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WHAT THE FUNK 5..................THE RUNDOWN 6.................. EDITOR’S NOTE 7.................. THE DEFINING LINE: ARTIST RICH TU 10................. LIFE ON DISPLAY: CHARLIE GROSSO 13................. GROWING PAYNE: ENZO 17................ AUNTIE FLO by Jordanne Brown 22................. HOW DID WE GET HERE? Hip Hop Commentary by DJ KayeX


K’S INSIDE 25................ WRATH OF THE ILLEST: WORDSPIT 33................ DAVENCE’S COSPLAY ZONE: FREDDIE NOVA 38................ WOMAN ON FIRE: MINA MINC by GeneseNicole 48................ AUTOMATIC WRITING by Jordanne Brown 54................... FROM THE PLAZA: MUA MEGHAN ANDREA by Robbin Plaza 59.................. L.B.D. (LITTLE BLACK DRESS, OR GOWN) 77.................. SO SOULFUL: NIKKI O. by Phoenix Bullen 82.................. NELLY B.’S CORNER




COVER: Cosplay Zone feature, Freddie Nova, Courtesy of SUPERHERO PHOTOGRAPHY


think there is beauty


in ever ything . What ‘normal’ people would perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.”

’ve always been awe-stricken by the levels of complexity as well as simplicity that are held in my favorite beast that is ART. There’s s much that can be said through not only bold expression but unspoken language. There’s an art to everything. Something I don’t think many realize at the end of the day. And that’s the shear beauty of art itself. There’s an artistic nature to the way we speak to one another. To the way we listen and the level of context clues we gather (not everyone is as adept at such skills, but hey, there’s even an art to trying). Everything we see and touch on a regular basis is of an artistic hand. Without art there would be no food, or more specifically “good” food, depending on who’s defining it. There would be no vehicles for us to transport ourselves in, nor would there be a destination had an architect not laid out a blueprint. The music we listen to, the channels in which we listen to the music ... Artistically crafted. There’s an art to making love... birth, at the core, is a creative expression of the depths of Love ... Perhaps not always between the creators, but at least Love for themselves, or one for the other or one for the love of their creation and power to create. However you look at it, there’s an art to it all. It’s not always pretty, but not always ugly either. Sometimes, it’s pretty ugly, even ... And the hypocrisy in that itself holds an artistry to it, as it could be percieved as a creative way to find a balance in opposing forces. It’s more than pretty pictures/paintings/drawings ... Much more than the Van Gogh on your mantle or the Thierry Les Goues on your photo studio wall. It’s also more than the second thought you don’t give to the guy offering to draw you for $5-10 in Times Square. Much more than the struggling Fine Arts, Illustration or Fashion student getting by on Ramen Noodles. More than a magazine. ANYWAY, you get the idea. Art isn’t about the Why’s, but the Why Not’s. It’s the challenge to the life you face with the benefit of a more fruitful one as the reward or stepping to the plate. There’s an art to a pep talk. In any case, enjoy this issue. Highlighted, we have some great music features and our special showcase of 3 designers on the rise who know how to cap off the perfect number for the evening. Look closely ladies. -C.E.



The Defining Line We talk with NY artist, Rich Tu about his creative process and his most recent showing in the collaborative exhibition, “Boys Don’t Cry.”

NY artist, Rich Tu took an opportunity to sit with us and discuss his art style as well as it’s place in his most recent gallery show collaboration, “Boys Don’t Cry” at the Baang And Burne Art Gallery. How did you get your start? When did you realize this was something you wanted to do within the world of art? Well basically, I’ve been artist of some type since i was a kid. Drawing, I always took to that, I always took to representing myself through lines and through representational figures. I had a pretty normal academic career up to a certain point. I went to a state school, for undergrad and then, you know I always wanted to be an artist and I always related to that, but then at some point when I graduated, I was pretty unsatisfied with everything that was in front of me so that’s when I started taking seriously... And I started putting together a body of work that I was proud to show people. After that, I started getting published in the New York Times and The New Yorker. I went to SVA, got my Masters Degree in Illustration and that helped along the way. And it all just kind of built to this type of work. There’s a very graphic quality, especially at such a massive size, so I really appreciate the line work that you put together. Oh cool, thank you. How do you define the way you come to this type of subject matter? Is there some underlying feeling or is it more just you working from the top of your head? Well, I think visually it all works together, for sure, in the way it sits with the medium and the way it all looks together. Emotionally though, there were just things that I wanted to deal with and work through in the work. There wasn’t a set agenda in the beginning... Like “I want to have this type of work or have it look like this,” it happened really organically. Some of the pieces are fairly simple in terms of line work, but the elements that are layered on top, sometimes that can take days or weeks just to really feel like it’s there and all the pieces work together. You know what I mean? Like I have an illustrative background, so there are a lot of symbols that you work with, a lot of metaphors, and things you have to take note of, because those hit the viewer in an effective way. But that work has an agenda and a definite goal in the end, because it usually accompanies some other body of work or sits in a context whether it’s with words or other images. But I wanted work that use that similar symbolic language but had no agendas, and could exist on its own terms without having to be in another context. How did you guys come together to decide your work would perfectly represent this cohesive piece that would become “Boys Don’t Cry”? Really that’s Charlie’s genius for putting together the show. I was really happy with the context and with the group. Joseph and Chris, I really respect their work and i think they’re amazing artists too. But also in terms of the show itself, I feel like we all have a very specific part to play. We all work differently, and emotionally the work fits together well, you know what I mean? There’s a similar underlying theme and we’re addressing issues. I like at Chris’s work, I see myself in that work, and I look at Joseph’s work and I see myself in that work too. I was actually thinking that, looking at each of their works and everything is kind of pulled together as far as the show. So I actually think it was a genius idea to put you guys together. I think it’s Fantastic.



Seeing the press release and all the awards and accolades and going to such schools as SVAs, how do you feel as far as how your art is received and the respect is getting and where do you see yourself taking it from here? Well I think it’s always a work in progress. I don’t really know what the end goal is, I don’t know if there IS an end goal, necessarily. I’m my own worst critic, so I’m never completely happy with anything, I always feel like I could do a little better; Like I could be a little bit more of this or little bit more of that. But in terms of short term goals, just to keep doing work and, I think to express honestly. You know? I have to express myself honestly, and not feel like I’m putting anything false out there. And to make sure that it continues to happen. And, you know, I’m a pretty competitive person [we both laugh] and I always look at my peers and always try be aware of the context I’m in and the art that’s around me and also everyone thats in a certain space. You always want to be better, strive to be better. I don’t know what the goal is, the goal is maybe... I don’t know... To keep doing it til I die, that’s the goal really. To not have a real job? Is that a good goal? [we both laugh] B: T:



Display Baang & Burne Gallery Director, Charlie Grosso gives us a bit of insight on what it takes to really put on a show and her most recent exhibition “Boys Don’t Cry”

How did you get to the point of becoming a gallery director? I started out as a commercial photographer. I’ve been a commercial photographer for my entire professional life. 2009 happened, and everybody was kind of hurting for work. It’s funny because you talk to a lot of people now, and everybody kind of points back to 2009 and 2010 as definitely marker years. In 2010, I moved to New York, and another friend of mine who’s also an artist, Keish Bruce, (she’s the co-founder of the gallery with me) she was like “hey let’s start an art gallery.” And it was one of those impulsive things at the time, maybe. The idea sounded right, and we went for it. From concept to launch was 41 days, and we opened the gallery with our very first show. At the time we had 12 artist on our roster, right now we currently have 14. The gallery is now 2 years old and “Boys Don’t Cry” is our 9th show. What do you look forward to as far as going to Art Basel? Is this your first time? This is our first time going to Art basel. Baang and Burne operates on a very different set of conventions than traditional art galleries. We don’t hold a permanent space. We put together a show and get a space for it accordingly. One of the benefits of that is we’re not compelled to put on a show every 4 to 6 weeks, because I want every one of our shows to be top notch. It’s definitely a quality measurement for us. And we also have the liberty of conceptualizing a show and then getting the space accordingly versus being dictated by what our space is.

