IMTAC Issue No. 07

Page 1


Our Purpose

To be the voice for and from girls and young women, to:

• Create a safe space for girls and young women.

• Hear from other girls and women on their journeys.

• Understand how to deal with the pressures placed on them by peers, adults, the fashion and personal care industries

• Learn how to navigate a male-dominated society

• Talk about subjects they feel too embarrassed or ashamed to raise.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


Hi to all our readers!

This issue deals with some weighty subjects, but also has some fun elements too!

Our featured guest is Katya Virshalas, who tells us about her exciting journey from modelling, to ballroom dancing queen to entrepreneur queen and franchise owner of Dancing Bees!

Then, we hear from Emma Jane who talks about her survival of domestic violence and what she’s trying to do to help others in the similar situations.

Do you want to hear about the life of a Croupier? Isabelle Nobouta was one for 16 years, and has just written a book about it. She tells us more in her interview.

For those of you who are going to university, we have a great article by Joanne Loney on how to manage your finances; and Angelica tells us why it’s so important to build muscle – don’t listen to that nonsense about how muscle will make you look “masculine”.

Brian Henderson’s article about toxic masculinity reminds us that perpetuating “masculine” norms and expectations has an impact on both males and females. Change that mindset in the heads of males and females, and we’d have covered a lot of ground in our journey to gender equality.

This and a lot more in our issue #Seven. Enjoy!

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Kimberley Kleczka

Loulou Von Spiel EDITOR,

CONTRIBUTORS: Luana Thomas Cecilia Ao Denise Patel Joanne Loney Angelica Chebotar Brian Henderson KELY Support Group



PUBLISHED AND PRODUCED BY A-C 25/F Seabright Plaza 9-23 Shell St. North Point, Hong Kong 03 editorial by deborah mannas seven 41 creativity corner 46 ask ceci 48 in the next issue18 what's your style by kimberley kleczka dance with the queen bee 24 Health, nutrition and you by denise patel food as medicine 24 female fitness by angelica chebotar why girls need muscle 05 how do “masculinities” trap men? by brian henderson 09 Don’t hold back: Child Abuse Survivor Speaks Out by kimberley Kleczka 14 In the day of the life of... by kimberley Kleczka 26 rien ne va plus: a croupier’s story by loulou von spiel 31 uni finance survival 101 by joanne loney 36 a call for peace by kimberley kleczka 37 breastfeeding journey by luana thomas articles features sections 09EMMA JANE TAYLOR Don’t hold back: Child Abuse Survivor Speaks Out 05 BRIAN HENDERSON How do “masculinities” trap men? 18 KATYA VIRSHALAS Dance with the Queen Bee We want to hear from YOU! If you have any questions, ideas, stories you want to share, people you want us to feature, or photos of your joy send them all to DISCLAIMER | The views expressed in "IMTAC I’m More Than A Cover Magazine" are not necessarily those of the editor or contributors. The publisher and editor cannot be held responsible for differences of opinion or statements published in good faith. The publisher, contributors, their employees and partners are not responsible for the results of any actions, errors, or omissions taken on the basis of information contained in this publication and expressly disclaim all and any liability for any such action of any person. The mention of specific companies or products in articles or advertisements does not imply that they are endorsed or recommended by this magazine or its publisher in preference to others of a similar nature which are not mentioned or advertised. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without expressed permission from the IMTAC team. 14KAT ERANGEY A Day in the Life of... 26ISABELLE NOBOUTA Rien Ne Va Plus: A Croupier’s Story IMTAC TEAM
are known for their uncanny instincts. Our more-than-a-cover, queen of the Dancing Bees, Katya Virshilas, displays her super powers, as a mother, a wife, a teacher and a successful entrepreneur. On Our Cover



Brian Henderson talks about a recent study by The Women’s Foundation, his own experience, and how traditional constructs of Masculinity are trapping men… and by extension, women.

It’s not the women we need to “fix”. The challenges are systemic and cultural, so we need men and women working together to make the changes we want to see. Many men are willing to step up as male allies. But what are some of the challenges we face in recruiting them and supporting / guiding them in this role?

Gender stereotypes and expectations for men and women are set from the earliest age and are perpetuated by both men and women. We teach our little boys not to cry, to be adventurous and to toughen up, and our little girls to be nice, and cute, and not take physical risks. My partner and I had agreed our first born, Emma, would not be a girly girl, so strictly no pink. Imagine our dismay when all the baby gifts were pink – she was a day old and the gendering had already started! Fortunately, Emma grew up to be her own woman, became an architect and now only wears black!

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educated men identified as being aware of other people’s feelings, being helpful, being willing to express emotions and being understanding, as well as more traditionally male attributes like being independent.

However, 75% of them still agree with traditional male norms to some degree, and 22% are very traditional in their beliefs. All of them want their ideal girlfriend or partner to embody traditional feminine characteristics such as being conventionally beautiful, helpful and understanding. The vast majority of these young men believe women should do most of the housework and prioritise motherhood over career aspirations. They are uncomfortable with the idea of having a girlfriend or partner with higher education qualifications or career achievements than themselves. Many believe feminism manipulates the concept of gender

They are uncomfortable with the idea of having a girlfriend or partner with higher education qualifications or career achievements than themselves.

equality to confer special privileges to women, and they also believe in ‘rape myths’. Click here for the full report.

These young men also feel pressured to live up to society’s expectations of what it means to be an ‘ideal’ man. Most consider the model of a successful man to be wealthy, morally upstanding, with a flourishing career and a happy family. Being a responsible economic provider and a protector is even more important as it is regarded as the ‘natural’ duty of men, but they are aware that current economic conditions make fulfilling that role challenging. I have personally felt that pressure recently when I was struggling with burnout and knew I needed to step back for a while. But I was very anxious about the loss of income having just bought a flat and being several years short of my ideal retirement date from a savings perspective. I found it impossible to talk to my partner about this at the time.

This is an example of the effects of the ‘man box’. Paul Kivel and Tony Porter identified that the expectations that men should not show their emotions and should not behave in an effeminate way puts them into a very narrow range of socially acceptable behaviours. Acceptable behaviours include being self-sufficient, acting tough, looking physically attractive, sticking to rigid gender roles, being heterosexual, having sexual prowess, and using aggression to resolve conflicts.

These expectations are enforced, by men and women, by shaming and bullying to force conformity, which perpetuates the exploitation, domination and marginalization of women and people who are not cisgender. My shame was preventing me sharing my anxieties with my partner, and that just exacerbated my mental health challenges.

Tragically, these expectations and social dynamics contribute to the more than three times higher suicide rate among men, as well as other anti-social male behaviours such as aggression, violence (including domestic violence) and addiction, which are ways of acting out their pain and frustration. Men are disproportionately

young men feel pressured to live up to society’s expectations of what it means to be an ‘ideal’ man.
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responsible for criminal behaviour, which is often driven by the need to meet financial or social expectations.

