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magazine of the students of

the university of miami

may 2018



magazine of the students of

the university of miami

may 2018


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

may 2018


magazine of the students of

the university of miami

may 2018



university of miami magazine of the students of the the magazine of the students of the university of miami

may 2017 may 2018

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FOR MORE INFORMATION: (305) 726-2100













THE COVERS art direction_ alexa aguilar & sidney sherman. photo_sidney sherman.

art direction_sidney sherman & marissa vonesh. photo_sidney sherman.

Here at distraction, we believe that every day should be Taco Tuesday. Distraction has given into its taco cravings and indulged in this timeless Mexican dish – at least photo-wise. Keeping in fashion, photo Editor Sidney Sherman shot these hard-shell snacks for our guide to “Taco Time.” Believe us, we were just as hungry shooting this cover as you are looking at it.

We love our fashion shoots! For this issue we took a trip to El Tucan and stepped out of our comfort zone (pun intended) with these edgy poses. Photo Editor Sidney Sherman took photos while Editorin-Chief Marissa Vonesh propped up models Abby Podolsky’s and Isabella Vaccaro’s legs and held the curtain in a cramped corner that would give anyone claustrophobia.

art direction_sidney sherman & marissa vonesh. photo_sidney sherman.

art direction_alexa aguilar.

Distraction Magazine has finally reached double digits. What started as a personal project by a student has turned into a glossy, award-winning campus publication. It has been 10 years of writing risqué articles on pole dancing to more hard-hitting features on upcoming elections. Model Ali Goebel celebrates Distraction’s birthday with us while Photo Editor Sidney Sherman captured it all. Here’s to another 10 years of getting distracted!

We made a wish that we’d be able to create five covers, and it came true. This issue is significant for many reasons: the extra covers, the fact that its the magazine’s 10th birthday and that it’s the last issue for so many of our seniors. Art Director Alexa Aguilar sketched the cover to commemorate a decade of Distraction. Her favorite part was putting her doodling skills to use. Now close your eyes and blow out the candles.

art direction & photo_sidney sherman. Walking to class on any given day, you are sure to pass by a number of different people. Classmates of different ethnicities, different skin colors and different first languages. It is these differences that true beauty is found. Distraction highlights some beauty queens on campus. Photo Editor Sidney Sherman photographed junior Naomi Ayotemi Somolu wearing a traditional headdress from the Nigerian Yoruba tribe. If you read the story on these beauty queens (and you should), you’ll see why their beauty extends further than just a pretty face.




may 2018

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DISTRACTION STORY YOU’VE EVER WORKED ON? Editor-in-Chief_Marissa Vonesh Co-Executive Editors_Olivia Stauber & Teddy Willson Managing Editor_Lizzie Wilcox -30Art Director_Alexa Aguilar -30“Pro life/Pro choice” Photo Editor_ Sidney Sherman -30Illustrations Director_Ana Gonzalez -30Assistant Art Director_Ellen Kiser “It’s a Match!” Assistant Photo Editor_Josie Merkert & Gianna Sanchez The Guide Editor_Kayla Foster In The Loop Editor_Lindsey Bornstein “Mind Over Matter” Special Section Editor_Isabella Vaccaro Health and Wellness Editor_Olivia Campbell “Words” Fashion Editor_Lauren Gimpel Assistant Fashion Editors_Jade Simmons & Jo’shua Coates The Main Event Editor_Thalia Garcia -30Co-Public Relations Managers_ Elizabeth Pozzuoli & Gabby Rosenbloom Business Manager_Kyle Kingma Faculty Adviser_Randy Stano


“Its On Men Too”

Online Editorial Coordinator_Kami Knaudt -30Online Managing Editor_Thalia Garcia Online Copy Chief_Jorge Chabo Online Entertainment Editor_Naomy Lelis Online Fashion Editor_Allegra Turner Online Food Editor_Kristin Zheng -30Online Sports Editor_Phillip Russomanno

“-30-” indicates staff member is graduating


“Oodles Of Noodles”

Sarah Carraher, Designer Muguang Chen, Designer Jenna Kurz, Designer Dani Calderon, Designer Joey Haas, Designer Dana Musso, Designer Sophie Robbins, Designer

Brianna Commerford, Writer Makayla Manning, Writer Olivia Ginsberg, Writer Kelvine Moyers, Writer, Designer Jordan Orriols, Writer Anya Balsamides, Writer Kristian Kranz, Writer Elisa Baena, Writer

Sasha Manning, Photographer Patrick Ruvo, Photographer Mekenzie Bradley, PR Blake Warman, PR Eliana Litos, PR Madison George, PR Ellie Horwitz, PR

When it comes to contributors, we’re not picky. Whether you’ve found your niche in a bio book, you’re notorious for doing “nothing” at the comm or business school or you’re halfway into your college career and still wave that “undeclared major” flag, we want to hear what you have to say. Distraction is an extracurricular/volunteer operation made for students, by students, and covers the full spectrum of student life here at The U. If you want to get involved or have any questions, comments or concerns email our editor-in-chief, Teddy Willson,

The magazine is produced four times per year, twice a semester. City Graphics and Bellack Miami printed 8,000 copies of the magazine on 8.5 x 11 inch, 60-pound coated text paper 4/4. The entire magazine is printed four-color and perfect bound. Most text is nine-point Minion Pro with 9.8 points of leading set ragged with a combination of bold, medium and italic. All pages were designed using Adobe Creative Suite CC software InDesign with photographs and artwork handled in Photoshop and Illustrator. For additional information, please visit Questions and comments can be mailed to 1330 Miller Drive, Student Media Suite 202A, Coral Gables, FL, 33146, dropped into SSC Student Media Suite Suite 200 or emailed to All articles, photographs and illustrations are copyrighted by the University of Miami.



Letter from the


I don’t normally struggle to write the letter from the editor. As always, it’s the last thing I do before I hit send – half because I almost forget and half because it gives me a moment to reflect on the issue right before it prints. This issue we focused on time – how it passes, how we live within it, how we understand it and how we deal with its limitations. Time, especially at this moment, is fitting to talk about. This spring semester marks 10 years of Distraction, 10 years of different Miami students brainstorming, collaborating, creating and – – crying and laughing simultaneously. I feel so blessed that I have been able to be a part of this magazine and its legacy. I never imagined myself in this position, and now I can’t imagine myself in a world where spontaneous photoshoots, 4 a.m. nights and obsessive copy and design edits aren’t commonplace. This last issue also saw the manifestation of the most teamwork I have witnessed during my time on staff. It is beautiful to step away from this position seeing some of my intentions for the magazine actually come to fruition. As I try to collect my thoughts about the time I have invested on this publication, I want to thank my team. Sid, you are my right hand woman. Your photos, like you, are stunning, creative and thoughtprovoking. Alexa, thank you for putting up with me and for somehow being so dedicated despite everything else you have going on. Teddy, I’ve seen you grow so much this year and you have a special fire within you, foster it. Lizzie, you are the ultimate queen of copy and your positivity is infectious. Liv, we started together and I’ll miss your creative passion and simply who you are. To my entire staff and Stano, thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead the magazine. Each of you offer something unique and this magazine is yours. Each of you inspire me and I wish I could list each of you individually. Now, fellow ‘Canes, cozy up with this incredible beauty and celebrate with me. As always, love you Go ‘Canes!




6 8 10 11

Guide to Shots

14 17 21 22



If Today Was Your Last Day

31 34 36 39 42

Fingerprints of Death

Hot Spots @ UM We Want U Guide to Adulting

Taco Time No Rules, No Problem All About Astrology

That Time I... Celebration Time

48 50 53

On Point Gut Health Bulking Blueprint

54 Show Stoppers 60 Makeup in Mirrors 62 Fluid Fashion 64 Beauty Queens 67 Plus Size Models


One Country, Many Voices

75 78

Santería Minimalism

Perception of Time On Miami Time In honor of Distraction’s 10th birthday - peek in the middle of our special section: Time for a pull out!

The Guide captures the thoughts of the Miami hipster and slaps them on a page. This one is for your inner self that craves to be the friend with all the answers, whether that means knowing all the best lowkey coffee shops or subtly setting what will become the coolest trends across campus. Despite being so in-the-know, pretentious is not in The Guide reader’s vocabulary. Starbucks is out, and real typewriters are in – and if you ever need a suggestion for the best kombucha on the market, The Guide has you covered.

photo_patrick ruvo. lettering_joey haas. model_milind khurana.




Guide to words_lizzie wilcox. photo_josie merkert. design_joey haas.

Since its opening during Art Basel in 2012, SHOTS has rapidly become a UM hotspot. Located in Wynwood, its graffiti decor blends in seamlessly with the art district’s vibe. Known for its lengthy menu of colorful and creative 1-ounce drinks, SHOTS is tailored to liquor lovers of all kinds.



Ingredients: Three olives vodka, peach Ingredients: Rum, blue curaçao, schnapps, blue curaçao, watermelon, sour mix piña colada, grenadi This candy cocktail is appropriately named Skittles, with its namesake candy at the bottom of the glass. The different fruit flavors mix nicely together and the watermelon taste is strong. The vodka is at the bottom of the drink, so be prepared for it to hit you. This shot saves the best for last and the Skittles serve as a nice chaser. This isn’t the only shot to incorporate candy. There is also the Jolly Rancher, the Gummy Bear and the Lollipop. There are even jars of candy behind the bar.

O SHOT Ingredients: Three olives berry vodka, blue curaçao, melon liqueur, grenadine Do you ever say to yourself at a pregame, “I wish I could have the feeling of being drunk without actually having to drink?” Is your alcohol to mixer ratio so off-balance that others ask if there’s really any liquor in it? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this “berry sweet” drink is the perfect match for you. Served in a shooter glass, this tall drink looks like Christmas, but don’t let the green and red layers fool you, it’s actually very fruity. Warning: this drink is not for those who do not like green apple. No, there is nothing green-apple flavored that goes into the drink, but the combination of the berry and melon liquors mixed with grenadine gives it that fruity, yet tart kick.



The Guide

In its trifecta, red, white and blue glory, the Captain America is as patriotic as it sounds. From the bottom up, this cocktail has many different flavors and textures that oddly go together. The middle layer, the piña colada, adds a creamy element to the otherwise smooth liquors. Don’t be surprised if you can’t drink all of this in one gulp, it’s thicker than you expect.


From fire to whipped cream, SHOTS is the go-to spot for the wildest drinks you’ve ever seen


Open Wed. – Sunday 5 p.m. – 3 a.m.

There are dozens of other drinks and the menu contains every type of liquor. While perusing the rest of the laminated list of concoctions after our three samples, we noted some of the drinks with the funniest – and raunchiest – names, and the ones that sound straight up vomit inducing. The SHOTS menu is broken into categories, such as “Pour Decisions,” “Party Time” and “Dessert Menu.” The “Get Funk’d Up” category is rife with drinks named after sexual innuendos. Our favorite? “The Squirter,” which is made with SHOTS private label vicious velvet, Bacardi, coconut rum and pineapple juice (fitting). The bar does have a lot of delectable options, and some drinks sound weird, but actually turn out to be pretty good. However, one drink that does not sound appealing in any sense of the word is the “Chipotle shot”, which combines Bacardi, coconut rum, Jägermeister, sriracha and sour mix. As much as I love spice, sriracha does not belong in my shot glass. Of all the shots that were graciously made for us on the house, I’m glad that this was not one of them. *Distraction does not condone underage drinking

WEDNESDAY – LADIES NIGHT Happy Hour 5 – 10 p.m. $5 Salchipapas $5 Lunazul Tequila $5 Johnnie Walker Black $5 Captain Morgan $20 Bottomless Champagne $25 All You Can Drink Wells till 12 a.m. THURSDAY – WYNWOOD LIVE Happy Hour 5 – 10 p.m. $3 Sliders $4 Vicious Velvet & Wildfire $5 Crown & Crown Apple $5 Bacardi Rum & Flavors $12 Pitcher of Bud FRIDAY – F@^K IT FRIDAY Happy Hour 5 – 10 p.m. (half off drinks) SATURDAY – SATURDAZED Happy Hour 5 – 10 p.m. (half off drinks) SUNDAY – SUNDAY FUNDAY $5 Salchipapas, Grey Goose & Patron



Miami knows how to take the ordinary of college life and make it extraordinary. Naps are more than a necessary evil and food is more than just something you need to stay alive. To highlight how radically awesome our school is, Distraction asked you – the students – which parts of campus offer the best of the best. Here’s what you told us.

What: Best “Classic” UM Spot Where: Farmer’s Market The U is iconic for many reasons – the pool, lake, the U statue, the Rat. And, of course, it doesn’t get much better than the weekly farmer’s market. Aisles of vendors – selling anything from croquetas that hold their own even against your abuela’s recipe to a rainbow of fresh, locally grown fruit – are lined by palm trees and crowded with students every Wednesday. There’s no such thing as a mid-week hump when there’s something this great.

What: Best Study Spot Where: Richter

Different personalities gravitate toward different study environments. Some students work best when cocooned in the midst of activity in the student center or on the green, but most prefer to get their study on at the library. For better or worse, many students call Club Richter their second home. Even among loyal library dwellers there is versatility – those on the first, second or third floors and then those in the stacks: same building, different worlds.

What: Best Quick Bite Where: Einstein’s Tucked away in the law school, students love this go-to café and bakery. And though they would never admit it, it’s not unusual to spot Northeastern ‘Canes grabbing a bagel from Einstein’s on their way to class. Inexpensive, quick and delicious, Einstein’s is the perfect fit for college students on a budget and on the run.

What: Best Restaurant Where: The Rat

Fridays #attherat, done with classes for the week, sitting in a glider, listening to the DJ, feeling the occasional spray from Lake Osceola’s fountain, surrounded by friends, the scent of beer and no-yes fries lingering in the air. There’s nothing more Miami than that. It’s hard to imagine UM without the Rat, and frankly, we don’t want to.

What: Best Dog Sighting Where: The University Green A swarm of adorable doggos, fluffers, pups – whatever other endearing term the internet has created for man’s best friend – is easily the best cure for a difficult school day. If this is the kind of pick-me-up you’re in need of, head straight to the Green. Students often bring their dogs to campus and flock to the Green between classes to give their dogs some fresh air and room to run.



The Guide

words_teddy willson. design_marissa vonesh. illustration_sarah carraher.





UM’s defensive end, Chad Thomas, celebrates a play against Notre Dame on Nov. 11, 2017. Miami went on to beat ND 41 to 8.

After a stellar football season, it’s hard to watch some of the star players graduate. But this impressive recruiting class is sure to fill their cleats.

words_brianna commerford. photo_hunter crenian. design_lindsey bornstein.