How do you make the decision as far as choosing which artists would be a cohesive group to make for a strong showing in a collaborative exhibition? As a curator, I’m really interested in subtext, in message. And for us, at the gallery, one of our missions is really to make art the agent of change, of conversation, of controversy. To be an instigator to light a spark for you. When Joseph, Chris and Rich came on board, everybody came from a different direction to me, and I looked at all the work and started thinking about our fall show. “Do I want to do a solo show with any artists? Do I want to do highly curated group shows?” I saw the work and i just knew they would fit together. They all deal with subtext and constraints and tradition and our psyches in very different ways. They speak about it through different languages and mediums, photography, paintings drawings. But at the same time, it’s all about the same things. That was really fascinating to me. I liked the pairings, I liked the contrast. The works don’t interrupt each other, but they enhance each other in these very unexpected ways.

For us, at the gallery, one of our missions is really to make art the agent of change.

Street Art Save My Life

Young Brooklyn MC, Enzo, Gives us insight on his upcoming projects and why he’s the Max Payne of Hip Hop

Aight, so what’s going on, Enzo, how’s everything? Everything’s cool man, just going with life day by day, but making everyday be as productive as possible. That’s what’s up, most def. I’ve been following your music, and I definitely rock with it. Who would you say has been an inspiration to you entering the world of Hip Hop? Umm, does it have to be one person? Not at all. Okay, well man I’m going to have to go with J. Cole, Jay-Z, Eminem, Nas, and Tupac, mainly. They helped me to see the bigger picture in the hip-hop world and that there’s more to talk about than money, cars, and degrading women. I took what they were saying, and molded it into my own understanding, and that eventually led me to making music, and it’s great to see the way people respond to it. And that’s what I find so interesting about your artistry. As a young MC in today’s Hip Hop, arguably, it can be said it’s surprising, and even quite refreshing to see that the content is on that level of consciousness. How do you feel about the state of the new generation of Hip Hop music? Well I always felt that Hip Hop would have 2 different worlds, which are the real and the materialistic rapping. I dont feel that hip-hop should be limited to only one type, because not everybody wants to hear lyricism and the truth, some people love to listen to the materialistic songs that we like to trash. I feel that hip-hop should be varied, and not limited to one thing. However, I do feel that this generation’s music is interesting, and I’m interested in seeing which road it leads down. There’s just so much music thats going on, its hard to keep up with some of the artists, haha, but I feel that some of these artists need to be careful what they say in songs because It has a high influence on the younger generation. But as far as I view the music, I just think it’s all about whatever the people want to hear and what soothes them. Ok, ok, I can definitely see that perspective. Now, you’ve got a project “Start of a New Beginning.” Tell me a bit about it. Is it out/coming out? What can be expected from it? It’s coming out, and you can expect a totally different sound from my first project “Max Payne: The Cold Case.” With this project, I’m basically just using a whole bunch of different materials to make great music, and introduce you guys to who I really am and what my purpose for doing this music thing really is. I also want to display that music should never be limited, you should always release what you feel and dont let anybody tell you other wise. Also it’s going to be very interesting to see how much I’ve improved since my first project, haha. It’s a Start of a New Beginning, meaning it’s a start of something great that may be everlasting.

As far as I view the music, I just think it’s all about whatever the people want to hear and what soothes them.

Find what makes YOU unique...And Take it from there.

I feel that, brotha. I’m personally looking forward to it. When do you think that project will drop? I’m going to say maybe New Years or first week of January. I dont want to give you guys a specific date, but for now I’m just throwing out music to keep you guys on your feet and wonder what’s next. But when it releases, it wil be about 20 tracks of great music, you guys are really going to enjoy it. Aah a robust project, I dig, haha. I wanted to get back to something. The Max Payne alter ego.... Where did you draw that parallel, in relation to your music/overall persona? Well I was a big fan of the game series and also the movies, and I loved the persona he had and the way he carried himself, a very quiet dude but was very deadly at the same time, and also didnt really know who he was and that’s exactly how I am. So I decided that was a great alter ego to pick up, and also it’s original in the rap world. Definitely original. Thoughtful approach. Is there any artist, any genre out right now that if you

had the chance, you’d like to collaborate with? Yea man there’s a bunch, but for now, the MAIN one I want to do is Jill Scott. I love her voice and I feel that whatever song we come up with would be a classic. I really want to work with that lady. Psh.... Maaaannnn Listen.... Hahahaha yea man she still looks great too! True indeed. hahaha. Well, as of now, where can fans and potentially new fans find your music? Well my YouTube is getting really big, just reached 3,500 subscribers and 101,000 video views, So I’ll say that that’s the best place to see my stuff. Also I provide download links in the descriptions if they want to download. But I’m everywhere man, haha, facebook, Twitter, YouTube, SoundCloud, you name it. Well thanks for chatting with me Enzo. Before we wrap up, is there any advice or anything you’d like to say to fans or anyone looking to pursue music? Well first for the fans, I want them to know that everything I release will be quality and I would never sell out, I’m going to be around forever, haha. To people wanting to pursue music, the #1 thing is finding yourself. Find what makes YOU unique, and I say this because alot of artists today arent original; they look at all the big time artists and they think that they can make it by copying them. NO. Another man’s shoe may not be your size. Find yourself and then take it from there. It’ s great to be inspired, but never copy because that takes away from your own intelligence.

AUNTIE FLO by Jordanne Brown

After falling in love with Auntie Flo after being invited to Boiler Room back in May I decided to chance it and ask Brian for an interview. Luckily for me, he’s a lovely guy and agreed to answer a few questions. Here goes… Hi Brian, how’s it going? Good thanks, just finished recording a mix which is always a major stress. Tell us a bit about your background. Your bio on your website says that you are from Goa but now live in Glasgow. How long have you been in Glasgow? I was actually born in Glasgow but my mum's side of the family is from Goa. Her family moved to Nairobi before my mum was born and then moved to the UK around 1970 when Kenya became independent. I've only been to Goa once and it seemed very different to Glasgow... Does your background influence the music that you make? No, or at least I don't think so. A lot of people ask me this, which is understandable. However, I wasn't brought up listening to Goan or African music and it was only a few years ago when I really started to explore music from other cultures which has had a direct influence on my music today amongst influences from Western music. Who is Auntie Flo and where did the name come from? Auntie Flo is an actual Aunt who lives out in Goa with her cat. She's an amazing woman, totally

