LAFC Summer 2016

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Nafsika Antypas makes TV history with her new show “Plant Based by Nafsika”!


Issue No. 7






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FROM THE DESK OF ADRIENNE BORGERSEN We live in a very exciting time! Amidst all of the political unrest, with a Presidential election year being particularly stressful, we continue to see positive changes. Even if those changes are creeping in, bit by bit, we can’t lose sight of the good things that are happening. We have to remember that throughout history, real, lasting change took time. We are seeing compassion and conscious living, rising to the top. I know it doesn’t always look that way. People have different beliefs on how to achieve a happy life and a better world. But we all want the same things, ultimately. The good news is, we are seeing animals perceived in ways that were never thought of before: Animals gaining legal personhood; The Humane Party - an actual political party in support of animal rights - wow!; Vegan cooking shows on TV; Mainstream cooking shows like The Chew, offering vegan options; The business of Vegan Lifestyle Coaching; Libraries and book stores full of information and stories about Veganism; Movies, restaurants, hotels, radio broadcasts & podcasts all about saving animals; Not to mention, cruelty free fashion & beauty magazines highlighting all of those choices. And now…Vegan Lifestyle TV on a cable network! I’m so excited about “Plant Based by Nafsika”. We have broken through another door, that was closed & locked tight. We have shifted our mindset. We are getting to a place where the world will see animals as beings that are as important and valuable as we are and not just commodities. It’s a long, hard road with, often with disappointment and heartache. Just like any other process of change. But, we can’t give in to our fear that it might never happen. We have to stay strong, positive, look that fear squarely in the face and say we will carry on…we will do better…for our own hearts, our families and, of course, for the animals. Peace, Love, Fashion and Compassion,

Editor in Chief LA Fashionista Compassionista Magazine

YOUR VALUES YOUR STYLE Ethically made clothing

for women & men

indigenous .com




Table of Contents 5 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS 7 CREDITS 11 THE ILLUMINATI BALL A mysterious and sexy adventure in animal activism


18 THE RELATIONAL VEGAN Our resident Psychotherapist April Lang, takes your questions from the office 20 COVER STORY Nafsika Antypas, tells us her story and the journey to “Plant Based by Nafsika” 30 BEAUTY FROM THE INSIDE OUT Advice and a yummy recipe from our new contributor Sunny Gandara


32 THE A LIST Beauty products featured on “Plant Based by Nafsika” 34 ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT Katrina interviews Nikki Duong Koenig, founder of Cykochik handbags 38 AND BONUS “FOXY BUSINESS TIP”!


39 FASHION EDITORIAL Summer and Fall looks from the best online stores and more 55 BEAUTY Q&A Model Juliane Casey joins us to answer your most pressing beauty questions 60 DRIZZLE & SHINE A new store in Seattle!

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63 JAMMIN JUNIOR Teaching your kids about loving themselves and loving animals, is easier and more fun than ever! 66 UP FOR DISCUSSION LAFCNYC.COM



CREDITS Editor in Chief: Adrienne Borgersen Content & Art Direction: Adrienne Borgersen Graphic Design & Art Direction: James Lucas Copy Editor and Proofreader: Linda Arcuri Contributors: Juliane Casey, Sarah Eastin, Lois Eastlund, Katrina Fox, Sunny Gandara, April Lang Cover Story Photography: Louis Stenos Fashion Editorial Photography: Steven Vandervelden, Sam Farag DeRosa, Nick Mango Fashion Editorial Models: Anna Baranova, Hannah Biton, Charleen Fatima, Megan Harshman, Courtney O’Buckley, Annamarie Russo, Ginamarie Russo Marketing and Social Media Interns: Tiffany Negrea, Niki Romano Graphic Design Intern: Baylee Buchanan Website Design: Linda Albertini Publisher: InJeanious Publishing Jeanne Williams, Interested in contributing an article? Collaborating with your vegan, cruelty free product? Advertising? We’d love to! Contact us at

THANK YOU! Connect with us! We’re real people and we want to hear from you! LAFC was co-founded by Adrienne Borgersen & Lois Eastlund


CONTRIBUTORS Please take some time to read about our contributors. Many, many thanks to the people who offered their time and talent with this issue and/or every issue. My gratitude is unending to this community of entrepreneurs who believe in collaboration and support. Connect with them and tell them LAFC sent you!

Katrina Fox Entrepreneur Spotlight Katrina Fox is an award-winning journalist, media coach, content marketer and editor of the vegan business blog She is the author of Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business and has written extensively for niche and mainstream media for 17 years on animal advocacy and ethical business issues. Originally from the UK, she lives with her wife Tracie in Sydney, Australia. She loves glitter, disco and internet cat videos. Katrina Fox Website Vegan Business Media Website

April Lang The Relational Vegan April Lang LCSW, SEP is a vegan psychotherapist, activist, and writer. She is in private practice in New York City. Website

Juliane Casey Beauty Q&A Juliane is a model and writer. She was a finalist for Miss New York USA 2014 and has starred in campaigns for Gunas luxury handbags. After going vegan in 2015, she became passionate about researching and promoting cruelty-free beauty products. She writes for various blogs and started a YouTube channel about the vegan lifestyle. Juliane is working to help people make more informed decisions about the products they purchase and to help companies choose ethical, animal-free business practices.

Sunny Gandara Beauty from the Inside Out Sunny is a vegan chef and transformational lifestyle coach for women with demanding jobs and lives and who are striving to find balance between being healthy and happy. She is a certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, holds a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell, and a professional Culinary Certificate from the Institute of Culinary Education. Sunny is also is a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through NASM as well as being a Certified Wine Educator and Specialist of Spirits through the Society of Wine Educators, and a holder of the DWS Diploma through the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET). Email * Blog * Facebook Instagram * Instagram * Twitter

Sarah Eastin Feature Writer, Illuminati Ball Sarah Eastin, VLCE, is an Environmental Health Specialist, Sustainability Innovator, Vegan Chef and animal lover. She uses her knowledge of the physical world to help people make the connection between a healthy mind and body, compassionate lifestyle and healthy planet. She currently resides in Denver, Colorado with a house full of dog and cat hair, lots of love, delicious food and some of the cutest rescued animals you will ever meet. She has a blog where she writes about all things good for the planet, people and animals.

Linda Arcuri Copy Editor & Proofreader Linda is a yoga and meditation teacher who has been practicing alignmentbased yoga and Buddhist meditation since 1997. She is also a Drug Information Specialist (with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Texas at Austin), Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator, writer, proofreader, and copy editor. Linda is a long-time contributor to American Hospital Formulary Service: Drug Information, a highly respected reference published by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. In addition, she is a contributing blogger for the website Chic Vegan on topics related to veganism and spirituality. Website

James Lucas Graphic Design James has been a graphic designer for over 20 years and owns Grape Cat, the online vegan clothing and accessories store.. James started Doylestown Movie Fans, who meet once a month to see movies at the County Theater in Doylestown, PA. He and his wife, Chris, started Bucks County Vegan Supper Club in 2009, whose members meet once a month to have a vegan potluck dinner. They are currently working through the Veganomicon cookbook, which inspires experienced and recent vegans to try new recipes. James is proud to support Farm Sanctuary and The Surfrider Foundation. Website


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CONTRIBUTORS Baylee Buchanan

Steven Vandervelden

Graphic Design Intern

Fashion Editorial Photography

Baylee is a junior at Syracuse University majoring in communications design. Outside of the design realm, she is a member of Creations Dance Company, loves to play the guitar, play sports, and volunteers at Helping Hounds Dog Rescue.

Tiffany Negrea Marketing and Social Media Intern Tiffany is a student at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business studying marketing and global business. Her biggest passions are traveling, linguistics, and improving animal welfare. She is a dedicated vegan and a fervent advocate for animal rights. She adds, “It’s a great joy and honor to contribute to the movement that maximizes empathy and shows others that clothes can be fashionable and cruelty-free at the same time.”

Niki Romano Marketing and Social Media Intern Niki is currently a student at the University of Vermont studying Public Communications. She had been vegetarian for about a year and just recently transitioned to a vegan diet/lifestyle. She has always had a passion for fashion and beauty, but is now even more passionate about learning how to be a fashion and beauty lover in a cruelty free way. She is starting her fourth year of college and has experience with social media management and marketing.

Steven Vandervelden is primarily a fashion and dance photographer. He relishes the photographic capture of dramatic lighting combined with beautiful athleticism. He also appreciates that fashion and dance photography are most successful as a team approach. Working with creative MUA’s, hair stylists, wardrobe stylists and other talented photographers leads to memorable images. He helps teach studio lighting classes and fashion portraiture at the International Center for Photography in Manhattan. He enjoys supporting worthy causes, and has been happy to help LAFC out. Website * Instagram

Sam DeRosa Farag, SDF Media Fashion Editorial Photography Sam is inspired by artists throughout history from the Renaissance to Modern and photographers such as Avedon, Leibowitz, Sontag and Brassai, McNally and Sinclair. A photographer and videographer for 45 years even though the inspiration for improvement came when his first born arrived. Like every parent, his first born’s every movement was well documented. Extensive travel around the world created the opportunity to take pictures and document these travel destinations as a way to reconnect with his children and show and tell where he has been.