10-game undefeated streak; an underdog win against long-standing rival Florida State on their home turf; a flashy, 36-inch, 5-pound, 10-karat gold turnover chain; an ESPN College Gameday debut; a national college football sensation. “The U” is back after the 2017 football season, and the trend continues for the 2018 season after National Signing Day. As a formidable competitor in the Coastal Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), the ‘Canes earned a trip to the 2017 ACC Championship Game, having one of the best seasons since the 1980s. UM proved to be a strong team of new recruits last year, but how do we compare for the 2018 season? The Miami Hurricanes seem to have another promising season ahead and the new recruits speak for themselves. Miami locked in and secured the majority of its 23-man class early on in the signing period. The Hurricanes gained 19 strong players, landing them the title of fifth-best recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports. These recruits are a force to be reckoned with.


Jordan Miller, Defensive Tackle

340-pound Jordan Miller of Jacksonville Sandalwood is a defensive tackle that UM coaches cannot stop raving about. “This kid’s senior film is better than all of these other kids,” said defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski in an interview with the Miami Herald.

D.J. Ivey, Cornerback

The 6-foot, 171-pound Florida native signed early with the Hurricanes. The four-star cornerback is currently attending South Dade High School, where he quickly caught UM’s attention. He is light on his feet, “making man coverage on vertical routes seem simple,” according to Daniel Gould, a data analyst who has been a key factor in outlining UM games and reviewing signing classes.

Gilbert Frierson, Cornerback

The Miami native attended Coral Gables High School, where he made a name for himself as a leading cornerback in the nation. Frierson’s build makes him the prototypical size for a defensive back, at 6 feet 1 inch with lanky arms. According to Gould, he is a “great athlete with an elite burst.”

Al Blades Jr., Cornerback

The name “Blades” carries serious credible weight here at The U. Some say Al Blades Jr. was “born into Miami Hurricanes royalty,” as his father was a ‘Canes star in the late 1990s. His uncles Bennie and Brian, a safety and wide receiver, also starred in ‘Canes championship games in the past. So the pressure is on for this 6-foot, 170-pound cornerback.

Nigel Bethel, Cornerback

This under-the-radar recruit is bound to bring speed and talent to the 2018 football season. At 5 feet 11 inches and 160 pounds, Bethel’s blazing speed has allowed him to be one of the best playmakers for Northwestern High School. Bethel also plays for his high school’s legendary track and field team, making a name for himself as the “South Florida Speedster.” He was recruited by track teams around the world, but chose to stay local and play cornerback.

Some of Miami’s key players were drafted to the National Football League (NFL) after the 2016 season. Most notable was UM’s star quarterback, Brad Kaaya, who got drafted to the Detroit Lions. On Sept. 2, 2017, Kaaya was released by the Lions and the following day he was picked up by the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers also released him a month and a half later. On Oct. 23, the Lions re-signed Kaaya to their practice squad. At the end of December, he was signed by the Indianapolis Colts off the Lions’ practice squad.


words_jorge chabo. photo_gianna sanchez. design_ellen kiser.

With graduation just around the corner, this thing called “adulting” is starting to feel too real and maybe too unfamiliar. But never fear, because Distraction has come up with some helpful hints you can use in the real world.

BUDGETING Often we find ourselves overspent by the end of week, already thinking about when that next paycheck will come in. Similar to keeping a to-do list or an agenda, budgeting is basically a plan for your money. The benefits are plenty – you might even end up identifying wasteful spending habits and the true worth of what you’re purchasing. The way to avoid this? The 50/30/20 rule: 50 percent on your needs, 30 percent on your wants and 20 percent into savings. How to Get Started Calculate your after-tax income. This is the income that remains of your paycheck after taxes are taken out,

such as state tax, local tax, income tax, Medicare and Social Security. Go through your bank statements and receipts and write down all the things you buy regularly; that daily cup of joe, extra lunches out of the office and Friday nights on the town tend to add up more quickly than you might think. Set fixed amounts for regular purchases—for instance, $3 for coffee, $7 for lunch, $30 on a night out, $100 on groceries and $800 per month on rent. These costs, added up on a weekly basis, are known as your needs. See what you can cut or shift around, and remember to keep it below 50 percent of your biweekly or monthly paycheck. Even better: divide monthly needs down to daily amounts, and keep track at the end of the day to make sure you stayed within a daily budget.

Take 20 percent of every check and put it somewhere safe. We recommend a savings account, but cash under the mattress never goes out of style. Extra pro tips: Download free online programs like Robin Hood or Acorn and see where you can start investing extra money; take advantage of credit cards that offer points and financing, but make sure you pay them off regularly; use a cash-only method to get started and get your friends to buy into the plan as well, so you can keep each other’s spending habits in check. Your life is a business and the margins are razor thin. Find your fixed costs (your needs), keep watch of variable costs (your wants) and keep the profit positive. Follow this mantra weekly, and you’ll find yourself one step closer to becoming a responsible adult.

Three children represent their perspectives of young professionals.


FINDING AN APARTMENT Part of being an independent and responsible adult is having a home of your own. Depending on your income, this could either mean an apartment or a house. While owning a home allows you to invest in an asset that can be sold to make a later profit, a lot of us don’t have this type of income fresh out of college. An apartment can be a more convenient choice if you’re simply looking to pay the rent and move on as needed. What to Look For Utilities – Which utilities are included with your rent? And how much extra money will this cost you? These are some of the first questions you should be asking when you consider moving into an apartment. Although the rent may look promising, a lot of what is missing from the rent price can be found in extra utility charges. The best way to escape this is to ensure that the rent price is fixed and that all charges are included. Rent – You should be spending anywhere from 20 to 30 percent of your income on your rent. Commute – No one wants to travel far to go to the grocery store, let alone work every day. If you don’t own a car, living near the closet metro or subway station could help you to avoid extra charges from ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft. Your best bet is to find a place close to work, shops and entertainment, even if it means spending a little more on rent in the short term. Websites: Abodo, Apartment Guide,, Craigslist.


FINDING A JOB To find the perfect job, first you must start with the perfect resume Structure of Resume Your resume must be one page. List your relevant work experience first, followed by GPA, honors and awards. Interests are listed at the bottom of the resume to provide the interviewer a comprehensive picture of the applicant. As for the look of the resume, you must know your audience. For a financial position, a simple approach is key. But if the position happens to be for graphic design, the layout should complement your skills accordingly. Cover Letter Cover letters show you’re eager to sell yourself to the employer. You want to convey why you want the job and why they should hire you. Interview Tips Who is the employer? What do they want, what is important to them? Know the answers to these questions. Do your due diligence in getting to know the employer so that you can tailor your answers to best suit the skillset they’re looking for. The best way to improve in interviewing is to practice. Networking Despite popular opinion, posting online isn’t enough to find the perfect job. Employers expect students to find them. The more you can convince somebody you’re the real deal, the more motivated they are to be to help you.

TIME MANAGEMENT Many adults will tell you that the formula to happiness is overall work-life balance. That balance comes in the form of time management. Know your goals and prioritize accordingly. A steady to-do list and a well-managed calendar can go a long way if you stick to them. You don’t have to plan your life down to the minute, but your calendar should definitely keep important appointments and obligations blocked off far in advance. That way you won’t forget what needs to be done, and you can let your friends and colleagues know when you’re free with certainty. Learn to say no and delegate when you can. Sometimes we find ourselves wanting to do it all; this can lead us to say yes to every request that comes our way. If the request is not dire and doesn’t require you to be the one to accomplish it, then let them know. Additionally, if you know that someone else can do it better, then delegate. It may seem awkward at first, but delegation is the way to becoming a leader, Work-life balance does not necessarily mean living in a constant state of calmness and peace, absent from stress. It’s about knowing when you’re going to be busy and being flexible enough to work when needed. There will be busy weeks and there will be calm weeks just as there will be time for work and time for play. It’s important to remember that the balance doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. It is often during the stressed-out periods that we overcome our discomforts and actually learn from mistakes to better our career skills.

photo_patrick ruvo. lettering_joey haas. model_ dalya oprian.

In the Loop is the yin to The Guide’s yang. Take your favorite, feel-good topics and dig a little deeper. From the delicacies of the foods that everyone knows and loves, to the hobbies that you never knew you would love so much, ITL takes what’s in your heart and places them deeper into your mind.




Tucked in Midtown Miami, Lagniappe House – a New Orleans-style bar, proves its namesake: a bonus. In an eclectic hideway, glass of wine in hand, this spot offers a unique environment to the bustling club scene of Miami. words_marissa vonesh. photo_sidney sherman. design_lindsey bornstein.

14 DISTRACTION In the Loop

BOURBON STREET VIBES AND MIAMI’S MIDTOWN FLAIR Steak on a paper plate, wine in a mismatched garden. No waiters, no defined menu, no silverware, no reservations, no cloth napkins and yet, an ambiance, a refuge away from the DJ club scene of Miami. This is Lagniappe House, a New Orleans-inspired wine and beer bar delicately placed in the center of Midtown in a dainty house among towering skyscrapers and busy city streets. Lagniappe is a place unlike anything else in Miami; walk in and snake your way through thrifted vintage chairs and rugs. Pass by a refrigerator stocked with craft beer and racks of over 150 types of vintage wine. Glance at the menu, scribbled in chalk, and end up on a patio, laced with tea lights and an assortment of lawn chairs. Before you know it, you’ll be eating a characuterie board of your chosen meats and cheeses garnished by marinated olives and fig jam. Lay back and

let the atmosphere and Miami’s humid air consume you. Owner David Tunnell spent some time in New Orleans after working in Miami as a restaurant chair. While there, he realized that NOLA had an elegant way of adapting European culture to America. Tunnell wanted to bring the same sort of ambiance back to Miami. By November of 2012, Tunnell had opened Lagniappe House with the simple vision of bringing people together for good wine, good music and good company. “He wanted it to feel as though you were in a place that feels like home, a place where you

can enjoy fine things without the image,” said co-manager Jon Orsi. “Miami can be isolating even when you are with your people, and this place dissolves that.” The glitz, glam and transient culture of Miami can be overwhelming and inauthentic. Lagniappe provides an environment for people of all types to escape this culture and create quality memories. “I’ve seen all types of people here,” Orsi said, glancing around the garden to observe the diversity. College kids clad in ripped jeans and t-shirts sit next to abuelos smoking cigars and businessmen in suits. It’s a home for hipsters, misfits, music lovers, wine connoisseurs, foodies, adventurers – for anyone. “When you get here it’s just about ‘let’s enjoy wine, let’s enjoy live music,’” Orsi said.


Music, aside from the vast wine menu, is the defining factor of Lagniappe. Currently, it is the only place in Miami that features live music every night. Whether it is jazz, folk, soul, blues or bluegrass, the most talented musicians in Miami gather at this watering hole. “When you play at Lagniappe you really need to know what you are doing,” said Vincent Raffard, trumpeter, vocalist, guitarist and creator of The French Horn Collective, a local band. “The standing of the place is really high.” Opening night of Lagniappe, Raffard and the newly created French Horn Collective performed. After this, The French Horn Collective was treated as the house band, playing four or more times a week. Now, the band has scaled down and claims Wednesday as its main night at Lagniappe. “I have seen everything in this place,” Raffard said. “People are happy, they connect. They get to drink good wine and good culture.” A venue that welcomes diversity of thought, music, tastes and individuals is one that has secured its place in Miami’s competitive culinary and entertainment scene. Such is Lagniappe: a gift from New Orleans to Miami.

16 DISTRACTION In the Loop



6 p.m. – 2 a.m.

9 p.m. - 12 a.m.


words_olivia ginsberg. photo_sidney sherman. design_alexa aguilar.


Once a traditional Mexican food served in small town taquerías, tacos have skyrocketed in popularity to become the star of a bustling culinary industry. New restaurants continuously pop up dedicated to the handheld delicacy and aesthetically pleasing photos of the dish are posted accordingly. Every Tuesday, now dubbed as “Taco Tuesday,” restaurant patrons flock to the nearest “taquería” for the fan favorite and its trusty companion: tequila. There are even entire Instagram accounts, some with millions of followers, dedicated to documenting the scrumptious Mexican pairing. The taco’s original rise to popularity began in the 1500s, when the idea reportedly originated from Mexican silver mines. In the mines, the small stick of dynamite used to extract the silver ore was called a “taco.” According to Smithsonian Magazine, the tacos de mineros, or miner’s tacos, were pieces of paper wrapped around gunpowder that were inserted into holes in rocks. Tacos eventually landed on American soil in the 1900s. They were first mentioned in a U.S. newspaper in 1905, a time that witnessed mass immigration from Mexico to the United States. Mexico, considered a harbinger of danger by Americans at the time, evoked memories of the Alamo. During this time, bandits made everything coming out of Mexico — even the food — seem dark, menacing and even a little bit sexy. Mexican women, referred to as “chili queens,” began selling tacos and other delicacies from their homeland out of carts in border states. The chili queens became an image of something exotic and flirtatious, which added to the appeal of tacos and other Mexican food. It wasn’t until several years later that the children of first-generation immigrants began selling traditional tacos in a restaurant setting. As the second-generation immigrants started making money and receiving more civil rights in America, the new generation began incorporating different ingredients into the dish that were more widely popular in the American diet. Hamburger meat, cheddar cheese and iceberg lettuce became the essential ingredients in assembling a taco. Hard shells were eventually invented, and the pre-fried shell made it even easier to prepare the dish. As they became popularized, large-scale taco restaurants began to emerge, and fast food chains

18 DISTRACTION In the Loop

like Taco Bell and Chipotle created entire business models from the dish. Such restaurants made tacos easily accessible to the everyday person. Although Chipotle is considered “fast food,” its meals are still considered healthier than traditional fast food restaurants, like McDonald’s. Instead of a burger made of mystery meat, customers can stop by Chipotle for a grilled chicken taco with fresh vegetables. These types of chains began to pop up in business districts and near college campuses, and in doing so, have become more popular with students and young business professionals. Vegan, vegetarian and fish tacos are available for people with dietary restrictions. There is something about the simplicity of the taco that makes it appealing. Chefs often use the traditional framework of a taco to make the dish their own, creatively plating it in such a way to not only create a meal but a work of art as well. “Food art” – in which chefs lay out the meal in creative and unique ways to share on social media – has generated a cult-like following, with millennials rushing to taco restaurants around the globe to take the perfect Instagram shot of their meal. It’s not only about feeding your hunger anymore, it’s also about being a part of the trend. The satisfaction of being a part of the bustling world of tacos, with their brightly colored restaurants and rich history, keeps people coming back for more.


1306 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables

If you’re looking for a taco fix on campus, Lime is a great place to grab a quick bite, especially because you are able to customize menu items to your liking. After grabbing your tacos, make sure to check out the salsa bar. The dips range from sweet to fiery, and Lime even makes its own in-house hot sauces that are great on any dish. Grab some guacamole and chips and a Mexican soda to finish off your meal.