To engage men trapped in these traditional beliefs and expectations, we have to acknowledge their situation and create a safe space for them to explore alternative masculinities.

For example, ‘it takes courage to be vulnerable’ or ‘being in touch with your emotions is a sign of humanity and makes you a better partner and parent’, ‘there is no shame in having a better paid partner: be proud of her’, or ‘being a good parent means being in touch with your and your children’s emotions’. Bell Hooks book ‘All about love’ makes a strong case that as a society, we need to re-learn how to love ourselves and those close to us. Love is a choice and an action that requires respect, commitment,

recognition, trust, honesty, care and affection. It’s ultimately about nurturing spiritual growth in ourselves and our loved ones, and is a skill we have lost in striving for more material wealth and power. This resonates beautifully with our Male Allies mantra: ‘listen, learn and act’. You are only an ally when you take action and the people you are intending to support recognise your action as helpful. We tend not to ask our allies to think of their role as an act of

love, but usually it’s enough to engage them with the other descriptions above. If we treat our allies the way we want them to treat us, we will open the door to more courageous, compassionate and connected conversations that will help us make the cultural and systemic change we want to see. |

Brian Henderson is a Male Ally and Founder of Whole Business Wellness Limited. He is a governor of The Women’s Foundation, an NGO promoting gender equality. Brian has established mental health support groups for those seeking to share health challenges in a safe space. He is also a champion of #thisisme, encouraging people to share their mental illness stories to normalize the conversation and reduce stigma.

we have to create a safe space for them to explore alternative masculinities.


This is a cliché, but sometimes we lose sight of it: Children are our future. The brighter they live their lives, the brighter the world will be for us all. Sometimes those who sadly suffer abuse as a child turn their story into advocacy for a better life for other children. And so, we introduce a beautiful soul, a voice for those who go unheard and an advocate for all children suffering from sexual abuse: Emma-Jane Taylor.

Because of her own childhood abuse, Emma Jane has vowed to take on one of the most important roles for the future of humanity. That of protecting the innocence and wellbeing of children.

In 2018, Don’t Hold Back, Emma Jane’s debut book was published. Here she is, telling us what inspired it and keeps her going.

Photo by Jeffrey Riley on Unsplash
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Tell us about your book, ‘Don’t Hold Back’?

Don’t Hold Back was written to give thought and insight of a survivor and what it has taken to recover, succeed, and the battles that continue to rise. I wanted to give someone hope and the opportunity to make a difference to their own life. It continues to be read around the world, and I am proud to have supported many on this subject. It was a scary experience writing and sharing this book, but for all the judgements and concern, it has served a great purpose and message - and for this I will always be grateful.

The book is full of practical tools and possibilities, and whatever your experience, I only hope that the motivational tips and exercises will provide the reader with new possibilities to discover yourself.

Where did you find the inner strength to fight?

It definitely wasn’t a smooth ride speaking up and out, but then neither was being sexually abused as a child, or abandoned by my father..... and I had to keep this in mind as I navigated my way through difficult conversations and as I did so, I remembered the pain, darkness, loneliness, bulimia, hurt, anguish, night terrorshaving to sleep with my light on, the fear, paranoia, addictions, disorders, delayed onset of maturity - I still wet the bed at 11 years old, C-PTSD, triggers, abreactions and and and… the list went on!

I have never forgotten my ‘why’.

How common is sexual abuse among children of different ages?

Extremely. Who are the most common perpetrators?

People we know and usually love.

How can one help prevent the abuse?

Education is an important part of reducing Child Sex Abuse. Supporting children to understand healthy relationships, what is appropriate, language to use and respect, mitigates the impact of a very unstable world for young children, especially given the seductive online world they live in.

What is Project 90/10?

Project 90/10 is a powerful mission and vehicle for influential attitude and action change through education and awareness campaigns in the area of sexual abuse. The mission only offers clear protection, support, and solutions for children and parents who have already suffered but key education and innovative awareness to diverse sectors of society, enabling prevention over cure.

In an ever changing world Project 90/10 is passionately committed to changing the way this pivotal issue is averted, treated, healed, and supported.

It is a charity being set up currently.

Recently you did a TEDX talk, what was your message?


I want better protection for young lives and a change in thought processes around Child Sex Abuse. We are still educating young people on stranger danger’ and tick boxing activities within PHSE days, but the realities of Child Sex Abuse lie closer to home, in that most victims know their abusers. It is an eye-opening conversation that many don’t want to have, but they need to. Schools need to work with experienced voices/trainers/ speakers to raise awareness, important conversations and more regularly.

What do you do to stay resilient?

I go to the gym (Mon-Friday) for 90 minutes and on the weekend I take family walks/ outside runs/ cold water swimming and garden. Downtime is important for me and helps my soul grow. Being nurtured by the great outdoors is equally important and something I do daily with dog walks.

I also don’t let social media/ technology come upstairs in my home. This gives privacy and a much needed time-out from screens.

Do you have any special stories to share with us?

I was called a failure and the girl ‘going nowhere’ at school; sent to junior psychiatrics, put in isolation and chastised regularly. I never thought I’d do anything, didn’t think I was clever enough, able, or talented. I spent my life in a haze, unable to function with anything other than partying; so my achievements as a businesswoman, speaker, author and corporate trainer have been significant, and I don’t often understand how I’ve done that given my early life experiences of abuse, abandonment and emotional trauma. It still comes as a shock that I have achieved so much… Given all this, it’s been overwhelming to say the least. In 2021 I was invited

to speak at the NSPCC’s Celebrity Dinner Gala at The Guildhall, London. Being invited as the keynote speaker at their biggest fundraising event was something I was extremely proud to do.

There were 500 people in the audience. My speech alone raised £22k…..maybe I wasn’t quite the failure I was told I’d be.

Congratulations on your Queen’s award. Can you tell us about that?

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to volunteer groups across the UK. I received it alongside other volunteers for my role as Ambassador for Smart Works, Reading.

You have various platforms you use to share important messages about CSA, radio being one of them, who is your audience?

With radio, I usually find survivors or loved ones of survivors tune in, and to be honest, I also find that it is mostly survivors listening and sharing stories because non-survivors don’t want to listen to the reality and the harshness of the conversation – in my opinion this needs to change, because it is this change that will reduce the crime and help educate those who ‘don’t think it will happen to them or their child’.

What amazing projects are you currently working on?

1. Project 90/10.

2. My second book.

3. Corporate events – speaking engagements – just confirmed a booking for 2023.

4. Writing and developing school presentations and safe-guarding.

5. Continuing to grow as a person.

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A child should never be abused. A child should never suffer. Let’s keep our children safe and surround them with love.

How important is it to stand up for your beliefs?