independent at 90 years old and has good banter. My mum used to say I reminded her of her when I was growing up so I took the name from that. I only found out it has another meaning (especially in America) after the first record came out! Haha… So, when did you start making music? I started around 2002/3. I had already been Djing for a number of years and a few friends of mine used to dabble with Reason and other bits of software. I was introduced to you at Boiler Room 93 in London back in May, tha t was a grea t introduction! You and Esa Williams have great chemistry, how did you meet and decide to collabora te? Thanks! We met around 2008 at a Glasgow MOBO awards thing. Esa was speaking on the panel and I was helping to organise it.. We asked him if he would be up for a collaboration but it took until 2010 before I found the time to make the music that was in my head at that time and until 2011 when I was ready to approach Esa to help me with the Auntie Flo live show and our Highlife nights. There was a lot of equipment that you guys were using, wha t is your live set up? So we have a lot of hardware which make a lot of drum sounds! Everything is powered from the MPC, then we have a Roland 505, Korg, FX, live congas / bongos / cowbells and my favourite toy Casio Keyboard. In iTunes, your ‘Future Rhythm Machine’ is labeled as ‘World’ music, how would you describe it? Everything has got to be labelled something or other. I have many issues with the term 'World music' but understand how hard it is to categorise any release. I purposefully made FRM as being hard to categorise – everything is at different tempos, moods and textures, some dancefloor tracks, others more experimental. I wanted it to be colourful and something that worked as an album. It definitely does work! The video for ‘I Want to Blow Your Mind’ seems to embody the album title. It’s kind of like it’s in touch with a rhythm from way back yet all futuristic and forward thinking, I’d love to go to a party like that!! Whose idea was the video? Thanks! You should come to Highlife. The video was an idea between myself, Esa and our director Ling Lee. Esa had an amazing African mask and I guess the idea came from how we could use that in the video. We wanted to involve a lot of people and managed to get these amazing costumes from Dundee fashion designer straight from her grad show. Speaking of music video’s you have a very global/ community vibe going on, for example with the Skype calls (Oh My Days) and the people in the street taking part (Highlife) how did you organise this? Again, Ling was behind all these videos. All those tracks are designed for the dancefloor so makes sense to get a lot of people involved in the videos. The Highlife video was a last minute thing, Ling and her crew literally just turned up on Brick Lane and started filming folk. We had hired a live bongo drummer who was meant to be a major part of the shoot but he didn't show so they had to improvise -using an ipod with the track playing, which I think worked really well. Your tour schedule has been pretty full on for the last few months. Do you enjoy this lifestyle? It's pretty hectic as I still run my company Open Ear full time during the week so I'm pretty much flat out all the time. However, I do enjoy the travelling part and seeing new places, it's a privileged position to be able to travel around to play music. I've been lucky to make friends in a lot of places I've been so I can't complain.

I caught you at Dimensions in September, what a great festival!! Did you get a chance to check out any other DJ’s? Yeah, it was really cool, the venue was amazing. I stayed for 3 days so saw loads of different folk, the stuff on at the Mungos area was probably my favourite. Like most festivals I missed a lot of the acts I'd planned to see but definitely wanna go back next year… It was good to see Carl Craig's 69 thing and I enjoyed the Hessle Showcase. You are resident DJ at Highlife in Glasgow, what’s the club scene like there? For the size of city, I can't imagine a better scene. It's known as a party town but folk are knowledgable with it. Glasgow doesn't follow trends too much and tends to do it's own thing. There's so many people doing so many cool things across all music, arts, fashion etc. When you are on tour, do you get a chance to hang out in the cities? Yeah, I've not got the most hectic touring schedule so usually we get a chance to stay a couple of days and see the city. How many cities/ countries have you played in? Any favourites? I've played quite a few this year… I played Portugal twice this year and going back next week for a couple of gigs. it's definitely a favourite, the people are amazing. Will you be touring as much next year? I hope so! It's not up to me but if we continue to get booked we'll definitely be up for it. What do you do to chill out? Make soup. You’ve recently reworked Atakoru Manu’s ‘Bebo Ne Komo’ for Autonomous Africa, tell me more about this project. How did you get involved? Twitch from Optimo got in touch to ask me to do it. He had sent me the other tracks on the EP a year or so before but didn't know what to do with them. I guess he eventually came up with the idea to release it as a four track and give the proceeds to Medicins Sans Frontier. I didn't have much time but knocked up an edit – the original is so amazing, I just wanted to do it justice... What other plans do you have for 2013? I’m gearing up for my next set of releases which are under the banner Rituals. The first two will be released by Mule Musiq at the end of November and the next will be on Kompakt Speicher in December. I'm a massive fan of both labels so excited to be releasing via them. I've just done a mix to support the releases which will hopefully surface at some point. I've also got a few remixes coming out and a few more gigs – playing Panorama Bar in December which is one I’m particularly excited about. That’s good news! Finally an insight into your taste... Name an artist/group from the past, present and future who you respect and who’s music you enjoy... Past – Fela Kuti it would have been his Birthday today. Present – Matias Aguayo – always been a massive influence in my production and djing Future – check out DrumTalk – his forthcomin release on Soundway is a banger. Thanks Brian! Where can we catch you next? 9/11 - Tallin, Estonia and 14/12 - Panorama Bar, Berlin



I purposefully made FRM as being hard to categorise . . . I wanted it to be colourful and something that worked as an album.



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Co m by menta DJ Kay ry eX

How did we get here? Where did we go wrong? Who is responsible? Is it your fault? I feel like a detective at times trying to examine the evidence left at a crime scene sometimes. HIP HOP IS DEAD. Who would want to harm such a genre that has given us all plenty of joy? It was all fresh and new when I was about 9 years old and Rappers Delight was played on the radio. My parents even enjoyed it and my Pops is a Motown/ Doo Wop traditionalist. The music was a departure from anything I’ve heard before. I enjoyed my parent’s music, but this was a new genre that catered to the youth of the current generation. This was OUR MUSIC!!! It was great for years, moving forward with baby steps of evolution. But one day the music took one great leap forward. “I came in the door, I said it before, I’ll never let the mic magnetize me no more”. Eric B for President by Eric B and Rakim was the first time that I heard something really different from the norm. Rakim had rhymes and metaphors along with a cadence that was unlike any other. It felt like a turn of the century as many more artists like Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap stepped up and being lyrical was essential to the craft. The bar was now set for beats and rhymes. DJ’s had to showcase their skills on the ones and twos. Performers had dancers and the live shows were amazing to say the least. I myself was heavily influenced and begged my mom to buy me turntables. She took her hard earned money and we took the subway to the Avenue of Americas in Manhattan and purchased two turntables. The train ride was a lengthy one back uptown to the Bronx, but I had the biggest smile on my face at the age of 16. The works continued to progress and ushered in what I like to call “THE GOLDEN ERA OF HIP HOP”. It was all about digging for beats, using samples that were hard to find, keeping the lyrics on point. A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy, Main Source, Gangstarr, NAS, Jay Z, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G. And N.W.A. were some of the few that once again elevated the genre. “Who are the top 5 emcees?” became a very common

subject amongst my friends and I on many Friday nights on street corners in the Bronx. These were great times; great music, originality and creativity thrived. Then it was gone. I don’t know how it happened, but I first recall watching some award show on B.E.T. and it seemed like every artist that performed just walked back and forth doing their song on stage with the latest car as a prop. The song Laffy Taffy was a hit and people thought it was a great tune. It was just a continuous regression of music and lyrics. The younger generations seemed to want to embrace mediocrity. Any disagreement I had with individuals younger than myself always ended in…”look how much units they sold” as their argument. Rick Ross, Lil Wayne and Nicki Minaj are celebrated as some of the top artist. They are not lyrical in my opinion and yet people go crazy when their songs are played. I feel like my Pops when I hear certain songs and I repeat his words in my own voice “boy that aint no damn music”. Am I that old? Did I lose touch with what Hip Hop is? It was then that I knew. I came to grips that the genre wasn’t held to the same standards from the times I embraced it in my youth. I knew that mediocrity has run rampant and infected many. How could something I knew from its inception be dead at such an early age? It’s amazing how you can take something for granted. I thought Hip Hop would be what it has been forever. Nowadays any kid with a laptop can make a song. Anybody with an iPod is now a dj. Anyone that has a webcam or smartphone is considered an artist of some sort. I’m not opposed to the digital age advancing recording technologies, but where does it end? Why am not en-

tertained as I was before? The days of waiting for the next hot song to drop from your favorite artist are long gone. Perhaps the process is way too simplistic and as a result we are willing to accept whatever comes down the pipe. Ladies and Gentlemen, I stand before you and accuse THE ACCEPTANCE OF MEDIOCRITY as the prime suspect in the death of Hip Hop. It is sad that this has happened to something that has been so entertaining my entire life. I’ve heard that in life many things are cyclical and if this is true, perhaps one day there will be a Hip Hop Resurrection of the older standards someday.

