile, and keep moving forward. This applies to all areas of life. Sometimes you need to take that first step and keep going. Small steps become leaps and bounds. The pageant industry has also reminded me to be proud of my femininity and not be afraid to share it with the world.

Photographed by: El Earl Photography

Working in an industry whose only emphasis is on the outside characteristics of a person, how have you stayed grounded?

I’m very new to working in the beauty industry. Growing up with curves and red hair, I know that focusing on just beauty can be very superficial. I must admit I love getting dressed up and getting my hair and makeup done too. Whenever I walk down the runway, I feel like a million bucks. In my real life, I run my own business. Most recently, due to lockdown in Sydney, I wear activewear every day (at least from the waist down) with my children fighting over my mobile phone under my desk. I’m lucky to be able to have my beautiful children, my own business, and my beauty queen opportunities – the juggle is real, and it’s not always easy. But just like when it’s your turn to work down the catwalk, I smile and keep moving forward.

Is your family supportive of you being in the pageant industry?

My family is extremely supportive of everything I do, especially my handsome husband; my absolute rock, as well as my mother, sister, and niece. My mother is a beauty queen in her own right. Now in her early 70’s, she still presents immaculately and always made an effort to look her best, especially during her social butterfly days on my fathers’ arm. Unfortunately, in 2006 my beautiful father, Roman Katz had passed away from cancer. My father had originally founded and opened Ruski’s Deli in Bondi and would have customers come from far and wide. I’m sure I have my entrepreneurial flair from him. I’m also sure he’s with me every day, supporting me on my journey and proud of all my achievements.

What are your future plans? Inside pageantry or out of it.

I want to continue my journey in the pageant industry and with my boutique recruitment agency based here in Sydney. I feel that both worlds complement each other, and I enjoy and love both. It would be nice to see my daughters join the pageant industry so that I can share these special memories with them too.

The ‘LIGHTNING FAST’ Round:

1. Last good movie I’ve seen: We recently watched ‘Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth with our daughters. We all enjoyed it – it was fun and light-hearted.

2. What do you consider beautiful and why? I consider our children beautiful. It’s so magical that my husband and I were able to create something so perfect. Our beautiful family.

3. What haven’t you done yet that you wish you could? Something I wish I could do is travel more. I would love to see more of Europe. Unfortunately, due to Covid and the lockdown, it’s impossible. Still, I’m happy to wait until my children grow up some more so that we can experience it together. Hopefully, the world will be in a better place then.

4. Complete this sentence: “If I had no fear, I’d…” walk down the catwalk in a bikini (laughs). As much as I love my body, I don’t feel ready for that yet.

5. What is the one “flaw” you wouldn’t change about yourself? To be honest, I’m filled with flaws, but I wouldn’t change any of them. They all add up to make me, and I’m proud of the woman I have become.

5 Tips To Manage Your Mental Health and Well-Being During The COVID-19 Outbreak

The world has certainly been turned upside down over the last couple of months. These unprecedented times have tested people and the impact of the pandemic will be seen for a long time. This has, however, given people a good opportunity to get to grips with their physical and mental wellness. If you are someone who exercises regularly then you will understand how important it is to a human being’s stability. Our emotional status is often very closely linked with our physical state.

Think about it, if you have a stressful day at work it is compounded by any physical ailment you may be experiencing. Stress is exponentially increased when we are out of balance with our bodies and the current situation has led to a lot of stress going around. We need to make sure that we are keeping tabs on our physical and mental well-being. This article will give you 5 tips to maintaining yourself during a pandemic and hopefully teach you to deal with stress a lot easier.

Here are 5 steps to get you going throughout the day:

Step 1: Wake up and make your bed.

Step 2: Eat a well-balanced breakfast.

Step 3: Take a moment to plan your day (without using your phone or technology).

Step 4: Pick a time to put on your exercise shoes and do it.

Step 5: Put on your shoes.

You do not have to be lifting weight or going for 2 hour runs every day. Simple exercises with simple movements can have a massive impact on your health and mental state. A good rule of thumb is that you should aim for half an hour of exercise every day. Regular exercise has proven to increase your brains ability to process serotonin and norepinephrine. These are the hormones in your brain that manage your ability to deal with stress. Simple exercise and getting the blood flowing can have a tremendous impact on your mood and stress levels. Another vital impact of exercise is that it will give you more energy. It may seem like a contradiction but the more energy you use, the more you actually have. If you spend all day on the couch your body will become accustomed to that lifestyle and you will find it harder and harder to get up and get going. During a pandemic, it is absolutely crucial that you keep your energy levels up because it is hard enough to deal with lockdown in a normal state, doing it while feeling tired and lethargic is much harder. Give yourself the boost you need by training your body and your mind.