Nick Mango Fashion Editorial Photography Nick’s background is in marketing and advertising. But when he’s not working on the latest campaign he can invariably be found behind a camera. His photographic expertise extends from fashion and dance to landscape and travel. Website

Linda Albertini Web Designer & Developer Linda is a freelance web designer hailing from sunny San Diego, CA. Her credentials include a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Science and a Specialized Certificate in Web Publishing from UC San Diego, and she continues to learn and expand her repertoire. Making us look pretty online, Linda uses her creative and technical skills to help vegan and ethical businesses define their brand, develop their web presence, and reach more customers. Website * Food Blog Pinterest * Twitter * LinkedIn



Adrienne Borgersen

Lois Eastlund

Editor in Chief, Co-Founder

Co-Founder & Contributor

In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of LAFC, Adrienne is a 25 year veteran of the music industry, an FIT certified Image Consultant and Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator (VLCE). She founded It Factor Image Consulting, where she works with a wide variety of people to develop their personal style and personal brand. She specializes in educating on the use and abuse of animals in the fashion industry, with the goal of encouraging people to make compassionate choices. Adrienne also enjoys volunteering her time and talents to human and animal rights causes.

Lois is a New York fashion designer, graduating from NYC’s Fashion Institute of Technology. Lois and her stylish line have appeared in The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Magazine, Seventeen Magazine, ElleGirl, and many more. She has also been featured in various online blogs, including Business Insider and Chic Vegan, and has made TV appearances on CBS News This Morning, Toni On! and WPIX.

Previously a long-time vegetarian, Adrienne became 100% vegan in 2008 after reading Skinny Bitch. She is committed to promoting cruelty-free fashion, beauty and every day products as her way of saving animals and support a cruelty free lifestyle. LA Fashionista Compassionista magazine is a perfect extension of how she works with her clients, guiding them to look their best and feel their best, so they can take on the world!

Lois adopted a plant based diet and lifestyle in 2011, after watching Forks Over Knives. Although, her clothing line has always been 100% cruelty-free, sewn by hand with the utmost care and attention from cotton and cotton blends. Further reinforcing her commitment to compassion, Lois is a vocal advocate for animals, volunteering her time and donating to causes close to her heart. Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Pinterest



Cynthia von Buhler’s The Illuminati Ball



ynthia von Buhler is a wonderfully fascinating person; the first time we learned of her work we were intrigued. At LA Fashionista Compassionista, we champion those that use their creativity to help improve the world for animals and, through her work, von Buhler does just that. Von Buhler is an artist and animal lover and has worked for years pushing her creative boundaries while conveying a moral message and getting her audience to think critically about the use animals for food, fashion and entertainment. Her latest project is The Illuminati Ball, which since March has proven to be a treat for New York area residents seeking a one-of-a-kind evening out. The best part of this event series — taking place on select Saturdays through October — is that it’s completely vegan! From the exotic cocktails to a multi-course prix fixe sit-down dinner, everything is 100% cruelty-free. At this lavish soiree, there will be unique handmade masks for every guest, as well as a bevy of multi-sensory experiences — including fire performances, opera, aerial acts, esoteric ritual ceremonies and more. On certain dates, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, one of hiphop’s most original acts, will make a guest appearance to perform a new song he wrote especially for The Illuminati Ball, combining elements of rap and opera. Among the dishes sure to be savored by carnivores (who attend not knowing beforehand that the event

Event Photos by Mark Shelby Perry

Food Photos by Erin K. Orr


is vegan) and vegans alike are mushroom soup with cashew cream, beet caviar with nut bread, and spice roasted carrots with tahini. Prepared by Chef Erin Orr (of the blog Big Sis Little Dish), every menu item has been meticulously assembled to be not only delicious, but also satisfying and animal-loving. Something to keep in mind is that almost every show so far has sold out, so you may wish to secure your attendance sooner rather than later. There’s an application process, so get on that! A longtime vegetarian and recent vegan, von Buhler is deeply passionate about introducing people to the benefits and joys of eschewing animal products. Read on to hear more from the brains behind all this.


Can you tell me more about the mission behind The Illuminati Ball? The mission of the show itself is to educate people in a subtle way while at the same time giving them a thrilling evening. The nine-course dinner and the craft cocktails are 100% vegan and we aim to show how delicious and decadent vegan cuisine can be. My ultimate mission is that I’m starting an Illuminati for animals. I’m seeking successful people who want to use their talents and businesses to help gain power for the powerless. We will have yearly retreats at my estate to brainstorm solutions to help animals. I will be sending membership invitations to companies, organizations, artists and activists who have done something exceptional for animal rights. I will also invite people with skills we could use who

might not already be involved in animal activism — like animal-friendly journalists, politicians, scientists or lawyers. Please tell me more about how you feel this play will be a demonstration in animal rights. The inspiration for The Illuminati Ball was sparked by leaked photos from the de Rothschild’s legendary 1972 fete, which drew elaborately masked guests like Salvador Dali and Audrey Hepburn to the powerful couple’s massive mansion in France. The Baroness de Rothschild wore a stag head with diamond tears. It made me think about the silent sadness of animals. The Illuminati is all about power. Animals need power and a voice. I merged this legendary party with a story about factory farming and animal experiments. This play is a surreal, bourgeois dinner party filled LAFCNYC.COM


with power struggles, morality tests and anthropomorphic escapades. Compassion is rewarded.

As the show progresses, guests realize that their hosts aren’t who (or what) they appear to be.

How will the play help people learn about and think critically about speciesism? In the application for The Illuminati Ball, two of the many questions I ask the candidates are 1) Do they like animals and 2) Do they eat meat? Most people rave about their deep love of

During our show, kinship leaders give the most compassionate of their seven “Illuminati candidates” an antique key with a note telling them to “see Cynthia.” These people receive private visits with [my potbellied pig] Persephone. They pet her, feed her and give her belly rubs. I also introduce everyone to her at the end of the show. If you pet and feed a pig, you might think twice about eating bacon the next morning.

animals, but a few questions later they excitedly explain how much they adore eating meat. There’s a serious disconnect happening here. I hope to use entertainment to bridge this gap. 14

Do you see opportunities to educate people about vegan fashion and its importance? In my previous shows, I [forbade] guests to wear fur. This time I greet them at the door, [and] offer to take their “beautiful” fur to a locked closet for safekeeping. I bring this guest to an elegant bedroom where a horrific fur handling video is playing. I explain that I forgot the closet key and ask them to sit for a minute while I go get it. I come back a

few minutes later and seat them at the dinner table. I don’t say a word about the video. If they ask about the video, I play dumb. Are your guests vegan? Are the people who are not vegan receptive to the food and animal rights message? Have they discovered how delightful vegan food really is? Most of our guests are not vegan. They wouldn’t come if they knew it was a vegan meal with an animal rights message. We wrote two press releases, one for mainstream media and one for the vegan press. I want to show meat eaters that plantbased food can be just as delicious and decadent as meat. I need to be very careful not to be preachy. The message needs to be subtle and the night needs to be an amazing, exciting experience. I’ve had guests tell me that they wouldn’t have come if they had known the meal was vegan, but they were so glad they did. They couldn’t believe how delicious the food was. LAFCNYC.COM


Can you tell us more about your other works and how you relay an animal rights message using different media? I’ve written and illustrated children’s books with animal kindness themes. The Cat Who Wouldn’t Come Inside is about a feral cat. But Who Will Bell the Cats? is about a down-and-out mouse who wants a better life. This is my first attempt at creating a play about animals. I hope to do more art projects about animals. I’m a licensed wildlife rehabber and rescuer of all types of animals. And all of my pets are rescues. I have a 16

dog rescued from a feral dog pack in The Far Rockaways (NY), a potbellied pig found on Craigslist, four formerly stray cats, dozens of “feeder” goldfish from PetSmart, two white pigeons saved from a Bronx vivero slaughterhouse, two gray pigeons rescued as babies and ten of these pigeons’ offspring from mating with each other. I taught the pigeons to home and they come and go freely from an enclosed patio at my country home. Thank you to Cynthia for taking the time to speak with us! And if you are in New York this summer, you won’t want to miss The Illuminati Ball!

