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GEMINI Special Edition 201 2

GEMINI Gemini Magazine, LLC Atlanta, GA (c) Copywritten by Gemini Magazine, LLC 2012 All rights reserved Are you interested in becoming a part of the Gemini team? We are currently taking photograph and article submissions for the Summer and Fall. For more information, please visit Celebrate your business! Allow Gemini to play an important

On The Cover Model Asia Monet Styled by Asia Monet Hair and Makeup by Asia Monet Photography by Roger Mustafa Retouching by Poetic Image

part in marketing your company. For more information please visit

Beautiful Inspiration

In life you tend to run across people who possess a something really spectacular. Luckily, I have had the pleasure to run across several women who possess that spark or vibe and I can gladly call some of them my friends.

Asia Monet is one of those women, and I was glad to help her celebrate her birthday with a special Gemini edition highlighting all of the things she holds dear. For those who have not had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Monet, she cares quite a bit about women and the dream to do be better. In this special edition we explore women who are chasing dreams and breaking down barriers. Take something away from them and their amazing journeys to do better and be better. We can all use a little bit of inspiration every now and then. Oh yea and happy birthday Asia--we love you!

Sommer J.

Change Is Good

Change can be good, especially when it comes to your health. That is me on the left (in the black) at about 293lbs and on the right (in the pink) I am about 235. I realized that I was not healthy at 293, 5'6" and decided to make a change. All it takes is putting one foot in front of the other and making time for yourself. Do better it will change your life.

My Inspiration: Over the last year I have met some incredible incredible women. They make me laugh, some of them even make me cry, and they inspire me daily. I have watched them push women to another level--one those women doubted they could reach and I have seen them improve on their own goals in major ways. You ladies of the pink & black, and you know who you are, are my inspiration to be the best version of myself. Thank you for pushing, pulling, laughing, and striving. Thank you for just being you. My life has been forever changed just by having you in it. See you on the pavement soon!

Asia's Fast 5

Left: What girl doesn't like a comfy pair of leggings, a flowing tunic top and a snazzy pair of flats (or each her own)? Leggings, Fashion to Figure, $16 Right: When you are not in the mood for a full face or if your face needs a quick umph, throw on some mascara. You can never go wrong with mascara (unless you do the spider lash thing). Maybelline XXL 24hr Bold, Most Retailers, $7

We all need a road map to being the best most beautiful us. Don't you think? Beautylicious by Jenyne Raines,, $13. You are always dolled up as long as you have mascara (check! we covered that above) and lip gloss. Sometimes there is no need for anything else. Liquid Lipshine in Nude is the perfect fit for any almost naked face (wink). NYC Liquid Lipshine, Most Retailers, $2.50.

When you are stressed your skin reacts. We try to keep it all inside and throw on a smile when we would rather be punching something (or someone足足you've thought about it), but our skin has a sneaky little way of letting it all come out...literally! This is a helpful tool to keep your face free of daily skin stressers. Stress Control Scrub, Most Retailers, $7.

Dream Catcher

Dreaming is important in this journey called life, but catching those dreams is what makes life worth living. We caught up with a woman who is working toward completing a dream deferred and growing stronger with every step­­literally.

How did you start running? I started running as a result of a need to kick my weight loss into high gear prior to walking six months. My encouragement to run came from my boss at the time in 201 0. I searched for stories of similar people like myself wanting to run for exercise and found Black Girls RUN! Shortly after, I volunteered to begin one of the first groups across the country in South Atlanta.

What made you decide to go back to school? In 201 0 I decided to test the waters by studying for the LSAT not thinking that I would score well, I ended up taking the LSAT and scoring in the top percentile. I shocked myself and to be frank, I never thought I would have scored well. This gave me the confidence to pursue working on taking the next steps to actively enroll in school again towards the path of pursuing this dream knowing that I had up to three years to take advantage of using those test scores. In addition my passion for pursuing this dream became stronger a year ago. In 201 2 the timing and opportunity to do so opened for me through a course of organizational changes within the company that I worked for. I decided to finally go after the thing that I had put in the atmosphere.