5829 SW 73rd St., South Miami

Tacocraft serves an extensive variety of tacos. The taco menu includes everything from the “Gringo” filled with beef, cheese and sour cream to the less traditional, vegetarian options like kale and sweet potato. Not only is the food at Tacocraft great, the decor also has an edge. Look around while you’re eating to see the graffiti-style art inspired by the Mexican sugar skull. If you are looking to pair your taco with the perfect drink on Tequila Tuesday, the restaurant has a long list of cocktails. Tacocraft also offers deals throughout the week for Margarita Monday, Taco Tuesday and Sunday brunch.


3410 Main Highway, Miami

This hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant is a popular spot after midnight. It’s a great place to grab a bite after hitting one of the many bars surrounding it. Upon entering the building, it might not seem like a place to get quality food, but the chef serves authentic Mexican street tacos every day. After picking your protein, served with a lime on the side, you can choose from a selection of hot sauces to add a kick to your taco. And don’t mind the lack of seating, it just makes for the perfect snack on the Uber ride home.


your basic taco INGREDIENTS 1 1 1 12 1 2 2

lb. of your choice of protein medium onion 8 oz. can of tomato sauce small flour tortillas oz. shredded cheese chopped tomatoes cups shredded lettuce Chili powder Garlic powder Salt Onion powder Paprika Cumin

* Optional but delicious additions: Salsa Avocado Sour cream

INSTRUCTIONS 1. 1. 2. 2. 3. 3. 4. 4. 5. 5. 6. 6. 7. 7. 8. 8.

Heat oven to 250°F. Cook protein accordingly with onion. While the protein is cooking, mix together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Drain excess juices from the protein. Mix in the tomato sauce and spice blend. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Cover tortillas in tin foil and place in oven for five minutes to warm. Remove and use toppings to make your taco your own!




16% FISH



*based on results from a Distraction poll

20 DISTRACTION In the Loop

words_gaby tejeda. design & illustration_daniela calderon.

Your first taste of freedom. A test of responsibility and restraint. The big reveal of your true character – of your innermost self. College. In most cases, it’s the first time students are away from their parents, allowing them to make independent choices and live their lives without being told what to do. Many students take this opportunity to participate in activities that their parents would never dream of approving. Just think – if you had a day to freak out your guardians, what would you do?

Get a Tattoo.

Go Skydiving.

An obvious option, but sure to cause some trouble. Whether you opt for a small sun on the inside of your pinky finger or the state of Florida tattooed across your rear end, tattoos of any size aren’t typically well received by parents. Depending on the size, placement, intricacy and color of the tattoo, pricing will vary. While it may be fun to get a tattoo to freak out your guardians, remember: they are permanent, so make sure you’re really set on the design. Oh, and another tip: go to a clean parlor; the last thing you want is angry parents and an infection.

This adrenaline-pumping activity will definitely get a reaction out of your family. Jumping out of a plane at least 8,000 feet above ground is nerve-wracking for anyone, let alone your guardians. At Skydive Miami in Homestead, a jump from this height with an experienced skydiver will cost a pretty penny — $199 to be exact. Higher jumps will cost a bit more. Discounts are offered for large groups.

Get a Piercing. Piercings tend to be associated with tattoos, especially since they are often offered at the same places. This is a good, and less intense, way to light a fire under your parents. Get the piercing and stir that initial reaction from your parents that you were looking for. And if you decide you don’t want it anymore, simply take out the piercing and the hole will close over time. Similar to a tattoo, pricing will vary depending on the placement of the piercing, as well as the material it is made from. Again, definitely aim to find a clean parlor.

Go Shark Cage Diving.

A lot of parents may not have any problem with sharks. Cage diving with a shark, however? Definitely not on any parent’s list of safe, family-friendly activities. Although divers are protected by the iron bars of a cage, sharks are still terrifying, especially for anyone who has seen “Jaws.” Miami Shark Tours will allow you to get up close and personal with these terrifyingly beautiful creatures. A trip is limited to six people and costs $195 per person.

Go Hang Gliding. Hang gliding is basically flying a light, non-motorized aircraft over a short distance. Hang gliders usually take off from a hill or cliff, but since Miami lacks both of those landmarks, hang gliders are dropped from a plane about 1,000 feet above the ground, allowing gliders to see Miami from a birds-eye view. At Miami Hang Gliding Inc., six flights will cost $749.


all about

ASTROLOGY words_kayla foster. design_alexa aguilar & lindsey bornstein. illustrations_sarah carraher.

What do you see when you look up at the stars? Living in Miami, it might be a skyscraper or an airplane, but if you’re an astrologer, you’re likely looking for constellations. Astrology is the study of movements relative to celestial objects. In other words, astrology is following the movements and existence of the stars, planets and moons to explain human affairs and other terrestrial events. Astrology is recognized as a pseudoscience, meaning there is little to no scientific or factual evidence that actually supports it. However, this has not stopped the nearly 25 percent of the population that actively follow the stars’ positions to determine their lives. When most people think of astrology, they think immediately of their birthday. Most people think astrology is simply the study of horoscopes, and while horoscopes are the most well-known part of astrology, the field involves much more than knowing the characteristics of your star sign. Astrology looks at your alignment with the stars to determine your fate and analyze how you would typically encounter the world around you. In ancient history, the practice was specifically used to plan the outcome of a major event, like a harvest. Since the second millennium B.C., astrology has been utilized in many civilizations including those of the Mayans, Chinese and Indians. Fast forward to early 300 B.C., and astrology was introduced to the royal court of the Hellenistic period. “Since early 300 B.C., there’s been court astrologers, guys who do horoscopes and made predictions, that worked for emperors,” said Dr. Wilson Shearin, a University of Miami classics professor. But then astrology started to take on a new identity. “As you move into the Roman period … court astrologers did a mix of things from casting of horoscopes to … watching various signs to see what the omens said.” Before the advancements of modernday science, people looked to the sky in search of the meaning of life. The first lunar calendar was created to try to measure the change of seasons for harvest using astronomical cycles. Farmers then began to rely on the stars and constellations to address their agricultural needs. Today, the popularity of astrology has skyrocketed with advancements in natal charts and tools

22 DISTRACTION In the Loop

to determine the stars’ position in the sky. Many astrologers today use natal charts to interpret the stars and give better readings. Natal charts allow astrologers to use the location, exact time and an individual’s date of birth to determine a horoscope reading. These charts can tell you how the different planets influence how you process and react to information. “Astrology is just a new language of how we explain things that don’t make sense,” Shearin said. Oftentimes, even those who do not fully believe in astrology still know their star sign and certain personality traits that are specific to that sign. “I think the mindset and practices that [astrology] uses and promotes is very healthy,” junior Olivia Stauber said. “All of that stuff relates to each other and emphasizes being positive, sending out love and mindfulness.” Senior Gina Fleites not only believes in astrology, but also reads the positioning of planets, stars and moons. “Most people know about their sun sign, but that’s only one small aspect of your personality,” Fleites said. “It’s like saying that the sun is the only star in the sky. Every planet, star and asteroid has a certain type of energy to it – and if you put it into perspective, absolutely everything in the universe is made up of energy.” Just knowing our sun sign— Aries, Taurus, Gemini or Cancer, for instance—is not enough. We also have a moon, ascendant and element sign that affects the way we do things. Perhaps surprisingly, knowing these signs can give us a better idea of the outcome of the rest of our week or month by examining online horoscope

readings. However, be aware that the readings are often relatable on purpose. “It’s supposed to seem vague and generalized,” Shearin said. “It’s catering to millions of people, as opposed to a private reading specific to you.” Modern advancements in science have also worked against the credibility of astrology. “Even though astrology has never really been considered a science, what happens in the sky does have an effect on our lives,” said Dr. Joshua Gundersen, a Miami astronomy professor. “But to go as far as linking the outcomes of your life to motions of the sky is a bit of a reach.” Freshman Gianna Sanchez has always been skeptical of astrology, even though the practice was introduced to her at a very young age. “My grandmother got me a few things when I was really young,” said Sanchez. “She’d talk about how even though we were born in different months, we were the same sign.” The usual length of a sign starts in the middle of the month and lasts 30 days until the new sign begins. Someone whose birthday is in late June can also have the same sun sign as someone whose birthday is in early July. “My cousin is a Cancer as well, and she has the same birthday as my grandmother, but we’re polar opposites,” Sanchez said. “Even our underlying characteristics are different. So, I’ve always thought, ‘How can we both be a Cancer if we’re so different?’” Even though some may consider astrology a fad without scientific basis, others believe in the gravitational forces that explain our way of life. Today, with astrologers in nearly every country, astrology’s following continues to grow. Ancient civilizations may be gone, but their gift of astrology lives on.

Aries: March 21-April 19

Libra: Sep. 23-Oct. 22

Element: Fire Symbol: The Ram

Element: Air Symbol: The only symbol that is an inanimate object: the balancing/justice scales.

Taurus: April 20-May 20

Scorpio: Oct. 23-Nov. 21

Element: Earth Symbol: The Bull

Element: Water Symbol: The Scorpion

Gemini: May 21-June 20 Element: Air Symbol: The Twins Castor and Pollux

Sagittarius: Nov. 22-Dec. 21 Elements: Fire Symbol: Archery or The Centaur Chiron

Cancer: June 21-July 22

Capricorn: Dec. 22-Jan. 19

Element: Water Symbol: The Crab

Elements: Earth Symbol: The Fish-Goat hybrid Enki, the Sumerians’ primordial god of wisdom and waters

Leo: Jul. 23-Aug. 22

Aquarius: Jan. 20-Feb. 18

Element: Fire Symbol: The Lion

Elements: Air Symbols: Water waves also called water bearer

Virgo: Aug. 23-Sep. 22

Pisces: Feb. 19 to Mar. 20

Element: Earth Symbol: The virgin, however some people debate that it is Astraea the last immortal to leave earth.

Elements: Water Symbols: The Fish


only %ff for o you!

0 1 24 DISTRACTION In the Loop

Valid at Sunset location: 7315 S Red Rd. Coral Gables, FL 33143 Cannot be combined with any other offer

photo_patrick ruvo. lettering_kelvine moyers. model_alex klar.

There’s one thing in our lives that we are totally incapable of changing. We cannot escape or evade it. No matter what, the passage of time is inevitable. For some time is a daunting concept, but others see it as something worth celebrating. In this special section, distraction delves into the intricacies of time in our culture and community.


We live in a world where time is taken for granted. As college students, the concept of death feels so distant. But, what happens when you are forced to think about it? What happens when your own mortality slaps you in the face? words_gabby rosenbloom. photo & design_olivia stauber.

26 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

shereen shereen khatibloo, sophomore

distraction: “What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word, ‘time’?”

I kind of panic. I always feel like I’m running out of time. I always feel like I need more time. When I have free time, I feel like I need to fill it up with something — I can’t sit still. I just feel like life goes by so quickly that it just always creates a little sense of panic for me.”


abby distraction: “Have your life experiences effected your views on time?

abby podolsky, sophomore

This past week, one of my really close friends died very suddenly and it’s made me a lot more self-reflective...The most powerful part of a moment isn’t just the action of doing it but it’s the experience you have with the person, and that’s what makes life meaningful. Like I think back to all the moments I had with him that seemed small or meaningless at the time and wow, I wish I had that back.”

28 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

dakota dakota regan, junior

distraction: “How would you live differently if you knew that your last day was approaching?”

...I’d probably try and go do things that make me happy. I love cooking. Maybe make a bunch of food, go to the beach or something, all things I love.” May 2018 DISTRACTION 29

christian christian liljenquist, sophomore

distraction: “Is there something that you wouldn’t be able to leave unsaid on your last day?’”

That’s a tough one. I’d probably just tell my parents everything I’ve done, like stuff that I’ve hid from them all the time.”

30 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

a note from the photographer:


“We have reports that at least 17 people are dead,” a news anchor said on the live footage of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland — my alma mater. After hearing that report, my thoughts immediately went out to those victims and their families, some of whom I knew from school.

words_makayla manning. photo_patrick ruvo. design_gabby rosenbloom.


It has now been about three months since the shooting, and I can’t stop thinking about how 17 teens with their whole lives ahead of them walked into those towering maroon gates and didn’t walk out. How can someone be here one moment and gone the next? It can be a hard idea to grasp especially when people have lost those who are close to them. Death is the component of life that, regardless of timing, most people are never truly prepared to confront. Death can be gruesome or it can be a peaceful relief for those in pain. The science behind death is that once a person has gone into cardiac arrest, their time of death is considered. Then their heart begins to lock up, and the very moment their heart stops they are pronounced dead. In some instances, death can be unexpected, and in other cases people may know that their time on earth is being cut short. No matter the circumstance, death is not an easy process for anyone to go through. “What happens after we die?” is one of the most thought-provoking and frightening questions humanity has to consider. As much as we try to push the thought aside in our minds, we can’t help but wonder where we go once we take our last breath. “I feel as if the soul continues on in those who left it,” MSD junior Jess Frengut said. “As in, people who have passed will still be with you in spirit if you believe that they are. I don’t feel there is necessarily an afterlife, I think a soul remains in the state as it was in real life and serves to be present and

32 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

overseeing trying times to guide you through them. Believing that makes me confident and comfortable in choices I may face going forward.” Many religions and their followers consider death not to be the end of life itself. Instead, they find comfort in knowing that a person’s spirit ventures off into a different world where they find some form of peace. “Personally I am influenced by world views and how a person thinks about people,” a counselor from the UM Counseling Center, Dorothy Addae said. “Based on my own religious beliefs, I believe that there is some type of afterlife and that our spirit continues. When people have lost someone, their particular beliefs can give them some peace of mind. Even for those who don’t believe there is an afterlife, they can still be grateful to have known that person.” Some religions, including Christianity, proclaims that once a person dies and enters the spirit world, their soul will eventually reach heaven or hell. Heaven is a place defined as the abode of God, the angels and the spirits of the righteous after death. Basically, heaven is identified as a celestial place for the blessed after their mortal lives on earth. “I don’t know if I necessarily believe in a heaven or a hell, but I definitely think that people who passed away have the ability to watch over you,” UM freshman Hayley Tesser said. “I fully believe that they watch you from up above and check in on you. With that, I think those who have died can stay connected to the living based on what they liked or cared for when they were

alive.” It is also a common belief that when a person dies, their spirit will leave their body and rather than passing on, they will be reborn. This is known as reincarnation — where a particular soul is believed to be reborn into either another person or animal. It is a major belief of the Hindu, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism faiths and provides a comforting thought of loved ones having the ability to return as mortals. “I believe in reincarnation and in karma,” UM senior Catherine Zhao said. “I find that how you lived in your past life – whether you were selfish, gracious, etc. – affects how fortunate of a situation you are born into in your next life.” Although different religions have varying perceptions on death and the afterlife, a person’s cultural mindset can hold a major influence in the matter as well. The Eastern culture has an extremely unfamiliar outlook on death compared to Western civilizations. “I definitely believe in the Catholic heaven and hell scenario, but I have also layered on the Hindu concept of reincarnation,” said geology professor Ta-Shana Taylor. “There is a stop to it, where you reincarnate for a few times and then eventually your soul has learned its lesson and has met its full purpose to reach a place where it gets to be judged.” The Eastern culture of the world views death as a renewed commitment to enjoying and appreciating life. Typically, funeral burials for the dead will be big events involving the local community. During this lavish ceremony, water buffalo are sacrificed

and believed to take the deceased’s soul to the afterlife with them, which can take years after the person has died. “Personally, I am not afraid for myself because I accept it [death] and try to do as much as I can with it,” said UM freshman Brandon Chou. However, the Western culture sustains fearful and anxious perceptions. Most research on terror management is conducted by Western society since they deal with it the most. In many countries such as the U.S., death is viewed with a lot of fear, and people conduct funeral

arrangements to mourn their loss. I, myself, am definitely more aware of these social boundaries, since I am currently dealing with the difficulties surrounding death. The first few days after the shooting at MSD, I had a hard time making sense of what happened to the 17 victims and the journey of their spirits — until I saw a photograph of my alma mater on the first day it reopened with a giant rainbow over the campus. Nothing provided me with more closure than to find out that in Hawaiian, rainbows symbolize the road to heaven for those who are lost. *If you a grieving the death of a loved one, reach out to the Counseling Center at (305) 284-5511

