Beneath Your Beautiful Jan Feb 2024

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JA N | F E B 2 024 I S S U E 1 3


Hara Allison

At Beneath Your Beautiful, we are committed to spreading positivity and hope and improving lives through raw and compassionate storytelling. If you, or someone you know, has a story to share, please reach out to


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The Silence

P H O T O G R A P H E R A N D M O D E L Bethany Burrow































[ 2 0 2 0 S TAY AT H O M E ]

Self Portrait Series

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by Ginger Oakes

As I approach my 72nd birthday, I’m hoping the changes I’ve made to my life in the past 8 years will be enough for this older version of me. My early life was filled with childhood trauma and “stuff” like most of us, but I’m working through those things while processing life’s most recent events. I have had apologies from some abusers and I’m healing up mostly because I now live alone; in my solitude I have the chance to really think things out.

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I ended a hurtful relationship after 35 years,

thoughts, and let my feelings out into the clay,

at the same time my eyesight decided to

as if the clay were my therapist.

leave me. Now, I have bad eyes, and coupled

In the past, I sculpted in spare bedrooms

with bad balance I have fallen several times,

and on kitchen tables, but 8 years ago I spread

breaking bones that need to be stronger. I’ve

my wings into my own studio in the detached

realized I needed to be stronger in many other

garage ten steps out my back door. This has

ways, too. Most of my challenges force me to

been such a wonderful gift to myself and has

look at what I still have and focus on what

helped with the focus I need. In 2017, I decided

I’m grateful for. My peripheral vision is still

to share my studio space with others, inviting

good, so I’m learning to focus peripherally and

them in, showing them tricks of the clay and

go slow enough to keep my balance and stay

how to RELAX AND PLAY. I loved the company,

upright. I don’t have the luxury of decades to

and I loved sharing what knowledge I had

get over a pity party, so I am grateful for this

gained over the years. It is gratifying to know

small win.

many people need to have this outlet, as I did.

It is not easy to have expectations about

In late 2019, Shelley from Spokane Arts

what your life plans look like and then realize

helped me complete a grant application.

things are not going in that direction. Even

Together, we wrote to ask for support so

without other challenges, age will teach us

I could afford an assistant in the studio. I

these things. The most important thing I’ve

figured this would make it easy to continue

learned during this time of change is to “Love

sharing my studio with my community, and

What Is,” instead of fighting it. Oh, how my

would help me navigate challenges with

mind can ruminate on all my losses. During

computer screens and the heavy physical

the depths of a crisis, my youngest son said

lifting in the studio. I held my breath after

to me, “Mom, you have a good mind. You just

we submitted the grant; it was excruciating

can’t let your mind sabotage your life.” I have

to wait for the response. The phone call

been repeating that mantra for eight years - it

from Shelley fi nally came - I remember the

stops the spin.

excitement in her voice: “You’ve been fully

I’ve been amazed at how keeping focus on what is good in my life has allowed for the

funded!” And my elated response, “WOW, OH WOW!”

hard stuff to become a distant memory. Part

But in a cruel twist of fate, the grant was

of the good is that I love creating art. I am so

funded on the day we went into pandemic

thankful that I started exploring clay when

lock down. My mind started to spin, realizing

I was about 40 - I think it came into my life

nobody could come play in my studio and

to give me peace for the inevitable change

I couldn’t have an assistant. To keep from

that was coming. Now, I literally feel my way

losing the grant, I had to figure out something

through a lump of clay, molding and sculpting

to do with the money that still served my

from my experience and by feel. It lets me

original plan. I didn’t need and couldn’t use

relax when I can feel my way through my

the money myself, but I knew people who


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were on lockdown couldn’t afford to pay for studio supplies. I said to myself, “Well, I have to pivot; to hell with it, I’ll share all of that Arts money!” After confi rming my plan with Spokane Arts, I immediately set out to spend the money for a concept titled, “Clay To Go.” I purchased 30 five-gallon buckets from Home Depot, and into each I placed balls of clay, an assortment of tools, printed descriptions, defi nitions, and directions. For the tiny sum of $15, students would pick up the clay supplies with contact-free curbside service. I booted up my laptop in my studio and I led Zoom classes with those students in their homes. After their creations were complete, they brought them back to me - still contactless - and I fi red it for them in my studio kiln. Wooo-hooo, it worked! Everyone really needed the distraction from lockdown, and I appreciated the continued contact with the outside world. I spent all that money from the grant to buy the supplies and had dozens and dozens of participants. It was so gratifying when homeschool kids and Moms, therapists and lonely people logged on and laughed with me! I have so many emails from people who

retaining boundaries. I now recognize that personal expectations,

said it was the most fun they had had since the

the things that I expect to or need to happen

pandemic had started. I felt like I had shared

a certain way are really the only things

something good.

that cause me distress. Understanding and

Now that the pandemic is past, I still have

appreciating that everything “just is” has

a couple friends who like to come play with

really helped. I keep repeating the mantra

clay. I’m thankful that they pay for their

my son taught me, take a deep breath, close

supplies and spend time playing in the studio

my eyes and listen, and experience my other

with me. Since I’m a very slow sculptor it takes

senses until I am calm. Those other senses

a long time for me to create enough to fi ll my

make it easier as do friends or family who

kiln to fi re, so having them in my studio fi lls

communicate well and spend time with me,

my kiln and helps me complete my own work

because I love conversation, it is like breath

a lot quicker. During the “Clay To Go” period,

to me. I’m very thankful for the interactions I

I fi red very regularly - in fact, it was the

do have, and the peace I have found in my life.