“Who are the top 5 emcees?” became a very common subject amongst my friends and I on many Friday nights on street corners in the Bronx.

Around 16, I would, you know, battle people in the hood ... From there I just felt like “this is it, this is the only thing I could do for the rest of my life.�


ordspit just rocked the stage at Little Field in Brooklyn as part of the CMJ Festival with his band, The Illest. For anyone who’s had the opportunity to see a Wordspit show, I’m sure they can attest that he is a performer who will leave all of himself on a stage. His set was not done before clothes were shed, sweat poured and a backflip and high altitude jump were performed into the crowd. After his set and taking in a few other fellow acts, Wordspit sat down with FunktheFormula Mag for a quick interview sharing his views on performing, music and then some.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing you perform more than once, of course tonight for one, and you killed it. And you’re a very passionate artist, I think that’s what I appreciate the most out of seeing you perform every single time. When was the first time you picked up a mic and said “this is what I want to do”? It started when I was young, man. I used to always just freestyle at my pops studio that he built, you know. And it just started there. He composed music himself, and I think he passed that to me. Just like my mom, she was creative as well and passed that to me. So when I got in the studio, I would just freestyle without even knowing what Hip Hop was. And then later on, like around 16, I would, you know, battle people in the hood and stuff like that. And from there I just felt like “this is it, this is the only thing I could do for the rest of my life. This is real.” That was like real, I ain’t even have a career as of yet and I felt that was it.

Our motto is just like “yo, we’re gonna rock it no matter if it’s 1 person there or if it’s 10 million people there.”

How did The Illest come to be? I did a show called “Rise of The Illest” at Santos Party Haus, at the bottom of Santos Party Haus for a video release. That was the first time performing with a band and what not. It was really dope. I loved the energy from being on stage especially being with the band. At that time, I didn’t know what good coordination, what a good band sounds like, but we made it work. From there it just grew, it matured into what it is today. You know, I just kept finding pieces, people kept adding pieces and subtracting pieces until we got The Illest today. I know you put a lot of energy into your performances. What do you think have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had as far as performing and getting into your music? Some of the biggest challenges are when you’re faced with great opportunities. As an artist on the come up, people think you’re probably failing because you do a show one day and you’ve got like a thousand people there then you do a show the next day and it’s like on person there... It’s just like where do you find the energy and dedication to even show up and be like “damn... how can I do this” because it’s hard. It’s SUPER hard. But at the same time, our motto is just like “yo, we’re gonna rock it no matter if it’s 1 person there or if it’s 10 million people there.” So I always come in with that resolve and let that be the final stamp on anything. So it’s just like, when we puttin’ a show together, we alway put a show together for a stadium So I don’t give a fuck who’s there, that’s what they’re gonna get. With that, on the flip side, what’s your favorite aspect of performing? What do you love the most about getting on a stage? I love when people just take it in. I love performing with my band, but I like looking at the peoples faces. People normally come to me and be like I touched them or touched their hearts. And you can’t fake shit like that, because people don’t gotta say it. People don’t have to say that, so when they say that, I feel honored and humbled, no matter what it is. People literally take their time, like “yo good job!” or “that touched my heart” and I hope that just inspires somebody, inspires another up and coming musician. Now you’ve had the Rocawear endorsement and coming off the heels of America’s Got Talent. How does it feel to be apart of these experiences? Feels like there needs to be more work put in. Point blank, period. Like, that’s it. I’m not like, satisfied. I can’t be satisfied until there’s a thousand people just screaming Wordspit, until I ain’t gotta get on Facebook and invite all my friends to the show, like... The show did help me out, not gonna lie, it was a good look. And there’s tons of people out there who know who Wordspit is, who know who The Illest is outside of New York. So now we can probably do a show in Ohio and people will know us out there, so I think that’s good. Being from Brooklyn, you’re born and raised in Brooklyn right? Yeah. East New York.

Right. How do you feel as far as New York and Hip Hop now? I don’t feel nothin’ man, I’m just paying attention to what I do and just try to improve on that. As far as New York Hip Hop, to me it’s about giving good music. I’m about to release a couple new

projects, so it’s definitely about just giving that good music, that lyricism, ‘cause I still bring lyricism to anything I do. I know a lot of cats get on and be like “yo it’s all about bringing New York back” and to me it’s about just giving good music. And if it’s somebody that’s highlighted from New York doing that, it’s just even more so worth it. Where’s your favorite place that you’ve performed? My favorite place? See that’s a touchy question, because I would say SOB’s ‘cause we packed SOBs out. But one of my favorite spots to really perform in New York would have to be Southpaw. That’s just specifically New York City, I think that would be Southpaw. Another dope spot I think is like in Long Island, at the Paramount Theatre. that was really awesome. We did a show out there with 3Oh!3. The energy was retarded. I ain’t gonna lie, I felt like a rock star god out there. Like we went out there and took the stage and then, just nothing but screams and people just wanting autographs and stuff like that. So it was definitely a real humbling experience for like, seeing where the future could lead.

What’s next for Wordspit, any new projects you’re working on? Yo, right now I’m giving out a project to the people, Wrath of The Illest, working on some music with my band, trying to get out an EP with my band and continue to see where the opportunity leads us. That’s all we can do. We’re gonna sit back and strategize a plan and then hope that we prosper from all the hard work and effort we put in. @WetheIllest @Wordspit


Street Art Save My Life

Photo Courtesy of Superhero Photography


ello Fellow cosplay engineers and lovers of all things cosplay! In this issue I had the privilege to interview the lovely and talented Freddie Nova. She is a true comic book geek in every sense of the word. She is also one of the very few true cosplayers that had been asked to grace a cover of an actual comic by the comic creator themselves! Through our talk, she revealed to me that comics are what got her into cosplaying. Her very first cosplay was at the age of 17, and the “Lady Death” comic character was the first one she feels a kinship for (even to this day) and as a result that was her first cosplay. To show how dedicated she was to making this first cosplay epic she spent 10 months dying her hair to a bright white color to best emulate the sparkling white long hair Lady Death has, now that is what I call dedication to the craft! She has improved on her cosplay over the last 16 yrs, and spanned over 40 different cosplays. Lady death though still holds a top position in her heart so she continues to improve her rendition of this character. She has honed her cosplaying skills on this famous character so much that she caught the attention of the creator Brian  Pulido. He loved her work so much, he asked her back in December to grace the cover of his new Lady Death comic with her in her lady death cosplay! Freddie commented, “I was flattered beyond words, and stoked to do it!”

Photo Courtesy of Superhero Photography

Photo Courtesy of Superhero Photography

Her 2 most time consuming cosplay creations out of all 40 are currently her “Lady Death” cosplay and her “Witchblade” one. One of the toughest challenges she also told me was safely storing all her cosplays, especially the armor and weapon ones, and the delicate material ones as well. She told me her Witchblade one took her a few years to figure out, and some of the materials she used in making it are Lycra, craft foam, and rubber latex. She had to make sure to keep it light to avoid any “wardrobe malfunctions”. She mentioned that her Witchblade costume was probably the ”most least expensive costume but most complex to make & wear.” Freddie also attends a plethora of cosplays each year. She told me she is actually trying to tone down the amount she does. She topped out at 12 last year! She planned on doing just 8 this yr but may end up doing 10. When she first started doing the convention circuit she used to do 3-5 a year. When I asked her what will be her next cosplays, she answered a cosplay version of He Man, and Songbird.

