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“COTTAGE TALK CHRISTMAS SPECIAL� Cottage Talk is a fun and engaging show. It all began on May 2017 under Sue Yen Sue Productions. Since then we have aired 28 episodes over two seasons! We have shared stories such as life as an 11-year Cancer survivor, art exhibits, youth shows and programs, and we a proud to have participated in the Emancipation Month Flag raising ceremony at Queens Park. We are thrilled to begin season three with the taping of with Cottage Talk Christmas Special. Join us for a live taping of Cottage Talk 2017 Home Edition Dinner and Awards. Through this endeavor, we hope to open more doors and share more stories of inspiration and empowerment.

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Table of

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7. From The Desk of Shelley ... by Shelley Jarrett 12. A Precious Story... by Andrew Terry Pasieka 38. My Story the Way It Is ...by Shelley Jarrett

SMJ BEAUTY CLOSET 9. Alopecia ...by Barbara Onwumere 10. International Eco-Designer John Ablaza at African Fashion Week Toronto ...by Claris M. Manglicmot 15. AWFT Industry Awards ...by Andrew Terry Pasieka 16. The 4th Annual Canada Glass Awards: A Summary ....by Andrew Terry Pasieka 17. Travis Greene in Toronto ... by Andrew Terry Pasieka 28. Canada Glass Awards: A Photo Gallery 30. One Day at Caribbean Tales ... by Andrew Terry Pasieka 35. Your Health Is Your Wealth ...by Dr. Lisa Ramsackal 36. Affairs Of The Heart: How to Know if Your Online Dating Mate is Serious About You ...by Akua Hinds

14. Kwesiya: Diversifying to Victory ...by Shelley Jarrett 18. Roger Grandison: Building a Career with Three Gifts ... by Andrew Terry Pasieka 26. Michael Stuckey: Reworking his Glass Awards Dream .... by Andrew Terry Pasieka

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20. Amato Couture: An Insider’s Assessment ...by Claris as Manglicmot 22. The Amato Couture Look Book 24. Furne One: Quote, Unquote …by Andrew Terry Pasieka 25. The Boy Becomes the Designer …by Nakeisha Geddes

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Image. Lifestyle. Business

Photo Credits Photographer: Lubin Tasevski Dress Designer: Nissa, courtesy of Rentafrock Hair: Clore’ Beauty Supply; Makeup: Grace Babatunde/Sephora

Founder & Publisher Shelley Jarrett Editor-in-Chief Andrew Terry Pasieka Creative Director/Graphic Layout Sheri L. Lake Chief Photographer Lubin Tasevski Fashion/Design Editor Claris Minas Manglicmot Contributors Shelley Jarrett Andrew Terry Pasieka Claris Minas Manglicmot Dr. Lisa Ramsackal Barbara Ownumere Akua Hinds Nakeisha Geddes Maloney Aguirre (photos) Michelle Aristocrat (photos) Maria Bokhari (photos) Faisal Hafeez (photos) Olga Hutsul (photos)

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DISCLAIMER: We reserve the right to edit all content for space and clarity. All submissions when edited become the property of Seventh House Publishing Arts. No part of this magazine may be produced in any form without the expressed written consent of the publisher. We make a conscious effort to ensure complete accuracy of all content; however we accept no liability for any inaccurate information. SMJ Magazine is published with limited print editions four (4) times a year. To advertise in our publication, be featured or for more information, please contact us at publisher@smjmag.com or visit www.smjmag.com. For editorials contact atp11th@gmail.com

SMJ Magazine is a division of Seventh House Publishing Arts. Fall/Holiday 2017 Issue No. 19

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Sheri L. Lake (647) 272-3624 i_dezign@outlook.com

