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Yolanda Smilez THROUGH IT ALL!







LáLew Public Relations provided top notch service organizing our annual luncheon and securing television coverage to promote this year’s event. William G. Clark

Urban League of Rochester CEO

LáLew Public Relations is a full service PR firm specializing in media relations, marketing, branding, web management, social media and community engagement. In August 2017, LáLew PR was recognized by the Rochester Business Journal as the Small Business Feature of the Week.

LÁLEW PUBLIC RELATIONS Jessica Lewis, Owner P: 585-773-1140 Email: lalewpr@gmail.com www.lalewpr.com



Kelly Breuer Cheryl Kates-Benman Kelly Breuer


Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell Devin Mack


Regina Smith Gary Ariel Washington Vialma Ramos Jessica Bain Jessica Lewis Yolanda Smilez Dr Kiki Michelle Mr Carlyle Williams Sheila Young Ayanna Jackson Latiffany Anderson Renee Cobbs Hill Akilah Moore Tammy Reese Rachel Deguzman Shettima Webb


Kelly Breuer


The Next Design


The Next Design



Yolanda Smilez, comedian, author, and straight up bad ass funny lady was shot on location at Comics Cafe and Comedy at the Carlson by photographer Christopher “Goodknews” Cardwell for the latest edition of RWO’s “Something 4the Sista’s”. Make-up courtesy of Rosalind Matthew with clothing by Kurvy Kulture.

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.






Rochester Woman Online introduced you to new writer, Yolanda Smilez in January with the Launch of “Something for the Sistas”. Yolanda hopes through reading her column, you too, can find your smile as she has after facing so many trials and tribulations in life. Yolanda is a local comedian, the co-founder of Ms. Kurvie Pageant system, CEO of the Roc Awards, CEO of Smilez Entertainment and an up-and-coming author. She does it all. What is most amazing about Yolanda is her resiliency. The ability to get back up after life knocks you down. In addition to all of the awesome things Yolanda accomplished, she is a high-school dropout. She failed her GED test the first time she attempted it. She was a teen-aged mom. She lost one of her children to SIDS and lost her home in a fire. She somehow managed to keep going and became a woman of success and she wants you to know that you can too. Yolanda hopes by sharing her story she can give women the strength to overcome their difficulties and misfortune. Most importantly, that “You can find your smile again”.

Yolanda’s child died of SIDS at 9 months old. Yolanda indicates her faith in God and that she was still a mother got her through this tragedy. Yolanda knew she could not throw in the towel because she still had to

care for her oldest child, Tahlia. It’s easy to give up, but you have eyes watching you. You are still responsible for your remaining children. Life can’t end there.

Yolanda offers the following piece of advice for any mothers experiencing the loss of a child by saying, “I know, it’s a pain that never goes away. It’s a hole that will never be refilled. You must continue to live the life God gave you. Most of all, you will smile again, no matter what you’ve been through. You will smile again”. Yo l a n d a l o v e s entertainment. She loves attending live music shows, movies and hanging with her family. You can stay in the house or you can live. The choice is yours. Living exposes you to interesting events, meeting new people and enjoying your life. The choice is always yours. One of Yolanda’s most prized accomplishments is founding the ROC Awards. The ROC Awards is a local platform to celebrate Rochester accomplishments. The annual event seeks nominations and then the voting begins. Categories include “best barber, best model, best DJ, best designer, etc.” There was some controversary surrounding the event, but when isn’t there? You can’t make all people happy all of the time. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{{ COVER COVER STORY STORY STORY }} { COVER } “You must continue to live the life God gave you. Most of all, you will smile again, no matter what you’ve been through. You will smile again”.

Yolanda says, “I keep doing the ROC Awards because there is a community of people who believe and appreciate this platform. The heartfelt testimony, the comments of how people say they will do better, the tears on the faces, the cheers from the audience, and I can go on-and-on. We also create jobs for the youth. I love the flow of the production. The speeches were amazing. Let’s not forget the amazing performances. It is definitely a diverse production. 175


Our host Racqui B was awesome. She brought entertainment, fun, and sexy but remained professional. I believe in pouring back into the community because it gives others hope to be great and to pursue their dreams. It also lets them know there is someone who cares”. Yolanda is also an author. Her first novel is entitled “Big Momma Is the True Trap Queen”. The novel details the life of a church woman who also

sells drugs. The drug business is a family business. The Black Mafia. Yolanda is currently working on part two of her novel series. Be on the look out for that! Yolanda is also a professional local comedian. She does several shows monthly in Rochester. Make sure you catch one of her upcoming gigs. Never forget, you can always find your smile again!





“I keep doing the ROC Awards because there is a community of people who believe and appreciate this platform.�





Welcome to the March “I Love Smilez” column by your local comedian, that’s me, Yolanda Smilez! My goal with writing this column is to make you smile by the end of every read. I hope that 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 been or going through, you will smile again”. It’s a known fact, smiling gives power and energy to the human soul. We must try to always remember this. Living in Upstate New York, we all know about the four seasons: Winter, Fall , Spring, and Summer. I believe relationships have seasons. It’s an old saying. people come in your life for a reason and a season. Sure, we have our favorite season we don’t want to see go, but each season must happen, so things can produce and live. You ever held on to someone or something and it didn’t produce, but you didn’t understand why? You gave it the proper attention and took care of it with care. It’s because your season is over. Many people dream of falling in love, finding your soulmate, the one you create your foundation with, celebrating each other dreams and creating a family together. It feels so good when you are in a relationship with the ideal person, the one you

feel so complete with. You begin to give your significant other more of you, to build them to their fullest potential. Until one day, you become empty and you feel the shift in your relationship. The light that once shined so bright has become dim. We begin to say the season is ending. The pain

sets in when you can’t identify the seasons are over and you’re trying to pour into something that is dead. Your mind is stuck in the summer, but your relationship is in the middle of an ice storm. Nothing is able to grow. You have to be real with yourself and adapt to your new season. Divorce is a season many of us have a hard time understanding. We would never think after our wedding, we

would not be together. You’re standing in front of everyone looking your best. You smile and the tears can’t stop because the day is filled with joy. You blocked out every sign of this (your spouse is not you season) because you want a wedding, not a marriage. Please don’t confuse this. as I’m being a bitter writer and I’m against or don’t believe in couples finding true love, because I do. My goal is to help the reader who thought when it was time to divorce, they would not find joy, love, or their smile again. Facing the season of divorce was the hardest decision I had to make. This decision was hard because I was not faced with your typical reason for divorce, like cheating, being beat physically or emotionally. I forced someone to marry me, because I was ready for marriage. I wanted to be a wife, settle down and raise my family. See I was ready, and I had my own selfish needs that I pushed on my ex-husband. Yes, we loved each other, but he was not ready for marriage. Just because someone is a good person, doesn’t make them the one God has for you. I had to step up and be honest with this man and say, let me let you go, because I’m wasting your time. I was in marriage feeling ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ I LOVE SMILEZ } “I hope that 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 been or going through, you will smile again.”