Photo Courtesy of Superhero Photography

I am so looking forward to seeing her next creation. I definitely enjoyed my brief time chatting with Freddie during the busy and hectic cosplay season, and I look forward to seeing more of her amazing creations!

HENRIOCI By Catherine Henry

For Inquiries

Fire Woman On

An in depth look into the force that is Ms. MINC by GeneseNicole

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Tee: \po-’e-tik \ Clothing Company Accesories: DivineSugar, Inc. Styling: GeneseNicole Makeup: Tamaika Brown Photography: LB Studios


pon first meeting Mina of MINC, you can’t help but be swept up into a hurricane of energy. Of Hurricane SANDY proportions. A ball of fire with a charismatic smile and effortless laughter, she immediately puts you at ease. It’s almost instantaneous the proverbial sigh of relief where, “This is going to be an easy interview” comes to mind. She is quite a little thing, I must note. But within that small body is a very big personality with quite a story to tell.

Mina, Mina, Mina, I couldn’t wait to interview you today. You just exploded on to the scene in cloud of smoke and all of sudden it was I am Miss MINA, I am MINC. And I was like “Who is this chick?” It was everywhere. There were chat groups on FB and then a radio show. You commanded attention so quickly. You just seem to have to ball of energy that doesn’t ever die out. As if you wake up in the morning and exclaim “I am MINA. It’s a great time!” (laughing) So please tell me who and what is Mina? I can’t believe you just said, “Oh my god, I’m Mina. It’s a great time,” (laughing)…Mina is a fraternal twin, the fourth child of five, raised in the Webster projects in the Bronx. It is like you have so much energy all of the time. Almost like there is no downtime. You are always on, and you are always at a 100%. Since I was young, I always had this drive to be more than what I saw in front of me. I just pushed with that vision in mind since I was 15. I try to find the good out of what may not seem to be so great. I am not a morning person, so I have to put on a face for mornings. I am like, “Don’t talk to me, let me get mentally prepared for the day”, it takes me a minute. My husband would say, “it takes you longer than a minute, boo”. I am a wife; I have been married 6 years. I am a mother of 2 boys. My down time is when I sleep. What does MINC stand for? It stands for MINA INC. The name means that we are all one another in a sense. Bridging the gap between those of who are unknown and those of us who are known is the primary focus of MINC. The name may say MINA INC but it is really a personal thing. So the website will be called MyMINC. Everything will be on an external basis but the MINA INC will be a place where you think it is surrounded on 1 person but if you take on the mind frame of, “I am you and you are me” then it’s almost like saying your own name. I am one of those

people who are customer service based. I have been working since I was 15 years old. I have been in health care since I was 16. Everything that I have ever done has always been about providing services. It is very important to me because of the interaction and the feel. A lot of times when you deal with things in a service industry you get how a person is feeling for that day. I wanted to make sure that it was my business and the business of the company to remember that you are speaking to a person at the end of the day. Making sure that person leaves you feeling whole afterwards. Their needs are met. Even if it just for a consultation. They want to feel like you understand them and you buy into whatever it is that they are producing. What encouraged you to create MINC? I got into artists, almost by accident. I was VP of Bronx records. A Bronx based entertainment company. I began mentoring artists on packaging and being able to speak for themselves. How to explain to the viewer what you do without the benefit of rapping or singing your intent. So I proceeded to get into this space where I mentor

artists. This is a great service because many artists need to realize that the world is not just revolving around your song. You can’t speak the same way in an interview, the way that you would speak in music. MINC seems almost like a PR service. I am the official PR specialist for Katherine Hoxy, a well-traveled artist. We have done interviews with News 12, etc. She is my working model for cultivating that “whole” artist. With Katherine, we sit down and discuss target markets, message, vision, where do you expect the project to end? So on MajorMINC radio, we incorporate a segment where we give advice based upon the tenets that we know work. When does the show come on? Thursdays at 8pm, streaming from 4 different sites. So let’s get to the nitty-gritty. What kind of personality do you have? Are you type A, type B? I think it depends on the hat that I am wearing. I am very conscious of the great many positions

that I hold. I have to be very cognizant of which personality is suitable for what. When I am working with Susan Wagner Universal Pre K, (I am on the Board of Directors), the structured side of me is present but the laughing and the joking side may not be. I have to scale back to get a very clear understanding of my role. The laughing and the joking can come along with it but primarily my focus is the betterment of education. Now when I am on the radio… THAT is other side of the spectrum. I can be more relaxed. I can be more “laughy” and “jokey” because I am around my friends who get me, in this business. This business can beat you up before you even know it. The odds are against you. After you get

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past the family coming to your events then the work REALLY begins. I built my team making sure that they have the recipient’s best interest at heart. When we come from a selfish place we lose the general purpose. I can be MINC but MINC is nothing without you. MINC is nothing without the network. I appreciate your response because being able to determine when to be strong and when to be soft can be a gem. It seems as if you keep your life compartmentalized. That is a great thing. Do you find that sometimes lines sort of blur and cross? The lines blur when I can let my guard down. I will make more jokes and comments, to lighten up the mood. I use humor as an ice breaker. Were you always this way as a child? In your high school year book, what would you have been voted? Class Clown (said in unison) Chatterbox, etc. My youngest son is the same way. I’m dealing with him and his antics right now. He has dimples and is a total ham. He is handsome and is really funny. It is so natural, it’s disgusting (laughing). I am the same way, so I understand that it is hard to know when to pocket those things. But you only understand the positioning when you experience things and then you can learn, when I’m in this position I can do this, and when I am here, I can do that. I need to bring THIS in and bring THAT out. How was it growing as a fraternal twin? Everybody always ask if we felt the same thing, etc. But the latter three of us, my twin and I and our older sister were tight knit. My other sister and brother are 10 years older. They were not really raised with us. My childhood was fun; we dealt with being less fortunate with humor. We coped with these circumstances with laughter. For instance, my mother struggled with alcoholism for about 35 years. So that means that majority of my youth, my mother was an alcoholic. After getting to a place where you are embarrassed by someone who is inebriated, you get to a place where it is almost funny because you do not know what to do with it. So that is how we coped with one another.

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Do you have fears of alcoholism? They say that the disease runs in bloodlines. Are you overly conscious about drinking? I am no longer overly conscious of me drinking. When I was younger, I said,” I was never going to drink”, and that was the initial light bulb turned on for me. As I got older and I got to experience what being youthful was like, I learned that having a glass of wine is not being abusive. When you are able to help yourself put things in perspective, it becomes a little easier. What I am afraid of, and I can say this now, I am scared of being in poverty. I am scared of not having the very bare basic needs for my children. I

am so afraid of that to a point that I push myself too hard to where my body is physically saying, “Stop, wait and take a break”. The only thing that I see in my mind is the future. The steps in between have never been an issue. All I can see is what is in front of me. My childhood has given me the understanding that if you do not take life by the balls then you will sink under it. It’s a personal thing. It is not the “man”, or the “system”. My childhood has had an impact on every decision that I have made professionally. Not only for my child but for your child. For my nieces and my nephews so that you do not have to walk thru this world and be less than. To have the essentials that you need to at least start to see what success looks like. What made you want to get into education? I kind of fell into it. I had been on a spiritual walk from the beginning. At least I thought it was from the beginning. We had moved and my son was going to a preschool. I was always very involved with his education. I was always at the school. I read books to the children. I went on class trips. Then I was asked to be the VP of the Parents Committee which led to other opportunities. Then they eventually asked if I would join the Board of Directors. What was important to me was that I stayed in contact, even though my son left the school. I knew God had a plan for me with this particular school and this particular district. I never filled out any applications for this school. I have no idea how they found me or my son. We were well over the income level. God played a major role in that happening. It is pretty interesting to see how God has been shaping your life. For something that would be deemed tragic, you have been able to rise. From out of death you have been given a birth. It’s like the seasons of your life. It is the reemergence of you. Like you were being born again. You have been through the fire. (tears) That is the perfect wording. There was a time that even outwardly I give

