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Photographed by Ryan West Models: LaQuannia Lewis, Marta Demczuk Stylist: Carissa Strickland Contributing Stylist: Lisa Washington Hair: J. Rashawn Colter Makeup: Crystal Ford Assistants: Latarsa Williams, Carten Moze


Fur Tops this Season's Trend List!

1. Fur Accents 2. Mod Fashion Tweed Boucle & Bold Prints 3. Color or Lack Thereof “All Black Everything” 4. Leather Pants, Skirts, & Jackets 5. Statement Accessories Exaggerated Clutches & Handbags


“Are we willing to do what it takes to be where we want to be? That’s the ultimate question.” -Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour

CONTACT & CONNECT WITH US ONLINE Facebook: /mahoganymagazine Twitter: @Mahogany_Mag Instagram: Mahogany_Mag Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour Photo Courtesy of: VAI Consulting & Training, LLC

Oluwa Ahunamba Photographed by Toni Smailagic

No part of Mahogany Magazine may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent from its Founder. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited. Mahogany Magazine is published by Mahogany Chappelle, LLC. All rights reserved. All editorial submissions may be sent to: Printed in the USA.


Contents Beauty & Fashion



Culture & Lifestyle










Tara Rose Lily Fashion Editor Follow: @TaraRoseLily

Shermain Jeremy Former Miss Antigua & Barbuda, singer, motivational speaker, blogger, & image consultant. Follow:@TheImagePortal

Jason Gonzalez Creative Designer & sole proprietor of: Follow:@thecoolgeeknet

Carissa Strickland Fashion Designer, writer boutique owner, stylist, & all around entrepreneur. Follow:@CloOlogy

Tara Redfield Actress, writer, host, and self-proclaimed lover of food. Follow:@TheFoodPervert

Ryan West Photographer, owner of Ryan West Photography. Follow:@rywest1

Chas Jackson Award-winning author, poet, and storyteller. Follow:@iAmChas

Social Media Contributors: Ife Ekpenuma @ThatGoToGuy, Josh Ratliff @TheJoshRatliff, Intern: Joshua Haynes @JFashioner 6

Follow the Leader Our first issue was about dreams and how important it is to dream as big as your imagination will allow. Truth is many of us share the natural human instinct of dreaming, but few of us actually succeed in making our dreams a reality for different reasons. We know that a dream without a plan is just a wish, and a plan with no action is even more tragic. Those who believe that success is a straight road, are doomed from the start, but what happens when you know that there will be speed bumps and wrong turns, and you somehow allow them to keep you from reaching your final destination. Success begins with knowing where you are, and where you want to go, be we can never truly plan for the storms or anything that may slow us down or keep us from reaching our final destination. We use our plan as a road map, but every road map has things that are unseen. This second issue almost did not happen because I allowed “backseat drivers” to switch my roadmap with theirs. Because I was one of many, I somehow became convinced that my plan for how I would reach my final destination was not a good one, and not only did the plan change, but the destination changed, as well. I heard everything from “Black people don’t support their own…” to “No-one one will be interested in reading a magazine with a name like ‘Mahogany’”. For a moment, I forgot who the leader was I began to follow. The moment I succumbed to the “backseat drivers”, I lost all power. Ironically, it took the words from the interviews in this issue to remind me that I am a leader, and I am equally responsible for my successes just as my faults. Being a leader or a follower is a choice. We all have the power to choose whether to lead or follow, but being the leader of your own destiny/ destination gives us power to choose where we will go and how we will get there, but it also makes us responsible. I am inspired by the leaders in this issue who dared to be what society says they should not or could not be. From a black female combat pilot, a black conservative, a quirky model, and a proud gay man, this issue represents images of beauty of all colors. “With a name like Mahogany” I felt it was necessary for this issue to show how images of all colors can co-exist and still create beauty. Perhaps the greatest inspiration of all is President Barack Obama, who defeated unimaginable odds in the recent 2012 Presidential Election; and yes, he is one of the many destinations on my roadmap too! The audacity to believe that you can be who you are and still accomplish great things should never be just a dream. With this issue and every issue to come, I challenge you to be the leader of your destiny. I dare you to be you! Mahogany Chappelle-Gadson Founder,Editor-in-Chief 7

WINTER TREND REPORT 2012 by Carissa Strickland


s the winter season nears and our wardrobes change gear, many of us are speculating about what new trends will grace the fashion scene in 2012. This winter, akin to its summer sister, introduces a rebirth of rich colors, luxurious textures and bold design. So here’s what you can expect to see...

Color There is much excitement this season about oxblood, a deep red with purple and black undertones, which many of us liken to burgundy. Oxblood began making its appearance this fall on just about every major fashion runway, including New York, London and Milan. I would say this macabre tint is just in time for Halloween, with its ghoulish designation. Other tones and hews you can look forward to are rich ambers, gold, and winter white.

Texture Furs (faux and authentic), metals, leather and wools will convert a simple closet to a luxe wardrobe this season.

Design Fashion designers have spelled it out and this season is shouting mod, stream-lined, and tailored. Imagine vintage Chanel with a more mod, edgier perspective. Check out the images below, courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar. This concludes the 2012 Winter Trend Report. Hopefully some of these looks will make it into your bureau chest this year.


Jazz Hands

Blaring red, crooning purple, and melodic green are all popular colors for this season. What do they have in common? Theyʼre all jewel tones! Jewel tones have made a big impression on fashion over the past few months and their sparkle isnʼt fading anytime soon. If you wear those colors in combination with another big trend this season, nail art, your look will be show-stopping for the cold weather months to come.

Jazz Hands

By Tara Redfield

The easiest way to add life to any wardrobe is to start with your By Tara Redfield hands. Rich colors look good with nearly every outfit, especially neutralspurple, like black, tan, and gray. yourself acolors manicure Blaring red, crooning andwhite, melodic green areGet all popular for this sea with fall and winterʼs biggest standout shades and you will be lookWhat do they have in common? Theyʼre all jewel tones! Jewel tones have made and feeling put-together polished. impression on ing fashion over the past fewand months and their sparkle isnʼt fading any soon. If you wear those colors in combination with another big trend this season, Jewel are classics.forYou wear them inmonths a varietytoofcome. ways: art, your look will be tones show-stopping thecan cold weather matte, glossy, or even glittery. Donʼt be afraid to mix and match either! Pick life two to or any threewardrobe shades andisalternate on your fingers. The easiest way to add to start them with your hands. Rich color Your new colorful nails will also look stunning paired with silver good with nearly every outfit, especially neutrals like black, white, tan,and and gray. gold rings bright gems as the centerpiece. yourself a manicure withwith fallaand winterʼs biggest standout shades and you will be

looking and feeling put-together and polished. Some examples of how to coordinate your new nails and outfits could be these: For a daytime look paint your nails a dark green Jewel tones are classics. You can wear them in a variety of ways: matte, glossy, and pair with jeans, a tee-shirt and cute pumps! For an evening even glittery. Donʼt be afraid to mix and match either! Pick two or three shades a look you can go with deep red or purple with a little black dress! alternate them on your fingers. Your new colorful nails will also look stunning pair silver and gold rings with a bright gems as the centerpiece. It really doesnʼt matter which shade you choose though, everything will look good with your jewel manicure! Some examples of how to coordinate your new nails and outfits could be these: F daytime look paint your nails a dark green and pair with a tee-shirt For an extra dash of style, here is where the jeans, art comes and cut pumps! For ancan evening look gold you or can go confetti with deep red or to purple with a little black apply small silver or sequins the tips of your It really doesnʼtnails, matter which shade you choose though, everything will look good on top of the color. Adorning nails with these extra touches your jewel manicure! has been trending all summer and is certainly sticking around for

fall and winter. For an extra dash of style, here is where the art comes can apply small g silver confetti or sequins to the tipsinofstores your nails, of the color. Adorning na Finding these shades will noton betop a problem. Some fathese extra touches has been trending all summer and is certainly sticking around vorites of mine include: Sally Hansen Gem Crush in Cha-Ching! fall and winter. Sephora by OPI in Seriously, Itʼs a Naan-Issue, and Essie Nail Polish in Going Incognito. Finding these shades in stores will not be a problem. Some favorites of mine incl Sally Hansen Gem Cha-Ching! by OPI in Seriously, Itʼs a Naan TheseCrush are allingreat examplesSephora of these fabulous colors and there and Essie Nail are Polish inothers GoingtoIncognito. These are all great examples many explore!Donʼt be worried about those gray daysof these fabulous colorstoand there are many others to explore! come. With a jeweled hand you are sure to brighten any day... and look amazing as you do it! Donʼt be worried about those gray days to come. With a jeweled hand you are su brighten any day...and look amazing as you do it!


" About Face " 5 Easy Steps to Healthy Glowing Skin Through Winter & Year Round

Photographed by Toni Smailagic Model: Oluwa Ahunamba


Winter Skin Care Regimen by Shermain Jeremy

The colder season can really do a number on your skin, leaving your pores feeling dry, tight and lifeless. During this time, it is especially important that you give your skin some extra TLC. Here are some skintimate tips for healthier looking skin this Fall and Winter. 1.Moisturize Extra moisturizing is super important in ridding the skin of dryness. If you suffer from really dry skin try Aquaphor Healing Ointment or natural Shea Butter. For your face, the most exposed part of your body opt for oil-based creams rather than the usual summer water – based creams. Just be sure the product uses natural oils such as avocado, or primrose oil as these are non-clogging oils. It’s important to note, that most night creams are oil-based. 2.Exfoliate The process of exfoliating the skin has many benefits. Not only does it rid the skin of dead cells and buffs dry skin, but it also leaves the skin supple and glowing. A great exfoliating body scrub is the Morocco Black Olive and Argan Oil Body Scrub by The Body Shop. It’s a deep cleanser that removes dead skin cells and helps promote radiant looking skin suitable for all skin types. 3.Use Sunscreen Another important element to add to your skin care regimen this Fall and Winter is sunscreen. Yes you need sunscreen even in the cold months! There is sun exposure all year round and SPF 30 sunscreens are highly recommended. 4.Protect your feet I find this to be the most troublesome area during the Fall and Winter months. Sometimes it seems no matter how much you lather your footsies with lotion and creams nothing seems to keep them from getting all dry and ashy. Well, here’s a simple and cost effective trick for you. Every night before going to bed lather your feet with Vaseline Intensive Care and apply cotton socks overnight and Voila! You’ll wake up to beautiful soft, supple feet! This process may require a few nights of therapy. So repeat each night until you are satisfied with the results. 5.Hydrate The most important regimen of them all. Make sure to drink lots and lots of water during the fall and winter months. Prevent your skin from getting thirsty by keeping a bottle of water or two in your bag so you can sip on all day.