empty and alone because he was not the one God had for me. It was so painful because I didn’t want to hurt him. He was a good man and father. It was a season I hated to face and be honest with myself when it was over. It left me in a depression; I thought I would never find true love. I dated so many in my past. All types: thug, church, blue collar, entertainer, you name it I went out with it. I thought I would never be back on the market for dating. I was getting older and just 185


didn’t have time for not being clear of my desires in any relationship I was going to enter. I took the time to heal from the season of the divorce. You need time to prepare for your next season or you will not be fully ready to receive everything the next season has for you. You hear many speak of spring cleaning. Ladies and Gents! Do a mental spring cleaning, so you can see clearly. You must get ready for the

new and let go of the old seasons. Prepare yourself to take charge of your season. Find your smile again. Find your peace. Find your way. Find your happy ending. Never be stuck in a dead season any more.









A NEW APPROACH TO D AT I N G, RELATIONSHIPS AND SELF-LOVE In 2016, 48% of African American women reported that they had never been married compared to 34% of all Americans. According to www. blackdemographics. com, there are about 364,000 more Black men who are married than Black women even though Black women are 51% of the Black population. While marriage has been a declining institution among all Americans and this decline is even more evident in the Black community fewer Black women are have never been married than ever before. While there’s evidence that shows high incarceration rates of Black men and interracial marriage are contributing factors, Black women are more likely to be single than other women across America. As such is the case with myself. In early 2019, I set out to address the issue of singleness among women in

the Black community with the goal of changing the societal narrative that being single is a sad and lonely space to be in. While there are persistent stereotypes and myths there are significant advances toward more affirming and accurate discussions of what it means to be single.

In February 2019, I launched a blog called Single Dope Black Chick (SDBC). SDBC is a space to have real conversations about life as a single woman. All too often, society has told women that they should be married with kids and have a flourishing career by a certain age. Reality says something different. Most women are waiting later to

get married and have children, and are exploring various careers, entrepreneurial endeavors and passion projects. The blog explores all realities of Black women and gives readers a glimpse into my life as a professional and business owner, who is unmarried with no children. After three failed relationships, I’m ready to help women redefine life as a single woman, discover self-love, explore new definitions of dating and relationships, and live happy and whole lives. For more information on Single Dope Black Chick and to read the latest blog posts, visit the official Facebook page at: https://www.facebook. com/singledopeblackchick/





In Arts & Culture Must Be Intersectional

many are producing innovative, exceptional work for which they are well respected at home and abroad.

In 2016 the New York City (NYC) Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) conducted a diversity in the arts study with input from most of the arts organizations, in all 5 boroughs, that received DCLA funding. The study concluded that even though NYC is what has been referred to as a majority, minority city - the arts and culture landscape continued to be inequitable for people of color (POC). The majority of people of color who worked for the cultural organizations that were responsive to the survey were employed as receptionists, security guards, and in other positions without decision making authority.

I think it is hard for some white women to fully process how more justice for them doesn’t automatically produce more justice for women of color. And why an over emphasis on breaking through glass ceilings could seem tone deaf to their black and brown sisters -many of whom are struggling to just get in the door. Why should women of color be more willing to

Harris, Delores Jackson Radney, Tamara Leigh, Tianna Mañón, Rachel McKibbens, Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez, Danielle Ponder, KaeLyn Rich, and I. Because we are all so busy with our careers and activism, our greatest challenge to-date has been getting everyone in the same room. at the same time for a meeting. The other reasons WOC Art Collaborative was established are affirmative, proactive, aspirational. We plan to make and produce art in multiple disciplines through our lenses as women of color, create collaborative nets that work, garner resources for redistribution to other women/femmes of color, initiative conversations about things that matter, and overall to get things done.

It’s critical to add that even when they identified as creators, most of the employed men and women of color were not engaged as artists or culture workers at their institutions. The diversity in the arts study also found most of the CEOs working for organizations funded by the NYC DCLA were white women. This fact was statistically surprising to me even though I knew that white women, over decades, have been the primary beneficiaries of affirmative action programs and other diversity initiatives. I say that not to begrudge them their ascendance in the field (which is a positive advance) but to point out that under the majority leadership of white women in NYC, the sector continued to struggle with creating more equity for people of color, especially for women of color. Let’s be blunt and bring this conversation closer to home and say out loud that women of color creatives in Rochester are marginalized and have fewer resources because of systemic racism and gender discrimination - though 191


accept trickle down equity from other women who passionately reject similar trickle-down equity being bestowed on them by men? This is but one of the reasons I founded WOC Art Collaborative with 10 other women artists and creatives. WOC (pronounced “woke”) Art Collaborative is a multi-generational collective of Black women & women of color creators in Rochester, NY committed to bringing the power of their individual accomplishments, visions, and social justice practices to create an institution rooted in intersectional equity for women, femme, gender-variant and nonbinary artists of color. The Collaborative is comprised of N’Jelle Gage Thorne, Reenah Golden, W. Michelle

as culture workers.

In 2019, WOC Art Collaborative will solidify our vision, mission, structure, and programs as we all continue to do the impactful work in arts and social justice, which we did before we came together. We will also engage emerging women artists of color in innovative programs that accelerate their careers and growth

WOC Art Collaborative employs a “powerwith” engagement model, which we will implement from our own loft space, our headquarters located at 215 Tremont Street, Door 3/Suite 300. We also have access to 240 days per year in the adjacent Gallery Seventy Four – where we will perform, exhibit, entertain, and educate. The public is invited to join us. As I heard Miguel Gutierrez once say at the Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference, one year – “transformation is disruptive.” Talking about sexism, misogyny and racism is uncomfortable. But we only have to look at our legacy in Rochester to

{ QUEEN OF ARTS } “Let’s be blunt and bring this conversation closer to home and say out loud that women of color creatives in Rochester are marginalized and have fewer resources because of systemic racism and gender discrimination.”

know that transformation is possible. We won’t be as successful as a community when we exclude some of our most brilliant voices from the chorus.

Founder and Managing Artistic Director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, a creative bold space with a mission to elevate the voices, interests and art of the marginalize.

But we’re not waiting for anyone to give us permission or let us in closed doors. WOC Art Collaborative has the creative talent, skills, and initiative to start our own chorus.

W. Michelle Harris is a digital media artist and associate professor at RIT. Harris creates both interactive video installations for gallery settings and live-mixed visuals for music and dance performances. Her work often explores lives lived in the context of patriarchy and racism.