busiest year of my life. I learned important

Life is good when you can feel your way and

lessons about self-care and setting and

sense life from other perspectives. BYB

12 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine Issue 13 | Jan Feb 2024 A R T I S T Ginger Oakes P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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LIVES by Carla T. Savalli Frontier Behavioral Health

Dish soap by the kitchen sink. Laundry soap by the washer and dryer. A washer and dryer in her apartment and not in some basement common room or across town in a sketchy laundromat. These are the totems of a respectable life;

The apartments are the result of a

symbols of a standard of living many of us

partnership between Catholic Charities –

take for granted. Not Jaymee Wright. After 10

a recognized expert in building affordable

years of living on the streets, after living in a

housing for at-risk populations – and Frontier

women’s shelter, in transitional housing, and

Behavioral Health (FBH), the largest provider of

an apartment she gave up because she couldn’t

mental health services in Eastern Washington.

make the monthly rent, daily conveniences are

All of the renters are FBH clients who have

a sign of hope.

a history of mental health or substance use

“It’s a new start. I’m being shown a life that I

disorders and have been involved in the

wouldn’t be able to grasp or comprehend on my

criminal justice system. Onsite support

own, wouldn’t have been able to give myself.”

staff, including healthcare coordinators,

At 28, with her emotional support dog Hank

case managers, and peer support specialists

by her side, Wright is getting on her feet again

ensure basic needs are met while the tenants

and hoping this time, she can make it stick.

navigate multiple social service systems on the

She is one of 24 adult tenants living in the Mother Teresa Haven II apartments, an

way to independence. When Jaymee moved in to her one-bedroom

affordable housing community built on land

unit last fall, it was already furnished with

that Catholic Charities purchased from the

two couches and an ottoman, dining table and

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in

chairs, end tables, and a bed, nightstand and

Spokane, Washington.

dresser – all purchased for her from 16 Cents,


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3 Shoes & 5 Socks, a local furniture store that outfitted all of the units. The apartment includes

wanted to buy a house.” She moved into Mother Teresa Haven II from

air conditioning, a washer and dryer, and a full

a transitional housing program downtown.

kitchen with appliances. She has artwork on the

Being in the city’s urban core was “triggering”

walls, a TV, and her own bathroom.

for her substance use issues, so she is happy

“Having all of this to take care of keeps me in

to be north of the Spokane River, among other

reality,” she says, surveying her open-concept

apartment complexes that serve low-income

living room and kitchen. “I look out the window

families and formerly homeless single adults

and see the parking lot and kids and it conducts

and veterans.

my behavior a little bit.” By her own admission, she has a “lengthy criminal record,” having entered guilty pleas on more than 20 separate charges. She is currently awaiting a court-ordered mental health competency evaluation – a 10.77 hearing – that will determine whether she can stand trial for assaulting a police officer and two other misdemeanor charges. If she is deemed incompetent to stand trial, the state must provide her restoration services. “When they tried to take me away when I went psychotic, I would fight against the officer,” says Jaymee, who has bipolar disorder, PTSD, and substance use issues. Conflict and upheaval are interwoven threads that run through her story. She was born in Glendale, Arizona, but Spokane has always been home. “I was 14 when my mom put me in foster care and left me there. I started to run away and saw the streets as something cool at first, freedom, a place to hang out.” Then her perspective changed. “It became all I had. I couldn’t go home to my family because my family was broken. Whenever I went home, it always ended up in violence. My mom called the cops a lot.” Despite the chaos, she made attempts to get an education, attending North Central, University, and West Valley high schools, as well as Spokane Falls Community College. Once

Initially, there were rumblings and rumors from tenants in the other apartments about the “mental health people” moving in, and some offensive sidewalk graffiti showed up before it was quickly removed. There have been no issues since. “[People in the other apartments] don’t have to interact with us,” Jaymee says. “We’re all people, too. We all wake up in the morning and have to use the bathroom. Give us our space. Even though some of us walk around and talk to ourselves, we really don’t want to impose that on you. People have episodes when “they don’t act right, but they’re not going to hurt other people.”

Shaun Webb’s former girlfriend smacked his head with a baseball bat during an argument, leaving the 44-year-old Los Angeles native with a traumatic brain injury and grand mal seizures for the rest of his life. He also carries trauma from a brawl with his cousin who used a bat to beat his legs and back. He has been out of prison almost a year after serving 12 years on robbery, burglary, and assault charges. He always had a cell to himself while incarcerated because of his violent tendencies. So, living alone in his one-bedroom apartment with his rescue dog Nina Blue suits him fine. “I ain’t playing daddy. I got no kids. It’s just me and Nina now.”

she qualifies for Social Security disability, she

Like many of the other tenants, Shaun

will go back to school so she “can do something

moved into Mother Teresa Haven II after

that pays enough to buy a house. I’ve always

living downtown in transitional housing – an

a girlfriend’s house to do laundry. I don’t need

because of “bad people and drugs.” Spokane’s

to worry about people acting stupid, or all that

North Side is a world away from his previous

drama. I’m minding my own business, taking

life, although he remains vigilant.

care of what I’ve got to do. When I got out [of

“It’s been all good here, but I still watch

prison], my goal was to get a Husky dog and

people and see how they are,” he says. “If they

that’s what I got. I got my Husky and my own

want to bother me and know about my record,

place and I’m good.”

