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Broadway on a Budget



Balancing Mind & Body



Letter from the Editor W

elcome to another issue of Modest Truth Mag. As you know, our mission is to provide our readers with a diverse group of voices creating meaningful content encompassing a wide variety of topics. I believe that this issue represents just that. From experiencing Pride, to calling for allyship from the cisgendered community, to working to create healthy relationships, this issue is working to explore the experiences that bind us together. Through dynamic writing our contributors have come together, sharing their talents to create a work that truly defines Modest Truth Mag. As we enter trying times in our world, we would like for you to join us on a journey towards furthering our goal of creating a community that goes beyond our pages as we continue to develop conversations promoting equality, health, and profound social change. Here at Modest Truth Mag we want our readers to walk away with feelings of encouragement and the idea that they are capable of anything. After all, we hope to encourage our readers to live positively impactful lives. On behalf of the Modest Truth Mag Team I would like to thank you for your continued support as we work to develop a fashion magazine that goes beyond the surface to depict true representations of experiences in womanhood and the meaningful discourse around it. There is nothing quite like the comfort and strength that comes from knowing you are not alone in your experiences.

CarlisaJohnson Owner & Editor-in-Chief



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Fashion is cyclical, check out the latest trend making a comeback.



Get fabulous styling tips from Chicago based Stylist DÄ sha


13 BROADWAY ON A BUDGET Explore the city that never sleeps without breaking the bank!


Perfect the balance of mind and body with tips from Ebonne Holyfield.


An interview with Georgetown University Doctoral Candidate Kaela Singleton.

29 HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP How do you know if you are in a healthy relationship?

30Stess-Free Summer Travel

Tips from Travel Expert Jefferson Co for stress-free international travel.


An interview with Russian model Elle Andreeva.


48 A LOVE LETTER TO PRIDE Experience the power of Pride.


Deja Kehinde Contributor

Antoinette Arrington, a Los Angeles native, is the creator of Sup & Dine. Sup & Dine is a beautifully crafted online community that hosts recipes, tips on hosting and entertaining, and so much more. Be sure to visit www. to experience even more of the delicious creations Antoinette has to offer.

Photo by Nicole Lennox


Deja Kehinde is an Atlanta native and recent graduate of Kennesaw State University. While attending KSU she worked as a production assistant for the university and founded a media production collective named Nocturnal Visions alongside Brianna Lee. Her work is reflection a passion for media, creative arts and entrepreneurship demonstrated through film, marketing and of course, journalism.

Antoinette Arrington

Gabriel Guzman is a recent graduate from the University of West Georgia. After pursuing a degree in public relations and Spanish, he found a new passion--storytelling. His previous writing experience has led him to this moment working with Modest Truth Mag. Gabriel Guzman Contributor

Awa Dia is a current student at the University of South Carolina majoring in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Speech. Awa plans to travel extensively throughout the course of her lifetime. In her free time Awa enjoys bike riding, writing poetry , and researching African History.

Awa Dia Contributor

Heather Bellew is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia where she majored in Sociology and Women Studies. Heather possesses a love of all things beauty and sports, perfecting the art of keeping up with the latest makeup and sports trends respectively. Heather’s current favorite book is Full Frontal Feminism by Jessica Valenti. Heather Bellew Contributor

Emani Collins is a native of Atlanta who is proud of her Carribean American heritage. She is a lover of Track and Filed, which she participates in at the collegiate level as an athlete at the University of West Georgia where she also studies English. Emani is an avid reader and loves the work of Richard Wright


Jessica Redwine Contributor

Emani Collins Contributor

Jessica Redwine has been a writer and photographer for what seems like her whole life. Her parents would encourage her storytelling, and they fueled her passion for everything from novels to short stories. She ended up loving the written word so much that when she went on to Georgia College & State University and majored in English with a concentration in Creative writing, and a minor in Rhetoric. After traveling throughout South East Asia, and living in South Korea for two years, she’s made it back to Atlanta where she is working to pursue journalism full time.

Karmen Cook is a small-town Georgia native and a 2014 graduate of Agnes Scott College who now works in publishing. She enjoys cooking shows and good reads in her home in Charleston, SC with her cats Egypt and Jordan.

Karmen Cook

Jefferson first started acted on his love of travel by taking minor trips exploring the the Western side of the United States. After that, he decided to embark on the fifty states tour only to realize that his passion could not be limited exploring only the U.S. His next trip is a six month journey exploring Asia starting January 2016. He currently resides and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Jefferson Co

Dāsha is a photographer, stylist, blogger, wife, and mother of one fur kid. She’s a born-and-raised Oklahoma girl who fell in love with the city and moved to Chicago to chase her dreams. In the fall of 2014 Dāsha launched the blog, Windy City Wardrobe as a way to connect with the frugal fashion community. Dāsha Guyton

Bianca Greer a Georgia native named after Bianca Jagger, is a Fashion Illustrator and aspiring blogger. She has a deep affection for Chanel, black nail polish, buttery leather handbags, and simple sophistication. She began her journey as a blogger in 2010 when she n 2010, when discovered she had a passion for writing about trends, designers, and just sharing fashion tips. Bianca Greer

Cardine Johnson is a student at Georgia State University, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Sociology. She aspires to work as a reporter in both radio and television. Her passion for news reporting continues to grow immensely as she has worked with NPR Next Radio Project and radio station, WAOK-AM. Cardine, a Virginia native, enjoys volunteering, traveling, and immersing herself in the performing arts. As she anticipates her impending graduation date, she looks forward to embarking upon a journey of new reporting. Cardine Johnson Contributor

Ebonne Holyfield is a natural-born creative with a degree in imagination, passion and love. She takes pride in her ability to multi-task and enjoys (unconventionally) combining her numerous passions with her life’s purpose. She graduated from Spelman College in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre and soon began working on the film and television scene in Atlanta, Georgia. Within this ever-progressing industry, and through the lens of multiple held-positions and opportunities, Ebonne further developed an insatiable appetite for self-expression through curated content.

Ebonne Holyfield


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Silky Smooth

By Bianca Greer

Fashion is basically one big soap opera where the trends never die, they just take a leave of absence. One piece of clothing that has resurfaced is the slip dress. Yes, it’s back in all its satin, lacy, and flirtatious glory. Why are we so in enamored by this trend? Do we really enjoy walking around in dresses inspired by undergarments? Yes! Slip dresses feel like updated nightgowns with an extra layer of fabric. The slip dress may not be the most appropriate wardrobe essential, but they do hold a prominent place in the fashion archives. First it was a craze in the 90’s, that trickled its way into the mid 00’s seen on the backs of Paris Hilton and a then obscure Kim Kardashian. Then it eventually faded away like Paris & Nicole’s friendship, only to return 10 years later. Now street style mavens, bloggers and super models, are strutting down the pavements in slinky gowns paired with band tees and blazers. Slip dresses carry a youthful charm and playful aesthetic, that makes them such seasonal must haves. Plus, they rarely cause any discomfort in terms of being too suffocating since they are so airy. Think about it, what woman complains about a slip dress being too tight? You literally slip them on and get on with your day. I don’t see slip dresses completely dying out for good since they are such a staple pieces. My prediction, is that they’ll go into brief retirement maybe after next year and come back around in 2030. Don’t quote me on that, it’s just an estimate! For mor e fro Bianca v m isit bdarielle .wordpre



ecrets of a Stylist

Shortly after completing a degree in liberal arts, I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry,” says personal stylist Dāsha Guyton, who has curated chic wardrobes for women from the California desert to the boroughs of New York. “My dream was to own a boutique. But then a friend asked me to assemble her work wear wardrobe for a new job—I loved the experience, and immediately knew it was what I was meant to do. ”From closet overhauls to special event styling, Dāsha is a master at making women look their best within their budget. 10

Where can I find cute shoes over size 10 and wide widths? The struggles for those of us who happen to have feet size 10 and up seem to be endless, from barely squeezing your feet through the opening of skinny jeans to finding a pair of comfortable shoes. Fortunately, there are a number of companies that pride themselves on catering to women with extended-size feet almost exclusively — which also means they take great care in offering a stylish selection. Here’s a list of companies that help women with big feet step out in style: Nordstrom, Zappos, Nine West, DSW, Cato Fashions, Torrid, Penningtons, Jambu & Co., Zappos, Nordstrom Rack, Sam Edelman, Dillard’s, Long Tall Sally, Full Beauty, Sole Society, Eloquii, and Simply Be.

How do I wear high heels without pain? Is it even possible? High heels—can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. They’re essential to (most) wardrobes, but there’s nothing worse than putting together an amazing outfit for a night out, only to be sidelined an hour in because your feet are throbbing in pain. Turns out, a fabulous pair sky-high heels and pain-free feet aren’t mutually exclusive if you avoid thin soles, stilettos, use shoe inserts, and make sure you wear the right size. Your foot size changes over the years, even as much as one full size, especially after having kids. Have your feet sized once a year for length and width, and do it if you’ve never had it done.