Johnny Wright Stylist to the Stars by Mahogany Chappelle-Gadson



f all the things we love about First Lady Michelle Obama, her hair may be at the top of the list for some. Meet the man responsible for her beautiful tresses, First Presidential Stylist and Artistic Style Director for SoftSheenCarson, Mr. Johnny Wright…

Hi Johnny! It’s nice to meet you! Yes, thank you for having me. You are from Chicago, but living in D.C. now right? Exactly. Tell us about your journey and how you got started in the hair care industry. I come from a hairdressing background.My grandmother, her name is Minnie Brown, she did hair until she was 91 years old for Madame C.J. Walker, and she passed when she was 93. And you know my uncles do hair as well, so it just runs in my family. And it was something that she said she took notice of me having an interest when I was about 3 years old. She said when I was 3, I would always play in her hair. I would literally comb her hair into a neat ponytail. Now I don’t remember this (laughs). I remember it vaguely, it’s weird because every time I talk about it I can kind of imagine myself doing it but I can’t pinpoint it. So she always knew then that I would be a hairstylist. Around 9 or 10, the creative juices started to flow. Of course then I was a little afraid of the judgment of being a boy doing hair. I grew up on the Southside of Chicago, so I just wasn’t comfortable with my sexuality and all those kinds of things at the time, so I struggled with it. It turns over really quickly because by the time I was 12 years old, I was like well hey, I am gay and I love this ol’ hair thing! And I started doing hair full throttle by the time I was 12 years old. That is a very interesting story. I try to be honest because with me living it and I’m still connected with people who lived it with me like my very first assistant, she now works for IT in the government, and she lives in D.C. too. She went into the Air Force and then she moved here. I had two assistants at the time who were best friends, and they’re still best friends actually. She had told me that Wanya was in D.C. and I was like OMG, so I connected with her. It’s like when we’re together and I tell this story, she’s like well y’all don’t understand Johnny was literally, like I had like 30 heads a day at 12 years old. I was charging like 8 bucks a head, and my mother was like no, because see my mother grew up in the environment even though she don’t even know how to curl her own hair, she grew up in that environment and I think probably because she was spoiled all of her life. My grandmother did her hair and then I started doing her hair after that. But my mother grew up in that environment and she was very supportive of it, and my father of course was supportive of it, so by the time I was 14 they built me a salon down in the basement, but at the age of 14 I worked in a salon up the street from my house for the whole summer, so I was like illegally working in these salons and was paying booth rent and all these different things but I had a huge clientele. The people knew that I had talent in the field so they supported me and they tried to protect me and themselves at the same time because you know working in the salon and making money is dangerous, but luckily on the Southside of Chicago I guess people didn’t really care about that because they never came to the salon and got us caught up. And I had my very first assistant when I turned 14 and she was 13. And I was so busy so she was like well I can bring my best friend in and the worked with me the whole time all throughout high school up until they graduated. We’re still good friends until this day but I had a huge clientele at a very young age. I was coming home from school at 2:30 and started doing hair around 3-3:30, and I would do hair until sometimes 3, 4, 5 o-clock in the morning. And I still was able to keep a pretty good GPA, only because I did all of my teachers’ hair as well (laughs). I remember one year prom year, I did

hair, and I am not exaggerating, I know this all sounds like a bunch of crap but I’m being so honest. I did hair for 24 hours straight. I did hair from 10 in the morning until 10 the next morning. I remember taking off from school, so my mother allowed me to, so we started doing hair from 10, and I did hair from 10 to 10 the next day. That is an amazing story! Someone needs to do a movie about your life! Can you put that in the article? (Laughs) I most certainly will. You mentioned your grandmother worked with Madame C.J. Walker. Yes, she taught under Madame C.J. Walker. Back then they went to school pretty earlier, and I think she went to cosmetology school when she was 13 or 14 years old. And Madame C.J. Walker was one of her instructors. My grandmother is who inspired me to become a hairstylist initially, but what is hair. I was always inspired by women’s hair and the way that it shapes their face, and the cuts, and the way that it moves and the colors, so I always was inspired by that and I actually just wanted to get my hands in it. I remember the first time I did a style it was a French roll. I saw it, I think me and my mother were out shopping and in my mind I was like I can do that. I literally thought that I could do it, so I bought the stuff and I went home and did it on my mom. I wasn’t taught really how to do it I just knew I could do it. I just knew it! I don’t know why but I knew that I could do it and I did it. A lot of hairstylist have mentors as they are coming up, so it sounds like you had a unique experience in being able to learn from your grandmother. My grandmother did hair out of her house and she also worked at the John Hancock building in downtown Chicago, there’s a salon there. At that time, Oprah’s studio was at the John Hancock Building. It was either the John Hancock building or the Sears tower, I can’t remember but she used to take me to the salon with her and I used to love spending the day at the salon with her and she also worked at home. She had clients that had been coming to her since before my mother was born. And they still were coming to her, and I remember Velma she would always get a red rinse in her hair. My grandmother used to give her a press and curl, and Ms. Blanchard, so I remember a lot of them [clients] actually. So as far as mentoring, I was always the type of person and still until this day I can see something and I can recreate it. So just being around my grandmother and being around that environment and smelling the Dax grease while she’s pressing the hair and seeing how she creates the finger waves with the clips, it just encouraged me, so there was definitely some mentorship. Although my grandmother didn’t necessarily sit me down and say this is how you do that, but if I asked her a question she would answer, but I think my grandmother knew that I was really tuned in and I got it. So she just allowed me to sit there and watch her. I was really young when my grandmother used to take me to work with her. I was probably 7 or 8. There was this girl named Stephanie who worked in a boutique a floor below, and I remember my grandmother would take me to see her, I guess my grandmother knew that I really liked her and I just fell in love with Stephanie. I would always just go down to the boutique and just sit with her and she would take me to lunch. I remember the cafeteria there they had like all of this food and I would always get like a sandwich with Swiss cheese. Then I would go upstairs with my grandmother, she would be doing hair, and as long as she was fine, she knew I was fine, and then I would go back and sit with Stephanie. I just remember going to work with her I guess they didn’t have a babysitter for me (laughs). And I remember going to work with my mother. I didn’t like it. The only thing I liked about going to work with my mother is that she worked downtown. But she worked in an office environment and I didn’t like that. I was like; I want to go do something, so I always ended up walking around downtown or something like that. I’m pretty independent (laughs). You touched on it briefly, but can you explain more about the challenges that male styl15

Johnny Wright styles radio personality Shirley Strawberry of The Steve Harvey Morning Show.

ists face. I know it is certainly more acceptable now that it used to be, but are there still some challenges there? I don’t know if it’s necessarily true that the hair care industry is a female dominated industry. When it comes down to the industry it actually favors the men, so there aren’t really challenges in that respect, but the challenges that I was speaking of was just as a young kid who normally people don’t find doing hair that young, but a young kid dealing with a profession that appears very feminine. And I’m pretty sure some people deal with that, but there are some straight men that do hair and I’m pretty sure they deal with people questioning their sexuality. So that could be a challenge, but at the end of the day you are who you are and you don’t have to prove yourself to anybody and your talent should speak for itself and not your sexuality. Did you continue to work in your parents’ basement after graduating from high school? Well when I was in High School in order for me to get work study I had to have a place to work and it couldn’t be my parents’ basement. So I met these stylists, Monica and Ivy, and they worked at this salon called Mellow Swing. It was on 95th in the Evergreen area and I would go there a couple times out of the week to assist even though I had my own clientele I had to do that for workstudy. But I really enjoyed working there, and I met Ivan. He is Kanye West’s and Wiz Khalifah’s barber and he used to cut my hair of course until Kanye took him away. And then working with Monica and Ivey was amazing because they were so talented. I learned how to do some more cutting and stuff with them and up dos, and one day I remember… because they didn’t really know how talented I was because I just came in and assisted them. And one day my mom came to pick me up from work and I had did her hair in like this pin-curl ponytail; I was doing up dos a lot back then, and I had her come in and they were drooling over her hair! They were like OMG I didn’t know you could do this, so they begin to utilize me in more ways than one in the salon. But I was just there maybe like on weekends on Fridays and Saturdays. But I worked in my parents’ basement until I was like 21, then I went to hair school. And after I got my license I started working full time. When did you open up your first salon besides the one you had in your parents’ home? I never opened up my own shop, not a standing shop. The business that I opened up which is still pretty relevant today is a travelling salon. It’s called Me to You Salon and Spa. I opened it in Chicago. I remember prior to that…you know, you’re talking about a 12 year old boy all throughout high school who was making his own money. I told my parents to stop giving me an allowance when I was a sophomore in high school. I was like, I don’t even need it. I paid my own way through college, I paid for my prom and graduation all myself, but I never had a car. I used to always take a driving service everywhere I wanted to go. Even to school, the car used to pick me up in the morning and take me to school and pick me up and bring me back home, every day. I didn’t get 16

a car until I was 24 or 25 years old and that’s when I opened Me to You Salon and Spa, and the only reason I got a car was because I needed it for the business. It was travelling salon where I would go to people’s homes and businesses and do their hair for the convenience so they don’t have to come to the salon and sit and wait. So that’s when I started attracting a lot of business women, a lot of professional women and you know it took my career to the next level. That sounds like an excellent idea, I’m surprised that it’s not more popular. So it’s still in operation today? Well basically, I go to First Lady [Michelle Obama], I do her hair a couple other people in the city and do their hair. I still have celebrity clients that I work with in L.A. and NY and other states that I go to them and do their hair. I may not always drive to them, but it is the same concept where I pack my bags with all my clothes and go to them, so it’s me to you. Who was your first celebrity client? LisaRaye Love her! She and I share the same birthday! Yes, it’s in September, right?Yes September 23rd. Yeah I remember. What do you think is your greatest career accomplishment thus far? It would probably be crazy to say that it’s not styling First Lady, but you know what? I know this might sound weird, but prior to me moving to Los Angeles I used to always be so impressed by people who moved across the country to another state or wherever and established their own. I never thought that was within my grasp to be able to do that because you know I was so comfortable living at home in Chicago and I had a huge clientele there, and then I moved to Los Angeles. I had a conversation with a friend she was actually my manager at the time. She is my manager now too but she was a different type of manager with me then, and it just kind of sparked the inspiration and I left Chicago and moved to Los Angeles. I left 300 clients in Chicago and moved to Los Angeles and worked in a high profile salon, and worked with celebrities and films, and honestly that’s when I felt the most accomplished. I know that sounds so weird but as far as the feeling is concerned, that’s what I felt. I moved my whole life to Los Angeles and found an amazing job, had a great apartment. I furnished it myself; you know I just felt so independent. A large part of that was because I never really lived a dormitory life like on my own because I went to Beauty College. So I think that’s just a natural thing that we all should do, leave the nest, and even though I was living on my own in Chicago, but just to be in another state and that far away from your support system, to me I felt so accomplished. Everything about that moment was so seamlessly done. I cannot begin to talk about all of the blessings that came my way. I just really felt accomplished. And everyone was saying you’re going to be a small fish in a big pond there and you’re a big fish in a small pond here because you’re so popular, but I still got there and I made it my own and I became a big fish real quickly. I think without that experience I would not be as useful as I am to the First Lady. I look back at my life and I realize how every moment had something to do with the next. Even if in the moment it appeared to be negative it was necessary for a lesson for my life. How long did you stay out in L.A.? I was there 2 and a half years. In the past I haven’t said very positive things about D.C. And there are a couple of reasons about that. D.C. is a whole different monster, and coming from L.A. to D.C., socially and all type of ways; it’s just a whole different world. They do have a lot of things in common, but I think I resented D.C. so much because I wasn’t ready to leave L.A. I had to check myself with that because, D.C. is a great city and I had to really get to know it and let go of the fact that I’m not in L.A. anymore and I can always go back. But I was really just getting my groove in L.A. I had it all laid out where I went for my dry cleaning, my favorite restaurants, and my friends, my route that I took to work. I just had it all laid out and really made it my own. I find that a lot of people find