I’ll tell them, but I stay away from all that … from people not being fair with each other, people doing dirty. In this place, it’s mostly cool, regular people.” Just before sitting down to tell his story – with Nina Blue or “Mommy,” as he sometimes calls her, by his side – he spent seven days at Deaconess Hospital after collapsing from a seizure in his apartment. When he woke up in a hospital bed, he was confused. In the past, he tended to have seizures either in public places because he was homeless or in prison. In either case, his violent thrashing and combative demeanor usually triggered a police response, not a medical one. “I would be flopping and swinging and kicking and I didn’t know what was going on. I’d wake up and not even know what happened. When I woke up in the hospital I said, ’This ain’t prison.’” The fact that he was transported to the hospital by paramedics after other tenants and onsite staff heard loud thumping inside his apartment is just one example of how much his situation has improved. Other indicators include his current bathroom, which he says is bigger than the entire apartment he previously occupied downtown. His fully-equipped kitchen means he can cook what he likes – fried

Two seminal moments changed the trajectory of Jaide Harper’s life. At 15, he became involved with the criminal justice system and at 20 his mother died of a heart attack. “If she were still alive, I would probably still be living with her,” he admits. “I always had this overwhelming fear that if I left her at any time, she would die. And she died anyway.” In between those mileposts and for many years after, his life was unmoored. He spent time in prison, on the streets, in shelters, and on friends’ couches. He did drugs, cut and burned himself as a form of punishment for his mistakes, and accidentally stabbed himself in the gut. He has a daughter he has not seen in 15 years. Now, at age 43, he is living in his fi rst apartment, a south-facing unit that looks out over the Spokane riverbank. “If you’re trying to quit drugs, being downtown is the worst place to be,” he says. “If there were more apartments and programs like this, there wouldn’t be such a homeless problem. When people get released from prison, if they can come to a place like this, it will make a big difference because there are services and supports here. Otherwise, you

chicken, hot dogs, meat – and share it with

get out and go back to the people and the things

Nina. Being on a bus line allows him to keep

you know, the things that put you in prison in

his appointments with his parole officer. And

the fi rst place.”

freedom allows him to revel in the luxury of doing chores. “I don’t like being in a dirty place. The only

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environment that was “no good” and triggering

His apartment not only gives him a rental history, but opportunity. “I’ve never had this much help in my life, even from my own

things on the floor is her toys. Everything is

mother,” he says. “The only way to get rid of

here. I don’t have to go to no friend’s house or to

negative stereotypes is to inject a little bit of


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compassion, and I really believe in how FBH is showing compassion with their programs.” After years of fighting against the current, he has learned to “move with the flow.” “The world needs to stop the hate. We’re all the same and we’re supposed to help each other. My mom said that ’no one is too far gone for help,’ and that with enough compassion and tough love, people can change.”

“It sucks that I had to be an addict, homeless and have a criminal record in order to get help.”

Bol Pennington fled western Sudan with his parents in 2004 to escape the civil war in Darfur, a rebel-led insurrection that turned into a humanitarian crisis, leaving millions displaced and thousands dead. After fi rst settling in Egypt, the refugee family made

In many ways, Jennessa Magner’s story is

their way to Spokane – bringing with them the

similar to the others. Generational poverty,

damage of unspeakable trauma. Bol was just

undiagnosed mental illness, and a series of

a boy.

poor choices narrowed her options until she

Homelessness, physical abuse, and his

found herself homeless in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,

mother’s alcoholism led to a custody battle.

with two daughters. Her “downward spiral” did

Bol and his sisters were eventually placed

not last as long, however.

in foster care.

In a relatively short four years, Jennessa

At 14, he was adopted by Rick and Colleen

transitioned from homelessness, addiction,

Pennington who provided him the stability he

and criminal charges for assault, possession,

craved and the opportunity “to really be a kid.”

harassment and disorderly conduct to a one-

As a freshman at Mica Peak High School

bedroom apartment where her girls – now 19

in the Central Valley School District, he

and 13 – can visit.

began experiencing the effects of PTSD

’Short’ does not mean easy, however. “I felt

and depression, but counseling helped him

like I wasn’t even human, not a person, but

manage his memories. In 2019, he became

some homeless addict not worth anything,”

an Act Six Scholar and earned a full-ride

says the 42-year-old who was born in Nampa,

scholarship to Whitworth University. The

Idaho. She wants people to understand that

Spokesman-Review wrote a story about his

homelessness is not a choice for most, and it is

improbable journey and his plan to give back to

defi nitely not easy.

others for the gifts he received.

“It’s scary, it’s rough. It’s hard to have decent

“I want to go to school so I can help people,”

days because there are so many people around

he told the newspaper. “All my life, I have

you who just want to do drugs. There are people

been helped – to survive, to be rescued, to be

who want help and ones that don’t. There are

nurtured. I want to give back.”

decent people who clean up after themselves

Then, in 2020, at the age of 20, he experienced

and they still get treated like crap. And there’s

his fi rst psychotic episode, and everything fell

others who give being homeless a bad name.”

apart. He was at war with himself.