DETAILS What: The Illuminati Ball: An Immersive Excursion by Cynthia von Buhler Where: A secret location one hour outside of Manhattan When: Bi-monthly on Saturday evenings through October 2016 Website: Tickets: $450 per person (includes dinner, cocktails, entertainment and luxury round-trip transportation) LAFCNYC.COM

Coach & Educator (VLCE) in a magical 6-day intensive in New York City. Learn from founder Victoria Moran and a roster of vegan luminaries including MDs, RDs, animal rights attorneys, publishers, professors, podcasters, fashion designers, and entrepreneurial experts. Plus fabulous field trips! Our grads are coaching, writing books, and opening businesses including Riverdel Cheese (Brooklyn), Kat Mendenhall Boots (Dallas), and Pleasantville Creamery (Toronto). And our post-course support and networking opportunities are unparalleled. Visit or call 212-289-1808 for info & to apply



Editor’s note: We’ve changed the format of April Lang’s insightful advice. We’re taking reader questions to better give her expertise on life issues we likely all share. The first one we chose is a really interesting conundrum for many in the workplace.

Hi April, Occasionally, a co-worker will come around asking for a donation for some kind of charity. The problem is that I know lots of these organizations do their research on animals. Sometimes I’ve caved and donated; other times, I haven’t. I end up feeling bad either way. What’s the best way to handle these requests? Thanks! Krista, Brooklyn, NY ANSWER: Hi, Krista, You bring up an important issue, one that I’m sure others have grappled with in their own workplaces. I certainly understand your dilemma.


You want to do the “right” thing, but either choice makes you feel you let someone down: the animals or the people. In an ideal world, you would never have to make this choice because charities that fight diseases would never use animals. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we currently live in, so there may be times where the best we can do is seek a compromise. Whether, how much, and where to compromise on this issue is a personal decision. Some of the factors that might influence this decision include: our perception of the compromise, the quality of our relationships with our co-workers, how secure we feel in our jobs, and our tolerance for dissent. For some ethical vegans, their moral compass is unwavering. Any sort of compromise would be unacceptLAFCNYC.COM

able and viewed as total capitulation at the expense of the animals. For others, the matter may at times be a bit more nuanced, as they find their usually immovable compass can flutter a bit in certain situations, posing an unwelcome challenge. Some people have great relationships with all their fellow employees and supervisors. In these environments, the workers can express their feelings and opinions without the threat of being spurned. Here, people are curious about each other’s beliefs and healthy debate is encouraged. Other workplaces, however, might not be so welcoming of divergent views and the employees who see life differently from the majority might pay a price for those views. A

hostile work environment might ensue, whereby co-workers are quick to give a dirty look or pass a nasty remark, while making a point of avoiding any unnecessary contact. Or the reaction might be more covert. The people are superficially friendly, but the unspoken, though quite palpable message is, “you are not welcome here.” And let’s face it, it just doesn’t feel good to work in a place where we’re given the cold shoulder, are gossiped about, or are given the worst assignments. Of course, both of these work environments are extreme; most people have a mix of the two. Therefore, there’s always the possibility that our work-

place may influence, at least to some extent, the actions we take. Krista, whether or not you choose to donate or compromise, make sure you’ve thoroughly thought through your decision so that once it’s been made, you can fully accept it. Below, I’ve given you a few suggestions for how to deal with this predicament, but I’m certain that using a bit of creativity, you can come up with others. • If your co-worker approaches you and you decide contributing to his/her charity is out of the question, you can always say, “While I really believe in your cause, I know that this organization does research on

animals, and that goes against my principles. However, I’d be happy to make a donation to a different organization that fights the same disease.” • If the donation is for a walk-a-thon, you could say, “While I can’t offer a monetary contribution to your organization because it does animal testing, I want to support you. I’d like to bake some cookies (vegan, of course, you say to yourself!) and offer those to the walkers along the way.” So while you are contributing to the

organization, it’s in a less direct way and you’re bringing a bit of veganism with you. • Let’s say your co-worker is asking everyone in the office to donate to an ALS charity, because a close family member was recently diagnosed with this disease. You could say, “While I’m unable to contribute at this time, I’d be happy to organize an office fundraiser.” By raising money for the sick individual, you’re showing your co-worker he/she can count on your support, without compromising your values. • If you decide to donate to the organization, you could also give money to an animal charity.

• You could tell (what may be) a little white lie, and say, “I’ve recently donated to several other charities and I’m tapped out now. Please tell me another way I can help.” • And of course, you have every right to say, without any explanation, “Sorry, no.” I hope this helps, Krista. Ask your most pressing questions about being vegan in the world today, on our website www.lafcnyc. com or directly to April at



Meet the Host of the Groundbreaking, New TV show, “Plant-based by Nafsika”

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a b t n ” “Pla afsikaannel y by N s FYI ch ay, Jul &E’ dnesd et A n o We AM. S g n i 0 t star 7 at 7:3 DVRs! 2 r you

Interviewed by Adrienne Borgersen

Photos of Nafsika by Louis Stenos

Photos from the set of “Plant-based by Nafsika”, courtesy of the FYI channel. Used with permission.

Nafsika Antypas, a marketing executive from Montreal, is breaking the glass ceiling for vegans on TV. On the tail of trailblazers like Laura Theodore and Jason Wrobel who cleared the path for vegan TV cooking shows and journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell busting media blacklists on animal rights stories through the internet, enter Nafsika! She’s bringing it all together with a major cable network TV show introducing not just recipes, but the vegan lifestyle as a whole!


he first season, which launches July 27 on A&E’s FYI channel (check your local listings), includes interviews and demonstrations that break the stereotypes of vegans living the offthe-grid, hippie-crunchygranola life. Filmed at the gorgeous and luxurious Oheka Castle in Huntington, NY, leaders in the vegan community like author Victoria Moran, journalist Jane Velez Mitchell and politician Clifton Roberts 20

talk openly and candidly about the importance of a compassionate lifestyle for optimal health, of course, the animals and what’s truly best for our world. I was lucky enough to film two segments of the show with Nafsika. In one episode, I emcee an all cruelty free fashion show. In another episode, we discuss and showcase cruelty free beauty products. As we worked together on the show and for this interview,

Adrienne Borgersen, on the set with Nafsika, discussing cruelty free beauty products. LAFCNYC.COM

I found Nafsika to be easy going, yet laser focused on helping animals and humanity, bringing compassionate people and their messages to the forefront of our everyday lives. Read on for an inside look at her life and how the show came to be. AB: You come from a business background, marketing Greek Olive Oil. How did you get into that and where did you get your business acumen? NA: I’ve been involved in my father’s business at Pilaros Inc. for twenty years. I worked in every single department, so this gave me a good understanding about business on top of what I had studied in university. I would tend to lead rather follow in both work and school so it was definitely time for me to test my wings. AB: Where and how did you learn about the Mediterranean diet? What do you believe are its benefits? NA: Going vegan was not such a huge transition for me. I was raised mostly on a Mediterranean diet. As a kid, I was always “the nutritionist” in the family. From age 11, I would watch what I eat and would actually give diet plans to my friends at school! The Mediterranean diet, or the Greek diet, allows very little red meat and tons of olive oil and plantbased foods. The health benefits include a lowered chance of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, Type 2 Diabetes, and more. AB: Is olive oil really a “health” food? NA: Absolutely. Olive oil is really good for you. It’s full of antioxidants and the “good” fat. I hear a lot of nonsense that you should never use olive oil in cooking. I only use extra virgin olive oil in all my cooking and dressings. It’s been part of the Mediterranean diet for thousands of years!

AB: Did the Mediterranean Diet inspire you to become vegan? NA: I went vegan because of the animals, first and foremost. I watched a tiny bit of animal slaughter footage and that was enough for me. I’ve always loved and respected animals. But before this, I started to realize that cow’s milk was not meant for human consumption. I got a dose of that reality with my first son, who suffered from chronic ear infections, high fever and febrile seizures up to the day I switched him to almond milk at age 2. Every doctor literally mocked me when I would ask if it was the cow’s milk in his formula that was making him sick. I wish I would have made the switch sooner. I made the mother’s milk connection when I was breastfeeding my sons. My milk is for my babies. So, why would I consume another baby’s milk? AB: Tell us about your family: NA: My husband, John (also Greek), used to own an Italian restaurant and was a chef. He cooks a lot at home as well. Now he works for the family business as General Manager for my dad’s other company, Defedis, which is a food service distribution company. He’s a very hard

worker. I actually am always telling him to take it easy! We have two boys. Theo just turned 6 and Milton is going to be 3 in August. AB: Do you have animals in your family? NA: [Growing up], we had a husky/ German shepherd for 16 years. Her name was Niki. She was part of the family. I would cancel my plans to hang with her if I knew she wasn’t going to have any company at night. Before that we had a cat; I named him Fluffy. I thought he died because his heart was so big. (I was 8, I think, at the time.) We also had fish during that time which wasn’t the best idea. They would go missing, because of the cat! AB: Have you always lived in Montreal? NA: I was somewhat “imported” from Greece. I was in my mother’s belly when my parents moved to Canada from Greece. But yes, I have always lived in Montreal. I like it here and I find it is a safe place to raise a family. I also like the fact that we speak and hear up to 4 languages in my household: English, French, Greek and


AB: That’s similar to how this magazine got started. We saw a space to fill and decided to fill it ourselves! Did you approach a lot of networks before you found the FYI Network? What were the conversations like – was it a tough sell, or was it pretty easily embraced? NA: A&E (who owns the FYI channel) was not the only network we had approached. We did approach a couple more and they were all on board with this show, but we decided to go with A&E since it was a better fit. I think the networks are starting to understand that a show like this is not only going to get ratings, but that it’s necessary. Sure, most people were a little skeptical about it at first but I helped make them see why this show is so important. I expect to see many new shows coming out like this on all kinds of networks. But I’m happy that “Plantbased by Nafsika” will always be the first vegan lifestyle show on a major network.