Our website is under construction, but follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @ WOCArt585 Rachel Y. DeGuzman is the president and CEO of 21st Century Arts, founder and curator of At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice, host of Up Close and Cultural, and the founder of WOC Art Collaborative ADDITIONAL INFOWOC Art Collaborative members: Rachel Y. DeGuzman is CEO of 21st Century Arts and ARTivist in Residence at Gallery Seventy Four. The focus of her work is decentering whiteness in arts/culture by centering the art, narratives & voices of people of color - especially women & marginalized LGBTQ communities. In fulfillment of that vision, she established “At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice” and then organized and initiated the founding of WOCˑArt Collaborative. N’Jelle Gage-Thorne is president of FuturPointe Dance, which she co-founded in 2009 with the vision to re-introduce Caribbean creative diversity in the dance community and to promote cross-cultural dialogue and conviviality. Born in Jamaica, N’Jelle has performed on stages throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She is an in-demand choreographer and educator. Reenah Golden has spent her life cultivating experiences that reflect her passion for arts, culture, and education in ways that redefine womanhood and purpose. Her primary mediums as an artist are pen, page, and stage. She is a native of Rochester where she is the

Delores Jackson Radney is an actor, director, art historian, educator, curator, writer, and founding partner of Kuumba Consultants, an arts-in-education agency providing arts and cultural programming for school and youth organizations throughout the greater Rochester, NY region. Tamara Leigh, a Rochester native, is the current Director of Communications at the Out Alliance, an agency that champions the rights and lifestyles of the LGBTQ+ community and Editor of their publication, The Empty Closet. Leigh also acts as co-host of radio show, Brunchin’ With Dee & T. on WAYO 104.3FM and CEO of Roc Candy Media, an urban Public Relations, Brand Development and Media Management firm. Tamara co-chairs, Rochester Black Pride and is a published author of “A Young Thug’s Heart” and “Love and Loyalty, Not Just

Another ‘Hood Love Story”. Her most sacred accomplishment, however, is being mom to her two young sons, Zaire & Zayden who have already begun a movement to change the world all their own. Tianna Mañón is a multimedia journalist based in Rochester NY. She enjoys covering political and policy decisions and making them approachable for the average reader. Rachel McKibbens is an acclaimed poet & resistor. She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry, blud, Into the Dark & Emptying Field, and Pink Elephant. In 2009, she became the first Latina to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam championship title. In 2012, McKibbens founded the Pink Door Writing Retreat, an annual retreat exclusively for femme, trans & gender variant writers of color. She co-curates the reading series Poetry & Pie Night and co-owns the Spirit Room in downtown Rochester. Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez is artistic director of Borinquen Dance Theatre, which she founded in 1981 as well as an administrator with the Rochester City School District. She is an expert on the traditions of dance in Latin culture. Danielle Ponder is a musician and attorney. A native of Rochester, NY- she performs internationally with her band Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People. She was previously employed by the Monroe County public defender’s office where she provided criminal defense for the indigent community. She is involved in several community initiatives and sits on the board of Teen Empowerment. KaeLyn Rich is an intersectional feminist, a direct-action organizer, a nonprofit leader, a teacher, and author of Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution. She’s an adoptee immigrant from South Korea, a comfort food foodie, and a working queer mama.





Tommi Billingsley an graduate from Lemoyne College graduate ,also a mother of two beautiful girls Aliena Yasia Jones and Yamoni-Rose Jones is a positive role model and influence in the Syracuse community. A community advocate who creates new ways to inspire, uplift and pour love in the souls of Syracuse residents especially women. Tommi’s organization Fearless Queens mission is to inspire women to fearlessly and with intention discover their inner power, develop their talents and gifts, and utilize their power as Queens to initiate change. Through motivational speaking at events or on social media platforms she definitely began a movement for women to be more confident and get outside their comfort zones. She uses amazing catch phrases regularly that can make anyone initiate change, such as “embrace her” or “be the change you want to see”. Traumatic experiences from hanging in the streets in her former life and losing a friend to violence made something spark where Tommi wanted to change her way of thinking and her environment . To achieve her goals ,to become someone. Change indeed she did fearlessly. Billingsley began doing internships at amazing companies in corporate America while taking business and management courses at Lemoyne College

However changed her mind of not wanting to work in corporate America instead she wanted to work in community, as well as start up her own companies becoming the changed she wanted to see in the community. This was an phenomenal change. Things she was learning she wanted to take back to her people where she comes from. A woman who speaks with passion Tommi is looked at not only as a community advocate , but also at times as a life coach using her social media and consultation platforms to give advice to women, moms, business Professionals and more on time management, self care and other topics . Business Tommi has created for herself includes selling boots and sneakers, having a hotdog stand , which she began to inspire African American children to be whatever they wanted to be. Tommi gives credit to god for the gifts she gives back to the community. Some major gifts she gives back includes a clothing line called Flygirlishhh which stands for : Forever Love Yourself. Become Glamorous , Intelligent, and Respect Ladies. Tommi clothing line message also includes putting a stop to Hating Human Habits. Inspired by her father love and support towards her she wanted women to love themselves too by putting inspirational quotes on t-shirts and it became success with a message of empowerment . To Tommi the message is more important than the fashion. Previously Tommi had Cancer now

cancer free her life continues to be a gift to her community. Other ways Tommi has given back to the community is with a Syracuse household name event called the Queens Brunch , an annual event that allows women from all walks of life a rebirth. The event includes motivational speakers, and empowerment activities. Showcasing unity with celebrity guests and celebration. The Queens Brunch allowes women needing to belong to something an event with meaning. Everyone being uplifted and changing. While putting a stop to not wanting to mingle with other women, teaching how important it is to love ourselves and support each other. The next brunch is September 2019. This event overall helps with personal development. Advice Tommi has for women who want to be a fearless leader is to change your mindset of how you see your self. Encourage yourself, forever love yourself. In the process learn to not allow fear to block you so do it afraid if need be. In order to do that it takes practice. Change your mind of what u believe in. Belief starts with you . Everything Tommi does she does for her community. As she learns and grows she takes what she learned and poured back. This amazing fearless Queen leading the charge on her throne To contact Tommi Billingsley email flygirlshhh@gmail.com








We have all heard of the old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Well the truth of the matter is, words can be a double-edged sword. Whether the verbal attack unearths a hidden wound or causes a fresh offense, words can be lethal. How else do people develop self-esteem issues, and have their dreams snatched away from them? It can be a simple conversation where someone shares their goals and dreams, just to have someone say “it’s impossible” or give a condescending smirk. It can be the best idea which has never been done before, yet some will discount it before the dream has had a chance to sprout. Considering this scenario, some people would let the lack of support and negative comments fester. The wounds then turn into animosity and the joy of what they were excited to do, suddenly diminishes.

tend to shy away from the aggressor, or even tuck the pain so far in the back of their own minds; just so they can function on a day-to- day basis. In some cases, the person may think they are getting through life without any issues from their pain interfering with daily life. However, the truth of the matter, the individual may