What are you studying? I am studying Business and Law. My goal is to receive a joint degree with a Masters of Business and Juris Doctorate degree. My goal is to become a corporate or entertainment lawyer.

Who is you go to inspiration when you need it? It varies sometimes for me. I have a core group of mentors that I keep close to me. When I have an area in my life that I need encouragement in, I go to one of my mentors to share with them what I am thinking and hear their thoughts. I also go to God for inspiration, and often times running helps me clear my mind and think through the issues I might be facing.

What do you tell a woman who feels she is too large or out of shape? A baby learns how to crawl, stumbles to learn how to walk, and then gains strength to run. Do not compare yourself to

others and negatively judge yourself. See that person who has achieved something great as a source of motivation and inspiration to energize you towards a goal that you want to achieve. Do not envy. Celebrate the success of others. This is where we allow our liberation and inspiration to propel us to become greater than where we are today. God’s light will shine the spotlight on each of us in His time. Time is a precious gift. Time affords each of us the opportunity to get better and receive the lessons in life that we should learn. Chase your dream with your whole heart. At the end of the day we are the only ones who can stop ourselves from knocking down the doors to our dreams. Take the steps to prepare the doors to open. When opportunity comes, we can then walk through the doors and see the path to those dreams becoming reality.

What is your go-to song when you are ready to take over the world? My song at the moment is Beyonce's version of "I Was Here." At the end of everything I want to know that I left a imprint in my kids heart and at least one person in this world.

A Love Letter...


am no stranger to you. You have seen me on the cover of GEMINI, Venus Divas, Goddess and many more publications geared toward the full figured woman. You have seen me in the pages of Essence Magazine and Glamour. You have most likely seen me in videos or on local television. I am pretty sure you have seen my fierce walk on various runways around the country. Just recently, I have been blessed enough to be a part of Ashley Stewart’s new fall campaign—so you will probably see me there, too. Interviewers ask a lot of the same questions you would expect a plus model to answer, but when it came time for me to sit down and answer questions for GEMINI, the publisher gave me the pen.

unflattering. Here is the deal ladies, as a plus size model, I have seen how clothing manufacturers create their clothes. I have seen the light bulb go on when I explain to them the

WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS We have all seen it. You have been in

the store or walking into a mall and witnessed a beautiful full figured young lady or woman in clothes that are

M en and women are working hard in

the Size Acceptance movement to create a clear, positive space for plus size individuals to flourish. You do not have to go to extremes to be a part of the movement, but you should be a part of it. I am very conscious about the images young girls are receiving today. No one, especially not a child, should be made to feel as if they are not good enough just because they are a little bigger than the rest. Be a part of something bigger than yourself. Love your body, love your abilities, love your style and those watching in the wings will learn to love themselves too.


At first I was not sure what I would

say that you have not already heard/read. I mean, do you really care that five years from now I see my career expanding into the film/television industry or that I can see Asia Mone’t developing into a major brand? I doubt you care to know how Ashley Stewart and I came together (for those of you who do here is the short version: I got the call from Flaunt Model Management putting me on “hold” for the shoot dates for AS’s campaign, but once I met the AS team during FFF Week for a fitting the deal was sealed. The rest is history). Instead, I think we will have a little girl talk about you, me and our responsibility as a full figured woman.