I love high-end designs, but I’m trying to reduce my budget. When you have champagne taste on a beer budget, I recommend subscribing to fashion sharing sites like Style Lend, Rent The Runway, and DesignerShare. You can also stock up at end-of-season sales.

I have a lot of clothes from last summer that are still in good shape, but I don’t want to look back at family photos and see myself in the same old outfits. Any quick & cheap suggestions? Accessories can dramatically change a look so show off your personality with headbands, scarves, statement necklaces, handbags, shoes and even makeup. If you I desperately need more closet space, but I can’t afford usually wear muted makeup try something bold and a bigger apartment. Any suggestions? bright or vice versa. Invest in a garment rack or wardrobe armoire and sort the clothes by color. For jeans and other items that don’t have to be hung, install vertical shelves to free up floor space. My friends are always encouraging me to shop online, but every time I order nothing fits. Determining your perfect size by looking at an image on a computer screen can make online shopping intimidating and tricky but if you measure your bust, waist, hips and inseam before you shop you can rely on the size chart. Always measure twice so you only have to buy once. 90% of the clothes I buy for myself and clients are bought online. Trust me, online shopping isn’t scary when you’re prepared.

Visit to read Dāsha’s weekly style blog or to book an appointment.

Every time I think the seasonal shift is over it isn’t. I’m either too hot or too cold no matter what I’m wearing. Any suggestions? My favorite way to survive the seasonal weather shift is with jumpers and overall dresses. Right now you can wear them with short sleeves, and cami’s and when it’s cooler pair them will bell sleeve tops, turtlenecks, pantyhose, and tights.


Tired Girl’s Guide to Summer Beauty

By Judith Jones

Summertime is the season of vacations and relaxation. It’s also the time many pick up a second job, start an internship and get their hustle on. Here are 6 products that will liven up any tired face.

p For my sleep deprived friends, I recommend The Ordinary’s U e k a W Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG 30ml. I initially started using

this product to reduce the natural puffiness under my eyes. Use the dropper applicator to apply a few drops and lightly work into your skin under your eye. As it dries, it begins to tighten. This product it user friendly and packaging/applicator gives a cool chemist vibe. To wake myself up on these sunny mornings, I like to spritz my face and neck with MARIO BADESCU Facial Spray With Aloe, Herb and Rosewater after I apply the Caffeine Solution. The facial spray has a refreshing and soothing scent, to start the day off right.

e Living in the South, I prefer to keep my summer makeup as s a B e Set Th light as possible. To moisturize I use Peter Thomas Roth’s Mega Rich

Body Lotion. It’s lightweight and non-greasy formula soaks in quickly with a subtle fragrance. I prefer to mix a pea size amount with a BB Cream with SPF. Our eyes often give away how many hours we’ve slept. To brighten up tired eyes, I recommend MAYBELLINE Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer. The sponge applicator helps to prevent creasing and distribute the product pretty evenly.

pYou’ve been working hard and I want you to glow as bright as U w o l G your future. LORAC’s Light Source 3-in-1 Illuminating Primer will insure day long glow. As the product states, the primer can be used for all purposes and blends well different products.

For extra unff, mix the primer with foundation or a BB Cream and then use Carli Bybel’s 14 Color Eyeshadow & Highlighter Palette highlighters on top. Using the liquid primer and powder highlighters will give you day and night illumination. I mix the two middle colors to highlight my cheekbones, the bridge of my nose and cupids bow. To finish, you can set your face with the Mario Badescu Facial Spray.


on a Budget By Jessica Redwine

These days, everyone wants to travel. Everyone wants to see the world, experience new things, and try new foods. But it can seem daunting when you start pricing out a sightseeing trip to a place as popular as New York. Between flights, food, hotels, and tourist attractions, it can all start to seem impossible. But there are ways to see New York without breaking the bank. After traveling to New York and getting front row tickets to a Broadway show, all for less than $300, I started to believe in miracles, or at least, the miracle of cheap travel. It turns out that with a bit of research, a lot of planning, and some serious levels of dedication, you can make a weekend trip to New York without putting a dent in your daily expenses.


Ask anyone about the most cost-prohibitive part of travel, and most of them will tell you: the flight. As more and more people seek travel as part of their life experiences, the demand for flights to popular destinations is skyrocketing. And with that increase in demand comes an increase in price. Add in new fees for fuel, weight, and luggage, and you’re looking at one hefty bill just to see Times Square. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Between traveling in the off-season and knowing what’s available to you, there are several ways to get affordable flights to the destination of your dreams. All it takes is a little bit of looking to find the option that’s best for you.

Credit Card Reward Miles

If you don’t have one already, get a credit card that gives you miles for every dollar you spend. Find the one that’s best for you using websites like NerdWallet. Low fees, great miles, and no blackout dates are becoming more and more common as more credit card companies vie for customers. Plan your weekend around the dates offered by your card, and use those miles to your advantage!

Book with the Right Airlines

If you think all airlines are created equal, think again. Lots of airlines are offering cheaper flights to popular destinations like New York. Southwest Airlines offers “Wanna Get Away” flights that are during slower times of the day. You can expect to travel early in the morning or late at night, but it could save you up to $300 on your plane ticket.

Book with a Buddy Pass

If you live anywhere near an airport, you’re in luck! You probably know someone who works for an airline. These employees generally get great perks, and one of them is something called a buddy pass. It allows you to fly “non-rev,” or standby, on any flight for a very low price. This plan relies on someone not showing up for the flight, so plan ahead. You might get bumped from flight to flight depending on how many people are flying your particular route. And make sure to treat your friend to a nice dinner for getting you the pass!



Hotels can be wonderful when you travel, but when you’re on a budget, you don’t always have the opportunity to splurge. Enter: hostels. Hostels are usually sought after by younger travelers or those traveling alone, as hotels are exorbitant in popular areas and are even more so if you’re not splitting the cost with friends. But the days of dirty hostels and dingy neighborhoods are long gone, replaced by rooms that rival those of higher-end hotels. Expect to find dormitory style sleeping arrangements, with rooms housing groups of people on individual beds. Most modern hostels offer private rooms, but they come at a significant price hike. For the solo traveller or a group comfortable with sharing a room with strangers, hostels can be a great, affordable alternative to hotels. Most hostels are centrally located, easy to find, and offer tons of amenities. But don’t think it’s the Ritz! You can expect shared features, like bathrooms, showers, and dining facilities. Any hostel worth its salt will also have abundant safety features to protect both you and your stuff, so don’t settle for anything less than stellar.Be sure to checkout websites like HostelWorld to get more details about where to stay for the duration of your trip.

Jazz on Columbus Circle

Jazz is a hostel that prides itself on safety. With 24 hour reception and keycard room access, you don’t have to worry about people coming in from off the street. The rooms also feature lockers that you can lock with your own padlock, so you can stash your stuff during your adventures and enjoy the peace of mind that it’s safe from prying eyes. Jazz is also conveniently located next to Central Park, so you can be sure that the area will have tons of restaurants and things to do at all hours. Loaded with amenities, Jazz Hostel is a great choice for all travelers to New York.


HI NYC is part of a chain of hostels that stretch around the globe. This hostel features tons of amenities, like a huge communal kitchen with an outdoor space for entertaining. The hostel also features events, tours, and trips for those who are traveling solo but want to see more of New York than they could by themselves. HI NYC also has lockers, but be sure to bring your own lock to keep your stuff safe during your travels. Centrally located in the heart of Manhattan, you’re never far from the action in this affordable hostel.

The Local NYC

The Local NYC, unlike the other hostels listed, is more like staying with friends. Enjoy ensuite bathrooms and a staff compromised of New York locals that can answer just about any questions you might have. This hostel is smaller, but offers many of the amenities you’d expect from a higher-end hotel. Luxury linens, a roof terrace, and an impressive schedule of events ensures that you won’t feel alone while you’re traveling in the city. 14

New York is known for the sights, but the food certainly shouldn’t be discounted. From pizza to fine dining, street food to coffee, you can find anything you crave at all hours in New York. Tons of websites offer reviews for popular restaurants, but there are some tried-and-true favorites for travelers of all kinds.

Junior’s Cheesecake on Broadway


Looking to see a show and feeling a bit peckish before or after? Be sure to check out Junior’s for the best cheesecake in New York. Although they’re famous for their cheesecake, don’t forget to check out their sky-high sandwiches. The pastrami is a favorite, as are all of their reubens. This delicatessen is sure to fill you up for your adventures in the Big Apple.

Hanbat Korean Restaurant

Craving something a bit more unique? Or hunting down grub at all hours? Don’t miss Hanbat. This authentic Korean eatery has everything for those who want something a bit more adventurous. Open 24 hours, this restaurant prides itself on its intense Korean flavors while still being a fan-favorite for tourists. Try the Japchae for a crowd-pleasing noodle dish, or the Kimichi Bokum for a spicy, stir-fried rice dish that you’ll think about for days. Don’t be afraid to try something unfamiliar, as everything on the menu is fantastic and fun.