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY After a person dies, many believe that his or her spirit roams the earth for much longer. This is known as paranormal activity, which is often described in folk and pop culture as occurring beyond science itself. Instances of paranormal activity include supernatural phenomena such as psychokinesis, extrasensory perception, cryptids and telekinesis. Ghosts are what most think of when it comes to paranormal activity — the spirits of the dead, either as animals or humans, who have either returned from or not yet reached the afterlife. A recent Harris poll shows that 42 percent of Americans believe in ghosts.



se, take a moment to reflect. Reflect on all the opportunities you’ve had or the opportunities you’ve missed. Take time to think about what makes you happy, frustrated, or upset. Pause. Think about the type of person you want to be. Distraction has reflected on the 10 years of its existence, and this is what we got. What about you, where are you?



w o r g

p u n *cut for content and clarity

Danielle McNally The hardest part was deciding on a name. I didn’t think it needed to be particularly Miami-y—this wasn’t a publication about campus, but about life beyond campus. And I was adamant that it be gender neutral so that all students knew this was a magazine for them. In the end I went with “Distraction” because, as I said in my first editor’s letter, that’s what making the magazine was for me, specifically, and that’s one aspect of what magazines should be, generally. I recall the administration not really liking that name; I’m glad it stuck. We produced two issues my senior year. Fewer than I’d hoped, but also, before that year, more than anyone had ever imagined. There were ups and downs, late nights, frustrations, real points of pride, and of course, disappointments. I never in my wildest dreams thought that I’d be penning my reflections on the whole thing 10 years later, Distraction stronger than ever. To the staff past and present, thank you for embracing my vision as your own. To the faculty, thank you for continuing to see the value in learning how to produce a print magazine. And to all my fellow ‘Canes, thank you for reading.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, 2007-2008

Hilary Saunders I just started a new job as the managing editor of a quarterly print journal on roots music. No Depression began in 1995 as a bi-monthly music magazine and went out of print in 2008 when the economy crashed. It was absorbed and revived, in 2015, and I’m just the second editor of this revamped iteration of the publication. During my first production cycle at the helm of No Depression, I worked closely with the publisher, the printer, the mail house, and various record labels in town, all of whom asked me some version of, “Wait, you’ve done this before, right?” Luckily, I had, thanks to my time as EIC at Distraction.

Ivana Cruz My fondest memories of Distraction took place in the old office. Before it was in a silver shiny building with floor-toceiling windows, it was in what could be confused for a storage closet of the Learning Center; old and damp with no natural light. We spent countless all-nighters in that room putting together an issue that at the moment was the most important thing in our lives. Happy birthday, Distraction. I am forever thankful to you, to Randy Stano who was a mentor and father to us, and that small olive-green room with the carpet stains.

Editor-in-Chief, 2013-2014

Jonathan Borge Distraction was essentially my life when I was a student. I’m so grateful to the university for keeping the magazine alive all of these years—and for listening to my sometimes very off-the-wall ideas when I was EIC. My experience editing the magazine opened so many doors, from internships at Ocean Drive and Condé Nast Traveler to writing gigs at local newspapers. There were late nights, plus blood, sweat, and tears, but it was worth it. Happy birthday, Distraction!

Editor-in-Chief, 2011-2013

Asmae Fahmy No other atmosphere has made me grow so much as both a journalist and a person. The creativity, the laughter, late nights, the inside jokes – the whole experience will always be my favorite. My team and I always challenged ourselves to push the envelope and come up with the boldest possible thing, and that’s something that’s translated to everything I have done since.

Editor-in-Chief, 2016-2017 Editor-in-Chief, 2009-2010

Lexi Williams I spent my 22nd birthday in the Distraction office, sitting on the floor, eating takeout and editing pages until the wee hours of the morning. We were getting ready to put our latest issue to bed, and I needed to be there to make sure everything was perfect. I could’ve been out partying with friends, or at the very least celebrating by taking a night off from working, but instead I was there, putting in the hours with my fellow editors. And I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else.

Executive Editor, 2014-2016

Heather Carney I can’t tell you how grateful I am for having had the opportunity to serve as editor in chief of Distraction Magazine from 2010-2011. It was definitely the most beneficial aspect of my time at UM. I’m now the Managing Editor for Luxe Interiors + Design. I love my job, and I like to think it all started with those late nights and crazy brainstorm sessions that went along with each issue. I also have to give a big shout-out to Stano, who, to this day, still serves as a mentor and has been a huge supporter of my career.

Editor-in-Chief, 2010-2011

Karli Evans Distraction was a huge part of my college experience. I learned so much about being part of a collaborative team, creative problem-solving, and how to turn abstract ideas into cleverly executed photo & design concepts. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experience and portfolio Distraction helped me build.

Photo Editor, 2012-2014

Valentina Escotet Honestly, it was my love for my core team that really inspired me. Our time in the office was always filled with so much laughter and joy that you wouldn’t actually believe we were on a stressful deadline. I made some of my best friends in that office we were like a family, and it’s that environment that I loved the most about it. Photo Editor, 2015-2016

WHERE we are

NOW InStyle Jonathan Borge, Associate Digital Editor class of 2013

Vogue Ivana Cruz, Senior Designer class of 2014 Danielle McNally, Senior Features Editor class of 2008

Luxe Interiors + Design Heather Carney, Managing Editor class of 2011

M. Shanken Communications Rori Kotch, UX Lead class of 2016

WANT MORE? Go to to read more about former staff members’ experiences and where they are now.

distraction’s digits

It has been 10 years since the mag has started (how great is it that we can finally just state the number instead of spell it – AP style, am I right?). Members of the staff have won some awards, made some priceless memories and maybe (hopefully) learned a thing or two. Here is the skinny, the down low, or whatever the kids are calling it these days, on Distraction’s success over the years.




495 awards

308.25 4


720 photoshoots

core staff

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avg. number of stories per print issue





left on the computers

cups of coffee per day per person per deadline

Distraction Magazine

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Join our award winning staff before it’s too late. We’re always looking for new ideas for our print and online conent. Writers, photographers, designers, videographers, business folks and PR pros unite under our awesome roof. Regardless of your “thing,” we want you. For more information, contact our Editor-in-Chief, Teddy Willson at Anyone is welcome to contribute. Distraction Magazine @DistractionUM @DistractionMag

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really bring out the porn vibe going on. Long story short, the condom bowl has been extremely useful to keep around and we regularly have to restock it... sorry not sorry







in front of a tour WASN BROKEN , WOULD ? on ’Tmy way backYOU to the of dorms off theafter a nightof at the the grove roof

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hammocks on THAN campus MY CLOSEST FRIENDS. IT’S MORE A roommate ofwith thethe guy I was seeing Got hammered boys and went to Wynwood, but that place was dead so we went back to campus, got some McChickens and listened to sad Drake Music in the car.





Student Activities Center




roof of the Cosford Cinema



hammocks on I’vecampus slept with guys from France, Greece, Canada, and Ecuador... I guess you could say I’m into these cultural exchanges!


roommate of the guy I was seeing















roof of the Cosford Cinema May 2018 DISTRACTION 43



44 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

words_kris kranz. photo illustration_marissa vonesh. design_teddy willson.

Whether it’s spent praying in a temple on a holy day, gathered around the table with your loved ones or hopping onto the next plane of existence at a music festival, life is something worth celebrating. Partying is a central element of culture. Miami virtually breathes ecstasy and excitement, and those looking for a good time don’t have to look far. If you prefer raving through the early mornings, the cities countless nightclubs have what you need. And of course, Ultra Music Festival proves itself year after year as one of the world’s greatest EDM events as DJs like KSHMR and Steve Aoki showcase their springtime soundtracks. Miami certainly has more to offer than partying, however. It is a fusion of different cultures whose traditions and festivals add color to our lives. Here are four holidays and traditions from the perspective of those who have grown up celebrating them all their lives.

The Spring Festival Known more popularly as the Chinese or Lunar New Year, this festival is the largest and most important of the Chinese holidays. Spring Festival begins on a different day every year and is marked by one of 12 zodiac animals, 2018 being the year of the dog. While the majority of celebrations take place in China, many East Asian countries and regions including South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and Taiwan take part, as well as countless other countries with a strong East Asian population. The festival begins on the eve of the first day and lasts for 15 days, culminating in a Lantern Festival. The importance of a grand dinner on New Year’s Eve cannot be understated. “We don’t really care about the animal, the thing we care about is the feast,” advertising professor Sunny Tsai said. “Usually you have a huge feast with your family or extended family the eve of the Chinese New Year.” The festivities don’t stop after dessert, however, as families continue celebrating with either a variety of games or simply “watching TV all night,” according to Tsai. The late night turns into an early morning and people “get the firecrackers going” at the dawn of the New Year. With the bursting of fireworks in the sky, the popping of firecrackers in the street and the warm glow of the sunrise, the Chinese New Year truly is rung in with a bang.

Sunrise to Sunset Sunrise to Sunset is the strict 30-day fasting period that Muslims observe during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. “It’s supposed to teach us self-discipline and self-control,” said Anam Khan, a junior of Pakistani descent. The fasting doesn’t just include food or drink either — it is extended to prohibit any kind of smoking, sexual behavior or sinful action. “It’s hard because it’s hot down here,” said Khan. “You really want to drink water, but you can’t.” The 30 days of Ramadan are followed by Eid al-Fitr, the first day of the 10th Islamic month, Shawwal. “At the end of those 30 days we have a celebration. Everybody gets together and eats because we haven’t been eating during the daytime for 30 days pretty much,” she said. “That’s why it’s called Eid!”

Pesach Passover, in the words of Rabbi Lyle Rothman from UM Hillel, is “the Jewish festival of freedom, where the Jewish people mark their time when they were slaves in Egypt to when they were freed from that slavery by God.” A popular Passover tradition is eating matzah, a form of unleavened bread. “They didn’t have enough time for the bread to rise so they baked these cakes, matzah, and they ate that on their journey,” Rothman said. “That’s why we eat the matzah today, in remembrance of that struggle, of leaving Egypt that quickly.” Like many Jewish holidays, the celebration is held over multiple days and Rothman and his family celebrate for seven or eight days. “The Bible tells us the holiday is seven days, but outside the land of Israel the holiday is celebrated by many people for eight,” he said. Passover ends with Yom Tov, two days that are considered holidays in their own right. Yom Tov is spent praying and celebrating the splitting of the Red Sea, the Jewish people’s final step on their journey to freedom.


The Festival of Lights Hanukkah is the most well known Jewish holiday and, yet, the least understood. The holiday, contrary to what one may think, is not one of the religion’s most important holidays. “Hanukkah is truly a minor Jewish holiday,” said Rabbi Rothman. “This means, unlike Passover, there are no kinds of restrictions on work or the way you observe.” Since there are no restrictions on one’s daily life for Hanukkah, it is usually celebrated through customs. “You might eat food cooked in oil to remember the oil that lasted eight nights, so you might have potato latkes,” Rothman said. “There are really two parts of Hanukkah, but the one that everyone seems to gravitate toward is that there was oil in the temple that was supposed to last only one night and it

46 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

miraculously lasted eight nights.” However, Hanukkah holds a deeper meaning. In the words of the rabbi, the holiday commemorates “the small Maccabean people who overcame oppression from the Syrian-Greek army.” While the holiday is most well known for its place on the calendar, Hanukkah is the classic underdog story of the brave few over the many. “Whether or not the miracle of the oil is actually true, the message of what it is like to be small in number, yet mighty because of what it means to all come together for a single cause is something that, whether Jewish or not, you can take with into your life,” Rothman said.

per cep tion of t i m e words_jorge chabo. photo_patrick ruvo. design_alexa aguilar.


p er

A 1956 photo from the Ibis yearbook shows a student walking along Lake Osceola across from what is now the Shalala Student Center.

cep ti on of ti me

Each semester of college seems to fly by in the blink of an eye – excuse the cliché and the rhyme. How we perceive time is both an individualistic experience and a complex science.

