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Tracy Simone




Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Kelly Breuer


Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell Charlene Mann


Regina Smith Gary Ariel Washington Vialma Ramos Titiana Curry Chastity Singletary Jessica Lewis Yolanda Smilez Dr Kiki Michelle Mr Carlyle Williams Sheila Young Ayanna Jackson Latiffany Anderson Tarchia Powell Tracy Simone Sierra Monae Maisha Beard


Kelly Breuer


The Next Design


The Next Design



Tracy Simone, is an amazing woman who is an IT professional, a model and an actress and the newest member of the SFTS team. Tracy was photographed at the studio of photographer Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell for the cover of the latest edition of RWO’s “Something 4the Sista’s”. Make-up courtesy of Rosalind Matthew.

Rochester Woman ONLINE is the premier professional woman’s online publication in the greater Rochester area. Our feature articles address major topics that interest local women. Each issue includes articles on health, fashion, fitness, finance, dining, lifestyle and personal perspectives, as well as a spotlight on local area women. The electronic magazines are distributed freely through your favorite app store and will be in your inbox electronically by the first week of every month. The publication is available free of charge. Please feel free to contact publisher Kelly Breuer at 585.727.9120 or you can email us at networkrocqueen@gmail.com. Download our current media kit at www. rochesterwomanonline.com. The magazine is published 12 times a year by Rochester Woman ONLINE. Copyright © 2017 Rochester Woman ONLINE. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or republished without the consent of the publisher. Rochester Woman ONLINE is not responsible for unsolicited submissions, manuscripts, photos or artwork. All such submissions become the property of Rochester Woman ONLINE and will not be returned.






Women today often juggle multiple careers. We want it all and we are capable of doing just that. RWO is proud to announce the newest addition to our editorial team, Ms. Tracy Simone out of Albany, NY. Tracy is an amazing woman who is an IT professional, a model and an actress. She shares that she basically fell into all of her careers. She grew up In Schenectady, NY, home of General Electric. Her mother placed Tracy and her brother in a program at General Electric founded to increase minority engineering graduates. At 17, like many others, Tracy was not sure what career path she wished to pursue. She enjoyed her high school computer classes, loved visiting different colleges and potential places of employment and GE was offering scholarships, so this assisted her on her way in exploring the famous question of “What do I want to be when I grow up”. Tracy planned to start with something technical and then pursue “something fun” like music. Starting off at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, Tracy jumpstarted her life enrolling in the computer science program. This was a huge step for Tracy and soon she

found herself evolving from a great high school student with a bright future to a struggling Compute Science major in an engineering school.

Tracy shares, “Going through RPI was one of the hardest but most rewarding things I ever did. It taught me to persevere and inspired me to compete professionally. One day on campus, I was walking to the computer center (no PC’s, internet

or cell phones back then) and I was asked to join a project in production. Another student and I were just walking by. After participating, I thought doing this was fun. The following semester the same production team needed subjects for a training film about fire safety. It was fascinating watching what they were doing and how they made fake films appear like a real fire. I began wanting to know more and this led me to look at casting for commercials. I assumed models were in the commercials, so I signed up for a local modeling school’s program (The Barbara Thomas Agency). Acting was another thing I fell into, as the agency sent me out on some calls requiring speaking on camera. I hated it at first because I found it stressful to remember the lines, pretending that I wasn’t speaking from memory, staying in the shot and listening to the director all at one time. I ended up doing quite a few industrial projects, mostly employee training films for General Electric, New York State, Price Chopper and others. I did so many of these projects and commercials, I became eligible to join the Screen Actors Guild. I am working in a combination of IT, modeling and acting ever since”. Tracy enjoys the diversity in her career and never knowing what is next. Modeling and acting are the extreme opposites of a corporate job. In her day job, she works with the same people doing



{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY STORY }} { COVER } “ I strive to do the best I can in everything I do. I try to have fun, but I always take all of my assignments seriously. I believe I was given one chance to be me, so I go for everything I want.”

similar things. In modeling and acting, Tracy loves that she travels all over. She loves meeting new people. Every project she is a part of is unique in nature. She never has any idea of what she will be asked to do or wear. Some days there are celebrities, some days are very physical, some days are for beauty, some days are to sell cars, etc.

was very special to her. Sadly, Tracy as a woman of color in the industry, was faced with discrimination.

Tracy says, “I was paid to roller skate, ski, ride a roller coaster, play a nurse, be an attorney, wear wings to events, you name it. I never know where I will appear. I was placed on billboards, greeting cards, magazines, television, the movies, runways, web ads and my voice was used in voice overs. It is all work, but it is interesting and fun” If that’s not amazing in itself, Tracy is also a single mom. She took several years off from modeling to concentrate on raising her daughter. Tracy indicates her daughter, now 18, is the most significant person in her life. She is all grown up and is scheduled to graduate from high school this year. Tracy says having her daughter inspires her to do some of the things she is doing. She describes her as talented, beautiful, hardworking and attributes her daughter has probably taught her more than she has taught her. Tracy shares that she lost her mom at the age of 26, so having her daughter and becoming a mom herself 419

It made her stronger. She shares by saying, “There were definitely instances of discrimination in modeling. A few incidents come to mind.


I remember being selected on several occasions to be “the One” wearing the special gown or the signature piece of the show. Other models or event organizers made racist comments. This never stopped me. If anything, these things just made me work harder. I never felt I had anything to prove to anyone and I knew I deserved the opportunities I found myself participating in. I felt it was unfortunate, other people didn’t like the fact the black girl was the chosen one. I also experienced racism in my corporate position. I was given a promotion and was chosen to head up a major project. Someone didn’t like that I was placed in the high visibility position and had the nerve to ask me how I got my job. Silly man. I broke it down to him in a way I know will make him think twice about doing that to anyone again. I work hard for everything I achieve. Another example was when entering a modeling contest to represent a chain of stores in New England. I won! I interacted with another model who competed later at a bridal shoot. When I shared my news, her reply was, “I think having a black spokesmodel is limiting”.



“There were definitely instances of discrimination in modeling. A few incidents come to mind. I remember being selected on several occasions to be “the One” wearing the special gown or the signature piece of the show. Other models or event organizers made racist comments. This never stopped me. If anything, these things just made me work harder.”

COVER STORY { {{SHIFT+CONTROL COVER STORY STORY }} } { COVER } “Tracy is an inspiring woman who is also concerned with issues that impact young people today and their futures. How people are treated in this world is eye-opening. Unfortunately, many people chose to be followers as opposed to leaders.”

I never let these things bother me. I strive to do the best I can in everything I do. I try to have fun, but I always take all of my assignments seriously. I believe I was given one chance to be me, so I go for everything I want. If things don’t work out, they were either not meant to be or I was supposed to be doing something else”. Tracy hopes to seek out some larger speaking roles in the future in film. She also enjoys doing print work. She tells us, “There is one final part of me that I haven’t let the cat out of the bag about, but you will see her within the next five years”. Tracy is an inspiring woman who is also concerned with issues that impact young people today and their futures. How people are treated in this world is eye-opening. Unfortunately, many people chose to be followers as opposed to leaders. Tracy shares, “Many people follow the crowd or the lead of those who control the media, the entertainment industry, the courts, the government, etc. I am very concerned with where we are going as a society, especially here in the states. Many people allow themselves to be mistreated and are afraid to take a stand for something. This is a problem. We take so much for granted because we have so much. There are a lot of people who do not have basic necessities and not enough of us do anything to help. We must realize we are a part of a whole and we can each contribute something. Everyone should enjoy access to a good education, food, water, love, peace and fair treatment. We get too caught up in 423

material things. Life is truly what we make it. We need to make it better for ourselves and those around us. I think our biggest issue is misinformation. People are programmed to believe things which keep those who are in power in their positions and to buy what they want us to buy. People are trained to believe what they see and hear and many fail to think for themselves. I think if more people were more engaged in what is actually going on around them, rather than being passive and accepting what is presented to them, we would all be better off. For instance, people used to get upset when they saw negative images or heard bad lyrics. Now, people buy into the negative images of others that are projected. Too many people are only concerned with things that directly impact them personally and they discount others, based on the misinformation they are fed. A lot of them buy into stereotypes they saw or heard, and it can become dangerous. Some don’t even like themselves because of what they are fed”. In closing, Tracy tells RWO readers: “You MUST pursue your dreams. Do not let anyone or anything stop you from being the best you can be. You will never be your best unless you are somehow feeding your soul. If your dreams do not pay your bills, then pursue them on the side of a job with a steady paycheck. That provides you balance and relieves the stress of not having the financial means that you need to live comfortably. It is no fun being excellent at something, but hungry. If you are doing what you love, even if it is just part time, opportunities


will start to come for you. So will the haters, but they are just a sign that you are doing something right. Do not ever give up on your dream. Do not give up on yourself. Make sure only positive folks surround you and don’t forget to share your gifts with the rest of us! You will never have peace, unless you do what is in your heart to do. You were not put on the planet to only be in a 9-to-5 situation. Things like age, race, gender and size do not actually matter for your dreams, especially now with the internet age. Decide what you want, start doing research on it, learn it inside and out and reach out to other people who share your interests. I am 55-years-old and just got back into modeling and acting 2 years ago, when my daughter got a little bit older. I jumped right back in where I left off and I was never as busy with these things as I am right now. Pursue your dreams! Now!” Be sure to tune in for Tracy’s monthly column as I am sure she will bring some diverse, interesting and important issues to the table in our RWO community.