SHELLEY JARRETT AWARD WINNING IMAGE/STYLE CONSULTANT, MENTOR, SPEAKER & PUBLISHER

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As we celebrate the final months of Canada 150 and kick-off the holiday season, there is something new that is part of this issue. Who is that on the front cover? Actually I am both a stranger and not a stranger to SMJ front covers! My husband said I was on or shared six of the first eight issues. However, I have not been on the cover of the last ten issues in a row, and the blame must be laid at the feet of the Editor-in Chief!! All kidding aside, I am pleased to be featured in our Fall/Holiday issue. Why now? I say why not now? This year has been a year of triumph, trials and testing of my faith and most of all transitioning. On the inside back cover (a page I have often embraced in photo or text), I talk about my personal journey immigrating to Canada as a black woman, my accomplishments, my future plans, and my dreams. I want to share with you the hope of inspiring and motivating someone to take the next step in their own journey. My next step was becoming co-author (read chapter 21!) of the book whose cover is featured on this page below. Our issue is like a where’s where of events SMJ has covered over the past three months. Fashion shows? We have no less than seven stories covering African Fashion Week Toronto, TOM (Womens’ Week) and Amato Couture (including a Look Book). Our Fashion & Design Editor Claris Minas Manglicmot was at all three shows and has written two of the stories. Concerts? Fast-rising gospel artist Travis Greene was in Toronto in August and SMJ was there. Award shows? SMJ was at the 4th annual Canada Glass Awards on November 4th. We haven’t missed one yet. Film festivals? SMJ was back at the 12th annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival, spending one whole day covering three very diverse films. Last year about his time I remember telling you about the stories we covered, the people we met, and the commitment we made to look for the story behind the story. We will be expanding into multimedia in 2018 through documentaries, as I mentioned in Issue No. 16. One of those projects may very well be the many challenges involving abuse against women. Please continue to follow us, advertise and share our magazine website with others. Be inspired and motivated to push your life to the next level.

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CLOSET SMJ BEAUTY CLOSET: Alopecia By Barbara Onwumere We want to talk to you in this issue about Alopecia, which is a form of hair loss. First of all, two important questions. Are you are losing a lot of hair when you comb it? Can you see bald spots on certain areas of your scalp after you comb your hair out, and are they growing? These are some of the signs and symptoms of alopecia. As the winter months approach, we cover our heads with hats, wigs, weaves and extensions. Covering our heads is a great breeding ground for fungus to start growing. Most people wearing weaves, wigs and extensions on a consistent basis do not think about shampooing their hair properly. You know the saying; out of sight, out of mind! An alarming proportion of women do not shampoo their natural hair, leaving it dirty for months. For those who treat weaves and extensions as if they were permanent, these should be taken out within two months. Your hair should be shampooed and treated before putting your next weave or extension in. Treating your hair on a regular basis will reduce the onset of fungus growth on the scalp. If you think you might have a mild or severe case of alopecia, visit your hairstylist for a good hair and scalp treatment. Medicated shampoo will be the usual recommendation. Visiting your hair stylist on a regular basis will help reduce the risk of developing alopecia. Keep your scalp clean and free from too many oils. Try to use 100% natural hair care products. You can find several 100% natural hair care products on the market today. We have a final tip for women who let their natural hair grow out which will prevent the onset of alopecia. Ask your stylist not to braid your hair too tight, because too much tension can cause breakage. Smart Choice Hair Center can perform a hair a scalp analysis to determine specific treatment for your hair loss, Also; we have amazing hair care products to help restore your beautiful hair. Get your hair growing again! If you have any questions you can email Barbara: Smartchoicehair@gmail.com

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I have been working with Eco-Designer John Ablaza at his shows here in Canada and internationally since 2013. It was not a suprise for me to witness how Ablaza charmed both the organizers and the audience at African Fashion Week Toronto (AFWT) as he closed the runway presentation at Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) last August 18, 2017. What’s new with Ablaza? He was in the west GTA briefly last fall, but his main activity during 2016 was his collaboration with the African artisans in Zimbabwe. He mentored them and brought up their level of production from the usual accessories, baskets and table doilies into couture dresses and gowns. He even shared the runway in a major show in New York with selected emerging artisans and designers from Zimbabwe. Ablaza also includes the work of the African artisans he mentored and collaborated with in the presentation at AFWT in pieces that illustrated both their work and his. The overall collection totaled 30 plus outfits. I have travelled and worked with Ablaza in several of his shows, and I see a change in his focus now. Rather than practicing fashion design as a full on career, he has evolved into more of a fashion philanthropist, sharing his knowledge with artisans and emerging designers. He is very generous of his time, and truly supports African culture in this way. Couture Culture and Arts (CCA) was very

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INTERNATIONAL ECODESIGNER JOHN ABLAZA AT AFRICAN FASHION WEEK TORONTO By Claris Minas Manglicmot