48 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

Sabrina Cheikhali is a senior studying business law and marketing and working 25 hours a week at the Apple Store. She is the co-executive director for TEDxUMiami, managing editor of the Ibis Yearbook, graphic design chair of Category 5 and part of the ‘Canes Advisory Council. Nicole Arguelles is a junior studying marketing and psychology. She works 10 hours a week at different occupations, which include an internship and tutoring, as well as being a business analyst for Orange Umbrella, a member of the Hyperion Council and an active sister of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority. Cheikhali and Arguelles are among the busiest students here at the University of Miami. Combined, the two have 10 major time commitments on top of being full-time students. To them, planning is based on the nature of the event – urgency over importance. It

can all be done, but it’s truly a matter of time. “I perceive time as something that is limited, but renewed each day,” Cheikhali said. “If I slack off an entire day, there’s always tomorrow — and I mean that in a way that isn’t procrastinating, but rather that it’s literally a refresh of 24 hours and how I decide to use them is up to me.” Time is usually thought of as simply a glance at the clock. It organizes our lives by providing a method to divide up our days, representing the distance as we age. We can’t stop it, we can’t go back, it only moves in one direction – forward. But what is it? The question has puzzled many. Physics still only has an idea of what time is. A quick Google search and you’ll find yourself in the depths of Quantum Theory, a field of science so far from our reach that it enters a world

a lot of us can’t even comprehend. A femtosecond is the smallest measurement of time at which an atom vibrates. None of the technology we have today can measure beyond this point. This subatomic realm is a place described by mathematics and proven to be true only through rigorous testing that still continues to this day. Although

theories exist of time being made up of something at this subatomic level – a hypothetical chronon unit has been proposed for a discrete quantum of time – it still hasn’t been proven, leaving it an area of physics that remains incomplete. “[At a time] quicker than atoms can react, suddenly the world becomes very strange,” said Dr. Neil Johnson, a UM physics professor who looks at the physics of collective behavior and emergent properties in real-world systems that are “complex.” “The idea of causality – what things can cause other things and what events can cause other events: I’m interested in that, not at the scale of femtoseconds, but at the scale of

everyday things.” The order of events are how things make sense to us not just at a practical level, but to the brain as well. Perception is a sequence of steps that begins with stimuli in the environment and ends with our interpretation of those stimuli. It begins with selection, as the brain chooses what to focus on depending on the individual. Once the stimuli is selected, it sets off a series of reactions in our brain which are organized to translate sensory details into a mental representation. Finally, the brain interprets the information in a way that makes sense using our existing information about the world. All of this happens unconsciously thousands of times a day. In the same way that we discuss work-life balance, it is the chemical balance and perfect sequence of our brain that makes all of this possible. “Every Sunday I look at my agenda and try to plan for every two days working around my classes in chunks of time,” Arguelles said. “Time is dedicated to events that have the closest upcoming deadline. To stay balanced, if I want to go out, I’ll make sure everything is done beforehand.” All of Arguelles’ and Cheikhali’s commitments, mixed with school and having a social life, mimic a complex system, and their approach to staying in control mirrors that of the brain. There’s process and planning, such as selecting what they need to do, organizing these events accordingly and interpreting their worth to measure the effort required of them. But, of course, things don’t always go according to plan. When this occurs, they adapt. “If something goes off plan, I’ll try to work on things smarter and not harder,” Arguelles said. “When I have too much stress, I don’t perform at my best. If things get too crazy, I take a step back and watch an episode of “New Girl,” which is 20 minutes, making it the

perfect time for a break.” Similarly, the brain will fill in when it has to, accounting for lost time. Part of Johnson’s work is his theory of relation between the decentralized financial markets and the complex system of sequences in the brain. “[Observing the markets], you get a phenomena related to the kind of the disorders you see in a brain where you get cascading of delays set up,” Johnson said. “If I’m a machine, if I’m part of this whole network, and there are moments that you get correlated delays, then my perception of the world is that something huge is happening — even though something isn’t.” Through his research, Johnson has been able to show that if you arrange for the news to arrive to the system in a certain way, then it creates a completely different perception of the world. “This has nothing to do with fake or real news,” he said. “It’s about when the news arrives.” Students like Cheikhali and Arguelles perceive their time as a resource, a commodity that must be spent efficiently if they wish to obtain their respective goals. Having busy schedules, and jumping from event to event in a predetermined order, allows them to perceive a reality that is one of hard work; and their positive reaction to that provides the feedback to the network that keeps them motivated to move forward. However, because they are not machines, they must take a step back and rest every once in a while. What you spend your time doing affects the brain. As it adapts and reacts to certain stimuli, your reality is ultimately a predictive pattern that is fed through the feedback of your network, or rather your surroundings. Johnson uses the example of watching water as it falls while flashing a strobe light: “If you strobe it in a certain way, it changes the sense of reality. Because you know from gravity that it should be falling, but it seems to be rising … you can imagine that if there’s a stream of events, but if I’m picking up those events in the wrong order, I get a different reality of the world.” While physics views time as a smooth constant in one direction, our perception of it is very much guided by the processes of the brain. As a minute spent waiting in line could feel like an hour, an hour spent with friends could feel like a minute. Reality is perception, and everything is just a matter of time.

what are you worried about for the future?

37.9% not being financially secure

15.2% being lonely

37.9% the future in general

9% other *based on a poll from Distraction


words_marissa vonesh & lizzie wilcox. photo_gianna sanchez. design_muguang chen.

On Miami Time 50 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

Built on artificial land, unforeseen dreams of businessmen, promise of money and glamor, and exploitation of cheap labor – has much changed in Miami? Miami is a tale of boom and bust, each era marked by a hurricane, building boom or political riot. As the chaos settles, in true Miami fashion, another era lurks in the corners to redefine Miami as we know it.

Built on arti land, unfore dreams of businessmen promise of m and glamor exploitation cheap labor much chang in Miami? M is a tale of b and bust, ea era marked hurricane, b boom or pol riot. As the c settles, in tr Miami fashio another era in the corne redefine wh Miami is.

ificial eseen

Maltese travelers – Jacques, 40, and Maximillion, 6 – relax at Miami Beach.

n, money and n of r – has ged Miami boom ach by a building litical chaos rue on, lurks ers to hat



he story of the Greater Miami is one of opportunity, displacement and refuge. The collection of cultures, ideas, people and motivations makes Miami a hotbed of innovation, but not one without controversial footnotes. Corruption, crime, neglect, segregation – Miami’s history is hardly the flawless image of bikini-clad bodies walking down South Beach. The reinvention of the city is propped on the backs of recent refugees, entrepreneurs and college students. This is Miami; this is home. After being demolished by the 1926 Great Hurricane, Miami rebuilt and became a sleepy beach hideaway where old retirees settled. Art Deco characterized Miami and tourists flocked to the glamorous beach living seen in ads. Then, Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba, Walt Disney created Disney World in Orlando and the Caribbean became the preferred tropical destination. Refugees replaced tourists, and a Cuban-American identity formed. In the late 1970s, Castro declared that anyone who wanted to leave Cuba had open access to the docks. In this, an estimated 25,000 prisoners and mental patients were transported via rule of Castro, shattering the stereotypical image of a wealthy Batista-exiled Cuban and introducing more crime to Miami. The Mariel Boatlift met the CocaineCowboy era, and Miami became the ultimate backdrop for a “paradise lost.” In 1986, Miami-Dade county had a record-breaking 12,000 crimes per 100,000 residents, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, compared to 2016 data of only 4,118 crimes per 100,000 residents. Pulled up from the bootstraps thanks to the promotion of “Miami Vice” and the work of the Miami Police Department, modern day neighborhoods in Miami began to take formal roots. For example, Haitian immigrants fleeing economic refuge found a home in North Miami Beach and the historic Lemon City. Today the majority of Miami’s neighborhoods are a conglomerate of Latin American and Caribbean cultures. Doral, to most, is an enclave of Venezuela. Kendall, the home to a “true” Miamian. Coconut Grove, the local free spirit. Wynwood, the artist. Pinecrest, a Jewish subculture. Like other big cities in the country, the makeup of Miami is separated by culture and group.

52 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

Jersey tourist Lisandra Santana, 21, takes in the sun of downtown Miami.

Rafael, 34, Jiomarys, 34, and Amia, 2, Alers explore Miami Beach. The family recently moved from Conneticuit.

Zak Gomes, 30, Randy Ferrufino, 30, and Adelino Gomes, 32, explore Brickell to escape the cold of Boston.

Miami natives – Gabriela Planas ,17; Miguel Ruis,18, Amanda Perez,18; Kristi Suarez,17 – enjoy a day at Miami Beach.

Patty, 46, and Eric Martinez, 38, Brickell locals, enjoy a Saturday at Brickell City Center.

“You have your pockets and you stay in your pockets,” said Edward Julbe, a school of communication professor at the University of Miami. Julbe grew up in North Miami Beach in the 1980s to two Cuban parents, both of whom left the island in the first wave of Cuban exile. Julbe remembers his childhood as a time dominated by an AngloAmerican middle class, the “typical 2.5 kids” and all, but by the mid-90s and the influx of Haitian refugees, North Miami Beach began to change. Currently, in Miami-Dade County, the foreign born population is 52.2 percent and the Hispanic population is 67.7 percent, according to latest Census Bureau records in July 2016. Of the 1.46 million county residents defined as “foreign born,” 92.9 percent were from Latin America, according to MiamiDade’s 2017 County Summary Profile. Of those, 47.3 percent identified as Cuban. “People take what their culture is and they don’t change it when they get here,” Julbe said. “It’s all encompassing anywhere south of Broward – Miami envelopes everything.” Today, many Miami natives are of Cuban descent. Junior Amanda Fuentes is Cuban on her father’s side. Her grandparents originally left Cuba for the Canary Islands in Spain, where they lived for about a year until they were granted access to the United States. Fuentes, who grew up in Kendall, notes being shaped by the Hispanic environment she has always lived in. “I don’t think I could’ve ever grown up somewhere without culture … Miami is so colorful,” she said. Senior Alexis De La Rosa also feels that the culture of the 305 has contributed to her identity. “In Miami it’s almost assumed that you’re from somewhere different, speak a different language, are diverse,” De La Rosa said. “Here in Miami, we interact with people from all over the world all the time.” De La Rosa, who lives in Miami Springs, has a lot of family in Miami, and they try to get together once a week to catch up. “We’re really close and really tightknit. I don’t know what I would do without them,” she said. It was the reputation of the School of Communication, her tight-knit family and her unconditional love for her city that made her want to stay here for college. “I’ve been here for 21 [years] and I still don’t have enough … I love it here,” De La Rosa said. Junior Tiffanie Gonzalez-Quevedo,

On Miami Time

who grew up in Doral and currently resides in Sweetwater, is Cuban on both sides of her family. “I feel like a lot of my personal views and a lot of things I do, the way I am … even the way I talk, my heritage really plays an impact on it,” she said. Junior Sofia Estevez, who now lives in Miramar in Broward County, has fond memories of growing up in Hialeah. Even after she moved to Miramar in first grade, she still spent a lot of time in Hialeah, both at school and at her grandparents’ and great aunt’s house. Estevez calls her upbringing a “nice mixture” of Cuban and American, and discussed some of the “funky traditions” Cubans have, like eating 12 grapes for each month on New Year’s Eve and making a wish on each grape. “Something else you do, you take luggage and you run around the block with it and it’s supposed to give you good travels for the year,” Estevez said. Both Fuentes and Estevez noted the influence the Miami culinary scene has had on them. “I love my Cuban food and when I want a croqueta, I want a croqueta,” Fuentes said. One of the most beloved Hispanic traditions among all of the students is Nochebuena, or Christmas Eve. To them, Nochebuena is more important than Christmas Day. On Nochebuena, Hispanics have a feast that consists of rice, beans and the main dish, lechon, or roasted pork. The pork is roasted all day, and even though the real celebration isn’t until night, Fuentes’ family makes it an all-day affair by hosting a barbeque while the pig is cooking. For the Gonzalez-Quevedo family, Nochebuena is a holiday that brings generations together. Each year, they go to her grandparents’ house on her mother’s side, where her grandfather cooks the pig. “Now he’s teaching my cousins and my brothers because he’s, like, 82 already, but he’s been doing it all these years,” Gonzalez-Quevedo said. “All of our family - even our family friends - everybody comes to it and it’s the biggest thing of the year.” The diversity of the 305 and the ability for residents to maintain their heritage makes Miami particularly unique. It is the amalgamation of many cultures in Miami’s melting pot that creates a scenario conducive to being “on Miami time” – a time in your own world and culture, and maybe (definitely) a little late. May 2018 DISTRACTION 53

54 DISTRACTION Special Section: Time

Genuine and free-spirited, Health and Wellness gives a wholesome take on physical, mental and spiritual restoration. Living by the mantra “my body is a temple� can be just as easily done as it is said with the wisdom that Health and Wellness has to offer.

photo_patrick ruvo. lettering_kelvine moyers. model_jarred graham.


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on point . a. ph uilar oto_s asha mannin . design_alexa ag g

56 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness

Feared by many, but adored by its users, acupuncture has countless benefits to maintaining a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally.


o, you’ve always wanted to try acupuncture, but you’re scared of needles, huh? Well, I don’t blame you – I hate needles, too. So much so that I have to look away and hold my mom’s hand whenever I get a shot, regrettably even at 22. However, the needles used in acupuncture therapy are barely needles at all. In fact, most people that experience discomfort from acupuncture say that it comes from the unfamiliar jolt when the needles trigger a muscle spasm, not from the prying of the needle itself. The ancient – 2,000 years old, to be exact – Chinese art of acupuncture plays out like this: a licensed practitioner inserts tiny, prick-like needles into various parts of your body to target different areas, usually while you lay on a massage table of some sort, in an effort to simulate comfort while tiny needles are being pricked into your body. Acupuncture has been scientifically and anecdotally proven to be useful in combating a spectrum of ailments, including chronic fatigue, migraines, back and neck pain and osteoarthritis. The theory behind acupuncture is that there are patterns of energy flow, also called Qi, that traverse the body and are imperative to maintaining good health. According to acupuncture literature, disruptions or interferences

of this energy flow from physical and emotional stress can lead to ailments and diseases. When you consider Newton’s Third Law, that every action has a reaction, it starts to make some sense. Acupuncturists try to reset and recalibrate this flow of energy by targeting specific body points that trigger a release and restore the energy balance. Allison Santini, a SoulCycle instructor, swears by the benefits of acupuncture. “Acupuncture has saved my life, no joke,” Santini said. “Because of what I do, I’m constantly in some sort of pain or another and I’ve also had chronic fatigue ever since I was in college. Acupuncture literally kills my pain and makes me so much more energized – I feel like a new person after a session.” Other students have attested to similar results of acupuncture. If you’re still a little hesitant to let someone stick needles in your back, I can’t say I blame you. It is tough to conceptualize the idea of seeking harmony by being pricked by needles. However, you should know that the FDA strictly regulates all acupuncture centers and practitioners and ensures that their needles are both sterile and single-use … so nobody else’s Qi ends up in your back.

Freshman Isabella Vaccarro relaxes during an acupuncture session. Acupuncure is an alternative form of therapy that originated as an ancient Chinese Art.


The Gut words_anya balsamides. design_alexa aguilar. illustration_dana musso.


