KidFash Magazine Issue 17 (Be You)

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ISSUE 17 /FALL 2019









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Los Angeles Models Editor’s Letter What Fashion Means To Me? (Kylissa) Health: Alopecia (Kaili) Featured Baby: Lily San Antonio Models Featured Photographer: Shaina Leigh Featured Designer: Petite Adele Top 10 Models Cover Story: Ava Kolker NYFW Anti-Bullying (Mitchell) How to Become a Model: Farouk James New York City Models

Cover Model: Ava Kolker (@avakolker) Photographer: Lilly K Photography (@lillykphotography) Wardrobe: Sally Miller (@sallymillerfash) Hair/Makeup: Anjolie Noelle Valdivia (@adoramuchi) Location: Los Angeles, CA Back Cover Model: Izabela (@izabelasier) Photographer: Michele Mabie (@everythinglovelyphoto) Designer: Princess Ford (@princessford_) Location: Atlanta, GA Table of Contents Picture Model: Maleia (@maleia.malulani) Photographer: Mandy Dudley (@mandydudleyphotography) Location: Panama City, FL Editor: Damon Ross DDS Creative Designer: Anthony Naylor Graphic Designer: Mandy Hernandez Web Designer: Mohammed Rasool Consulting Editors: Angie Lozano, Erika Carey

Editor’sletter In today’s world, kids are trying their best to fit in, even if it means not being who they really are. Way too many kids have been under stress because of this and have taken their own lives. This is why I wanted to do an issue on “Be You”. I want kids to know, its ok to be you. Its ok to be different. GOD created each one of us with a purpose, for a purpose. Its up to us to live up to that purpose. If you don’t know what that purpose is, start with being you, do the things you like to do, the things you are good at doing. I promise you, when you do all of these, your purpose will become clear. Now go out and “Be You”! Our cover model is the beautiful and talented Ava Kolker. In her article she talks about going from Disney actress to singer and fashion designer. It is such an honor to have the opportunity to work with Ava Kolker and I can’t wait to see where her acting/singing career takes her. In our 17th Issue you will read about "What Fashion Means to Me” by Kylissa, you will learn about the BEAUTIFUL Kailia and her modeling journey with

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alopecia! You will also see some amazing pictures from the one and only Shaina Leigh who's not only a Photographer but a Modeling Agent as well. Checkout pics from New York Fashion Week of amazing designs from Petite Tweets and EFABB Collection! We also have an article on our Featured Designer: Petite Adele from Los Angeles with GORGEOUS Luxury dresses! Want to know "How To Become A Model"? Farouk James has some really cool pointers for you! You will also read about a touching Anti-Bullying story about Mitchell and see the Featured Baby Lily! Oh and we can't forget our Top 10 Models! This issue we even included a Local Top 10 Models page from Los Angeles, New York City, and San Antonio!!! Thank you for taking the time to read our magazine! If you would like to be published in our magazine, either send us a message on Instagram and/or Facebook. You can also reach us via our website at For special events and opportunities, continue to follow us on Instagram @kidfashmagazine. Hope you enjoy the magazine, and I look forward to meeting you at one of our events in the near future!! Be blessed!

WHAT FASHION MEANS TO ME? Fashion to me isn’t making sure you don’t wear white after labor day or never repeating an outfit. To me, fashion is being comfortable in your own skin whether you’re in a T-Shirt and jeans or a ballgown. Fashion is having the confidence to wear what you want and how you want. It is a form of self-expression that allows us to make the choice of putting stripes with plaid. It allows us to showcase our personalities through a unique medium. Most people think that whatever they see in magazines is how they should be dressing but, the truth is, you should dress in whatever makes you feel the most beautiful and the most like yourself. Fashion is the ability to be effortlessly and confidently yourself and show off your astounding personality to others.

Model: Kylissa Photographer: Sagaj 2019 7

U Can

BKailiUAsa .


By: Sandra Current

Photographer: Julian Peeples

Have you seen this beauty before? If you’ve been to your local mall or happen to be a fan of Alessia Cara, you just may have. She’s been in campaigns for OshKosh Kids, KidzCon, UBCU, and even made an appearance in the notable “Scars To Your Beautiful” music video. Her name is Kaili Asa and she is an 11-year-old model, motivational speaker, and proud advocate for alopecia. She’s also an embodiment of strength and resiliency. As you can imagine, the journey up until this point hasn’t always been easy, but that’s all the more reason why Kaili continues to show others the importance of being yourself. Let’s get to know a little more about this amazing young lady! As mentioned, Kaili is a proud advocate for alopecia. She uses different outlets to encourage others to be comfortable being themselves and discusses the importance of diversity when it comes to the faces we see on screens and in ads. For those who are unaware, alopecia is an autoimmune disorder that causes partial or total loss of hair on the scalp, but can also affect hair on the face, as well as all over the body. Kaili’s alopecia is more of a total 2019 9

hair loss. She was just 2 years old when her hair began falling out. Within a few months, the rest of her hair was almost completely gone. By the time she was three, her eyelashes and eyebrows had fallen out. Although, Kaili didn’t remember realizing there was something different about her, it was then that she started noticing people staring at and talking about her. The attention and comments from others are some of the main challenges that present when your special features differ from someone else’s. It makes it easy to become self-conscious and insecure, which are feelings most of us know all too well. Kaili was no exception. She developed insecurities about how she looked and admits that overcoming her insecurities wasn’t an easy feat. “This didn’t happen right away for me,” she says. “I definitely had moments when I would cry for hours and my dad would just sit with me and explain what my purpose was in life and why this happened to me,” she continues. Her father made it a point to remind her that God doesn’t make mistakes. It was those talks with her father that really helped her to overcome those insecurities. That shift from insecure to confident is what sparked Kaili’s interest in modeling. That and her desire to see faces that resembled her own.