Johnny Wright styles reality TV star Toya Wright

that quite difficult to do in L.A. because of the big fish type of atmosphere. But my personality proved that to be a little different. So when I moved here, I really felt that I was a small fish again because politics is not something that I ever studied or was interested in, and coincidentally I became very interested in it throughout the campaign when I was working with the First Lady as the senator’s wife. So I was really encouraged to watch CNN and all the news channels and just to really get to know what I was actually a part of, and at the time I didn’t even know I was going to be the First Lady’s hair stylist permanently. Following the campaign really developed my knowledge about the political world. When I came and I felt like a small fish, but when I had my first conversation and I held my own when it came down to politics I became very proud of myself. So in most people’s eyes it would be really developed my knowledge about the political world. When I came and I felt like a small fish, but when I had my first conversation and I held my own when it came down to politics I became very proud of myself. So in most people’s eyes it really developed my knowledge about the political world. When I came and I felt like a small fish, but when I had my first conversation and I held my own when it came really developed my knowledge about the political world. When I came and I felt like a small fish, but when I had my first conversation and I held my own when it came down to politics I became very proud of myself. So in most people’s eyes it would be a huge accomplishment to work with the First Lady and it is a huge accomplishment, but I think without L.A. I wouldn’t be where I am now. How did the opportunity to become the First Lady’s stylist come about? By the time that I met with the First Lady I was pretty established in the freelance world. I worked with other celebrities and I worked at Fox News for a while and I had an agent, a hair and makeup agent. He is actually still my agent ‘til this day, and he called me to tell me that he wanted to book me for a photo shoot with this senator’s wife. He was like have you heard of Michelle Obama? And I was like oh, ok, cool. He said it’s not paying much, it’s editorial but you should go you know, you never know what may come out of it. And I said ok, I’ll go. And I went and did her hair and we hit it off. I’ve always been very open and willing to do stuff that in a sense I was investing myself in to get something out of it. So I went and did her and I met her, it was an ESSENCE photo shoot. We hit it off pretty well and very shortly after that shoot is when I decided to move to Los Angeles. I literally packed my stuff and moved to Los Angeles within two to three months. And within those two to three months I got called to do her again for O Magazine. And I did that for O Magazine and at that shoot was when I told her I was moving to Los Angeles and I was like great meeting you and basically good luck. Which was still cool because during the campaign they were out on the West Coast a lot. So when-

ever she came to the West Coast her staff remembered me and they called me, and I would style her for things that she did in L.A. How was the situation with your clients when you moved to L.A.? Because I know for me, as a client it can be very devastating when your stylist relocates. I’m pretty sure there was some level of devastation for a number of my clients, but I think my personality has always been the personality that it is ‘til this day, so I think most of my clients had it in the back of their mind that I was on my way to do greater things. Not that what I was doing wasn’t great, but I was destined for something greater. And I think they understood and they supported, ‘til this day I still actually do some of my clients in Chicago. They travel here, they traveled to L.A. when I was there, and sometimes they fly me out to them. So I still do some of my clients from Chicago, and I do some of my clients from L.A., so my clientele follows me everywhere I go. Now let’s talk about healthy hair. The First Lady’s hair always looks so beautiful and healthy! What is the secret to healthy hair? Using good products, but the key to healthy hair is moisture. It’s all about conditioning the hair properly. I sometimes do a cocktail of my own type of ingredients to make her [First Lady] a conditioner, and with that all of the ingredients really replenish the moisture in the hair. But that’s really what it is, and trying to keep the heat out of her hair as much as possible. Natural hair seems to be the latest trend. In your opinion is natural better?

I look back at my life and I realize how every moment had something to do with the next. Even if in the moment it appeared to be negative it was necessary for a lesson for my life. Yeah, a lot of women are transitioning to natural hair, which I think is great because a lot of women have had relaxers all of their lives, soon as they were able to do it. I think the youngest age is 5 years old. Their mother slapped one in their head. So they have no idea what their real texture was like, and the versatility and the things that they can do with their own texture. So blowing the natural hair texture out, a lot of women have realized that it’s not as bad as they thought it was. I think it’s great! I’m not opposed to relaxed hair, but I think natural hair is great! I love the versatility of it. I was going to ask what is the biggest mistake that women make with their hair, but it’s probably like you said, not moisturizing properly. Yes, not moisturizing properly and overheat styling their hair. A lot of women do that flat iron every day, and I want to challenge them to think of other ways of styling their hair without having to use a flat 17

iron or curling iron or any type of heat on the hair. If they are using a flat iron, they want to use a flat iron that gives them variable heat and they can turn the dial down and it won’t be so high every day. Most flat irons turn on and off, and as soon as you turn it on it goes to the highest amount of heat that that flat iron offers, and for you to put that on your hair everyday it’s just damaging. Pretty much, you’re melting your hair away. That’s one of the biggest mistakes, and another huge mistake that women make is that they don’t get their ends trimmed enough. It’s 6-8 weeks, right? Every 4-6 weeks is what I say because it depends on your texture. Tell us about the Corioliss iron that you’ve endorsed. I absolutely love it. It is the best iron for professionals and consumer brands, but at the end of the day, women want to use what their stylist uses. You get that with this tool. This is the tool that I reach for every time that I’m styling or anyone that I’m working with, whether it’s in the salon on the road or backstage at a fashion show, I’m using this iron. The really good thing about it is technology. I always tell people they had cell phones and then they came out with smart phones, and this is basically your smart iron. They just thought about so many things that would help benefit your hair than to hurt your hair and hair strand. And you know it is Titanium plated which is key and it’s much smoother on the ends so it causes less friction on the hair. It’s variable heat, so it goes from 248 all the way up to 450, which is awesome because that way you’re covering all textures and you can turn the dial down when needed. It has dual voltage which is key for me because I travel all over the world and I can use it everywhere I go and not have to worry about it burning out. Just the look of it, it looks sleek and professional. And it just does the job. I really love the iron. You have also endorsed the Optimum Care Salon Selection product line. Yes, actually I’ve endorsed Softsheen-Carson as a whole. I’ve been with Softsheen-Carson which is a division of L’Oreal. I’ve been with them for; it will be ten years this year. I started off as a technician, I moved up to lead tech, and now I am the artistic style director for the company which is really awesome, I love it. The great thing I love about Softsheen-Carson is that they always choose ingredients that are going to enhance the health of your hair. The thing about it is Softsheen-Carson is one of the step kids of the L’Oreal Family. That’s awesome because with L’Oreal they offer a ton of ingredients that all of their brands, whether it’s hair products or whatever, high end brands and the low end brands, all of their brands are privy to a bucket of ingredients that can be used in their products no matter whether it’s $30 or $10, the same technology that’s used in a $30 product can be used in a $10 product but the marketing changes the value and the price of that product. What I love is that we are able to give you a supreme and quality product at a minimum price. You won’t have to spend a bunch of money and get the same results. The reason I love Salon Selection is that product was specifically created for women to get salon quality results at home. And that’s what the salon collection is all about. I love it! It’s really doing well. Our numbers are up this year and people are starting to latch on to Softsheen-Carson like they used to back in the day. What do you do in your down time when you’re able to take a day off? Normally my days off are Sundays and I try to go to brunch with some friends and I love to shop, that’s one of my things that I’m trying to control myself a little better these days (laughs). Butthat is one of my favorite things to do is shop and grab cocktails with friends. I also love going to Barnes and Nobles and just go to the magazine section and look at some European magazines and look at the fashion and get inspired by the hair and the clothing a lot. A lot of times people think that I look at hair magazines for inspiration, but I never ever look in hair magazines because I think you know I’m a hairstylist I can create the look myself. But I love getting inspiration from fashion magazines. What’s your favorite T.V. show? 18

You know I’m back and forth. Sometimes I go a week without watching T.V. at all and sometimes I do. I love BRAVO, everything on BRAVO. I was addicted to The Voice, and my favorite show on now is Fashion Star, I love that show! I haven’t heard of that one! OMG! It’s one of the best shows! It’s with Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos. It’s an amazing show with an awesome concept. Another one of my favorite past times is that I like to read. What is your favorite book? I love all of E. Lynn Harris’ books. Me too! I love E. Lynn Harris. It was so sad when he passed away. One last thing…favorite food? Macaroni and cheese! And you said that with no hesitation (laughs)! Preferably my grandmother’s but she is no longer with us. It’s been about six years since she passed away, so mine is my favorite now. So what’s next for you? Who knows? I mean the sky’s the limit! I definitely want to have my own product line, I’m embarking in the beverage industry but it’s going to be a beauty item at the same time, so I have a whole lot of ideas. The sky is the limit for me; there is definitely no stopping me! I definitely want to dab a little bit in T.V. and that means me in front of the camera. There are plenty of opportunities out there and I want to be the one to find them even if it’s in a little crack in the wall, I’m going to find it. So what does Mahogany have to do to get on your books? It’s as simple as you letting my assistant know that you want an appointment. Thank you so much Johnny! It was great talking to you. Thank you!

High Street Fashion BOLD

Make a statement with textured prints this season!

Photographed by Ryan West Model: LaQuannia Lewis Stylist: Carissa Strickland Contributing Stylist: Lisa Washington Hair: J. Rashawn Colter Makeup: Crystal Ford Assistants: Latarsa Williams, Carten Moze


Anything Goes! Wearing white after Labor Day was once a fashion faux pas, but this season’s rule is: “Rules are meant to be broken!” So wear white or winter white, as long as you layer with dark patterns and accessories.


Mix To Match Why play it safe? Mix up patterns, colors, & textures using similar or like colors and finish the look with a solid colored piece such as a jacket, wide belt, or hosiery.