58 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness

Growing up, you’re always told to eat your fruits and veggies. They’re packed with vitamins and minerals that allow you to remain physically healthy, but did you know that your diet can also affect your mental health?

weat drips down your back, coating your forehead, your hands. You wipe your hands and take a shaky breath, trying to remember your lines. But now your mind is endlessly blank and you feel a pit opening in your stomach. Most students are painfully aware of this anxiety that drapes things like oral presentations. But where exactly does that sinking feeling in your stomach come from, that gaping black hole? From butterflies in your stomach to feeling nauseous when you see an unsettling sight – these feelings remind us just how amazingly interconnected the human body is. But have you ever wondered how your thoughts affect your body, how your mind produces a physical reaction to psychological distress? According to Harvard Health Publishing, “the brain has a direct effect on the stomach.” So, when you experience extreme emotions, like the anxiety of an oral presentation or the excitement of a first date, your body actually produces a physical reaction. But how does your brain affect your stomach? Well, if you look closely – and I mean really closely – you’ll find over 100 million brain cells living in your gut. It’s fascinating, this biological mosaic. But that’s not even the best part; new research is beginning to suggest that the gut, sometimes called our second brain, is sensitive to and reacts to our emotions. The cells in your brain actually communicate with the brain cells in your gut and vice versa. So, as you’re reading this, notice your gut might have something to say about it. BODY LIKE A HUNGRY RIVER Trillions of cells act as building blocks, forming each follicle of hair, each individual eyelash, each inch of skin. Those trillions of cells house about 78 different organs, and those organs are connected by winding streams of over 60,000


miles of blood vessels that stretch from your feet all the way to your head. There is a fountain of emotions ever running through your mind; these thoughts and feelings spill out as messages from the brain and weave through the back streams of your body to influence its entire functioning. So what is food’s roll in all of this? When food is digested in your gut, messages are then sent back to your brain. Your body is like a river, a complex system of canals that carries messages from one organ to the next. All of your cells, organs and blood vessels can be categorized into 11 different body systems, all of which are dependent on one another. The foods you eat not only appease cravings and elicit feelings of satisfaction, but also actually induce unique chain reactions and specific hormones to be released as well. So is there a connection between the food you eat and your brain chemistry? Definitely.

health issues. Scientists are exploring the idea of introducing more “good” bacteria to fight the excess of “bad” and, in turn, combat the development of mental illness. Some scientists are using the probiotic philosophy, which focuses on introducing more probiotics into your diet. This “good” bacteria can be found in yogurt, kombucha and kimchi. With more of this “good” bacteria floating around in your stomach, you may lessen your chances of falling victim to bad moods and you will almost certainly have more energy to go about your day. Yes, the link between gut and brain is actually that strong.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Running with the river analogy, imagine the connections in your brain to be free flowing water. In the absence of enough algae and with too much pollution running amuck, the water is obscured and slows in movement. Just as the water depletes in quality, so does the potential of the inner workings of your body. The first step is choosing the right foods to properly fuel your body and essentially clarify the passageways. Medical researchers recommend a diet rich in essential fats, complex carbohydrates, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and, of course, water. Nutritious foods not only help your brain function quicker, but also help enhance your mood. So eating better can actually make you feel better. “Deficiencies of certain minerals can sometimes affect mood, clarity and speed of thought and general demeanor,” said personal training and nutrition expert Michael Czech. Freshman Shainaya Kukreja, who became vegan nine months ago, said, “Basically, I’m more motivated throughout the day and have more focus from my healthy diet. I can tell I feel more lethargic when I eat unhealthily, so I really just never do anymore.” But it’s not just your mood that’s at risk; it is your mental health, too. Scientists are working to uncover the prevalent link between diet and the risk of mental health disorders, like anxiety and depression. When following a “traditional” diet, rich in vegetables, fruits and grains, your risk of depression is far lower than when following a “Western” diet, which is full of processed foods and refined sugars. Luke Sukiennik, a former University of Miami student who completely changed his diet over a 12-week period, traded pizza and pasta for lean meats and vegetables and has noticed a dramatic change in his mental state. By eating a diet full of protein, leafy greens and vegetables, Sukiennik said, “Overall, my mental health improved in the long-run.” Along with the brain cells, there are also trillions of bacterial cells in your gut. These bacteria, both “good” and “bad,” are necessary for your body to function properly. As a general rule, the body wants to be balanced, just as most things in nature strive for homeostasis. Your body naturally balances itself out, striving to maintain the perfect levels of “good” and “bad” bacteria. But sometimes, it needs a little help. Scientists are starting to think that when there is too much “bad” bacteria in our guts, people are more susceptible to developing health problems, specifically mental

SUPER SIZE ME The two-way dynamic between one’s mental health and diet cannot go ignored. In the United States specifically, foods are increasingly being stripped of their natural vitamins and minerals through excessive processing. Both unhealthy eating habits and depression rates are at all-time highs. Is it just a coincidence? Czech believes that the problem with mental health lies with food industries, specifically fast-food chains. “The food industry places a high premium on profitability rather than nutritious value in these foods,” he said, adding that these processed foods “are made widely available, inexpensively and devoid of the nutrition people of all ages require.” There seems to be a problem with the food industry itself, as the majority of large food chains do not promote healthy, clean eating. Instead, they focus on minimizing costs by using the cheapest ingredients to thus maximize their own profits – possibly at the expense of people’s mental health. Remember a balanced diet makes for a balanced mind. Those brain cells and bacteria in your gut are hard at work; the least we can do is supply them with healthy, nourishing foods. And sometimes, it really does pay off to listen to your gut.

60 DISTRACTION Health & Wellness


1 2 3 4 5

If spread out, your digestive system would cover a tennis court

There are over 100 million brain cells in your gut

The gut has its very own nervous system

About 70 percent of your immune system is located in your gut

The acid in your stomach would be strong enough to burn your skin


It’s bulking season and we’ve got the scoop on what to eat & how to train in order to maximize muscle growth and minimize fat gain. words & design_kelvine moyers.

What to Eat When trying to “bulk” or gain muscle mass, it’s vital that you are in a caloric surplus. That is, you’re consuming more calories than expending. According to Dr. Wesley Smith, UM’s director of nutrition and a professor of exercise physiology, the most common error that individuals make when trying to put on muscle mass is not consuming enough calories. Smith recommends an extra 400-500 calories per day to make sure you’re in a caloric surplus to properly bulk up. Another common misconception among “bulkers” is that they need to consume a plethora of protein to maximize muscle gain. However, Smith advocates for a moderate amount of protein because “you expend more calories digesting protein” and the macronutrient tends to “make you feel full,” which actually prevents you from eating at a surplus. He recommends a high protein diet for individuals trying to lose weight, not gain muscle. Those who are bulking should stick to 1.6 - 1.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight and focus on increasing their carb and fat intake. Starchy vegetables and healthy fats – found in foods like avocados, nuts, seeds and coconut oil – are calorically dense and can help you reach your training needs.

The Scoop On

Protein Powder

How to Train For a leaner bulk, Smith recommends that you pair your diet with a training routine high in volume and intensity. Without the proper resistance training, the extra calories you consume will be stored as fat, instead of muscle. Keep in mind that fat gain is inevitable when bulking, but proper training does minimize it. If your goal is to make “gainz” in all of your muscle groups, the best way to do so is by separating your lifting days and assigning a muscle group to each day. Freshman Victoria Nordquist follows this rule by having a chest/triceps day, back/bicep day, shoulders day, leg day and an ab/cardio day. The benefit, she states, is that “you get to target each muscle group specifically and know it’s being worked.”

Protein powder is a dietary supplement for individuals trying to gain muscle and increase their daily protein intake. It has become a trend to add protein powder to shakes, smoothies and even acai bowls. But what’s the deal, is it healthy or not? For someone who is in a time crunch and has trouble meeting their daily amount of protein, protein powder can really help. It’s convenient, plus it allows

you to consume quite a lot in a short time period. It’s especially beneficial for athletes or those who exercise frequently and need to quickly replenish their reserves after workouts. In the long run, it is more beneficial to get your protein from whole, natural foods, as they contain additional micronutrients that protein supplements often lack.



SHOW Bold patterns, colorful lights and a night filled with infinite possibilities. Escape into Miami nightlife and be the showstopper that has everyone talking. Sleek, eyecatching pieces paired with vibrant shoes and accessories will be essential to your wardrobe this summer. Step out and own the night showcasing the hottest looks this upcoming season.

photo_ sidney sherman. design_ sidney sherman & teddy willson. styling_jo’shua coates, lauren gimpel & jade simmons. makeup_ abby podolski. models_ branden holzer, alex michell, abby podolsky & isabella vaccaro. location_el tucan.



On Alex: shirt, Express; jeans, Zara; shoes, Nike; glasses, Express.


On Abby: shirt, Daya by Zendaya; shorts, Topshop, shoes, Tony Bianco, glasses, Quay; earrings, Nordstrom

On Alex: jacket, Pac Sun; hoodie, Hollister; jeans, G by Guess, shoes, Zara; On Abby: shirt, Daya by Zendaya; shorts, Topshop, shoes, Tony Bianco, glasses, Quay; earrings, Nordstrom; On Isabella: jacket, Topshop; shirt, LF; pants, Topshop; boots, ASOS. On Isabella: jacket, Topshop; shirt, LF; skirt, Urban Outfitters; shoes, boutique; glasses, Quay, purse, Nordstrom ; On Abby: shirt, BP; pants, Zara, shoes, Tony Bianco; jewelry, Nordstrom.



On Abby: bag, Nordstrom; boots, ASOS. On Isabella: bag, Topshop; shoes, boutique.


On Abby: shirt, BP; pants, Zara, shoes, Tony Bianco; jewelry, Nordstrom.



words_jade simmons. photography_sasha manning. design_kayla foster & jade simmons. makeup_zaakiyah rogers. model_ani rodriguez.


Metallic makeup is all the rage this summer season. Be the first to reflect the trend. It’s all about bold colors and shine.

For centuries, women have used makeup to cover up their perceived “flaws,” accentuate their natural beauty or to simply fit in with those around them. Regarding the “why” behind makeup, not much has changed. However, makeup trends and colors have evolved over the years. In 2018, metallics are dominating the scene.

akeup is a mood—a lifestyle (ask Kylie). More than a mere method of complementing an outfit, it goes beyond the surface level and, like a mirror, has the ability to reflect what’s within. A woman feeling flirty might opt for a pink lip. If she’s daring—red. Regal? Most definitely purple or blue. But regardless of color choice, 2018’s metallic trend is for the powerful, carefree and somewhat mystical woman. Boldly applied or barely there, shine makes a statement. Recently, shimmer has been anything but subtle, which is evident by the crazy glistening faces Giambattista Valli’s models flashed down the Paris Fashion Week runway. Less outlandish, but equally impactful is the intense use of highlighter (Fenty Beauty’s “Trophy Wife” is blinding). And lately, glimmering eyeshadow has more prevalently made an appearance in the fashion world. Reflective eye looks

were seen on the Spring 2018 Couture runway accompanying the collections of Viktor & Rolf, Ronald van der Kemp, and Elie Saab. The Fashion Week conclusion: glittery eyes are the perfect way to add some edge to the sweetness of spring. They’re captivating. Sparkles should never blow the budget though! Achieve an affordable, colorful glow with the Masquerade Palette from Juvia’s Place, Diamond Dew LID toppers from Lime Crime, or the Element of Surprise Palette from ColourPop. If the combination of color and glitter is too eccentric for comfort, neutral metallics can be found in Morphe’s 35O Palette along with others, such as Soft Glam by Anastasia Beverly Hills. Whichever suits you best, give your glint all you’ve got. Be heavy handed. Layer colors for depth and intensity. And most importantly, remember your look is a reflection of your inner power.

DISTRACTION SUGGESTS stila’s Glitter & Glow Liquid Eye Shadows, $24, ColourPop’s Ultra Metallic Lip Collection, $6.50 per gloss, e.l.f.’s Matte to Metal Eye Primer Transformer, $4, May 2018 DISTRACTION 69

fluid fashion words_jordan orriols. photo_patrick ruvo. design_sophie robbins.


The influence of androgynous dressing on social equality and perceptions of gender.


ndrogynous dressing has become an increasingly popular and undeniable force in the fashion world. Many have described today’s young people as the most open-minded that have existed yet. Through discussion and understanding, a previously dismissed conversation about gender has become an important topic on the world stage. Identification is no longer as simple as, “‘he”’ and “‘she,”’ but now includes a variety of other pronouns, such as “‘they”’ and “‘per.”’ The line between male and female has become blurred and this new genderless ideology has become prevalent in the fashion world as well. Popular brands such as Zara and H&M have each taken a shot at creating gender-neutral clothing lines that would allow people to even further incorporate this style into their daily lives. Though this idea of androgyny seems modern and fresh, it got its root back nearly a hundred years ago and has continued to strengthen as the years have passed. One of fashion’s first introductions to gender-neutral clothing was created by one of the world’s most famous designers, Coco Chanel. Chanel began designing in 1913, a period of time in which women were still fighting for their right to vote and a chance to have a voice that was equal to their male counterparts. Chanel believed that the women of the time should not be forcibly stuffed into the old-fashioned, Victorian-era clothes, which led her to create more masculine silhouettes, including pants. Though these designs alone could not give women the independence they were fighting for, it could create a different “sense of freedom,” as said by Chanel, that would be present in their everyday lives. Later, another notable designer, Yves Saint Laurent, created clothing that would defy the gender norms that had always been present in fashion’s past. By 1920, women had gained the right to vote; in the 1960s, women were still fighting for their equality. The transition from domestic life into the workforce was occurring and happening fast. Women were now becoming hands-on leaders in their own lives, and Saint Laurent believed that they should have the perfect wardrobe for this new role in society. The desire to represent women’s newfound strength was demonstrated through Saint Laurent’s creation of the first ever woman’s tuxedo. Though this design was remarkably chic, it represented not only a fashion evolution, but also a social one: women were

becoming men’s equals in the world. Prince, known largely for his groundbreaking music and talent, was also known for his unique sense of style. Prince was one of the most famous androgynous dressers and did not shy away from his style as his fame continued to grow. Instead, with time, Prince grew more into himself and used his style to represent his feelings. Prince did not identify with a single gender and believed that others should not be forced to do the same. In the later stages of his career, he even changed his name from “Prince” to a symbol that was a combination of the male and female sex symbols. As Prince continued to dress without consideration of gender, he greatly influenced others who admired him. Prince’s pride in his androgyny and expressing himself was extremely influential in helping fans to express themselves in their own lives. Throughout the course of the 1980s, androgyny was a sweeping style force that could not be slowed down largely due to the late singer’s influence. Vogue, arguably the most respected fashion publication, featured Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik on the cover of its August 2017 issue. There was something different about this shoot. It featured Hadid and Malik dressed in the same, gender fluid clothing and discussed a “generation who doesn’t see fashion as gendered.” Brands like Off-White, Opening Ceremony and Gucci have created lines that can be worn by both men and women. This new trend hints at the future of fashion. It shows a future that has no boundaries and allows people to truly and fully express the way that they feel through their style. Androgyny is the perfect way for the young members of society – or any member for that matter - to portray their feelings, as this is the most gender fluid and least conformist generation yet. Influential brands, like Louis Vuitton, have even launched “womenswear” campaigns with clothing being worn by a male model. Androgyny has had a long path of evolution in the fashion industry that began almost a century ago. It seems rather than fading away as most trends do, androgyny has only grown stronger over time. Maybe one reason for its growing influence is the very real and important meaning behind the style of dress. It has evolved from symbolizing things like women’s fight for equality to now being a representation of the idea that perhaps assigning genders to individuals is a thing of the past.