“When I was younger, I asked my dad why we never see people on television or in magazines that look like me. A year later we moved to California, and I decided that I wanted to change that. I knew there had to be more diversity to represent ALL people and I could make that happen.” Kaili has typically always been pretty confident, even before modeling, but modeling allowed her to share her story and let people know that their difference is their strength. “Not everyone believes that about themselves. Hopefully seeing me feel confident in my own skin will help people realize this,” she says.

Photographer: Eliza Logan Photography

That’s why Kaili was ecstatic when she finally saw herself in her first editorial feature! “I knew it was possible, but I was still a bit shocked and super grateful,” she says. Diversity is incredibly important in the modeling industry. Up until a few years ago, models have always been known to look a certain way. Opening up the definition of what’s beautiful and letting everyone know that we are all beautiful in our own way is how we combat making others feels excluded. Kaili encourages others to truly believe that they are more than their hair or what they look like. “You have a wonderful mind, an incredible spirit, and a loving heart, and your hair does not define you,” Kaili exclaims.

Photographer: Donna Permell mentally and emotionally because of it and prides herself on never judging a book by its cover. “I love that we are all different, it makes us who we are,” she adds.

One of Kaili’s biggest goals is to continue pushing the message that it’s okay to be yourself, while showing us all exactly what that looks like. There’s power in While hair can be a beautiful feature, it’s not something accepting those very unique things that make you YOU! that defines beauty. There are so many other things that She has been working with her father to expand her make a person beautiful. Kaili, for example, loves her campaign UCBU a.k.a. U CAN B U, which is an inspiskin, the beauty mark on her cheek, and her dimples. As rational brand that pushes the message that you can be a person, she loves that she has a positive attitude, can anything you want to be in this world. Kaili would love embrace people’s differences, and is as loyal as they to speak to as many kids as possible in classrooms come. These are all beautiful characteristics that further throughout Southern California and share that message. compliment her existing beauty. Kaili never really felt Aside from that, Kaili would love to become a pediatric she wasn’t beautiful because of alopecia. It was others’ cardiologist, so she can help as many children as possiopinions, stares, and comments that initially caused her ble. Don’t forget to check her out on Instagram @kailito give attention to her differences. Ultimately, she asa and visit her website for more inforknows having alopecia makes her a better person. She’s mation about her cause and to watch her incredible jourstronger ney. 2019 11

Featured Baby


Lily is only 6 months old and she is a very calm, loving and happy baby all of the time. She loves to sit and observe the world around her with her beautiful blue eyes. She always has a smile on her face and loves to watch her big brother, who is constantly making her laugh. Lily is such a bright light in this world and is adored by all around her. Photographer: Ania Morton

kidfash magazine

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By Michelle Elizabeth


Shaina Leigh is a self-taught photographer from Florida who has been interested in photography ever since she was a young child. It wasn’t until her late 20’s that she realized that photography could be a career and not just a hobby. Her biggest role model is Andre Rowe. Leigh says, “Not only was he an amazing photographer, he was an amazing human being. Being around him made me a better person. He taught me everything I knew

without a thought of me being competition. He was kind, peaceful, and a gentle soul. I don’t look up to people as role models for the financial success they have built. Andre’s success was in the people he touched and the lives he changed. That’s what I long for. That’s who I want to be.” Every year, Shaina makes a new goal for herself of where she wants to travel and work and most of the time she accomplishes it. She has been a manager for 13 years and recently opened up Sprout Kids Agency in Miami, Florida, which was a passion of hers. She started the Agency because as she was managing, she saw so many things that could be different in the industry. Leigh says, “I saw the cut throat industry and felt I could be a leader in changing it. It doesn’t need to be this way. Agencies have the opportunity to do it different and I wanted to. I wanted to make an Agency that was a community… a place where it was a support system for all my talent. Where parents were friends, not competition. I wanted to educate the parents on the


“The kids!!! Gosh, I love kids. I love connecting with them…” industry and guide them in ways that weren’t being done. All of the kids and parents here in South Florida felt like numbers. Kids are not numbers! They are not dollar signs. I wanted to change things here and I think I have which is super exciting.” The only drawback of starting the Agency is that now she’s just so busy with that, making it hard to find time to do as much photography as before. In the future, she would love to shoot for Carter’s or another big brand that’s similar. The celebrity, model or artist she would like to work with one day is YUNGBLUD. Shaina gushes, “I love his face and his energy. I think I could get some amazing images of him.” Leigh says that what she likes most about photography is “The kids!!! Gosh, I love kids. I love connecting with them… The best part is to watch their confidence soar! I love when a child is lacking in confidence and I get the opportunity to help. Especially with Teens. It’s amazing how much confidence they lack and they just need someone to tell them they are beautiful or handsome and what a natural they are.” The hardest part of the business for her is dealing with other photographers. “I have been used and damaged so many times,” Shaina admits. “I have had photographers pretend to just be a parent and book a session with me to watch everything I do. Then copy my work. I have had a videographer who I gave all my business to steal my work and ideas. That’s for sure been the hardest part for me.” Other than that, the biggest obstacle in her career so far was figuring out who she is as a photographer and what she wants her brand to look like.