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proud to present this blended showcase of skills at AFWT. I want to thank AFWT for producing the show, especially to Isaac Ansah (Co-Founder of AFWT ), who was in communications with me months prior to ensure the success of Ablaza’s show. Thank you to CCA Team, volunteers, models and guestss for the support. Special mention goes out to the production team: Tristan Licud, Rhodalynne Peralta, Imelda Concepcion and Priscilla Marte. *Photos by Faisal Hafeez https://www.facebook.com/faisalhafeezpk/ posts/10159208498295634?pnref=story Thank you for the following video sponsors: *SMJ Magazine: The official print media for John Ablaza *Morris El Bay: For video footage and video editing https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bwk48JYC1QLWcExvUnA1U1hfaTA/view To contact John Ablaza: Facebook: John Ablaza: International Fashion Designer To contact Claris Minas Manglicmot Founder and Managing Director: Couture Culture and Arts (CCA) 647-294-4883 (mobile) Email: couturecultureandarts@gmail.com www.couturecultureandarts.com

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A PreciousStory By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Sometimes a coming out party and a recognition happen at the same time. For Abiola Abinsiku and her line Precious Threads by Abiola, her first award as Emerging Designer of the Year at the 5th annual African Fashion Week Toronto Industry Awards was also her biggest platform thus far in her young fashion career. With a shaky voice and her mother beaming from the audience, an emotionally overwhelmed Abiola said that the trophy was confirmation that there was value in what she was doing, and she knew that God had greater things in mind for her. How did she get to this momentous moment? Well, it did not transpire the way that it does for many designers; either being inspired at a young age by family, or having an apocalyptic event that immediately changed their life. Abiola is of Nigerian descent, and belongs to a culture that thrives on bold patterns and colorful prints. “It’s a part of who I am. Our family always dressed Afrocentric going to parties, and we never wore black at funerals, because we were there to celebrate the life of the one who passed on. However, no one in the family had a background in fashion.” She got her start at age 11 from a Jamaican housekeeper, who taught Abiola to stitch and to make Barbie clothes. Then in middle school she decided on Family Studies as her option rather than Cooking. She touched a sewing machine for the first time and made her first outfit. Despite this, Abiola pursued a career in IT in college and learned how to build websites. She enjoyed the work at the beginning, but didn’t enjoy it as much after a couple of years because she is a people person, and she felt isolated in this career. Seven years in she was able to transfer her web designer skills to a position as a volunteer co-ordinator. She felt this opportunity was destiny calling in the sense that it talked about being a community partner, and she realized that she needed a job where she could interact daily with other people. Fast forward a few years and her daughter, who once she was old enough, always asked her mother what she could buy her for special occasions, would not take the standard ‘just be a good girl, etc.’ answer, and kept on insisting 12

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until Abiola mentioned a sewing machine. Well, a sewing machine appeared in the living room on Christmas morning, and there it stayed, the wrapping paper off but the box unopened, for six months. A few months later Abiola was shopping with her mother when a beautiful piece of fabric jumped out at her. There it sat in the living room beside the sewing machine for months. One day she got up and realized she had both ingredients. Why not just make something? A skirt was the result, and when she wore it to work, people raved and asked her where she bought it. This was the summer of 2014, and she sewed things for family and friends into the fall, through the winter, and into the spring of 2015, “When I finally opened that sewing machine and when I finally got out that fabric, I never envisioned being where I am now or having all these lofty goals. I just wanted to make beautiful clothes for my friends and family.” Coming into the summer of 2015, Abiola had come to the admission that she may be on to something and this could be the start of something bigger. Her daughter was


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on the phone that day, and met for the first time at the U of W the day of the show. Abiola said it was an amazing experience. Her final piece elicited such a tremendous reaction from those in attendance that she came on the runway crying. She just found it hard to believe that all the accolades were for her. She and the jewelry designer have worked again since then, and Abiola has used 4 to 5 of the student models from that breakthrough show on subsequent runways, including African Fashion Week Toronto. She says she fell in love with their spirit. She also has an admission to make. So much of her journey as a designer has been stalled by procrastination or lastminute finishes that to her, it wasn’t surprising that she was stitching the final piece backstage at AFWT right when her collection was being walked on the runway.