Anything can lead to homelessness, she says – a fact borne out by research. “Lack of housing, lack of support. You can be working and lose your job and things

“I wasn’t in control of my own body. I had no idea what was going on. I was downtown doing drugs, hanging out with the wrong crowd, not knowing where I would go next.”

change. Once you have the right supports like

He was eventually diagnosed with

these apartments, it gives people a chance to

schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and

try a different path.”

psychiatrically hospitalized. A string of


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criminal charges, including residential

on North Monroe. His mother passed away, but

burglary and assault, led to 11 separate arrests,

his biological father still lives in Spokane and is

but it was while he was in jail that he heard

proud of his son’s plan to go back to school. “I want to inspire others,” Bol says, a warm

about FBH’s various Trueblood programs, and that led him to Mother Teresa Haven II.

smile breaking out across his face. “Everybody

“I’m blessed. Never would I have thought

is on different roads in life, but people need

I’d have all this. I have to credit FBH and God’s

to be uplifted, to see that life isn’t that bad. I

grace. I didn’t know how to break the cycle

learned to survive growing up. There’s no point

until FBH showed me there’s hope.”

in giving up. Everyday is a chance to make a

Today, he takes medication to control his symptoms and works part time at the Taco Bell

positive small step to get you where you want to be. Just do something.” ▮

Beyond the personal stories, data compiled by FBH shows that the apartments are an effective way to reduce hospitalizations and prevent recidivism in the criminal justice system. Consider these turnarounds: A 23-year-old male with schizoaffective disorder and co-occurring substance use was involuntarily hospitalized eight times between 2020 and September 2023. He spent a total of 204 days receiving inpatient treatment. He also had three known contacts with law enforcement that resulted in 44 days of incarceration time. Since moving into Mother Teresa Haven II in August 2023, he has had just one involuntary hospitalization of seven days. He has maintained his sobriety, kept his appointments for outpatient mental health treatment, and fulfilled all of his court and probation requirements, including scheduled hearing and random drug tests. He has also re-established a relationship with his adoptive father and is considering returning to school. Another tenant, a 58-year-old male with substance use issues, had three involuntary hospitalizations between 2020 and 2021, four competency evaluations between 2021 and 2023, and frequent contact with law enforcement. Since moving into the apartments, he has had no ITA (Involuntary Treatment Act) hospitalizations, no contact with law enforcement, and has completed the Outpatient Competency Restoration Program at FBH. He is also rebuilding fractured family relationships and recently met his 3-year-old grandson for the first time. “We know from our history of serving this population that individuals with serious mental illnesses are overrepresented in jails and hospitals,” says FBH Chief Operating Officer Jan Downing. “By partnering with Catholic Charities, FBH is able to fill a significant gap in meeting the needs of those we serve.” BYB

Carla Savalli is the Public Information Officer for Frontier Behavioral Health in Spokane, Washington. Before joining the agency in 2014, she spent 25 years as a journalist, working as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Washington, Idaho and Nevada.

P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

by Darius Wallace

I came from humble beginnings, the son of a GM employee in Flint, Michigan. From an early age, I harbored the dream of becoming an entertainer, but my fear of speaking in front of others cast a shadow on my aspirations. I didn’t believe in myself, and I began to express myself in self-destructive ways. A high school theater teacher saw my potential, became my guiding light, and introduced me to techniques that transformed my fear into strength. An opportunity to pursue an education at

Interventions and the revelation of my

Interlochen Arts Academy propelled me into

father’s childhood wisdom pulled me

the arts space, and my continued education

from the abyss, shaping a beautiful and

at SUNY Purchase in New York gave me the

imperfect life.

foundation I needed to become a founding

Overcoming life’s traumas was possible

member of Tennessee Shakespeare, where

in the realization of the divine spark within.

I further honed my craft. The culmination

Influenced by religion, storytelling, and

of my experiences led me to develop a one-

inspirational encounters, this eternal spark

person show on the life of Frederick Douglass,

ignited my imagination, empowering me to

propelling me into the realms of theater, fi lm,

create the life I desired. An off-shoot of my

and television.

artistic endeavors, I found myself coaching

During a challenging period in the mid-

professionals in the art of communication,

90s, homelessness in New York City tested my

a path that led me to Memphis as a speaking

will to live. But as I reflected on my father’s

coach for the past eight years. Grateful for

journey from GM employee to pursuing his

the twists of fate, I have become an

passion in real estate, I saw how his courage

inspirational speaker, living my dream,

fueled the Phoenix Flame within him. His

and sharing my passions.

example inspired me, and instilled self-

And so, the song of dreams continues – a

confidence I didn’t know I had. Following my

harmonious melody of a father and son, both

dreams as an actor, I embraced his wisdom:

flying with the Flame of a Phoenix, wings

"Whatever the mind of a person can conceive

spread wide into the deepest joy of living out

and believe, that person can also achieve."

our dreams. BYB

Darius Wallace is no stranger to stories. He has been in several Hollywood Movies (Nothing But The Truth, Brian Banks and The World We Make). He is a founding company member of Tennessee Shakespeare in Memphis Tennessee and he has performed all over the country in thousands of schools, universities, theaters and libraries as Frederick Douglass. He also has been the TEDx Memphis coach for seven years. He is a practitioner of Tai Chi/Chi Gong and teaches methods of self improvement through meditation.