Spanish. I used to speak 5 [with] Spanish and Italian, but I’m super rusty. I can understand and speak a little [Spanish and Italian] but [Milton] is fluent in Spanish because he used to have a Costa Rican Nanny. AB: What inspired “Plant-based by Nafsika”? NA: I went vegan just a few short years ago, and I realized that there was no food and lifestyle show that spoke to me as a vegan viewer. But moreover, many of these lifestyle shows include the advertising of products and ideas that harm animals and destroy our planet. Not much talk about what’s really important. So, I created this show to be informative and educational, but at the same time, fun and entertaining. 22

AB: How was “Plant-based by Nafsika” created and how were you able to get it on a major cable network? NA: Once I went vegan, everything changed for me. I started to be more observant and make more informed decisions about my diet and lifestyle. Seeing I had always been comfortable in front of the camera, I noticed that there were no vegan lifestyle shows out there. I mean, sure, there were a few plant-based cooking shows, but nothing I could find (or, at least not to my knowledge) that focused on a plant-based diet and vegan lifestyle as a whole. I felt it was time someone did it so I found a production company and pitched it to the network.

AB: What is the mission or goal of the show? NA: My mission is to help make the world a healthier, more compassionate place, just as my slogan says. We target the general market and families who are interested in trying out a plant-based diet and/or adopting a vegan lifestyle. We also target those who want to learn more about the environmental and ethical concerns surrounding animal industries. AB: You’re also quite the entrepreneur, spearheading several other ventures. First, can you tell us about your charity, called People Against Violence? NA: I founded People Against Violence, my non-profit organization, in 2014. I’ve always wanted to help make the world a better place and wanted to find a way to help stop people from hurting other people. I offer free 24-hour counseling to vicLAFCNYC.COM

tims of violence and help connect them with shelters and free self-defense classes in their area. AB: Tell us more about the “blogger suite” on the People Against Violence site. How can we get involved? NA: I designed this automated “Blogger Suite” so that anyone could become an instant blogger. All they have to do is register through my site and once their profile has been verified, they can start posting their blogs. The blogs are shared on my site and on my uAlert app and can also be shared on their own social accounts. This is a way to help people raise topics and conversations that matter to them, share their personal experiences, or leave inspirational thoughts or poems. AB: The uAlert app is a personal security app that you created? NA: Yes, I designed uAlert. It’s an emergency response system that uses your phone’s GPS to locate you and, when you raise an alert, sends help your way. AB: This is a fantastic idea! Where is the app available? NA: This app is available everywhere and the features are available globally. AB: How does it work? NA: It’s a quite sophisticated app. I tried to think of different scenarios and came up with some very practical yet simple features. Every police number of every single country in the world has been inputted. You can track your friends’ whereabouts and be alerted if they’re in trouble. When they hit the “Hi” alert button, not only will you get alerted, but their phone will dial for the police, automatically video-record the first 15 seconds and send it to my center. You can then send additional video if you like. uAlert also includes features like a Missing Child Poster, Safe Place, Crisis Counseling, Check-In, and more. While the main features of the app are free, I do offer also extra security services at an additional cost. Securitas is one of the largest security companies in the world and I have linked their services to my app. You can get extra protection like having a Securitas officer personally escort you to your car or work, check up on your home when you’re away, pick you up from





A commercial for Pilaros, featuring vegan rockstars, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Katy Cleary, Donna Dennison, Judie Mancuso and Simone Reyes

somewhere if you feel it isn’t safe, etc. You pay through my app and my staff will place the order for you. AB: And if that weren’t enough, you also started a vegan counseling company, “The Struggling Vegan”? NA: The Struggling Vegan Inc. was started around the same time as the “Plant-based by Nafsika” TV show. This specifically helps transition people to a vegan diet and lifestyle through counseling, starter kits and tips. AB: Will people work with you personally, or do you have a team of coaches? NA: I can’t wait to launch this site. I will be working with a team of health coaches who will be offering their expert advice and a live chat will be available 24/7. Once you subscribe to my site, you will have access to all of our resources which includes starter kits, unlimited recipes, tips, and more. AB: How do you balance your life with all of these business ventures and a family? NA: With great difficulty. Haha! It definitely is a challenge running my

businesses, working full days and then coming home to take care of my family. But everything is possible. I would be too bored otherwise. I like to stay productive. AB: Where do you find inspiration? NA: The world is what inspires me the most. I like to stay informed about current events around the world and have always wanted to contribute to it in a positive way. So, this is what drives me to do what I do. AB: Do you have a defining moment in your life or career? NA: I think the birth[s] of my boys were my defining moments. Because only after you have kids do you realize what’s really important. AB: What advice would you give to an up and coming entrepreneur? NA: If you believe in yourself, that’s all that matters. Would you rather try and fail or never try and always wonder? I feel better knowing that I have at least tried. But even then, don’t give up. Failing is just a series of lessons learned. And trust me, I have learned a lot!

AB: What does “image” mean to you? Is it an important part of your life (personally and/or professionally)? NA: If you mean if I care what people think, then I certainly do not. I’m not perfect; I am human. I will make mistakes, but that’s what makes everyone so unique. I do believe that we need to be role models for the younger generations, though. They really do look up to us and are definitely influenced by us. AB: Is how you dress important to your life and your business? NA: I dress according to my mood. Because I find you will always look better when your style suits your mood. Like sometimes, I just feel like wearing something comfy and cozy and when I do, I look better than if I wore something more fancy. If you don’t dress according to your mood, it could look awkward, because you feel awkward and it shows. AB: How would you describe your personal style? NA: Comfortable and classic with a rocker girl/edgy style, but always staying classy.




AB: Is your personal style reflected in the wardrobe on the show?: NA: Yes, in some episodes, I’m wearing my own clothing. I’m excited that you hooked me up with these great, eco friendly designers that loaned me wardrobe and jewelry: Indigenous, Synergy, EcoSkin, Amour Vert, Lois Eastlund and Soko. They really fit my style and I love that they the materials are comfortable and sustainable. I also got a very generous lot of beautiful shoes by the designer Rebecca Mink. I didn’t want to give them back, but I’m happy to showcase these designers as part of the vegan/plant-based/ cruelty free lifestyle. AB: Do you have a go to outfit? NA: Skinny jeans, v-neck t-shirt and flats. I have these peachy-pink flats that I love. They are so comfortable, but they are leather; I got them before I was vegan. When you make the transition, I don’t think it’s necessary to get rid of everything you own that’s not cruelty free. That’s way too expensive and a waste. But I am going to have them custom replicated with cruelty free materials. They are getting old and I know the new synthetic materials out there are just as comfortable and even more durable. I think I will go to Rebecca Mink to have them designed. AB: Do you have any beauty secrets? NA: Yes, don’t wear make-up every day, and eating “clean” keeps your skin clean. AB: Favorite beauty brand? NA: I use Arbonne to cleanse and hydrate my skin. For make-up I’m not too picky as long as it’s cruelty free. AB: What music do you like to listen to? NA: I like almost every style of music. Most of the time, it’s feel-good music from 10-20 years ago.

AB: What’s next for you? NA: I’m already working on season 2! I have a lot of tricks up my sleeve for the future but you’ll just have to stay tuned for that. We have already started booking sponsors for season 2. If you would like to become a sponsor, please visit www.plantbasedbynafsika or email for more info.

This is a very exciting time for the vegan lifestyle. The tipping point is near, and the visibility afforded by this show could be a huge leap in showing the world how a compassionate lifestyle is natural and normal, yet fun and exciting! Make sure to tune in! For more info, visit:



100% Organic, Vegan, Chemical & additive free. Shades to suit all skin colours. A no compromise, luxurious, award winning makeup, made with passion in the UK





Editor’s Note: Our regular feature has been taken over by Transformational Life Coach, Sunny Gandara. Sunny is also trained as a chef, Certified Wine Educator, and fitness instructor. This issue, Sunny gives us her expert advice on the benefits of Avocados, for beautiful skin and hair, along with a yummy recipe to try!


utrition plays a big part in the health of your hair and skin. Who doesn’t want glowing, smooth skin and healthy, shiny, thick and beautiful hair? Avocados may help you make this possible. One of the first things people commented on a couple of months after I turned vegan was how clear my skin was. While I never had any significant acne or skin issues, the change was quite dramatic.