Le Bernardin

If you’re hungry for something a little more black tie, make sure to check out Le Bernardin. Le Bernardin is currently under the command of the famous French chef, Eric Ripert. Expect nothing less than the best at this high-end French restaurant known for a level of perfection that will always exceed your expectations. Be prepared for an hours long dining experience that you won’t soon forget, but make sure to make reservations well in advance.


See Broadway, What any tourist wants to see when they hit the streets of New York. It may seem out of reach, but there are lots of affordable ways to see the shows you want at a price that won’t leave your wallet hurting.

Get Rewarded

Check with your credit card company to find out if they offer discounts. Some credit card companies or banks offer discounts or cash rewards that you can use on Broadway tickets. Most tickets are now sold through TicketMaster, so check with the companies you use to find out about promotional pricing or cash-back rewards. This can save you a fortune or even get you some free tickets to the show you want to see.

Planning is Everything

When purchasing your ticket, make sure to book well in advance. The closer to the show date, the more expensive the ticket is. Also, choose your seats wisely. Some seats are cheap because they have obstructed views, but in most theaters (like the Al Hirschfeld Theatre), there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Front row seats can also sometimes be cheaper than a few rows back, so don’t discount the orchestra seating without checking prices first. You can use sites like A View From My Seat to see what the stage will look like before you even buy your tickets.

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Follow Social Media

Discounts and special promotions are not uncommon with Broadway shows. Find the social media accounts of the show you’d like to attend, and keep an eye on any offers that they put forward. Frequently, the performers of the show will offer discounts for special occasions or for the start and end of a show’s run. You can sometimes get great orchestra seats for as low as $50 if you time it right.


New York is called the “City That Never Sleeps,” and with good reason. If you’re visiting on a budget, you might want to skip on the sleeping as well! If you’re willing to pull an all-nighter, you can save money by booking earlier flights and skipping on the hostel all together. Be prepared with a simple change of clothes, and pack a toothbrush. If you’re in dire need for a nap, head to the airport for a bit of shut-eye. Otherwise, plan on seeing some of the late night sights that are only available in New York.

The Empire State Building

This world famous tourist attraction is open until 2 am. So if you’re looking for something to do to keep you awake, be sure to knock this off your bucket list. See the twinkling lights of New York like never before while (some of) the city sleeps.

Listen to the Sounds of Times Square

Times Square never stops, the lights are always on, and there’s always something to see. Pull up a chair at one of the tables on the sidewalk and listen to strangers belt out songs together on the community piano. If you’re brave enough, you can even join in or sit down and play a few songs of your own. Nothing brings people together like music.

Traveling is something almost everyone wants to experience, but sometimes it can feel out of reach. But with a bit of planning and some thoughtful consideration, you can explore the Big Apple without breaking the bank. See the sights, the lights, and then fly home, and without a single ding to a shoestring budget. Enjoy the journey! 17

Mind & Body: Perfecting the Balancing Act By Ebonne Eshaya Holyfield

With summer in full swing it’s only right that you have everything you need to make it your best one yet. From the creamiest body butters, top of the line soul sessions, to my Real Deal Holyfield approved workout plan. If you put these essentials in your summer rotation you’re sure to perfect the balance of mind, body, and soul, not to mention an all around lit summer.Let’s get to it!



MIND Mind over Matter! If you can see it then you can be it! I always remind myself that whatever I focus on becomes real over time. So if you want more cash flow, better relationships, or an exciting life you have to feed yourself information that supports your desire. Here are a few of my favorite mind essentials that keep my head in the clouds while my feet are working hard in the game.

BODY What’s summer without baby soft skin and your healthiest body? Dull, that’s what! But of course I’m going to make sure you hit the streets looking and feeling fabulous so here are a couple of my favorite organic products and my go to work out plan.


I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to grow higher is by learning from other people’s victories and setbacks. If someone is brave enough to write it we should be “hungry” enough to read it.


They say the best things in life are free! And Meditation is the best, and it’s free. So no excuses. I believe one of the first steps to manifesting the life you want is through meditation. It helps me clear my mind, refocus my energy, and most importantly visualize where I’m headed.


Made within their fresh market, this Au Naturel company provides 14 different organic body scrubs that are sure to have you glowing and your skin so soft. Their scrubs are made with flax seeds, organic brown sugar, shea butter, and coco butter with RAW Honey added. They have a variety of unique body oils like “banana split” and “Georgia Peach Ginger.” You simply add your oil of choice from their vast selection and you’ve now begun customizing your very own scrub.


• Grab you r best lawn chair out o f storage, a glass of fresh lem onade or w ine, and pop a squat in nature. • Invite yo ur create a med homies over and itation san ctuary in your living roo requiremen m. The only ts are peace ful vibes and p illows.


I teamed up with my favorite guy in the gym, Evander Holyfield, aka my dad. We filmed a partner workout tutorial as we strive to promote healthy living. I mean how can we enjoy our summer if we aren’t feeling our best or physically capable of carrying out our goals? But don’t worry I have the solution! Hit the gym with me and the champ! I promise it’s not too intense and everything is always better when you have one of your best friends by your side. Run and check out our father daughter workout video as we create our best summer bodies and have fun while doing it!


This girl boss run company provides the most divine whipped African shea butter for any and every season. It’s creamy, naturally fragrant, unrefined, and sure to keep your skin touchable and moisturized from tip to toe. I’ve personally fallen in love with their Sangria-White Peach body butter but I’m eager to get my hands on their Amber body scent as well. If you like your body butter fruity, woodsy, light with calming notes of lavender, no matter your preference Naturel Lyfe Essentials has you covered.


Model Savannah Lambert Photographer Jamie Baird 20



By Annie Olivier



know you are nervous. You try. You stumble over pronouns, and when other people misgender me you do not know what to do. You want to be there for me, but you do not want to act or speak for me. What I would like for you to do with me is to consider the creation of an ethics of solidarity. Solidarity in this case is simply to “Treat others as

you would like them to treat you under similar circumstances”

Kropotkin, a 19century anarchist philosopher used that maxim throughout his works. He wanted to create a political ethics. He believed that all creatures naturally help one another in order to survive, and that conflict is manufactured. It is

rational to love.

It is irrational to hate. He called this “solidarity.” A political ethics is a method of acting that is focused on the realm outside of our daily interactions. The political ethics of solidarity asks for us to dedicate ourselves to one another. Queerphobia is pervasive, from the microaggressions of being erased, to the larger violence in which we are murdered. We see it in universities refusing to put a student’s preferred name on an ID card, and outing the student whenever they are required to use

it – whether for food, access to certain buildings, or in class roll calls. Outside of the university we see trans women dying, simply for being trans. We find it in people’s frustration at learning someone’s pronouns. We do not have data from 2016 on harassment, assault, bullying, among other things against trans youth and adults. However, I suspect that things will not have gotten better. The violence I see most often is the silent threat. I find it in the suspicious looks from cispeople when I walk into a family bathroom. I see it in the strangers who aggressively ask me ‘what are you’, when I walk down the street. I’ve found it even in community organizing, when members of hate groups have been asked to the table because they are in solidarity with a few of the organizers. How do we both navigate these spaces where some people are supported and others perceive danger? You want to know how to help. First, you need to ask. I am not closeted. However, due to push back within the ivory tower, even as a graduate student, I do not ask my superiors to recognize my pronouns. In part, it is because they are uninterested. On another hand, I worry that they might be transphobic and would not work with me. I do not want you to correct my superiors when it comes to pronouns. I would like for you to correct my colleagues, your friends, and members of the community

when it comes to my pronouns. I grant you the permission you

to advocate for the queer community. seek

Doing that relieves the pressure of constantly coming out, and it makes the world an easier place to navigate.

Solidarity is messy

because it requires changing your behaviors according to different people’s needs and safety concerns. Solidarity asks for you to be accomplices in our demand to be seen as equal people, worthy of not being attacked. I would like for you to reconsider being an ally. Instead, I would like to see you standing with us when we argue for legislation that protects us. I would like to see you speak out when trans women are murdered. This is the political ethics that I want you to consider. We can be in solidarity with one another. We both experience oppression and pain. We navigate the world carefully to avoid violence. Our experiences are not the same. I cannot experience your world, with its set of difficulties. You cannot experience mine. Let’s use Kropotkin’s political ethics, and support one another and fight for one another. I would like to fight

for our collective liberation, as accomplices.