Nia Kai She says, “It’s so easy as photographers to see someone else’s work and think it’s amazing and want to mimic it. I stay far away from this and always stay true to my own style and vision. This is what made me successful and this is what has given me longevity. It’s really hard at times not to compare work. If there is one piece of advice I can give to fellow photographers it’s be true to yourself and your style. The world doesn’t need 7 Shainas. Find what makes you authentic and master it.” Most of the time, Leigh is inspired by the kids themselves. “A certain child can inspire me big time. It’s also who I’m working with. I long to be around other creatives. Whether it’s an awesome stylist or art director with a cool vision. Or just having fun with another photographer and bouncing ideas off each other. I get

most inspired shooting editorials as I get to show my creative side and venture outside of my box.” One of her most fun photo shoots was actually when she wasn’t shooting, but was an art director for one of Rowe’s big shoots instead. Shaina says, “I loved putting the camera away and seeing the bigger picture. Sometimes when a camera is in your eye you don’t see the whole vision. It’s easier to see when you step away and you don’t have the pressures of actually shooting.”

“A certain child can inspire me big time.” 2019 17

Normally, Shaina doesn’t have to do much to get kids to come out of their shell and be themselves, it’s just her natural gift. She believes that she just has a way with kids “because it’s truly authentic. So many people are in this business for the money. Not me. I’m in it because I love it. I’m in it because I love the magic in children. I think the kids can feel it and they connect with me instantly. When this talented photographer needs a confidence boost, she talks to her best friend, Emily. Leigh says they talk often, “Pretty much every day I always need a boost. This industry takes a toll on a person and I’m effected by it easily. I’m a tough cookie but I’m also easily hurt. Sometimes I don’t think my work is good enough and I’m down on myself and she tells me how great she thinks I am. I cherish her!”


Emily Parker

To increase their self-esteem Shaina advises kids and teens to get off social media. She says, “I really believe it’s a nightmare for kids. I remember growing up and looking at magazines (before Photoshop) and comparing myself to 5 foot 9 super models. All 4 foot 9 of me. Why can’t I look like that? Now imagine being a teen and seeing celebrities with perfect stretch mark and cellulite free bodies. They have perfect lives and they are happy all the time. How can teens compete with this image they are seeing of celebrities every day? It’s not real but they have no idea. What is cool is that it’s cool to be unique. Freckles are in! Stretch marks are a thing! Natural hair is beautiful! Embrace your uniqueness and love it!”



Shaina Leigh’s top 2 tips for aspiring photographers:

1) “It’s not easy to make it. It’s not easy to grow successful. So as photographers we tend to put our hands in too many pots so we can pay our bills. DON’T DO THIS. Pick one thing you love and master it! Whether it’s portraits, landscape, weddings, family photography, or infant photography. PICK ONE and learn everything you can to be the best at it. If you love what you do and you’re not doing it for the money, it will grow. There is an old saying that goes “a jack of all trades but a master of none” and I live by this… Find what you love and be the best at it.”

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Hayden “Don’t look at other photographers work and want yours to look like it.”

2) “Don’t look at other photographers work and want yours to look like it. The world doesn’t need another Picasso. Find what makes you authentic and stick to it. It doesn’t mean other photographers work isn’t inspiring, but let it just be that. When you copy others work it gives you a bad name and you’ll never be exactly where you want to be. Find your voice and trust in it.”

S P O N S O R E D B Y K I D FA S H M A G A Z I N E & S T O R Y F O R G E N A S H V I L L E




Is coming to Nashville with a creative, couture runway event featuring designs by Deanie Couture!

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For a night of fashion, red carpet, entertainment, photos, and giveaways!

This inaugural runway event brings

‘couture fashion for children’

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on Facebook and Instagram for future opportunities in runway castings for Nashville, Tn!