Part of what makes avocados so wonderful for our skin is that they are high in antioxidants, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin and lutein. These free radical-quenching compounds provide significant protection from the environmental damage that leads to fine lines, wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. It can be said the avocados have a sort of anti-aging affect, as the natural oils of the avocado closely match the oils of your skin, helping it stay smooth and elastic.

Avocados can do wonders for your skin. They are rich in healthy fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants that can improve your skin from the inside.

I’ve always wanted thicker hair. I finally got tired of blaming my thin hair on my heritage (Scandinavians seem to have thinner hair more often than not) and

Photos by Sunny from her own kitchen



started researching what I could do to promote a fuller mane. When I came across avocados, I was excited to discover that they (among other healthy, whole, plantbased foods) could be the easy answer to my search – because what’s not to like about this delightful fruit? Versatile and easy to prepare, you can add them smoothies or salads, use them as spreads for sandwiches instead of mayonnaise for a healthier option, make oil-free dressings with them, stuff them in burritos, make a delicious avocado- chocolate mousse, or as I like to do when I’m in a pinch, add some slices on a corn tortilla for a quick snack…the options are endless. Avocados are not only able to aid in treating dry hair but also dry scalp, dandruff and frizzy hair. Avocados’ healthy fats help provide moisture throughout the body. This, in turn, aids in preventing hair breakage and assists in helping your hair grow longer and stronger and can even prevent graying of the hair. In addition to eating avocados, you can also make an avocado “mask” simply by mashing up an avocado or two, adding a little water and massaging into your hair. Vitamin deficiency can cause hair loss or thinning of the hair, and because avocados are rich in all B vitamins (except B12), vitamins C, E and K, as well as folate, potassium, magnesium, fiber and carotenoid antioxidants, they contribute to beautiful skin and hair. Other health benefits include stronger nails, protection against agerelated macular degeneration and cataracts (due to the carotenoid lutein found in avocados), as well as protection against heart disease, other eye diseases and certain cancers. Are you convinced yet that it’s a great idea to include avocados in your diet? Avoca(n)do anything! J One of the best ways to eat avocados, in my opinion, is to whip up a simple, but tasty, guacamole. While it’s simple, it’s also easy to get it wrong or have it turn out bland (as I’ve so many times personally experienced while out in restaurants). Guacamole should be seasoned well and have a bright taste, which can be achieved by not being afraid of using a little sea or kosher salt and lots of fresh lime juice. Below is a recipe I learned from my Mexican-American chef-husband; it’s always a huge hit at parties and other gatherings. Being vegan means eating well, and not having to choose between looking good on the outside, and being healthy and feeling well on the inside. What a blessing that is!

If you have any questions about healthy, plant-based eating and how you can transition easily and successfully to this lifestyle, feel free to contact me at – I would love to hear from you!

SUNNY’S SPECIAL GUACAMOLE Serves 5 • 5 ripe avocados, flesh scooped out • 1 small Vidalia onion, chopped fine • 1 small jalapeno, finely diced (remove seeds for less heat) • 1 large tomato, seeds removed, chopped finely • handful of fresh cilantro, chopped • juice of 1-2 limes • salt to taste In a bowl, mash the avocados until desired “chunkiness.” Add the onion, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro and lime juice and combine well. Season to taste with salt. Serve with organic corn chips as a snack, or top on tacos or spread on whole grain bread for a delicious sandwich.


THE A LIST! Top Editor’s Picks That You Should Know by Adrienne Borgersen

Here are some highlights from the beauty segment I shot on “Plant Based by Nafsika”!

In Harmony Naturals: Mineral makeup, shimmery eye shadows, glowing blush as well as skin care. This natural, gentle line smells lovely and will keep you glowing. I especially love the lip glosses. the natural tones really polish off a clean look and balance heavier eye makeup looks.

Surya Brasil: Remember our interview with founder and owner, Wanda Malhotra in the Spring 2015 issue? (Check it out in our archives if you haven’t read it). The products in her line are quality and effective. My fave is the Sapien line of shower gel and moisturizer. The fresh & fruity smell gets me ready to take on a summer day.



Shea Terra Organics: Many of the 300 products in this line are completely vegan, including the facial oils and African Black Soap. This soap, made from the ashes of vegetable skins and leaves, combined with natural oils, leaves your skin so clean and soft. It’s one of my favorite products.

Johnny Concert: I love these highly pigmented eye shadows. They are working on expanding their line of cosmetics, coming soon!

The English Mineral Makeup Co.: This UK based company created this gorgeous line of all natural, mineral makeup

Replere: Developed by leading dermatologist Dr. Debbie Palmer, features a powerful and revitalizing antioxidant-Coffea arabica extract, to help fight against free radicals and reverse signs of aging. They are paraben, fragrance and dye free. I like them a lot.

in packaging that will make you feel like you’re in an English garden. I love the color correctors, they blend really well. And each product comes with its own mini kabuki brush. So cute and easy to carry.

Joshik Nail Polishes: Who knew nail polish wasn’t vegan?? Yup, we have to watch out for this, too. Joshik makes a non toxic, cruelty free line in a wide range of creative and classic colors.

James & Co: The Fanciful Fox: This all natural, full line of skin care for men and women has everything from lip balm to beard oil (tell your guys!) and everything in between. They are opening a brick & mortar store in Brooklyn, NY, so watch for the opening!

And as a bonus, because I dig you all - I wanted to tell you about this great fall preview piece - this faux leather jacket from James & Co. A very sophisticated and chic twist on a motorcycle jacket. Check out their entire line of fabulousness.





rt is the driving force behind Cykochik, a handbag and accessories brand started by Nikki Duong Koenig in Dallas 13 years ago. Nikki’s aim is to cultivate a global collaborative community of artists, artisans, and art patrons by offering creative and cruelty-free lifestyle goods – for good. She works closely with artists to produce unique designs for her wares, which are made from eco-friendly materials and manufactured in the company’s local studio. A successful crowdfunding campaign three years ago allowed Nikki, who had run the business alongside her corporate job for 10 years, to begin working full time on Cykochik. Nikki talks about her collaboration with artists, the importance of creating one-of-akind products and what new skills she required to make her business a success. 34


KF: What motivated you to start Cykochik? NDK: I’ve loved art and fashion ever since I was a little girl. While my friends were outside playing, I was at home drawing clothes for my paper dolls and sewing clothes and handbags for my Barbies! I continued making clothes and handbags for myself, family, and friends for fun throughout my childhood and adolescence. In essence, I’d started Cykochik organically since I was a kid, but I didn’t officially start it as a business till I was an advertising and art student at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts in 2003, in Dallas, TX. Cykochik was a name I’d used to sign my artworks [and] various creative projects, and it was also my AOL Instant Messenger screen name, so I just kept it for my handbag label and eventually for the business. I was making handbags in my tiny dorm room from various recycled materials. One tote bag was made from a selfportrait I’d cut out and sewn from

vegan leather for a painting class, as part of a non-traditional painting project. I started carrying the tote around campus and it caught a lot of attention in the press and people started commissioning their own custom portrait cut-out totes (Portrait Tote) with images of their kids or pets on [them], from around the world. This was when I realized that Cykochik could be a viable business.

2005, I graduated and got my dream job as an advertising art director in New York City, so I left Dallas to pursue my advertising career in NYC. I continued to work on Cykochik part time in my tiny NYC studio apartment and in my Dallas studio, while attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and working full time in NYC and Dallas till 2013. 2013 was Cykochik’s 10-year anniversary and its ‘rebirth’ when I took the leap and left my corporate advertising and marketing career to follow my passion and purpose full time.

My first market was the SMU Holiday Market, where I almost sold out! With this validation, I continued to sell at SMU markets and online through my time at university. In

KF: Tell us about the name – it has a bit of a double entendre! NDK: Cykochik [is] derived from the words ‘cycle’ and ‘chick’ because I believe everything in life has a cycle and we’re all connected. It was also inspired by my use of recycled materials, cyberspace, and also a play on ‘psychochick’, which is tonguein-cheek because I tend to see and do things from an unconventional perspective and like to color outside of the lines. It’s not meant to make light of any psychological disorders.