U nfortunately, not only do I have to

complexity of the full figured frame. I have seen some ignore my advice but I have seen many, many more incorporate it into their next project. You have women fighting for you on the inside, but we need you to help us in the outside. Proper fitting clothes does wonders to your over all appearance creating a smoother silhouette. Take advantage of the fact that companies are creating clothes in larger sizes. Don’t get caught up on a size. Fall in love with a new look. Wear the right undergarments. No, I am not saying you have to squeeze yourself into a pair of Spanx or a Body Magic, but I am saying to learn your body as it pertains to bras and underwear. The right bra can make a world of difference in your attitude and in your wardrobe.

deal with being full figured, but I also have a steeper hill to climb being a female and I am black. It is unfortunate for all of us, women of color or not, to have such a huge barrier to break when it comes to plus modeling and the mainstream media. The fight for black women in the modeling industry has been well documented and major barriers have been broken; however, the plus modeling industry is still very young and it has not quite overcome the media/advertising machine on the full figured front, let alone for women of color. But, the limits are being lifting on what a woman of color and size can accomplish slowly but surely. Seeing myself in the window of a store displaying fashion representing for curvy women gives me hope of the countless limitless possibilities out there for the taking. Set your mind to it and just go for it whether you are Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or in

between. Break down barriers with your actions, your words, your money, and your choices. Be proud of your color and your body. Be proud of who you are and your image. God created us all differently. Relish in the astonishment of the very fact that you are you and no one else.

LIVING HEALTHY B e smart. You only get one life and you

only get one body. Yes, being big can be beautiful. No there is nothing wrong with you or your shape. Yes, there is something very wrong with being an unhealthy plus sized individual. The mainstream outlets have not taken us seriously because we have not taken ourselves seriously in the past. We have given in to the notion that we are not ok because we can not fit into a size 8. Never once did we realize that we shouldn’t have been trying to fit into someone else’s mold but into our own.

Your body is your temple. Love it and treat it well. No one is telling you to run a marathon every week, but take the time out to do something. Get up and get moving. And please, stop telling yourself that “weight loss” is a curse word and shouldn’t be uttered in your presence. It is ok to say that you want to lose weight if it is hindering your health, but if it isn’t, then go forth and workout just for the sake of shedding stress (and eat right just for the hell of it).

B eing a plus size woman (or man) does

not make you less than anyone else. Having a little too much jiggle or a little more curve does not mean you are any worse than anyone else. Slipping into a size 1 8, 1 4, or 26 does not mean you are not as beautiful as the next person. Stand up and be counted for every wonderful thing you represent. Those of us who you see on billboards, magazine covers and ad campaigns are no different from those of you sitting behind

a desk or taking care of a household. We work to make a difference visually, but you are just as important to the acceptance of the plus size individual. Of course, I am no stranger to you. You have seen me on numerous magazine covers and ad campaigns, but if you look just a little closer you will see that we are no different. We have thick thighs, large breasts, and a thick waist. We have moments of regret and moments of joy. We have moments of blind faith and a moment or two of second guessing. We have the heart of a woman and the gift of God. I am Asia Monet, and I am no different, no better, no more beautiful than you. We are women with a purpose and a message for the world to hear. Stand up and be heardHI will be posing right beside you every click of the way. Asia Monet is a plus size model and positive

living advocate.

ew Era g A N Cur vin

An untapped subject can sometimes receive negative feedback, due to the lack of knowledge about the matter. Controversy is the foundation of change: if there were only one opinion in the world, the notion of change and progress would not exist. When a demand is created, the economy armors itself to pursue this need and to provide it; only in the matter I am about to introduce, it took quite some time for it to be present in our daily life of mass media and consumerism. In a young woman’s life, adolescence is a very critical and fragile period. Some go through it quite smoothly, without any complaints, social headaches, self-esteem problems or existential issues. The biological aspect of changes she goes through triggers many physical selfdoubting, nervousness and introversion. Her figure is her principal interface towards society; therefore confidence is key for a young woman to assume herself and accept her

On one hand, Media & Advertising are one antagonist in this progression of thought. However, the market started out as an enemy, but soon became a somewhat supporter. I haven’t clarified my case yet so here goes: Full-figured women and Fashion.

was trying to stay trendy, stylish and up-to-date while the market was purely model-figure oriented. Going shopping was an agony! Since big sizes were hardly available in the latest trends, I had to shop in the Women’s section, which in the nineties was an utter catastrophe in terms of style (especially for a young adolescent girl). Being different has always brought debate, whether in religion, race or nationality. Some people find it so hard to accept difference and be tolerant. These layers of negative feedback are more proof of a discriminating society. (Note: When I speak of full-figured women, I do not encourage obesity; on the contrary, good health is essential. Many women lead a healthy lifestyle but have curvy assets. This does not mean that she is obese)