Take a walk down the journey of your own childhood, how many times have bullies made demands or inflammatory remarks which have caused identity issues or low self-esteem?

revisit the pain and be restrictive in certain dealings, so they do not position themselves to be hurt again. The fact of the matter is the more people unmask their own truths, they are sharing histories of being domestic violence survivors. People not only reveal they have survived

When someone is offended, they

horrific experiences, but share stories of how they came out as a survivor, despite the odds. Maybe you were not the victim of domestic violence or never a suffered painful offense, but what did you do with the situation where you found out you were lied on? How did you resolve the issue where you were passed over for promotion? What if you were betrayed by a significant other or heard how your name was scandalized in the rumor mill? If you have not dealt with the pain or the offense, it is highly likely you are harboring unforgiveness. If something happened and you felt you were wronged and decided to move on and vowed to never work with someone else, you may be harboring unforgiveness. Just as hate does more harm to the vessel it is housed in, so does unforgiveness. In fact, the person still resentful, pained and otherwise wounded has to let go of the situation to in essence free themselves. When we forgive, it gives us a position of power and actually frees us from the place of hurt. When we are free, we can live life with clarity and live a life of abundance. We can forgive and allow ourselves ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ DR KIKI SPEAKS } “When we are free, we can live life with clarity and live a life of abundance. We can forgive and allow ourselves to no longer be a victim of how we were treated. �

to no longer be a victim of how we were treated. Forgiveness is not for the oppressor, it allows us to be faced with similar issues and not be angry. Forgiveness allows us to function at an optimal level, without any regards to what happened to us. After all, we are not responsible for how others treat us, we are only responsible for our responses. Hence, we can forgive and move forward to be a better person and once we are strong enough, help someone else. Forgiveness allows us 203


to move past what happened to us and gives us hope that we are not the experience we lived through; we are not the words they said, we are not the rumors, the insults, the violence, the favoritism, the lack of love, the rape, the actions done to us which diminished us at that time. Forgiveness is within itself the art of admitting something happened, and knowing you are not responsible for the horrific act, yet you can let it go without diminishing the fact

that something happened. Pain will heal with time, however the sooner we relinquish all the ill feelings and thoughts attached to what harmed us; the power of forgiveness becomes ours. So, I challenge you to live a better quality of life by letting go of what may have offended you and forgive. The moment you forgive you will then unblock the goodness of life and be able to provide the same hope to others. Go Forth & Forgive!






2019 is the year of bridging together in the fashion industry world and Katlady Productions is off to a great start. The flavor of the year is collaboration with other designers, models, producers, film agents & writers. It is so very exciting. Working together provides bigger opportunities. A great business woman knows it takes a team to really reach success. My creations are just one piece of the overall picture of what it is all about. I would like to introduce some of Katlady Productions’ © mature models and our manager, Teddy Peterson. Being part of our team, means we share the spotlight. Teddy manages the business part of the organization. The models assist in making the furs beautiful. Their style and grace make the fashion come to life. What is it actually like to be a Katlady Production model? Managing a designer is often hard work and takes someone who is dedicated to the craft. Teddy Peterson, a designer himself (CEO of Suits by Teddy Peterson) is also the manager of Katlady Productions. Teddy says, “I met this phenomenal woman, Regina Smith, while doing a video clip for my suit line. She immediately impressed me with her vision and energy. She was doing a fashion show for the late, great Vaughn “Quiet Storm” Harper. We collaborated on a youth fashion show at a youth center in Harlem, and the rest is history. I must say this young lady inspired me to take my own creativity & energy to another level. I’ve learned quite a lot by being around her, and networking, I am honored and privileged to be in a position to assist in the fashion world. The future looks very bright and I am excited to be a part of this production company. The

company has no limits of elegance. On behalf of Regina Smith and staff, I am proud to say, borrowing this phase from Ms. Smith, “We are changing the world, one step at a time”. Katlady Productions© models come from all around the world. They are all so beautiful and talented, as well as, seasoned & mature. We are an equal opportunity employer. Becoming a model with us is an interesting experience as we do a variety of

rock the runway! This is a dream come true and was always a long-term goal of mine to become a model. I will not let any of you down. I am looking forward to being part of the team. This experience showed me I’m a model for life!”. For the last two years, Cookie modeled with Katlady Productions©. Model, Cookie explained stating, “Two years ago, I met this beautiful person, named Regina Smith aka Katlady Productions©. She afforded me the opportunity to continue something I embarked on years ago, modeling. Regina embraces the young at heart and is seasoned in spirit”. Model, Wendell Sawyer, is an original founding member of “Blue Magic” 40 years ago. He joined us modeling because he was interested in trying something new. He started as a supporter of model Carol Hamilton.

shows in many different venues employing interesting concepts of fashions. We use a mix of models; beginners, returning models and experienced models. Each model has an interesting, compelling personality and demonstrated they were capable of slaying the runway. Newcomer, Model, Carol Hamilton states, “It was a moment of immense pleasure to learn I am showcasing for Katlady Productions©. I am ready and excited to

Wendell says, “At first, I was there to support Carol Hamilton. After watching her grow, I joined and I am happy I did. The entire experience is amazing. I learned a whole different side of the entertainment business. Katlady Productions© showed me how to walk the catwalk and “SLAY”. Models are people like you and me. Where do they get the confidence to showcase fashions? The first step is remembering, you are the most important person in your life. See your beauty, protect, and respect your space. Ask yourself what are your priorities in fashion? Be accountable for your individual style. Find your answers ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019



in the colors you wear daily. Follow your dream and become a fashion icon in your life. You can be a model in your everyday life. 101 Fashion & furs will guide you to your inner beauty behavior. Live life focusing on colors. It is time to be adventurous and brighten your world! Use fierce, vibrant colors and always be graceful, infusing those near and far into your light, so they can shine too. Research colors, fabric and furs. Laugh on purpose; learn that making a mistake 209


with colors may turn out to be amazing. Once you see the finished project come together, you have created your own style. Think outside the box! Measure yourself by your own standards. Be influenced by you. Be enlightened by others. Passion for fashion comes from the inside of individuals. It takes on its own personality in everyone. It is a personal choice to follow 101 Fashion & Furs. We will grow to have a personal relationship. Come out of your shell and embrace your individuality! Be your own model every

day. Slay! Be confident! Don’t’ forget to smile. Strike a pose! VOGUE. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at katladyprod@gmail. com and we will respond within 24 hours. As the CEO & founder of Katlady Productions©- a platform highlighting the talent of multicultural of models, designers, and much more in the fashion world, we would like to say thank you and enjoy! Until next time.