For me, very. I believe we should all feel comfortable to use our voice without feeling ashamed, scared, embarrassed or traumatised by doing so. Going through life feeling afraid to say something because of upsetting someone who has hurt you - is not acceptable in the 21st century. As a young girl I didn’t know I had a voice, I didn’t know how to say no, and I didn’t know I could stand up against what was wrong.

Do you have any last thoughts to share with us?

• Life is short, there is not enough time to do everything we might want to do, so why not create a bucket list of realistic achievements that you could work through in

time and enjoy them?

• Not everyone is going to like what you do, say or enjoy – but that is okay. Don’t let this stop you enjoying those things, and remember it is not your problem how people feel towards your decisions. Stay true to you, what you want and need.

• Lean into kindness, empathy, understanding and believe someone who is telling you –especially a child – that they have been abused.

• Authenticity will always be an easier way to live.

• Be with the people who make you feel good – not the other way round! |


Education is an important part of reducing sex abuse.

Fund support schemes for survivors of Child Sex Abuse

I know first-hand how difficult it was to be heard, and how uncomfortable it was for me to speak up in my professional environment. Labelled a failure and the girl going nowhere, I was absolutely held back by the stigma attached to my life, that I hid for years - ashamed of what had happened to me.

As an Advocate for survivors of child sex abuse, I believe governments across the globe should be more engaged on the realities of child sex abuse and the talented lives that are being ruined.

For many, the resultant mental trauma from child sex abuse is like being in prison. Because of this many survivors don’t have the ability to apply for jobs, work or find any success.

Talented survivors circle around a life of silence & fear because they are ashamed of what has happened to them. By allowing this conversation some air we can create increased productivity

and success for the many survivors suffering in silence.

The Government must fund specialist schemes to provide more support for survivors than is currently available, including support for people to get into and return to work.

Sign the petition here.



“‘Silence’ is deafening when you are being abused as a child...”
Speak up and use your voice.
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A DAY in the LIFE OF... A day in the life of...

Kat Erangey has an uncanny eye for talent and an unparalleled work ethic that makes her one of the most sought-after casting directors in Hollywood. She lives, eats and breathes casting. It is in her blood. Every waking moment, and even her dreams, are filled with new ways to discover and debut the most mind-blowing acts in the world.

Kat loves working with children and is known for Little Big Shots.

She has been an integral part of casting some of the most iconic shows on television – American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Little Big Shots, and So You Think You Can Dance, to name a few. She has an international Rolodex of thousands of artists, managers, coaches, and contacts committed to memory. There is a mad genius to her method. She also prides herself on hiring the perfect casting teams with the precise areas of expertise to get the job done right.

Kat has experience casting shows in every imaginable genre of television, and loves each of them as if they were her own children. No matter how challenging the assignment, she does not stop until she has found the ideal cast. Her background as a DJ and music manager has given her an amazing intuition to predict who will become a star, and then being instrumental in making exactly that happen. Kat chatted to us about a typical day of her life as a casting director.

How does your morning begin, any daily affirmations, matras, first thing in the morning habits?

I wake up at 5AM everyday to my beautiful animals and boyfriend of 30 years.

• Bear Bear (14 year old Pomeranian)

• Beautiful Benny (6 year old Neapolitan Mastiff)

• Cyrus (1 1/2 year old Neapolitan Mastiff, Benny’s Daughter)

• Fred (Tortoise)

• Ethel (Tortoise)

I work-out everyday. I have multiple gym memberships. I love lifting weights and cardio activity. (I prefer outdoors on trails or on stairs!)

How important is your breakfast? Are you a toast or super foods gal?

I’m a coffee lover! I usually have a protein shake for breakfast. On the weekends we love going to brunch. I’m a veggie omelette person!

I know for a fact you have some pretty cool house mates, how do they fit into your daily activities?

Before the pandemic I used to leave my house everyday at 8AM and get home at 9:30PM. I had at least a 3 hour commute daily!

Now that I’m able to work from home, I’m with my babies all day. I love working from home and having them by my side all day! I cook for them and spend a lot of

money on groceries! They eat better than most humans!

How or why did you become a casting director?

I’m a Casting Director because it’s my passion in life to help people and make dreams come true!

I’ve always had a great eye for talent. I started in the music industry scouting and coordinating searches for record label executives. I also was a manager for actor/ model kids including my own.

I became a casting director from answering a craigslist ad. In the ad they were looking for kids over 18 who still lived at home and never had a job. Since I lived in Orange County, CA all the people I knew had children

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who fit that bill! So I was hired as a casting recruiter! That started my casting career.

What does a casting director do on a daily basis?

Personally I’m always in search of talent and always working. As a casting director I have crazy deadlines. Many times we also have nearly impossible requests but we make it happen! We are like private detectives . We reach out to people who don’t know us and try to get them on shows. If it’s a new show we can’t even tell them anything specific about the show!

As a casting director our job is to put pitches together to pitch talent to the Executive Producers and the Networks. These days it is all done through ZOOM.

Are there any noteworthy activities that you like to do daily?

Daily I love working out and drinking coffee! I also try to do something nice for a stranger daily! I believe in paying it forward. Also I call my mom everyday!

How do you spend your evenings?

I spend my evenings searching for talent. During the day I do the “boss” thing. At night I discover new STARS! |


Kat is a casting director because its her passion in life to help others make their dreams come true.

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Style Spotlight

Katya, graces us with her elegance, fearlessness and empowering journey. She has worked with Antonio Banderas, Richard Gere and many other celebrities.

Dance with theQueen Bee

Passions intertwined, a hidden language of love and grace sweeps two individuals across the ballroom floor. Elegant and intense, they glide, seemingly floating, while their feet peck at and caress the hardwood floor. Ballroom Dancing is an art form which started off to express deep passions, and later evolved into a beautiful competitive sport around the world.

Beautiful and talented Katya Virshilas, recreates those feelings for anyone watching her. She started her dance journey at the age of thirteen, after a Vancouver dance competition on TV left her mesmerized. Katya asked her mother if she could take ballroom and Latin dancing

classes. The training was not easy, Katya trained two to five hours a day, five to six days a week. “It is a lot of hard work, sweat, blood and tears. All the glamour that people see comes after years and years of training. My parents spent a lot of money and time on my lessons. As you train to become an athlete, dancer or actor, whatever it is you choose – perseverance is key. You have to deal with a lot of losses before the win. But NO means ‘not today’.”

It’s more than just the training. Everything has to be just so, especially the clothes. Says Katya “Dance costumes specific for Ballroom or Latin (dancing) are extremely expensive and


usually only are worn once, or twice and then sold to make new ones. It’s a big process of design depending on the competition. The cost is from $1000 and goes up to $2000.”

We ask Katya to tell us all about her early years and challenges, which led up to her becoming a household name in dancing.

What was your first job?

I started modeling and acting as a child when I was 6 years old, when I booked my first commercial in Israel. Have you done any other work in the entertainment industry?

I have worked in film and television since I was 13 years old. I worked on Smallville and Supernatural, and was in many films.