NASHVILLE, TN @deaniecouture @deanie_wittkamp_photography Deanie Wittkamp/ Owner Lead Photographer & Designer


Petite Adele By Michelle Elizabeth Photographer: Christina Alikhanova (@alikhanovaphoto)

“My passion for fashion has stayed with me since.” Designer Sam H Na, owner of Petite Adele, became interested in fashion and design because of her mother. When she was a little girl growing up in Korea, Sam’s mom owned a tiny dress shop where she sold made-to-order clothes. Her mother did it all! She designed, chose the fabrics, sewed, and even tailored. Sam spent most of her free time in her mother’s shop, playing with leftover fabrics and trying to make clothes for her Barbie. Her mother eventually closed the business but Sam says “My passion for fashion has stayed with me since.” Na has no formal training in her profession, primarily learning by watching her mother. In school, she studied literature, then later worked as an editor for music and film magazines in Seoul, Korea. However, she always loved fashion and kept her interest in it. Every week, she would go to the wholesale fashion district for the whole day just to see what’s out there. When Sam first ventured into the business side of design she was nervous. She says, “I was afraid to start at the beginning but I found a good pattern maker, sample maker, and sewing contractor. So it wasn't as hard as I thought as long as you have a design idea and the vision.” 2019 23

Na’s life goal is simple: to live happy with people she loves and have no regrets. The dream she has for her brand Petite Adele is to expand the line to all ages of women who still have a little princess in their heart. Last year Petite Adele launched The Tutu collection and this year they are working on a tween line. Sam is modest yet proud of their progress and hard work. “We are getting there,” she says. The most rewarding part of the job is seeing clients who are over the moon with excitement about the finished product. Na enjoys seeing a girl jumping with joy when she sees the dress she made for her. The biggest obstacle so far in her career was just getting the business off the ground. She says, “First year was tough to survive.” She used to go to many tradeshows to get her name out there. It was a tough and tiring process, but eventually they got some customers who loved the brand and remain loyal customers of Petite Adele. A typical day for this daring designer starts in the showroom, which is located in downtown Los Angeles. She checks emails and has a quick meeting with her sales team. Then Na visits their warehouse, which is within walking distance, to view the cutting schedule and do an inventory check. Depending on the inventory shortage, next she works on production most of the time. She also manages design as well as domestic and oversees productions. She says, “Design is a fun part of my job, but most of the time I am wearing different hats to run the company as a small business owner.”

"Design is a fun part of my job, but most of the time I am wearing different hats to run the company as a small business owner.ďż˝" 2019 25

"You have to work it out somehow."� When KidFash asked this dedicated designer what she does in her free time she said, “Haha. You might laugh. Most of the time, I sleep or stay home with my fiancé and my daughter Hanee,” (Hanee is their beautiful, 8 year old, rescued Chihuahua.) Other than that, she goes to Venice beach, or hangs out with friends. Na says she is inspired by “Vintage clothes, Fabric, classic movies, Renaissance paintings, dancing, and 16th century fashions.” Her biggest role model is her mother. Sam reminisces, “She was my friend, mentor, and inspiration.” Her favorite kind of fashion genre is the romantic bohemian style. Finding fabrics and coming up with design ideas are some of the most fun parts of the job. The most challenging part is dealing with unexpected problems or delayed production. She says, “You have to work it out somehow.” Sam feels confident and unique because her style is diverse. She explains, “I am interested in fancy, girly styles but also I love simple and comfortable styles.” Her favorite color is Yellow and says that Mauve and earth tones are trending currently. Her favorite fabrics are silk and denim.

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When she needs a boost of confidence, Na’s Go-to outfit is her boho dress with several necklaces. A random fact about her that not many people know about Sam is that she is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and she was “very very tomboy” when she was in junior high. Her favorite ice cream is French vanilla. When it comes to any negativity that comes her way, Sam says “I don't take them seriously. Life is too short.” Her advice for other aspiring designers is to “Keep dreaming ‘cause It will eventually happen!”


NALYNN (@nalynnrodriguez)

It' s im p o r ta n t to b e Y OU because beauty begins when you choose to be your self. Ag e: 11

Loc at ion: San Jose, CA

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Ph o t o g r a p h e r : Hardlight Photography Group (@hardlightphotographygroup)

GIA (@giavehr_official)

I t ’s im p o r ta n t to b e m e b e c a use God m ade each of us unique and special. The re is a p la n a n d p u r p o s e for us so be pr oud to be Y OU and of who you ar e!!! Ag e: 9

Loc at ion: Springfield, MO

Ph o t o g r a p h e r : Hardlight Photography Group (@hardlightphotographygroup) 2019 29

KAYLA (@calikaylasd)

I t' s im p o r ta n t to b e Y OU because ther e is only one You and You cannot be r e p la c e d . Yo u a r e u n ique and talented in ways that other s ar e not. Age: 8

Loc at ion: San Diego, CA

P h o t o g r a p h e r : Joanne Barratt (@joannebarratt_photo)

MIKHAYLA (@mikhaylaed)

I t ' s i m p o r ta n t to b e YOU b e c a use when you ar e being your self, you ar e being uni que i n es ta b lis h in g y o u r o wn id e ntity and being tr ue to how God cr eated you to be. To kn o w wh o Y OU a r e a n d W H O S E you ar e ... Is E V E RY TH IN G! A lways r em em ber, i f so m e o n e c a lls y o u o u t o f y o ur nam e, m ake up in your m ind and confidently say t o y o u r s e lf, " I A m Wonder fully and B E autifully Made! Age : 1 0

Loc at ion: Washington, DC Ph o t o g r a p h e r : Antwon Maxwell Photography (@antwonmaxwellphotography) Designer: Kicomo by Kiara C. Morrow (@kingkicomo)