Taking chances are literally my claim to fame narrative since I arrived in the world. I never once passed over an opportunity which potentially alters my life for the better. I chose pageantry as the initial game changer for me to advance and become the gentleman I’ve always wanted to be. Through my years of competing, I only looked at myself as just the “pageant guy” or the “overly interesting guy” never anything past that. Now I can call myself “aspiring male model” as I participated in NY Fashion Week. I was blessed with a model’s dream come true. This article is taking a departure from my pageant prep to explore my 2019 fashion week journey through the lens of Mr. Gay Pennsylvania America, 2018. Having this chance opened my eyes, and I hope you readers are ready to enjoy! New York fashion week usually is held in February and September of every year on a semi- annual basis. This week cram packs international, local, experimental, and new designers of the world all showcasing their designs. New York coupled along with Paris, Milan, and London are the four most important shows of the season. Each collection is viewed by fashion heavyweights, may it be buyers, the press of major publications, and more importantly also the general public. We as models look at fashion week as our Super Bowl or championship if you will. Having the opportunity to walk as an aspiring model, reigning titleholder, and coach is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity

to walk along side professional models, reigning titleholders, and miscellaneous fashion ICONS proves great things can come when you least expect it. This was a truly different experience for me, then the first time I participated and honestly me want to model more. My first fashion week was in September

of 2016, I was asked by PS Privette from Pageant Live to compete for the title of Mr. New York Fashion Week. This contest combined modeling and pageantry in one very diverse format during fashion week. We were tasked with modeling a black & white look, fun fashion, and swimsuit. The big stipulation was we had to use our clothes, professional hair & makeup, and create the proper fashion vibe while being a

model. The winner was given various print/ commercial jobs, the honor of walking in Fashion Week over seas in Asia, and exposure. The feedback I received was so ICONIC, from the platinum colored suit to the camouflage fun fashion and ending in a super cute yellow & blue swimsuit. I felt like a true top model. After the shoes left the runway, I ultimately placed as the first runner up to Tommy Maksanty of Woodbridge, Virginia. This experience I believed was going to be it, until we fast forward to February 09, 2019 when I walked again. My second fashion week experience was granted to me by Rene Bionat and Art & Beauty Magazine who were hosting the fashion week 2.0 shows. This show exclusively had the delegates of the Miss Earth USA, Miss USA, World’s perfect pageant, and other mainstream pageant systems walk amongst the professional models. This was the first year that the 2.0 show featured a curvy girl collection, and two various menswear lines which featured two different but up and coming designers. I was selected with eight other models ranging from 16 to 31, representing Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware, New York, and Pennsylvania. During rehearsals, all 9 of the male models were asked to do a “go see” with one of the designers. They only had 6 menswear looks and had to choose who deemed the best fit for her collection. To my surprise, I was selected to walk in both shows which was literally an OMG moment. ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ AN ICONIC MOMENT } “Having the opportunity to walk as an aspiring model, reigning titleholder, and coach is truly remarkable. Having the opportunity to walk along side professional models, reigning titleholders, and miscellaneous fashion ICONS proves great things can come when you least expect it.”

My first collection, I walked for was NONELIAH by Naomi Johnson out of Glen Cove, NJ. This collection was centered around her son’s legacy and memory. Naomi’s son was a up and coming rapper and clothing designer whom was brutally murdered by a bus driver. This bus driver repeatedly ran him over and dragged him over and dragged him to death and received zero ramifications for this. Naomi fearlessly decided to continue on and took the clothes and infused her son into it. The looks varied from solid two pieces with hoods, bright blue pieces with urban style collars. The main pieces in this collection were centered around music notes, keyboards, and the brand of the collection on those pieces were the direct nod to her son. I was blessed to wear one of the more important pieces in this show a two-piece short & shirt combo. The garments were simple, sexy, urban, and cool for the summer. Miss Johnson was truly a sweetheart, a pleasure to work with, and reminded me of my mom at points. The biggest take away from her collection was love has no boundaries between a mother and son. The second collection I walked for was RAD CREDENTIALS by Darron Chapman of Minnesota. Making it to fashion week was a dream come true for Darron and he was 215


overjoyed to work with all 9 of us guys. The RADDIE collection encompasses classic men’s silhouettes, urban modern prep realness with a vintage 90’s sensibility. Each look gives a variety for men to choose from especially

made his collection the most swagtastic of all. I loved my look the most and I wanted to keep my look truthfully. I wore a play on the patchwork sweater meets turtleneck with the only amazing collar. This look also was the only one that featured the brand logo and had the most drama to it. I enjoyed walking with that collar over my face, I truly felt certifiable with the only rad credentials. All in all, my New York Fashion Week experience has changed my life. Being the oldest of all the guys, I assumed that my time was gone. I gained a newfound sense of confidence in myself that I needed to find. I was able to promote my title amongst pageantry & fashion royalty, made new connections, and left having me itching to do more modeling. I can’t say thank you enough to Art & Beauty magazine for the chance, it honestly made my year so far and proves ICONIC MOMENTS exist for those who need it.

for the fall/winter. I also want to highlight how cool, chilled, and relatable as a person/ designer Darron was. Darron made walking his clothes easy, super calming, and most importantly fun. These aspects are what






It was a cold a rainy morning around 2:30am. I dreaded getting out of my bed, however Fashion calls. I remember feeling sluggish and not as excited as I was when I was asked to participate in New York Fashion Week(NYFW). However, I got myself dressed and ready to travel these roads for modeling love. As we headed out (Precious Taylor) and I, with her family, it all started to sink in. I was actually headed to NYC to model. At that point, I became full of energy and started to get excited again. Not nervous, but excited. You see, I never went to NYC and for me that was a gift to see the “BIG CITY”. We headed towards NYC and as we were on the road, I had so many thoughts running through my head. The who’s, what’s and how will I react once I get there? What I will see, touch and feel? The food and the people and on and on and on, my brain was just rapidly running. I decided to just take a nap and hopefully when I wake up, BAM we’re in the BIG City. However, I woke up and we were still driving lol. When I opened my eyes, it was somewhat sunny out, wet but nice feeling. It was nice because I was NOT in Rochester, NY, my

home town, you can say. I am not exactly from Rochester. I was born and raised in Sodus, NY, about an hour from Rochester. Yup, I am a Country Gal. Sodus and Sanford, Florida was my world till I was about

stops and or gas fill ups whizzing by as we passed them. We were an hour behind because of encountering about 3 accidents on the way to NYC. We were supposed to be there by 9 am.