Chas Jackson


Hi Diane, I understand where you’re coming from. You never want to scare away a potential mate by brining up the status of your relationship over appetizers on your first date. In the same regard, no woman wants to always be a bridesmaid and never a bride. So when is the right time to bring up the “So what are we?” conversation? Ideally, it’s before sex. It’s before you’ve met each other’s friends. Frankly, it’s before a lot of things. In this world of instant gratification in which we live in, it’s better to know before you’ve completely invested in something all by yourself. Does a title matter? Of course a title matters! You wouldn’t have brought it up if it didn’t matter to you. Humans often tell on themselves. If you simply listen to someone, they’ll reveal a lot of their wants, and aspirations for their lives. This can include whether or not they’re looking to be in a relationship. If a guy’s constantly lavishing in his freedom or bachelorhood, slowly back away while it’s still safe. On the other hand women often want security, at home, on the job and in a relationship. Having a title of girlfriend, fiancé, or wife grants that security in virtually every social setting. No one wants to bring their “special friend” of 5 years around their grandmother. Are we “Just Friends?” Do you go out on dates with your friends? Do you kiss your friends? Are you sleeping with friends? If you answered “No” to any of these questions then there you have it! You are NOT friends with a guy if you’re doing all of that. Now whether or not he wants to shout it from the rooftops, change his relationship status on Facebook, and introduce you to his mama just yet—I’m not sure. Lets not get ahead of our selves. However, don’t downplay those romantic phone calls that last well until the wee hours of the night either. A man wants a confident woman. A lady who knows what she wants in life and in a potential mate. A woman who tip toes around the “What are we?” conversation will be watching all the other couple’s skate alone from the bleachers. So when is the best time to bring it up? The minute you ask yourself, “Am I in a relationship?” is the second you should ask the other person involved. If a man is deliberately making time for you, it’s pretty safe to say you’re his lady. Nowadays, asking the actual question is merely a formality that is not only necessary, it’s reassuring. Put an end to that question mark that’s been looming over your head once and for all. That way you’ll know whether or not to cancel or renew your accounts on those dating sites. 22

Send your relationship questions to

When dating, when is the right time to bring up the question about a relationship or commitment?

Does a title really matter? Should three months roll around and you not know whether you are in a relationship or just friends? Diane G. Memphis, TN


L i f e a n d S t y l e co N T. . .


DIVA Veste en coton impression serpent ZAPA Cotton snake print jacket Zapa Chemiser en coton impression plume multicolors MAJESTIK Multicolor Cotton feather print Blouse Majestic Pantalon en cuir bleu ZAPA Blue leather pants zapa Chaussures avec brides orange et or LOUISE ROE Collection Orange sandals Louise Roe Collection Bagues collection vintage NINOTCHKA Ninotchka Vintage Collection ring


ENZO Blouson en cotton SHADOW PROJECT Cotton blouse Shadow Project Maille en laine multicolors MISSONI Multicolor Knitted sweater Missoni Pantalon en laine bleu MISSONI Blue wool trousers : Missoni Basket montantes noires a lacets colorés PAUL SMITH Highrise Sneakers Paul Smith

ZION Blouson en jean avec revers et manches noires PAUL SMITH Jean jacket Paul Smith Jean denim vert TOP MAN Green Denim Jeans Top Man Derby montantes “Kanawha” PAUL SMITH Kanawha » Derby shoes Paul Smith

DIVA TOP en crepe noire avec cole et fin de manche en strass BASH Black top by Bash Pantalon jean avec cuissardes en cuir HUDSON Jean with leather Bottines en cuir noir a lacets STYLIST PICK Black Leather open toe boots Chaine épaisse noire en bracelet ISAJOn paris Black Chain bracelet Isajon Paris Boucles d’oreilles argentées et strass « PARIS » NINOTCHKA « Paris » Silver earrings Ninotchka Chapeau en feutre noire BASH Black felt hat by Bash ENZO Veste noire deux boutons ZAPA Black tuxedo jacket by Zapa Chemise en satin noire BILL TORNADE Black satin button down shirt by Bill Tornade Pantalon type sarouel noir LAGOM Black harem pants by Lagom Bottine en cuir noir vernis duo JEAN BAPTISTE RAUTUREAU Black patent leather boots by Jean baptiste Rautureau


JOYCE : Blazer a col en cuir Houndstooth CLUB MONACO Leather Collar Blazer Club Monaco Chemisier en cotton a manches chauvesouris TOP SHOP Cotton Blouse Top Shop Pantalon jean gold indigo CLUB MONACO Indigo gold Jeans Club Monaco Escarpins Bordeaux PAUL SMITH Burgundy Stilettos Paul Smith Sac fourrure prune en fourreau PAUL SMITH Fur bag Paul Smith Collier a dentelle « belle époque » NINOTCHKA Belle Epoque » Lace necklace by Ninotchka


Lunette de vue en écaille PAUL SMITH Glasses by Paul Smith DIVA : Fourrure renard avec frange en cuir VENTCOUVERT Fox fur vest by Ventcouvert Combinaison en coton / soie PAUL & JOE Cotton & silk jumpsuit by Paul&Joe Chapeau en feutre camel CLUB MONACO Camel felt hat Sac en cuir croco et chaine or MISSONI Crocodile leather bag by Missoni Ceinture et chaussures en cuir vert croco avec crocs or MISSONI Belt and green crocodile leather shoes by Missoni

Manchette « Flesh » or et collier « flesh » or NINOTCHKA Gold « Flesh » manchette and gold earrings by Ninotchka Boucles d’oreille dorées et strass « PARIS » NINOTCHKA « Paris » Golden earrings by Ninotchka Bagues collection vintage NINOTCHKA Vintage Ninotchka Collection ring ZION : Veste noire fine PAUL & JOE Black blazer Paul & Joe Cardigan fin en laine avec plastron en damier noire et écru PLECTRUM by BEN SHERMAN Wool Cardigan Ben Sherman Chino en coton bordeaux BEN SHERMAN

Burgundy Cotton pants Ben Sherman

& JOE Green leather shoes Paul & Joe Chaussures en cuir vert PAUL

ENZO : Chemise rayée bleue PAUL SMITH Strppied button down shirt Paul smith Nœud bordeaux papillon DRIES VAN NOTEN Burgundy Bowtie Dries Van Noten Surveste en laine noire ZAPA Black wool cardigan Zapa Chino en coton bleu marine CHEVIGNON Navy blue pants Chevignon Chaussures noires PAUL SMITH Black Shoes Paul Smith

DIVA : Veste en satin noir avec plumes sur les épaules et le dos CAROLINE SEIKALY Jupe en cul de poule, jacquard avec tulle noire LIZA KORN Bottines en cuir noir a lacets STYLIST PICK Chaine en métal épaisse et foncé ISAJON paris Collier en perles de verre noires et chaine en métal avec pic métallique et masque en strass noir ISAJON paris Joncs a lacet noir argent et violet et or CAROLINE BAGGI


ZION : Veste en coton impression Léopard PAUL & JOE Chemise blanche en cotton PAUL & JOE Pantalon noir droit PAUL SMITH Chaussurse noires PAUL SMITH Montre GUESS JOYCE : Robe zippée en cuir noir et gris ZAPA Manteau en plume bleue TOP SHOP Blue feathers jacket Collier grosse chaine en résine a tête de serpent ISAJON paris ENZO : este deux boutons a revers satin ZAPA Chemise en satin noire BILL TORNADE Cravate noire a paillette purple DRIES VAN NOTEN Pantalon type sarouel noir LAGOM Bottine en cuir noir vernis duo JEAN BAPTISTE RAUTUREAU Chain snake head Necklace by Isajon Boucles d’oreilles argentées et strass « PARIS » NINOTCHKA « Paris »Silver earrings by Ninotchka Escarpins satin avec fleur bleue CINDY GLASS Satin stilettos Cindy Glass



“Unless we get someone with the kind of leadership that we had during the days of Ronald Reagan, where you’re willing to have shared sacrifices...nothing is going to change. We don’t need politicians, we need statesman.” -Armstrong Williams


Armstrong Williams


by Mahogany Chappelle-Gadson

rior to the 2012 Presidential Election, I spoke with “media” figure Armstrong Williams about the fate of this nation and of course the Presidential candidates, our current President Barack Obama and Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Although I don’t personally agree with many of the things that Mr. Williams had to say, I must admit that it was very interesting to take a walk on the “right side” with Armstrong Williams. How did you actually get started into politics? I don’t see myself as in politics, I’m in the media. I cover politics. What do you think the American public is most misinformed about with regards to the election? They are really misinformed about the benefits of Obamacare/affordable care and that it’s going to really benefit and empower them. They are really misinformed about how jobs are really created and the role that the government can play and that most of the jobs that are being created are government jobs. Come January 1, 2013, a lot of these jobs are going to be on the chopping block. There are going to be about 100,000 federal workers that will lose their job. It also amazes me how they’re so willing to accept the fact that under George Bush the average price of gas at the pump was $1.85, now with President Obama it’s $3.85. When Bush was President, the media could not beat the drum enough about how this is unacceptable by Americans, but it seems to me that America is willing to accept high fuel prices at the pump and high costs of food in the supermarkets. If Obamacare is not the answer then what is? (Long pause) Let me reframe that for you, because it is not about…and I hope you’re recording me right? Yes I am. Well that’s good. I keep hesitating because I want to make sure I don’t have to slow down for you to catch up, but let me explain this to you as simply as I can put it. We were promised that the premiums would not go up, the prices would be lower and that is impossible. That is absolutely impossible. That is not going to happen because as it becomes more difficult for people to find primary care, physicians must begin to look for solutions before a complete crisis engulfs us. Many primary care physicians that have moved to the concierge model accept a certain number of patients all of whom, by the way, must pay several thousands of dollars a year and they don’t accept any kind of health care insurance. However, this greatly reduces the expenses, guarantees income, and allows some quality in their lives so they don’t have to rush through patients in 15 minutes which many doctors are forced to do. We should be asking ourselves what would happen when virtually all physicians go to similar models and what can be done to avoid this. First, we’ve got to find ways to reduce the debt accumulated by medical students many of whom exit medical school with debts in excess of a quarter of a million dollars even though many of them would love to become primary care physicians, they feel that they must pursue more lucrative specialties because of their financial pressure. Secondly, reimbursements under Medicare and Medicaid are marginal in terms of profits. With a scheduled decrease in physician payments associated with Obamacare and in many cases seeing Medicare and Medicaid patients would actually cost money. And even though many physicians feel a moral obligation to see these patients the financial pressures would eventually obliterate their humanitarian tendencies. And unless we begin to seriously and quickly address these kinds of issues we are going to face a

The Right Side crisis in medical access for all but the wealthy in our society and the very thing that Obamacare was supposed to solve will be severely exacerbated and we will all be losers in the end.