MILA (@_milaparis)

It’s im p o r ta n t to b e YOU because if you follow other people you won’ t be happy. Age: 5

Loc at ion: Sacramento, CA

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P h o t o g r a p h e r : Connie (@_luvyourlife)

MCKENNA (@4104_kenna)

I t’s im p o r ta n t to b e Yo u because each of us ar e unique in our own way and b r in g s o m ething special to ever ything we do. Age : 1 5

L ocat ion: Spring Hill, TN

Phot ogr a p h e r / D r e s s : Deanie Wittkamp Photography (@deanie_wittkamp_photography) 2019 33

MACKENZIE (@little_dancer_mac)

It’s im p o r ta n t to b e YOU because ever yone is unique and has som ething s p e c ia l to o ffe r. Ea c h p er son has an inner fir ecr acker r eady to bur st out! Age : 1 0

Loc at ion: Phoenix, AZ

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Pho t o g r a p h e r : Hardlight Photography Group (@hardlightphotographygroup)

GENESIS (@_dgenesis_)

It is im p o r ta n t to b e Y OU because you have to believe in your self. N ever let an y o n e c o n tr o l y o u r life o r what you feel. Follow your dr eam s and never stop f ig h tin g fo r it, n o m a tte r i f you ar e differ ent. W hat is m ost im por tant is what y o u c a r r y in s id e y o u r h e a r t. R em em ber, ever ything you need is inside you. Age: 9

Location: New York

Photographer: Christen Holly Photographer (@christenhollyphotography) Dress: Disla Couture (@dislacouture) 2019 35

MCKAYLAH (@mckaylah.modelaz)

It’s im p o r ta n t to b e Y OU because ther e is only one of you! Your unique, s p e c ia l, a n d o ther people don’ t define you. Just be you!! Age : 12

Loc at ion: Phoenix, AZ

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Ph o t o g r a p h e r : Hardlight Photography Group (@hardlightphotographygroup)

CHARLESTON (@charleston_immanuel)

I t ' s im p o r ta n t to b e Y OU b e cause God m ade us each unique with a set pur pos e i n m in d . A tte m p tin g to b e a nyone else m eans we don’ t tr ust or believe who God says we a r e . It a ls o m e a n s that our pur pose won’ t be fulfilled. I believe him and I t r u s t h im ! I will fu lfill a ll t hat God has called m e to! I pr ay you do the sam e. Ag e: 5

Loc at ion: San Antonio, TX

P h o t o g r a p h e r : Gus DLC Photography (@gus_dlc_photography) 2019 37

BE TRUE TO YOU Ava Kolker with

Written By: San dra Cu rren t Pho to graphy: Lilly K Photography Wa rdrobe: Sally Miller ( @sallymillerfash) Hair/Makeup: A n jolie Noelle Valdivia ( @adoramuchi)

"There’s nothing more rewarding to me than being able to make someone laugh or someone cry or someone get distracted from their day to day lives and worries."� Ava Kolker, who many of you have seen on the big screen, is an incredibly talented young actress, model, and singer from Los Angeles, California. This friendly, open, and creative soul has a passion for the arts and loves any opportunity to capture the audience and draw them in. Her versatility has landed her in movies, tv shows, ads, commercials, and even musicals. While her journey has been exciting thus far, she credits much of her success to her support system and being true to who she is. That’s one of the most important things you can do for yourself is, be true to you, especially when you’re pursuing your passion. Acting is hers and we’re elated to find out why! Ava got her start in acting pretty early on. She booked her first TV show, which many know and love, called American Horror Story, at the age of four. The episode, for anyone who hasn’t seen it or would like to watch it again, is called “Spooky Little Girl.” For those new to American Horror Story, it’s a horror-drama anthology series that’s enthralling to say the least. Ava definitely garnered a lot of attention from her performance on this riveting show. It was that week Ava spent filming for it that solidified her desire to pursue acting and served as a catapult for her acting career. “There’s nothing more rewarding to me than being able to make someone laugh or someone cry or someone get distracted from their day to day lives and worries. The more I see that I can actually do that, the more it makes me happy,” she states. 2019 39

Disney’s “Sydney to the Max” is another show you may recognize Ava from. She plays Sydney’s eccentric best friend, Olive. Playing Olive on “Sydney to the Max” has been a blast for Ava as well. It’s a role she really relates to in a lot of ways. Olive is pretty quirky, so Ava can be really creative with her character and try different things she has never done. Being able to improvise makes for a good laugh sometimes and enjoying the character you’re set to embody is even better. “I love that Olive is so loyal to Sydney and always shows up to support her, but also has her own interests, like safety and emergency preparedness” Ava tells us. Both Ava and Olive try to be a good friend back to their friends by being thoughtful, loyal, and consistent. “I really respect that about Olive and I think it’s very special to have a friend like her in life,” she adds. Ava generally tries to relate to each role she plays in a different way and to find similarities, so she can make the character more relatable, but she’s related pretty well to most of her roles. Ava does a stellar job portraying the characters she takes on. One of the greatest contributing factors is her confidence. She defines confidence as believing in yourself when every door slams in your face and you get rejected over and over and over again. “That’s when you need to reach deep and continue to build yourself up to persevere until you succeed. It’s really easy to be confident when you’re successful, but true confidence comes through in tough times” she says, and we couldn’t agree more! Having a great support system can do wonders too. The people you have in your corner can have a really big impact on your success. Ava feels blessed to have a very solid family and friends who aren’t judgmental. They prefer to celebrate her no

“That’s when you need to reach deep and continue to build yourself up to persevere until you succeed."