By Karmen Cook

health wasn’t worth being trolled by the same people who love pieces of my culture, but not me. So if I was going to be in a class weaving my way through a genre where I felt like I had no business; I was going to write about things I wanted to, damnit. As I wrote my poems each week, making sure to finesse my thoughts on race relations into each prompt, I started feeling like less of an outsider to the form. The assignments stopped feeling like homework. For the first time, I understood what it meant to create a seat at the table for myself rather than waiting for an invitation. I braced myself for the white tears that would come from my classmates, but they never did. Even more shocking, we had real conversations about my writing that weren’t the bare minimum kind you see for the sake of earning a participation grade. I wrote about everything from others trying on black culture, to what my experiences have been growing up as a black woman in the South. Not once was I silenced, and each time my classmates uplifted my words and presented amazing feedback to say even more. My professor was even bold enough to tell me he believed that I was holding back, and for that I’ll forever be grateful. Stepping out into the unknown made me realize that I have control, even when the world wants me to think otherwise. In my final portfolio for the course, I walked away with a handful of poems that I’m anxious othing makes me more uncomfortable than to have published. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even drum the comments section of race-related articles. up the courage to read them out loud from the seat I’ve Except writing poetry, probably. prepared for myself. I know, two very different topics to navigate. I’m months away from finishing my Masters in Creative Writing, so I decided to take a poetry class despite the Check out even fact that it scared me deeply. What if it isn’t good? What more from Karmen if it’s stupid? by visiting I’ve always loved reading poetry, but sometimes it’s hard to move into a place where you feel like you don’t belong. I was pushed out of comments sections online a long time ago when I realized that my mental

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Exploring STEM in Color

By Cardine Johnson

Throughout history, women of color have struggled to find their place in the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics due lack of support from our society. In this global environment, it is necessary to embrace all participants in order to fulfill the labor market that is in direr need of women of color to be present as faculty or as a student. Although, these fields have been dominated by white men, women of color have proved they are equal and require the same level of recognition. Therefore, access to mentors, funding, and working with other academia outlets will fill the unrepresented gap that is present within STEM. Kaela S. Singleton, is a graduate of Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA and currently a Doctorate Doctoral Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program at Georgetown University. Kaela has received multiple awards and continues to combat diversity within the world of STEM.

What’s your field of study? I’m currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Interdisciplinary Program Neuroscience at Georgetown University. My thesis research focuses on understanding how the brain forms across species. How did choose your field of study? In the 7th grade there was a science outreach day in my Gifted Science course - We got to dissect Sheep brains and see human brains - comparing anatomy and after that I was hooked. I applied only to colleges that offered a well-established neuroscience major and ended up going to Agnes Scott College with a double major in Classical History and Neuroscience. I applied to a bunch of graduate schools my senior year of college and was accepted to quite a few - I ended up choosing Georgetown because of faculty and job opportunities post-graduation.


How long have you studied the subject? While I was at Agnes Scott College, I earned 3 research fellowships to do undergraduate research at Emory, Georgia State, Agnes Scott College, and Vanderbilt so that makes it 8 years total since I’m in my 4th year of graduate school now. What has been the most challenging in your field as a minority woman? The most challenging aspect has definitely been not seeing other people of color in the work place. Science has always been a white male-dominate field and despite a lot of government efforts, I’m one of three women of color in my program (which has approximately 100 students). We’re also the only people of color in our program period. What has been most surprising? Definitely the amount of people who don’t believe me when I say I’m a neuroscientist at Georgetown. Not to mention the remarks I receive from people who state I was admitted into my graduated programs due to color of my skin. Is diversity being addressed in your field? There are a few grants in place from the National Institute of Health, but honestly no. In my opinion, one of the downfalls of the scientific community is our lack of involvement in social issues. The thought from faculty is generally, that science is empirical and the peer review process prevents bias, profiling or any sort of injustice from taking over the scientific community. I can say as a woman of color at a primarily white institution that is not true at all. Often scientists are discouraged from being politically active. Have the challenges you’ve faced ever made you want to give up? If you mean the challenges 26

of science in general - absolutely. There have been times where I question if I can continue the cycle of designing an experiment, failing, and repeating until something finally works. You don’t even get to feel the glory of something working, you generally have to immediately move on to the next experiment and a new cycle of designing an experiment, failing, and repeating it. There are days when I think I got into school by accident or that any award or invited talk I give was a mistake and I received the email by mistake. A constant experimental failure (which is the foundation of science) mixed with self-doubt can really wear on a person’s mentality. What made you continue? The mentorship I have from my actual mentors (Elena Silva and Maria Donoghue) and the people in my lab are the main reasons I continue. Nine times out of 10 they’ve been exactly where you are and can help both with experiments but also with the self-esteem blows that come from working sixty plus hour weeks. Also, my love for science in general - I’ve been doing science since I was 18, and at this point even when I hate it - I still love it. I love the simplicity and complexity of it the way you feel when you figure out a small piece to a huge puzzle. How has your identity shaped your experience in pursuing your career and academic goals? One of my life mantras is “to be the person you needed when you were younger.” I was a multiracial girl growing up in upper class Georgia my whole life and I definitely did not have the easiest of lives. I went to predominately white schools I never saw another person who really looked like me until I went to

Hawai’i when I was 16 - and even then I didn’t have a role model that didn’t have blonde hair or blue eyed until I was a freshman in college. So my desire to pursue a career in STEM and go to swanky private universities came from wanting to be a role model for other kids that grew up like me. Being a WOC in academia is hard, being a WOC in life is even harder - and so I thought if I could take my talents and go to the best schools, get the best degrees - I could be a role model for a kid somewhere who’d never met a WOC doing science, excelling at it, and paying it forward so other people could do it. What is your main goal? My main goal in life always is to be happy and to instill the curiosity and passion about science that was so generously instilled in me by my previous mentors. I find happiness in teaching at the lab bench, in the classroom, and doing scientific outreach. Hopefully, one day I’ll inspire some 7th grader to study neuroscience the way the grad students from UGA did for me. My ultimate career goal is to work at a small private liberal arts college much like the one I graduate from and help students find their passions - in science or elsewhere. What would be your best piece of advice for minority women exploring the world of STEM? Keep your head up! Apply to as many grants as you can, meet with as many people in your field as you can, and make sure you know your worth. STEM is a place that can make you question your creditability, worthiness and overall sanity - so keep a good head on your shoulders, surround yourself with people who believe in you and then pay it forward.


The Invisible Symptom

By Alexis Hill


h, you mean like a nymph? So, she’ll fuck anyone?” I overheard my (now former) friend say to one of his friends. The tone of causality and intrigue caused me to cringe, didn’t they realize the severity of being hypersexual? Obviously not, the idea of taking advantage of her condition seemed to immediately consume his thoughts, I saw his facial expressions shift. When people hear the term, ‘hypersexual’ they tend to direct it towards a singular idea. Usually, the concept of hypersexuality is associated with promiscuity, and highly fetishized in females, due to fascination of one being hypersensitive to touch, and easily aroused. Hypersexuality is defined as a sex addiction that causes an unusually high sex drive, but it’s far more complex

in nature than the definition entails. Unfortunately, due to the many misconceptions hypersexuality is not often discussed as a serious, debilitating symptom of mental illness. I wrote this article to raise awareness about the stigma surrounding hypersexuality, and allow an intimate look into the debilitating effects, and negative portrayal in media. Like many, I didn’t recognize nor truly understand hypersexuality and the impact it would have on my life. I was aware such a thing existed, but thought hypersexuality was an isolated condition, and would be noticeable in anyone with the condition. When my symptoms first began, I disregarded them as intrusive thoughts or sudden primal urges that would eventually dissipate throughout the day if I focused my thoughts elsewhere. 27

“There is a distinctive disconnect between the media’s portrayal, and the reality of how women are perceived sexually that we must overcome.” However, the sexual urges began to persist from days to weeks, intensifying if my mood shifted considerably, until I would undergo another significant mood change (usually ranging from extreme mania to depression). In what almost felt like a trace, I would awaken in a frenzied panic in an attempt to remember what occurred. Although I was unaware at the time, I was experiencing the symptoms of hypersexuality offset by bipolar disorder, causing a noticeable change from my normal reserved, precautious, and calm attitude to erratic, self-destructive, and irrational. Studies show hypersexuality is primarily exhibited in schizoaffective disorders, manic or hypomanic states in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Cluster B disorders, specifically, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), but also has a direct link to Alzheimer’s disease, Autism, Parkinson’s disease, Klüver–Bucy and Kleine–Levin syndrome, and various brain injuries. I became both deeply depressed and concerned for my well-being, as my moods became increasingly erratic. My mind consistently provoked me to act on reckless, risky, irrational thoughts to satisfy sexual obsessions. Fortunately, I was somehow able to rationalize with myself to fully understand the possible repercussions of my actions, but my curiosity remained insatiable. Eventually, I decided to vent to a close friend, Iris Salazar Garcia, about the difficulties I faced controlling my sexual libido, and revealed, she, too struggled with hypersexuality as a symptom of BPD. We raged about the misrepresentation of hypersexuality in media, the impact it has on society’s perspective of hypersexuality, and the double standard in men and women suffering from the condition.