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S TRENGTH Alycia Michelle Morris (Alycia Michelle) is a Texas native, military veteran, self-published author, freelance model, podcast host, and 2x breast cancer survivor. Alycia, a prolific writer who has published 13 books of her own, has been featured in 35+ magazines across the globe. She is fighting to change the narrative of the word “beautiful” and demonstrates that beauty must first be found within to truly be shown on the surface. “I had to learn how to love my body after breast cancer because I didn’t feel beautiful. Once I tapped into my inner beauty and inner spirituality, I saw that being beautiful starts with me. That is something that no one can ever take away.” Alycia is continuing to accomplish all the goals she has set for herself and be a voice for those who need to hear they are beautiful. October of 2023 will mark 2 years of being cancer-free for the second time. “This isn’t a testimony, this is personal!” BYB

M O D E L Alycia Michelle P H O T O G R A P H E R Ken Wiillams

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Vite condivise

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Vite condivise is a long-term photographic project born from the collaboration of Greta Pettarini and Virginia Victoria Godino, two photographers born in 2001, both passionate about the documentary world.

P H O T O G R A P H E R Virginia Victoria Godino P H O T O G R A P H E R Greta Pettarini

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Through this project they immerse themselves in various communities and ecovillages to capture their essence and tell their stories. Greta was born in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a land full of memories, She has always lived in fascination of places, with all their meanings and characterizations. Her work focuses mainly on the study of identity, a different view of the world and digital manipulation. She attended the Liceo Artistico Giovanni Sello in Udine, graduating in Audiovisual and Multimedia. Virginia grew up between the opposing worlds of the city and the Piedmont countryside, and has always been interested in observing people’s habits and lifestyles, their rituals and identities. Her works explore contemporary Italian society, searching for traces of the past and new ways of interpreting the present. Both graduated in Photography and New Media at the Accademia Italiana in Florence. BYB

teo ElLiOt DA mIT io

I have a story and I’m the main character. I’ve been through downs and ups in life. The battles I face are real. The emotions are real. The pain in my heart is real. However, so is the love and joy I feel. Others may not always see the battle I’m facing, but there are those who do. If I were to describe myself, I would say I’m very energetic and always busy. Sure, I am masculine, but I’m also sometimes feminine. Sometimes I wear stilettos and sometimes I wear makeup and sometimes I get my nails done. And I don’t care what other people think. I have the freedom to be truly me! I was originally born a female, in Yambol, Bulgaria. My sister and I began our lives in two orphanages there. After my parents decided to adopt us, we flew to America where we had to learn a whole different world. When I was 20, I thought I was lesbian. Two years later, I found out what transgender was and I have been a practicing trans male ever since! It was a challenge. When I first started taking testosterone, I learned the hard way what it would be like to not be accepted by my parents. I was so scared to tell them I was trans. And I was right to be worried. My mom found out once my voice started changing. She was really angry and my parents made me move out. My sister said “my sister’s gone now.” “I’m still here! I’m still me!” I said. It terrified me. I didn’t think that anyone would ever love me again. That experience taught me about

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family — that sometimes you get to choose. If my theatre family were not in my life, I probably would not be alive now. They showed me a different kind of love. I know to some it’s not much, but being called a “he” is one of THE best feelings ever! I can look at myself in the mirror and I can see…myself. Every day is an adventure and a challenge, but as long as I have people that support me, that’s what matters. Through the ups and downs of life, I found out about unconditional love. I found my theatre family, my queer family, but most importantly I found me. Some may not see the battle I face, but those who love me, do. When I have little wins, I make sure to celebrate them in my own way. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting my favorite boba that brings me joy. Through the battles of life, I have felt invisible, worthless and unwanted but I know that I am worthy of joy, kindness, love and great things. I am Teo Elliot Damitio and I wouldn’t be who I am – this spontaneous, energetic, creative self – without the amazing people in my life who believe in me! BYB


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M O D E L Teo Elliot Damitio P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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h a r d sh ips

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P H O T O G R A P H E R Mano Hovhannisyan

M O D E L Ceydar Davis P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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WA R D R O B E S T Y L I S T Emily Martinez

M A K E U P A R T I S T/ H A I R S T Y L I S T Jenny Lova M O D E L Michaela Renae M O D E L Julian Green P H O T O G R A P H E R Joseph Hart

C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R Charles Fatunbi

A S S I S TA N T/ D I G I T E C H Jamal Wesley

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P H O T O G R A P H E R Elena Patrina

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M O D E L Sruthy Sithara M A K E U P A R T I S T Renjithraj P H O T O G R A P H E R Bibi R E T O U C H E R Shibin FA S H I O N D E S I G N E R Smruthy Simon A S S I S TA N T Majeesh

The passage introduces the Garbham photo shoot, linked to Kerala birth, symbolizing the contrast between uncertain beginnings and the innocence of stepping into the world's metaphorical sand. It emphasizes that each birth signifies a journey filled with joy, hope, familiar paths, and meaning, with a unique focus on the dreams and concepts shaping the life of a transgender person. The project is portrayed as a deliberate and thoughtful exploration, capturing the intentional steps in the meaningful journey, from birth to pregnancy. Shruti Sitara, a transgender woman, is celebrated as India's first Miss Trans Global winner.