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“When you surround yourself with positive people, you can thrive and grow and feel safe to take risks,�

matter what’s happening in her professional life, which makes it that much easier to be true to herself. “When you surround yourself with positive people, you can thrive and grow and feel safe to take risks,” Ava shares Being true to who you are can be a challenge nowadays. There’s so much accessibility to others’ lives and accomplishments, as well as pressure to live up to societal expectations, that one can easily lose themselves. Ava has had her battles with confidence and being herself, and you may have also. Overcoming that lack in confidence can be challenging, but it’s definitely doable. You have to work towards it consistently, remain optimistic, and remember that you have the power to change. Ava overcame her battles by working hard to continue to get better and by pushing herself to show up prepared and do the very best she could. “If you do the best you can, then there are no regrets,” Ava

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says. “One day, preparation will meet opportunity and you will succeed. That’s what kept me going,” she adds. There are so many benefits to being confident in who you are and remember, confidence and being true to yourself go hand-in-hand. Ava can attest to that! Of course, Ava has had her fair share of dry spells in her acting journey too. There were months of continuous “no’s” at one point, which can be challenging for any actor to accept. “Sometimes I would feel like maybe I couldn’t act anymore or that maybe it wasn’t what I was supposed to be doing because I was having no success,” she says. Ava recalls a time right before an audition outside of the casting director’s door when she worked on a scene with her mom and her mom said, “hmm, that line isn’t believable, let’s try it a different way.” “I burst into tears and didn’t think I could do it anymore. I was crying so hard and my confidence was

completely shaken” Ava continues. Her and her mom ended up taking a long walk, so that Ava could cry it out. They talked about whether she wanted to keep going, if Ava could handle future rejection, and if she would be able to stay on course. Her mother wanted to be certain that Ava believed in herself and would continue to work hard, even when there were no positive results. Ava knew acting was what she wanted to do, so she dried her tears, washed her face, and went in and did the audition. She didn’t end up getting a callback, but, nevertheless, she persisted. She simply decided she was all in, no matter what, and it led her to this point. Ava’s advice to those who need a little encouragement,

“I would tell them to surround themselves with people who love them for who they are. Whether that’s 1 person or 10 people. Don’t let other people tell you who you should be or be pressured into anything that doesn’t feel right to you. Being true to yourself is so freeing because it completely makes what other people think irrelevant and that is a wonderful feeling. Do affirmations in front of the mirror that confirm who you are and who you want to grow to be. That is always helpful too.” As far as upcoming projects go, Ava has a few she’s working on right now, but “Sydney to the Max” is the only one she’s able to talk about for the time being. Don’t forget that Ava sings as well! She has a new, upbeat single called “The Good Ones” that she released not too long ago and you have to check it out. Her voice is amazing! In the meantime, stay tuned/connected to get the latest on Ava and her upcoming endeavors on IG @avakolker and Twitter @RealAvaKolker 2019 43

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Photographer: Mark Gunter (@markgphotography)




Mitchell Savitsky By: Gianna Simonelli Photographer: Lily Shames Photography

Meet Mitchell Savitsky, the young entrepreneur-entertainer extraordinaire from New Jersey who uses positivity and advocacy to alter the perception of those around him and create a brighter future for all. Since debuting his dance career at only four years old, Mitchell’s star-studded resume is nothing short of impressive. Mitchell explains that his love for dance was apparent since his early childhood and can recall getting distracted by music playing at an amusement park and dancing his heart out. Before he knew it, he was surrounded by an audience and in that moment, his parents knew that he was destined to become an entertainer. His talent and determination have landed him distinguished titles, such as: The Dance Xperience Protege, JUMP VIP Winner, Wild Apprentice and Camp Pulse Counselor. Mitchell’s bright eyes and smiling face have been featured in music videos, national parades, commercials, and TV episodes! His commendable successes are a product of Mitchell’s innate passion for dance, which has persevered in the face of adversity and backlash from his peers. While Mitchell is familiar with the opportunities that fill the dance industry, he has also experienced the negativity that accompanies being a dancer. 2019 49

Mitchell’s silent battle against bullies began at an after-school program in the fourth grade, when a classmate began to tease him for the way he dressed, how he styled his hair, and ultimately, for his love of dance. This bully not only harassed Mitchell with hurtful, disrespectful language, but eventually escalated to physical attacks. In response to his bully’s unacceptable behavior, Mitchell finally opened up to his parents about the trauma he was undergoing in the classroom. While talking with his parents, Mitchell expressed himself with the words, “I’m just being me, I don’t understand! I’m being uniquely me! That’s it, from now on I will use the hashtag #BeUniquelyYou to encourage myself and everyone else that reads it that it’s okay to be unique, not fit into a mold, think differently, look differently, not fit into the ‘norm’, what is that anyway?” These strong words are proof of Mitchell’s strength and resilience, as he transformed a negative experience into positive motivation to ignite change and inspire others, too. Shortly after his proclamation, he freehanded the logo that would come to represent the #BeUniquelyYou movement, would iron it on his shirts, and use it frequently on social media as a constant reminder of his new mission. In November 2018, through the guidance and “tireless help” of good friend and web designer Harry Stymeist, Jr., Mitchell launched his website,, “a custom clothing and accessories online store all designed by [him].” This brand helped jumpstart his personal journey towards empowerment, and he hopes this message will resonate with others and help them, as well.

