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Photo by: Photographs by Jackie


Publisher’s Corner

Editor in Chief

Renee’ Smith Managing Editor

Martin Dawkins Copy Editor

Drusilla Dunn Writers

Moses Greene Denika Harden Stevii Mills Welcome to Diamond Diva Magazine’s Spring Issue. Spring fever is in the air and we are loving it! It’s time to


Renee’ Smith

break out of the winter coats and hott boots and slip into the breezy colorful

sun dresses and cute strappy

sandals. What is spring without being able to go out and have a great time full of laughter with your girlfriends. Speaking of girlfriends, we have the honor of having one of ours Shaunielle Foster grace the cover of this issue and share her excitement of becoming Ms. North Carolina USA 2012. We have shared her story and so much more in this issue. We hope you enjoy and as always be Empowered and Uplifted. Renee' and Martin

Diamond Diva Magazine is published bi-monthly. Any reproduction of any part of this publication is prohibited without written permission from the publisher prior to doing so. Diamond Diva Magazine does not accept responsibility for statements made by individuals featured or advertisers. Comments concerning this publication should be submitted to the editor by email at

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North Carolina USA 2012

Shaunielle Foster


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COVER STORY A positive attitude can really make dreams come true - it did for me!!! Shaunielle Foster was crowned our very own Ms. Black North Carolina USA 2012 on March 24. She is also the CEO and Founder of Footsteps To Follow, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The mission of Footsteps To Follow, is to transform our children of today into our future of tomorrow. Footsteps strives to do this in a way in which confidence strengthens their souls, lifts their spirits, encourages their inner beauty and promotes fun and exciting moments in their lives! We aim to empower and motivate all children in the Triad area by providing them with the tools needed to achieve all of their goals. Ms. Foster has planned to take her non-profit Footsteps To Follow to the next level and achieve her objectives successfully.

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Now that she has won the title as Ms. Black North Carolina USA 2012 it will help grow this organization to other parts of North Carolina. Ms. Foster's platform is to promote positive selfesteem among the youth in the communities in North Carolina. Ms. Foster's platform is to promote positive self-esteem among the youth in the communities in North Carolina. She is a native of New York and is currently earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a minor in Human Resources. She presently resides in Greensboro, North Carolina with her two fantastic children. Ms. Foster is an entrepreneur, humanitarian, motivational and public speaker, mentor, entertainer, SocaMotion Instructor, radio personality, dancer and model. She is also an active member of the National Association of Female Executives, a Stiletto Lady "Footsteps" and Founder of Ladies of the Triad. "The goal of helping one child at a time is my passion and I plan to reach it!"


Let it Go

An excerpt from I Fought to be THIS Happy ©2008 by Bestselling Author Moses T. Alexander Greene. See: for more information.

my will had come to itself and had gained strength to confront the muddy water i had been begging everyone to call “poland springs”. isn't it amazing what you grab after as a last attempt to give someone the last chance to say i want you, there is no one else but you? to say i still need you, i still believe in us, there is no one else for me but you, can we make it through this? the stage was set and my sister, her family's dreamgirl and in whom abounded wisdom and objectivity, was called and brought into the midnight madness. she heard my side though she did not know that it was not the thing that was slipping from my grasp that i needed her to help me save, but love. she listened to the other side although she did not know that it was my sense of being loved and my fear of being abandoned that were at stake. she did not know i had finally confronted the brutal facts of my lifethat i still was not strong enough, man enough to attract devotion, love and commitmentand that i needed her to rule in my favor so i could salvage my worth. after hearing both sides, my younger sister said “mo, let it go.” like shots from a sniper's gun i heard an immediate “thank you!” ring out after her verdict. “click.” my heart hung up in hearing her words. i had thrown my sister into the mix of something that i finally was seeing as it was and rather than address whether it was muddy and murky, clean and clear, stagnant or sparkling, kaliah said, let it go. those words began tolling in the core of my being that night and have never stopped until this very day.