STUDIO H creative is an award-winning design firm. After 32 years in business, we’ve done it all. Annual reports, event collateral, magazines, logos, packaging, social media graphics, photography, brochures, flyers, posters, menus, web and editorial design – including Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine!

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M O D E L Zack Rose

M A K E U P Gail

M O D E L Mariah Scroggins

FA C E PA I N T A R T I S T Jess

H A I R Chelsea Zacher

C L O T H I N G Spokane Dress Rentals


Ghost Hive Studios P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

ZODIAC The Creative Director of the Zodiac photo series, Chelsey McKee is the owner of Ghost Hive Studio, a multimedia art company based in Chattaroy, Washington. She has specialized for the past seven years in resin epoxy design, custom molding, and multimedia art, as well as SFX prop, jewelry and accessory design, natural and botanical artistry, oddities, specimen preservation and wall art. Chelsey’s mission is to come together much like a bee hive and thrive as one!

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Z M O D E L Evelyn Johnson M O D E L Micah Emily Shure E V E LY N ’ S C L O T H I N G ETTE M I C A H ’ S C L O T H I N G Spokane Dress Rentals FA C E PA I N T A R T I S T Jess C ROWN , AC C ESORIES AND JE WEL RY

Ghost Hive Studios P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison


M O D E L Adrianna Braun


M O D E L Michaela Avants Borselli H A I R Chelsea Zacher M A K E U P Gail FA C E PA I N T A R T I S T Jess

C L O T H I N G Spokane Dress Rentals


Ghost Hive Studios P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison


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ZODIAC 66 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine Issue 13 | Jan Feb 2024


M O D E L Seth Buswell M O D E L Cassandra K Carpenter M A K E U P A N D H A I R Gail FA C E PA I N T A R T I S T Rachel Lenz *Evilina*


Ghost Hive Studios P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison




this page P H O T O G R A P H E R Taylor White Photography

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Shamian Island, Guangzhou, China

by Robin Andrus

Having been blessed with the loving examples of not one, but two grandmothers – women who not only were successful career women, but who also showered their children and grandchildren with unconditional love – it was inevitable that I would develop passions both for raising a family, as well as for learning. In pursuit of the fi rst, I

My youngest daughter was

superintendent and his

married young, and was

fi nally in college, and I was

wife, who I soon learned

blessed with seven beautiful

looking forward to being an

were passionate about

children. As they grew older,

empty nester. I had accepted

international adoptions,

I began to pursue my second

a position as the Director of

particularly adoptions from

passion and attended college

Special Education in Cheney

China. They themselves were

purely for the love of learning,

Public Schools, a school

parents to four children –

never actually thinking I

district serving some smaller

two biologically theirs and

would earn a degree. I also

bedroom communities outside

two children adopted from

never imagined, after raising

of Spokane, Washington.

China. As we got to know

my family and fi nding success

Having previously worked

each other better, they told

in my chosen career, I would

as Assistant Superintendent

stories of children who were

go back for a second helping

of Schools, I was excited

on China’s shared list of

of motherhood.

to meet our new assistant

waiting children, many of


70 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine Issue 13 | Jan Feb 2024


whom who have complex

medical needs? But a seed

where he had attended for two

medical needs and need to

was planted, and the next few

years. His teachers were so

fi nd a forever family as soon

weeks found me searching

lovely, and hosted a farewell

as possible. It was during

for more information about

ceremony for him that

one of our get-togethers that

this sweet child. I eventually

included a book of handprints

they shared a picture and

discovered his true name and

of all of his classmates. They

story of a beautiful little

the location of the orphanage

created a memory book

boy who had some pretty

responsible for his care.

titled, “The Story of My Life

extensive medical needs.

Thus began the journey

in China” and they lovingly

I saw his picture and was

to my son. After emailing

explained to me how they

immediately drawn to him.

five different international

cared for his medical and

adoption agencies I fi nally

educational needs at school.

born with a condition called

struck gold with Wasatch

They often read to him while

OEIS Syndrome. In his case

International Adoptions out of

caring for his medical needs

he was born with several of

Ogden, Utah. After a routine

so he would be distracted

his internal organs exposed,

background check on me, they

by the stories. During the

including a portion of his

supplied me with his complete

farewell ceremony, the class

intestines, his bladder (it was

fi le and I began to plan.

sang his favorite song, “Gan

in two halves), imperforate

I remember the social

en de Xin,” which translates to

anus (no opening at birth)

worker asking me if I was

“A Thankful Heart.” That song

and a significant case of

sure I wanted to take on a

brought out the grief of this

spina bifida. Although he had

child who is so medically

transition for the fi rst time.

undergone several life-saving

complex. Nothing would

He sobbed as they sang to him,

surgeries in his fi rst few years

sway me. I began the process

and I had so much empathy

of life, he still required more

of adoption in 2018, and

for his pain.

surgical intervention, which

received my travel approval

would only occur if he were

to China in November of

to his foster home. There

placed for adoption with a

2019. My excitement was so

I met his foster parents

family who could afford

great, I planned to arrive in

and foster siblings. We

the procedures.

