HOLLYWOOD IS CALLING THE MAN BEHIND THE SUIT
SUCCESS IN ENTREPRENUERSHIP LEADERSHIP
PARTY CHIC ALL EYES ON YOU HOLIDAY DRESSES UNDER $50
ATLANTA’S HOTTEST PUBLICIST money, power, respect
THE YEAR IN FASHION 1
OBSESSION “I want all of you, Forever, You and me, EVERYDAY” – Noah calhoun
BELLE NEW YORK MAGAZINE
december IN THIS ISSUE BEAUTY 27 30 32 36
Stop Dry Winter Skin Soothe and Smooth The First Thing He Notices About You It’s Not What You Think SPARKLE Don’t Shine Best tips to rid oily skin What’s Pretty Now? Gorgeous LIPS!
Party Chic Holiday Dresses under $50 41 2015 REWIND The YEAR in FASHION Best looks and TRENDS of the SEASON 50 The POWER of Red 54 Dresses by KATYA AVDEEV 70 Holiday Gifts for STYLISH Women 76 STYLE STAR of the YEAR
LIFESTYLE 62 82
LAMONT EASTER Hollywood is Calling 50 BILLION DOLLAR BOSS Kathey Porter Successful Entrepreneur RISE to Fame Jonell Whitt ATL’s Hottest Publicist HOLIDAY COOKING What’s for Dinner? TIPS: Eat with out gaining the pounds
FASHION REWIND The Year in FASHION BEST LOOKS and TRENDS of the SEASON!
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The EDITORS DAPHNE JONES-ROBINSON OWNER/PUBLISHER/EDITOR ___________________________________________________________ EXECUTIVE FASHION/FEATURES EDITOR SHAWANA GATLIN
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& Smooth STOP DRY WINTER SKIN
REVITALIZE WITH MOISTURIZER With winter approaching, fight back dry skin with these quick and easy methods. Apply these moves the right way, and you will be on your way to softer and more manageable skin. First step is to clear away dead skin cells. Why? Dead skin cells block moisturizer which keeps it from sinking in. Gently buff your face twice a week with a mild exfoliant. The best time to apply lotion is on damp skin. As soon as you jump out the shower, quickly dry off and then apply lotion. You have a three-minute window for best results? Wait any longer and "moisture starts to disappear from skin before you can lock it in," says Jeannette Graf, an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Keep the humidity and moisture from the air in the room. Keep the bathroom door closed. Sprays reach where hands can't. Use If you can’t reach a certain area, borrow your partner or use a moisture spray solution. Try a continuous-spray lotion, like Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer.
When the weather outside is frightful, your skin can end up looking and feeling that way too. Dry winter skin happens because dry air snatches moisture away from skin, tightening your skin cells and weakening your protective barrier. DON’T OVERHEAT. When it’s cold outside, there’s nothing like returning to a warm, cozy home. But heating also removes moisture from the indoors, depriving your skin of hydration it needs to function properly. To minimize dry skin in winter, keep the temperature comfortable, but not too hot for long periods of time. Also, use a humidifier to replace lost indoor moisture.
FIRST TIME I SAW YOU… I said “Oh my…”
“According to Dr. Paul Dobransky, a psychologist, relationship expert and author of The Secret Psychology of How We Fall in Love, “In the first five minutes of meeting someone, it’s generally physical beauty that attracts men. That’s actually the very first step of courtship for them.” As he explains, this doesn’t mean all guys are after supermodel-type good looks. Instead, he’s referring to the fact that every man has his own individual taste in women, physically. The bottom line is, in those crucial first moments, “It’s not about personality, intellect, career or any other crucial things that make up a relationship. At first, its just sex appeal,” he says.”
Give Your Face a Home Massage. Use a fine-grain powder, like sugar, or oatmeal (regular) which can help absorb oil and get rid of dead skin cells which clog heathy pores. Grind 2 teaspoons of dry oats, then moisten with a small portion of witch hazel to create a paste. Using your fingertip (washing hands first prevents transfer of germs), massage newly formed paste gently into your skin. Rinse any remnants away with warm water.