ECONOMY Who do you feel is to blame for America’s current economic status and what role if any do you feel the current or past administration has had on the betterment or worsening of the economy? Well Bush certainly bloated the government with homeland security and he certainly expanded the budget, he certainly didn’t reduce the deficit. Certainly Obama did inherit a mess no one is doubting that. Listen, for four years we have not had a budget. Can you imagine you going six months without having a budget, can you imagine how your finances would spiral out of control. The U.S. government doesn’t have a budget and hasn’t had one in four years. The republicans are to blame, the democrats are to blame, they just want to spend, spend, spend without any consequences. They want to kick the budget to the next person and they don’t have any kind of fiscal responsibility. And we have got to get serious about this fiscal cliff! On January 1, 2013, the largest tax increase in American history is scheduled to occur. It includes increased income taxes, state taxes, Obamacare taxes, Medicare taxes, and social security taxes. In addition, 1.2 trillion federal government spending cuts are mandated over two years. That means 120 billion dollars in spending cuts are scheduled for 2013. And according even to the CBO which is supposedly to be non-partisan, if the United States does not repeal these taxes and spending cuts, the country is going to fall off of a fiscal cliff. That’s what the fiscal cliff means. Falling off the fiscal cliff will result in a recession starting in 2013 with unemployment in the 9 to 1% range as much as 2.% contraction of economic growth in the first half of 2013. If the highest income tax rate increase from its current 35% to 44% including Medicare and Obamacare tax increase on wealthiest tax payers a high income family making $500,000 will have $45,000 less to spend. And the family may decide to cut out a gardener, a housekeeper, a vacation or even a new yacht. A progressor may say so what they are rich, and they will still have an opulent lifestyle, unfortunately, that does not help the newly unemployed housekeeper or gardener or someone after college who is looking for a job. Has Mitt Romney spoken on the fiscal cliff or discussed a plan for it? I have no idea what his policies are. He tells us he’s going to create 12 million jobs, he doesn’t tell us how he’s going to create jobs. He continues to play it safe, because he doesn’t want to be criticized instead of what he really believes, how he plans to implement it. Sometimes I think he’s Obama-like. If you look at healthcare, if you look at his energy policy, if you look at where he was once on abortion. Unless we get someone with the kind of leadership that we had during the days of Ronald Reagan, where you’re willing to have shared sacrifices, you have to come in and make the tough decisions nothing is going to change. We don’t need politicians we need statesmen, elder statesmen. We need principal people leading this country and making these decisions. Did you attend the RNC? I’m sure you did. Both conventions. So just because you are a republican that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are pro-Mitt Romney, correct? (Long pause) That’s an interesting question. (Laughs) Just say I’m proAmerica. So my next question was going to be do you think the stimulus package helped Americans, but I think you’ve somewhat voiced your opinion in your last statement. No it hasn’t. The stimulus package went to saving governments around the country from collapsing, and it didn’t go to building the highways and the byways and the bridges that the President spoke about. It didn’t put real Americans back to work. It was a political stimulus. It helped his friends in power and state and local government. How has the Obama administration influenced the price of gas and other commodities? You know, the thing is that we are not drilling. We have not started the process on our soil…the keystone pipeline. And there’s no sign of gas prices 31

dropping. We need to start drilling; we are too dependent on foreign oil. And you would think that where we’ve found that we have all of these resources where we can start drilling that we would start. I know that [they] say the price of gasoline is out of the president’s control, they argue that the reason behind spikes in oil prices are notoriously hard to diagnose and they point to tensions with Iran conflict and in Syria and increased demands from China as the real problems, but guess what, regarding Iran specifically the President’s situation is especially difficult as economic sanctions. It’s a bind for Obama. How do you get tough on Iran without getting tough on American wallets? When you are dependent on the Middle East we should become less dependent on oil to the point where we’re not dependent at all. Did we drill on American soil during the Bush Administration? If not, then how were we able to keep the price of fuel down as oppose to now. (Long pause) Well obviously, when President Bush tried to pass legislation to drill it was turned down and the democratic control congress, and obviously because we thought the situation was going to get better, and you ask the question why should we try to drill for oil in Alaska. Drilling is the only way that we can get the United States off Middle East oil, and yes we’ve started the process of drilling, yes they tried but you get caught up with environmentalist. These environmentalists have lost their minds. We care more about the environment, we have to protect the environment and yet at the expense of America’s dependency on foreign oil. How do you feel about voter ID laws on a national scale? You know I get asked this question probably more than….You know what, I think it should be the law. You have to have an ID to get alcohol if you’re under 18, you have to have ID to get on an airplane or train, you have to have a driver’s license to drive, you have to have an ID to fly, to make sure that no one robs you of your identity. I know there are people who say there are senior citizens who were born in an era when they didn’t really have driver’s licenses, but you know my mother went out and got an ID card and has never had a problem at the polls and I know many people just like her. I just think it’s important that we enforce voter ID laws. I just think it’s a ruse for people that want to make sure they continue to garner votes through illegal means where dead people vote, homeless people vote, people vote twice so I think voter ID laws are constitutional and are absolutely necessarily needed. In fact I don’t even understand the argument against voter ID.There was a situation in Texas where there was an issue with students being able to use their student ID, yet people who were licensed to carry weapons, their weapon license was acceptable. If you are licensed to carry a weapon, you have an ID. You cannot get a weapon without an ID. A student ID has to be verified with documentation as well, whether it be a birth certificate or Social Security card.There are obvious reasons voter ID laws are very much necessary in this country. We live in a country where we have at least 11 million illegal immigrants living here committing atrocious crimes, and ruining the quality of life for those in Border States and even all over the country. Now we want to allow them the right to vote in Federal elections. This absolutely cannot be allowed. They are not citizens and they have no right to even be here much less vote in our federal elections. Illegals do not pay taxes, do not pay into social security or welfare programs. Some say that most are paid in cash and are not taxed, and most are criminals running drugs across the border as well as murdering and raping innocent American citizens. It is not difficult to become a citizen of the United States. There is no reason why 100 plus years ago Europeans sailed across the Atlantic to become a citizen and yet a Mexican cannot simply file a few papers and cross the border legally. That’s my biggest beef with it. They should not be voting. There was a ruling that just came in on the Pennsylvania voter ID law, and the judge just halted the ruling. How will this affect the election? You know, I was asked this yesterday. I don’t know how much people are familiar with this that the law requires voters in the swing states to produce photo identification, but it cannot take effect until after the November election. I think the suspension of the voter ID law could probably benefit President Obama, because democrats, civilized groups and advocates for the poor argue that the growing number of voter ID laws targets people least likely to have a photo ID are mostly likely to back Obama. And backers of the law say they are necessary to prevent photo identity fraud. I know that Judge Simpson blocked the until 2013 saying he was not confident that the state would be able to provide ID’s to everyone who needed them before the November election, and I think that’s a good point, but I think in the short term it could benefit the President.

ABORTION What is your position on women’s right to choose abortion and is there a “War against Women”? 32

Of course there’s no war on women. Look, I am a man of faith. For me, I will and always will be pro-life. God gives us free will. Just like when people choose to steal, people choose to lie, people choose to be arrogant and pious and full of pride. People choose to exploit the poor, people choose to exploit the government, people choose to have abortions, and that’s free will. That’s between them and their creator. I would not support it. God has forgiven us of many things, and that’s between you and your creator. We live in a society today where what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right. I just saw an article recently in one of the major publications saying that science is finally has enough evidence to show that science will replace God, that God does not exist. In order to make sure that God does not exist you must dumb down morality, you must dumb down right from wrong and part of that is saying that abortion is fine, there’s nothing immoral about it, same sex marriage is fine, there’s nothing immoral about it, but if you choose that and that’s your choice that’s between you and your creator. God gives you free reign; you can choose him or you cannot choose him.

TAXES Should loopholes be closed for millionaires? As long as millionaires have lawyers and accountants and you have rich lawmakers making the laws. They’re not going to ever do anything to cripple themselves. There will always be loopholes to make sure they get around paying taxes or paying less taxes. It’s not going to change. It’s not left or right it’s just what the elite does and the ruling class, just like when they passed civil rights laws, when they passed laws dealing with Wall Street and insider trading, just like the Obamacare, it does not apply to members of Congress and senior White House staff. They are exempt to use their old healthcare system and not abide by affordable care. They will make laws for you but they don’t abide by them themselves. So absolutely it’s not going to change. They are not going to do anything to reduce their wealth or potential of wealth in this country. Do you think Bain Capital and Mitt Romney was a strategic business move? I’m glad you asked that. I think that is an important topic when it comes to it because I do think there’s a lot that has just been so distorted. He was a businessman. He managed a company that was in trouble, he managed it back to good health. He took companies that otherwise would not have made it and he turned those companies around. It’s the American way. It’s entrepreneurship. It’s what people do every day. He got paid on it because he did a good job. He did not rip the company off. That’s what they asked him to do. He came in and took over it no different than how he took over with the Olympics and he turned that around and why anybody would want to bash him for his success story, I don’t understand that. He should be applauded. Bain Capital was a success. It is what entrepreneurship is. It goes to show that many people in this country don’t understand entrepreneurship and how the marketplace works. Todd Aiken, should he continue to run for office? Before I could finish my sentence, Armstrong responded with: Absolutely! Let the people decide his fate. Let the voters decide whether Todd Aiken should be forgiven and whether or not you understood what he was trying to convey and the way it came out. Let the people of Missouri decide his fate. Absolutely he should run!

SUPREME COURT How do you think this election will affect the Supreme Court? Well, the conservatives have a pretty good solid majority. The only ones that are close to retirement are Ginsburg and John Paul Stevens which are pretty liberal. Even if Obama is reelected and he had to replace the court, he’s probably only going to have two choices and if the republicans do it it’ll just further solidify the conservative majority, but it’s a slight majority.


Has the Afghanistan surge helped us or hurt us? Wow! That’s a doozy! You know there’s an escalation in Afghanistan. They are still asking for more troops. I can argue both ways. The United States and the world is going through the biggest financial crisis in 75 years and we don’t even know how it’s going to play out. Signs of an impending recession and depression is everywhere. Prudence dictates that we refrain


from making new investments in troops, equipment, and money until the uncertainty passes. Every foreign Soldier who enters Afghanistan provides one more incentive for Afghans to join the insurgency against the foreigners. The Afghans have a track record of drawing out foreign occupiers and the presence of America and ally troops combating a religious based insurgency and also a non-co insurgency in a Muslim country is a standing propagation to many Muslims worldwide so fighting this war loses good will and gives young Muslims a reason to join anti American groups. The real threat to the U.S. is Al-Qaeda not the Taliban and Al-Qaeda is in Pakistan not Afghanistan so we are fighting against the wrong enemy and in the wrong country and we need to pressure the Pakistanians to rule out Al Qaeda. And plenty of Afghans hate the Taliban. We could withdraw and let the two sides fight it out perhaps lending air support to the anti-Taliban forces. I can’t argue for it [Afghanistan surge]. I can’t see the benefits of it. What do you think the futureof America would be if either candidate win? Where do I start? You know the one thing I do respect about Mitt Romney, he’s turned around businesses. He turned around the Massachusetts economy, he is an entrepreneur, and he understands that you have to run the country like a business. He will surround himself with more people from the private sector instead of the public sector, and I think he has a lot of financial discipline. I would trust him more, not that he can do anything to change the economy but unlike President Obama he’s not going to make it worse. I think he will allow the economy to correct itself. I think the President wants to redistribute wealth. He wants to redistribute wealth through healthcare, he wants to redistribute it through the class warfare, the 1% starting in January 2013 is going to pay an additional $52,000 in taxes to support those which are unhealthy, and in fact the healthy in this economy pays for the unhealthy. The percentage of people working is lower than it has been in three decades. Not only are our wallets thinning out but so are our spirits. More people have gone on disability in Obama years than have gotten new jobs. And the government is taking over healthcare for decades, liberals dreamed of bringing universal healthcare to the U.S., and President Obama delivered it to them. I know you stated in the beginning that you are not a politician, but would you ever consider returning to SC to run for office? Never crossed my mind. (Laughter) I don’t really like politics. It’s so divisive, it’s so deceitful.You never know what you’re getting; you have to check your sources. It’s like playing political football. You’re playing with people’s livelihood. You’re playing with their lives, education, finances, and immigration laws. Foreign issues that place Americans’ lives in danger when they travel abroad and even right here on American soil and even at airports. The American people who they end up voting for are not always what’s best. They are more interested in a beauty cosmetic contest. They care about what the candidate looks like, what they sound like, how much money they have and whether they’re a celebrity or not. They don’t vote for people because they can do the best job, they want to make them feel good, and that’s ridiculous. Do you have any final words for our readers? We’ve said it all! And thank you for your patience. No, thank you! Alright now. Take care. Since the Presidential Election on November 6, 2012, Armstrong Williams respectfully conceded by posting to his personal Facebook page: “Congratulations to President Obama and his many supporters for his reelection as President of our United States. The people have spoken and now the US Congress must work with Mr. Obama to truly serve the interest of ‘We the People’.” “We the People” can only H pe!