18-years-old. That is when I became a Rochesterian. So, as we proceed to have this adventure, I started writing some things down on what I saw or was feeling. I see a lot of cars and trucks with different people of all nationalities driving to get a destination, as we were. Signs of restroom stops, truck


What do you know, we arrived in NYC and it was different, busy and a lot of people honking their horns. Cars and buses were cutting in front of people, but it was so awesome to see. Big buildings tall and wide. We got to our first destination (Fittings). We were walking for a Designer named DivaBIgg, from Florida. She was a wonderful woman, but also a hot pepper. She had a great personality and her style was amazing. You can follow her on Instagram, ( bbwintheroom). When we were done with our fitting, we proceeded to head on over to our “meet and greet” at Venue on 35 West 38th Street. We did a run through with other models and met so many women from all over. Once the meet and greet was done, we headed to the

What I needed …… We spent our first night in NYC sleeping, getting ourselves ready for the big day, modeling. We modeled at a Venue at 4 West 43rd Street ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


New York, NY 10036. We had to be there at 9am to start, what I call a day of full effects lol. Within an hour of us being at the venue, we did a run through to make sure the runway was comfortable for all the models with their heels they chose to wear. Around noon, our makeup started, my face was beat by Simaia Few (Facebook). Precious and I were asked to bring our pageant sashes and crowns. We were recognized as pageant titleholders while other women were being crowned. It was time to “Rip the Runway”. The Show began. When I put on the outfit chosen for me, I felt beautiful and flawless. Makeup beat and wardrobe on fleek, I felt more than beautiful, but Important. It is a different feeling any time you rip the runway, no matter who you are modeling for 221


or where. This feeling was huge to me. To rip the runway in NYCFW was BIG. As it was our time to represent (DivaBIgg) Models, my heart was beating ten times faster than normal but in a good way. To be in a modeling show, full of camera’s and lights, and so many different people watching you from all over the world was great. As It was my turn to rip the runway, I stepped on that stage and walked smoothly and swiftly as I could to show off my clothing and me, who I was at that particular time, and how I felt was amazing. When it was all done, I felt like yes! Yes! Yes! I did it and didn’t fall, stumble or even freeze. You see when you go through some storms, the feeling you get about yourself can make you a little low, but when I am on that stage, I do not think about what I am going through

or what just happened. Again, the who’s, what’s, why me? My passion for modeling is a special feeling that takes over on the inside and makes me feel invisible to the world of cold and bitterness but visible to sunshine and grace. Being a Model is not easy at all. Some of us just don’t have that “WALK” to “Rip the Runway” or be able to be photogenic for the camera. To look at yourself on video, or in a photo can be amazing. I thank God for the blessing he has given me, the gift of beauty for the runway. It is a great feeling. Again, when I get on someone’s billboard or bus I have met my goal. Till next time  ~ Sheila Young ~




Dear Woman,

Never forget who you are!

Through the centuries you have been down played Downgraded and told you are the weaker sex Cook , clean and have babies And I must confess that often times I too, give in to a woman’s demise of feeling less than or not powerful enough to stand up and claim that I am a Woman But Dear Woman Where does your power lie? Not with muscles Not with Brawn For it was in you since the beginning of dawn that YOU were the birth of all men and it was in You where all life began so Yes, Dear Woman Where is your strength? It is not through your ability to hide your tears for in fear of being called “too emotional” But in your ability to know that your tears are like waves in the oceans and your water gives life so Dear Woman, it is within you that sets things in motion for your secret portion is not of spells for in you dwells your femininity Like the Lioness of the jungle who is to humble to say that she is the real king Oh, Dear Woman, How did you forget who you were?

March is Women’s History Month and I wanted to celebrate WOMEN. What we do wrong and most of all what we do right. Often times we as women are too hard on ourselves. Some of us never give

in to our inner inhibitions of whatever that is because we are so busy being the perfect woman that society tells us we should be. We are either too loud, too weak, too emotional, too emotional, too emotional (yes I said it three times),

not beautiful enough and the list can go on and on and on. I often wonder why society is just so hard on women as a whole. I mean you do know that we cry right? I even often wonder why this world is ruled by men? Who made that rule? I mean really, just take a look around you and you tell me that if women were to be removed from this world then where would the men be? And pretty please, don’t think that my celebration of women is somehow man bashing. I love my men. I could not live without them. We need our men to.. to……., let me get back to you on that. I mean who is going to change my tires or lift something heavy/ Yessss, that is what we need men for. After all I don’t want to break a nail. But back to this women’s empowerment situation. We just want to be respected. We want our voices to be heard. I am in love with the #Metoo Movement, which gave women a voice who were ashamed or in fear or just didn’t think anyone cared about their voice. Even men were able to join in and have an open dialogue on their own personal #metoo stories. But it was a WOMAN that had the courage to stand up and shout that women and not only women but all our voices matter and we should not be silenced.





{ MODEL ESTEEM } “So to my women who are rocking , handling themselves the way they want to handle themselves and not being manhandled (it’s the poet in me), I celebrate you, this Women’s Month. Rock On Girl! Rock On!”

My favorite woman of all time is Harriet Tubman. Yes, that Harriet Tubman and I don’t have to wait until Black History Month to celebrate her. Nicknamed Moses, she was the epitome of a fearless woman. After being able to FREE herself from slavery, she could have just worried about herself and not went back and risked her life to free other slaves. I can’t imagine the thoughts that went through her head, along with the fear. But her faith and her will to truly have

those who were in bondage be set free is truly implacable. I strive to be a little like Harriet Tubman and I truly believe that ALL women no matter what race have a little Harriet in us. Women all over the world sacrifice daily for their families, friends, jobs, success with little to no recognition. I think that is really what we all want in the long run, respect. Respect that our sacrifices are not in vain. That being a

woman can be both powerful and beautiful at the same time. So to my women who are rocking , handling themselves the way they want to handle themselves and not being manhandled (it’s the poet in me), I celebrate you, this Women’s Month. Rock On Girl! Rock On! Shettima Webb Model Esteem LLC www.modelesteem.com








Women share there stories of why they got married There are numerous reasons why people decide to make the ultimate commitment in life and get married. Marriage is a unionship, that two people take before the eyes of a higher power, and sometimes family and friends. For some, marriage is a way to define their love, but then there is some who marry for money, some marry for emotional support or companionship, some marry for the big celebration, some marry for legal reason and residency, then there are some who marry for the hell of it. For me, getting married at 21 years old was the right thing to do at the time, at least I thought it was. I had been surrounded by married couples my entire life. My parents had been married for 33 years at the time, both my brothers had gotten married and just about every one of my paternal and maternal aunts and uncles were married, or had been married. It was also a symbol of adultism for me. By the time I was 21 I had not made any major decisions on purpose, deciding on getting married was defiantly the first. By the time I was 12 I had watched so many movies centered around marriage, weddings, family, and parenthood. Coming to America, Steels Magnolias, and Sixteen candles where some of my favorites. I can

remember getting the Sears and JCPenney catalog in the mail and flipping through the toy section and seeing bride and groom barbie dolls and wanting one. When I was in Kindergarten my classroom had a play corner which was set up like a home. In this play area there where was a kitchen with fake food, pots and pans, plates, cups, utensils, there were boy and girl dolls, as well as clothing for us to dress up in. All the girls would play with the babies and