What does it mean to have oily skin? If you have oily skin, your sebaceous glands are pumping out an overabundance of sebum, the waxy substance that protects your skin. When there’s an overload, it makes the appearance of the skin looks oily, which may contribute to acne. But where are other contributing factors, including stress and changes in hormone activity. One of the perks of having oily skin, you tend to age better and develop fewer wrinkles than dry or normal skin. But it does require more attention, since you need to keep cleansing those over productive pores. AVOID: You want to wash away dead skin cells, dirt, and excess oil without scrubbing so hard that you cause irritation. (Ironically, if you overdo the scrubbing, your skin produces even more oil.) Washing Well • Wash your face with hot water. It dissolves oil more effectively than cool or lukewarm water. • Choose the right cleanser. Whether you prefer bar soap or liquid cleansers, avoid products, like Dove, that have added moisturizers. Bar soaps like Ivory, Dial, or Lever 2000 are perfectly effective, though you can also use cleansers formulated specifically for oily skin (they’re likely to be more expensive). • If you’re having acne outbreaks, choose an antibacterial soap formulated with benzoyl peroxide or triclosan. These discourage growth of acnecausing bacteria. • Use a liquid face wash that contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as citric acid, lactic acid, or glycolic acid. The AHAs work in several ways, helping to slough off dead skin cells, reduce the oil in your pores, and combat infection. Make Your Own Toner • After you’ve washed your face, soak a cotton pad in distilled witch hazel and dab it all around. Use it twice a day for two to three weeks. After the third week, apply it once a day. Witch hazel contains tannins, which have an astringent effect, making the pores tighten up as they dry. • Several times a week, massage your face with buttermilk after washing it. The active cultures in buttermilk contain acids that help to clean away dirt and tighten pores. Leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse.
Read more at http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/home-remedies/natural-home-remedies-oily-skin#2lBQ3Kvxdh8VGSab.99
What’s pretty now? Gorgeous lips!
My lipsticks brings all the boys to the yard. Is this true? Red lipstick is revealed as the most sexist color making you an automatic man magnet! Lips make all of us think of kissing and since men are such visual creatures, sexy red lips can almost do as much for a man as the kiss itself. It also subconsciously sends the message that you are open to a romantic and passionate relationship. Although the average guy may not admit to having as strong an opinion about lip colors, a recent study at the University of Manchester found that men really are attracted to lipstick, with red being the most captivating. Hmm. The study involved 50 men viewing photos of women wearing red lipstick, pink lipstick or no lipstick at all. Researchers found that the men spent an average of 7.3 seconds staring at the women wearing red lipstick, 6.7 at the pink lipped ladies and only 2.2 seconds at those who wore no lipstick. Maybe this is why my husband wants me to leave the house make up free. WHAT HE SAID: “I don’t want my girlfriend wearing lipstick so other guys can check her out.” anonymous
PARTY CHIC HOLIDAY DRESSES UNDER
$50 The holidays are upon us and most of us are tearing our closets up trying to find the perfect dress to wear to company holiday parties, friendly get togethers and of course something to wear in case weâ€™re meeting someoneâ€™s family for the first time. Looking like we just threw something together is a big no no. We all want to make an incredible first impression and what better way than to check out these hot spots. These chic party dresses under $50.00 are sure to turn heads while making you stand out in a good way.
Club L One shouldre Drape Dress $45.00 Sizes 0 -14 (ASOS)
Sequin Bodice Dress $40.00 Sizes 014 (ASOS)
Eva Mendes Collection - Jordana Lace Sheath Dress $39.97 Sizes 0 – 18 (New York & Co)
Thalia Sodi Dress $44.99 Sizes XS – XL (Macy’s 39
2015 REWIND THE YEAR IN FASHION ChloĂŠ ss15
Azzi & Osta Spring-summer 2015 Elie Saab.Pre-Fall 2015.