Maintaining a healthy mindset is so important at this time. Everyone is dealing with the pandemic in different ways and you will find that those who are able to cope with the hardships are probably those people who have regular exercise routines. Taking care of your body creates a positive atmosphere and you will find that your mental state improves with each day that you spend on the go. You do not have to become a world-class athlete; you just need to get your body moving. Even a simple walk around the block can have massive effects on your well-being.

Meet The Rising Star Behind The Cover Of The September 2021 Issue Of GEK Magazine: Sam Pio

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At such a young age, Sam Pio is multitalented and living out her dreams as a singer, actress, and model. She is set to release a cover album of faith-based Christian Gospel songs such as Amazing Grace and O’Lord, as well as a solo album with originally written Christian songs later this year. The goal of her music is to bring an angelic, spirit-filled message of hope, love, and light after the tumultuous time the world experienced.

Sam booked her first baby modeling job at the age of 1 with OshKosh B’gosh and later with Vertibaudet Fashion Kids which inspired her to become a rising star and pursue additional passions. By age two she was singing, making up her own songs, and if there was a stage in sight, she wasn’t shy and made her way to perform. Sam has appeared in commercials, theater production, television series, independent films, and has graced main stage events across the country. The independent film she stars in, “Little May,” is out at award-winning film festivals, and her 26-television episode “Love at Work” series is scheduled to premiere on the Hope Channel (date TBD). In this production, Sam is the youngest of 15 singers in this musical, based on the ten commandments of the bible, alongside Whitney Phipps, Yolanda Innocent Palmer, Neville Peter, and nine others.

In December 2020, Sam performed alongside Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik for Amazon Prime’s first augmented reality movie musical called “It’s Christmas All Over with the Goo Goo Dolls.” A true philanthropist at heart, Sam has used her talent and performed to help raise money for the Los Angeles Food Bank and the families in need.

Sam studies with some of the leading coaches and trainers in the industry and although she works hard at developing her craft she still finds time for her favorite activities – play dates, baking, swimming, board games, and reading the Bible.

Global Elite Kids Magazine recently caught up with Sam and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us about BE BLESSED and your upcoming album featuring originally written Christian songs?

BE BLESSED is a Christian cover album of contemporary, classic hymns, and worship songs like Lauren Daigle’s “Oh Lord,” Toby Mac’s “Everything,” Sinach’s “Way Maker,” and John Newton’s “Amazing Grace”.

My next album is all original music where I get to tell everyone how much God loves them. I am excited to share the visions he has given me. I just can’t wait! We have already started recording and we hope to have the album out by the end of the year. We are working hard to do so but you can’t rush the process. I am in the studio most Friday’s either laying down tracks with my engineer or recording with my vocal producer.

What sort of person is going to love this album?

Anyone who loves uplifting music.

What inspires you to be creative?

God always inspires my work. He gives me a vision; I write it down and turn it into a song. My team is also a huge help with turning my vision into an album.

Is there anything special that you do to get into a creative mindset?

I pray and God answers by giving me a vision.

What message, if any, do you try to put into your work?

My message is about faith and love. How much God loves everyone.

What has been the most memorable experience of your career so far?

My baptism, because Jesus is such a huge part of why I do what I do. He gave me my gifts and without Him, I would not even have a career.

Do you ever find yourself unable to express your creativity to the fullest? What kinds of things inhibit you?

When I need to write a song right away but God hasn’t given me the vision yet.

Who is your greatest influence?

Everything I do is influenced by my faith and relationship with God.

Do you feel that you chose your “passion,” or did it choose you?

Both because God asked and I said yes.

If you hadn’t chosen to be a singer, actress, and model, what would your career path be?

My singing, acting, and modeling are second to my relation to God and my ministry. I plan on touring around the world as a missionary giving back to God all that he has given. I just established my own company called Live For Jesus Ministry.

What are your future plans? Inside your career or out of it.

I dream of touring around the world and being a missionary, singing praises to God, and helping others get to know the wonderful life they can have through a relationship with God.

Photo credit: Bobby Quillard