off the aura of everything is alright. Things are moving in the right direction and there is no danger at home. There was a point where externally everybody believed this to be true because I had become so great at a game face. But this whole ever present glow that is a part of me is because every day I wake up and I ask God to please do not let the world see any of me. None of me. Let your love and your patience and your mercy shine through me. It’s interesting because that is all anybody can see when it comes to you. It is a part of you. The love the patience, you have a well of happiness and light within you. You have always given this off. I see people naturally gravitating to you. We always move towards the light. (tears) I am a minister, a lot people do not know. I am a licensed minister. I am walking in the process of being ordained. Which means, weddings, and funerals I will be able to commence on my own. I always knew that God had something for me. I knew it would involve speaking and teaching. Then lo and behold, all that I do is talk and I’m in education. I realized that you never know what someone else is going through. They may be dependent on being around you because you give a couple of seconds of happiness , laughter. The hope for me is that when you leave me, you can think of a joke that we shared or something that made you smile when you do not feel like smiling. There are plenty of days when I do not want to promote, I don’t want to manage, I don’t want to talk about education. I don’t even want to wear my ministerial hat. You want a break to just be MINA. I get to a place sometimes where I do not even know who that is anymore because you wear so many hats. My tattoo reads Faith, Luke 17:6 which reads, “faith of a mustard seed. For anybody that does not know, a mustard is half of a salt grain. If you believe just that amount, anything is possible. But you have to start with a foundation. God says that foundation is a little bit of hope within him. He will build the rest. I know you have 2 children at home. But what is the fun Mina about? How is Mina at home? I laugh, joke. We make up songs, for no reason. We have water fights. My house is a zoo. I have a dog who is 3 in Jan and she is the daughter that I do not have. She responds like the kids. She is amidst of everything. I do everything and anything that separates me from what this profession knows me to be. Watching my kids enjoy themselves is one of the greatest gifts that I have been given. I was diagnosed with a brain tumor when I was 16. I was treated for that tumor for 11 years. I was told that I would never be able to conceive children. I tell you, with every breath within me, I know the day that I was pregnant. Every day when I took a shower, I would pray to my belly not just for the baby, but for God to allow me to take that kind of responsibility, I would leave my child to him. Your children are not yours. They are in a temporary state with you. Until they go on and see Jesus.

The formula says that if you are Black, White, Chinese, you do certain things. I am saying that if you are alive you funk what the formula is.

You make every situation yours.

Train up a child. Absolutely. Now my sons are sick of me in church all day on Sunday. Or I am helping out the youth department because I am the copresident. They are so sick of me. But I never had that growing up. I wasn’t raised in the church. I didn’t know anything about the church. Let alone repeat something from the bible or tell you what the Old Testament was. I couldn’t tell you anything. They may have been 1 bible in my house and it was tucked away in the closet. Last but not least, what does Funk the Formula mean to you? How do you Funk the formula? I think Sassy. No limits. Forget what you used to know. My attitude and my laugh help me to funk the formula. Not being afraid to share my past with anyone else. Not being afraid to share the illumination. The formula says that if you are Black, White, Chinese, you do certain things. I am saying that if you are alive you funk what the formula is. You make every situation yours. @MajorMINCRadio @MSMINC1 Event Bookings: Radio Bookings: (W)

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I caught up with Automatic Writing to hear about their new release, their touring antics and a little bit of their history. It was done via email so I hope it was actually them and not some crazy spirit hacking their inbox… Hey guys, how’s it going? Tell us a bit about yourselves… Where are you from? Where do you live now? Neave Merrick: Well we’re two brothers Neave and Jamie… We’re from the sunny Isle Of Wight who now live in Crouch End North London. So before Automatic Writing, there was NeAvE, when did you develop into Automatic Writing? Who does what in the group? When did you decide to get together? (NM) After 5 years of going it alone I’d got stuck in a bit of a rut so I asked my brother if he’d like to get involved, he said yes and then Automatic Writing was born. How about you Jamie, what did you do before? Were you always into music? (JM) Well I’ve always been interested in music but Automatic Writing was the first time I actually got involved in actually making it. I was a bit hesitant in working with Neave at first but I knew he’d make my life hell if I didn’t so I finally relented. Quite glad I did in the end! It’s nice to see family getting on so well… How did you come up with the name? (NM) My girlfriend Charis came up with it and I thought it was a really strong band name. That was the catalyst for the new project actually. For those who don’t know, Automatic Writing is a method of communicating with the dead where the spirit controls the hand of the living and it was

also popular with certain art movements in which the artist enters a meditative state to create subconsciously. (JM) Aleister Crowley also dabbled in it but the less said about that the better! You’re in the middle of a tour, how’s it going? Where did you perform? (JM) It’s been a really fun experience and the response to our shows has been amazing. (NM) Yeah it’s been the first time we’ve done a proper tour and we haven’t had any Gallagher style bust ups yet! How was the Paris experience? Was that your first time over there? (NM) Well the sound was a bit hit and miss at the actual gig but people seemed pretty into it anyway. (JM) After playing we visited a few galleries and sampled the Parisian night life which was SO much fun. We went to a club called the Andy Wahloo which we’d recommend to anyone visiting. You’ve done a few performances in Berlin and seem to have a pretty big fan base over there, was this a conscious effort or did it just happen that way? (NM) One day we got an email from a promoter based in Berlin asking if we’d like to play their night and we obliged. We had such a great time out there we played quite a few more times and consequently developed a bit of a cult following out there. (JM) Yeah they know quality music when they hear it. We’re still not as big as David Hasselhoff in Germany but we’re getting there... Hasselhoff is a legend out there! Do you thing that you could settle in Berlin or any other city? (NM) Berlin’s a really exciting and vibrant city but I still love living in London. (JM) Me too. I’ve only been here two years and I can’t think of a city I’d rather live in.

What’s the most interesting/ surprising city that your music has reached? (NM) We have quite a few facebook followers in Quebec which is interesting. I didn’t even know where it was at first before googeling it. (JM) Geography’s not Neave’s strong point... (NM) Evidently not. You’ve got a single coming out soon, tell us a bit about it… (NM) We’re releasing two tracks as a double A side Falling/Continuous. It’s coming out Nov 5th on beautiful marble green vinyl and download.

(NM) It feels good to be physically releasing something instead of just giving away Mp3’s on soundcloud. (JM) The reviews have been really good so far which is nice. One blog wrote that we sound like ‘Wild Beasts on acid’ and ‘Depeche Mode after they ditched the fake horns and before Dave Gahan’s crippling drug addiction’ haha! Haha… Where can we get you music from? (NM) You can get it from our bandcamp page and we’re going to try and get Rough Trade and a few other record stores to stock it too.

From the reviews I have read quite a few people have said that they can tell your muHow have you found the whole ex- sic has 80’s references but perience of releasing your music? still manages to sound fresh. (JM) Only a fiver too!