Alberta FerrettiCollection Spring 2015
ORTIZ SS2016 47
The Power of
Throughout history and across cultures, the color red has held strong symbolic meaning. Red is the color of romance— think red roses. Red is also associated with sexuality—think the Lady in Red. Red is also linked to physical aggression—think blood. But the scarlet hue may also wield a kind of psychological power—one that appears to be out of our conscious awareness. Here are three domains in which the color red exerts curious influence: Sex. Research has revealed that red is associated with heightened attractiveness among some female nonhuman primates. Along parallel lines, studies have also found that men have greater sexual interest in women who wear red. In one study that illustrates this finding to the extreme, participants were shown photographs of women wearing either a red, blue, green, or white T-shirt, and then asked to evaluate both the women's attractiveness and sexual intent. 51
PHOTOGRAPHY LUXE PHOTOGRAPHY MODEL ALEXANDRIA MALVAIZ OF MMG NEW YORK, JAKE ELMENDORF DESIGNER AFUA OF STUDIO D’MAXI SET STYLIST GIGI MCMILLAN MAKEUP AIKALBEAUTE ARTISTRY
KA DRESSES BY
KATYA AVDEEV Coutour
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LAMONT LINDSEY OF LUXE PHOTOGRAPHY MODELS TAMARA LEWIS JAKE ELMENDORF AUSTYN GREEN SET STYLIST GIGI MCMILLAN OF KAMISOL STYLE CONSULTANCY MAKEUP AIKALBEAUTE ARTISTRY HAIR DJ ROBINSON
HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM BELLE NEW YORK MAGAZINE
Calling By Daphne Jones-Robinson
The role of a lifetime would be creating a body of work that people will long remember. LAMONT EASTER Style Director Gigi McMillan and Kenny Flannigan. Photographed by Jackie Hicks.
is for actor. Well at least we think so, but ask Lamont Easter when he considered himself as being an actor, and he’ll tell you “I’m working on it.” One would think landing your very “first role” on the very successful, House of Cards alongside Kevin Spacey, would put one’s ego straight to the top, but not Lamont. Born in Annapolis, MD, Lamont understood what it meant to stay on your toes and get ready for your next move, literally. The son of a Navy man, Lamont grew up making moves across various states, eventually settling in San Diego, CA. At a young age, he grew up a typical active teenager, heavy into various sports. He didn’t realize it then, but he really had the bug for acting. “Ask anyone that knows me or any teacher from grade school on up and they’ll tell you, he spent his whole life acting up!”
Lamont Easter wears KennyKAS Custom suit, $1,500, Festive tie, $150, Pocket Square, $75, Silver cuff links, $150, Watch, his own. All prices approximate
Photographed by Jackie Hicks of Fond Memories, Makeup Letitia Thornhill of LET BEAUTY, Designer KAS Collection, Style Directors Gigi McMillan, Kenny Flanagan
Three piece suit, $1,000, from Sarar of Tysons Galleria. KAS Collection. Silver tie clip, $45, Silver tie, $150, Pocket Square, $75. All prices approximate.
He always knew he wanted to be involved in the entertainment industry, but life just kept getting in the way. “As a youngster I actually dreamed of being the world’s best studio drummer. I grew up in the church, so at fourteen I found myself playing the drums for a church choir in San Diego and recording on gospel albums. In fact, I had the opportunity to play once with the late Andre Crouch and with Danniebelle Hall. I was pretty good. I always admired the Jazz and funk drumming of Billy Cobham, Idris Muhammed and Lenny White.” As he knew it, life got in the way, he was detoured into a career of electronics and computers. This path lead him to living and working in Europe for several years. “I was responsible for a portion of a system that trained NATO fighter pilots. In fact I was working on the exact system depicted in the Hollywood hit movie TOP GUN starring Tom Cruise. Then eventually, I came full circle back to the DC and Virginia area where my family roots are.” It wasn’t until he found himself divorced, he looked around and thought, “Now what?” A few years ago, a co-worker put the acting bug in his ear. She heard about a casting call and told him to go for it. “I showed up to a casting call for Secret Service Agents for the show. Director Carl Franklin who was directing the first two episodes of the second season, was casting for Secret Service protection for Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey’s) character.” A natural born actor, he didn’t need much preparation, “Director Carl Franklin looked me in the eye and said “you.” So I was one of the first hired for the show that Friday. Monday, those selected, were sent to training with a retired Secret Service Chief which protected Bush, Quail and Clinton.” Obtaining this role, set his path to fame, landing him additional Secret Service roles on HBO’s Veep and CBS’s Madam Secretary. As an actor, Lamont understands one should never get comfortable with their craft. “I’m currently studying acting with a Film maker named Stephen Mitchell, who lives in Ireland. We do one-on-one acting sessions via Skype.” To expend his range of talents, Lamont has his sights on the bigger picture. “I think it would be fascinating to work with a French Director. Based upon some works I've seen, some tend to go beyond the superficial narrative and really explore the deeps of the story and characters. Thus far, I’ve discovered that I’m best at playing men that see the five sides of any issue, and then work them all to his own advantage.” How do you mentally prepare yourself for each role/character you portray? Now that I have