"I'm just being me, I don't understand! I'm being uniquely me!

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Mitchell advises other young aspiring entrepreneurs to, “stick to things things you believe in, be persistent, and never give up on your dreams. Do it because you love it!” His passion for dance, especially the self-expression enabled through hip-hop dancing, is the driving force behind his successful brand and its necessary message. In the future, this ambitious young dancer hopes to watch his brand grow, “so [he] may continue to donate to a non-profit organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to make a positive impact on the world.” Not only does sell clothing and accessories, but the brand works diligently to,

“spread kindness, help break the stigma of mental health awareness, and help other bullying victims to let them know they are not alone.” #BeUniquelyYou celebrates individuality and self-empowerment and is on the forefront of altering the perception of acceptance in our society. Mitchell’s efforts towards spreading positivity do not end with his brand, but he is also the Vice President of an anti-bullying initiative, Come Together with Kindness. The Come Together with Kindness Initiative combats bullying and negativity with positive action and encourages others to follow suit. Come Together with Kindness has worked to become more active in the community by “giving gloves to people to stay warm, giving people hopeful messages with some nice stuff like pins, giving out mystery eggs with trinkets and inspiring messages, and some flower seeds to spread the message of growth.” Just as Mitchell inspires others through his incredible brand and kind acts, Mitchell also derives his inspiration from those around him. He first named his mother and father to be his greatest inspirations because of their hard-working nature and dedication to his cause, followed by “kids that are struggling through personal matters, especially with being themselves.” Those very kids are the intended target for his messaging and good deeds. Mitchell has trained with many industry greats who have inspired him throughout his career, including Will “WilldaBeast” Adams, Janelle Ginestra Adams, MaryAnn Chavez, and Marvin “DJ Marv” Browning, Jr., “because they are all good humans, they have overcome so much to be where they are today, they never give up or take time off, they give so much of themselves to everyone, and it’s not all about the money.” With these inspirational role models to look up to and his overwhelming drive to incite change, it is evident that Mitchell has a bright future ahead of him. His most prominent goals for the future involve advocating for anti-bullying, equality for all, mental health awareness, and self-empowerment, which he plans to accomplish by speaking at schools. He envisions himself attending a specialized Performing Arts High School, and later “graduat[ing] from college with a double major in Dance and Architecture, teach[ing] young kids how to dance, danc[ing] on a world tour, and design[ing] and build[ing] skyscrapers.”

Keep an eye out for Mitchell on the West Coast, as he has recently signed with Clear Talent Group in Los Angeles after being signed with the agency’s New York location since he was nine years old. This summer he was also announced as a OneX50 Brand Athlete and is now a representative for the professional haircare brand. Another exciting project Mitchell will be taking place in, is both volunteering and assisting with T-Shirt Designing for the iDance4aCure Fundraiser in New York City on October 6th, 2019! Mitchell’s heart of gold and pure intentions shines through in all of the projects he takes on, the brands he represents, and the words he speaks. The motivation behind his efforts is to remind both himself, and all of those around him, to #BeUniquelyYou and in response, positively impact the rest of the world. 2019 51



At first glance when spotting Insta-sensation Farouk James, it’s all about the hair. Wow that hair! It’s gorgeous and unlike any you’d see in the modeling industry. Why? Because it’s not mainstream, and upon further investigation, Farouk is far beyond mainstream as well. He’s a spitfire personality, with a passion for dancing, laughing and most importantly encouraging. Farouk has a message and he’s shouting it loud and proud…love who you are! KIDFASH had a moment with Farouk and his mother Bonnie to find out what is the driving force behind this mane attraction and get some tips for other kids out there who are ready to make a difference. Sure, the hair has always been part of the package, but has never been the whole package. It started quite simply as a promise to his culture. Farouk lives with his mother in London, but his father who lives in his home country of Ghana, Africa asked for a simple request. The culture does not believe in cutting a child’s hair until they reach 3 years old, so Bonnie, who wants her son to embrace his culture, was happy to oblige, and so the story begins. The start of his Insta career was a simple act that any mom can relate to, “I would just film him doing anything that was cute and post it,” says Bonnie. “He’s always been a big talker, always sociable, and he loves singing and dancing.” People started to take notice. “First it was the hair, then his fashions, then his songs and dancing.”