QUEENS T H E B E A U T Y O F C U LT U R E , T H E C U LT U R E O F B E A U T Y When scanning the surface of American culture, it can feel as though beauty is reserved only for a select few in the population. But in reality, the idea of beauty is relative and reaches beyond what meets the eye. For many people, traditional beauty does not equate to mainstream billboards, but rather beliefs formed through their heritage. words_allegra turner. photo_sidney sherman. design_teddy willson.


very culture has its own definition of beauty that rarely ever ends with just physical features. Sophomore Serena Shah attributes her belief that “beauty is living with passion” to her Indian culture. Shah’s definition of beauty mentions nothing about looks, but rather being the best possible version of yourself through avenues such as cuisine and clothing. Indian cooking, for example, teaches the importance of going the extra mile and bringing happiness to others as a means of beauty. For Shah, purpose lies in good character, so to her, “living for something that lies outside of your immediate self is true beauty.” Everyone knows the cliché saying of beauty coming in all shapes and sizes, and while that movement has been growing recently, there is another side that emphasizes the multifaceted composition of individuals. America has long been touted as a melting pot of cultures, but now it is a melting pot of beauty. Junior Elisabeth Hofer defines culture as family since her parents came from two distinct backgrounds: Austrian and Peruvian.

Elisabeth Hofer, a junior, with an Austrian and Peruvian background.


“Living for something that lies outside of your immediate self is true beauty.” Naomi Ayotemi Somolu, a junior, who comes from the Nigerian Yoruba tribe.


“My family’s culture – not my country of residence – has shaped my traditions, worldview and way of thinking,” she said. “Beauty simply is what you make of it, and what I’ve made of it is a patchwork art piece of all I’ve ever come across,” Hofer said. This statement is not to say that factors such as nice hair, clear skin and pretty clothes are unimportant to beauty, but instead, that beauty is a concept that encompasses every aspect of our being. When something or someone is beautiful, it is not just about how it looks, but how it makes you feel. As Junior Naomi Ayotemi Somolu, who comes from the Nigerian Yoruba tribe, said, “I wake up each morning feeling beyond beautiful and confident; you can sense it in the way I walk, speak, think, interact with others … to me that is beauty.” Every person, experience, or item that you find beautiful may stem from the way it looks superficially, but in the end, true beauty comes from your interaction, relationship and expression with it. While Somolu’s mindset may seem difficult to grasp for people of today’s society, there does exists a surging community in which beauty flourishes through a multitude of lenses. When the stipulations of a one-sided, surface level outlook are stripped away, the underlying colorful embellishments of true beauty shine through in every beauty queen.

rench designer Charles Frederick Worth, the “father of haute couture” began using models of all sizes to allure customers in the mid-1800s. Worth would parade his band of models, a clan composed of tall, short, fat, thin and everything in between, around his store, so his customers could see the way his clothing fit. It seems in a span of about a decade and a half, we have made a complete 360-degree shift in terms of who exactly is allowed to don fashion’s latest and greatest, with many brands welcoming the fuller, size 12 or 14 plus-size model into their campaigns. But don’t be fooled. The nearly withering-away, waif-like statute is still adored (and used) by most labels. Where did this infatuation with the young skin-and-bone, skeletal type come from? Fashion experts will say skinny has always been in, but it seems the 1980s, with its Kate Moss-esque standards, was when the industry dove, full-throttle, into the lean and lanky craze. Designers were only interested in seeing their clothing on tiny bodies, the dresses and shirts practically hanging off the limp frames of these “fit models.” Soon the samples used for press became smaller and smaller — and the smaller the sample, the more minuscule the model. There may not be one moment in time where the fashion world suddenly embraced curvy hips and fuller busts, but Ford Models’ christening of a new division for size 10 or 12 women (Ford +) in 1998 definitely hoisted this trend. Though their pay and exposure were about as fat as their size two superiors, today, plus size models are gaining traction — and a lot more jobs. But what exactly separates a plus-size model from straight-size models? Well, there is no clear answer. Some brands consider models who wear above a size eight plus-sized, while others call sizes six and eight “in-betweeners” and sizes 14 and 16 “plus-sized.” On the forefront of the plus-size push are models Crystal Renn, who has walked in Chanel shows and appeared in several French Vogue spreads, Ashley Graham, who recently became a face for Revlon lipstick and Candice Huffine, who is a two-time cover girl for Vogue Italia. And these are just a few of the curvaceous ladies who not only promote glamour and style through their modeling, but also self-love and health. And though they haven’t made it to Vogue yet, UM has its fair share of plus-size models as well. We were lucky enough to speak with Virtue Jean, a junior at the university and a working plus-size model.

words_isabella vaccaro. photo_sasha manning. design_ellen kiser. model & styling_virtue jean.


Distraction: When did you start modeling? Virtue: I started modeling in high school. I had a

fashion show when I was a senior, so about 17 going on 18.

D: What does the term plus-size model mean to you? V: Well, for me a plus-size model definitely means

anyone who ranges from a size 14 and up. Now of course some people have different definitions for that, but of course it is geared toward women who are curvier, women with meat. Personally for me, it also means a woman who is confident in her own body, enough to display that in photography or the runway. Yeah, that last part there, I really walk by that. I live by that. That’s kind of what draws me to do what I do, you know being comfortable in a society that tells you you’re not.

D: My next question was going to be, “Do you think the term has a negative or positive connotation?” but I think I know the answer already. V: (laughing) I think the term has, for me, a positive connotation. However, if we can be honest and real, there are still some people who are ignorant in the sense of not really accepting or appreciating. And you know, even in the fashion industry, it would be deemed, 20 years ago, impossible for a curvy woman to ever be in a runway show or ever pose in a magazine. But now today you have women who are comfortable enough in their skin to even say they are a model — they’re plus-size models, they are identifying themselves as who they are. Yes, I am not a size one, and there is nothing wrong with being a size one, but there is something wrong when you have a problem with me not being a size one. If I can rip the runway, then I shouldn’t be judged because of the fact that I have some hips or butt or breasts. I should be judged based on how I do my job and that is to pose or model. And if that’s not the center of attention, then it should not be a matter of mention or fact, so I think it’s a positive and a negative. Negative because of people who are so stuck in their ways. We are still fighting the belief system, we are still fighting prejudice and discrimination and so forth. But positive because women are becoming a bit aware like, “Hey yeah I’m bold, I’m big and I’m beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with that.” D: Have you ever experienced any sort of backlash – anyone telling you that you can’t model because of how you look? V: Yeah, absolutely. I absolutely did. When I first tried in high school, I was told I wouldn’t get the part because of the fact that I was plus-size. And a part of that kind of had me hesitant to audition in the first place, but I still did and I’m so glad I did because I ended up having the part – I proved them wrong. Even coming from those closest to you – you know, family members and so forth. Growing up as a kid, I was always kind of chubby, or I always had a little bit more butt than my peers or my other family members, so I was always 76 DISTRACTION Fashion

attacked because of my weight, and I remember falling into a place of depression and even almost suicidal just because I hated the way I looked. And that was because those closest to me — family members — drilled into my head that there was something wrong with the way I looked. Until one day, I took my relationship with Christ very serious and I was affirmed by Him that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, and He took His time to create me and if my God, my creator, thinks that I am flawlessly gorgeous, then who the hell are you – you know what I mean? Forget you, honey! I made a vow to myself that I’m going to love me regardless of how anybody feels. “You attract what you are.” When you crown yourself and clothe yourself with royalty knowing that you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, knowing that you’re #flawless, knowing that you look beautifully amazing, guess what? You draw people, because now you stand out, now they’re like, “Wait a minute, hold on, there’s something different about this girl. She walks positive, she walks confident, I’m drawn and attached to that.” And then you’ll find people blessing you and telling you, “Hey, you’re amazing!” You draw what you attract.

D: Do you have any influences in the modeling world who you look up to? V: At first, I would say Tyra [Banks]. She was phenomenally amazing at the time. But the thing is that, it was easy to relate to her as a black woman, but it was not easy to relate to her because she did not know, fully, the struggle of a plus-size woman. So, the portion that I could relate to was when she gained a few pounds and then once on the Tyra Banks Show she just told them, “Screw you! Yeah I got a fat a**, but guess what? That’s me! I’m Tyra, and screw you and you can kiss my big fat a** so how about that?” Now, one of my huge inspirations going forward would be Miss Ashley Graham. She is so phenomenal. I have no words that can really express my gratitude for her. She is so unapologetically confident and she embraced every single area that the media would consider imperfect. And she’s not just a plus-size model. She is an advocate and a voice for people battling and suffering from these insecurities and I feel like that’s what stood out to me more.

I feel like there’s a cry that women need to empower one another and I think I can do that through fashion

Junior Virtue Jean has been modeling since her senior year of high school. She plans to create a fashionforward Christian magazine to empower all types of women.

D: Are you looking to pursue your modeling career professionally or is it just a hobby? V: As of right now, it’s something I’m open to doing as a professional career if the opportunity presented itself. However, my passion and love is definitely geared toward music. My main focus right now is also to launch a fashionforward Christian magazine. I’ve never really heard of it being done and if there are some, they’re pretty crappy, I’m sorry to say. So I want to do that because I feel it’s another way to encourage women, and my goal is not just to pose in front of a camera or model. I feel like there’s a cry that women need to empower one another and I think I can do that through fashion and through being a model. I needed something different, because let’s be honest, there’s a lot of designers and there’s a lot of models. Fashion is so broad, but I feel like if I can include a spiritual substance, if I can include motivation, if I can include inspiration, then it’ll stick. Because after you take off the necklace and the jewelry, and after you take off the clothes, you still have to stand in front of the mirror and face whatever it is you find imperfect and you have to be able to be motivated enough and inspired enough to love yourself despite the imperfections — and that’s what I think my goal is. *cut for content and clarity





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Main Event feeds your craving for that which is intellectual and worldly. Whether it means revealing the local significance of an international issue or discussing topics that are too often ignored, Main Event has something to offer each of us. Set aside your responsibilities for a bit and divulge in Main Event –you’ll be left feeling more in touch with the world outside of due dates and finals. That’s a promise. photo_patrick ruvo. lettering_kelvine moyers. model_chantel batista.


ONE COUNTRY MANY VOICES words_kamila knaudt. photos_gianna sanchez & elizabeth pozzuoli. design_lindsey bornstein & elizabeth pozzuoli.

“I had a curiosity because I was born in a very closedoff Cuba, isolated economically and culturally, and of course that creates a dream. We imagined what the world outside of Cuba was like.”


“Cuban” and “Miami” have become words that are practically synonymous for most. When someone thinks of Miami they think of Cuban classics like cafecitos, croquetas and delicious ropa vieja. Cuban culture in Miami was established in the early 1960s, with the arrival of the first wave of Cuban immigrants fleeing the Cuban Revolution. But many do not realize the toll and the sacrifices that these people made to reach the United States and to integrate themselves into Miami life. “It was a tough month,” said University of Miami junior Daniela Lemus about her first month in Miami, “because when I came, my mom didn’t know how she was going to enter the U.S. She hadn’t had her travel visa interview yet and we were sure they were going to deny her request … so she was thinking of crossing the border.” 23-year-old Havana native Lemus came to the U.S. five years ago. She is part of the most recent wave of Cuban immigrants. The limits and restrictions placed on her family by the Cuban government and its policies are what drove her family to leave. Due to her dual citizenship, she was able to use her Spanish passport to exit Cuba and enter the U.S. When she arrived, she showed

her Cuban passport and requested political asylum. Under the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot” policy active at the time, Lemus was granted the right to stay and a path to citizenship within the year. For professor and graduate student Maria Veliz, entering the U.S. was not as easy. “I was not a person who really thought of leaving Cuba,” said Veliz. “But I had a curiosity because I was born in a very closed-off Cuba, isolated economically and culturally, and of course that creates a dream. We imagined what the world outside of Cuba was like.” Veliz left Cuba 15 years ago in 2003 to pursue a job opportunity in Guatemala. After nine years spent in Guatemala, she returned home to Cuba to realize she no longer understood or knew the society she had once been a part of. Veliz added, “My friends were no longer there. A large part of my family wasn’t there, and the only ones left were my parents who wanted to leave Cuba. And that is how I decided I had no other option than to go to Miami.” After attempting to enter with a visa and being rejected, Veliz flew to Mexico and crossed the border to achieve her dream of pursuing her master’s in the U.S. With the help of

Other countries may be changing, but two places remain the same. Cuba maintains its roots and has transformed part of Miami into Little Havana with the 1960s arrival of Cuban immigrants.


ONE COUNTRY MANY VOICES friends, she traveled to the American-Mexican border by car and paid 25 cents to cross a bridge in Nuevo Laredo into Laredo, Texas. Once in Texas, like Lemus, Veliz requested political asylum and was granted the right to stay with a path to citizenship. She then made her way to Miami. Prior to the Cuban Revolution there were roughly 15,000 Cubans living in the U.S., according to an article published by Harvard’s Shorenstein Center. In just a few years following the Revolution, that number multiplied to 215,000. With the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966 in place, Cubans were allowed to enter the U.S. and seek political asylum and, eventually, citizenship. This increased the flow of immigrants, as more and more Cubans looked for a way to immigrate to Miami. The ways Cubans entered Miami evolved as the years passed, including government programs, freedom flights, boat lifts and the Balsero Crisis. “On my mother’s side, my grandfather is actually a Peter Pan,” said University of Miami junior Abdiel Caballero. Caballero’s grandfather was part of Operation Peter Pan as a young

child. The operation was organized in the ’60s by the Catholic Welfare Bureau and the U.S. government to bring Cuban children to Miami and to provide accommodations for these children until they could be reunited with their families in the states. Later on, his grandfather was joined by the rest of his family in Miami. Eventually he was married and had children of his own, including Caballero’s mother. At the age of 9, Caballero’s father and his family arrived in Miami by boat and sought political asylum. “My dad never stopped; he always worked two jobs,” Caballero said. “He had to drop out of school to continue to work and support his family.” After receiving his GED, Caballero’s father continued to work hard to eventually provide his children with the future he believed they deserved. In the early 1990s, the medium through which Cuban immigration occurred began to shift. Whereas the American government previously provided air or boat lifts off of the island, immigrants instead began using balsas, or homemade rafts, to cross the Florida Strait. The situation became

This iconic Calle Ocho resident sits outside Little Havana Cigar Factory wearing a cowboy hat all day.