moved into lead roles in independent films and web series I simply start from the premise that I want every character to be interesting, memorable, and someone you didn’t quite expect to see. Hollywood is calling: What would you consider to be the role of a lifetime? For me the role of a lifetime would be creating a body of work that people will long remember, it’s not just one role, but a collection of work that became important to people in their lives. A body of work that had meaning in the lives of people that go and see those performances. Any favorite movies? I love all of Quentin Tarantino’s work. I grew up loving his movies such as Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Jackie Brown, Natural Born Killers, and Inglorious Bastards. He just keeps getting better and better. I also love the work of Steven Soderbergh. “Oceans Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen,” as well as Traffic. Others that come to mind are, Pierre Bagley’s “From The Rough” with Taraji P. Henson, and Michael Clarke Duncan and of course all the productions directed by James Farley, David Fincher and Carl Franklin, who I have had the pleasure to work with over my seasons on House of Cards. The work of all these Directors, and their films and productions are some of my favorites. Give us some insight
on how you select particular roles you want to be a part of. I think when you first start off as an actor you are really excited about being on the big screen, you just want to get your feet wet and really learn your craft. Now that I have a couple of films under my belt, I have the liberty of deciding which roles I want to go after. I’m known for being the Secret Service guy, which is how I got my start, but I would like to expand and play various characters as well. Speaking of expanding your horizon, are there any new projects you are working on that you can talk about? I’m very fortunate to have a number of projects that are in the works. When one closes, another opportunity seems to open up, if one falls off, it tends to get replaced pretty quickly. So there is always a full pipeline. Any personal ambitions yet unattained? Directing? Producing? Writing? I’m already making behind the scene deals and starting to take on the roles of Creative Director and producing, which is really exciting. I think that will continue to be an additional natural fit for me. So you’re not just the man behind in suit; you are an actor but you’re also a family man. Tell us about that. Yes, I have two wonderful and talented adult daughters that I am extremely proud of! I just experienced another one of those magical moments! Ha, Amazing! I was just recently in San Diego visiting my little Granddaughter and she was afraid to walk on the beach in the sand barefoot for the first time. After a little coaxing, I was able to convince her into taking her first steps barefoot in the sand. She loved it. She didn’t want to leave. Now that’s grandpa magic! What do you do when you are not behind the camera? Any favorite downtime activities? Doing philanthropic work. I have a 501c charity organization called, AutismFYI.org, advocating for those dealing with Autism. Also I work with, Stillbarve.org, who support children and the families of children battling cancer. Outside of that, any other downtime I would like to squeeze in would be to travel. I like being able to hang out on the beach, go skiing, fishing, and don’t forget bike riding. I am an avid chef so I love making magic in the kitchen and let’s not forget dancing. I could go on and on… You have a swag personal style about you. Tell us about what defines your personal style. I simply like a tailored style of clothes that I can feel comfortable in. It also depends on the mood and the event that I’m attending. But as far as personal style, I just like what works for me and what I’ve done so far, it seems to work. Preparing for this photoshoot, I think the style collaboration with stylist Gigi McMillan of Kamisol Style Consultancy and Kenny Flannigan of KAS Custom Collection got it right. I thank them for making the magic happen. Where do you see yourself in five years? On an Airliner, somewhere halfway over the Atlantic Ocean, coming from or going to someplace amazing. As Lamont Easter, the man behind the suit, continues to climb the Hollywood walk of fame, he understands what it means to be and remain humble. We all know in life, what has been given can easily be taken away. I asked Lamont if there was one thing he wanted his readers to know about him and his true character, what would that be? Here is his final response. “I truly believe that no matter what level of aesthetics, fortune or fame a person can achieve, none of it can possibly compare with the joy in your soul when you can make a positive impact upon someone's life in a meaningful way, especially the young. This is what the journey of life is really all about.” As we all know, HOLLYWOOD IS CALLING, so be sure to follow Lamont Easter on his journey as he continues to make moves in this industry. Lamonteaster.com
Three piece suit, $1,000, from Sarar of Tysons Galleria. Fur jacket, $3,000, KAS Collection. Silver tie clip, $45, Silver tie, $150.
Holiday GIFTS for Stylish Women
Dear Santa what I really want for Christmas is a faster, more efficient laptop. So I was hoping you could stop by and drop off a beautiful brand new 15” MacBook. To make it easier on you, here’s where you can get it, but I’m sure you already know. Just in case. Apple.com Thanks in advance, Daphne Jones-Robinson
1 2 The Arrivals moto jacket, $685, thearrivals.com.