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so for you, is it about someone taking your side and seeing things from your vantage? will hearing the words “you are right” cause you to spend more time scrounging to find hope, peace, love, and fulfillment in a hope-less, peace-less, love-less, and fulfillment-less situation? let it go. mothers of zion across america, how many of your daughters will you ask to drive you to the other side of a country town because word has gotten to you that their father is over a certain woman's mobile home and you want to see if his car is there, find it, go to the door and beat her down? is that why god spoke be fruitful and multiply? to furnish you with private detectives? how will they ever learn to let anything they love but is hurting them go if you don't show them how? and how are your sons to learn the limits of a healthy relationship if they never see them established? be that which you want to see in their lives. let it go. brother, i know that brother or that sister hurt you; sister, i see that man or that woman hurt you, but how many mouths of how many anonymous asses will the father have to open for you to get that you are being dogged, period? let it go. for yourself. let it go. for your today. let it go. for your tomorrow. let it go. for your health. let it go. so those in your life can live their lives without being worried about whether you have let it go yet let it go. stop waiting for someone to take a side. you know it is muddy. whether the one you love ever acknowledges it, much less apologizes for whatever is going on in your relationship, based on your ability to see muddy water for what it ismuddy waterlet it go. will there be one today? is there anyone who will say, “father, if you walk with me, i will let it go?” is there one? i see a hand…yes, i see another…ah, yes, another.

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New Lease on Life....

Tammy Taylor LIFE AFTER GASTRIC BYPASS By: Renee Smith

Renee Smith: Today Ms. Tammy Taylor has graciously agreed to talk to Diamond Diva fans about her journey towards weight loss and to share some things not told before, as it relates to gastric bypass. So how are you doing today Ms Tammy? Tammy Taylor: I'm good and yourself? RS: I'm doing well, for a Friday, glad I made it to the end of the week and looking forward to the weekend. TT: I know that's right RS: Well we're going to talk to you today about weight loss and your journey towards gastric bypass So before we get started tell us who Tammy Taylor isTT: Tammy Taylor is a child of the king. She is someone who loves God with all of her heart. Professionally I work with a company called, One Entity and we do marketing and promotions and social media for the gospel music industry. We have been in the music business for over 20 years now and God is just faithful, but other than that I'm just a single young lady trying to make her way through and do kingdom business. RS: That is just awesome. It sounds like it keeps you very busy.


TT: Yes RS: Tammy tell me about your weight journey and what was the deciding factor to saying hey I need to lose this weight and now. TT: I have tried some of EVERYTHING, Weight Watchers, Nutra System, diet pills, you name it. Some of them where successful and some of them weren't. Some of them I lost 20 30 pounds, I got excited and then it would just come to a stagnation. I had just got frustrated and in 2009 I was at the gospel music workshop of America and the toll that it had on my body and it was at that time that I will not, come back to another GMWA in this state. RS: I can understand that. Before your gastric