I am a single mother of one child, a daughter who is a senior in high school. She is preparing to graduate and then move on to college. Raising this one child was the most rewarding, challenging, expensive, n e r ve w r a c k i n g , amazing, frustrating, and beautiful thing I’ve done in my life. There are 6 of us living in my home: me, the dog, 2 cats, my daughter and her teenage attitude. That last one, the teenage attitude, isn’t a full-time resident, but she does come visit from time to time. That last one must go.

and acting. So, being a single mom, although financially challenging, was do-able. Somehow, you figure out how to come up with that $250 per week for summer camp, so you can make it

When it became clear I was embarking upon raising a kid by myself, I was determined to not skip a beat. I insisted I would be the best mom I could and also not let my child suffer because her father and I couldn’t quite get our act together as a team. It was time to juggle, meet the challenges, but also not lose myself. By most standards, I did well professionally. I achieved a consistent career in IT as a programmer, systems manager, people manager, and right now, project manager for a financial institution. Through the years, I maintained careers in modeling 427

to work when school was out and to pay for the after school program at the YMCA, so, no worries until you get home from work. Ka ching, ka ching,


ka ching. Painful in the pocket, but necessary, nonetheless. I’ve gone through promotions and the big titles, too large of a staff or no staff, the money to go with it, the stress, and the literally making myself sick over it. I was once laid off after 10 years as a loyal employee...really mad about that one at first, just to realize later that it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me professionally. I used to bring home the IBM manuals and study them so I wouldn’t be outdone by the guys at work with whom I worked side-byside. I once spent every single day during a vacation week being online with my job. This was supposed to be my time to spend with my daughter and (thank goodness) her friend who also tagged along. They went together to the beach, while I worked from the hotel room so we could meet an unreasonable deadline at work for a project. What? I’m the Credit Angel (spokesmodel), damn it! LOL How do I keep from going insane? In addition to working, paying the bills and being a mom (plus the dishes, laundry, yard work, that dreaded book bag with assignments for ME from the teachers),




{ TRACY IS TALKING } “Through the years, I maintained careers in modeling and acting. So, being a single mom, although financially challenging, was do-able.”

to jump out there and try something new. I always encourage other people to do just that. Want to be a model? Try it. Want to sing or dance? Write? Play the piano? Go for it. Don’t let anyone make you believe you are not good enough, not young enough, pretty enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, the “wrong” ethnicity or gender, etc. Everything you need is right within you and YOU choose. The most successful people are the ones 429

who realize it is ok to let their inner light shine. They do not take no for an answer. They do not make excuses. They roll up their sleeves and get to work. So, what if you are a woman, a single mom, a goofball, short, heavy, not the same ethnicity or gender as most of the people in your field? Whatever. You CAN have it all…maybe not all at once, but I promise YOU CAN and as we move forward, we will show each other how.


I am so very grateful to the people from Rochester Woman Online for the invitation to be a new member of their editorial team. What a fabulous opportunity to connect with other people, share information, and have some fun! There is always something in my head that wants to come out. We have many things to talk about, so check back here next month.




“Want to be a model? Try it. Want to sing or dance? Write? Play the piano? Go for it. Don’t let anyone make you believe you are not good enough, not young enough, pretty enough, smart enough, wealthy enough, the “wrong” ethnicity or gender, etc. Everything you need is right within you and YOU choose.“






The founder of “iRocWomen” called onehundred women and six-hundred showed up! Only a woman who possesses the passion and love for humanity could accomplish the bringing together of a diverse array of women to Rochester, New York’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square in April of 2016. This was the “BeComing” of Camille McIntyre. Camille’s inspiration derived from the negative stereotypes in reality shows that capitalize by conveying undesirable depictions about women, their friendships, and relationships with other women. As Camille and I conversed during her lunch break, her selfless nature was easily detectable as she said, “I wondered what I could do to dismantle the negative stereotypes and the one-hundred women photoshoot popped into my spirit. I knew that I wanted to empower women and this was an opportunity for me to introduce myself to the community—the beginning of my community becoming familiar with me, my passion, and my desire to show that we can look alike, be in one setting, empower one another, love one another, and cry together. We can be one solid unit. When women are in the room, there is not always controversy. A woman who attended was contemplating suicide, and she expressed that the photo shoot saved her life!” Women who were in attendance included Rochester’s Mayor Lovely A. Warren and Dr. Leslie MyersSmalls—Superintendent of The Brockport

Central School District. I was captivated by Camille’s recollection of the photo-shoot. It was as if her heart was speaking, and every word was heartfelt and organic. Camille was authentic and honest about her fears. “I was afraid, and I did not know who would show up.

Hundreds of women filled the park, and even after the shoot, women came asking if it was over. I hired one photographer, and others joined in. It was powerful. It dismantled the stigma and stereotypes that are portrayed in the media and locally.

The Lord is so awesome! It was amazing!” There was no stopping Camille! In May 2019, Camille hosted the “Boss’d Up Brunch,” which was birthed by the observation of women in the community who offered insight about life, business, and purpose. Camille revealed that her life had changed on that day due to the many topics discussed, including surviving cancer, overcoming depression, and embracing one’s self, regardless how society can impact a woman’s self-worth and selfesteem. The “Boss’d Up” panelists and keynote speaker, Tanishia A. Johnson, released their struggles on that day and left the audience feeling empowered, inspired, and motivated. As Camille and I continued our conversation, her eyes began to sparkle as she spoke about her mother. Camille’s mother influenced her mindset. She vividly recalls living in the Van Auker housing complex for lowincome families. She softly spoke of her mother as a single mom with no high school diploma; nonetheless, Camille’s mother had a strong foundation and support system. “My mother always said that we might live in Van Auker, but we have an East Avenue mindset! My mother helped me understand that I could live better. She taught my brother and me that everything starts in our minds. We have what we say!” Working with teens is what Camille



{ IROCWOMEN } “This experience taught me how to be better as a young citizen, how to speak in public, and how to carry myself as a young black girl and a positive presence in my community.”

best. She started working at “Good Grades Pay” when she was fourteen years old and was placed under the supervision of the late great Willie Lightfoot Sr. and Michael Brooks. “This experience taught me how to be better as a young citizen, how to speak in public, and how to carry myself as a young black girl and a positive presence in my community. Certainly, this propelled Camille to pay her experiences forward by working as a Youth Navigator for The Future Ready Program, which is a program within Encompass Resources for Learning, Inc. Camille’s position focuses on preparing 435

students in grades 9-12 for success in college, career/trade, military, and becoming positive citizens of their communities. Camille’s passion and compassion for young people were adamantly spoken as she asserts, “Teens are always left out. They are the next generation of leaders who need to be cultivated, and I want to help them be and do their best.” What’s next for the thirty-seven-year-old change agent? “A Huge Expo for women that encompass all things women! It will be like Boss’d Up, and the Six-Hundred


Women Photo Shoot times a million!” Camille continues to speak with the mindset of manifesting her dreams. I look forward to seeing what Camille does next. A change agent, women’s empowerment activist, and a youth navigator—she is Camille McIntyre, and she is walking in her soul’s purpose while joyfully cultivating her greatest assignment as the mother of her beautiful daughter, Kennedy.





MAISHA BEARD Something 4 the Sista’s welcomes Maisha Beard to our writing team! Owner of the “Mai’ Musings” brand, Maisha is a creative writer, poet, published author, and inspirational speaker. Her poems and stories are published in the books, A Journey of a Teenage Mother and See No Evil, where Maisha reveals her struggles and triumphs as a teen mom as well as one who grew up in a household fueled with domestic violence. Maisha uses her experiences as inspiration for speaking and empowering women. Maisha earned a scholarship for English Creative Writing at The College at Brockport and currently serves the Educational Opportunity Program as a supplemental English Instructor and Teaching Assistant. As an undergraduate, her poetry was published in Jigsaw— The College Brockport’s Literary Magazine. With only one year left in her master’s program, Maisha building her Mai’ Musings brand and enchanting audiences with her warmth, empathy, compassion, and loving energy. She uses her gifts of poetry and inspirational speaking as a way of reaching those who may share similar life experiences and obstacles. Her goals include becoming a college professor, writing for major 437

publications, and speaking and inspiring audiences around the world. As a Rochester native, most know Maisha as one of the top hairstylists in Rochester,

New York. A licensed cosmetologist of 27 years, Maisha Beard, formerly known for the Exclusively Maisha Hair Studio, has become a well-respected entrepreneur within the Rochester community and has coached and trained other cosmetologists


so that they may be successful stylists and business professionals in the beauty business industry. Some of Maisha’s volunteerism includes the City of Rochester Mayor Lovely Ann Warren’s “Inspiring Women” event where she mentors young women between the ages of 16-21 on career choice, goal attainment, and intrinsic motivation. She was also a panelist for the “Cool Women-Hot Jobs” mentoring program at the Young Women and Girls Charter School, and the Genesee Valley Women’s Foundation, “Voices of Experience” after-school educational program, as well as an inspirational speaker for REOC’s Cosmetology department. A mother of four, Maisha Beard is passionate about motherhood, community, and using her gifts to impact the lives of others positively. Her favorite quote is by poet Audre Lorde. “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I’d be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” Look for Maisha’s Mai’Musings column in our next issue!