put on the wedding dress and vail. Like many, the idea of weddings in marriage was engrained into me at a young age. Being smothered with the idea of marriage left me day dreaming about getting married, but way to inexperience and young to understand what marriage entailed. I know that I wanted to get married and settle down, but I wasn’t really ready for

all marriage offered. I found excitement in the idea of dressing up and smashing cake in each other’s faces, even though my wedding didn’t really go that way. When I met my husband, I was 20 and I wasn’t really thinking like “okay I am going to marry him”, it just kind of happened. We had talked about what it would be like to get married, but we had not planned on getting married no time soon. As I said in a previous article, he and I had only been dating for 3 or 4 months when we decided to get married. We were walking downtown one day, and we walked past the hall of justice or maybe we had to stop in there for something, whatever the reason was it brought us to talking about us actually getting married. Somehow that very day we wound up applying for marriage license, and we set a date to come back to city hall and get married about a month later. He and I had some of the same reasons for wanting to get married, yet we had some very different reasons as well. For me, one of the main reasons was the fact that I was pregnant with our first child, was only 20 years old, and I didn’t want to be a young single mother, nor did I want to be an embarrassment to my family and myself (I never was an embarrassment in my parents eyes, it was me thinking that I would be). Other reasons for me was I was in love, and I was exercising my right to make a major adult decision on my own. For him, he fell in ROCHESTER WOMAN ONLINE :: MARCH/APRIL 2019


{ THE MARRIAGE CHRONICLES } “For some, marriage is a way to define their love, but then there is some who marry for money, some marry for emotional support or companionship, some marry for the big celebration, some marry for legal reason and residency, then there are some who marry for the hell of it.”

love with me, he appreciated my weirdness, my sweet personally, how humble I was, and how I never judged him. He had already played the field, he had been in a long-term relationship prior to me, he had already had children, and he was truly ready to settle down. He was a little older than me and had lived a very different life then I had. He had gone through things in his 26 years of life that I could never imagined going through. He had reached a point in his life where he was truly ready to make that commitment. Why do others get married? Jamequa, Mrs. Kurvie Upstate NY 2018 shared why she and her husband got married. For Jamequa, she had always known she was going to be somebody’s wife, “I mean it’s every girls dream” but for her marrying her childhood friend made it much more worth it. Her parents were married for 23 years so having that influence and seeing that love whether good or bad made her want the same as she got older. Getting married completed her. For Jamequa’s husband, getting married gave him purpose in life! Sedawnie, owner and operator of Sharpe Fit clothing, shared why she and her 233


husband made the ultimate commitment. For Sedawnie, it was all about the love they shared and built with one another over the course of 5 years before getting married. Sedawnie’s husband told her that he knew when they were just friends that she was going to be his wife. Her husband

and laugh every day, when he held her in his arms, she felt protected and provided for. Chars husband proved to her that he was the man she wanted and needed in her life, and Char said that her husband filled a void and she has never desired another man. Regina shared her beautiful story of why she and her husband got married. For Ragina, she and her husband were able to maintain their relationship through some of the worst of times and was able to come out standing strong. This let her know they were able to past the test of trials and tribulations that was put in front of them. For them, getting married was in Gods ultimate plan. Lastly, just to add in a little humor, Davi Jay said she is still trying to figure out why she got married a eternity later, lol. Ebony said “good question, I am asking why too”.

was and is the man she wanted to share her everything with, every moment, every great accomplishment, her love and respect. Char June explained shared why she got married. Char said that she married her best friend when she married her husband. She and her husband were able to share anything together. He made her smile

Marriage is a universal part of culture across the world and is celebrated in many different ways and has many have different meanings. Everyone has their own personal reason for getting married whether justifiable or not. For whatever the reasons may be marriage is a big decision and always a work in progress.











Diabetes is a severe metabolic condition that affects 16 million Americans. Over the last decade, it has reached epidemic heights in Black women. 1 in 4 black women ages 55 and older have diabetes and is listed as the fourth leading cause of death for all ages. Diabetes is also more prevalent among black women than in other ethnic groups. As millions of people live full and happy lives with diabetes, so did Harriet Ballard. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 at the age of 29. Like most 30 somethings, she wasn’t concerned about health, and she never took her medication prescribed for diabetes. One day in February 2014 Harriet Ballard noticed a grey film covering her left eye. Not knowing what was happening or what was to come, Harriet merely adjusted, only to be faced with a similar experience one year later. While working at her computer, suddenly she has no vision in the center of her right eye. On the drive to the emergency room, Harriet’s mom prayed, and Harriet began to tell herself “it’s nothing, you will be back to work tomorrow, don’t worry.” It was only when the nurse asked Harriet to sign her name; that it became real because she could not see the paper. The doctors were unsure as to why this was happening. Even the specialist was looking for answers. Finally, she was told that there was a bleed behind each eye that had caused the loss of vision. Devastated and afraid, she thought “ how am I 33 years old, and blind”? She now depended on others for everything. Harriet an outgoing, get up and go, independent young women, could no longer work, she felt helpless. It was even hard for Harriet to pick out clothes to wear because she could not see colors and patterns. That was incredibly frustrating for someone who loves fashion and expressing herself through clothes and makeup. From a young age growing up in church and enjoying ministering to others by

singing in choirs, these feelings she was experiencing were different. She was mad at God! Wanting her sight back she was lost. Harriet began to deal with depression; she sat in the dark and hid all the things she was dealing with, crying in secrecy. For those that know Harriet is a sweet, kind, optimistic and encouraging woman. At this point, she felt like none of those things, but she put on a great front for others, so they

brothers, six sisters, and a loving church family helped remind her of the faith in her heart. She was reminded of “I can do all things through Christ Jesus that strengthens me” (Phil4:3). Harriet began to remind herself that no matter what, she believes God! Through a 4-hour eye surgery and numerous eye procedures, she held on to her faith and the prayers of her loved ones. Realizing that she didn’t have to give up on her dreams, she just had to adjust the way she looked at achieving them, researching on how to do things differently, finding ways to enhance what she sees. Harriet began to reteach herself on how to do makeup, learning new techniques of the application on not only herself but her clients as well. In doing so, she became more determined to prove that she could do anything. Harriet became serious about her life, health, and goals. Being grateful for lady Pamela Hennings for the lessons on food and nutrition, Harriet has adopted a vegan lifestyle and a more proactive approach to her health. She was starting to see the beauty of life that she was taking for granted.

wouldn’t be sad about what had happened to her. In the dark Harriet thought about how she would have to give up her dreams and her hobbies. No more doing her makeup, let alone “beating” anyone else’s face. The isolation had her in a dark place. Facing her future just made her more depressed. Through it all, Harriet still went to church, continued to do most the things she enjoyed. Her support system of a loving mother, ten