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bybass what were a few of the my numbers were beginning to change. m i s c o n c e p t i o n s o r t h e m a i n Even though they were still in the safe misconception? area, they were still changing and we knew that it would be just a matter of TT: The main misconception was that with time, and in my opinion I felt like I was just the bypass, you are taking the easy way a walking time bomb. It was at that time out. Mind you I was one of the ones that that I knew if I had not done something was against gastric bypass and I was just then eventually I would have to deal with like, NO I'm not getting ready to do that to high blood pressure, diabetes and myself and be miserable the rest of my life everything else and because of that I was and not have any choices for food or not required to lose 30-50 pounds before I eating or anything like that. So you have qualified for the surgery. the misconception that once you do To prepare you just basically go to an that, your life stops and that is totally so informational meeting and the surgeon untrue. The gastric bypass actually saved comes in and the nutrionist comes in and my life. they just talk to you giving you beneficial information. I went in with the mindset RS: WOW‌.well that's a good thing, we that I was going to do the lap ban surgery. thank God for that! I did not want to do the gastric bypass, Tell us what the journey was like making because I thought it was too abrasive on that decision. I know you had to mentally the body. I wanted to do something that prepare yourself and I'm sure there was a wasn't as dangerous as the bypass. I was lot that had to be done as far as with told that I needed to the bypass because exercise. What type of decision had to be I would not lose the targeted amount of weight that I would need to lose. made to actually get to that point? TT: Well you know each person is different and what they may require for one, that RS: Well, yeah that makes sense to me. may not be the requirement for another. I Might as well just do it right the first time know a lot of people that had to lose 10% and don't allow your body to have to be of their weight before they would qualify. put through unnecessary trauma. Some of them were told that they had to TT: Absolutely! lose x amount of pounds before they could be considered for the surgery. RS: In your opinion is there a connection There are very expensive tests that you between weight loss and self esteem or h a v e t o g o t h r o u g h s u c h a s weight loss and self love? psychological, and an EKG. Some TT: I think it depends upon the person. people are required to do a sleep apnea Having a conversation with a girl friend of test. There's a whole list that they go mine, she told me that, the one thing that through, but again it all depends on she had noticed about me in going where you are physically and health wise through this whole process, was that I had to determine how extensive your tests become quieter, when it comes to self have to be. Even with me, as big as I was proclamation, I use to do different songs and I was what you would consider in like this one little crazy song about why I “good healthâ€?. I did not have diabetes, I was so sexy and she commented that she did not have high blood pressure, I did not had not heard me sing that song in a long have any heart problems, I was not on time she stated different comments that I any sleep apnea machines or anything use to make, I didn't make anymore. I like that, and once you looked at my lab think after she said it, I thought about it, work, the doctor stated my lab work and my response to her was, I have looked better than his. However some of always thought that I was very attractive, very sexy; I never had that issue with self

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This is “Just Stevii� and I look forward to helping you turn your dreams into reality by giving you practical steps to help you along your journey! Stevii A Mills Community Relationship Coordinator 949.208.4352 Turning Dreams Into Reality I have always been the type of person who has wanted to make sure that I live up to the expectations of my parents and my family. I have always felt that I need to be successful, groomed, friendly and professional. I felt that my Bachelor of Arts Degree and my Masters of Science Degree would be badges of honor to make me feel that I

After 3 years of being on a job where I

was worthy. I felt that I should have a

was initially hired to be there for 6

career because I went to school to get

months, I decided to seek full time

an education and that was the

employment. After all, I thought that

expected path to go. After I completed

was what I was supposed to do. I did

multiple years of education, I found

get hired on a full time job, making

myself seeking something. I found

more money than I ever made and

myself conforming to the world's

having benefits that I never had such as

standards of having to find a job, even

401 K plan and phenomenal medical

though I knew that structure had me

and dental insurance. I was supposed

feeling like a caged bird. After

to be happy, but I wasn't. I did not

graduating from Grad School, I was

know why. Quickly, my life changed

offered a part time job with a non-profit

and I began to miss out on the things

organization. The job was just perfect

that I was used to doing such as

for me, I loved the hours and the

volunteering for the community,

autonomy. I loved everything except

attending and being an active

for the fact that it had no benefits and

member at church and being around

it did not have the full time pay that my

family and friends. I was only able to

degrees stated that I was warranted.

wake up, go to work, go home and do


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the same thing again day in and day

Definition of a B.E.A.U.T.Y. Queen and I

out. Friends would come into my place

have also been given a platform to

of employment and see that I was not

travel throughout the nation and to

the same Stevii that they knew. I would

speak to women who are stuck in the

dread waking up each morning and

same life cycle as I was.

the only thing that would keep me going was the song Alright by Ledisi. I

The lesson that I learned is that no

stayed in that place for a year and then

matter what amount of money you

God gave me the courage and the

make, money never supersedes living

wisdom to turn in my resignation. It was

on purpose.