Mai’ Musings Symposium MAISHA BEARD/MAI’ MUSINGS SYMPOSIUM IS FOR LADIES WHERE I WILL DISCUSS PERSPECTIVES INCLUDING: * How to heal through heartbreak; * Love vs Attachment--know the difference; * Radical Self Love & Care; * Why we stay in toxic relationships and how to let go with love; SPECIAL GUEST SPEAKERS and much more! The registration consists of a love offering starting at $5-$20. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/mai-musingssymposium-tickets-63029829918







“You’re not going to write anything that is going to harm the family, are you?” A family member called me and said just weeks before my publishing of my first book. My mind was racing as I started to breath heavy. I was in a deep thought. I questioned myself many times before publishing my book. Am I doing the right thing? Should I still publish my book? Will people be mad at me for what I am about to reveal? The answer is YES. Yes, there will be people that will be mad and upset with the content you are writing about, and Yes, many will be offended. But, you must ask yourself the Why. Why are they feeling offended from the content you have written?

There are so many reasons people feel guilt, shame and worry. So many people do not want to face the secrets, shame and guilt that they have had to endure in their own lives, none the less in yours. I felt like that same child again that felt shame and guilt. That same child that couldn’t speak up. While attending the Black Women’s Book fair in March 2019, I spoke with someone regarding the concern certain members in my family had in regarding my first book. These things bothered me, and I had no intent to cause harm in anyone’s life. I needed guidance and she’d given it. She looked at me and said, “You’re not writing a book to harm your family,

you’re writing a book to heal them.” In that moment, I knew what I had to do. It was confirmed in my spirit that I needed to write this book. I needed to let my community and the world know that SPEAKING UP is the first step in the healing process. It was a no brainer that the message of my

book was more important than the fear of rejection I would feel from others that simply just didn’t understand. In my book “Silence the Tears, Unspeakable Acts Despair Redemption and Forgiveness,” I was able to be courageous and explore

the life outside of my own story, but in the eyes of two fictitious characters. I was strong and brave enough to take a stand and publish. This book speaks about the Sexual, Mental and Physical abuse that are within families. We as a community, as people of the free world must speak up for our youths! The more we hide the hurt, pain and abuse within the lives of our children, the more they become hindered. Our youths become adults with many ailments that are irreversible if not treated. So many people suffer from Trust Issues, Anger, Relationship Issues and many more due to the trauma they have endured in their lives. My book has a strong message. Breaking the stigma that children are seen and not heard. This book depicts the life of two children facing trauma within their family. Loving your family members and expecting to have trust, loyalty and safety. When these boundaries are not enforced and the love and safety you expect to receive are broken, it causes confusion within the children. Not wanting to tell to get someone in trouble, to believing what the perpetrator says, when they say someone else would be responsible for the crime if the victim tells. Sometimes, the Perpetrator may even threaten the victim to keep them quiet. Yet, still in all the victim is torn because of the relation of blood. Being a family member, the victim may



{ IN HER OWN WORDS } “You’re not writing a book to harm your family, you’re writing a book to heal them.”

not tell even through the physical and sexual abuse. The importance of having a support system is very dire. Children are like sponges when it comes to learning and picking up on behavior. If telling someone you trust within the family about a certain abuse that has transpired, yet, you do not get the proper response such as support, counseling and medical attention. This makes the child feel very alone, isolated and as if the abuse that has been happening to them is all their fault. The most important message within my 443

book “Silence the Tears, Unspeakable Acts Despair Redemption and Forgiveness” is to stand up against the abuse and secrets that are within families. The more we speak up and stand up for what is right, the secrets lose their power. Our children should not have to defend themselves from such abuse. Educating our families and community about the abuse that can happen in families is the first step. Creating a knowledgeable base of information that is easily assessible for our community. Our children deserve that. Our community deserves to know the truth and to have an


option to find ways to prevent such abuse. After such a trauma, it’s very important to be Proactive instead of Reactive. When someone is Reactive and not Proactive, the child suffers. This book speaks about creating a “Survival Pact” which is detrimental in the time of going through confusion and despair. Keep our children safe, stand up for what’s right. BREAK stigmas that hinder our youths. They are our future, heal them and expose secrets, one voice at a time. They deserve it!





Welcome to the “I Love Smilez” column. This column’s purpose is to make you smile by the end of every read. My hope is here, you will find you can smile, even when things in your life are not going right. Keep this in mind, “No matter what you’ve been or are going through, you will smile again”. Have you ever met that person, friend, family member, co-worker, or maybe even one of your kids, who is always playing the victim to cover their own issues or discrete?

she still want it? The young lady said,” yes”. The young lady understood the value of what the pastor was offering her even after watching all it had been through. See, some of us have been balled up, stomped on, treated bad, thrown down, talked about, and belittled, but

We have to stop allowing people to come in our life treating us less than we are worth or allowing them to play on our intelligence, as if we don’t know and understand how dope we are! No more sleepless nights or going to the drawing board trying to fix brokenness around you. Educate yourself on you and what you’re worth, find your smile again!

You find yourself running to save them every time they scream for help! Sooner or later, you find yourself burnt out and you just want to put up your cape. This year, there were so many Marvel movies at the theater. The writers seemed to not focus on one superhero, to make them the hero, but had them all come together. Yes, they are strong alone, but greater together. The writer understood the superheroes strength and what they were worth. You have to write your part in your movie. Your victims keep staging and know your worth! I watched a video of Pastor. He asked a young lady, did she want the twenty dollars that was in his hand. The young lady said,” Yes”. He then threw it on the floor. He repeated the question,” Do you want this twenty dollars?” The young lady replied,” yes”. The Pastor then picked the twenty dollars up. He balled it, stomped on it more than ten times, picked it up and asked her did

give your user a cliff hanger or energy that simply says,” to be continued”. Take time to write your energy back into yourself, focus on what matters, to make you greater. Diamonds have to be taken off and polished so they can shine properly. It’s ok to take a break so you can be polished .

no matter what we’ve been through we never lost our value. It’s the season of saying enough is enough. I can’t run saving everyone who screams help or plays victim to stroke their emotion. Find your strength to

Hang your cape up and stop running to save the victim in your life. That victim that only draws from you but once they heal, they don’t know how to pour back into you. You know who I am talking about. Just think about it and it will become clear. We can’t keep overdrawing our inner soul bank account. The overdraft fees add up and most of all are very annoying. When we pay out more for something then we receive, it’s not even worth it. Balance your soul bank account properly, so you can have enough savings to invest in the most important thing, you.



{ I LOVE SMILEZ } “We have to stop allowing people to come in our life treating us less than we are worth or allowing them to play on our intelligence, as if we don’t know and understand how dope we are! ”

People are afraid to invest in themselves. They fear being seen as selfish. It is not selfish it is self-preservation. Learn how to say no and mean it. Don’t allow people to guilt or manipulate you into doing what they want. The first lesson to learn is that we all have choices. The first choice is how you allow yourself to respond to a situation. When you learn how to draw barriers to what you will 447

accept and then apply consequences to others, decisions you draw the line for your sanity. You control how you react. You can get upset or turn things into a positive. Let others realize their choices and consequences dictate how you interact with them. If you don’t agree with the scenario, say no and walk away. It is very simple. When you learn how to control your reactions you will


realize you are the one in control. At this point, you will find your smile and you will not lose it again because you know you’re worth! “No matter what you been or going through, you will smile again”.






ADVANCEMENT OF THE BLACK BEAUTY QUEEN EXPERIENCE Having the opportunity on a monthly basis to report as your “pageant guru” has been a blessing. I have elevated myself personally to newer perspectives as a professional along with advancing my own competitive bravado. I often times believed that pageantry was my chosen sport mainly for the challenge of proving my worth. Pageantry allows me to feel empowered, valuable, and essentially at my best. I often forget that we each hold the power to break down barriers while writing new narratives that hopefully will groom the change we hope to see in the universe. As a proud African-American/Black male who has pushed through doors as a competitor, coach, and writer it has become a responsibility to make as much advancement continually possible for the future of male pageantry. Meanwhile, on the ladies side 2019 has proved to become a year for the record books. In a historic feat never before achieved until now five major national/international crowns are currently held by black women. These five ICONIC MOMENTS has separately and collectively changed the very landscape of how we will now view, discuss, & patron pageantry. What makes this such an ICONIC MOMENT is the amount of validation from a moment like this. The conversation has really grew into something and this article will explore the history behind and leading into that change we know as #BLACKGIRLMAGIC. From the start of when pageantry became a

nationally recognized event, all organizations expressed the same racial discrimination and opinion towards contestants of Black race. The ideology at that time spoke to a not so equal or accepting country which encouraged a mindset that didn’t accept women of color as viable contestants. We as a country didn’t see any shifts until we moved into the 1960s which was the rise of the civil rights movement, LGBTQIA push for equality, and the start of second

wave feminism. However, in the world of pageantry we were blessed sooner with seeing women of color getting the opportunities to become equal thankfully to the Miss America Organization. Founded on September 08, 1921 at Boardwalk hall in Atlantic City, NJ the Miss America Organization began accepting women of color as competitors in the 1940s. It did take until 1970 with Cheryl Browne

of Iowa to became the first Black woman ever crowned to represent her state for the title of Miss America. Subsequently, Cheryl didn’t win the 1970 crown or even place in the final but it was the start of greatness. Fast forward to September 17, 1983 and the breakthrough moment which happened for Vanessa L. Williams of New York as she became the 1st Black Miss America winner. What was so special about this particular year also was that four other women of color competed, which was a record at that point. Vanessa’s win revolutionized pageantry, it started breaking the ceiling down which was placed so tight on the Black community. Seeing this win was beyond pageantry, but more of the feeling that society is changing. Unfortunately, Vanessa was forced to resign exactly one month before her step down. Due to leaked private photos that were released without her consent, she was forced to step down and relinquish her title. Vanessa was and is still considered Miss America in the history books but ultimately her successor from New Jersey, Suzette Charles finished the reign. This crowning is significant because it is the first resignation in the organization’s history. Its the second time a Black woman was crowned and for Suzette also holds the record for the shortest reign ever at just seven weeks. We then saw at Miss America the first official back to back crowning of Black women in 1990 and 1991 with Debbye Turner of Missouri crowning Marjorie Vincent of Illinois. Another back to back wouldn’t happen again until 2003 and 2004 when Erika Harold of Illinois crowned Ericka Dunlap of Florida. In total, 9 Black winners have been crowned which include our reigning