How did you get on the show Strictly Come dancing?

I did a movie with Antonio Banderas called ‘Take the Lead’ and the tango scene went viral… it had around 50 million views!

Researchers from the BBC got in touch with me and asked me to fly in for a casting call and audition. I did a successful

interview and booked the show.

What was a typical day like on the show?

Depends on which day… On Saturday at the end of the live show if you are still in with your celebrity you already get the music for your next week’s dance, so Sunday is spent working on the choreography.

So when you see your celebrity on Monday you come prepared.

Monday and Tuesday are training days and around Wednesday our director sends the team to do a director’s tape with spacing. Friday is studio rehearsal and Saturday morning you have to prepare for the live show, with a full dress rehearsal and run of the full show before going live!

Can you describe the best performance you’ve ever put on?

That’s a tough question, every performance has its highs and lows – I would maybe say Wembley Stadium with the

Strictly Tour in London was epic.

Is it difficult teaching other celebrities to dance?

I think the pressure is a lot and you only have days to work together with a celebrity. I love teaching, and if your student trusts you 100 percent, then that makes your life as a teacher easier.

What is your most memorable story?

Oh wow, a memorable story? I have lots. I loved my season on Strictly with Holly Valance and Anita Dobson. While on tour Anita would share amazing stories with us about Queen and Freddie Mercury.

What inspired you to develop Ballroom Bees?

I moved to Hong Kong in 2017 with a small baby and didn’t know anyone - my husband was traveling a lot and I was alone. I would go and take classes with my son and saw there was a huge demand for educational and sports classes, extracurricular activities (ECA’s).

I wanted to find dance classes for my boys, but everything in HK was centered around girls, ballet and lots of pink. Not many options for boys.

How did you come up with the name and logo?

Acronyms or Abbreviations are more memorable and I wanted the word BallroomB because

Danish ballroom dance champion Klaus Kongsdal and Luthuanian star Katya Vershillas got married in a candlelit cave in the grounds of the Chateau de Chissay. Katya opens her heart through her artistic expression of dance.
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Katya gets special kisses from her two talented sons.

that’s in our DNA. My husband came up with Bees.

How did you persevere during Covid?

In a weird way covid helped our business grow – we were the first company in HK to offer free dance classes for children – by doing zoom classes we were able to have a huge audience get to know our brand. Within the first 2 weeks our database grew by 200%.

Tell us about BallroomBees?

BallroomBees is a one-of-a-kind dance program for children aged 1.5 years to 12 years, based on the traditions and core principles of Ballroom dancing.

BUT… it is so much more than that!

Recognising that children cannot learn the Waltz or the Cha Cha before they learn where their heels and toes are, or where forward and backward is. Created by top dancers and choreographers and with more than 60 years

“No means, ‘Not today’. Don’t take rejection so seriously... You need to believe in yourself, and really the worst thing that can happen is someone saying no.”
Queen bee empowers little bees through dance.

combined dance experience in the Management Team, we have created a unique dance program where even the youngest BabyBee (1.5 years) is able to join the fun, all whilst our MightyBees (12 years) start to get themselves ready to grace the competitive dance floor.

When your child joins a BallroomBees class, he/she will learn a wide variety of skills such as agility, gross motor skills, interaction with their peers as dance partners, respect for themselves – and their peers, as well as their teachers – all whilst having A LOT of FUN! They will be challenged and stimulated with age appropriate, high-energy Ballroom based exercises, dance games, and choreography to chart topping hits. All the while, they’ll be following the core principles of Ballroom dancing.

Where do you get your entrepreneurial spirit?

Losing everything during covid – and my husband not being able to work – will make any person really start hustling. I think me being so naive about running a huge company played a positive effect, because sometimes not knowing what you are doing makes you not overthink.

What makes your business unique?

We broke the barriers of what a dance class should look like –we don’t have studios and we don’t need hard floors, or bars or mirrors. Our teachers come to wherever you are in uniform with a suitcase full of exciting props and tools, and we can do the classes anywhere

from parks to gardens, to living rooms and rooftops.

How do you market BallroomBees?

Dancing is about taking on the impossible and making it possible.

A lot of it is word of mouth – through happy families sharing with friends. As well as the usual platforms on social media like IG and FB and good content creation.

What have you enjoyed the most about your business?

Doing something that changes lives – happy children mean happy parents. Children who gain confidence in our classrooms. Children who benefit from dancing, by excelling in sports and most importantly getting a really good workout from Ballroom Bees. Coming home happy and sweaty with red cheeks means they will eat well, sleep well and generally be more content.

What’s next for Katya?

We did our first franchise in Brunei and we are now launching in more schools across Hong Kong.

What secrets do you have to share with other young women that would like to start their own businesses?

No means, ‘Not today’. Don’t take rejection so seriously. If you have an idea – and it’s great – maybe the first 10 people will say no to you, but that 11th person will open their door to you. You need to believe in yourself, and really the worst thing that can happen is someone saying no. :) |

Everything will be okay, just keep trying as there is always a way.

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by Agelica Chebotar

There are many myths about muscle building when it comes to female bodies, I’m sure you’ve heard some of them:

1. You will bulk up

2. If you don’t work out the muscle will turn to fat

3. Muscles are ugly on girls

4. Eating too much protein is bad for your health

And the list goes on and on… Now let’s debunk some of these myths and look at the truth of why muscles are so important for you.


1. It takes a huge amount of focus (hours a day, every day day), high amounts of protein and practically zero carbs to look like the female body builders who compete.

The reality is that you actually get leaner and sleeker by building muscle progressively, one hour a day maybe three times a week. Strength training helps shape and “tighten up” your body, making you look streamlined and fit. It can also correct muscular imbalances and increase awareness of how you carry your body, helping to improve your posture.

2. Muscle is muscle, and fat is fat. The two are made up of completely different cellular matter and are not interchangeable. If you don’t workout, your muscles break down and disappear. If you are eating more calories than you burn, you will gain fat, and that’s when you’ll get flabby.

3. In days gone by, the expectation was that females were meant to be submissive and soft,

muscles were meant for men. However, we know the truth of that now. We are not soft, submissive or weak beings (unless we choose to be) - we can pretty much choose to be whoever we want to be.

Having a strong body will lift your mood, and increase your self-confidence. Strength training helps to release endorphins and serotonin, the “feel good” hormones.

4. You need protein to build muscle and bones, especially as a teenager, when you’re growing fast. When you build muscle, you improve fat loss. When lifting weights, you build lean muscle. The more muscle you have, the quicker your metabolism will work. This means that weight training will help to boost your metabolism, and in turn, burn more calories, meaning a reduction in body fat, and aiding weight loss. Research shows that strength training with a protein rich diet builds strong bones, is protective against osteoporosis, slows down the aging process, and reverses your biological age.