KF: One of the unique things about your brand is your extensive collaboration with artists. Why did you choose this direction? NDK: I’m an artist and I love working with and supporting other artists. I started the Artist Series Collection in 2008 while living in NYC because I wanted to work with my friends and artists I admired. KF: How do you decide which artists to work with? NDK: I work with artists whose work I admire and whose style is aligned with Cykochik’s fun, vibrant, and cruelty-free brand. KF: Are you open to artists and creatives pitching you and if so, how do they go about it? NDK: Absolutely! Our mission is to create a global community of artists and artisans. Artists can contact us with a web link to their work or portfolio at Please do not send us files. KF: How does the collaboration work? Do the artists receive a percentage of each product sold featuring their artwork? NDK: It varies. We either pay a commission for an exclusive design or license the design from artists. KF: Another cool factor about your brand is giving people the opportunity to create custom products such as handbags and pillows, where they can upload a photo of their choice to have featured on the item. How popular is this service? NDK: Cykochik started as a custommade handbag brand and continues to provide unique made-to-order bags through our Custom Collection and our newest Custom Photo Collection, which is one of our most popular collections.


KF: What’s the funniest or quirkiest custom request you’ve had? NDK: We’ve recently made a custom tote bag for a Dallas vegan bakery with a giant hand-cut chocolate chip cookie appliqué on it. KF: What’s your professional background and what skills have you found most useful from your previous career in running Cykochik? NDK: I have over a decade of professional experience in advertising and marketing as an art director and creative director. I think all of my professional skills have helped me tremendously in building my business. The most useful skill is knowing how to build and manage a brand, since I’ve done it for many other startups and blue-chip brands. KF: What new skills did you have to acquire to run your business successfully? NDK: Since I didn’t attend business school, I had to learn very quickly how to manage the business from the operations and financial aspects. KF: You’ve been in business 13 years now. What were some of your main challenges when starting out and how did you overcome these? NDK: Even though the brand is 13 years old, the company is only three, so we’re a semi-startup company. Like all startups, having and attaining capital is a challenge, but our fans helped us raise over $10,000 as seed money from the Kickstarter campaign in 2013. For us, it was and still is a challenge to find skilled artisans in Dallas because most fashion and accessories manufacturing jobs have gone overseas. We’re determined to keep our manufacturing in Dallas and to provide jobs in our community, so we’ve trained our own local artisans to hand-make our bags. LAFCNYC.COM


KF: How have those challenges changed as you’ve grown as a business? NDK: As a bootstrapped startup, we’re relying on our fans to help us fund new collections by pre-ordering them. In terms of manufacturing, we now have a solid team of artisans hand-making our bags. KF: You ran a successful crowdfunding campaign in 2013 to raise funds for a new collection and to enable you to work full time in the business. Tell us about this experience and any tips you can offer other vegan creatives considering crowdfunding. NDK: It was an incredible rollercoaster experience. I’d started planning and developing the campaign with my team two months in advance. Once we launched our 30day campaign, it was all or nothing, literally, because if we didn’t reach 38

our goal we wouldn’t have gotten any of the funds and I would’ve dissolved Cykochik! So we continually reached out to our fans from around the world to back the 10 Year Anniversary Collection and to help me take the leap to work on Cykochik full time and fulfill our vision to make this world a better place for all living beings. My tips would be to set an attainable goal because it’s all or nothing if you do it on Kickstarter. Also, fully understand the crowdfunding platform’s policy before starting your campaign because they are all different. KF: You’re based in Dallas and your bags are made locally too. Why did you make this decision and how do you manage to keep your prices affordable when it’s often cheaper to manufacture outside the US?

NDK: I founded Cykochik in my hometown of Dallas so it’s a part of me and of Cykochik’s brand. I’ve kept it in Dallas even when I was living in NYC because I want to support local artisans and ensure quality craftsmanship and fair labor. Also, we can provide faster deliveries being centralized in the US. There is a price to pay for ‘cheap’ goods, either by people, animals, or the environment. KF: Tell us about the materials you use and why. NDK: We use a vegan leather called polyurethane (PU) that is PVC (plastic) free, biodegradable, and doesn’t contain all the toxic chemicals used in animal leather. The production of it is eco-friendly as well since 99% of the water used is recycled and all the waste is recycled. It is an extremely durable yet soft and supple material that feels like animal leather. LAFCNYC.COM

Technology has come a long way in advancing synthetic leather. Gone are the days of shiny plastic vinyls or pleather. We also use a recycled polyester canvas made from 45% recycled plastic water bottles and other plastic wastes because we want to help keep plastic from going into landfills, oceans, and lakes. Our goal is to move towards 100% recycled materials. We also use natural fibers such as organic bamboo and cotton. KF: You’re part of the ‘slow fashion’ movement. What does this entail and why did you go this direction? NDK: We’re not a traditional fashion brand. We don’t follow the fashion seasons or the fashion trends. Our bags are made-to-order, not mass produced, and are meant to last many seasons because they are wearable works of art. I went this direction since the beginning because I wanted to create art that can be seen on the streets.

craftsmanship, and community. We also look to technology to advance our products and services. KF: Who is your predominant target market? NDK: Our main customers are compassionate and conscientious women of all ages from around the world who share our love for art, animals, people, and the environment. KF: Fashion and ethics aren’t generally thought of together. How is your brand received from the fashion industry now, and how is this different to when you started out?

turing of fashion. I’d like to see the industry be more transparent about their supply chain and labor practices. Most importantly, I’d like to see animals no longer being used in fashion. KF: What are the key lessons you’ve learned since running Cykochik? NDK: I’ve learned so many life lessons since running Cykochik full time. I’ve learned to always follow my heart – it’s not led me astray. I’ve learned to take baby steps because our mission may seem daunting at times, but it’s true what Nelson Mandela said about “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

KF: You’ve had quite a bit of media coverage, particularly local press. How did you go about getting this PR? NDK: In the beginning, the press found Cykochik through word-ofmouth and helped launch the brand into cyberspace! More recently, we have an agency that helps with our PR. KF: There are now more vegan fashion businesses than ever, and all are operating in a global marketplace. How do you continue to stand out, not only in the general fashion space, but also in the ethical/cruelty-free/ eco space? NDK: It’s amazing to see how the vegan fashion market is growing. This really helps bring veganism into the mainstream market. Cykochik stands out by staying true to our three core values of creativity,

NDK: We were never a part of the mainstream fashion industry. A decade ago, Cykochik was seen as a novelty brand, but now the brand is received as being progressive and at the forefront of the ethical/crueltyfree/eco movement. KF: What changes would you like to see happening in the fashion industry as a whole? NDK: I’d like to see less consumption of fashion and less manufac-

KF: What is a typical day like for you? NDK: I love that I don’t have a typical day as an entrepreneur. That’s why I left the 9-5 corporate world! An example would be starting the day with a team meeting/call, checking emails, meeting with contractors, and I like to spend most of my day working in our studio designing or making bags.




KF: What is your personal style? NDK: My personal fashion style is eclectic. I like to mix it up and have fun with fashion. KF: What does ‘image’ mean to you? NDK: Image is the perception we have of ourselves, others, or something. KF: What personal qualities are required, whether innate or learned, to be a successful, ethical entrepreneur? NDK: The most important quality is empathy. Also courage, resilience, and resourcefulness. KF: What advice would you give to aspiring and existing ethical business owners and entrepreneurs? NDK: Pursue your passion and purpose and don’t give up! We can make a bigger impact on the world as businesses or organizations than we could by ourselves. KF: What are your plans for the future for Cykochik? NDK: Our mission for Cykochik is to evolve into an international cruelty-free vegan lifestyle brand. KF: Any other comments you’d like to add? NDK: Cykochik has grown beyond me since I started it 13 years ago. It went from a passion project

to an international business with the unwavering support of our fans from around the world. I am forever grateful for their love and belief in Cykochik’s vision to create a more

compassionate, sustainable, and happy world for all living beings. Visit Cykochik at

Foxy Business Tip: Storytelling by Katrina Fox

Find and tell the stories in your brand and share these with the media, including your own social networks. Instead of just saying ‘Buy this’ or ‘Review this’, let customers and journalists know how the product is created and who created it, for example. Make the story relevant to specific media outlets. If you offer a service, ask some of your clients if they’re willing to share their successes after using your service.

We’re hardwired to love stories. That’s why the phrase ‘Once upon a time’ is so powerful. You can tell your stories through words, sound or video. The media are always looking for engaging, relevant stories that their audience will love. Finding the stories in your brand is how you get free publicity. Check out the Vegan Ventures: Start and Grow an Ethical Business book and the weekly Vegan Business Talk podcast for more business success tips and interviews with entrepreneurs from across the globe. Find out more at



the ers o t s n k han d desig & t y Man ores an i, Bead te, u t t ne s davan nd, Va and i l n u o o tl k at M ois Eas ykochi g the L ly i n l, ,C Ree Shoes r supp be! fo k ro ard Min Cat, w p. e e p s ho o t Gra wesom ks a e l in v i l e k th Clic

Styled by Adrienne Borgersen Style assistants Lois Eastlund and Tiffany Negrea 42

Photographed by Steven Vandervelden, Sam Farag DeRosa and Nick Mango LAFCNYC.COM

Hannah is wearing a ballerina tee by Amour Vert, skirt by Mata Traders, shoes by Mink and bag by Cykochik.