When did you first hear the term, “hypersexuality” and understand it in relation to being a symptom of BPD? I think it was from a friend who also had BPD. As they were describing their experiences I realized that they were very similar to what I was experiencing, and that was maybe a few months after finding out I had it. Have you tried to explain the differences between hypersexuality being a primary condition versus a symptom? What kind of reactions did you receive? I’ve only explained it to one person, and he said, “Yeah, that sounds like you.” He was very supportive. Since hypersexuality seems to manifests itself in different extremes in mental disorders and personalities, do you believe your extremes fluctuate in certain situations? I think so. I don’t think I’m always hypersexual, if that makes sense. It comes and goes with my depressive episodes. So when it’s “gone” I’m impulsive in other aspects of my life. Like, overspending money or overeating for example. Do you think media impacts how society views hypersexuality? I think that since it’s something so rarely talked about that when you tell people about it they just think, “Oh, so you just like sleeping around? That’s not an illness.” and it’s so much more complicated than that. What can be done to change the double standard of hypersexuality in men and women? More education, first and foremost, and allowing for females to discuss their sexuality openly.

There is a distinctive disconnect between the media’s portrayal, and the reality of how women are perceived sexually that we must overcome. A condition such as hypersexuality is oversexualized and glamorized How has hypersexuality affected your life? in media, labeling the character as “easy” or “loose” but, It makes me reckless, I think. I’m already impulsive, and everyone desires to be with her. She epitomizes the being hypersexual doesn’t really help. I don’t really think unattainable and dangerous trope, appealing to male about the consequences of my actions in the moment. audience members in a sexual nature, but in reality is For example, I’ve had unprotected sex with people shamed for her libido, and taught to repress her sexual I hardly knew, I’ve had public sex, I’ve sent nudes to urges to fit into society’s gender roles. strangers, and looking back I really wish I hadn’t done any of it. 28

How do you know if you’re in a healthy relationship?

By Awa Dia

I wonder if everyone’s relationship is as healthy as it looks on social media. How do you know? How does anyone know when they’re truly in a healthy relationship? I feel like when we meet someone that makes our heart light up it’s hard for us to see properly. Somehow this love can be so blinding, sometimes so blinding that you lose yourself within that person. I think this is especially true if you, like myself did not grow up observing healthy relationships, but rather unhealthy relationships. I know this may be something that may not apply for everyone, but I do believe that many people can relate. I never knew what a healthy relationship was, but I always had a small idea. I think a healthy relationship is made up of three major things in my opinion, respect, empathy, and trust. Once again this small list is from my perspective, but I feel like without those three components there is no way anyone could be on the right path. So how can someone ensure that they’re in a healthy relationship? I did some research and came across a website named Love is respect . The webpage makes sure to include that healthy relationships are defined differently to each person, but there are some key factors that play a part. According to the website, “Healthy Communication” is a “fundamental part of a healthy relationship.” I’m sure many issues between couples stems from communication, because if two people can understand one another there is no room for any confusion. The needs and expectations of both partners

would be clear to one another if both understand each other. The website also included a couple tips that will help people create and maintain healthy relationships. Speak Up. In a healthy relationship, if something is bothering you, it’s best to talk about it instead of holding it in.Respect Each Other. Your partner’s wishes and feelings have value, and so do yours. Let your significant other know you are making an effort to keep their ideas in mind. Mutual respect is essential in maintaining healthy relationships. Compromise. Disagreements are a natural part of healthy relationships, but it’s important that you find a way to compromise if you disagree on something. Try to solve conflicts in a fair and rational way. Be Supportive. Offer reassurance and encouragement to each other. Also, let your partner know when you need their support. Healthy relationships are about building each other up, not putting each other down.Respect Each Other’s Privacy. Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to share everything and constantly be together. Healthy relationships require space. It looks pretty simple, and appears to be something that every person wants, but I think we all let our emotions get the best of us. The website continues on to discuss Healthy Boundaries. I think this is something that often overlooked because we want to believe that our partner is looking out for our best interest, “ Creating boundaries is a good way to keep your relationship healthy and secure.” When we set boundaries we can get a better understanding of the type of relationship both partners want. The site mentioned that healthy boundaries shouldn’t restrict you from going out with friends, participating in hobbies, or maintaining privacy when it comes to emails and social media. I find this site to very guiding and helpful , especially in a world where social media is everything. A world where we get lost in #relationshipgoals instead of cultivating healthy relationships with the one we love. 29

7 Tips

for Stress-Free Summer Travel By Jefferson Co

Summ e The su r 2017 is here ! n is sh i beach is calli ning, the n destin ations g, and the on are rea dy to b your mind e you ar explor eh ed to take eading over . If s weath advantage o eas er, her f t he ea tips fo r a stre re my seven ss this su -free travel mmer!


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Travel guides, travel experts, and even the US Embassy will tell you to leave your expensive items where it belongs. At home. Pieces of jewelry, laptops, and expensive cameras are prime targets of thieves as they are easily sold on the black market for cash. Don’t add these items to your packing list as you will constantly worry about the safety of them being left alone in the hotel room. As my favorite quote from the movie Fight Club says, “The things you own end up owning you”.

>> Pack Light and Tight

There are a lot of advantages of packing light and having only a carry-on luggage. The first benefit is you don’t have to che ck in your luggage or wait for it to unload at the baggage carous el. Second, the chances of your bag you are carrying it. It also sav being lost minimize because es you money. According to the Department of Transportatio n, passengers paid a stagge ring amount of $4.2 billion in 201 6. That’s a lot of moolah to be handing over the airline com panies.

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for goods bank cards You need to pay ill king. Call your is simple yet st is sh ca t bu s, your credit card rchases. This tip r international pu be a pain in the buttocks to fo ed iz or th au be ld t travelers. It wou e to security forgotten by mos with your cards being locked du ad be stranded abro >> International Data and Text Messaging purposes. According to AT&T, 77% of Americans own a smartphone and an estimate of 25 million travelers need international data this summer for their adventures. How else are you going to show the world your drinks on the beach while burying your toes in the sand? I use T-Mobile when I travel as they provide unlimited international data for over 140 countries and free text messages. Check with your phone company and see what they have.

>> Travel insurance t you hope you’ll never have to use on your trip. This is one of those things tha arm while island

when the strap broke off his tances like My friend Curtis lost his GoPro he had travel insurance for ins kily Luc es. pin ilip Ph the in g s than a month hoppin station and filed a report. Les ice pol al loc the to nt we We . Having travel these. ent check for the lost GoPro sem bur reim a ed eiv rec he later lth and medical umbrella of protection for hea an you e vid pro l wil nce ura ins s, and trip delays. >> Mak emergencies, loss of belonging

e Copies of Your Trav

el Documents Having a backup plan is always a great idea. Make a copy of you r passport, emergency numbers , bank card, phone numbers, hotel reservations, flight itineraries, etc. In this digital age, everythin g is in the palm of our hands but it’s better to be safe than sorry wh en an unfortunate situation sho ws up. If you do not want to carry any of these backup document s, I would leave them to a trustworthy friend at home for emergency essentials. 31

Play Hard, Make Less: Gendered Pay Gaps in Athletics

By Emani Collins

This year has been filled with many discussions on the topics of race, violence and politics. As we have examined the statistics of police brutality in black neighborhoods; recounted the many violent acts in various states; and became familiar with the new President of the United States, there are two more topics to assess further—gender inequality and the Gender Pay Gap. Gender inequality happens in more than one way. Whether you are referring to the stares that women get while at the shooting range, or the annoying comments that women receive at work when wearing a nice dress, gender inequality is an important matter, especially when dealing with one’s source of income. The Gender Pay Gap is all too real. Are you a woman who is paid less than your male equal at work? Do you receive a lesser scholarship than males at your school or in your athletic department? Well, you are not alone. One of the world’s greatest athletes is paid less than a number of her male counterparts. Is it because of the gender difference? You guessed it. None other than “Miss SevenTime Grand Slam Champion,” Serena Williams herself is a victim of biased gender based treatment. According to Forbes Magazine, Serena Williams is a member of the 32

top-earning athletes of the world. Yes, the world! The list includes 100 of the highest-paid athletes, such as Stephen Curry (Basketball, #8) and Usain Bolt (Track and Field, #23). Where does Miss Williams fall on the list, you ask? She is listed at number 51 with $27 million. She is right below Dwight Howard (Basketball) and right above Robinson Cano (Baseball). Where are the other amazing, female athletes on the list? Nowhere. That’s right. Serena Williams is the only female athlete to make Forbes’ “The World’s Highest-Paid Athletes 2017 List!” Although Ronda Rousey’s total earnings are $14 million, and Danica Patrick’s income rounds up to $13.9 million, it is still not enough to make the cut. Sadly, women in all career types are having similar issues. According to a report released by the Senate Joint Economics Committee Democratic Staff in April of 2016, women’s median annual earnings are a whopping $10,800 less than men’s. This large number represents the injustice that women face on a daily basis. The unfair treatment and pay of professional, female athletes does not go unnoticed by Serena. Just last year in November, the Olympian wrote an open message to inspire other women that was

later posted in The Guardian. In her writings, Serena encourages women to remain determined while working to achieve their goals. She explains that women are often unsupported because of the paths that they wish to take. She speaks on the many barricades that women have to break down. She also states her opinion on the Gender Pay Gap as she says, “When the subject of equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts.” Serena continues, “I would never want my daughter to be paid less than my son for the same work. Nor would you.” We all know Serena Williams is an outstanding athlete, and she should be treated as anything but. This notion of biased treatment based in gender identity does not apply strictly to professional sports, but can be seen at all levels of athleticism. We were able to speak with three, collegiate athletes who attend universities in different parts of the nation. These three women will remain anonymous, but their voices will be heard. We asked the young ladies one simple question: “Do you believe that you are treated the same as your male counterparts in the athletics department of your university?”