And so, to all our girls and young women, I hope this will help you to think about incorporating strength training into your fitness regime. It’s more sustainable than intense cardio workouts, provided you use the right techniques. When you feel good inside and out, you naturally project yourself more confidently in the world.

Stay tuned for more on how you can start to build that strong body in upcoming issues of IMTAC! |

Angelica has run the gamut of growing up in very disciplined environment as an elite Synchronised Swimmer from a young age, to braving teen years of modelling and “thin” expectations to being a strong and purposeful woman who builds up other women, literally and figuratively!

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash
@anhelika23 I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 23



What is magnesium?

Magnesium (Mg) is one of the minerals (an intracellular cation) found naturally in our body, mostly stored in bones and the rest in soft tissue and muscle. The body stores only 30 grams of this major mineral, but the amount of magnesium in our bodies differ through various life stages. A large part of the population in modern society is prone to magnesium deficiency due to various factors, chronic disease, medications, diminished nutrient composition in food crop and larger consumption of processed foods. Magnesium in our diet is vital for prevention of chronic disease and very few clinicians evaluate the serum magnesium levels in patients so as to prevent clinical states resulting from deficiency. The nutritionally conscious patient will ask their GP to ask for a serum magnesium test to be included in their routine blood work.

What does it do?

It’s a prime factor in energy metabolism. Its functions include bone mineralisation, protein building, and producing enzymes for catalyst action in metabolic activity, nerve function and maintenance of teeth and most importantly supporting optimal immune function.

What happens if my body runs low on Mg?

• Shortage of magnesium can occur in alcohol abuse, kidney disorders, and bouts of vomiting or diarrhoea and protein malnutrition. The body taps into bones and other organs for magnesium if running low due to either poor dietary intake or excessive renal excretion.

• You will know when your body has depleted your store of magnesium, the signs vary from muscle cramping, to headaches, PMS, poor sleep, and poor heart function. Magnesium deficiency causes the arterial

by Denise, Clinical Nutrition LET’S TALK MAGNESIUM

walls and capillaries to stiffen therefore it can protect against hypertension. Primary insomnia has also been linked to magnesium deficiency, JRMC (Journal of research in medical sciences) has well researched information in the area of health.

The sources

The sources rich in magnesium are legumes, cashews, artichokes and halibut if these are hard to come by try a good serve of dark green leafy vegetable such as broccoli, tofu, lean meat, tuna and eggs.

Examples of content in daily consumption:

• pumpkin seeds, 30g (156mg)

• chia seeds, 30 g (111mg)

• almonds, 30g (80mg of magnesium)

• spinach, boiled, ½ cup (78mg)

• cashews, 30g (74mg)

• peanuts, ¼ cup (63mg)

• soymilk, 1 cup (61mg)

• oatmeal, 1 cup cooked (6 mg)

• Recommended dietary intake (RDI) is approximately 300-400 grams per day for adults, food sources being the preferred

form of intake rather than supplementation.

• If falling short of the RDI then resort to a good quality supplement. There are various forms of magnesium supplements, your natural therapist or health food retail staff can assist you in choosing an appropriate one. If using prescription medication please let your GP or pharmacist know that you wish to start using a magnesium supplement, they will check the drug interaction sheet.

Lifestyle: I wish you balance in life: healthy eating, sufficient rest, plenty of exercise, creative space and sincere relationships, recovering from a pandemic is reason enough to get up in the morning with gratitude. |

Your clinical nutritionist,

References in this article: (1) Subclinical magnesium deficiency: a principal driver of cardiovascular disease and a public health crisis articles/PMC5786912/ (2) Understanding nutrition Australia and NZ edition 2014, Cengage learning. (3) JRMC I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 25
Rien Ne Va Plus: A Croupier’s Story 26

Most of us are aware of Casinos, if only from James Bond films or stories set in Las Vegas. But what about those men and women in whose expert hands lie the fate of even the most hardened gambler?

Croupiers, also known as “Dealers” are fascinating to watch. But their skills are hard won. With nocturnal hours and strict rules, this profession is not for everyone… and most fall into it by chance.

Isabelle Nobouta is such an example, when at the age of 21, while working in the tourism industry in Marrakech, she chanced upon Croupier-dom. A timely interview, five weeks of intense training, and she was ready for a new life which transported her to exotic lands… from Marrakech to Ankara, Paris, the French Riviera, a cruise ship in The Bahamas, and finally London.


Isabelle worked in Casinos for 16 years, and travelled the world safely and financially secure.

Today, she lives in Tokyo and is working on the final edit of a book on her experiences, aptly titled “Tribulations d’un croupier” (A Croupier’s Misadventures). She shares with IMTAC some insights about her former profession.

What was your most enjoyable experience as a croupier?

My most enjoyable experience as a dealer is without a doubt the buzz I felt during a busy roulette game. My first big game was in Marrakech. There was a very big player at the table, and tensions were high. I was a “young” dealer then, and I can still feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins, the excitement, the enthralling out of body experience, the extreme satisfaction of keeping up with the game. The amount of money staked on the table was insane and any little mistake could send

the player into hysterics, so the pressure was incredible. But what an experience!

That is the beauty of a roulette* game: there is almost no limit to the buzz and to how busy it can get. The time limit of a spin makes it so exciting… for the players and for the dealer too.

What was your worst time?

This was in London, at a Black Jack table. The same players had been at it for a couple of hours, and the money on the table had reached an unusually high amount. As a seasoned dealer of 15 years, I knew something was up, but neither I, nor the pit boss, could put our fingers on it.

It turned out that the players were professional cheats. However, the management were looking into the dealers’ behaviour to check if they were to blame. Furthermore,

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nobody had been able to spot anything wrong, not even security, yet they were blaming the dealers? I felt so betrayed.

Then it became known that the cheats had already been barred from one of the company’s other casinos, which had failed to inform OUR management. So I questioned whether the blame should be put on the dealers, given the circumstances. Eventually, the case was closed.

The insults from losing players, the stress, the pressure, I could cope with, but the distrust from my colleagues and management was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I hadn’t been enjoying my job for a while, but that was the final strike and I knew it was time to quit.

Which things did you like best about the job?

I really enjoyed dealing,

physically (either the cards at Black Jack, or a roulette game). It’s also one of the very few businesses where education is irrelevant. Some were university students doing a summer job to pay for their fees and ended up making a career out of it, some were high school dropouts but turned out to be fantastic dealers. The skills required are a mix: multitasking is definitely one, being able to work under pressure, to read people too. Strangely enough, being good at maths is not really one of them. You need the ability to count obviously, but nobody cares HOW you do it. You need a very good “working memory”, and can use various memorization hacks. Personally, I was always visualizing the stacks of chips in my head.

Sometimes I see people in different businesses and think “they would have made a great dealer”.

Isabelle on her wedding day in Japan, where she now resides. Her love of travelling was fulfilled early while she worked as a croupier.

Any myths you’d like to bust for us?