about to enter first year of post-secondary education, and she decided that a good test would be to use this new skill or gift to pay for her daughter’s education. A meeting with a banker ended with the happy discovery that there was enough equity in her condo to do just that, so once again, the sewing machine sat unused while she mused if she really needed to upgrade her ‘pastime’ to a business. Still, something gnawed away at her, telling her that she had to do this. What turned it around for her was that she could see that she could help other women with this project. Abiola has been the victim of two abusive relationships, and while she has becomes stronger because of them and has become the person she is today, she knows that others may not be that strong, and need a helper or a refuge to get them through a difficult period. Two months after her daughter started her first year, she woke up one morning with the resolve’ ‘I’ve got to do this!’ which became the soft launch of Precious Threads (named after her daughter) in November 2015. Her breakthrough came the following January when she was asked to showcase a collection at the University of Windsor. She is averse to using social media, but realized she needed to advertise for models and for accessories, and week and a half before the show, a lady from Ajax called to say she was interested in the offer. They wound up talking for two hours

Looking back on her victory at AFWT, she didn’t even know she was going to be nominated until a couple of weeks before the event, so she understands that even now she still has doubts. However, she takes heart from the Biblical passage, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’ She knows now that this is her passion, and a burgeoning career. In a way, that Family Studies course she took so many years ago in middle school has come around full circle. That is the nature of the organization she wants to form from what she hopes will be growing revenue from Precious Threads. “Too many single mothers are living below the poverty line. I want to help them with funds so they can take their kids to the zoo and not worry that they are taking the money from somewhere else. I want to assist women in exploring their skill set to find their true purpose.” With a goal like that, it is evident that Abiola Abinsiku may be changing her primary career in the not-too-distant future. She has got lofty goals; first moving into seasonal collections by the end of this year, going mainstream in 2018, and eventually making it to the top runways of the world like London and New York. And then? “I want my brand to be the Versace of Canada!” Methinks the woman has found her calling!! For more information, go to: www.preciousthreads.ca SMJ Magazine FALL/HOLIDAY 2017

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KWESIYA: DIVERSIFYING TO VICTORY By Shelley Jarrett

SMJ Magazine has been following Fanny Ngantcheu’s career since our first story on her in the Couture & Culture Special Edition in February 2014 (Issue No.4) . In a follow up story we did on her at the end of that year she had plans to go international in 2015. It didn’t happen quite that early, but the Kwesiya website was launched earlier this year (www.kwesiya.com) as well as her boutique on Etsy.com; she is now selling through a platform called Afrikrea.com which helped increase our reach in Europe, and webuyblack.com (for the US market). Fanny started to work on accessory designing over the past two years. We wanted to know if this was an inspiration based on seeing unused swatches of material, or had she been dabbling in it already? “The accessory collection really started unexpectedly. When I was contacted by the Couture & Culture team in 2014, even though I had a total liberty on the collection I would showcase, one of their requirements was that the models had to wear traditional African headpieces. I wanted to stay true to my vision, which was to create pieces that could be worn by anybody, at any time, for any occasion and came up with this multiuse accessories concept to accessorize your outfit in an infinity of ways – scarf (during the winter), headwrap (during the summer), bow tie, headband, belt, ascot, you name it. And depending on your attire and environment, you can either go bold or tone down – with our reversible pieces, After the Couture and Culture show, I received such great feedbacks and interest about the accessories I showcased during the show that I decided to launch a capsule collection.

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Three years later, they have become a statement piece. Staying true to Kwesiya’s motto of coupling different cultures together, each year we showcase fabrics from other parts of the world, through our reversible scarves. This year for example, the focus has been on India, fusing African and Indian fabrics. Men’s accessories are the latest addition. Our accessories line is now comprised of Multi-use scarves, Multi-use bows, Bow Ties and Pocket squares.” As of August 2017, Kwesiya has a complete section at a flagship shop in the Toronto Designers Market. All this planning, strategizing and designing didn’t go unrewarded. In the same month, Fanny was nominated for Accessory Designer of the Year at the 4th Annual African Fashion Week Toronto. And totally unexpected by her, she won the award. What were her thoughts on the victory? “To have your work recognized by a platform like the African Fashion Industry meant a lot. Kwesiya’s vision is to introduce pieces made with African Fabrics to a very broad population, and I ‘m glad to see it is being embraced by so many. We’ve continued to focus on accessories to better reach our target customers. Anybody, regardless of their origin should feel comfortable wearing one of our pieces for any occasion. Some customers are less familiar with the fabrics we use, and might not at first choose to buy a complete outfit. Accessories are a great introduction and can complement any outfit. Moreover, our customers can have a glimpse of the quality of the fabrics we use ad the precision of our finishing.” Look for a new collection Kwesiya for 2018, and a few mid-seasons capsule collections. You can be rest assured that at least one of those collections will be accessories.