“First it was the hair, then his fashions, then his songs and dancing.” 2019 53

“People ask him if he likes his hair, which is ridiculous Of course he likes it I’m not forcing him to have long hair.” The Mane Message As Bonnie continued to post, people continued to take notice, yes of the hair, but also of this strong voice behind the afro. It was a message Bonnie wanted to embrace, many loved the hair, and as you can imagine there were some who just didn’t understand. “People ask him if he likes his hair, which is ridiculous. Of course he likes it I’m not forcing him to have long hair.” Farouk soon became the face of Wold Afro Day for which Farouk’s signature coif has been gaining positive attention. “World Afro Day is designed to make a change and make others feel empowered about their hair,” says Bonnie. “It is meant to help others feel accepted and educate those with non-afro hair. Ultimately to urge people to be yourself, embrace yourself. You can be different and still be accepted.” To spread this message she just takes a natural approach with her social platforms. “We don’t do a lot of ads on our page we just try to keep the page as natural as possible, sometime we are political because somethings need to be said.” Farouk’s Insta-follwers is steadily growing and is well over 250,000 followers, something Bonnie has put in many hours to help succeed. It began with late nights staying up to work in different time zones and hash-tagging in multiple languages. “My tip is to let your page grow organically,” says Bonnie. “You can tag the big pages that are sharing content that aligns with your message. You can also engage with other kids and other mothers, comment on their page, share their stuff and they’ll share yours in return. Post once a day but not too much, don’t bombard people, leave them wanting more. Try to create a story with your post, don’t be random, look at the colors and make it attractive to the eye.”

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Bonnie uses the weekends to take most of the pictures she posts during the week. Of course, a lot of time is spent on the hair. “He has to have it up for school but if there is an event after school I have to take him to shower and prepare his hair for the event.” Farouk will soon be starting at a Christian school in his area, but the schools they are looking into have rules ordering boys to cut their hair, giving Bonnie and Farouk yet another chance to speak up. “We are trying to get some laws changed in the UK that both boys and girls can have it equally, the same with girls wearing trousers.”

Define Your Priorities Once the followers start to steadily rise, it could be easy to get swept up in the attention, so take a moment to reflect on the journey and remember . “It’s all about your legacy and what difference you can make on the world, your stamp,” says Bonnie. “Making money is not the core of the (Instagram) page, fame happens but it’s not our motivation.” The campaigns Farouk has participated in have often been directly associated with that message. In particular, Farouk was part of a 7 for all Mankind shoot that was all about being different. “We don’t accept any old jobs. We like to talk to people and share his story.” Farouk has walked for Fashion Week in Paris, Dubai, London and New York. He represents hair products and has his own YouTube channel where he talks about hair care and acceptance. He has been on Little Big Shots, and worked with mega brands such as Burberry, the list goes on and on. They do have representation with an agency, but ultimately have found that this platform does not support his message and instead Bonnie acts as the “Momager.” “Agencies say he’s not mainstream enough,” says Bonnie. “They say his hair is too long, they need a cliche afro, so I’ve been told that if he wants lots of work he needs to cut his hair and we

“Farouk has always been really kind and caring,” aren’t about just the modeling job we are telling his story, we are inspiring boys to have long hair and children of color to embrace themselves, it’s not about the fame.”

Beyond the Posts Sure it is a great asset to an organization to have someone with a high profile to spread the word, but Farouk takes those actions outside of the online community. “Farouk has always been really kind and caring,” says Bonnie. “When he was 3 we were walking back from nursery and he noticed an elderly lady struggling to walk and he said ‘mom look I need to help that lady’ and he went to her. You see people on Instagram get arrogant and egotistical and I really don’t want that for Farouk, he is humble and I want him to know he is a role model for other. Bonnie takes the opportunity to teach him this message through actions. “Around Christmas time we go buy thick camping socks and discreetly lie them down by the homeless. We also help at soup kitchens We’d love to do something back in Africa where his dad is for underprivileged kids, possibly investing in books or clothes and take it back to where his roots are from.” Farouk has also always been involved in anti-bullying and is currently looking into a program where he could sleep on the streets to experience homelessness.

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Don’t Stop Believing As the parent, these kids should rely on you for that ongoing support and guidance. If you are truly in this to create something more, to inspire others, than stick to your guns! Messages can get muddied at times when a brand is more focused on their own successes. For Farouk the message is one of unity and support and Bonnie does all she can to carry that through in all they do. When asked directly by his mom how the parent can help their child through this process Farouk said, “Moms can support them by cheering them on, helping them. Stop racism, let people live in harmony. Let them be free and let them be happy. I want to help other children in life and to be inspiring.” As for those beautiful locks…well for now they are there to stay! Farouk loves them and won’t even consider cutting it, which many have suggested. “He tells them scissors are for paper,” says Bonnie. In her own right, Bonnie is also a role model, for Farouk, for other moms. “I want to offer encouragement for others. Stand out in the room, be proud to be different, don’t be a sheep (unless you are a sheep), keep it real. The world is so modern, be a trend setter, be a leader, don’t be a follower. Anything you think is a negative whether it is weight or hair, embrace it, emphasize it and don’t hide it. If you don’t embrace it no one will, you can turn anything that seems to be a negative into a positive.” Well said mom!

“Moms can support them by cheering them on, helping them. 2019 57

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