Speaking out of experience, I struggled during my adolescence, as I was a big and tall girl, compared to my peers. The biggest challenge

Luckily, times have changed and a new movement has emerged from the fashion industry “Plus Size Fashion”. For those who are unfamiliar

body. Yet, this self-assurance is not provided by the Media, as it continuously sets women in ridiculously utopian sizes and measurements. Figures vary just as eye color does from one individual to another. In this society that is whirling in diet pills, plastic surgery and materialism, being curvy, large or busty is synonym to being an outcast. Social rejection is cruel: it is a skinny pretentious culture that underlines anorexia instead of good health.

with the term, it is given to fashion that is proportioned to sizes going from size 1 4 (the debate is still on going when including size 1 2 and even 1 0) and above. Initially, many fashion designers were appalled by this terminology and the existence of such fashion frenzy. They thought it was just a phase and it would lose its agitation eventually. They underestimated a majority that has been long in the shadows, trying to fit in a world that had skinny models and actresses as icons. Well, no more! This movement is rising strong; it is not only hitting the shops but also magazine covers and catwalks. I have been aware of this movement but only recently has it made its big BANG!around the globe. The Internet is a wondrous power: I have been following Plus Size Fashion Bloggers online for quite some time now and it is mind-blowing. It is a community that is growing rapidly: thanks to social

networks, bloggers and their fans and followers discuss common issues, stories, fashion tips, plus size fashion brands, and post of "outfits of the day" for inspiration to others. The movement is doing amazing things across the globe, however my main concern is that there isn’t such positive activity in the Arab World. Are we too occupied on becoming plastic dolls with puffed-up lips, in high heels and tight clothes? Are we embarrassed to stay natural, no matter what size or shape we are? Is being a curvy woman a humiliation or exclusion? It is sad that many women aren’t comfortable in their own skin and have no sense of personal identity. Beauty has taken a fatal detour and the “curvi-licious” women have come to set their part of beauty back on the right track. It is not wrong to demand a decent fashion line that accommodates certain larger

sizes. It is not wrong for a big or curvy woman to feel beautiful. It is not wrong for her to dress in trendy clothes. It is wrong to undermine this topic and to take it as some obnoxious feministic talk. It is absolutely wrong to give mocking looks or statements to people, in general, no matter how different. Tolerance and respect are values that need to be applied more strictly and I think our Arab region lacks that – at all levels. Plus-size fashion has found its way through the market, mostly in the west, but it is serving the cause of those who accept their curves and cherish their beauty, all over the world. It is not picture-perfect just yet, but efforts are being made for a smooth inclusion of this fashion. All it takes is one open mind and one small idea to change a culture and create a new movement...a revolution...a new era. Hanane Fathallah is a writer, fashion junkie and plus size advocate

Girl On Fire

Every day I get the pleasure of interacting with an amazing group of women. Each of these women have a zest for life and everything in it­­ especially when it comes to pounding the pavement. All of the women I have had the pleasure to rub elbows with prior to the start of a race or early morning group run have something inspiring and infectious about them. This is the story of one Nicole Silva. There is not a hug she doesn't like or a challenge she won't attempt. I tip my hat to such an amazing, inspiring, caring girl on fire. ~Sommer J

pregnancy I gained a little more of my weight back. By the time I had my 3rd in 3 years I was up 80lbs or more. After having the girls we took a family Christmas picture and when I looked at the

Gemini: How much weight have you lost? Nicole: 1 08-11 0 depending on the day

Gemini: Why do you think you were you large to begin with? Nicole: Who knows why I let

myself get so big? It could be because I loved to eat. I’m an "You are only unable emotional eater. I love snacks of things you believe and I stay up late at night Hone pound at a time. That’s how it you can’t do. I think I can do anything" happened. It just kept creeping upon me until BAM – I looked in the mirror one day and didn’t recognize who I was. I’d gone from thick to chubby, to big, to pictures I just cried. I couldn’t believe that I had put all that morbidly obese. weight back on.