While we were filming “Plant Based by Nafsika”, we were able to take advantage of the beautiful grounds at Oheka Castle, in Huntington, NY, where many movies, music videos and TV shows come to life. You’ll also see these looks on the episodes airing on August 17 and 24th. You’ll also see these looks on the fashion segment airing in August. Check out the eco friendly cruelty free fashion, from summer trends to classic looks that can take you right into fall. We’ll bet even Kate, Dutchess of Cambridge would feel right at home, rockin some of these styles. (Anyone wanna ask her?) LAFCNYC.COM 43

Courtney is wearing a dress by Meemoza, shoes by Bhava and bag by Matt and Nat



Charleen is wearing a dress by ecoSkin.


or’s Edi t ! Pickby

Bag h i k oc Cy k

Anna is wearing a dress by Meemoza, shoes by Love is Mighty and bag by Cykochik. 46

Ginamarie is wearing a dress by Meemoza, shrug by Toule, shoes by Mink and bag by Cykochik. LAFCNYC.COM

or’s Edi t ! Picks by

y da l San M ight is e v Lo

Megan is wearing a dress & necklace by Lois Eastlund, shoes by Mink and bag by Cykochik.

Annamarie is wearing a dress by Synergy, shoes by Mink and bag by Cykochik. LAFCNYC.COM 47

Charleen is wearing a dress by Lois Eastlund, shoes by Mink and bag from the editor’s collection.



bag This n 1! i is 2

Ginamarie is wearing a t shirt by Groceries, a pencil skirt by Amour Vert, shoes from Strawberry Stores and bag by Matt & Nat.

Annamarie is wearing a tunic tank top by LVR, shoes by Mink and bag by Matt and Nat.


Fa l l iew Prev

Courtney is wearing a poncho by ecoSkin, booties by Nae and bag by Matt & Nat. 50


Anna is wearing a dress by La Fille Colette and shoes by Mink.


bag T h i s sa l e n i s o w! no

Hannah is wearing a little black dress by La Fille Colette, necklace by Meowingtons, shoes by Mink and bag by Gunas.



Megan is wearing a dress by Vaute.

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M c l im Che kochik, tte for es! y le od for C Fille Co ount c La disc ti me

Dress and necklace by Lois Eastlund, booties by Strawberry Stores, bag by Cykochik 54


BEAUTY Q&A By Juliane Casey

Editor’s note: Our Beauty Q&A is back, by popular demand! Juliane Casey, as a model knows plenty of techniques to help us use beauty products in the right way, to save time, money and look our very best! For this issue, we chose questions about beauty tips in the summer sun.


ummer is here, and so is the sun! For some women, it’s the time of year to lie out in the sun to reap the benefits of tanned skin and Vitamin D. While some exposure to sunlight is healthy, too much is risky and can cause discoloration, dryness, and even cancer down the line. Here are some tips for protecting your skin and hair, and for getting a lovely glow without the damaging effects of the sun.

Dear Juliane,

Dear Juliane,

I spend a lot of time outdoors and at the beach. How should I prep my hair for the sun?

Is it important for everyone to wear sunscreen, or only for lighter skin tones? Do I need to reapply throughout the day?

Mia, Merrick, NY Beth, Brooklyn, NY Hi Mia, Hi Beth, You should treat your hair as an extension of your skin – it’s made up of similar types of cells! Just like your skin, hair can get dry, change color, and be damaged with sun exposure. Try wearing a wide-brimmed hat or scarf to protect your hair. Keeping your hair moisturized, either by using a leave-in conditioner or hair mask, will help protect it. Finally, you can use a hair conditioner specifically designed with an SPF – try the Sun Shield Conditioning Spray by Paul Mitchell.

All adults, including people with darker skin tones, benefit from wearing sunscreen on a daily basis, particularly on areas exposed to the sun like the face, neck and arms. Sunscreen needs to be re-applied every 2 hours, and for extra protection use a hat, sunglasses and clothing. Many people think they only need to apply sunscreen once or twice a day, or that they are extra protected with higher SPF, but really you only need to be using up to SPF 50 and re-apply often.


All sunless tanners contain the ingredient dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When DHA interacts with your dead skin cells on the outermost surface of your skin, it reacts to form the desired bronze color. A tan can start to develop within an hour and will last up to a week. The biggest benefit of sunless tanners is that you can show off tanned skin, without baking in the sun, avoiding exposure to harmful UV rays. Most tanners can be applied at home, meaning you can get a tan in any part of the world, during any season.

Dear Juliane,

Dear Juliane,

What products do you use in the summer to protect your hair and skin?

How do sunless tanners work? What are the benefits and can you advise the best way to use them without getting that streaky look?

Nancy, Tacoma, WA Katharine, Dallas, TX Hi Nancy, Hi Katharine, For my hair, on a weekly basis I deep condition with Moroccanoil Restorative Hair Mask. In the summer it’s important for me to use a leave-in conditioner for extra protection from the sun, and I use It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product for silky, moisturized hair. For my face, I typically apply Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47 for an all-over hydrated feel. This product is good for dry to normal skin. If I use a lighter moisturizer, I will also use VMV Hypoallergenics Face Cover in SPF 30 as my sunscreen. This is a great product for sensitive skin, and the consistency of the product is very light, unlike most sunscreens. 56

Sunless tanners come in spray, lotion, gel, and mousse form. There is a wide range of products available, starting with drugstore brands, all the way up to luxury brands as well as salon treatments.

There are two keys to using sunless tanners. The first important step is to use on clean skin. Apply sunless tanner after you have showered, when skin is smooth and slightly exfoliated. Since sunless tanner grabs onto dead skin cells, it’s not necessary to over-exfoliate, but starting with a clean base will ensure an even tan. Secondly, make sure you apply the product evenly. Whether it’s a cream, gel or spray, you will need to make sure you avoid building up product in certain areas, which will result in a darker pigment. If you are using a cream or gel, wash your hands immediately after applying to avoid staining your fingers and nails.

Ask Juliane a question about your beauty routine at and check out her YouTube channel here.






Interview by Lois Eastlund Header photo by Terrence White. Other photos, Jean’s own


Blogger and Seattle resident Jean White had been vegan for years and always looked for animal-free clothing. Then she read a book called “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Clothing” and watched a documentary called “The True Cost,” and she learned so much about garment workers, the environment and the fashion industry in general. She needed to change the way she shopped but had a hard time finding things that met her criteria. She found eco clothing items, but they were often made with wool, silk, and leather. She found clothing free of animal products, but often didn’t know how the items were made. She looked online but really wished there was a place in Seattle where she could try things on. Then she thought, “maybe I’m the person who needs to open such a shop.” Drizzle & Shine was born! I recently caught up with Jean to find out more...

LE: What type of merchandise do you carry and how do you curate the collections? JW: We have a selection of women’s and men’s clothing and accessories (jewelry, belts, bags, and shoes). We also have beauty products like soaps and lotions. Choosing items depends on a few things. First, everything has to be vegan. No wool, silk, 60

leather, down, or anything made from animals or tested on animals. I don’t support sweatshops either, so I look for fair trade lines. Some lines are made in the US and others are imported, but I strive to find companies that treat garment workers fairly and pay them appropriately. I prefer sourcing organic or recycled fabrics so the environmental impact is less-

ened. And if an item passes those tests, I make sure it’s cute, comfortable, and reasonably priced. If it’s not fashionable, people won’t buy it, no matter how noble the cause. And if it’s too expensive, they’ll write off “eco” as unobtainable. I’m trying to reach the regular fashionista and show how to make little changes for a big impact. LAFCNYC.COM

Life Animal Sanctuary in Sequim, WA. This month we’re supporting the Food Empowerment Project, a group that promotes veganism, advocates for farm workers’ rights, and is fighting urban food deserts. We’ll keep supporting different groups each month.