A statue of Jose Marti, a Cuban national hero, stands in the center square of Cienfuegos, Cuba.

critical in 1994 and resulted in the enactment of the “Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy,” created in combination by the U.S. and the Cuban governments in an attempt to reduce the number of Cubans risking their lives by crossing dangerous waters to reach the U.S. The new policy stated that all Cubans intercepted at sea would be sent back to Cuba, but if they reached dry land they would be allowed to stay and given a path to citizenship. On Nov. 19, 1993, freshman Jennifer Acevedo’s parents and 9-year-old sister, along with 19 other people, reached a small hotel on Islamorada after a week at sea in a homemade wooden balsa made by Acevedo’s uncle. “They were doctors, made $20 a month and were trying to raise a child,” said Acevedo about the reason her parents decided to leave Cuba. “They saw that there was no possibility for my sister to have the life they wanted to provide for her, so they came to Miami in a time where it was common for people to come to Miami with rafts.” After being lost at sea due to a storm, Acevedo’s parents and sister finally reached safety on the shores of Islamorada, but they were faced with hardship and discrimination due to the fact that they left Cuba on a raft. “They started working in fast food restaurants, mind you they had their medical degrees,” Acevedo said. “And it wasn’t embarrassing for them, but they had worked so hard to reach their goal [to be doctors] and [yet] they were starting at the bottom and slowly they built their way up.” Every wave of Cuban immigrants to the United States and Miami has faced hardship. Whether it was crossing the border, as some of the most recent arrivals did, or leaving their home due to a revolution, such as in the first wave, assimilation to American culture has not been easy. These are just some of the stories of the families and students of the University of Miami. Each story is unique and personal, but all are inspiring and empowering.

L I T T L E H AVA N A , B I G C H A R M words_elisa baena. photos_gianna sanchez & sidney sherman. design_teddy willson.

Santeria is a religious cult that comes from Afro-Cuban culture and incorporates elements of Catholicism.

When Hugo Fleites was diagnosed with terminal cancer in his late thirties, the surge of hopelessness that oppressed him and his family enabled him to recall the mystical memories of his childhood in Cuba. He longed for the tropical island whose crystalline waves fizzled with the spirit of the orishas, and when he closed his eyes in a creaking hospital bed, he could still feel the citrusy breezes that were infused with Shango’s whispers. e endearingly remembered his childhood caretaker, a lively and nurturing AfroCuban Santera, whose skin rippled like a coffee bean and glistened with the residue of coconut water. Her aging wrists were always stacked with vibrant beads that rattled when she cooked, and her white cotton dresses contrasted the deep mahogany of her skin. As a fair-skinned boy of Spanish descent, Fleites was raised RomanCatholic. The influences of his Afro-Cuban caretaker, however, left deep impressions on his spirituality and understanding of mortality. When death looked

him in the eye, Fleites decided to reconnect with the “orishas” of his childhood. After fleeing his native island during the Cuban Revolution of 1959, Fleites moved to an American city that juxtaposed the Cuban tropics: Elizabeth, NJ. Not only had he been severed from his native country during a violent revolution, but he now found himself living in a foreign country with his wife, a young son and terminal cancer. These adversities led Fleites to connect with members of a local church of Santeria. Fleites’ son recalls that the Santero priests agreed they would welcome Fleites into their church and “buy



him a few years of life,” but his son would have to continue his father’s legacy once he passed away. Fleites and his son underwent a series of weeklong initiation rituals. Once they became official members of the church, Fleites began visiting the homes of religious healers, herbalists and botanists for physical and spiritual healing. As his cancer progressed and his body grew weaker, Fleites experienced a flow of energy between his heart, mind and body that is known as “ache.” These healing practices restored Fleites’s morale and inspired him to view the time he had left as an opportunity for spiritual

“the Catholic calendar was wisely utilized for the veneration of African saints,” said Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams in the “Encyclopedia of the American Religious Experience: Studies of Traditions and Movements.” The word Santeria itself means veneration of the saints.” Numerous efforts were made by the Spanish to suppress the connection between African gods and Catholic saints, but Santeria has remained an integral part of Afro-Cuban culture since the early 19th century. Some of the most well known figures of Santeria are Saint Babalú Ayé/Lazarus – the orisha of suffering and contagious diseases, Ochún/Our Lady of Charity of Cobre – the orisha of love, beauty, and femininity, Eleggua/ Saint Anthony – the first and most important orisha and Shango/Saint Barbara – the patron of power and virility. Each orisha represents different virtues and is connected to different forms of life, which are closely linked to the offerings one must make when seeking divine guidance. From the earliest days of Santeria until recent decades, the religion largely operated as an underground form of worship that was solely practiced in Afro-Cuban ghettos. Santeria was stigmatized by Cubans of Spanish descent because they viewed everything that was black as evil, and they ignorantly placed “Paleros,” who invoke the orishas for “brujeria,” or witchcraft, in the same category as Santeros. The elimination of social

“Santeria is an enduring reminder of how slaves in Cuba were development. After seven years of battling cancer with the support of his family and guidance of the orishas, Fleites passed away. Whether Fleites’s life was extended by the hand of hope, the orishas or medicine is indeterminable, but his story exemplifies how Santeria can allow those who are immersed in darkness to see life in its full beauty. Santeria was born in the first decades of the 19th-century when the Yoruban people of Nigeria were enslaved and brought to Cuba. In addition to working excruciating hours on sugar plantations, slaves were forced to convert to Catholicism and forbidden from worshiping their West African deities called “orishas.” While slaves were generally accepting of Catholic teaching, they did not feel it provided them with sufficient spiritual enrichment. Slaves that belonged to the same ethnic groups secretly formed “cabildos,” communities that congregated weekly to dance, chant and worship the orishas. The syncretism of Catholicism and Yoruban religion began when slaves incorporated images of their deities into rituals and processions. This form of worship was quickly outlawed by Spanish plantation owners, however, causing slaves to mask the identities of the orishas with Catholic saints. Over time, slaves merged the identities of the orishas with the Catholic saints who they resembled, creating a symbiotic relationship between the two religions. In order to continue their West African religious tradition,

able to find glimmers of hope in an exceedingly dark condition.”


classes in Castro’s Revolution would adjust this stigma, as exiled Cubans who were once wealthy factory owners now worked the same low-wage jobs as their previous employees. The Cuban Revolution of 1959 therefore sparked a boom in the growth of Santeria throughout the United States and Latin America. The exodus of political refugees that left Cuba during the ’60s seeded places like Miami, New York and New Jersey with this previously obscure Afro-Cuban religion. Santeria’s appeal has transcended ethnic boundaries, as it has attracted Hispanic immigrants, white Americans, Asian-Americans and African-Americans. A religion that was once limited

BOTANICAS to the poor and uneducated in Cuba has grown among middle-class professionals in the United States. Santeria is particularly appealing to working-class citizens, immigrants and the ill because it preaches that our fate comes from God, but is energized by our interactions with the orishas. Like Fleites, many Santeros attribute their conversion experience to a life-threatening illness because this is seen as a call from an orisha to claim power over one’s destiny and affect a cure. The University of Miami’s Dr. Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, professor of religious studies and author of “Afro-Cuban Theology: Religion, Race, Culture and Identity,” describes this phenomenon as “an instance where the physical can have an effect on the supernatural.” The practice of animal sacrifice is one of the most controversial aspects of Santeria. It is central to rituals because it is believed that nourishing the orishas’ hunger rewards worshippers. Chickens are the most commonly sacrificed animal, but goats, pigeons, guinea pigs, sheep and turtles are also used. After a ritual is performed, animal offerings are immediately cooked and eaten. Consuming the sacrificial animal’s meat forges a connection between the worshippers and the orishas. Despite its controversy, the Supreme Court ruled in Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye v. City of Hialeah (1993) that animal sacrifice during religious ceremonies is constitutional under the first amendment. When discussing the criticism against animal sacrifice during Santeria rituals, Fleites’ son argued that “because animals are killed as humanely as possible and eaten immediately after, it isn’t very different than eating fresh fish after a fishing trip. Some people go fishing as a form of spiritual rehabilitation, just as we seek spiritual and physical healing by offering an animal’s life to an orisha.” Non-worshippers may describe Santeria’s rituals as bizarre, superstitious or eccentric, but understanding the history of Santeria is essential to fostering an appreciation for this syncretic religion. Santeria is an enduring reminder of how slaves in Cuba were able to find glimmers of hope in an exceedingly dark condition, as they looked to the future while preserving their religious identities. The recent spread of Santeria throughout Latin America and the United States echoes how the original Santeros integrated new religious practices in the rituals of their homeland. The growing presence of Santeria in Miami’s religious culture speaks to the trials and triumphs of the immigrant experience. Religion offers a sense of direction in situations that seem impossible to navigate, and the growth of Santeria exemplifies the notion that through hope, healing and perhaps even spiritual intervention, we can conquer our suffering.

A great way of coming to know Santeria is by visiting one of Miami’s many botanicas, stores that sell materials required for ceremonies.

Botanica Nena 902 NW 27th Ave., Miami Stepping through the jingling glass doors of Botanica Nena, your nostrils are quickly invaded with the mystic aroma of Roman Catholic incense and fresh herbs. The register is crowned with pearly figurines of Catholic saints, and each wall is adorned with dangling webs of multi-colored beads and peacock feather fans. Just as the Santeros believe the orishas dwell inside “soperas” or soup bowls, the spirit of Cuba breathes through the rows of chestnut colored dolls whose skirts unfurl with tropical gaiety.

Lorenzo Hardware & Feed Supply 3699 E 4th Ave., Hialeah This botanica may give you the impression that it is merely a hardware store, but the chant-like clucking of hens and emerald cascades of herb plants gives it an unconventional mystique. The fusion of the hardware store and botanica serves as a symbol of how everyday objects meet the spiritual world in Santeria. This store epitomizes controlled disorder; aisles of sparking nails and machetes are interspersed between statues of Saint Barbara and Oshun.

Botanica Negra Francisca 1323 NW 8th St., Miami This botanica, nestled in a small strip mall on 13th Ave. and Miami’s historic Calle Ocho, is illuminated by the warm glow of devotional candles. Towers of beads line the counter with small placards indicating which colors are linked to the orishas, and the vivacity of Santeria rituals is reflected in the racks of Nigerian tunics. One can find fruit offerings, soperas, white turbans, incense, rosaries, intricate African crowns and statues of Eleggua that range from the size of your palm to half of your body.



words_isabella vaccaro. photo_gianna sanchez. design_joey haas.

You can’t eat chicken and call yourself a vegetarian. And you definitely can’t eat a slice of pizza and still call yourself a vegan. But you can live in America, have a family, a social life and possessions and call yourself a minimalist.



here is not one clear definition of what minimalism exactly is, and people often freak out at the thought of it. Yes, some minimalists live and thrive with less than 50 possessions, no house or car and no career. They can probably be found far from civilization, in Guam or an island that nobody has ever heard of. They eat what they can cultivate from the Earth and they spend hours a day thinking and meditating, instead of flipping through Instagram or driving from place to place. Extreme minimalism is about living on only the few things that you need: water, food and some sort of shelter. And just as important, it is about making room to find your passions and experience life authentically. But let’s be real. It’s not practical for most people to live under such tight restrictions, even if the benefits are life-changing. You can incorporate minimalism into your everyday life and still reap the benefits — without moving to Fiji or the Maldives. Of course to be a minimalist, you must adhere to some restrictions, but what those restrictions are can be flexible. Leo Babauta, a contributor to blog, has six children, a Mac and obviously a house to shelter his six children. Yet, he is a minimalist in other ways. He eats a vegan lifestyle so as to not engorge in the unnecessary (and probably unhealthy) luxury foods like Beluga caviar or a juicy filet mignon. When he buys clothes, he buys a few good quality items that will last him years on end. Babauta has little regard for material things — what he lacks in objects, he makes up for in rich, human experiences.

However, in an interview with TheMinimalists, Babauta said he is still working on jettisoning all of his material possessions. So what’s holding him back? “I love my Mac, for example — but it’s something I’ve been working on. I am much less attached to possessions than I was just a few years ago, and I recommend that everyone examine their relationship with physical things, with products, and see if it’s really what they want,” Babauta said. Minimalism, more and more, is becoming about finding what is important to you, and doing it. So you care about the environment? Take your first minimalistic step by reducing the amount of things you throw away. Use cloths instead of paper towels and definitely do not opt for those paper plates when you don’t feel like washing the dishes. 23-year-old Lauren Singer decided to try and put all of her trash into a Mason jar for one year, and it all fit. The New Yorker doesn’t necessarily eat a plant-based diet or live without technology, but she practices minimalism by keeping her carbon footprint to a minimum — an extreme minimum. Most of the trash in the jar came from the few bits of packaged food she ate that year, some Band-Aids, clothing tags and straws (when she forgot to tell the bartender not to give her one). University of Miami freshman Shainaya Kukreja was raised by parents who also practice minimalism in their own way. The family’s fashion company, Persaman New York, sells Italianmade clothing, bags, accessories and beauty products. Yet, the company’s mission has always been about simplicity. May 2018 DISTRACTION 87

Minimalism. “I don’t consider us a trendy brand,” said Saman Kukreja, CEO of Persaman. “We consider ourselves very stylish in the sense that if you buy something from Persaman, it can last you three or four decades. A lot of our styles, you can keep wearing them 15 years later. That is quite the essence of the brand actually.” Kukreja embraces the environment as well, not only by promoting a line of all-natural skin care and beauty products, but also by creating fashions that will last her patrons a lifetime, both fashionably and physically. “We’re vegan and use a lot of organic products ourselves. I started dabbling with some soaps a few years ago and now we are launching 77 products,” said Kukreja. The fact of the matter is, minimalism can come in dozens of shapes and sizes. It is important to remember why people decide to cut back and embrace simplicity. It’s not showy and it’s not really glamorous, but the effects are transformative. What minimalistic lifestyles have proven to cultivate are deeper thinkers, stress-free innovators and spiritually-fulfilled leaders. Minimalism is freedom, and isn’t that the ultimate goal?

minimalist mindset


discard all

You probably don’t need eight pairs of sweatpants when you could have two or three. And you probably don’t need two ice cream scoopers (unless you just really love ice cream). Donate the extra belongings you don’t use on a daily basis so as to declutter your house and your life.



eat plant-based

Minimalist architecture can be seen on the University of Miami’s Coral Gables campus.

It’s okay if the vegan lifestyle scares you. It’s hard! But if you want to take the first step towards eating like a minimalist, try eating mostly plants. Fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds are the best, not only for your health, but for your mindset. But once in a while, if you are craving that slice of pizza, have it — minimalists are not perfect!


make a list

Write down why you decided to live minimally. Were you in a rut and wanted to clear your head? Do you want to figure out what your purpose in life is? Make a list of the goals you wish to achieve as a minimalist and how you plan to achieve them.




Profile for Distraction Magazine

Distraction Magazine May 2018  

University of Miami's May issue featuring a special 10th anniversary insert

Distraction Magazine May 2018  

University of Miami's May issue featuring a special 10th anniversary insert

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