China a week early so I could

exchanged gifts during this

This beautiful little soul was

After school came a visit

Reading his story, my

visit his Montessori school,

meeting, and he presented

mothering instinct kicked

his orphanage director and

me with five fi nger puppets

in with full force, and I

staff, and his foster family in

and a single piece of White

couldn’t stop thinking about

Beijing prior to flying to his

Rabbit candy, his favorite. I

him. I showed his picture to

birth province to complete the

presented him with a pair of

a few people at work, who

adoption process. I also used

Spiderman sunglasses, some

immediately said, “Oh, you

the opportunity to learn a

hand puppets, and a Captain

need to bring him home.” It

bit about China’s culture and

America figure. To this day he

was an absolutely crazy idea

history with visits to the Great

treasures each of these items

- I thought, “Oh, I don’t know.

Wall and the Forbidden City.

in a special place in his room.

I don’t know.” How would

I fi nally met my son (it is

We were separated for a few

I possibly manage a new

still such a thrill to say that)

days as I traveled by bullet

child in my life with my new

two days prior to his adoption

train to his birth province to

professional role, much less

date. The meeting took place

fi nalize his adoption. It felt

a child with such significant

at the Montessori school

like a lifetime before I saw

Trying out his own bed, in his own room with his own things for the first time.

Healing and eating Cheerios with chopsticks. Inpatient at SHMC children’s hospital.

him again, The day I signed

the end of November. I hadn’t

parents he had been with for

the papers to formally adopt

slept during the 36-hour trip,

two years, foster siblings,

him, we spent the afternoon

managing his medical needs

friends at school, teachers,

in our hotel, trying on his new

and his absolute trauma. I

and the wonderful staff at his

clothes and playing with toys

remember sobbing when we

orphanage who had taken

to celebrate. The Spiderman

got off the plane, exhausted

such extraordinary care

jammies were his favorite. He

from the whole process. You

of him.

was only six years old at the

know, kids who are adopted

I have a lot of background

time and I remember thinking

internationally don’t walk up

working with kids who have

how very tiny he was. His

to you and say, “Well, thank

experienced complex trauma,

clothing size was a diminutive

you so much for ripping me

and I literally used every

4T, and I wondered how

away from everything I’ve

tool I’ve ever been trained

much he would grow once

ever known. This is gonna be

on to help him make this

he adapted to a new home,

great!” Rather, they grieve the

adjustment, but despite all my

culture and foods.

loss of their “normal” which

efforts, he grieved hard.

Our fl ight home came near

in his case included foster

I wanted to give him time


Ben in kindergarten. He was so proud to write his name in Chinese characters and in English. His Chinese name is Zhen Hua. They called him Hua Hua for a nickname, translating to “virtuous painting.”

October 2020

72 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine Issue 13 | Jan Feb 2024

Reconstructive surgery March 2020. He was inpatient 28 days.

Spring 2023


to adjust to all of the changes,

day, and it was there that

cord, a consequence of his

to spend time in his own

he experienced his first

spina bifida. His surgeon

room and get used to his new

American Thanksgiving.

was Dr. Jeffery Leonard,

space. Carefully he examined

I was grateful that he

who, ironically, grew up in

his new toys, played, and

attached and bonded quickly

Spokane. I will be forever

eventually jumped vigorously

with me and my family. Bonds

grateful for the excellent

on his bed. This transition

can sometimes be tricky for

care they provided, and the

time was, unfortunately,

kids who are adopted. He also

opportunity for him to live a

cut short, his medical needs

becomes quite attached to

healthy, happy life.

taking precedence over the

the staff in his school, often

need to acclimate.

seeking to connect with them

surgeries behind him, we

after he has graduated to a

continue to see a medical team

new classroom.

at Seattle Children’s Hospital,

Our provider of choice was Sacred Heart Medical Center’s Children’s Hospital,

I am amazed at his

With the most complicated

comprised of a talented team

where he was admitted

resilience, undergoing several

of urology, nephrology and

immediately, and we stayed

surgeries and procedures

infectious disease doctors.

for seven days to treat several

with little complaint. In fact,

You would never know my

infections. The doctors there

he underwent his first major

son has all of these medical

were committed to his case,

surgery just four months after

needs, watching him run,

and immediately ordered a

coming home and remained

jump, perform somersaults

number of diagnostic tests

inpatient for 28 days.

and cartwheels, riding his bicycle… you name it. He

to fully assess his medical

For each of his major

needs. We began to plan for

surgeries we traveled from

loves school and he is a kind

future interventions deemed

Spokane to Columbus, Ohio,

and outgoing young man.

necessary to improve his

with his surgical team at

Nothing slows him down.

health and quality of life.

Nationwide Children’s

In the four years that he’s

That first stay in the

Hospital in the Center

been with me, he’s more than

hospital soon proved to be a

for Colorectal and Pelvic

doubled his weight and he

beautiful opportunity for us

Reconstruction. His first

is up to my shoulders now,

to get to know each other. I

surgery was conducted by

growing from the size 4T

learned he could easily eat

Dr. Richard Wood, Colorectal

to a size 12.

Cheerios with chopsticks, and

Surgeon and Dr. Molly

it was there that he crawled

Fuchs, Urological Surgeon.

of my son! He is beginning

into my lap for the first time.