time for me to live on purpose. Be courageous enough to live life by Shortly after leaving my job, I began to

your own rules! May you forever be just

figure out what my purpose was. I


discovered that it was to use my voice, my wisdom, my love for people and my

Love and sisterhood,

creativity to help people, particularly

“Just Stevii"

women. The B.E.A.U.T.Y. From Head To

"Just Stevii" can be found on Facebook

Toe Tour was born. We launched my

or online at

women's empowerment tour in May of 2010. My goal was to have it as a traveling tour to multiple cities. However, during that time I got very sick and the doctors did not know what was going on. They did not know until they discovered that I had shingles. They attributed it to stress. The stress of me being in a job that was not on purpose for my life led to me going from a size 14 to a size 0 in a matter of months. I am thankful that I did pursue my education and that I do have credentials, but I am more thankful that God has given me the gift of letting go of the world's standards for me and of living out his will for my life. This is our second traveling year for the B.E.A.U.T.Y. From Head To Toe Tour, I have recently launched my motivational cd entitled cont. on page 13

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Sheryl Lee Ralph By: Denika Harden

On Thursday, March 22, 2012 I walked into Seby Jones Auditorium on Saint Augustine's College campus not knowing what to expect. I was unacquainted with how powerful and strong minded the “Divine Diva” Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph could possibly be. Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph is a philanthropist, one of the original Dreamgirls, a veteran of film, television, and the Broadway Stage. She is also a successful writer and director. Her statuesque appearance and voice projection energized me as I sat and listened to her speak. My expectation of a tedious speech had been tossed out by the rude awakening given by Ms. Sheryl Lee Ralph. She opened my eyes and made me appreciate and look at Saint Augustine's College and everything that they have to offer me and have offered me. Many of my fellow “Falcons” have the same mindset as I did. Their comments were about how the cafeteria food is not good, tuition is too high, instruction received by some of the faculty is not challenging enough and there is not enough pride in the institution.


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Ms. Ralph listened and responded to all of our comments. She stated that she has been to many college and university campuses and none of their cafeterias looked as clean as ours does. She indicated at some of the schools that she has visited, the faculty members may not even know some of the students that they are teaching. From what she has seen at Saint Augustine's College, the faculty takes the time to know students in their class and to help students as needed. Basically, she was telling us to appreciate Saint Augustine's College and what it has to offer us. The campus may be smaller than some other institutions, we as students should take pride in our school. Ms. Ralph's speech was definitely words of wisdom for me and I am looking forward to reading her book.

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esteem and not thinking that I was not attractive or anything. Now that the weight loss has come and brought so much attention, it causes you to withdraw a little because the attention is too much, for lack of a better word. People that are around me that know me know that I am very consistent in my personality and when I am working, I'm use to being behind the scenes and getting it done. This has caused even with the behind the scenes work some attention that I do not necessarily want. Some people are good with being out front and in the lime light and then there are those that are just happy with being the supporter. I think it really just depends upon the person and where they are and how their outlook on life is and how they have been treated. RS: Do you feel that there is a stigma towards women who choose this surgery versus working out, doing the dieting and the other methods of losing weight? TT: I think the stigma is where the person is, because I have had a couple of people say to me, oh you took the easy way out. Even me I thought it was taking the easy way out, but when you do your research and when you look at everything it entails to do the gastric bypass, it is not an easy way out, and the ones that think it is a easy way, are completely misinformed. But if you are not exercising and working out, you are just going to have a lot of excessive skin and if you don't have the money to take care of the skin problem then you just have another problem. RS: So I guess people thinking that you have taken the easy way out, falls back on them not knowing all it takes after the surgery to maintain what has been done


during the surgery to make it a success TT: Absolutely, because once I decided that I was going to do the surgery, I was given a very extensive planner as to what your diet is going to be like, or what your way of eating is going to be like. These are the things that you can eat, and these are the things that you cannot eat. So you really are having to reteach your body. So with learning there were things that I was not going to be able to eat, I started putting some of those things into practice 8 to 9 months prior to me doing the surgery. A lot of people don't know, we can't eat and drink at the same time, well we are not suppose to. 30 mins prior to a meal and 30 mins after we are not suppose to drink. So going out to a restaurant you know the first thing they do is take your drink order and constantly refill your drink while you are at the restaurant. So I started practicing prior to having the surgery so I could condition myself to not having to have anything to drink while I was eating. RS: So it's almost like a change of lifestyle, it's not just, I'm losing weight, I can't eat this, I can't eat that, you almost have to go through changing what you know. TT: Absolutely, there is a total change. Another thing gastric bypass patients are to never touch carbonation that means, no sodas, no carbonated water or anything like that. That's because 1 it causes stomach cramps as well as it will stretch your pouch. We never eat salads anymore because it is hard on the digestive system. RS: Now you would think that being on a diet or trying to lose weight, you would push salads.