{ AN ICONIC MOMENT } “Pageantry allows me to feel empowered, valuable, and essentially at my best. I often forget that we each hold the power to break down barriers while writing new narratives that hopefully will groom the change we hope to see in the universe.”

Miss America, Nia Imani Franklin of New York. Nia winning the crown also gained media attention for0 earning New York a record seventh crown-The most for any state, she is the 1st Miss America to reign under the New 2.0 initiative, and is the 1st Miss America winner to never compete in the swimsuit competition. The Miss USA pageant was founded in 1952 and thanks to the power of research it appeared that women of color were eligible to compete without restrictions. Advancement started to appear coincidently in 1990 when Carole Gist of Michigan earned the honor of being crowned the first Black Miss USA. This win also equaled the same enormous amount of national attention that Vanessa L Williams had received seven years prior. In our country we saw for the 1st time Miss America and USA reigning together proudly. Moving forward we witnessed more African-American women over time taking the crown of Miss USA. Most notable winners include “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Summer Moore of Detroit who earned the crown in 1993. Then in 1995, Chelsi Smith of Texas not only earned the Miss USA crown but also became the 1st Black Miss Universe winner and 2nd women of color behind Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad & Tobago who won in 1977. Chelsi, unfortunately passed away on September 08, 2018 in Mifflin, PA to complications of liver cancer. As the new millennium approached, another winner emerged in Lynette Cole of Tennessee who became the winner for 2000. Lynette is the 2nd of 3 African-American women to make the top five at Miss Universe. In 2007 & 455

2008 we witnessed the first back to back crowning of African-American women in Rachel Smith of Tennessee and Crystle Stewart of Texas. Rachel and Crystle did extremely well at Miss Universe with Rachel placing 4th Runner and Crystle making the top 10 respectively. Subsequently this feat wouldn’t happen again until 2016 and 2017 when Deshauna Barber crowned

Kará McCullough. This honor was the 1st back to back win for the District of Columbia and 1st time crowning of an active military soldier in Deshauna & nuclear chemist in Kará. In total we have achieved an astonishing 11 Black Miss USA winners including Cheslie Kryst of North Carolina winning the crown on May 2nd, 2019. Cheslie becomes the 3rd winner from North Carolina and the 1st ever lawyer to become Miss USA which proves no matter the career pageantry can


actually happen. The Miss Teen USA pageant was founded on August 30th, 1983 in a need to cultivate pageant interest amongst the teenage population. Thankfully, it took until 1991 for the 1st Black winner to be crowned was Janelle Bishop of New Hampshire who is also the 1st winner for the state. Upon Janelle’s victory we then witnessed six more Black Teen winners. Most notably in 2012, Logan West of Connecticut became the 1st winner to hold titles between Miss Teen USA & Miss America Outstanding Teen. While the 1st and only back to back crowing happened recently with Hailey Colburn of Kansas winning in 2018 and crowing our reigning Miss Teen USA 2019 Kaliegh Garris of Connecticut who was crowned May 1, 2019. Now your thinking and reading this thinking, can the three Black queens reigning together be enough? Absolutely not because advancement never fades but continues to cultivate more success. With that said on July 8, 2018 just months prior to the crowning of Nia Franklin, we witnessed Andromeda Peters of Virginia become the winner of Miss Miss United States. Founded in 1986, the Miss United States pageant was at one point the official preliminary for the Miss Earth organization. Now as a stand alone up and coming national title to have 3 Black winners despite having very little media coverage is an amazing success. Last but not least, I wanted to include Jazel Barbie Royale of Florida. Jazel added to the history books on becoming the 1st Black woman to be crowned Miss International Queen. This





{ AN ICONIC MOMENT} } { SHIFT+CONTROL “Moving forward we witnessed more African-American women over time taking the crown of Miss USA.”

is also relevant because Jazel represents the transgender community. Founded in 2004, The Miss International Queen organization was established with the intent to offer an international competition for transgender and transsexual women from around the world. Providing more opportunities for transgender/transsexuals to be accepted. This is also meant to create human rights awareness amongst all international communities while building friendships and exchanging of ideas among international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual communities. This win was equally important to note because it once again validates that gender normalities are changing. Our nation is really becoming forward thinking, more accepting of diversity, while taking the female empowerment experience to a new level of inclusivity. Even Democratic senator and 2020 presidential

contender Kamala Harris even noted on an Instagram post her excitement about the #BLACKGIRLMAGIC phenomenon. She noted how exciting of a time were in currently with seeing viewing our young, successful Black women. These women are making their own path, on their own terms & merit unapologetically without resistance which is remarkable.

am grateful that the Black experience is finally validated and if your motivated like I am go out and make your own history. If you the reader take anything away from reading this please hold this quote close to your heart. “ Trust the vision and hold the process!” -Tiffany Teixiera, former Miss Connecticut USA, Miss Connecticut Teen USA, & top 10 finalist at Miss USA 2015

In summary, #BLACKGIRLMAGIC is in full swing with no visible signs of slowing down. The only questions I can ask now are the following: What else will Blacks accomplish this year? What will happen in years to come? Will I become the 1st Black man crowned World Perfect Man 2019 to add on the history? As I stated in the start of this article, I am very proud to be a Black pageant professional. I am honored to stand alongside women of exceptional calibur, grace, humility and dedication. I








“Mama gotta have a life too” is what Juanita (A.J. Johnson’s character) told her son in the late John Singleton movie “Baby Boy.” Juanita was responding to the criticism of her dating life from her young son. I will get on that in a minute, but I want to address my life as a mother who happens to be single. A common belief is that as a parent your kids come before everything, even your own ambitions and desires. This is something that I have never subscribed to. I feel strongly that I am a woman first, before I am a mother. I still have my own dreams and aspirations that I am working hard every day to fulfill. I am a pure believer that if I am not good, my kids are not good. I will have nothing to pour in to my children if my cup is always empty. I don’t want people to think that I am out here abandoning my children to go out and party, because that will never be the case. But I have chosen to build myself up in areas that serve me in order to be a better parent. That being said, I battle the opinions of the person I co-parent with, and with my family about my decision to put myself before my kids. I had to evolve to this way of living for my own sanity, and it wasn’t easy convincing those around me. I remember allowing people to talk me into deferring my own dreams to work in media. My ex once told me “there is no money in that”, “So-n-So’s sister got that same degree, and she didn’t get a job... blah, blah, blah.” Looking back I see those comments as the red flags of our incompatibility. However, I felt discouraged and frustrated that no one believed in my talents. I understand now, that people will often project their own fears on you. You just have to be strong enough to block them out and believe in yourself.

When I was with my ex, I was the default person for our kids. My ex could go to work, and not have to worry about anything pertaining to the kids. He could come home and be dad, and go to work and be the boss. This was not the case for me. 7 years ago, when the relationship ended, I was still the default. I was the parent to do the weekly pickups and drop offs, dentist appointments etc. All while trying to get an education, working full-time at job that didn’t serve me creatively. It was exhausting, and I was not happy. I felt as though I was

kids “you can be anything you want to be”, if I never made an attempt to pursue my own dreams. I made it a point to build myself up by pursuing my own interests. And through that process, I have built my self-esteem. Now it hasn’t been easy, my co-parent often complains about all of my activities, saying often that I need to spend more time with my kids. But that is only because I my choices to put my education and career first, has forced him to have to step up in areas where he used to rely on me. I believe we all have grown from this decision. When it comes to being a Single Dope Black Chick that happens to a mother of two Dope Black Children. I am building my life as I see fit for me and my children, and encourage other dope single mothers to do the same. I haven’t shied away from dating, I was just focused on other areas. Lately I have become more open to bringing love in my life and have started to date more regularly. My almost 13 year old son doesn’t like it, but I tell him “mama gotta have a life too.”

failing at everything and that took a blow to myself esteem. Not to mention, that my ex from on the outside looked as if he was excelling. He even moved on (very quickly might I add) in the love department. There I was single and with 2 young children. Dating was the last thing on my agenda. For a while I thought, who would want me? I have these two children, and nothing else going on for myself. Society has many mothers believing that they can’t be anything but mothers. It has always been important for me as a parent to set the example. I cannot tell my

April Franklin is self-proclaimed “older millennial” that doesn’t associate with younger millennials. She is a mother of two equally silly kids that rightfully take after their mother. After working nearly 13 years in healthcare, she got her B.S. in Journalism and made a career switch to media. She is now a reporter and local host of WXXI’s Weekend Edition in Rochester NY. April is also one third of the podcast “Kisses and Conversations,” that explore black men and relationships and a contributing writer for Single Dope Black Chick.