They worked to create an

to take an active role in his

We met a wonderful nurse

ileostomy as well as an ileal

health and self-care, modeling

on the pediatric floor, who is

conduit (urostomy), creating

for me what it means to

friends with us to this day.

manageable pathways for

advocate for your health and

My son is a resilient fighter

his normal bodily functions,

for the things that are most

and even though he didn’t

and in order to keep him

important. At the forefront of

know any English when he

clean, dry, comfortable

his personality are his loving

first arrived, he was very

and infection free. Several

nature and kindness towards

kind and appreciative toward

months later we returned to

others, as well as the way he

others. I stayed with him

Nationwide for neurosurgery

thrives at school. My son is

in the hospital 24 hours a

to release his tethered spinal

such a gift! BYB

I couldn’t be more proud

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M O D E L Shea Garcia P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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M O D E L Marina Gordenko

P H O T O G R A P H E R Tatyana Loshagina

M O D E L Elena Kulkova @Modelstars

C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R Lidiya Chagaeva Modelstars

M O D E L Ekaterina Kormina @Modelstars M O D E L Yuliya Gorbovets

M O D E L Katherine Skinner M A K E U P A R T I S T/ H A I R S T Y L I S T

Kelly Hawkins Skinner P H O T O G R A P H E R Sarah Beth Houser

Sarah Beth Houser is a fashion photographer, model coach, and fashion designer. She opened Crush Model Studio in 2017 as a safe, supportive safe to nurture models of all ages. She recently showed her “Solid Gold” collection at Union Station KC in the Kritiq Show. Sarah Beth chose the model, Katherine, as she knew Katherine’s dramatic acting skills would tell the story of angst she was hoping to portray.

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midnight belle

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P H O T O G R A P H E R Yuliya Marchanka


M O D E L Arwa Karkouba

P H O T O G R A P H E R Houcine Ncib

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hiding from myself

My name is Victoria, I’m from Ukraine. Currently I’m on maternity leave with my daughter Sophia. Photography has always been my passion and especially now in these difficult times for our country. It helps me to go ahead and believe in the good. P H O T O G R A P H E R Victoria Stoliarenko

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P H O T O G R A P H E R Nadi Raskina

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M O D E L Alexandra P H O T O G R A P H E R Kirill Muniabin

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R unaway M O D E L Ms Genesis

P H O T O G R A P H E R David Payne With an eye for detail and a unique artistic vision, David Payne takes photography and filmaking to new heights, from breathtaking landscapes to intimate portraits. David has released two street photography books, been published in magazines and has made music videos for three well-known US rappers, as well as several small independent documentries.


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City streets, hot southern summer, dust roads and a powerful wind of freedom. There is something in common between summer and childhood. This is absolute and boundless happiness! Location: Novorossiysk, Russia Y O U N G M O D E L S Students of the Fenix Cinema Children’s Film School C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R Inna Karabanova

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This photography project captures the authenticity and beauty of my grandmother, Lucia, through a combination of digital and analog photographs. The images tell the stories of life lived, showing the objects she cherished, the corners of the house where she spent so much time, and the everyday moments that fi lled her days. Born in 2001 in Friuli-Venezia Giulia, a land full of memories, I have always experienced the charm of places, in all their meanings and characterizations. My work mainly focuses on the study of identity, on a different vision of the world and on digital manipulation. I attended the Giovanni Sello Art High School in Udine, graduating in Audiovisual and Multimedia. In 2023 I obtained a degree in Photography and New Media at the Italian Academy, Art, Fashion and Design based in Florence. G R E TA P E T TA R I N I


98 Beneath Your Beautiful Magazine Issue 13 | Jan Feb 2024

M O D E L Klaudia Kuśmierska M A K E U P Ewelina Polita P H O T O G R A P H E R Artur Stelmach

This is a documentary beauty series in which the makeup on each model is reflective of the LGBT Pride flag they identify most closely with. The flags represented in these images are: non-binary, genderqueer, bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, demisexual and asexual.

M O D E L Lou Reader M O D E L Aurora -Zehra Rizvi M O D E L Tom Wray M O D E L Jo Frenzel M O D E L Gee Smith M O D E L Chase Reeve M O D E L Poppy Landen M O D E L Avery Kirin M O D E L Sophia Barnett M O D E L Rae Alexander M O D E L Tom Percival-Stein M O D E L Liam Stattin Nisseborn M A K E U P A R T I S T/ H A I R S T Y L I S T Kitty Scarlet H A I R S T Y L I S T Katie Beadon

M A K E U P A R T I S T Nicole Cullinane M A K E U P A R T I S T Charlotta Richards

P H O T O G R A P H E R Charlotte Riddette-Page

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M O D E L Roman Smelser P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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summer M O D E L Aleksandra Balcerzak

M O D E L Ilia Vergara Nordland

M O D E L Nikita Renée Borgsø @Starlet by Wonderwoman management

P H O T O G R A P H E R Eirill DeLonge

A G E N C Y Starlet By Wonderwoman Management A S S I S TA N T Andreas Mareliussen

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Siren Dark

M O D E L Hannah Elizabeth

P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

M O D E L Ceydar Davis P H O T O G R A P H E R Hara Allison

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A R T I S T Sonya Schwartz


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