Elegant Diamond Rings
NEW Chanel Boy Bag $4,200
Diamond Earrings Pandora.com
Victoria Secret Lingerie Victoriasecret.com
MAC Russian Red $15
Gucci braded sandal Gucci.com
STYLE STAR Pharrell Williams What makes a fashion icon? The way they look? Their demeanor? The ability to constantly transform or to commit to a signature look? By this measure, Pharrell Williams is the chicest of them all. The singer-songwriter and newest CFDA Fashion Icon has refined a taste that is truly his own, combining sporty street elements with high fashion.
“I get my style from just random people, everyday people—like, construction is interesting to me. Everyday things, you know, service uniforms, sports, skateboarding, normcore, grandma sweaters—all of that stuff is interesting to me.” But even if he’s not willing to admit that his style is noteworthy, he sure has his signature look down to the “T”
Pharrell Williams has won the 2015 Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. With style as recognizable as his music, the Academy Award-nominated songster possesses an extensive list of successful collaborative design projects — Uniqlo, Moynat, adidas, G-Star and Moncler to name a few — and has also appeared in some notable high-fashion campaigns, including a Karl Lagerfeld-directed Chanel film with costar Cara Delevingne. Since his early years in the spotlight, Williams has always had an eccentric and imaginative style, occasionally pushing boundaries against traditional menswear norms. Having already earned a spot on Vanity Fair‘s Best-Dressed list last year, the Grammy-winning musician officially received the award on June 1 at the Alice Tully Hall.
By Simeka Milton
The new billion-dollar question is “Who is Kathey Porter?” At a glance, Kathey Porter is the co-author behind the recently published book, 50 Billion Dollar Boss: African American Women Sharing Stories of Success in Entrepreneurship and Leadership. Ms. Porter is also an expert on small business development, Fortune 500 consulting, supplier of diversity and entrepreneurship. She has also successfully owned and operated various small businesses, including three retail stores, and most recently Founded Business FAB Enterprises LLC, which continues to educate and connect women entrepreneurs to opportunities. It doesn’t stop there; Kathey Porter has also been a marketing executive in beauty industry, along with being an adjunct business instructor for over ten years at several colleges and universities, as well. Ms. Porter is a frequent speaker at conferences and events focusing on small business development, women’s entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion. With such a remarkable and extensive background in addition to her experiences, Kathey Porter explains why writing 50 Billion Dollar Boss was a must! Meet Kathey Porter.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background. Well my name is Kathey Porter. My day job is the director of small business and vendor diversity relations for the University of Florida, but what I kind of do in my spare time is, I help women owned businesses with trying to secure contract opportunities with the federal government, corporations, and higher education institutions. So one of the platforms that we have with the book is, helping women entrepreneurs get to that critical $1million mark or setting their businesses up for long term success. I’ve been in diversity for nearly 10 years now and I’ve owned and operated several small businesses. Prior to that, I was in the beauty industry. I was a group director for the brand, Dark and Lovely for a number of years. I know the ladies will recognize that, but also, the brand director for Revlon in New York City. While I took a complete career turn once, I had the chance to own my own business. To really be in charge, and set the strategic direction for my own business. I loved being an entrepreneur and being in charge. I knew that working with entrepreneurs in some capacity, would be my future. Although sometimes it can be challenging, I’m really happy my day job allows me the opportunity to interact and help entrepreneurs pursue their passions, their goals and set their businesses up for success. 82
What were your ambitions for writing this particular book for African American women? When it comes to ambitions at one time I thought my dream job was to work for the NBA in some type of marketing capacity, but as I got out there and really started to see opportunities and the potential, I’m still in search of my ambitions. I don’t think we’re limited to one thing and what we’re doing now. I’m always looking for the next great opportunity so if something hot comes along that might be interesting and exciting then I want to be able to go for it. I will say that I don’t know if I had an ambition, I’m just, I’m open to whatever and I’m really committed to living a full and authentic life so if something exciting comes along, I want to be in the mix. Why did you choose this route? Well, naturally being an African American woman I do have a sensibility and an interest in this, but I think from a practical standpoint, just looking at the media and the images that are out there, we are not really portrayed and recognized for our business acumen. I think the media tries to portray us in one way, through various shows. I know women that are trying to win contracts and trying to figure out how to make money and provide for their families – not to say that those women are not, but just the way that they’re doing it. I meet women at conferences all the time and thought wouldn’t it be interesting to have something that people can read about all of these women. Initially it was going to be famous women, household names – the Oprah’s, and Tyra’s and all of that – and so when I was talking to a publisher and we were having our strategy session and she was like “What if we went and got women that people don’t necessarily know right off the bat but are still doing amazing things.” That presented somewhat a challenge, but