So many artists nowadays seem to be churning out the same old sound, how have you avoided falling into that category? What do you think about these over groups and the current state of music? (NM) Well we’ve always focused on the songwriting first and foremost and have spent a long time crafting a sound we feel is unique to us. Because we use analogue synths and stuff we’ll always get compared to 80’s bands, and we do love a lot of bands from that era but we like to take those influences and put our own spin on them which I think gives our music a modern feel. (JM) The reason a lot of bands sound similar is because they want to fit into a certain scene. You get the

ways l a e v ’ ngWe o s e h t d on most e r focuse o f d first an g n i t i r long w a t n e p ve s und and ha o s a g n afti us. o time cr t e u q l is uni e e f e w

feeling they’re focusing on being ‘cool’ first and the music second. The problem with that is when that scene disappears, quite often they do too. I mean does anyone remember Chillwave? You have interesting promo pictures, who influences you visually? Do you think there’s a relationship between art and music? Do you edit the images yourselves? (NM) Without being overly pretentious we feel it’s important to have a strong visual identity too. We like to use images that compliment and add another dimension to the music. David Lynch, Cy Twombly and David Stezaker are big influences on us in that respect. (JM) Some of the images we’ve edited but most have just been left untouched. I’m sure there’s a few lawsuits on the way but never mind. What’s next for you? (NM) We just want to keep working on new material, release some more singles and then hopefully release an album in the near future. (JM) We also want to tour even more extensively and hit a few festivals.

Finally, an insight into your personal taste…  Name some artists from the past, present and recommend some for the future who you both enjoy listening to… (NM)  Sparks are a great, really underrated old band who are still going strong now. I’m a real diehard fan. We’re both really into Grimes and Anna Calvi at the moment too. (JM)  We played with a band called Exotic Club in Paris and I’d say they’re ones to watch for 2013. Thanks guys!

Artist: FIN DAC

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From Plaza

MUA Meghan Andrea by Robbin Plaza

Hey FTF Nation! It’s your girl Robbin here again to bring you another fierce and fabulous force in the cosmetics world. I am so blessed to be exposed to this young lady’s work through social networking, I look forward to her Makeup of the Day photos every day. She always inspires me to push the limits of color whenever I see the work she performs on her clients, and I could only hope to be as good as her when I grow up. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you… Miss Meghan Andrea!

RP: Hey Miss Meghan, go ahead and say wassup to the people…. MA: Hi everyone! My name is Meghan Andrea and I’m a freelance makeup artist in NYC. I am a lifelong, true blue, die hard lover of fashion and beauty. I love being a makeup artist because is it my form of creative expression. I feel really blessed to be able to make people look and feel beautiful, through my art. RP: you say lifelong lover of fashion and beauty…when exactly did you know that you wanted to be a MUA? MA: Well, funny enough, I wanted to be a Pediatrician for my entire life until I was 16, when I

interned at a hospital that summer. Around that time, I was also coming into my own, and came to the realization that it was possible for me to make a career out of 2 of my favorite things: fashion and makeup. I remember saying that I wanted to be a makeup artist to my mom when I was 17, but she flat out told me no. She always told me I can be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, but for some reason, she wasn’t entertaining that idea (even though she is my biggest fan.) I think at the time, her idea of a makeup artist was the lady who hounds you in the department stores to smell their newest fragrance. Not to knock anyone who does sell fragrances for a living, but it just wasn’t what she envisioned

for me (nor me for myself ::laughs::) I think it was also too much of a shock to her system for me to be going from a more stable/traditional career path, to something that she probably feared was the polar opposite. So, I chose to pursue my career in fashion upon graduating high school. I majored in English and decided that I wanted to be either a fashion writer, fashion editor, a fashion publicist, or a stylist. In order to figure out which career choice would be right for me, I did various fashion-related internships throughout my college career. My first internship was the summer before I started college. Coincidentally, it was a beauty PR internship, at a very young start up cosmetics line that we all know today as Tarte Cosmetics. I remember just being around all of the products gave me such a euphoric feeling (many of which they gave to me and I still own them today just as keepsakes.) Unfortunately, that internship only lasted for a few weeks because at the time, the company was operating out of a tiny apartment and literally didn’t have the space for too many bodies. From there, I strictly pursued fashion related internships from Giuseppe Zanotti and Zac Posen, to The Daily Front Row Magazine and Teen Vogue, just to name a few. I even did a stint where I assisted June Ambrose and her team on a big fashion show styling project that she was working on. When I graduated from college in 2007, the recession was at an all-time high and the job market was horrific. Especially for the highly sought after and who-you-know type of jobs within the

fashion industry. Eventually, I faced the fact that my love and obsession for makeup/beauty never subsided, and it was something that grew stronger as the years went by. So, at 25 I decided to start from scratch and pursue my career as a makeup artist. It was a very tough decision, but also, a very honest one. Always trust your passion! RP: Wow, that’s a lot of twists and turns, but then again… all good career paths have a similar story. On what path has this career choice taken you? (what brands have you worked for , are currently working for?) MA: I usually don’t tell people because I know some might judge me, but I have only been working as a professional makeup artist since May 2011. That usually shocks everyone that I tell when they ask, so I think that is a good thing. I began my career as a freelance makeup artist at Mac Cosmetics, which I still do from time to time. Other than that, I have been doing my own freelance work. I have worked with a few faces that have been on television and in magazines. I’m extremely excited about up and coming projects! RP: We both know that the life of a MUA is the life of a hustler. What other projects do you work on outside of your 9-5 as a MUA? MA: I live, breathe, and eat this MUA life. As you said, it’s the life of a hustler. I commit myself fully to my art because I believe in it and it is my hustle, 100%. RP: No doubt… I can definitely dig that… and it sure does take a whole lot of commitment. On another note, what would you say is your desert island beauty product? The one thing that you absolutely cannot live without. MA: Well I never ever leave my house without lip balm. But if we’re talking about a true beauty item, I would most definitely say concealer! Need it, LOVE it. I never hear people mention it in their desert island items, but to me it’s so essential! It can hide any blemishes and even out the skin tone, and can be applied as heavy or sheer as you see fit. It’s also amazing because it completely lifts the face when applied correctly under the eyes. It instantly wakes up the

face, no matter how tired you are. Skin is the canvas for physical beauty! RP: I never knew that there was someone else out there who shared my love for concealer! (laughs) it was one of the main beauty tools I fell in love with when I first started in the cosmetics world. Do you remember your first makeover? MA: Well, my earliest victim (laughs) was definitely my mother. I use to apply her lipsticks on her and myself when I was bored back in my elementary school days. Then in 7th grade, I convinced my best friends to wear black lip liner and clear lip gloss with me in school (she gags… I gasp). But one of my biggest early makeovers was when one of my sisters asked me to do her makeup for her wedding RP: I know! I love ‘Auntie Pat’ too! What kills me about her is that she is so unassuming, but she floors you with her level of skill… So what would you say is your favorite look to use on yourself? MA: In the daytime, I usually do highlighted skin and tear ducts, loads of mascara, and a pinky flesh-toned or nude lip gloss. If I want to jazz it up and add a little depth, I will apply some kohl pencil on my water line (usually black or dark brown) and sometimes smudge the pencil in along my top and bottom lash lines. For night, I will always live for a smoldering smoky eye, highlighted and contoured skin, and a nude lip. It’s classically sexy and definitely my go to look. Bronzer is a must for me, both day and night because I love adding a warm depth and glow to my skin. My eyebrows are pretty notorious around these parts as well (laughs). RP: Name the top three celebs that you are dying to work with.

day when I was 17. But honestly, I had been using my friends and other family as guinea pigs for so many years before that as well (laughs). RP: You sound like me, can’t tell you how many times I have experimented on my older sister (laughs), but she was always such a huge fan of mine, it definitely pushed me to do better. Who would you say is your biggest influence in this business? MA: I have a handful, but I will say Pat McGrath. That woman’s art evokes tears to my eyes. Her creativity is endless, varying, and inspiring. She’s of a Jamaican background too, so automatically she’s my Auntie (laughs).