“When the subject of

equal pay comes up, it frustrates me because I know firsthand that I, like you, have done the same work and made the same sacrifices as our male counterparts.”

The first young lady had this to say, “I find that many male athletes that I interact with have an idea in their head that they are always working harder than female athletes. They think that women’s sports don’t mean as much to us as theirs do to them. Male athletes tend to not respect the grind that female athletes have when it comes to their work ethic for their sport. We put in the same amount of hours as they do. Not to mention that statistically, female, collegiate athletes have higher GPAs, take more credit hours and complete college faster than male athletes.” The second young woman

we interviewed expressed a similar sentiment. She stated, “I believe that the female and male athletes within my athletics department are treated the same in a way. To really be treated “fairly,” I believe that you have to contribute to the program’s wins, which both female and male athletes do at my school.” The last collegiate athlete we spoke with pointed to the bias she experiences from staff. “I would definitely say that the men got better treatment from the medical and personal training staff. I always thought that that was wrong, but it is just the way

the athletic department operates sometimes.” When will times change? When will women start earning exactly what they deserve? There is a lot of work to be done when it comes to the Gender Pay Gap, but the outcome could definitely change the world for the better. We are not in the 1920s anymore when women were fighting for their political voices to be heard. We are in 2017, a time of change, and the modifications should start now. Follow The American Association of University Women (AAUW) for more information and tips on the Gender Pay Gap and how to fight it. 33




Photography, Hair, Makeup: Carlisa Johnson

Beyond Fashion: Malone Thomas By Emani Collins

n t dow We sa model, over with c homas, to f eT te o Malon e on the sta bout arn a r tak get he fashion, le ing in ork ity in divers periences w Industry, her ex rtainment r te nto he the En ake a peek i go and t al style and person styles. to

Is fashion important to your everyday life? I wouldn’t say that it is a top priority for everyday life. I definitely appreciate it, and I know I feel better when I have a cute outfit on. Do I wake up planning it? No. What is your favorite “Saturday Night/ Girl’s Night Out” outfit idea? I really like maxi dresses. Something high-waisted with a crop top is really what I am into right now. I think it is really flattering for feminine shapes. I do lean towards something that I can actually be semi-comfortable in.

anymore. I am more focused on actresses. I really admire Kate Blanchett and Keira Knightley. For designers, I’d say Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel and also Christian Dior. Do you think the fashion industry is currently progressing or at a standstill when it comes to diversity? I think that the fashion industry is progressing, but it could be even more so. I don’t subscribe to magazines anymore. I only check them out in the stores, and I see what is going on from there. I do believe that the fashion industry could definitely progress more, now that you mention it.

What does diversity in fashion mean to you?

Diversity and fashion means that anyone should be able to wear anything and not be classified as a certain type of look, or for a certain type of person—not to compartmentalize anyone.

When did you become interested in modeling? I was probably interested in it in high school, but I was from a small town. No one knew how to get me started. My parents didn’t know much about it. After college, I moved to Orlando and I saw that modeling was a way that I could make some money. Through wordof-mouth, I just found my way to the modeling scene, while I was also pursuing acting. Who are your favorite models? Who are your favorite designers? Models, I don’t really know so much anymore. The models who are mainstream now are just who social media wants us to see as the top models. I don’t know 37

Photography: Carlisa Johnson Makeup: Heather Bellew 38

Model Behavior: Elle Andreeva R

ecently, I had the pleasure of assisting the cover shoot for the July issue of Modest Truth Mag. While working closely with the editor-in-chief, Carlisa Johnson, and my fellow Modest Truth Mag Team, I got a first-hand look at what it’s like to run a successful cover shoot. The theme of the shoot was 60’s fashion, which means bright colored rompers, eccentric jumpsuits, plaid, and of course—polka dots. To help us bring these clothes to life, we had models Elle and Malone pose for the summer issue. Apart from assisting during the photoshoot, I was tasked with interviewing Elle. Elle currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia but she’s far from simple. She is of Mongolian decent, but she is from Russia, so she identifies as “an Asian from Russia”—specifically Siberia, Russia. After asking her about her age, and then realizing how incredibly rude that can be, she was very polite in her answer. “Everyone says I look younger than what I am, and I feel much younger. I don’t feel like age should define someone,” said Elle. “Sometimes you feel how you feel, and somebody may judge you for it, but at the end how you feel at the moment is what matters.” She models whenever she can, and it’s one of her favorite pastimes. “Sometimes I feel modeling is an escape for me because I’m still a girl, I want to feel beautiful. If someone asks me if I want to do a photoshoot, I’ll do it, why not. I’m not getting younger,” said Elle. On an average day you can catch her rocking a sporty wardrobe. In fact, she considers herself not “girly” at all, but don’t let that fool you, whenever she gets a chance to where a dress, especially if it’s flowy, and feminine, she does.

By Gabriel Guzman

“Not just feminine, but also strong. Because we live in a strong woman era. I want to show I’m here,” said Elle. “When you’re a girl that’s what you talk about, fashion. And I think fashion is important in everyday life because it’s who you are, it’s how you present yourself.” Naomi Campbell, no stranger to the runway, is one of Elle’s favorite models, but she knew she wasn’t Ms. Campbell. Elle used to believe that a girl like her, Asian—from Russia, could never grace the cover of magazines. “Russia is supposed to represent blond girls,” she said. After coming to America her mindset changed. To her America is freedom. She said that here no one judged her, and that the support was overwhelming, in a good way. Elle may not have Naomi Campbell money but she loves quality. “When clothes fit you well, it’s the best,” said the Russian born model. “Sometimes you can’t afford it, and sometimes I feel like designers just put a label on it. My favorite is Zara and H&M; you can find anything there. They are what’s popular right now. It’s affordable, pretty, and I love it.” Elle does have one prized possession—her Valentino shoes. She saved all of her money for them, but she said it was worth it. “When I go out I want to feel perfect. You can see that on social media every girl has Louboutin’s, and I actually tried them, but they didn’t fit me well. They were so uncomfortable, and to me you have to feel comfortable.” In regards to diversity in fashion, she’s happy to see beautiful girls of different sizes and colors everywhere, and although fashion is progressing she says it’s not enough. “It’s like politics, you can see that human rights are there, but it’s not enough,” said Elle. “You can see little nuances. It’s sad, but you know it’s better than before.”



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Finding Peace in Solitude By Deja Kehinda


Sometimes life can be overwhelming. When it comes to the task of balancing your career, family, social life, and personal well-being, things can be difficult. So it’s okay to feel like turning the rest of the world off and spending time with yourself. People hear the word alone and automatically give it a negative connotation, while being alone isn’t always bad. According to a study at the University of Massachusetts by psychologist Christopher Long, solitude is linked directly to higher growth in freedom, creativity, spirituality and intimacy. Loneliness and solitude are not synonymous, so it shouldn’t feel as such. Solitude is more like being content with being with yourself. Whether you’re an introvert or the life of the party, it is very necessary to make time for yourself when you feel out of place. With the evolution of technology and everyone being essentially a text, phone call, email, or tweet away, it’s hard to ever truly be alone unless you’re in the middle of nowhere without wi-fi. If you go to a restaurant you might find a table full of people glued to their phone screens as they wait for food rather than engaging in conversations with each other. Data analysts at GSMA, a trade organization for mobile operators, recently reported that there are more mobile devices than people. With current production rates, they’re multiplying five times faster than the human population. Currently there are over 8 billion devices while the human population is around 7.2 billion. Bethany Burum, a Harvard graduate student, led a study which found that people retain memories more effectively when experienced alone. For example,

people tend to not try as hard when others are present, relying on them as a crutch. It’s easier to take a step forward when you’re the only one present to do so. When we engage with others, we exert energy into thinking about what they might be thinking, causing people to unknowingly multitask. While when you go through experiences by themselves you’re able to go through focused on your own perception. When you do tap in and find that alone time maybe start with a book. A good read would be “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz, a guide to personal freedom. The four agreements are as follows: 1. Be Impeccable with your word 2. Don’t take anything personally 3. Don’t make assumptions 4. Always do your best Many artists have credited this book with helping them through rough experiences. Big Sean, Styles P, Raury, Joey Bada$$ and even Lil Kim stated that the book left them with a newfound confidence and ultimate control of their destinies. Good things happen when you speak them into existence and work toward fruition. Solitude gives a chance for the mind to wander and exist within your own realm.So when you have the opportunity to spend time away from everything, do it. Read a book, learn something new, do something you’ve always wanted to do, as long as it’s something you want to do. Solitude might be the way to find peace in the midst of the world’s chaos. 43