The croupier’s image, either sordid/dodgy or extremely glamorous, both are fantasies. It’s a job. You are just an employee and you do your work.

Also the “sexy” image of female dealers: players couldn’t care less about what you look like as long as you pay. To them, superstition trumps looks every time!

Obviously we all need (male and female) to look nice, and well-groomed because we work in the service industry and people are paying to be in pleasant surroundings, but no more so than for a luxury brand.

AND finally, the biggest myth of all: there’s no fixing or secret tricks we can do to make people win or lose. The games are designed to give the house (the casino) a slight advantage. And in the long run, the casino will always make a profit. Casinos don’t need to cheat, human greed and human nature do a great job all by themselves!

Would you still recommend it as a career?

Nowadays slot machines are taking over unfortunately. However most casinos still have many tables and croupiers are always needed. There’s no unemployment in this business.

I would recommend it if you enjoy travelling, it’s a great human experience too (we are all equal when it comes to gambling, and you learn so much about people). As a young woman it gives you financial independence (the wages are good and equal between genders). However, any job dealing with the public can be tough. Multiply that exponentially, and you have an idea of the stressful situations we face. Any regrets?

None whatsoever! It made me the person I am now, but after a while it takes its toll physically, mentally and emotionally. It’s a great job to do for a few years but not for a lifetime. Have a backup plan.

I quit at the right time. |

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Uni Finance Survival 101

Congratulations! You’ve finished your exams and received your university acceptance.

It’s time to get ready for what is very likely the biggest change in your life so far. You get to decide what courses to take, which clubs to join and what to eat for dinner. You also decide how much money to spend and on what.

For many of us, university is the first time we’ve ever had to manage money ourselves, and most of us have received exactly zero financial education at school. In a recent survey by “Save the Student”, 74% of students say they wish they’d had a better financial education and 76% worry about having enough money to manage, which impacts on their grades, social life and mental health.

I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 31

So, before you set out on your new adventure, here’s a quick Financial Survival Guide 101:

1. Have a realistic budget

This may sound boring but, trust me, unless you have unlimited access to funds, having control of your budget will reduce your stress levels enormously.

Very simply, a budget is:

• Your total income from all sources (family, loans, work etc)

• Minus your essential expenses (rent, bills, food, books etc)

• The surplus and that is what you can spend on non-essentials (going out, clothes, holidays, gym membership etc)

This become slightly more complicated as your income may be paid termly or yearly while your expenses are weekly

or monthly and non-essentials are daily. This is why a budget is so important.

Here’s the math:

• Divide your income by how many months you will need it to last.

• Take aware your essential (fixed) monthly expenses.

• Divide what’s left by how many days or weeks or months you need it to last and that’s what you can spend on fun.

There are loads of budgeting apps available to help you with this


but as this is a huge subject and such an important life skill I’ll be covering this in more detail in my next article.

2. Open a bank account

A student bank account is similar to any other current account, but comes with some benefits tailored to people in higher education. You will need to have a student account unless you are piggy-backing off one of your parents’ accounts.

When choosing a bank and what account to open some things to think about are:

• Type of Account

Do you need a savings account (typically where you would earn some interest and have less access) as well as a current account (typically aligned to debit cards and standard orders for regular fixed payments).

• Physical or Virtual

If you would prefer to use cash to help keep to your budget do you need a wide branch network for access to ATMs (in some countries you will be charged for using another banks’ ATM). If not, very often the virtual banks have great budgeting apps.

• Local or Global

If you will be using this bank when you come home (or your family will be transferring money to your account) check what access you have here and in the country in which you’re studying.

• Charges

What are the charges? These can be per transaction or set annual fees or charges for overdrafts or loans. Again, this should be aligned to how you are going to use your account.

• Interest

Generally, student bank accounts don’t pay great interest but it’s worth checking. Particularly if you will be receiving a large amount of money at the beginning of the year and withdrawing it gradually through the year.

• Overdraft

Is there are a pre-agreed overdraft and what are the terms? Is any overdraft “guaranteed” or “up to” (eligibility for the latter depends on a good credit record).

And please remember – this is not “free” money, you will need to pay it back. Only use an overdraft it you really need it. Your future self will thank you for this!

• Freebies

Banks love students as they hope we’ll stay with them for life once we graduate (and become earners!), so there may be lots of freebies on offer to open an account. These can range from gifts, vouchers, discounts or cashback.

Don’t be dazzled by the glitter! There’s no point in opening an account for cashback if the charges are higher than an alternative bank and you end up giving it all back.

There are lots of sites you can visit that will give you an easy-to-use comparison of different banks in your new country. It’s worth doing your homework before you open an account rather than rushing into the one closest to your campus on the first day of term but, if you don’t, remember you can always change account later to a better offer if you keep a good credit history and watch those debts!

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Watch out for store/credit/loyalty cards

Store/credit cards allow you to buy now and pay later. They will usually also have a “points” system where you get a certain number of points for every dollar/euro/ pound/etc that you spend and you can then spend these points as “cash” later.

When you use them properly, cards can be great. But you MUST pay off the full balance every month and DO NOT build up debt. For any balances that are not paid off each month you will be charged interest which is added to your debt which is then charged interest the next month. This will very quickly snowball and it can take years to pay off, taking a heavy toll on your mental health. I know it’s tempting and, honestly, don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t “accidentally” spent money they can’t afford on cards at some point in their life, but please learn from our mistakes!

4. Protect Yourself

Medical Insurance

Medical insurance is insurance which will cover your medical bills. Sometimes the insurance company will pay the doctor or hospital directly and sometimes you need to pay and then claim the money back.

This is becoming an essential in most countries, especially if National

Health waiting lists are long.

Most of us will use our family/dependent insurance where we can, but there are lots of comparison websites available to help you choose if you need to. Do check if the country you are moving to has specific mandatory insurance (i.e. Switzerland) and that any family insurance will cover you wherever you are going.

Emergency Funds

Even the best financial managers and budgeters have surprise costs that for which they haven’t budgeted. Stuck in Dubai for 7 days due to flight cancellations!?

It’s a good idea to have an emergency source of money for these unexpected events. If you have a credit or debit card you don’t use for anything else (so there is always credit available), it’s a good idea to keep this somewhere separate from your other cards in case you lose your wallet with all you cash and cards (and no, Jimmy Choos on sale are not an emergency!)

And it’s as easy as that!

I’ll be covering top tips for budgeting in

Jo Loney is a financial advisor with St. James’ Place and is on a mission to help people create the right financial plan for their needs, to help them set goals, and explain options with simplicity. A lifelong DE&l champion, she is dedicated to providing a safe space for everyone to plan for and achieve their financial goals and create an equal financial future for all.




In February 2022 Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, leaving in its wake tens of thousands of shattered lives and separated families. Citizens on both sites are fighting in a war, that, like all wars, will not end well for anyone. Families are facing a harsh reality, knowing their loved ones might never sit at their dinner table again, that they won’t ever hear their loving words or hold their hands.