GM: How long did it take you to lose your weight and what So the the hardest thing to deal was the hardest part of your with in this weight loss battle is facing the fact that this is forever! journey? That as long as I live I will have

NS: It has taken over 1 0 years to to watch what I eat and workout lose my weight. The first time I lost it, it was right before my hubby and I got married. It took about 2 ½ years to lose it. About 6 months after we go married, I got pregnant and spent the next three years pregnant. With each

like a beast. The hardest fact to face is that this really is not a diet. Diets are for people who need to get of 1 0lbs for a class reunion. Diets are for people who want to squeeze back in to size 6 jeans. Diets are not for

girls like me: I have to be on a LIVE-IT. Everyday we have to think about what we eat, try to make good choices and try to workout even harder when we know we didn’t. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to start this journey over least a million Mondays (my start over day). Monday 1 - 1 st child, Monday 2 – 2nd child Monday 3 – 3rd child, Monday 4 – being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which causes achy joints and extreme fatigue Monday 5 – lifeH.something is always happening. Life doesn’t ever create a perfect storm for weight loss. There will always be another Monday. And rather than waiting on next Monday to start. Every Monday I think what can I do this week to help me stay on track. I don’t see a start over as a set-back, a start over is a set-up. Iam setting myself up for future success, future victory!

GM: What types of food did you eat prior to making the change and what types of food do you eat now? NS: The funny thing is that in

college I gave up meat so that I could try to be healthy. I think I was the only vegetarian in history to not eat vegetables...[laughing]. I ate everything that wasn’t meat that was horrible for me. This was the time of my life when I gained a ton of weight. I gained the freshman 60lbs instead of 1 5. Now I eat whatever I want, only in moderation. I have desert every night, but a smaller portion. I hardly ever eat out and when I do, I check out the menu online before I get there so I am

prepared and can make the best choice. I am pescetarian (I only eat fish, eggs and dairy) this helps when it comes to eating out. It automatically eliminates half of most menus J

Marathon and Triathlon to my board one year. I don’t want to look back on my life and think I wishHI want to look back and said I did.

GM: Who is your go-to inspiration when you GM:What would you need it most? tell a woman who feels lost and incapable of NS: My mom is one of losing weight or doing my biggest inspirations. something good for Even at my biggest she herself that seems out always knew just what to say to make me love of her comfort zone? NS: You are only unable of things you believe you can’t do. I think I can do anything.

GM: What challenges have you talked yourself into and survived? NS: Let’s see – what

myself. She always made me feel like I was the prettiest girl in the world. And that does something for a person. I also turn to the wonderful ladies of BGR. Looking at pics and talking to other ladies who set fitness or weight loss goals and work to achieve them inspires me.

haven’t I talked myself in to? 2 triathlons, 2 full marathons (and training GM:What is your fave for a 3rd), and 9 half guilty pleasure? marathons. NS: Cheese – I love cheese GM: You did a tri at a anything heavier weight than flavored: cheese its, most would think to do cheese puffs, cheese one. What made you grits, the list goes on.

decide to do it? NS:

GM: What is your next the goal?

Watching biggest loser will get you in troubleH[laughing]. I watched these people who were over weight as well do things I couldn’t believe. I said if they can do it, then I’m doing it too. I start each year with a vision board. As I sat watching biggest loser I added

NS: My next task – Marathon Maniacs (2 fulls in 1 6 days) - we will see how that goes! I also want to learn how to play with my calories to maintain my weight.

"Let the world fall in love with you...I did...and the rest of the world followed" ~Asia Monet


Special Edition 2012  

In this special edition we explore women who are chasing dreams and breaking down barriers. Take something away from them and their amazing...

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