CULTURAL APPROPRIATION: What It Is, What It Is Not, and Why It Matters By Patricia Martin

What is cultural appropriation and does it really matter? I’m exhausted just thinking about it. This is such a loaded topic so I will start by breaking it down. I think everyone can agree that culture is a culmination of the characteristics and practices of a particular social or ethnic group and that to appropriate means to take for oneself, often without permission. Simply put, cultural appropriation is the theft of what makes a community of people unique. In my experience, this term has most often been used to describe what mainstream-White society has done to minority or non-White cultures, such as NativeAmericans and Black/ African-Americans. We all know that White society stripped both of these communities of their cultures from their very first encounters with them hundreds of years ago. These cultures were not just erased, but many parts were stolen as well. But the usual question for people who just don’t get cultural appropriation is, “How is it happening today?” In a bit, I’m going to use the example that irks me the most, hairstyles. I have seen so many arguments about how a hairstyle is or is not cultural appropriation that it is clear that main- stream-White society and even minority community members oftentimes completely miss the point. Let me break down the implications of cultural appropriation in general so that I can explain why it’s not “just hair.” At the end of an episode of Comedy Central’s Broad City, Jaime, who is Hispanic, very sincerely explained to his roommate and friend Ilana, who is White 44

and Jewish, what cultural appropriation is. Referring to Ilana’s hoop earrings with the word “Latina” in the middle, Jaime told her, “It’s almost like you are stealing the identity from people who fought hard for it against colonial structures.” Jaime points out the big-picture problem, which is that minority cultures have struggled to hold on to what is left of what makes them unique, despite the onslaught of his- torical colonialism and the pressure to assimilate today. I’m not entirely sure Ilana got the mes- sage but I think that it showed just how clueless even the most “woke” people can be; and Ilana considers herself to be pretty enlightened. While Jaime pointed to the huge, underlying problem, that isn’t the only problem with cultural appropriation in present times. These days, it’s thought to be cool and fashion-forward for mainstream to, we’ll say, “adopt” hairstyles, clothing, and all types of other things from mi- nority cultures. That wouldn’t be so bad if the people adopting these unique styles weren’t the very people who hold racist or discriminatory beliefs about the people in the cultures who they were “borrowing” from. To make matters worse, the people responsible for this thievery are often members of the very group of people that ripped the culture from these minorities to begin with. Basically, these appropriators are the people who benefit from the privilege granted them by being part of a community that caused and still causes other members of society to suffer on a daily basis because of their uniqueness. Clearly, with all of this context, it should be easy to understand why


causes other members of society to suffer on a daily basis because of their uniqueness. Clearly, with all of this context, it should be easy to un- derstand why cultural appropriation is offensive. Not everyone who is guilty of cultural appropriation is a direct perpetrator of colonialism, racism, or even benefit from privilege – although this can be argued. Many cultural appropriators catch backlash simply because they don’t understand, or even care to understand, the origin of the culture that they have decided to take. This shows a severe lack of respect for the people in that culture. The ignorance of the problematic nature of their behavior does not absolve them, though. The fact that they feel that it isn’t important for them to understand, and it probably doesn’t even cross their mind, is an indication of an inherent privilege and a learned racism that are both inherited from a ever-present history of colonialism. Finally, on to my hair example. I could go on about this for days. We’ll start with braids, cornrows to be specific. From probably the beginning of time, cornrows have been used in the Black community to style our hair. Some say it was used historically to make our hair more “tidy” and others have said that it is a way to express the beautiful versatility of our hair. Whatever the purposes it has, the cornrows style has been passed down to Black-Americans through many generations of African and Afro-Caribbean culture. I can bet that the magazines that proclaimed that Kim Kardashian made cornrows (or what they are now calling “boxer braids” because of the hairstyle female boxers have adopted) fashionable have no understanding of where cornrows actually came from. Yes, Kim may have made cornrows mainstream, but they have been fashionable for decades in the Black community. And that is the issue – I don’t think anyone is saying (at least I am not saying) that Kim can’t wear her hair in cornrows. But to not acknowledge its origin at all, especially while being given undeserved credit for it, is just showing Black women, yet again, that we don’t matter and that we will continue to be marginalized despite the fact that our culture is being stripped from us just to be made popular in the mainstream, a place where we are consistently excluded from.

What is incredibly disappointing about this cultural appropriation discussion is that there are actually Black men (and some women) who think Black women are being hypocritical when we complain about the cultural appropriation of our hairstyles simply because some of us choose to wear weaves or dye our hair blonde, for example. Don’t get me wrong, I have heard White people make these same outrageous statements, but it’s ridiculous to me that people in our own community, who should know better, would even utter these things. There are so many inaccuracies in these assertions. First of all, most of the time, Black women wear weaves and dye our hair because it is fun to be able to change our hair up and create new styles. Hair is a huge part of our community, and weaves and dyes are included in that. Besides, other cultures wear weaves and dye their hair too. Even if there is that rare Black woman who wears weaves or dyes her hair because she literally wants to be like a White woman, this is still not cultural appropriation – it’s simply distressing and unfortunate. Here is why Black women with weaves and light hair aren’t appropriating White culture. A weave is not inherent to White culture or any one culture, and neither is straight hair or light colored hair. In fact, Black people are born with blonde hair and with straight hair all the time. Additionally, straight, blonde hair isn’t a cultural practice, but it is a physical attribute that may be associated with a particular ethnic group, whether this is an accurate association or not. On the other hand, the practice of styling one’s hair in cornrows is historically and primarily associated with Black culture because of the fact that they were originally styled on Black people’s hair because of the texture it often has. White and other people with nonAfrican ancestors that did not cornrow their hair until they saw us do it. I have heard people of non-African descent say that when they were children, they thought that Black babies were born with cornrows because they had never seen them before and didn’t understand how they were created. So there is no question that Black people can

“Not everyone who is guilty of cultural appropriation is a direct perpetrator of colonialism, racism, or even benefit from privilege”


“The problem is not simply the act of borrowing from our culture, it is that we are never given credit for it.” claim the hairstyle as their own since other cultures didn’t possess the context for them until they saw them on us. Generally, one cannot culturally appropriate a trait or a practice whose origin isn’t inherent or exclusive to a particular group of people, like blonde or straight hair, because it isn’t what makes the group of people unique. But there is yet another aspect to this. For a trait or practice to be subject to appropriation, it doesn’t just need to be distinguishing or inherent, it should also be viewed in a negative light when observed in the culture that owns it. Let’s go back to the Kardashians. The sisters have been known for artificially enhancing their bottoms and their lips to make them fuller, both physical attributes that are associated with people of color, Black and Latina, specifically. You might ask, well how is this cultural appropriation if they are physical traits and not practices and are also not 100% exclusive to one culture? The answer to that is simple. People of color have been looked down upon by the mainstream for having full lips and curvy bodies. This has happened as recently as a few months ago when a Black woman with full lips was featured in a MAC Cosmetics ad and was viciously attacked with racially offensive comments on social media because of her full lips. Blonde, straight hair has never been seen as anything but a thing of beauty in American culture. Even the “dumb blonde” stereotype, which is normally perpetrated by other privileged people in the same cultural group, is not anything compared to the hateful reactions to our so called ethnic features, that is, when we have them. Our bodies have suffered terrible crimes, both verbal and physical, throughout the decades simply because they did not fit into America’s standards of beauty. Our little girls and boys have had to endure merciless bullying in their classrooms and playgrounds because of the unique texture of their hair. As adults we are told over and over again that our natural hair is just not good enough. It is no wonder that some see the mainstream now taking these things and pasting them onto more acceptable White faces and bodies as no less than hateful mockery. Because of the mainstream’s distaste of our natural characteristics, many Black women do purposely try to make their hair resemble White women’s hair. This is a direct result of the pressure they

face to assimilate into a culture that does not accept them for who they are. In many companies even today, Black men and women aren’t allowed to wear their hair in natural styles if they want a job there, no matter how qualified they are. Changing your hair for a job or because society tells you that is the only way that you will be embraced is not cultural appropriation. Oftentimes, it’s not even a choice and cultural appropriation is always a choice, even if it’s a choice based on ignorance. The problem is not simply the act of borrowing from our culture, it is that we are never given credit for it. My message to people who appropriate my culture as a Black-American woman is this: Acknowledge that when we ourselves have done many of the things exclusive to our culture, it has been looked down upon and criticized. Understand that now that people are giving you accolades for these things after you stole them from us, we are rightfully offended. Do not take from us without the knowledge and respect that we did it first. Instead of smuggling our fashions and hairstyles into venues that will not have us, the very people whose bodies (and hair) hold the keys to these treasures that your people so covet, use the opportunity to invite us into these spaces and use it to learn a bit about our culture, just as we’ve been forced to learn about and assimilate into yours. It is true that many of us have decided to stop vying for mainstream acceptance, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less when our culture is taken from us and whitewashed – in effect erasing the very things that make us who we are. And to those supposed allies who so often turn against us, stop contributing to the problem by criticizing Black women who have harnessed and recreated our Black culture to the best of our abilities, under the watchful eyes of those that oppress us and in a world that doesn’t look like us but wishes that it did. That is why cultural appropriation matters to me. It is not just an innocent fashion trend or a cool hairstyle, it is what makes me who I am. Being a Black woman in America comes with a lot of baggage. It does not get any lighter just because my hair looks cute or my #ootd gets 5,000 likes the way it does for those that can put it on as a costume and just as easily choose take it off at the end of the day as if it meant nothing more than the superficial construct they thought it represented. 47