The International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) and IWPG members from all over the world are so concerned about this devastating violence and want to help with a campaign reinforcing what connects us rather than what divides us. IWPG has chosen a sweet symbolism for this effort and for the campaign - Syrniki, a dessert which is a shared national specialty for both Ukrainians and Russians. They call for us all to participate and make delicious Syrniki together. Host a gathering with family, friends, colleagues and neighbors, to commemorate

the people who are now restricted from family gatherings and make a statement for an urgent peaceful resolution of this war.

Feel free to take lots of photos and videos, with encouraging messages for the victims of this war and share it with us and the world. Please use the following hashtags:



by Kimberley Kleczka
I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 35


1 lb farmer’s cheese

2 eggs

½ + ⅓ cup all-purpose flour (2 steps)

¼ cup sugar

½ teaspoon salt

6-8 tablespoons vegetable oil, for frying Ingredients

Optional: ½ cup raisins


1. Prepare the batter: In a large bowl, crumble the farmer’s cheese into little pieces with a fork. Add 2 eggs and mix well. Add ½ cup flour (reserve ⅓ cup for step 2), sugar, and salt. Mix well, using the fork to break apart any clumps of flour or farmer’s cheese. Add raisins, if using. The ‘batter’ will be thick like dough, not like traditional pancake batter.

2. Form the Syrniki pancakes: Prepare a small bowl with about ⅓ cup flour - you will use it to dredge the pancakes.

3. Scoop out approximately ¼ cup pancake dough at a time. (See recipe notes below) Use your hands to gently flatten the dough into a small patty. Dredge the pancake with flour on both sides. Shake off the extra flour and set aside until you are ready to cook the Syrniki pancakes.

4. Cook the Syrniki pancakes: In a large skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and gently place the flour-dredged cheese pancakes into the pan using a spatula. Cook on medium-low heat for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until each side is golden brown. Place on a paper towel to cool.

5. Do not crowd the pancakes - cook them in 2-3 batches if necessary.

6. To serve, sprinkle with powdered sugar, or drizzle with maple syrup, honey, whipped cream. Or try these Syrniki the traditional Russian way - with sour cream and your favorite fruit preserves. |


Day 1 | I watch her eyes open. On top of me with her red knitted hat in the labour ward. She is stunning. So delicate. Deep down I always knew it was a girl.

I want to breastfeed. But it seems I have no milk… Midwives come and go squeezing me, forcing my baby on. She screams when they prepare her for a feed. They put pressure on me but I insist I want to breastfeed.

The reality was, I didn’t know what my options were… they suggest cup feeding her formula. She needs feeding so I agree.

But I want to breastfeed so they give me their electric pump. It hurts like hell. I can’t tolerate the machine for more than 10mins at a time. I try but nothing comes out.

I get told to do a whole cycle… The 10 mins aren’t enough.

I burst into tears because I don’t know what’s going on. Because I don’t know how it all works. Because all I want to do is feed my baby “naturally”. Because I had no idea anything could go wrong. Because it’s so painful.

Day 4 | I saw this tiny bit of colostrum in the pumping machine. I was SO proud. I carefully collected it, filling less than one syringe. Colostrum is a super concentrated version of breastmilk full of nutrients.

Day 5 | Baby is still doing ready-made formula, increasing the amount every day. We give her the colostrum but she needs more and I’m devastated.

I continue with the machine yet only tiny bits come out, from one syringe to two. Pumping is still painful, but I’m getting used to it.

We’re discharged from hospital but I am still

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bottle-feeding her but I am determined.

I buy an electric pump, and I can see an increase. I’m tolerating it more now. But my milk is well behind her bottle. Eventually I received a manual pump, it gives more speed control when it hurts.

For the next 6 weeks I go to the hospital’s feeding support weekly.

At first, whenever I placed her on breast she either screamed or fell asleep: I felt completely rejected. Why did she hate my breasts so much?

I’m told maybe my breasts are not mature, a condition that may mean I can’t breastfeed at all. My supply is low. So is my spirit. The consultant suggests Domperidone. Side effect of this anti-nausea medication is lactation. I also take fenugreek, cornflour porridge, dark chocolate, whatever is meant to help milk supply.

Meanwhile, advice like “Force her on. It’s for her own good” did not work out. She screamed and I felt horrible.

The breastfeeding class tutor agreed it didn’t feel right to force her and suggested to put her on breast when she’s calm and not hungry. It worked! I’m able to squeeze a bit of milk into her mouth.

Pumping became everything. First for 5 minutes, then 10, then 20 minutes each side. I see an increase from 5ml, then jump for joy as I see 15ml for the first time. Then 30ml, 60ml collected throughout the day. Overjoyed when I caught up with the bottle. The pumping and the skin to skin kicks in. My milk has a good increase.

Three weeks, I feel I’m running out of time: it’s been a month already.

But at least the baby hasn’t been losing weight.

We can feed her my milk at least …


After speaking to a postnatal therapist, I do 2 sessions that change my entire perspective on breastfeeding.

I tell her it’s so difficult, but I want to feel the bond, for the baby’s sake too.

That lady makes me realise it’s ok that it matters so much to me!

She makes me appreciate that the baby’s rejection should not be taken personally, that breastfeeding is a journey, it can take time and hard work, bursting my unrealistic bubble.

I grew up watching it everywhere in Brazil. “It’s natural” “Everyone does it” (Not true in the U.K. - my feminist side was another reason for me wanting it so badly!)

I wonder about the lack of dialogue and the secrecy. Is it shame? Fear to scare others? Nothing could be worse than an unrealistic expectation, ten times

harder to deal with emotionally.

But giving up is NEVER an option to me!

My milk supply has increased and finally the baby feeds for a straight five minutes, no pain. It’s everything I thought it would be. She looks up into my eyes and I know this is what I want. I still struggle between the pumping but I manage.

Five weeks in and baby feeds for 5 to 10 minutes and shows more interest in the breasts and I do this when she’s calm after a bit of formula.

I try to do laid back nursing, which requires to lie backwards to latch the baby and is tricky to do outdoors.

At six weeks, we are phasing off formula.

I think this is the toughest week. I learned cross cradle position. The laid back is not practical in public. I’m struggling to do it by myself at home and I am puzzled

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at how hard it is. None of the videos I saw had the baby flapping hands around, getting in the way. None were screaming with hunger, head moving in weird different directions.

I burst into tears and for the first time think “I can’t do this. I can’t take the pain anymore.” Then another part thinks, “this is what you want, stop complaining.”

I seek help online too. Messages on Instagram help me emotionally during the early hours.

A day later, I put all the techniques together, and things start to turn around. I start to feel more good latches than bad. She no longer needs formula.

We are doing this!

Around the eighth week I notice the baby knows how to latch. I’m so proud of her!