Harriet no longer sits back and dreams about her dreams; she gives them wings. One such dream that has taken flight is Harriet B cosmetics. (www.harrietbeauty. com) Harriet B cosmetics is a representation of how vivid Harriet sees things now. Being an entrepreneur and getting back to doing makeup has been Harriet’s rainbow after a dark storm. Losing her sight and now being blind in one eye, and legally blind in the other, has stopped nothing! Ms. Ballard says she has learned to not take anything for granted and to live her life for her. Taking her dreams to new heights Knowing all she has experienced that she is still clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. (Prov31:25)








As I have previously stated, I will use “Thoughts of a Curvy Girl”, to educate, entertain, and inform our readers on all matters of health, fun, and not so fun topics. I will this article with quotes about the month of April. Enjoy!! April is Aprhodite’s month. April is the fourth month of the year in the Gregorian calendar. April is derived from the Latin word Aperit, which means “to open”. It is considered that April is the month of growing season and when trees and flowers begin to open. We celebrate good days such as: Easter Sunday, Earth Day, April Fool’s Day and not so fun days like: the American Revolution. The bright colors of Spring, informs us that the long cold days of winter are over. April is also an awareness month for several things: National Oral, Head, Neck, Esophageal, and Testicular Cancers. Also, it’s Alcohol Awareness Month. Testicular Cancer--- in the United States it’s estimated that 9,310 men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer, the average age of those diagnosed is 33, for men 15-44, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, but 8% of cases are diagnosed in men 55 or older, and 6% of cases are diagnosed in men and adolescents. The official ribbon color for Testicular Cancer Awareness is orchid, a purple violet color. Esophageal Cancer—The American Cancer Society estimates for esophageal cancer in the United States for 2019, are about 17,650 new esophageal cancer cases diagnosed (13,750 men, 3,900 women). About 16,080 deaths from esophageal cancer, 13,020 men, 3,060 women. Esophageal Cancer is more common in men than women, esophageal cancer makes up 1% of all cancers diagnosed in the United States, but is much more common in some other parts of the world, such as, Iran, Northern China, India, and Southern Africa. The

risk factors that cause increase risk of getting esophageal cancer are: Gerd, smoking, bile reflux, obesity and alcohol. The color ribbons for Esophageal Cancer Awareness are Blue and Gold. Oral Cancer—Approximately, 53,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with oral cancer. 132 new people in the United States will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer, and 1 person will die from it every hour of the day.. whew, that’s a lot of people. Smoking and tobacco use are still the major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients are young healthy non- smoking individuals, due to the HPV virus. Historically, this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in it’s development. Red and white pinstripe ribbons are used for Oral Cancer Awareness. Nasopharyngeal Cancer--(Head and Neck Cancer)—This cancer involves the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, and lymph nodes. Head and Neck Cancer account for about 4% of al cancers in the United States. This year an estimated 65,410 people will develop Head and Neck Cancer, while younger people can develop the disease, most people are older than 50 when they are diagnosed. 48,000 men and 14,410 women will be diagnosed with Head and Neck Cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use are not risk factors for salivary gland cancers, infection with cancer causing types of HPV is a risk factor. The Head and Neck Cancer Awareness ribbon is burgundy and ivory. April is a host to other special days such as: Rosacea Awareness, March for Babies, Facial Awareness, National Volunteer Week. Every April, charities, hospitals, and communities recognize volunteers and foster a culture of service. National Volunteer Week was created By President Nixon in 1974 by executive order.

Autism Speaks kicks off World Autism Month during the month of April, beginning with World Autism Day, April 2nd. Joined by the thousands of landmarks, buildings, homes, and communities around the world light blue in recognition of people living with autism. World Health Day is observed on April 7th, which celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. In the United Kingdom, April is known as National Pet Month, here in the United States, we celebrate this day in May for our non- human family members. Also, National Pillow Fight Day is, April 6th. Here are some nice April quotes: “April is a promise that May is bound to keep”—Hal Borland “The first day of April is the day we remember what we are the rest of the other 364 days of the year.”—Mark Twain “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.” –T.S. Eliot “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.”— William Shakespeare “Oh, the lovely fickleness of an April Day.”— W.H. Gibson “April prepares her green traffic light and the world thinks Go.”-Christopher Morley “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”—Socrates “Spring is nature’s way of saying, let’s party!!”— Robin Williams




NATURALLY KISSED I officially started Naturally Kissed By Latosha back in 2015. Both my girls (7 & 8 years of age) and I have our hair in its curly natural state, and purchasing products from the store was getting pretty costly.

definitely reap the benefits. Their favorite product is my vegan sugar lip scrub. The directions are to wipe off with a warm damp cloth, but they just ignore that and eat it off.

I started playing with different raw butters and oils to see what works best for our hair many years ago. So for a while, I would just make products for family and friends for fun. Then they really liked it and was requesting it more. So, I started purchasing product in bulk to make on a larger scale. Along with a little nudge from my husband, I said to myself “Why not make a little money for doing what you love?” People really enjoyed my handcrafted skin, beard and haircare products and things took off from there. I use raw/organic ingredients in my products which make them safe for babies, teens, adults, and folks with a mature swag. Our girls really love when I have extra product that I cannot jar. They 241


are my office and I deliver to those who cannot come to me. I also ship throughout the US and Globally. You can catch me at the Rochester public market in the spring/ summer, festivals & craft shows around Rochester, Buffalo, & Syracuse area. (More cities coming soon) Also on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Tumblr under kissedbylatosha I ’m c o n s t a n t l y thinking & creating new & innovative ideas. So, Naturally Kissed by Latosha’s brand will continue to expand. Being a woman of color with a business shows me that I can achieve whatever I put my mind to. I am showing my daughters, that women of color can be entrepreneurs and raise a family at the same time.

www.kissedbylatosha.com has something for women and men alike. My kitchen and mini van

My girls have a front row seat on this adventure and being “like mommy” is already an achievement within itself.

Sharpe Fit is an Active Plus Size Clothing line that was founded in 2016. Sharpe Fit promotes the healthy lifestyle of a Curvy Woman, and getting Flawlessly Fit whether your in the gym, working out at home, or exercising outdoors. Sharpe Fit is more than a clothing line but a movement about accepting your curves and saying Eff the standards of society. The great thing about Sharpe Fit, is that it can be worn anywhere and you will look fabulous. To place an order Check out my IG and Facebook business page under Sharpe Collections. “BBWs make working out look good!�

Profile for Rochester Woman Online

SFTS March/April 2019  

Yolanda Smilez graces the cover of the latest edition of RWO's Something 4the Sista's with her truly inspiring story or overcoming loss, her...

SFTS March/April 2019  

Yolanda Smilez graces the cover of the latest edition of RWO's Something 4the Sista's with her truly inspiring story or overcoming loss, her...