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TT: Right, but if you Google the calories that are in salads out here, you would be amazed. RS: That's very interesting. TT: There were moments afterwards, I would think, what the heck did I get myself into? Did I really do this to myself? But if I had to go back and do it again, I would absolutely do it again.

wanted them to pray about. To pray that I don't have congestive heart failure on the table, pray that the doctor doesn't make a mistake and clip the wrong thing, that there will be no internal bleeding, and to pray for the success of the surgery. We prayed over that list daily. I would always keep them updated and if God gave them something for me they would share it, but I kept it to that group until RS: That is great! about 6 months after the surgery. How much weight did you actual end up But everyone has been very supportive. losing? You went from what size to what size? RS: Well Ms. Tammy we are coming down TT: My suits were a size 34 and even with to the end, I would like to know, what is most of them I had outgrown them. So I t h a t o n e t h i n g o r w o r d s o f went from a size 34 to right now in a dress I encouragement could you give to can wear a size 12. women who are overweight, and struggling with the whole weight loss or RS: CONGRATULATIONS! OMG that is maybe even contemplating having the awesome surgery themselves? TT: In a suit I am still a 14/16, it really just TT: I first want to say, a lot of times the depends on the designer. My goal was to assumption is made that, they smell, they be a solid 12 all the way, so I do still have a don't care nothing about themselves, or little ways to go to became my ideal size. they just let themselves go. That is not the case. Stop making assumptions. You RS: That is really awesome, I am so proud don't know what is going on internally of you. that has affected that person's body. The TT: Thank you! I have lost 236 pounds person could have another medical problem and the medicine that they RS: That's almost a whole person were put on has caused them to gain TT: That is a whole person and in some weight, and so you have people that are country's it almost 2 people internally dying because they see how people are observing them and some of RS: WOW, congratulations again! the insensitive things that people say and How have your friends and family been don't have a clue as to what that persons towards you since the weight loss? Have journey is, so what I would say to your they been supportive are they encouraging? TT: They really are. I made the decision not to share with people what I was doing beforehand. I promised God and I promised myself that afterwards I was going to share it with anyone that would ask me. I made that decision because I did not want naysayers and I didn't need any negative energy around me. I told my mother and a core group of about 12 people that walked with me through this journey. I created a list of things that I

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readers is, don't give up hope, do your research because what might be right for me may not necessarily be the right decision for you. Do your research on who your doctor is. See what his success rate is, and how many people have died under the knife under his watch? RS: Those are questions that people generally don't ask when it comes to the person that has your life in his hands, but those are actually very legit questions. TT: Google should become your best friend. Google his stats, and Google and see what people are saying about him. Where does he list as far as the top surgeons? The surgeon that did my surgery only had 1 death in 11 years that he had been doing gastric bypass patients and that person had other medical complications and died after the fact. But you do yourself a disservice by not doing your research on which you are getting ready to go to bed with per say. Take pride in yourself in whatever size you are. Just because you are overweight does not mean you cannot dress to the nine, and your hygiene should be to the nine. Love yourself in whatever state you are in and then make the most of it and go from there. RS: That's good stuff and that was great advice. So for someone that would like to get in contact with you, please tell us how they can do so TT: and Facebook

RS: It has been a pleasure speaking with you, and I thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and share with me and my readers the process of what you went through going from over weight to simply fabulous. My hat is off to you! TT: Thank you so very much and I pray that it blesses somebody


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July 2011

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May/June 2012  

Ms. Black NC USA 2012