Work Place Bullying Dr. Tammy A. Fanniel


ver find yourself longingly looking across your organization into another section but you are stuck in a dreamlike nightmare that is your own workplace? It’s like being that child on the playground, wanting to join the kids who are having a pizza party with the fun teacher, but you’re stuck in the grim reapers classroom waiting for the scythe to fall. Since I went too far back, let’s look at another analogy. Have you ever been in an organization where team-building events bring up the morale of the section…where leaders create functions outside of the office to build esprit de corps? It’s a home away from home where you enjoy the work atmosphere, it’s not torture to have drinks after work with your coworkers…there is common goal and excitement in achieving the mission. Well ladies and gentlemen, these work places exist, unfortunately many of us will spend our time in purgatory…or are you the boss that’s creating hell like conditions? If you do find yourself in a situation where your work environment is unfavorable, you may ask yourself what options are available at this point. What you will find is that you must pose more in-depth questions to yourself and base your decisions on your professional, personal and educational endeavors. Some realistic questions that you should honestly answer are: • Can I remain in a toxic environment where I feel bullied, humiliated, unappreciated, harassed or stressed? • Am I financially independent enough to search for another place of employment? • Am I resilient enough to make a formal complaint, with the selfawareness that the outcome may not be to my liking? • Am I being sensitive or are my complaints valid? Once you have honestly answered these questions you will know which actions will best suit your goals. If you have difficulties with these, then perhaps you should wait until you reach a point in your professional and personal life where whichever decision you endeavor to make, you will be satisfied with the outcome. Ultimately, and I know it is cliché, at the end of the day, the only person you have to live with is the one staring back at you in the mirror. Can I remain in a toxic environment where I feel bullied, humiliated, unappreciated, harassed, or stressed? And… Am I resilient enough to make a formal complaint, with the self-awareness that the outcome may not be to my liking? When does your patience end? When do you reach your threshold of tolerance? Does it come at the price of your physical health? Does it come at the price of your pride? Does 34

it come after too many derogatory remarks or set-downs in front of peers or subordinates? Does it come after professional threats? If it comes after too many instances of sexual harassment or physi cal threats, then the first time should have been emotionally...and ultimately manifest itself physically (headaches, lack of stress, hair loss, just to name a few). However, when you finally throw your hands in the air and realize that regardless of the outcome, you will not stand by and let another individual walk on you, you empower yourself thereby easing the conflict in your mind. Am I financially independent enough to search for another place of employment? Many people stay in their work environment because of the fear of financial security, or rather lack thereof. Responsibilities like familial and financial obligations keep us in positions where we are made to feel inferior. There is a sense of hopelessness that confines us even though the world is a wide open space. These are the most difficult positions because at times there seems to be no options available; however, there are always ways to mitigate negative treatment. The first thing that people must understand is there are always viable options; the first one begins with you. Invest in your professional and personal progress, your self-development. Don’t remain stagnant. People can take everything away from you, but the one thing that is untouchable is your knowledge, your experience…your credentials. Note I say CREDENTIALS. Keep your certifications up to date. Ensure you are apprised of new developments in your field. Your success hinges upon your continuous education and personal development, which makes you marketable. Say no to that new Prius, smirk. Be responsible with your money…you can’t take it with you to the grave but ensure that you and your loved ones are adequately taken care of for future dilemmas. Create an environment where you are financially secure through living within your means. However…coma…pause for effect… even if you are not in a position where you can leave your current place of employment you can still establish boundaries and choose your battlegrounds. Toxic leaders are like those bullies on the playground who always pick on the smallest kid to inflate their self-importance. Well, what happens when the kid being bullied fights back? Hmmm, he or she gets the crap kicked out of them, or they kick the crap out of the bully. Either way, the bully usually backs off when met with resistance. They search for easier prey.Am I being sensitive, or are my complaints valid? It is difficult to pinpoint direct behaviors toxic leaders or professional bullies implement

Am I being sensitive, or are my complaints valid? that create a negative work environment, so deliber ately focus on the state of mind and emotions that are internalizedby employees. Am I being sensitive, or are my complaints valid? It is difficult to pinpoint direct behaviors toxic leaders or professional bullies implement that create a negative work environment, so deliber ately focus on the state of mind and emotions that are internalizedby employees. These introverted behaviors, feelings and gestures are indicators of an abusive or hostile work environment. Employees who find themselves having negative emotions, feeling wary, confused, fear, shame, pressure, stress and displaying avoidance techniques, which ultimately results in a drop of work performance, are those who more than likely work for a toxic leader. But to keep it real, there are employees out there who bring it on themselves as well…and before you file a complaint, make sure that it is not you. I would be remiss to not ask you to analyze your own actions as well and take constructive criticism. If you are not an asset to the organization, then you must take your limit. The longer you prolong the inevitable, the more difficult it will be to make a stand. You would think that the most difficult thing is to stand up for your subordinates, the individuals that work for you, but in many cases, it is actually having the backbone to fight for your own personal rights that creates the greatest indecisiveness. If you do take the leap of faith and fight for your right to be treated with dignity and respect, ensure that you are mentally prepared to go through the rollercoaster ride that you are bound to experience. It takes a resilient attitude and mentality, because ultimately some of the reactions from the individuals who you consider peers and/or friends, subordinates or bosses may blacklist you. It’ll be like you have the Ebola virus, hot to touch. Some people will straddle the fence to see where the cards fall. It’s not because they don’t ‘like’ you, but it’s for their own self-preservation. They have responsibilities within their own lives, and more than likely the average individual doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to assist in situations that may place their own professional career in a precarious position. When confronted with a quandary, the average individual will take the path of least resistance. It will make you feel alone and question your decision to fight…and in most realities, you are alone. Ensure that you remain positive and that it is displayed in your demeanor. A calm, positive demeanor will rattle the usual bully. A bully feeds of the negative emotions he has created in others, and if you don’t show him or her that he is ‘rattling your cage,’ it will muddle them. If it were only easy, many more people would come forward. Assume the worst after filing a complaint. Most individuals whoclimb the ranks don’t achieve their status because of asinine decisions that they’ve made during their professional tenure, so don’t assume that the same behaviors will continue after you file a formal complaint. This is when the chess match begins. Outward antagonistic behaviors previously displayed will disappear and manipulative tactics will ensue. Some will begin to counsel you on the smallest mistake that you make. Some will belittle you in

underhanded ways that are extremely difficult to prove…like those sweet Southern Belle’s who sit around the table with a pleasant open smile on their face while making damaging personal attacks and pretending to really ‘care’ about you. Another manipulative behavior is intentionally keeping you uninformed, which creates a perception of incompetence about you to clients, co-workers or other supervisors. Whichever tactic is used, be prepared and remain calm and professional. Probably the worst thing that you can do is become emotionally erratic in front of others. It will only justify their lack of professional respect for you. Go for it behind closed doors where there are no ears or eyes…wink…but ensure that you appear the wronged party during these investigations.It’s like an abusive relationship. Many people are accustomed to staying out of the line of fire. It’s a rollercoaster ride that has its highs and lows. Some days are good, some days are bad, but there is always that underlying tension when you are in the presence of your adult bully. The most difficult action is to come forward and stand up against an abusive boss. When or if you choose to make a stance, a myriad of emotions will run through your mind. Until you reconcile it within your heart that there may be repercussions and that you may draw the short end of the stick, it will affect you mentally and responsibility for your own actions or lack thereof, and selfdevelop yourself to garner the respect that you feel you deserve. One of the problems that we have as individuals is not being able to take an introspective look at our own actions to see why people treat us in a certain way or why the level of professional or personal respect is minuscule when compared to our counterparts. Have you asked yourself why your boss doesn’t trust you with critical tasks imperative for the organization’s success? We forget that leaders run an organization. They are responsible not only for the small pie that is our sphere of responsibility, but they are culpable for the larger picture. I leave you with a thought that I wrote down when I was going through tumultuous times during my tenure in purgatory…Some people draw in life’s breath from the power they hold over others. Their religion is belittling, bullying and instilling fear because it makes them feel like a God. Instead of using their man given power to bring up the next generation of leaders, they choose to break the backs of the individuals who strive for personal success and want to make the team successful, inadvertently making the bully successful. Motivation is the antithesis to a bully’s goals, angst drives them. ...what they fail to realize is that the stress they place on others just because they are able to manifests in their own physical failure because ultimately, the stress of accumulating enemies tears down internal health and well-being.


V 10Questions for Amerca’s

NextTopModelContestant by Mahogany Chappelle-Gadson

Photographed by KLinh Evelyn Grace Photography

Victoria Henley

After watching an episode of entertainment mogul,TyraBanks’ 19th season of her hit reality show America’s Next Top Model: The College Edition, there was one contestant who stood out to me in particular: 1. Because we both attended the same university and 2. She was seemingly being bullied by her other castmates. I recently sat down with Victoria Henley to discuss her journey to Top Model,charitable contributions, and how bullying has affected her life.