MA: There are so many, but Rihanna (she’s my cousin in my head), Naomi Campbell, and Victoria Beckham instantly popped into my head because they are all incredibly fabulous and love to wear statement makeup. RP: speaking of statement makeup, we both know that not all statements that are made… should be made (laughs)…which one of today’s makeup trends do you think the world can do without? MA: Wacky colored lipsticks. Personally, I love them, but the first step in pulling it off is knowing how to properly apply such bold colors. Secondly, you should have a style that corresponds with the look you’re going for. I’ve seen far too many people try to pull this look off, but the look ends up wearing them and they wind up looking like a makeup don’t :( RP: What is your favorite feature to work on… eyes or lips? MA: I loveeee playing with the eyes. I love working on skin as well, but there’s something about the eyes. It really is the window to our souls, so why not make it reflect that? It’s also where people look and connect with someone during conversations, so I think it’s very thoughtful to give them something stimulating to look at :) RP: (Nods head) Absolutely… you can learn so much from someone by the way they look at you, how much confidence they have, how much internal prowess/ power they have, etc. and speaking of power… name one thing you would change about this industry of you had the power to do so. MA: The lack of consideration for darker skin tones, particularly in foundations and blushes. Many brands have not invested in trying to perfect darker foundations as they have done with their fair foundations. Some brands don’t even make foundations for dark skin! A lot of brands don’t make dark skin friendly blushes either, and they can be extremely ashy on us. As an artist, I usually figure out ways to make products work, but that’s not fair to the average woman who just wants to have the same ability as “the majority” to buy her products and use them with ease RP: Well Miss Meghan, we have come to the end of our conversation, and I must say that I feel truly blessed that we had this time to chat. Now, do everyone from our readers to myself a huge favor and sum up your career in one word. MA: Hmmm, that’s a good one. I’ll keep it simple and say “Blooming.” It is most definitely blooming and I am beyond excited and ready for the ride! Blooming would have to be the understatement of the century! This young lady is going places… fast. I just hope that I am remembered on her rise to the top.

Robbin Out!!!

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A Fresh outlook on how you look.

FashionizKaotic’s Phoenix Bullen sits down with fresh R&B singer, Nikki O


exy , sultry and soulful are the words that come to mind when you hear this angels voice. As I sit in the studio prepared to interview this songstress diva I can hear what has been missing from the industry for so long and could do nothing but smile because R&B is back! Introduce yourself: Hey everyone, my name is Nikki Owens. I’m an actress,song writer and singer. Where are you from? I was born and raised in the Bronx, NY Why did you start making music? Music has been apart of me since i was a child. It’s in my genes, it runs in my blood. Before i was born my grandmother told my mom to name me Mahailia because I was going to sing just like her. I come from a line of singers. My grandmother recorded with Gospel Artist Dorothy Norwood, my great-uncle had a band named “The Landlord and the tenants” and they toured with the group ” The Commodores” and jazz musician Miles Davis . Growing up who was your inspiration? I would have to say definitely Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin ,Diana Ross, Janet Jackson , Luther Vandross. As I got older I started taking a liking to the 90’s R&B artists such as Faith Evans, Mary J Blige , Kelly Price, Brandy, Monica and SWV. Do you write all, or most, of your own lyrics for your songs? I write all of them, but now I am branching out to collaborate with other writers and artists. Tell us about your Album. My album is a testimony of some things I have been through. It is also a testament for women and men who have/are going through experiences similar to what I sing about . What do you think separates you from other R&B artists? I am actually singing Rythmn & Blues. My lyrics aren’t just about sex, I firmly believe that there is more to relationships and life than just the physical aspect. You mentioned that when you were growing up, you listened to Faith Evans, Whitney Houston, Gladys Knight , Aretha Franklin, Mahailia Jackson and that is just to name a few, what other artists in different genres did you respect? I respect artist like Mary Mary (gospel), Boy George and Madonna (pop), Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and Taylor Swift (country), Gloria Estephan, LL Cool J, Pink (pop/rock) and Bob Marley( reggae). How have you grown as an artist? Staying humble and practicing to perfect my craft. This has been a big contribution to my growth. I’m always ready to learn. Also I watch and learn from various artists from their successes and mistakes as well as my own. What can listeners expect from your first album ? Listeners can expect a mixture of old school and new school R&B, some pop and a gospel song. They will constantly want to listen to my album and get satisfaction and enjoyment from beginning to end.

My lyrics aren’t just about sex, I firmly believe that there is more to relationships and life than just the physical aspect.

Regarding modern-day R&B, contemporary R&B, are there any artists that you like, that you’re into at all? I would definetly have to say Ledisi, Joe, Tank , Tyrese. Brandy, Monica ,Music Soul Child ,Jill Scott and Chrisette Michelle. Are you going to be touring in support of the album? Yes,as soon as it s released. Right now I am promoting my debut single “Get with You”. Now available on iTunes, google play, and amazon mp3. Tell us about your new single. The idea behind “Get with you” was to turn the tables on courting and chivalry, a woman actually asking a man out into a relationship. Letting him know she wants to be more than just physical with him, respecting him enough to actually get to know him. Where can we find you? You can find me at , you can also follow me on twitter at, you can follow me on instagram @ Also

NELL Y B.’ S COR NER Photo Courtesy of Mon Desir Photography


You’re So Pretty ... For a Big Girl ... UGHHHHH

o there I am...walking through the mall, looking all cute, ended up seeing a friend of mine who I had not seen in a while, and with her was one of her friends. My girlfriend proceeded to introduce me to her friend (whom I later found out was her cousin) and her cousin looks at me and says ever soooooo sweetly... “You know you are sooooooo pretty....for a big girl” My response was literally “ummm...thanks” and I quickly refocused on my friend and what we’ve both been up to since we last saw each other. After walking away from that somewhat awkward situation I could not help but feel a bit annoyed. And that annoyance quickly converted to a feeling of being insulted... PRETTY FOR A BIG GIRL??? WHAT!!!!!! (>_<) <<<-----my facial expression in case you’re wondering... So does it mean that all big girls aren’t pretty?? Also, does it mean that being big is unattractive??? Sighhhhh....the slender ideal lingers in my head ... Now I am not anti-skinny, I firmly believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, but I feel like the media pushes this slender norm so much upon us that we’ve come to accept it as the ONLY form of beauty out there. I mean, look at mainstream television shows, music videos, as well as print advertisements. Although there are a few exceptions, the majority shows the ideal woman being tall and slender with long flowing hair (hmmm ... maybe the long hair ideology is probably why some people are so obsessed with weave, but that’s a whole other blog.) To me...saying that I’m pretty for a big girl is pretty much telling me that I’m not pretty by regular standards. Its like you’re lowering the bar on my beauty just because I’m thick/fat/chubby/plump/fluffy/mampee (my trini peeps would know mampee lol) or whatever other term you wish to refer me as. The sad thing is this isn’t the first time I’ve heard that type of pseudo compliment, I’ve also gotten... “Fuh ah darkie...yuh rel bess” (translation: For a dark skinned girl you are beautiful) “You sure you not mix up?? yuh hair rel soft and curly” (translation: Are you sure you’re not of a mixed ethnicity?? You hair is so soft and curly) With compliments like these...who needs insults???? I wish I could see forms of beauty being equally represented in society... I wish compliments came without clauses... I refuse to be pretty for a big girl...I am just pretty...simple I WISH SOCIETY COULD SEE THE BEAUTY IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES... All a girl can do is wish I guess...


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FunktheFormula Magazine November Issue