when I started going out there and looking at the research and data, we came across so many women we could tap into. Once we reached out to them there were just so generous with their time and their stories. So it became really easy, and it was just really compelling listening to them tell their stories. I think this was probably an even better route for the book because these women are relatable, their stories are relatable. Give us an insight on how you selected the individual women who would contribute to this project. We just kind of put out a call and just looking at the stories and narrowing it down to what our chapters were about. Our goal was not to create a book full of profiles. We wanted to create a business book that would actually help people, so it’s mentoring, it’s funding a business, its finding resources, and it’s turning an idea or hobby into an actual business. From marketing or branding, finding strategic partners, how to know if it’s time to grow. Moving from a mom and pop one man operation, to a business that you can provide for yourself and employees. So we talk about a lot of different things. When and why did you begin writing? I started this project probably about 2009, so it’s been a while. I worked on it off for a number of years. At the time when I started this, it’s interesting and I laugh about it now, when I finally got to the point when I was like you know this can probably be a book – I was looking at the data and looking at the resources. When I thought it was enough to be an actual book, I started pitching to agents. At the time the only people that were landing book deals were reality show folks, so I wasn’t getting any traction. I ended up talking to someone who ended up being my co-author. I think that time really helped me to really figure out a place in the market and who we are talking to and why this market is relevant and what we wanted this book to do. When we pitched the book to potential publishers, all their questions they were asking was it’s already done. How will we market this book? How will we sell this book? And they really looked to us for our expertise with this market, so we had time to really work on it and hone it. When it came time for them to give the yes we were ready. And that’s where you hear that preparation plus something equals opportunity. When did you consider yourself a writer? I’m still struggling with that title writer. I would never consider myself a writer. I mean working in marketing and then when I’ve worked for the corporate world and then for the local government and now in higher education. I do a lot of writing,
but I’ve never considered myself a writer personally. So seeing myself in the title as author, I’m still getting used to that. I don’t know even if I write another book if I’d ever consider myself a writer. I think I’m first and foremost, an entrepreneur who in true entrepreneur fashion found a window of opportunity and way to reach people. Tell us a little bit about the cover and how did you decided on this particular title. We knew that we wanted Boss in the title. We went through a lot of different names and different things trying to be edgy and provocative. But also, I wanted to be respectful of the ladies in the book and their stories. When we were looking at data and looking at the information, we were looking at the amount of revenue African American women generate and deliver to the American economy. It’s over $50 Billon. We thought, that’s it! Let’s think on it, let’s put it in front of a few people and see what they thought. People were stunned. They had no idea African American women business generate $50 billion annually. That was in 2014, so in 2015 that number has increased to 452 billion. So the title just speaks to how much this group generates in revenue and their impact on the American economy. We thought, this speaks volumes to the impact this group has and we want people to know that. Unless you’re just reading and researching data you’re not going to know. What are your plans for marketing this book? We’re putting that together now for next year; going into select markets. We are lining up some partners whose mission aligns with the book. We expect to be in markets starting next year. We have various media outlets that’s interested and we’ve also looking at pitching a documentary and a conference based on this book. We are looking at a particular conference that allows us to develop these women and one that is going to focus on women entrepreneurs and how you can get financial opportunities. What books have most influenced your life most? I’m a big reader of biographies of course, and I’m a big reader of business books. As an instructor I get tons of books, free or copies or whatever so I get a lot of text books and I also get a lot of books from peers. That’s why this book is a combination of business and biography. I’m always compelled by the back story behind a brand or behind a company. How did this person get started? What were the differentiating factors? What was the one thing that compelled you from here to there when everybody else had access? I think that’s why this book is structured the way that it is. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Just the typical getting distracted and the typical writer’s block. Some days I get in to it and I’ve breezed through chapters and through interviews, and some days it’s harder than others. So some days you just have to step away from it and come back to it and see what happens. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working. Always working. I don’t necessarily see myself retiring. It’s so funny because I’m an adjunct instructor, so some semesters I’m on, some semesters I’m off. When I’m not teaching a class, it’s like “Oh I don’t know what to do with myself because I have all this free time.” I realize I don’t have any hobbies, but I also realized work is my hobby and I’m fine with that. I like doing things and being in the mix, if you will, so I like interacting and seeing what’s coming up. I don’t ever see myself not working. Do you have any advice for other writers? Just intimately know your project and who your market is. Who you’re writing this for. Who are other authors, books that your project could be compared to? Depending on who you get as a publisher or you self-publish, a publisher will tell you that their job is to make and publish books, their job is not to market your book. Even as a former marketer, I tell people who say “I want to sell it to everybody.” You want to sell it to everybody, but you have this core target group and that’s who you spend your strategic dollars with, because it’s very difficult to spend it with everybody. Money can go really fast, you won’t know where the money went and once it’s gone it’s gone. Instagram - @50BillonDollarBoss Facebook - www.facebook.com/50bdb Twitter – @50_bdb LinkedIn – www.linkedin.com/company/50-billion-dollar-boss Website – www.50bdb.com 83
RISE FAME TO
JONELL WHITT By Shawana Gatlin
ATL’s HOTTEST Publicist We’ve all heard of little girls wanting to be models, doctors, lawyers and ballerina’s when they grow up, but this is the first time I’ve heard someone say they wanted to be reporter Lois Lane. This particular little girl also wanted to be a buyer and attend the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Luckily, both of her dreams in a sense have manifested themselves, just in a completely different way. While she feels that she is a reporter/journalist because of the information that she is privy to and often writes about, under an alias of course. She’s also a label lover and a fashionista, who was once voted best dressed in high school. It must have paid off because she now spends most of her time on the red carpet with her clients.
Jonell Whitt wears Calvin Klein, navy blue lace dress, Photographed by Lazina Franklin. Hair, Toshi. Makeup Nyssa Green of The Green Room Agency. Jewelry, Lohmans.
Tell us a little about yourself and your career? I’m from Los Angeles, California. Before becoming a publicist, I was a real estate loan officer. Most of my friends are in the industry. I just decided I didn’t want to be a starving actor. I needed more consistency and stability. People would always see me with celebrities around town and I was always known to be a personal cheerleader for my friends, so mentioning them and what they were doing was something I always did. However, L.A. is very cliquish and I got tired of that scene and not being able to make the money I wanted, so I decided to move to Atlanta and get away from the industry mess. When I got to Atlanta, the crazy thing is, I started doing the same thing all over again. My in to publicity was when my friend Roger Bobb started dating actress Mari Marrow. At the time, Roger was VP of Tyler Perry studios and had produced all of his movies. We would be out on the town and photographers would ask him to move out of the way so they could photograph Mari because at the time she was recognizable talent. After seeing this happen a few times, I started making mention of him and who he was to the photographers and next thing you know they stopped asking him to move out of the way because now they wanted to take his picture too. He finally told me I should be a publicist because he thought I would be good at it. I started off as Gary Sturgis’ (Diary of Mad Black Woman) personal assistant, booking him jobs and things of that nature. His publicist quit, and I took over for him. I ended up working for Roger Bobb afterwards. At the time, I knew nothing about this business. It was basically on the job training for me. Fab Five Freddy was my mentor at the time and I asked him if he thought I would be a good publicist, and he said “absolutely!” So I went to the library and did as much research as I could on Public Relations. What exactly does a Publicist do? We create brand awareness through national media to grow your brand. My whole intent is to make your name a household name and take it to the next level. I try to keep my clients relevant by being around others that are relevant. I also build relationships with people. That’s what I do, because everyone doesn’t have a personality. Most publicists are glorified ‘do’ girls/guys. Sometimes you might be on the red carpet behind them holding their purse or cell phone and you might hold their dress if it’s long so it’s not in the way. How do you choose your clients? When I first started I would just watch people and pitch ideas to them. I will follow someone around for 45 days to see if I am able to work with them. Once you work with clients on a certain level, you want to stay at that level and not go back. However, if I see potential in someone, I’ll definitely take you on. What I won’t do is take someone on just for a check. You never know what type of person you’re dealing with, or how they are to work with. Bad news travels fast in this industry and I don’t want to be that person. Your name can be ruined instantly. People affiliate my name with celebrities now, so I have to be cautious of who I do work with. I also don’t take on clients that are competing with one another either due to conflicts of interests. How long have you been in business? I’ve been doing this for six years now. You’re a very busy woman…what won’t you do for a client? I don’t do fundraisers. It’s way too expensive to do them and they usually expect you to dish out all the money to make it happen. What do you find to be the most challenging in this industry? People in this industry never realize the importance of branding themselves while they are on television or while they are working. When they do realize it, they aren’t working anymore. I have to teach people all the time to value their brand. They fail to see what’s important in the beginning. There’s a lot of stuff they don’t think about because they just don’t get it. Sometimes they think I am ‘supposed’ to do certain things, when in reality I’m just ‘helping’ them out, but they don’t see that either.