You are not superwoman and it’s ok... In this months edition of Rochester Woman Online’s Something For The Sista’s, we are breaking the stigma of mental illness amongst African American women with me, Sierra Monaé Dunklin.

counseling and she would tell me “that’s ya white side” or “just pray”. When that didn’t work I recall her saying, “we going to church”, as if that was a quick fix.

Although we came from a time and a generation where “therapy” or Mental Illness wasn’t normal, we now have to make it “normal” so that it can be properly treated. We need to start allowing the people of our community to live their lives to the fullest.

Since this is Something 4 the Sistas I figured I’d be as transparent as possible about something in our community that is often overlooked or not often spoke about...Mental Illness. Growing up in the African American community we are often told that our people don’t get depressed or have anxiety because it’s frowned upon. We’re told to be strong, don’t cry, be independent, suck it up and something even more detrimental; get over it. I remember times when I would tell my mom I wanted to go to

depression and anxiety since slavery and we always rely on religion as our healer. But is prayer a temporary fix? Some people may believe it is, and that’s ok but we need to give people an alternative as well.

Mental illness has no color, no gender and it doesn’t decipher who’s life to tear apart. It’s universal and as a community we have to change the dynamic instead of overlooking it and passing it off as being weak. There is a need for more people to speak on the illness that is less talked about for fear of judgement. We need to be more encouraging to each other and accept the fact that It’s ok to not be ok.

Let’s be honest, throughout the black/minority community it has been taught to endure mental abuse

You are not superwoman, yet, you are human. If you or someone you know is suffering from Mental Illness. Seek help. It’s ok, you are not alone. Speak to someone. Your mental health is a priority.


TARCHIA POWELL Tarchia Powell has over 18 years of experience in Personal and Leadership Development. She is a leadership enthusiast with proven track record leading and encouraging others to achieve and deliver exceptional results. She carries a reputation for high energy, approachability and straight forward communication style. Tarchia focuses on maximizing individual and team potential leveraging progressive leadership development principles. Tarchia is recognized for her ability to uncover problems and facilitate solutions to complex life and business challenges. Tarchia experiences include: Leadership Development, Organizational Development, Employee Engagement, Training, Coaching, Curriculum Development, Team Building, Personality and Behavioral Assessments, Competency Development, Workshop Facilitation, Project Management, and Strategic Planning. Tarchia is currently employed as a Business Program Manager of Omnichannel Strategy for Paychex Inc. Her work history includes

organizations such as Verizon Wireless and Time Warner Cable - Fortune 500 Companies. She has held roles ranging from Operations Dispatcher to Associate Director of Customer Service. She is an entrepreneur:

Encourage Consulting Group is a personal and professional development company committed to inspire, equip, and empower individuals and organizations to capitalize on their potential through coaching/ mentoring, consulting, group discussions/master minds, and training/ workshops. Encourage Consulting Group focuses on behavioral skills needed to be successful in life and in the workplace. We are a relationshipfirst organization. It is through relationships and collaboration we can identify needs and deliver a plan. Tarchia continues to fuel her passion of leadership through lifelong learning practices, such as higher education, training, networking and personal research.

Independent Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay and Co-Founder and President of Encourage Consulting Group.


Tarchia Powell lives in the city of Rochester with her husband (Tyrone Powell, Jr.) and their 5 children (Aveaun, Anaji, Zion, Thai, and Braylon). She is a believer, wife, mother, daughter, sister, leader, entrepreneur, speaker and

Tarchia’s personal life goal is to have a million people say and believe “#Encourage”






Got confidence? Confidence to walk in your purpose? Confidence to take rest when necessary? Confidence to build your business? Confidence to lead your families? Confidence to go to a job every day and stand out and confidence to do so much more? You need confidence.

Finally, no clue; I was walking around without a plan. Dead sister walking.

Don’t just look good be good! It’s time for my sisters to live their best life not by just looking good, because we look good but by being good. Confidence has little to nothing to do with what you have (materially) or what you wear. That’s self-confidence. I am talking about the assured confidence that has everything to do with what you know and what you believe.

Confidence is being certain of truth. Facts can change over time based on the circumstances. Truth remains the same and will stand the test of time.

False confidence will have you: - Comparing yourself to others, or Considering what you would do in someone else’s situation True confidence will have you: - Creating standards for your life - Setting goals for your personal growth - Moving when no one is looking If you lack confidence sit back and reflect. When I did three areas popped up for me. Blockage-I had some old relationships and experiences that I hadn’t healed. To grow my confidence, I worked on forgiveness not for them, but for me. What does forgiveness have to do with confidence? Everything. Un-forgiveness causes you not to trust and if you can’t trust others can’t find you to be trustworthy. Stinking thinking-when I replay the thoughts in my head from the day, I mostly was focused on the negative things. When I really stepped back those negative things were a very small piece or point in time of a much larger picture, but I had magnified those things. SMH. The battle of the mind is a constant fight, so be ready.

Confidence in knowing who you are, who you were created to be, and your purpose is important because your family, sisters, and world needs you and what you have.

Work on growing your confidence today! Confidence gets you out of being stuck (left behind), it brings reward and security, dreams into reality, it can break generational curses, it requires courage, and it is authentic. Confidence is a good thing in life. You deserve the best life. Build a healthy mindset: Study, meditate, and get an understanding of God’s word! And His word is truth! You can trust it and use it as an everlasting foundation. His word will never change. Daily affirmations are good practice in developing a healthy mindset. So is, removing negative people from your life. Forgive for you: Heal those past relationships so you can live a trustworthy life. If you don’t heal, you are carrying around extra weight that is slowing you down. Losing a few pounds never hurt nobody, lol. The pain, resentment, and bitterness can cause blurred vision. Write the plan: Get a vision for your life based upon God‘s word. I encourage you to take the time to write it out. I promise you it’ll be worth your time. Don’t just leave it on paper either, do something each day that brings your vision to life. Tell someone about it you can trust. If you can’t find anyone go back and work on forgiveness. Your tribe is out there, you were created

for relationship. Your confidence will be shaken from time to time. If it weren’t would you need to grow it? Awareness is a key and is a safeguard for setbacks. The more you know, the quicker you respond. The more you respond and grow your perspective, the more mature you become. The more mature you become, the more confidence you grow. You see the process? Sister, you’ve got confidence. Let’s go! Shine your light and live your best life. Confidence building is heart work from the inside; not acquiring things. Get your thought life in order, heal past hurts, and work your vision. Through all of life’s ups and downs and twists and turns you were chosen to stand out! It took confidence to write you today. My prayer for you is: Lord, my sister needs your confidence. Let no weapon formed against her prosper. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. We thank you for the plan on her life. Amen. Sister, what can you start, stop, or continue to doing today to build your confidence? Do you feel stuck? What is one step you can take to get unstuck? Confidence looks good on you. Wear it well. Blessings to you, Tarchia Powell Co-Founder and President, Encourage Consulting Group Believer ~ Woman ~ Wife ~ Mother ~ Daughter ~ Sister ~ Friend ~ Leader








KEEPING IT CLEAN Lowanda Jones-Gray is the owner of H2H Facility Services which is a commercial cleaning business. In addition to cleaning services, they offer maintenance services to maintain VCT floors (stripping, waxing, scrubbing and buffing), window cleaning and specialized cleaning products. Lowanda remembers when her business gained certification as a woman owned business as one of her most memorable moments. She was proud they were able to certify under this process. She was able to grow her business, hire more full-time employees and offer benefits. As a business owner, companies often face obstacles when trying to expand and increase revenues. For Lowanda, at H2H Facility Services, the biggest challenge is how to hire and retain good staff. When starting off, business owners also face challenges in getting their name out there to obtain new clients. One of the hardest things is determining marketing strategies. Many businesses shy away from hiring large accounting firms because often their services are too costly.

Social media and the availability of marketing aps often provide a costeffective alternative for small business owners. It is always a challenge to seek out various opportunities to utilize these no cost marketing tools. Lowanda indicates her husband and children are the most significant people in her life. They keep her on her toes

and ensure that she always gives her all. They make sure she never gives up. Her aunt was also a motivating factor when she decided to open up her own business. Lowanda foresees that she may partner up with her aunt for some future endeavors. RWO asked Lowanda what advice would you share for other

entrepreneurs? “Any entrepreneur who is starting off must know the most important thing to do before stating your business is to do your research. Think about what kind of business you would like to start. Call around to different states and inquire of other businesses in the same category to discuss their struggles and success. Write down your expectations and goals. Do this for the first two-year period. Don’t be afraid to fail. Ask questions and seek advice. Network, seek out business friends as they are a great asset. Lowanda loves to empower her employees. As a woman owned business, she encourages employees to take on more management and leadership roles. She prides herself as to how she runs her business and includes her employees in some o f the decisionmaking processes. They have monthly advisory meetings. The goal of the meetings is to listen and express success and concerns. The employees are encouraged to express ways to improve the business models.



{ BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT } “Any entrepreneur who is starting off must know the most important thing to do before stating your business is to do your research.�

Lowanda follows her own advice and mapped out goals for the future of H2H Facility services. She has aspirations of expanding to a mid to large company servicing 3 different states in the future. She is exploring the opportunity of whether to enter into franchising. At the current time, H2H services Rochester, Buffalo and 473

Syracuse. They also do some small areas in Florida. RWO celebrates Lowanda as an inspiring businesswoman. She entered into a service provided business which is generally dominated by men. After securing her position she offers a work-place which encourages


employees to seek greater. Kudos to H2H Facility Services.

Our definition of clean is:

C = Certified

Neat L = Loyal E = Experienced A = Affordable N =

Because of our customers giving H2H Facility Services the opportunities to serve them, I am able to share that I am proud of my female ownership in our commercial cleaning business, for the past six years and counting! My personal success secret - staying actively involved in my business. I do this by personally visiting my customers’ sites in Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse, to review workin-progress, as well as our finished jobs. Ultimately, I am responsible for all H2H work which reflects on our image. Our H2H success factors include: • Locations checked nightly • Ownership visits customer locations quarterly Lowanda Jones, Co-Owner, H2H Facility Services

• Environmentally friendly cleaning products • Great communication • Women- and Minority- Owned Business • Family

We look forward to the day we can personally serve you the H2H way!


More than 60% of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers are women.

The impact of Alzheimer’s on women is real. Not only are women more likely than men to be caregivers, they are also more likely to develop the disease. In fact, almost 2/3 of Americans living with Alzheimer’s are women.

Learn more at: alz.org/women






Haven’t heard it before? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Or “be the bigger person.” How many times have you taken this position only to be disappointed with the results which left you feeling like you could have done more to defend yourself. Like, how many times can one turn the other check before they have no more cheeks to turn to? It can be a position of power, it can be a winner takes all situation, but whatever it is, sometimes we get TIRED of “taking one for the team.” But there is hope… TAKE THE HIGH ROAD ANYWAY! Why should we take the high road? The answer is clear: because it is the right thing to do. Once we get into the habit of having an eye for an eye attitude, it can get very exhausting and you can start to feel like your efforts need another bigger effort to seem effective. One time it may appear you are gaining ground but then the next time you have to exert more into a retaliation state of mind. Each time we are in a battle of sorts, it may appear the last course of cation or reaction wasn’t enough

so we seek to go above and beyond the next time. I have some advice for all: STOP! The best response you can give to someone going out of their way to discredit you or to keep drama brewing is to ignore them. Don’t get me wrong, the law is for the lawless, so if there is

a threat or other violation of one’s rights, then yes by all means go to the authorities. But on the other hand, if someone is doing all they can to make your life miserable and you find yourself spending absorbent amounts of time getting them back

or defending your self, then its time to step back and evaluate your own actions and reactions. Ask your self if the actions you find yourself reacting to, going to impact your way of life if you do not respond? Are you or your character being enhanced by your response? Is the response the same response you would render if God himself were watching? If not, then its better to take the high road. One has to always remember our own accountability to those who depend on us. If we question our own responses and reactions before moving to act; chances are we will see that the reaction requires us to lower our levels to respond. So in essence, the most easiest response when someone is not treating us right is to seek to defend ourselves. But what if we take a deep breath and decide the response is not worth the energy and move on? We will quickly see the adversary in our lives shrink to something



{ DR KIKI SPEAKS } “I have some advice for all: STOP! The best response you can give to someone going out of their way to discredit you or to keep drama brewing is to ignore them.”

minuscule and not worth a second thought. In the long run, one can look back and see they would have messed up had they responded or would have missed an opportune moment of growth and self reflection. It is okay of you do not master the technique of taking the high road right away. But I promise when you look at all yo bring to the table, and all the positive things happening in 483

your life; you will not want to detract from your life to have a tennis match with someone starving for attention. The high road is about giving your self the freedom to chose peace of mind and not to limit your positive energy in exchange for a cycle of negative energy. I dare you to try it; the next time you get a nastygram via text or email - choose not to respond. The next time someone


cuts you off in traffic - choose not to respond. You will find the “high road” to be a vehicle of peace and you will wish you had started to take the high road years ago.






Who are you looking at for direction? Fashion has been a cycle for years. The roaring 20’s, 40’s, 60’s, which year in fashion will be next for repeat? Where do you get you fashion sense from? Your style of dressing tips?

spring and summer. There will be plenty of all white parties to go to, so stock up early to be fresh and clean. If you don’t get those white sandals and shoes by the

end of May, they will be sold out in your size by June.

checks and prints are everywhere for the summer. Polka-dots in big bold colors are beautiful. Don’t forget to stock up in African Prints. Skirts, head wraps, and body wraps are gorgeous, and can be dressed up for various events or work as a casual look. Don’t leave them out for a wedding look this summer: Sun dresses are colorful and are very nice and inexpensive. They make very good travel items. Just roll them up and away you go. Try restyling them by cutting them on each side, up to your thigh. You will be surprised of the outcome. They are so cool! Have fun, Love yourself, don’t worry about others.

Shop now for white shoes. Bold


Have you seen the latest in fashion magazines or on Entertainment Tonight TV? Today’s fashion trend has returned to the 60’s fitted looks and plaids are back. Mixing and matching stripes with plaids are seen al over fashion magazines, but some looks are not of good taste. Do n’t b e fooled….it is over kill. When not sure, use a solid with that stripe or with that plaid silhouette. Pastel shades are very cool for the








As a seasoned designer, I love to assist newly starting out designers and others in their journey of becoming rising stars. Our latest production featured the work of fashion designers Steven Daniel and Marrietta Tyron. We participated in the 20th Annual Wellness Expo at the National Black Theater. It was definitely an event to remember. We also love to provide models the opportunity of joining an all-inclusive style runway show, where there is a little something for everyone, not just size 2. This time around, we are going to try something different. In our spread, we are also sharing “Through the Eyes of the Audience” where some of the selected photos are just that.

Productions(C) but is also a designer himself. Teddy shares:“I’ve loved fashion my whole life, but it wasn’t until 2013, when suits by Teddy Peterson was born. A flair for old

Elegant Lady was created by Marrietta(MAT) for the elegant lady. For many years now, Marrietta has history in the fashion industry. Technically designing for Big’s House, the likes of Ralph Lauren, Kenneth Cole, and Timberland, as well as the former Liz Claiborne etc. Marrietta is carrying forward the age of elegance and sophistication. She envisions our ladies & gentlemen, once again to have the glamour and style as king & queens before us. who were proud, majestic and elegant.

What better way to give you an all exclusive behind the scenes! Diva 1 stopped in, so Rochester Woman Online was in the building! Read on to hear the impressions of some of the people who all worked together to make this show epic! A s yo u k n ow, K a t l a d y Productions(C) features my work, Regina Smith, as an exclusive Canadian American Creative Designer and furrier; the title I hold close to my heart. I also design men, women and children’s fashions too. I pride myself in creating eclectic, colorful, bold fashions for people, so they can feel beautiful, in everything I create. My fashions are bigger than just clothing, they are showpieces which are unique and through their beauty, they empower the person who wears them. Joining me for this show were also designers Teddy Peterson, Steven Daniel and Marrietta Tyron. Teddy Peterson is the manager of Katlady

to be a part of the Katlady Productions © family”. Stephen Daniel is a fashion designer from Trinidad and Tobago. He is no stranger to the NY runway. He graduated from FIT and works as a costume designer (26 years) at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan. In addition to his collection he also has a swimwear line. Stephen says, “Fashion is always changing and evolving, so always be a leader not a follower”.

school fashion, it really makes me happy to see my designs on my customers, Since becoming the mc for Katlady Productions, it gives me the platform to be creative beyond my wildest dreams. I love to MC; it really brings out the best of my abilities. I’m very passionate about what we do at Katlady Productions(C). There is a special chemistry and energy associated with this company and I’m honored & privileged

The show was amazing, and I love the feeling I get after the shows knowing there’s another one for the books. Watching everyone feel proud of their accomplishments, as their designs are on the stage is definitely empowering and leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction. You were able to share your vision with the world and to allow others to do the same. The designs are not the only thing making the show come to life. We have the creative talents of hairstylists, make-up artists and the energizing personalities of the models. Katlady Productions recognizes a model




can make or break a fashion line up. You need to select the right models who fit with your designs and the mood you are trying to create. You want people with energizing personalities with the ability to move the crowd after their first step on the catwalk. Two of the models we featured were Ben Scott and Jhakeyer Jah. Model Ben Scott shares his experience in the Wellness Expo:


“Oh, what an amazing time! This was an outstanding show with lovely people. What a joy to model at the National Black Theater in Harlem, where I played as a child. Now modeling as a grown man, with Katlady Productions” Jahkeyer Jah shares with us her experience: walking with Katlady Productions: “The love of a family, supportive, caring , loving and kindness is so important.


Katlady Productions show you mad love. The designs are all so creatively done by Regina Smith!” At the end of the day, we all work together, and the finished product is an electrifying showcase of beautiful fashion. Join KatLady Productions at our next show and experience it for yourself.