Navy blue suit Antonio Melani Shoes Nine West Stylists: Carissa Strickland, Lisa Washington Hair: Amy Schaming Makeup: Tyson Keanan


1. How did your journey on America’s Next Top Model begin? I always told myself that if I were not a household name by the time I reached 18 years of age (the minimum age requirement for the show); I would audition for Top Model and see where it may take me. I did an online search for open America’s Next Top Model castings for Cycle 19 and found one near where I live. I traveled to the casting, filled out what seemed to be an infinite amount of paperwork and waited in line behind a few hundred other girls. Honestly, I did not know if they would cast someone like me since I feel that I am somewhat different than the prototypical contestants they’ve selected in the past. I had been standing in line a long time, my stomach was growling, and I had a film premiere that night, so I was a bit tempted to leave, but I’m very glad that I stayed for the audition. One of the guys from CW network said to me, “I am extremely grateful to whoever brought you to this audition”, and I knew in that moment that this might really lead somewhere for me. About one month after that initial audition, I received a call informing me that I was selected for a call back

Black leather dress Kingly Stitches Necklace Barnes Jewelry, Lexington, SC


while I was sitting with my mother in a restaurant. I traveled to the callback, and after a long grueling day of interviews and runway auditions, I was given a contract and subsequently selected for the semi-final rounds, which take place in California. I was enthralled and immensely pleased to see a lifelong goal such as this materializing for me. 2.Bullying is undeniably prevalent in today’s society. Have you experienced bullying before? If so, how did you deal with or overcome it. What advice would you give to others who may be experiencing the same thing? The fact that bullying is still such a negative, prevalent force in today’s society is incredibly disheartening; however, I feel that it is something that can be significantly hindered if you spread awareness and try to stop the bullying at its source. Fortunately, aside from a mere few inevitable encounters with mean spirited people, I was never bullied as a child and tried to surround myself with people who embraced by individuality rather than attack it. I can truthfully say that I have never been attacked as severely and frequently as I was by the some of the other contestants on America’s Next

Top Model, and I was quite surprised by the pettiness of their attacks since the objective of this season (the first-ever “College Edition”) was supposed to be about celebrating women with intellectual depth. I do not think the majority of this Cycle’s contenders exemplified “intelligence” at all. My best advice to individuals who find themselves the victims of bullying would be to celebrate all the things which make you different, and remember that many bullies act the way they do not because they hate you but because they hate themselves. Personal insecurity can cause people to act in strange and unfortunate ways, but try (if possible) to remove yourself from the presence of vicious and negative people, and surround yourself with people who embrace your creativity. Of course, I was trapped in a house with bullies, so I couldn’t remove myself immediately, but I tried to keep myself sane by reminding myself of my positive attributes, praying, and reminding myself that their unkind words do not in any way represent or reflect upon me. I have been pleased and overwhelmed by the amount of fans who have been outraged by the intense bullying I endured on the show, and I

have been truly touched by the messages I have received by bullying victims who feel they can relate to (and be inspired by) me. 3.You’ve worked with numerous charitable organizations. How do you intend to use your platform as a means to give back to the community? I have been immensely pleased that the show has opened doors in order for me to employ my modeling skills and abilities to help others as well. In early September, I walked in Mobile Fashion Week, a three day long fashion event which donates all of its proceeds to Camp Rap- A-Hope, a camp for kids with cancer. I also recently taught a modeling workshop to toddlers, children, and adults in my area in order to give them more insight, understanding (and hopefully exposure) to the industry, and I sold autographed photos at the event to benefit a local teen with cancer. I later made an appearance, spoke, and signed more at an event for the teen and was deeply moved when he told me how very much it meant to him that I invested my time and interest in him. Of course, I highly enjoy all of the magazine shoots, runway


shows, and all of the additional glamorous things to which my international exposure from Top Model has led; however, at the end of the day, I am most thankful to be able to inspire, help, and give back to others. 4.You are the spokesperson for Teen Truth. Tell us about that. What is the message of this campaign and how do you contribute to it? Teen Truth is an informational website created by the Florida Department of Health which aims to inform young adults to make intelligent, informed, and healthy life decisions about pivotal topics such as drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was overjoyed to be a spokesperson for this website because I have seen so many teenagers make unfortunate choices pertaining to these topics, and I felt that if I could reach out and truly get through to even one teen through this site, I have accomplished something truly fulfilling. Actually, I became a spokesperson for at merely 15 years of age (also created by the FL Dept. of Health), and I was pleased to bring awareness to ever increasing problem of alcoholism because so many people sadly lose their lives to the disease each year. Years later, after filming as the

spokesperson for this website, I was contacted about becoming the spokesperson for Teen Truth, and I truly realized that I could employ my interests and talents in the entertainment industry for positive, beneficial purposes. 5.You are one of the most professional artists I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Explain for someone who may be interested in becoming a professional model, what they may need to do to prepare them for the industry. Oprah Winfrey once said, “Success is when preparation meets opportunity”, and I believe that this saying could not be any more accurate pertaining to the modeling world. Aspiring models should realize that pretty faces are a dime a dozen, and in order to truly succeed in the modeling industry one must be persistent, easy to work with, intrepid, and truly have something unique to offer. One must be fearless in taking risks, pursuing their goals, and finally, an aspiring model must learn the art of not being detrimentally affected from (or discouraged by) rejection. 6.The producers of America’s Next Top Model have crowned you as the contestant with the most social media pages named in your honor

in the history of the show. Why do you think fans were able to connect with you? I was in extremely honored and excited by the fact that such an immense amount of fans had taken time to create pages expressing their support for me. I notice the words “quirky” and ‘weird” lovingly used quite often by fans when describing me, and I feel that they were able to connect with them because I inspired them to embrace their own “weirdness’s” which they might have previously been afraid to explore. If you examine many popular artists throughout the history of the arts and entertainment, , whether it be Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol or Lady Gaga, “weirdness” and zeal to break the mold has been an essential key in their successes. It makes me proud to know that my uniqueness has inspired others to embrace their own. 7. Describe you own personal style (fashion)? I describe my own personal style as an eclectic conglomeration of timeless, elegant, nostalgic and eccentric. I always enjoy donning the designs of independent designers and labels because their designs are truly individualistic, one of a kind, and I enjoy using my status as a media

Lace gown Deborah Bell & Company, Charlotte, NC Necklace Kingly Stitches Shoes Nine West


personality from ANTM to give up and coming designer’s exposure and credibility. Pertaining to well-known designers, I have always been an ardent fan and admirer or Oscar De La Renta for as long as I can remember and pieces from designers such as Antonio Melani, Donna Karan, Gianni Binni and Steve Madden can be found hanging in my closet (as well as whimsical vintage pieces.) 8. What other interests do you have outside of modeling? I find great pleasure in expressing myself in the form of the written word, so writing is most definitely a passion of mine. I have been fortunate to find venues for my wiring skills and abilities in the form of writing film reviews and articles for newspapers, magazine features, and I also wrote (not to mention directed and starred in my own stage play) at age 15. I also find great enjoyment from creating, exploring and immersing myself into various characters in the acting world, so acting has always been a very cathartic experience for me. My additional hobbies include singing, bicycle riding, hiking, various activities in the outdoors, and seeing a great movie at the dollar theatre (I’m a sucker for a good bargain.) 9.What’s next for Victoria Henley? Aside from many more magazine covers, editorials, and interviews (which I always enjoy and look forward to), I have several runway and modeling related events lined up in the coming months as well as another workshop which I will be teaching in a high-end studio. I have some exciting, secret industry related projects in the works for the coming year, and I am also elated to be the featured writer of a modeling advice column in a fashion magazine. I look forward to immersing myself in all the various opportunities to which my exposure from ANTM will lead, and I hope to show my diverse talents and skills in the fields of acting writing, orating, etc. on a large level. I am definitely not a person who limits herself or is afraid to take risks, and I am excited to see what opportunities await in 2013. 10. Any final comments? How can your fans follow you? I am indescribably appreciative to all of my fans and love interacting with them, so I encourage all of the fans to add me as a friend on Facebook (, and I will be more than glad to confirm/ connect with you. You may also visit any of the wonderful fan pages which Top Model enthusiasts from across the globe have created for me by simply searching “Victoria Henley Fan Page” on Google or searching my name on Facebook. I frequently post pictures from my latest photo shoots on the fan page I administrate, Videos of me demonstrating some of my other interests and talents (such as singing and acting) can also be found on You Tube.

Butterfly Dress Deborah Bell & Company, Charlotte, NC Necklace Barnes Jewelry, Lexington, SC


MAHOGANY MAN Photographed by Tim Francis & Ron Contarsy Stylist: Jerod McClarin Grooming: Naomi Porto

White cropped jacket Hugo Boss Jeans Emporia Armani Model: EJ


Dark Camel Leather Jacket by Andrew Marc. Large collar wool sweater by Michael Kors


Gold Fitted Sweater by Diesel Black Gold Model-Creign, St International


Blue Patterned dress shirt by Dolce & Gabbana, Jeans and belt by Dior Homme


White Collard dress shirt by Paul Smith, Grey sweater by Comme des Garcons Model-Leo Coleman


Briefs by Joe Boxer and Jeans, 7 of Mankind



Black cotton shirt by John Barlett and Jeans Jean Paul Gaultie Model-Vaugn Lowery-LA models



“FLYGIRL” Armour

by Mahogany Chappelle-Gadson


so excited to speak with you! I am excited to share as well! Let’s talk about the title of your book, “Zero to Breakthrough: The 7-step, Battle-Tested Method for Accomplishing Goals That Matter”. Explain why having a goal “that matters” is important. When it comes to goal accomplishment your why really has to be big enough. The purpose has to be even bigger than you. There’s usually something beyond that. For example, how many people have had a goal to stop smoking? Hundreds of thousands. And how many people didn’t stop smoking? Hundreds of thousands. The doctor said if you don’t stop smoking you will die. What was that impact on people and did they stop? So when it was stop smoking because it is the healthy thing to do, the “why” wasn’t big enough. When their life was on the line, up close and personal, tangible, the why was big enough. You also use the term “zero” in the title of your book. Where did zero begin for you and how did it harness your breakthrough mentality? Zero is the place where you are, so my most current zero meaning starting from where you are to where you want to be, meaning I haven’t made forward momentum on that goal yet, was the day I decided to leave the Marine Corps and start my own business. The day one when I was making the decision, it was like ok, ground zero, let’s go, and the breakthrough was completing my first year and breaking six figures in a brand new business. You also speak about how important it is to prepare for your passion. I read that becoming a police officer was a long-time goal of yours that you previously accomplished. What steps did you take to prepare for your career as a police officer? The number one detailed step that I took was to believe that I could and would! Not just could, but would! Did you enjoy your time as a police officer? I loved every day of it. I was like a kid in a candy store. I even rode horses downtown, and the Harley Road King 1350 motorcycle. It was an absolutely amazing journey. And along the way to becoming a police officer, that’s how I got involved in the Army and ROTC. I found the military