When people comment, I end up educating them. I have gone from complete ignorance to learning on the job. I’m glad I didn’t give up even though it felt like all the odds were against me at times. I am so grateful for all the invaluable support that I found offline and online.

When my baby grows up and has kids of her own, I promise to tell her about my breastfeeding journey. I don’t want to hide the reality from her or any of you reading this, like I felt everyone hid it from me. |

Luana D’Elias Thomas is the founder of a platform to help mums-to-be reduce anxieties and fears about birth. To work towards the positive birth experience that all women deserve. She loves all things pregnancy, labour, birth and motherhood.

For more conversations follow:


Moyan lives and studies in the Netherlands. She understands the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine recently and knows many civilians have been affected by the war. She asked her parents, “which countries have not yet


become good friends in the world now?” When she was drawing, she intentionally put flags of countries “which are not yet good friends” in adjacent hearts, she also surrounded the green planet earth with many love bubbles

and flying doves, while the earth opened its arms to welcome these love bubbles. In doing so, she wishes all countries may love one another and protect the lovely world with love and peace.

I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 41

Love is a shield

Love is a shield, To hide behind, Love is a field

to grow inside, Stay together and turns it brighter!

Peace Dream

What is there is only peace and no war No one being mean All our problems will be solved

It just seems like a dream But when we do it together The dream will come true.


Peace no war

Artwork was inspired by the Chinese character “合” (unity). The artist used a folding design to express how he did not want the world to divide as a result of war. When seen as a whole, the drawing shows a complete world and a big family of peace.

I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 43


Drown in trauma, toxins in my veins

Deep inside a voice whispers “live”

Mother earth echo –Your presence is all that matters

Buried past, invisible pain Scars remain, imprinted memories Dream to relive, wake to regret Sealed lips, heart sores

Empathy sprinkled on the wounds tenderly No more suppression, no more hatred

Pills to soothe, breathe to calm Instinct speaks; dig deep

Toxins released, trauma empowered Heal wounds and pains

A breeze gently wiped my tears and gifted me a smile of gratitude

AVNEET KAUR Photo by Elia Pellegrini on Unsplash

The maze without exit

Welcomed by a culture of vibrance led me to manipulative facades Blinded by your mere praise true colors unmasked after you wrung me

Yearned for love, yearned for help only signaled signs for attention Unrecognizable,soulless torso seek to detach, to decease!

Fell from the maze without exit rotting back, rotting mind Crow spreads words of hell; dirty blood, swollen eyes

Ignorant fellow attempted to stomp on an ant like me deemed worthless, yet precious through another lens All the hurting, hollowness; left me the work of healing

Avneet Kaur is an Indian Hongkonger who majors in English and is passionate about mental health advocacy. Her interest and experiences in both areas inspired her to write poems about her depression. Owing to the stigma in the community, she strives to raise awareness and educate people by voicing out and starting conversations.

AVNEET KAUR Photo by Keith Wong on Unsplash
I’M MORE THAN A COVER MAGAZINE Copyright © 2022. Regeneration Media Ltd. All rights reserved. 45

Dear Ceci

I have been feeling so tired every day and cannot pull myself together for school work. As A-Level draws near, I feel so anxious and I find it hard to concentrate. What should I do?

Tired and Anxious

Dear Tired and Anxious, Thank you for sharing your feelings and concerns with me.

I can understand how much you value the exams and want to do well. Indeed, it is very hard to concentrate on your school work when you feel anxious, so the first step to pull yourself together is to deal with your anxiety. To begin with, try to recognize and accept all your feelings without judgment and tell yourself it is alright to feel anxious. As you observe yourself in this manner, you will see the flow of thoughts and emotions in your mind and how they gradually fade away. Moreover, you may also be creative in comforting yourself through the five senses. For example, you may try to listen to your favorite music, read some quotes of encouragement, drink a cup of hot chocolate, light a scented

candle or take a relaxing bath. Remember, anxiety is a common emotion and a reminder from your body that you need something for a change. As long as you know how to manage it, you can coexist with it harmoniously and convert it into something beneficial. When you feel better, your strength will return and you will be ready for the exams ahead.


Dear Ceci,

I find it hard to reject people who come to ask for my help. As I take up more and more responsibilities, I feel overburdened and I even have to set aside my own goals just to fulfill the promises I made to others. What should I do to make a change and live my own life?

Yes Lady

Dear Yes Lady,

First of all, I would like to acknowledge your kind and beautiful heart in offering a helping hand, this is a precious quality that everyone of us needs in this world today. Nevertheless, to make good use of it, you need to set a boundary regarding how you assist other people.

Just like what the pre-flight announcement says about wearing our own oxygen masks before helping our neighbors, we need to take good care of ourselves before assisting other people. As such, the first person whom you should never reject is none other than yourself. To put it into practice, learn to love yourself by paying more attention to your feelings and needs. Furthermore, set a boundary based on the goals you want to attain and try not to feel guilty when you need to reject someone. As a matter of fact, your relationship with other people will not be readily destroyed just because you say no to their requests. On the contrary, if you say yes to everything and go beyond your limits, you will suffer from distorted relationship and excessive stress. Therefore, be courageous in speaking genuinely about your situation and say no whenever it is necessary. By doing so, you will feel happier about yourself and may even gather sufficient strength to help more people around.


Dear Ceci,

In the beginning of 2022, I promised myself to try and overcome procrastination. Now that the first quarter of the year has passed, I am still delaying most of my work, particularly the difficult tasks. What should I do?

Procrastinate No More

Dear Procrastinate No More, Have you ever investigated the root causes of your procrastination? Provided that you know why this occurs in the first place, it may be easier for you to deal with it. For example, some people procrastinate because they encounter a difficult task and do not know where to begin. If you feel the same, it may be helpful to set multiple short-term goals and focus on attaining them one by one. Sometimes, people procrastinate because they are too lazy to move forward. If you feel the same, try to give yourself some rewards as encouragement when you accomplish certain goals. In other cases, people

procrastinate because they are afraid of failures. In this situation, imagine how you will feel if you remain idle for a few months, a year or even longer. After this exercise, you will realize the energy you waste in the process of procrastination is far more than that you need in accomplishing a task. Finally, when you decide it is too exhausting to procrastinate and want something for a change, try to gather all your senses and feel how good it is to complete your work. When you submerge yourself into the positive atmosphere of attaining goals, receiving rewards and feeling the goodness of completing a task, you will be encouraged to take the first step and stop procrastination.


Do you have questions that you’re too embarrassed to ask?

Is there a topic or story that you want to share but find it awkward to talk to others about?

Ceci is here to discuss and try to answer all your questions about life, friendship, family, relationships, and growing up. She is the big sister that you can always ask questions to!

enjoys exploring life through the lens of Psychology, History and Philosophy. She welcomes the silence of a starry night to write in her journal. She is always ready to listen, share stories, and offer her wise counsel to all comers! |

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