125th, Lennox and Malcom X Boulevard, you got it, Big Russ Da Bully and Diva 1 are hitting the streets of Harlem. What a rich environment, a place to truly experience African American culture and heritage, and see a part of history, where the arts and culture took over in the Harlem Renaissance. Greats such as Zora Neale Hurston, W.E.B. DuBois, Langston Hughes, Du k e El l i n g t o n , Malcom X, Marcus Garvey became names on the book for contributing to putting Harlem on the map in a positive way. The area was founded in 1658, which many people forget NY started out as a farming area (1). In 1776, George Washington won his first American battle during the American Revolutionary war here (2). The first inhabitants were the Wecksquaesgeek Indians who farmed tobacco and corn and it was known as Quinnahung or “Planting Neck”. Harlem was called Zedendael or “Blessed Valley”. Haarlem, Nieuw Haarlem and in 1658, Harlem, remaining rural through the 19th century (2). In 1820, Harlem had 91 families, a church school and a library (2). Alcohol Prohibition, began to draw people to Harlem, as clubs and entertainment venues started to sprout all over, the

national Black Theater, The Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater, among them (1920’s-1934) (2) In 1831, the installation of the NY/Harlem railroad started to help move things along (2). The great migration from the South started to shape Harlem as an African American Community (2). In 1910, the population was 10% African-American,

and by 1930 that number jumped to 70% (2). The area is currently experiencing gentrification. First stop, was the annual Wellness Expo at the National Black Theater. We stopped to check out Something For The

Sistas writer, Regina Smith of Kat Lady Productions who was hosting a fashion show, featuring two additional designers. Immediately upon walking in the door of this historical cultural building, a vibe comes through. The African décor was amazing. This cultural icon opened its doors in 1968 when Dr. Barbara Ann Teer embarked upon her journey of being the entrepreneur she was (3). Ms. Teer operated as the pioneer in her community with the honor of owning and operating the theater and claiming this title as the longest/ owned and operated entertainment venue for a woman of color (3). The goal at the theater is to uplift, strengthen and heal Black communities by providing authentic stories of black lifestyle, educating enriching, entertaining and informing especially about social issues impacting the community (3). In 2008, daughter Sade Lythcott took over, heading up the 64,000 square foot space (3). Currently, the venue hosts work from 7 commissioned Nigerian artists (3). Kat Lady Productions, Regina Smith did what she does, put on a spectacular, energy-filled fashion show. Manager and designer Teddy Peterson was right




“You know a girls got to eat. Big Russ went on to his Harlem battle and Diva 1 met u

there by her side, sharing his electric commentary as the MC. The showcased designers did not disappoint either. It was certainly an evening to remember. Check out Regina’s article, highlighting the ambiance of her show in Something For The Sistas, where she gives our readers a behind the scenes exclusive! You know a girls got to eat. Big Russ went on to his Harlem battle and Diva 1 met up with her friends Lori Till and Sabrina 495

Scott to take in some of the local cuisine. For those who know me, I love to cook. I have just about every cookbook there is and one of them is a Southern cooking flair cookbook by none other than Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem. I always wanted to try it out so tonight is the night! It’s a smaller establishment in the heart of Harlem, right on Malcom X Boulevard. An interesting story of female and family entrepreneurship is behind this gem. Sylvia Woods, from South Carolina was a beautician who opened


the first farmhouse salon in Hemingway, South Carolina (4). She married her high school sweetheart, Herbert (4). The couple relocated to Harlem and Sylvia took a job as a waitress at Johnson’s Lunchette (4). When the owner moved on, he sold Sylvia the restaurant (4). It was truly a family affair as Sylvia’s mother Julia Pressley mortgaged her farm to help with the venture (1962) (4). Sylvia’s, also known as the World’s Kitchen, is proud of the nomination of “Queen of


up with her friends Lori Till and Sabrina Scott to take in some of the local cuisine. ”

Soul Food” (4). The restaurant hosts a Gospel brunch and provides catering (4). The staff was warm and inviting. Sabrina and I took a seat at the bar waiting on Lori to arrive. The cocktails were a diverse ensemble. It was welcoming to find a Peach Bellini Mimosa as one of the selections. It was divine. The dining choices include: Southern fried chicken and grits, sautéed chicken livers, cornmeal dusted catfish, salmon cakes

and shrimp and grits. Other entrees are smothered chicken legs, stewed chicken and dumplings, chitterlings, and chicken and waffles. Don’t forget the sides; collard greens, buttered corn, okra and tomato gumbo, corn bread (of course) and blackeyed peas. It is definitely a foodie delight! You can’t leave without trying some of the scrumptious deserts; red velvet cake, peach cobbler, banana pudding and sweet potato pie. We tried a little bit of everything, and it was all good. At the end of the day,

what could possibly be better a trip with fashion, great food and precious time spent with friends! 1. History of Harlem (2019). Retrieved May 12, 2019, from https://www.harlemheritage.com 2. Harlem World Magazine (2019). Retrieved May 12 from harlemworldmagazine.com 3. National Black Theater (2019) Retrieved May 31, 2019 from www.nationalblacktheater.org 4. Sylvia’s Restaurant ( 2019) Retrieved May 31, 2019 from sylviasrestaurant.com








Working as a stylist can be challenging and heartwarming at the same time. I’ve encountered my fair share of gives ups or what they call kitchen due. (kitchen due – processing hair in your own house in the kitchen, bath room or living room). I never thought I would be processing hair and in a shop. I have done hair in my kitchen or bath room. There is nothing wrong with helping someone become beautiful no matter how it gets done. However, the difference is the pricing. When you perform the same gift on someone in your home, most people will not pay the full price as being in a shop.

not realize knowing about whether clients experience some of these symptoms can be helpful when you are processing any hair product on a client. It is important information to gather.

- Most times, when coloring for the first time, a box color may not be the best choice for product. Box and or semi-permanent dye often washes out in a few weeks. The artificial pigment color can linger in your hair for years (literally) and is very difficult to “lift” later if the client wants to go lighter or add highlights. - When using color, it’s best to change shampoos made to preserve the color. Make sure the shampoo is for colored-treated hair. Clarifying shampoo’s which most people use can strip your hair of color.

My gifts are totally different from most, if not all. I specialize in coloring, haircuts, sew ins, crochets, natural hair braiding, relaxers, natural styles and many, many more. I worked with the greatest stylists and some who do not know much about hair during my career. Let’s get some pointers on some of these subjects, I will start with coloring. Anytime I get a new client, I always want to do a consultation just so I know what my client is about and what he/she likes. As well as reviewing their medical history, if they are diabetic or have high blood pressure. Most people do

and how many colors ( highlighting or blending several colors).

- Coloring or bleaching hair can damage hair. Always use conditioner and/or get conditioner treatments to make sure the hair stays healthy.

CONSULTATION – Discuss with your client any information you need to know and especially find out what it is they are really looking for from you. COLORING – what color, what style

Let me provide another tip for some of you beautiful stylists or for those who are still learning the grip of hair and the personal care that comes along with hair care. Relaxers can be a bit tricky for most as well. RELAXERS - Chemical hair relaxers are designed to straighten extremely curly, coiled or tightly coiled hair by breaking the disulfide bonds found



{ BEAUTY LIES WITHIN } “Working as a stylist can be challenging and heartwarming at the same time. I’ve encountered my fair share of gives ups or what they call kitchen due. (kitchen due – processing hair in your own house in the kitchen, bath room or living room).”

within the cortex layer of the hair. Hydroxide and Thio are the most common types of hair relaxers. - If you have natural hair which we call it VIRGIN hair, it needs more precedence than already relaxed hair which we call it a RETOUCH.

breakage or over processed hair, Heck, I’ve done it myself on clients and it does not feel too good. However, what really matters and what counts is how you fix the mistake and try your best not to do that again. As stylists we encounter so many people of many

- Virgin hair must be processed completely different than Retouches. Now no matter what product you get or have in your hair, it needs personal care. Chemicals are not to be played with and can damage and break your hair, especially if you try to use two chemicals at once. Now as far as natural hair, they say it is the easiest to care for. Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not!!!! It takes more patience and time for natural hair. One nice factor about natural hair is, it is healthier, stronger and chemical-free. I recommend using products with coconut, olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocado and many more. These fats contain healthy omega 3’s, which help to assist providing softness and sheen in natural hair or for that matter, any type of hair. Now, I have come across damaged, 499

with loss of hair or no hair if it’s not your choice. Life can be hectic. Taking time out to pamper yourself, once a week, every two weeks or once a month can be good for your soul. Try a mani or pedi. Take some time out for you to relax. As women we get so busy or have so many obligations we often forget about what we need. I’ll leave you with this…

races, attitudes and personalities. Any time you are in some type of customer service you must be built to be tough but at the same time compassionate to your clients. Some clients present with special hair needs such as those who have cancer, alopecia or any type of hair loss. They need more love than most. It is severely damaging for a woman


No matter what hair do you chose, or what chemical’s you use or even if you get braids or locks, take good care of your hair. Refrain from having dry scalp, dandruff and or bumps. Find a stylist that fits your budget and needs. Your hair is an important part of your body and deserves the love like any other part of the body. I say “Healthy Hair ROCKS” Sheila Young 515 Thurston Ave (585) 224-6014


I AM FABULOUS FOR 5 Angelina Everett is a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology with a BS in Information Systems. Upon graduation she worked as an Information Analyst for Electronic Data Systems.