as a way to help me prepare for my passion. I couldn’t be a cop until I was 21. At the time, I was 18, so I saw the military as a way to give me discipline. I read that you saw another female pilot at an event and that was what actually inspired you to become a pilot. Absolutely. I was in ROTC, and it was career day at my Leadership Advance Camp. I wanted nothing to do with Aviation; I didn’t even want to go to the Aviation tent. I actually made the remark black people don’t fly. I think God was listening when you said that! He said, “I’ll show you”! (Laughter). He designed a bigger plan for my life, and that’s a very powerful moment for me because it’s about access and exposure. And in corporate America, what are we giving our teams access and exposure to try to bring people forward and help our women and minorities get promoted. I actually had a similar experience earlier in my military career. I remember working at the I.D. Card station and a caucation male pilot came in to renew his I.D. card. I was a Specialist at the time, and he asked me if I had ever considered becoming a pilot. I said no, but I was thinking, “Black people don’t fly”, simply because I had never been exposed to it. Even though I did not become a pilot that was a defining moment that inspired my decision to become an officer. So I agree that access and exposure can play a big role in the decisions that we make. Oprah Winfrey has been quoted as saying, “there is no shortage of accomplishments” when speaking of your career. What do you think has been your greatest personal accomplishment? I truly feel my greatest personal accomplishment has been becoming conscious of my purpose on the planet. Everything that I have done has brought me to that moment and it’s prepared me to give the message that I now give as a woman business owner and an entrepreneur out here helping folks. But my biggest accomplishment is being able to live my purpose on the planet, and I know if I were to be taken from this earth right now today…that, I was walking in the steps of my purpose. Not everybody can say that. When did you come to the realization that you were tasked to do something great? Twice. When I was a little kid and knew that, I wanted to be a police officer and knew that I could do anything that I wanted to do. Every little kid feels they’re going to be great, right? And the second is not about being great but it’s about contributing and being part of the legacy and the community. For me it’s not about being great, it’s about creating the impact that I was supposed to create. When and how did you go about making the decision to transition from the military to become a professional speaker? I always loved to speak and when I was a cop I did career days and when I got in the Marine Corps I would speak at different units and schools, and I knew I loved motivational speaking. And I always said that I would always speak for the rest of my life as my community outreach, and if it ever blew up, I would do it full-time. I also knew that I hadn’t planned on staying in the military for my career, but I didn’t know when I was going to get out. I just said whenever it’s time God will give me a sign. I went to a conference where I was being recognized as a pioneer, and I facilitated a breakout session. Afterwards, several women came up to me and said, “Oh my God! We are so inspired! We are all going to our Plan A”. And I said, “That’s great!” But in my head I’m thinking, they’re going for their Plan A and I’m not even going for mine when I inspired them! And in that moment, I knew it was time to make a gutsy move. How hard was it for you to make that decision? Once I make a decision, I just look at the action steps that I need to take to get there. There is no walking back and forth, or asking myself am I sure I can do this. I know I can do it, it’s just a matter of taking the right steps to get there. But I believe that with most people, like even in my business now, I offer what are called strategy sessions, I tell people up front it’s not a coaching session. This is a session to help you figure out the best move to move you forward—that strategic move that will create a quantum leap. It’s usually just one thing that will really move you in the direction from where you are to where you want to be. Do you miss law enforcement? Do you think you will ever back into it?Do I miss it? Yes! Will I ever go back to it? Well, I’m certifiably unemployable is what I like to say. I actually sat next to a gentleman on the plane on the way here to San Diego, and he’s a former Marine as well. He flew H-53 helicopters in the Marine Corps, and he said, “Oh, you should look into going to get a federal job working with federal law enforcement”, and I said,

I actually made the remark black people don’t fly. “You mean as a consultant? You mean them hiring my company? Because I can’t afford that pay cut.” It’s interesting how people will recommend, oh you should be an airline pilot, you should work for the ATF. Not that having a job is a bad thing, a whole lot of people have jobs, it’s just not my path. And once I got out, I got out as a Captain; I promoted myself to General. That was the first step. I’m kidding (laughter). I knew for sure that no one would pay me as much as I was willing to pay me. Did you feel any pressure when you realized that you could be the first African-American female pilot in combat? Absolutely. Because I knew, I was standing on the shoulders of many. You have The Tuskegee Airmen, Bessie Coleman, Willa Brown, The Montford Pointe Marines, which my grandfather was a Montford Pointe Marine. I felt a tremendous pressure, and actually, in combat I failed a tactics test. It was after combat operations had slowed down, and they were like ok let’s get back to training. And I had been flying quite a few combat missions…hadn’t been hitting the books like I should have and I ended up failing that test and I was devastated because I knew people were watching me, saying how are women going to perform in combat, how are women going to handle an aircraft. How are women and minorities going to get along with the guys and handle the stress. I felt like I had let so many people down. I passed the test the next week with flying colors, but that wasn’t the point. The first time right, and they don’t put you on the fast track when you fail a tactics test and 51

I wanted to be a test pilot and go to WTI and be a flight instructor. But things absolutely worked out as a blessing because I ended up going to headquarters Marine Corps and started my own company. Had things been different I wouldn’t be talking to you today. Where does your strength come from? It comes from community. It comes from the women that I talk to everyday that want to start their own businesses because they know they can and they have an impact to leave on our community. My strength comes from the people around me who we are feeding and giving to each other. And I have to say to who much is given much is required, and the more money you make, the more people you can help. And my goal in this coming year is to help five women break six figures in their business, because there’s more than enough to go around. A lot of it has to do with my coaching business that I have now. I don’t just speak anymore with corporations. I actively coach women on creating a flight plan. And there are so many principles that I took from the military that I apply to everyday life. The reason those principles work in the military and we accomplish the mission is because they work. When I think of your story I relate it to President Obama becoming our nation’s first African-American President. I think that there were specific events that occurred over the course of his life and even before he was born that prepared him for his destiny of becoming President. What were some events that occurred in your life that prepared you for your role as a combat pilot? There is a string of things. Number one, I believe everything in my life prepared me for that mission. I believe that when people feel pain and when I feel pain I like to say its growing pains, because I’m being prepared for that next mission that I’ve been called to do. I had three brothers growing up, I played in the trombone section, I was a Soldier enlisted in the Army back in 1993, I was a cop, then became a Marine. I was around guys my entire life from the start of having three brothers growing up. One of the things I do is I say I work with women in a male dominated field. And for a while, I’ll be honest, I fought it. I did not want to speak to women, because I felt like I fought my whole life just to be a part of the team. And when I got out of the military people were like, oh you’d be great to speak for Black History Month, you’d be great for Women’s History Month. I said wait a minute, you mean white guys get all twelve and I’m just stuck with two? It pissed me off, so I really focused on my message and not the package that the message is wrapped up in. I really fought hard to be 52

out in the mainstream community, but one thing I was denying myself was I would say well I don’t want to speak to just women. And even putting the word “just” in there says a lot. If I had I room full of white guys would I have said just white guys? At that time no, because I felt at that time that was the mainstream, where I was trying to go. But really, my story, my experience, where my power comes from is being a woman in a male dominated world. From the three brothers, to the trombone section, to the police department, to the Army and Marine Corps. So of course, my story and my experience is going to resonate with the women who are experiencing many of those same things. Now you have women entrepreneurs. Business has always been a male dominated field, and now you have women starting businesses 4 to1. I didn’t teach myself how to be a cop, a Soldier, a Marine, or a pilot, I had a coach. I had coaches to help me start my business. So now it’s time for me to help the 4 to 1 women who are starting businesses and want to be successful. A friend of mine stated a statistic at a conference back in April that most businesses fail within the first 3-5 years. Well, she said that’s not true…They give up. And I said, wow! That’s deep! Are you familiar with Tyler Perry’s story? Yes. He slept in his car, homeless for two years! Now you know after six months his mom said, baby get a job. After a year, after a year and a half, after two, this brother didn’t give up! How many people do you know are willing to be homeless in their car for a month, let alone two! And he is now the first African-American to own his own production studio. Are we willing to do what it takes to be where we want to be? That’s the ultimate question. I have lost control of this interview; I’m being ministered to (laughter). That is so powerful. Isn’t that how it works? Yes! So you have been an inspiration to many people. What is it that inspires you? Building true, true relationships that create abundant lives. I heard that you have a passion for motorcycles. I’m outdoorsy! I love riding my motorcycle, which is a GSXR 750. I love snowboarding and skiing. I love weightlifting and reading, but most of all, I love my business because it’s not a business, it’s my life’s work with a capital “W”. If I couldn’t do it, there would be no reason for me to breathe. That’s great! You played professional women’s football as well, right?

Are we willing to do what it takes to be where we want to be?

Yes, Sand Diego Sunfire running back. So it’s almost like going back home for you then? [Vernice was speaking at a conference in San Diego at the time of this interview] Oh yes, it’s been great. How long did you play? It was two partial seasons because I was deployed to Iraq, and the second time I broke my ankle. Where can your book be purchased? It can be purchased from my website: It can also be purchased through any retail bookseller, and if people want me to sign it, just ship it to me, get a self-addressed stamped envelope, and I would be happy to personalize it for them. In dealing with your staff to prepare for this interview, I was extremely impressed with the level of professionalism and how you conduct business. Where would you say your business sense comes from? I would honestly say it came from my training in the Marine Corps. Not necessarily a profit and loss statement, but before we would go out for every combat mission the very last thing we would say at the end of our brief is, “On time, on target, professional throughout”. And what that means is, it is 15 seconds before or after “TOT” time on target, meaning when we were supposed to be leaving that objective area. If we’re sooner than that, we could blow the surprise; if we’re later than that we might not have been there to protect the Marines on the ground when they started the raid, so on time, on target, professional throughout is the way that I strive to handle my business. The message in your book reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Your book does more than just provide inspirational quotes that ignite action, but it helps to cultivate a true strategy, for what you term as a “flight plan”. What would you say is most unique about your book? Me! (Laughter) Good answer! There are a lot of books out there on goal accomplishment. I merely provide a different angle, a different way for folks to think about goal and mission accomplishment. And a lot of that came from my family, my upbringing, my time in combat and just the experience that has created Vernice’s life. And if I can help others out there, especially women because we have had a lot of the same struggles, that would be the best that I can contribute in the world, that the lessons of my life can help somebody else’s go even further than mine. I blazed the trail up to a certain point. I continued The Tuskegee Airmen’s trail, Bessie Coleman’s trail, and they continued someone else’s trail. Well, somebody’s going to continue my trail after I’m gone and you’re gone. And I’d also like to give a resource for people to get something to go along with the book or even if they don’t have the book. The website is called: They can see free videos, get some of the handouts and do exercises where they can figure out what their fears are. I like to say transform your fear into fuel. If I can help them in any way on my Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, all the social media. I want to be a service to anyone and everyone who picks up this magazine and reads the article. Thank you! We certainly do appreciate you for wanting to share your knowledge with our readers. So what’s next for you, is the Vernice Armour story in the works? You know I’ve been working on that. I told a few people I want Jada Pinkett to play me on the big screen. Yes! She would be perfect! I would love to see that movie, and I think she would love to do it. I think so too! You need to make that happen! Well when your magazine comes out, somebody’s probably going to put it in her hands. Speaking it into existence…


Little Red

“Raging”Riding Hood Photographed by Kareem Quow

Model: Keoshia “Yoshi” Wilson Stylist: Karana Nicholson Hair: Brandy Andrews Makeup: Patrice Story







Profile for Mahogany Vogue

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Mahogany Magazine  

Celebrity Entertainment News & Fashion