LE: How does having an all vegan store make an impact? JW: Vegans, of course, love shopping here without having to worry about materials. Other customers might not be looking for vegan items, but if the things they find are high quality and stylish, they’ll buy them. I’m happy to help customers understand the environmental impact of leather. It’s not only cruel, it’s toxic! Areas of the world with lots of leather tanneries have high rates of cancer. The environment is polluted by the chemical concoction that spews into the waterways from the tanneries. It’s a horrible product that’s often promoted as being “green.” Skin is natural, but the reason it doesn’t decompose like roadkill is because of the chemical treatment it undergoes. Despite the harsh realities of animal industries, I don’t bring people down with too much negativity. The store is a fun place to shop! The best compliments I receive are from customers who have low expectations because they think eco can’t be stylish. People have preconceived notions of eco clothing and I’m happy to shatter some myths. If I can provide stylish substitutes, people will learn that they don’t have to compromise. LE: Are most of your customers vegans or just fashionistas? JW: I’d say about 20% of my customers are vegans. The others are

fashionistas. Some don’t really care that there’s an eco component to the store but most are pleasantly surprised to find out everything is sweatshop-free. Organic clothing is so soft, and [customers] love feeling the fabrics. Many are happy to hear the backstories of the brands, who makes the clothing, and what’s different about [the companies]. I don’t know anyone who wants to support sweatshops. People either don’t know, or don’t know how to find alternatives. I’m happy to provide them this option. LE: How have people responded to the first all-vegan boutique in Seattle? JW: Seattle used to have a vegan shoe store and people were sad when it closed. We have a thriving vegan scene here and I’m happy to have the support of the vegan community. Vegans go out of their way to visit, share on social media, and spread the word. I’ve had people travel from other cities in the area to shop here and that means a lot. Visiting vegans drop in too. I love meeting vegans who are here from other cities and countries. LE: Is the store involved in any local community events? JW: Yes! Every month we choose a non-profit to support and promote. For May/June (our first day through the end of the first full month) we gave a percentage of sales to Precious

LE: How did you come up with the name “Drizzle & Shine?” JW: Those are our seasons – lol! It’s a very Seattle name. We have a lot of drizzle and from time to time the sun comes out. I thought it was fitting. But it’s more than just that. It also reflects the negative and the positive. With animals, the environment, and workers, there are a lot of negatives (drizzle). But I don’t let that get me down because there are also amazing advocates and companies working hard to change things (shine). LE: And lastly, what do you think is an important trend going into Fall 2016? JW: I want compassion to be the new trend! Thinking about who made our clothing and how it was made and making choices based on ethics. Generally, I try to look past shortterm trends. Instead of promoting “the it item” that will be quickly out of style, I’m looking for timeless classics. I want people to buy quality items they can wear many different ways—dress up or down, layer, etc. That said, for fall, I’m really looking forward to some fleece jackets I have on order. They’re cozy enough to satisfy Seattleites’ desire for fleece, but instead of being the usual cut (a hoodie), they’re fashion forward silhouettes. Can’t wait! If you live in the Seattle area, visit Drizzle & Shine at 102 15th Ave East, Seattle, WA, or online, http://www.





A New Way to Teach Your Kids About Animal Ethics is Here! Interviewed by Adrienne Borgersen


ntrepreneurs Tom & Jaime Cangemi, using their backgrounds in music and acting respectively, developed and created the parent company Jammin’ Junior 10 years ago to educate children in a fun way through music. Growin’ Up Great is the evolution of Jammin’ Junior and is now the first children’s animated TV show that teaches the plant-based/vegan lifestyle, along with core values like loving yourself, loving others as well as animals, our planet and much more. It’s about a boy named Junior, his best friend Jaime, and a rock band known as the Jammonites, which consists of 5 lovable, yet crazy animals: Eddie the Elephant (on drums), Kammy the Kangaroo (on keys), Chaz the Cheetah (on guitar), Ricky the Raccoon (on something), & Shoshanna the Shark (on bass). Along with their two sidekicks, a 300-year-old Super Fantastic Extra-Ordinary Spiritual Indian Tree named Gnesh and their loud Italian Vegan Chef GG, on their old steamboat, the S.S. Jammonite, they travel the planet on their nev-

Photos: Tom & Jaime Cangemi’s own

er-ending worldwide “Rockin’ the World Tour” spreading their messages through mayhem and music! Tom and Jaime are two of my dearest friends, for many years. I was so thrilled when they made the ransition to the vegan lifestyle for their son Phoenix and for all children of the world. I chatted with Tom hile he was in NYC taping an episode of the upcoming TV show “Plantbased by Nafsika” (see cover tory), talking about this project. I’m very excited to introduce Tom and Jaime to you here at LAFC! Where did the idea for Jammin’ Junior come from? One day, we took a look around us and decided to do something in our lives that didn’t involve us, so we chose to motivate, educate and inspire children with the truth. With Tom’s background in music, we thought that writing songs would be the best way to get our message across. Through this process, our beautiful characters were born.

I remember when you started out with a video using hand puppets. Then came life-sized haracters in a musical. Now animation! Take us through the evolution. Ten years ago, we sat down and wrote a song called “Eddie The Elephant” with no image or plan in mind. We were just having some fun. And then it turned into a character, and then into some friends, then into 5 books, one introducing each character. Our neighbor, little Tommy, said he wanted to see them on TV, so we turned our upstairs into a puppet show and started filming. That wasn’t enough for us though. We then hired a company to make us life-sized mascots of each character and we produced the sold out musical, with a cast of 19 amazing people, called “You Can’t Stop a Dream.” Little did we know at that time, that it was our dream! The musical was a success and we proved that it worked for some time in our future. Through CD’s, Books, DVD’s and as our personal lives changed with becoming and living a plant-based/ vegan life, we decided to align our company with our lifestyle and Growin’ Up Great® was born!


How important is the music to the message and why? Being a songwriter and producer for 3 decades, I’ve written and produced for a few pop stars here and there, did some TV jingles and I’ve come to know just how powerful music and its lyrics are to influence the mind, especially of growing children. That said we put ALL of our thoughts and purpose into our music and lyrics so that children will retain the right positive messages.

You can subscribe to our YouTube Channel growinupgreat and watch our upcoming episodes with your children.

Why is this so important to you? As parents ourselves, we want our child to have access to the truth, be able to live a compassionate life and give back to humanity. We also believe that if children were given a choice to eat an animal or plant, they will choose the plant every time if they are not influenced the other way by mass media. It’s a natural instinct! If you put a calf and an apple in a crib with a baby, which one do you think the baby will eat? We want to reinforce that decision through our loveable characters and catchy songs!

Catch an interview with Tom on “Plantbased by Nafsika” on the FYI channel, August 24!

And most importantly, be kind to yourself and everyone that you meet. Love, respect and protect our animals and live a compassionate life. Watch the trailer on YouTube here.

Join their Kickstarter Campaign on August 19th

What is your definition of success? To influence children to think for themselves and live a plant-based life, and this means the foods they choose, the clothes they wear and the products they use on their growing bodies. Ultimately success means to leave a legacy long after we have left this planet. To make a difference in the lives of children and adults everywhere! Where can we find you and how can we support you? You can visit our site at You can like our Facebook page: 64




by Adrienne Borgersen

As an entrepreneur, I sometimes ask for feedback from my peers, on what I’m doing with my business. I recently reached out to a few business groups, on the look of the magazine and the new website. Knowing that this magazine is based on the principle of being of service and giving back, most of the feedback was really good. But some said the feel of the magazine seemed too “old” and didn’t grab my demographic. Some said they wanted to see more diversity. Hmmm…I thought, that’s interesting. I put people on the cover that I feel are accomplished and strong, that have contributed something important to the world and represent a positive image for the vegan lifestyle. I think they are all beautiful and fabulous. The magazine is predominantly read by women, and so far, there have only been women on the cover. That doesn’t mean I’ll never have a man on the cover. I’d love to show men’s fashions or even do an entire “Man” issue. (Do you want to see a “Man” issue? Let me know!) But…I’m not interested in creating a fashion and beauty magazine that is “ageist” or “sexist” or “size obsessed”. There is beauty in everyone and everything around us. I get that the cover subject needs to draw in readers who will identify with and be attracted to what’s on the cover. I think I’ve accomplished that with gorgeous photography and graphic design, on top of the beautiful women I’ve featured. I don’t see why only chronologically young, generically attractive women on the cover is the only way to attract readers. I don’t believe that’s the mission of the magazine, nor who my readers are. 66

I truly try to create diversity on the cover and throughout the magazine. The cover stories to date are women from all over the world and many different backgrounds. Sometimes I have to use the resources available to me at the time. But, I think so far it has worked, because I’m still showing that there are many compassionate and diverse choices in fashion and beauty, out there. I never want to give the impression that everyone has to look a certain way, because I definitely don’t believe that. So I have a choice. I can conform to traditional fashion & beauty magazine “standards” in an effort to build a loyal, like minded community of subscribers. A “tribe” they call it. Or, I can do what I’m doing, break the molds, stand up for what I believe in and talk about image in a way the lifts us up, rather than being comparative and judgmental. I think that creates a like minded community of which I would be proud to be a part. I created this magazine to help save animals, by sharing the knowledge that I have and continue to learn. I’m not on a soapbox, this is a conversation, as I also want it to be valuable to you. So if you’re reading this, I pose the question to you. What do you think? What do you want to see? Who do you want to read about? Tell me and I will do my damnedest to make it happen for you - for all of us - for the animals. Are you with me?? Write to me at or comment on the website Thank you!! LAFCNYC.COM