A Loveletter to By Kimberly Rose

June – sometimes known for its heat, its endless days, its early promise of the summer months. For many, though, it’s known for something else - something more significant than just any other month. June is the month for Pride, for love to the LGBTQ community. In big cities like San Francisco, New York – there are parades, long celebrations, all beautifully extravagant. There’s nothing else quite like it – thousands of people gathering together in a declaration of support and love. For New York City, the annual Pride parade is always the last Sunday in June, guaranteeing a detour for the citizens trying to go about the day like any other. It wasn’t a normal Sunday, not in the slightest. For me, though, an introverted girl with a love for lazy weekends and walking with a purpose – the pure chaos of the parade was a surprise to the day I had planned. From the minute I woke up, the colors of the rainbow represented in all forms were gathering outside of my window – preparing for a day of celebratory madness. I had planned to walk around, head over to Brooklyn for a local boutique event, and then head home for some delivered food. None of my friends were able to attend Pride, so I thought I would snag a glance from my bedroom window. When I exited the 6th Avenue subway on my way back from Brooklyn, though – it was clear it would be a challenge to get home. I saw what was the heart of the parade, people everywhere - sporting all colors, sizes, and types of clothing. Most were waving the symbolic rainbow flag or wore it around their shoulders. Overwhelmed with excitement, I couldn’t help but look around and take it all in. I was with my roommate Ally and we both agreed to avoid any hectic areas, so we 48

took off to whatever areas looked less populous. We swerved through crowds, police patrol and parked cars, to usually come to a blocked off road for the physical parade with floats and marching bands. It was around 2 pm, so it was thought that Pride might be dwindling down, but the party was far from over. We traveled blocks North and West, only to come to a halt at what felt like miles later. Dripping of sweat and on the brink of dehydration, there was nothing I wanted more than to be in dry clothes, in my air-conditioned room. We scurried through the depths of the parade too panicked

“We still have ways to go, but the world has opened its eyes to empathy and understanding that love is love, no matter the gender.”

and hurried to even really experience the celebration. Waiting for updated directions, I finally took a moment to look around. It occurred to me that this day meant something different for each person there. There were people young and old, different ethnicities, all with their own reason to be there. For some maybe it was a fight song, a battle cry, a proud chant. For others, a sign of support - of friends, of the community, of love. That was the general theme of the day: love. Even in the political climate that we live in today, it gives me hope that humanity can thrive and rise above with one thing others still lack – love. At the end of the day, anyone should love whoever they want, even if it wasn’t such a normalcy years ago. We have the brave faces at Stonewall Inn in 1969 to thank for that. In the 1960s, being gay took away many of one’s rights. Back then, it was illegal to display “homosexuality” in public, for establishments to serve liquor to gay individuals, or for those of the same sex to dance together. Men were allowed to be arrested for wearing drag and the same for women for having less than three pieces of what was considered feminine clothing. The government tried to make it close to

impossible to be accepted as gay. The Manhattan club called Stonewall Inn, which opened in 1966, was one of the few places where it felt alright to yourself – no matter who you are or who you love. It was there where the fight for gay rights began. It wasn’t quite as celebratory as

it might seem today, though. On June 28th, 1969, the Stonewall Inn was raided by police – which was not an unusual occurrence at the gay community commonplace. This night, though, the club goers fought back. After years of discrimination, of judgment – they fought for justice. While it was a necessary wake-up call to those oppressing the LGBTQ community, it also labeled gay men and lesbians as fighters, people to be feared. But one year later, on the anniversary of the raid, they changed their course of action and planned their first gay pride march. It was held in honor those who rioted at Stonewall Inn, and was referred to as the Christopher Street Liberation Day March. Fred Sargeant, one of the individuals at the first march, wrote for The Village Voice saying, “We stretched out as far as I could see, thousands of us. There were no floats, no music, no boys in briefs.” And that was just the beginning. So many years later, Pride isn’t a fight, but more so a celebration. We still have ways to go, but the world has opened its eyes to empathy and understanding that love is love, no matter the gender. I’m glad I stumbled upon the madness of Pride and was able to see it first-hand, it’s worth experiencing. Much like they chanted at the first parade in 1970, “Say it clear, say it loud. Gay is good, gay is proud.” 49

A Broke Girl’s Guide to 1.

Designate some tech-free time every day. It’s so freeing to stop communicating via the Internet or playing with our phones. Even if we need these tools for work etc., there will be opportunities to put technology down for a while and simply be with what is happening right in front of you. Go for a walk, meditate or focus on the dishes that have been piling up. Whatever you do, don’t tweet about it!


Re-watch your favorite episode of a TV show on Netflix.

3. Don’t forget to play. This is something we can easily allow to slip

By Dāsha Guyton

Self-care on any bu d In fact, m get is possible. ost acts o f self-care don’t cost a thing. S simply th e lf-care is e pra with enou ctice of treating yo urself gh respec and fulfill t your own that you honor ne Self-care isn’t some eds as they arise. th ing that y just put o ou can ff until yo u have m or money ore time . Your bra in and self-e steem suff , body, family er when y take time ou d to tune in to your n on’t It’s not se eeds. lfish, it’s n ecessary. So try on e of these 7 ways to care for y ourself.

away as adults. Whether it’s a board game, sports, finger painting, or even having a good old water gun fight–have some fun!


Keep a gratitude journal. Listing things that you’re grateful for is a great way of keeping yourself positive and grounded. You can buy some pretty cool journals online or you can DIY one for cheap. Heck, there’s even tons of smartphone apps that’ll help you track your daily gratitude too, like Gratitude Journal and Thankful.

5. Play with or pet a dog. Don’t own one? Try visiting a shelter or even volunteering! 6. Schedule weekly me time. We all say we’re going to make time for ourselves, but actually squeezing in time can be quite difficult. We suggest having a weekly pamper session and treating it like any other appointment. Candles, face masks, music and a good read are musts haves. Put it on the calendar, and don’t cancel on yourself! To keep costs low search for Pinterest recipes for a DIY at-home facial.

7. Consider minimizing the time you spend with difficult people. Are there people

in your life who refuse to respect your boundaries or are regularly unfair, rude, manipulative or aggressive towards you? If so, then it’s probably time to consider how the relationship is affecting you and whether you can improve things. If not, you might even have to say some goodbyes. Sometimes people just can’t get along, no matter what, and even partners and best friends can change. It’s sad, but it’s true.


Citrus Cream Cheese Pound Cake

For more great recipes from Antoinette visit

• 2 3/4 cups flour • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1 teaspoon kosher salt • 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter • 3 cups sugar • 1/3 cup canola oil • zest from 4 large lemons • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract • 6 eggs • 1/2 cup heavy cream • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice • 1 cup sugar • 1 cup confectioners sugar • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract • 2 tablespoons heavy cream • 4-6 ounces cream cheese • zest of one lemon and an orange

Photo by Christina Patrice

By Antoinette Arrington

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan or 24 fluted brioche tins. 2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt for at least 20 seconds. Set aside. 3. In mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes (if the bowl does not feel cool while creaming, place it in the freezer for 5 minutes, then continue creaming). 4. Beat in oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. On the lowest speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated. 5. Mix in flour mixture in three stages, until just combined. 6.Whip cream just past soft peak stage. Stir in 1/4 of the whipped cream into the batter, and fold in the remaining whipped cream. Pour batter into prepared Bundt pan. Gently, tap the pan on the counter to knock out any bubbles. 7. Bake on middle oven rack for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean near the center. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen cake by knocking it against counter. Invert the cake onto a serving platter. 8. Mix together lemon glaze ingredients. Pour on the hot cake until all of the glaze is absorbed. After it has cooled, if serving within a day or two, whip icing ingredients until smooth & thick. Pour icing on cake and let set. To store, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. 51


Modest Truth Mag Summer 2017  

We are pleased to present the latest issue of Modest Truth Mag. From stories of Pride, diversity, and experiencing inner peace, this issue w...

Modest Truth Mag Summer 2017  

We are pleased to present the latest issue of Modest Truth Mag. From stories of Pride, diversity, and experiencing inner peace, this issue w...