Who are some of your favorite celebrity clients? (Laughing) You’re trying to get me in trouble, everyone is my favorite How do you balance business with personal time? Microwave dinners…..I’m just kidding! My kids are very self-sufficient. I taught them at a young age how to do for themselves. When my oldest was eight he was helping to take care of my four year old. I don’t have family here in Atlanta, so my kids just have me to depend on, so I had to teach them to be self- sufficient. Knowing what was going on with them is important. I had my cell phone connected to my son’s cell, so whenever he would take pictures and send them from his phone they would come directly to me without his knowledge. I had to make sure I was watching everything they did because they will get everyone’s attention around them first and then bring it to your attention, just to get your attention. It was important that we had a schedule and structure and because I have boys I also had to make them think I was half crazy so they didn’t try me. Do you feel pressure to always be ‘fashionably’ on point in this business? Yes, absolutely!!!!!! I spend a lot of time on the red carpet. You have to make sure that you’re not outshining your client though. Once, I was on the red carpet and I had a really nice dress on. Everyone was taking pictures of my dress and my client was a little taken aback. You have to find that thin line between being fashionable and not outshining the boss. They will feel some type of way and then you will lose them as a client. But I also have to be on point because I’m always in front of the camera. I take the red carpet very seriously. It’s like a job interview. It’s your chance to tell the world about you face to face. What’s your personal style and who are some of your favorite designers? Tom Ford! He’s consistent with whatever he puts out. Men’s wear, women’s wear the glasses, everything. He keeps up with the times and the fashion trend. His stuff is simple but looks amazing so you can wear it ten years from now. It’s funny because when I came to the South I noticed how the people aren’t as ‘flashy’ as they are in Los Angeles. They started calling me ‘Hollywood’ because of the way I dressed. There are so many fashion rules on the East Coast just based on the weather alone. No one in California cares, it’s pretty much ‘be who you want to be, wear what you want to wear.’ I’m the last person to ask “What’s the dress code?” Whatever you feel good or comfortable in, is what you should do. What piece of clothing can’t you live without? I cannot live without SPANX – the key to your outside clothes looking great is having great under garments. If your undergarments aren’t right, nothing looks right. Is there someone in the business whose style is your favorite? In your eyes they always slay their look on the red carpet and elsewhere? A lot of celebrities are hit and miss with their fashion and regardless of her status, Lisa Raye McCoy always looks great! She never tries to look younger than she is, she’s always age appropriate. She always looks amazing. Angela Bassett looks incredible as well and the model from back in the day Linda Evangelista, she always looks great too. Even today she still looks amazing. What do you hope to achieve in this industry five years from now and or would you choose to do something different? My goal is to be a producer for television. Television isn’t like feature films, it’s something that’s constant. I don’t want to go against the odds. I like consistently working and the quick turnaround. Television can give you that, feature films can’t. A lot of my clients are television producers. They are the ones who go un-noticed the most. People need to know who’s doing what because that’s how you move on to bigger projects I really do love what I do because we empower others. Getting people to the next level makes a difference and it changes people’s lives. Jonell is definitely making changes in people’s lives with her business savvy ways, her powerful connections, people respect her and her grind and she’s clearly making more money than Lois Lane! 88
HOLIDAY COOKING Eat GOOD without gaining a pound Whether it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas, there’s no better way to celebrate than with good food, family and friends. For the guys, lets add football. For some it can cause unnecessary stress in the kitchen if you don’t want to ruin your diet. Understanding the do’s and don’ts along with your table manners will help you get through this time with a breeze. Don’t skip out on the festivities just because you are afraid of calories. Honestly, it’s all about self-control and portion control. Whether it’s the turkey or mama homemade pumpkin pie, you can enjoy it all. So get in the kitchen and show off your culinary talents!
The Power Issue - BELLE New York Magazine Welcomes Lamont Easter of House of Cards as our FIRST male cover model.