entrepreneur, a leader and has helped boost her confidence and brought a boldness to her where there was once a shy and timid woman. When she isn’t accessorizing you

Fo r t h e l a s t 13 yrs. she has worked at Excellus BCBS in several different positions and is currently a Quality Test Engineer. In January 2018 Angelina became an Independent Consultant o f Pa p a r a z z i Accessories and the CEO of I Am Fabulous For Five. In a short period of time she has reached several milestones in Paparazzi and is now a Life of The Party Bronze m e m b e r, a Premier Director and currently has a team of 30 Business Partners. Paparazzi has been the catalyst to her growth and development as an 501

development. One of her quotes is “You’re never fully dressed without a Smile and Paparazzi Jewelry” Angelina has had several other businesses before, however within the last 16 months she’s had the most success and seen the most growth with her Paparazzi business. She is currently working on expanding her business locally and nationally. She can be reached We b s i t e :

with Fabulous $5 jewelry she likes swimming, riding her bike in the Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association, networking, and personal


IAmFabulousForFive.com InstaGram: IamAngelinaEverett Facebook: I Am Fabulous by Angelina Phone: 585-414-3290





INCORRUPTIBLE BEAUTY Incorruptible Beauty in Rochester, New York offers various products to women, including books, shirts, notebooks, hats, and bags. Th ​ ese items bear the message of how being beautiful in character manifests one’s true beauty on the outside. Do not just be another pretty face. Instead, be an incorruptible beauty who is honorable, trustworthy, moral, principled, ethical, good, and virtuous. Aside from being a p​ublished author, Marlow Brooks is also the founder

and owner of Incorruptible Beauty. She is also an evangelist, mentor, and entrepreneur. Her company’s brand is all about motivating and inspiring women to love and take care of themselves in accordance with Christian values. She is so glad you are here to join her in this movement! She sincerely hopes that her products help women to become more confident to face all the ups and downs of their dayto-day life.

“Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing or putting on fine apparel—rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” (1 Peter 3:1, NKJV) You can visit them online at incorruptible-beauty.com They have no items over 20.00!








Roe V. Wade, 1973 United States Supreme Court case affirmed that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right. Now, 2019 just 46 years after making history we are now about to let it become unconstitutional again? Do you know the harm it will cause to women in America? Planned Parenthood is not the monster, the government is making them out to be. They do more than provide abortion services. Planned Parenthood, provides rape crisis counseling, birth control services, reproductive health screenings as well. Now we have 16 states ready to introduce or pass bills that would ban abortion at 6 weeks!! Total devastation. Planned parenthood isn’t the only place that provides abortion services, some OB/ GYN offices provide those services as well, it’s safe for the woman, apparently that doesn’t matter anymore. Since January 2019, more than 250 abortion restrictions have been introduced. Attempts to ban access to safe, legal abortions have soared to an all time high. So tragic. Women can face charges if they miscarry after 6 weeks So far 6 states are down to 1 abortion provider.

and died for, we take 1 step forward and 2 steps backwards. Whether you’re Pro Choice, Pro Life, be Pro Common Sense!! Every woman who chooses abortion is not making that decision lightly. I have had a few friends that had to have them due to medical reasons and the doctor felt that was the best choice. Why would we ask a woman who has been molested or raped to carry the child of her attacker for 9 months, because of how we feel, How, about how she feels!! People of low income and people of color will be among those disproportionately affected. The efforts to restrict or ban abortion are spreading quickly. In Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi, banned abortion access at six weeks, other states, Missouri, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee are stand to follow suit. With politicians filling proposals for similar bans in Florida, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and West Virginia.

We have been so blinded about other things happening lately in Congress or dealing with this border issue, that laws that were passed decades ago are being dismantled right in plain sight, and we are not trying to stop this tragedy.

None of this that is happening is right. It’s hunting season on all pregnancies, which shouldn’t be a stressful time but the way this going, folks may not want to have kids. The government does not have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body, with her pregnancy wanted or not wanted, that is decided between her and significant other. I have no idea what she may be going through or what her situation may be so we can not judge unlest we be judged.

We have become so invested, Russian probes, Clinton’s emails, trumps taxes, mueller reports, whether or not Cardi B drugged men, WHO CARES!! We have lost sight of what Americans have fought

This hits home for me because, when I was a young teen, Planned Parenthood was there for me to provide me with non judgemental advice and birth control services, I used Planned Parenthood for

multiple services for a long time. I never once felt anything but grateful they were there for me at the time I needed them. A lot of teens can’t turn to their parents to be understanding about birth control, but Planned Parenthood is and they are very much confidential, so a teen can have total control of their reproductive health without fear from family. So back to my story, on one of my appointments at Planned Parenthood I was greeted by protestors outside with their signs, pictures of aborted fetuses, quoting scriptures with bibles in their hands saying “ God Loves You”, well I know that already, and didn’t need them to tell me that. It was a scare tactic to keep me from going into my appointment, so what did this very clever young lady say to them. I said “ Well you do know they assist with things so that you don’t have to have an abortion if not needed,” The one protestor said that birth control was a sin and I said, “Well, a lot of folks going to hell saved and not saved, since a lot of people use birth control to keep from getting pregnant to keep from having to make that difficult decision to terminate.” I politely turned away and walked myself into my appointment at Planned Parenthood. The secretary told me I was brave to stand up to them, I said not bravery just standing up for what is right. Can you say the same about yourself??








WHO WILL MAKE A GLOBAL IMPACT As you all know Kurvie Korner is all about everything that empowers, encourages, and uplifts women. In continuance of last month’s celebration of women in business I admire. I’d like to introduce you all to two women who are not only my close friends, but are also women who are changing their lives with their businesses. If you love handbags as much as I do you have to head over to Jonzey’s closet. 978 South Clinton avenue, right here in Rochester NY. There you’ll find Raquel Denise handbags. Her array of eye catching purses can also be found on facebook and pintrest under Raquel Denise Handbags. On Instagram she can be found under raqueldenise_handbags. Raquel offers affordable hand bags for the everyday woman. Raquel wanted to start a business that she could use her skill sets she learned from pursing her degrees. Raquel has gained business knowledge from working with her eldest sister for over 20 years. Through conversations, faith, and her love of handbags “Raquel Denise Handbags” was created. This month Raquel will be celebrating a year of providing unique handbags to

local women as well as those who are out of state. Though rewarding, it has not been a perfect process. An obstacle that Raquel has faced is finding ways to become more present on social media. Raquel states “I am not one to post my

every life moment on social media, and due to that I feel it has caused a hindrance in my social media reach.” Raquel has found a solution; she adds “Since I am running an Ecommerce business, and I want my products to reach handbag lovers

worldwide, I am beginning to utilize my social media platforms more actively.” Raquel has found for fellow business women it’s difficult to start a business due to the uncertainty that surrounds starting a new venture. To women who are beginning a business in the handbag world Raquel suggests “research current trends, seek mentorship, and never stop selling yourself”. In five years Raquel sees her business with several employees, and generating a million dollar revenue. She sees “Raquel Denise” being a designer label that is worn by women globally. Raquel has found motivation in her desire to succeed. She knows her business is a GOD given vision and will continue to pursue it as she reaches new levels of success. If you need a photoshoot that is designed just for you, or you need your vision brought to life, head to Facebook and add Candice Wright. Candice’s amazing work can also be found on Instagram under “_ candicew_” Candice began “ The Wright Photography” three years ago. Her husband purchased the equipment because he wanted to become a photographer. Candice explored the idea of her learning techniques, and completed a shoot for a family member. Through social media tags, and word of mouth Candice’s business has grown. She is now one of the most sought after photographers in Rochester.



{ THE KURVIE KORNER } “As you all know Kurvie Korner is all about everything that empowers, encourages, and uplifts women.”

Candice offers photography of all kinds; she specializes in unique decorated shoots. Candice has also incorporated body painting into her list of offered services. Candice has found that it was hard to be taken seriously due to photography in Rochester being male dominated. She found that it was hard to gain respect, because she didn’t have an established name. Candice completed shoots in her two bedroom apartment, and struggled with her confidence as a photographer in the beginning of her career. Candice has overcome those obstacles

by promoting herself on social media. With the motivation of her family, clients and friends Candice continues to build her confidence and her business. Her family assists her with the execution of her shoots, without hesitation. She is able to utilize her creativity with each shoot. Candice states” most of my clients never come with ideas or themes”, she uses their outfit choices and creates a vision for their shoot. Candice added” It’s the best feeling in the world to have people believe in you, and your craft”. Candice has a tip for women who want to step into a successful photography career. Candice

wants you to remember “You are only as good as your last shoot, you have to keep your work relevant.” She also adds “even if the people around you don’t see your vision, always trust in yourself and your product”. In the future Candice sees herself being a high profile celebrity family photographer. Candice says “I won’t stop until I get the chance to do a decorated photoshoot for Beyonce’s family.” Candice sees herself empowering other female photographers to live their dreams, and become successful photographers just like she is.

Profile for Rochester Woman Online

SFTS June/July 2019  

This edition's Something For The Sista's is filled with incredible features and articles from our fabulous team including: cover woman Tracy...

SFTS June/July 2019  

This edition's Something For The Sista's is filled with incredible features and articles from our fabulous team including: cover woman Tracy...