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AFRICAN FASHIONWEEKTORONTO INDUSTRY AWARDS By Andrew Terry Pasieka The major awards at the fifth annual African Fashion Week Toronto, held last August 19th at the Royal Ontario Museum, highlighted the geographical diversity of the participants at the five-day event. Ladies’ Wear Designer of the Year OFUURE is an African-based woman whose collection showcased bold patterns and vibrant prints. Mens’ Wear Designer of the Year was We Are Kings, a line founded by King B. Hector Jr. of Ottawa. The Unisex Designer of the Year is quite a story in itself. Kadeem Faustin is a native of St. Lucia who started out with AFWT in its first year as a volunteer. He caught the designer bug and his Kyle Gervacy brand won the Student Designer of the Year in AFWT’s 3rd year. His goal is to continue pushing the bar on ladies’ and mens’ wear. Since we just brought it up, the 2017 Student Designer of the Year was Sadi Johnson.

The International Designer of the Year was Nigerian-born, Canadian-raised, Dallas, Texas-based Ese Azenabor. Two other designer awards were captured by women featured by SMJ elsewhere in this issue. Emerging Designer of the Year Abiola Abinsiku and Fashion Accessory Designer of the year Fanny Ngantcheu are both GTA-located and are the names behind their brands Precious Threads and Kwesiya respectively. The Rising Model of the Year was a popular choice, if crowd reaction is to be the measuring stick. Jimi Loboi is a young man of Sudanese heritage, coming to Canada in 1996. During his acceptance speech he said his body started to shake when he heard his name announced as the winner, and he was literally frozen to the chair. Two other models recognized during the evening included Ghanan/Nigerian supermodel Victoria Michaels, for International Contributions, and Zubeida, who was the face of AFWT 2017, and represented the event with grace, elegance, and honor.

Nikki

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Clarke Clarke Mississauga–Malton

Mississauga–Malton

information, find out how For For moremore information, or to find or outto how to volunteer, contactcontact my campaign at to volunteer, my campaign at nikki.clarke@ontariondp.ca nikki.clarke@ontariondp.ca

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The 4th Annual Glass Awards: A Summary By Andrew Terry Pasieka

On November 4th, Michael Stuckey’s dream of a Canadian version of the American gospel Stellar Awards was renewed at The Prayer Palace, the expansive Christian center in north Toronto whose cross is a marker for those travelling north or south on Highway 400. Elsewhere on the pages of SMJ Magazine, Stuckey explains to us why he had to take a year off after the 3rd annual event, and how it now feels better than ever. Nine awards were handed out along with special recognitions. For the second Glass Awards night in a row, singer Ruth Dente took home two awards, one for Female Vocalist of the Year, and the other for Artist of the Year. Montreal;s Jean Jean won the Male Vocalist of the Year, and Deborah Dworshipper took the prize for New Artist of the Year. Group/Duo of the Year was M.A.D.E. Music, who received another award on the red carpet earlier in the evening for Best Album Cover. Song of the Year was “Higher Ground” by singer/DJ Junior W. Smith. Pearry Caprietta, who happens to be Ruth Dente’s brother and her record producer, won for Producer of the Year. Finally, the Special Event of the Year was the annual Jesus in the City parade. The show itself was hosted for the second time in a row by exciting, high energy Sheldon Neil and poised, professional Londa Larmond. Charles Jenkins II, popular gospel artist from the U.S., was the headline performer.

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Travis Greene in Toronto By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Decked out in a light blue torn designer jacket with a white v-neck t-shirt and white pants, Travis Greene appeared to fashionably dressed for an informal summer outdoor cocktail hour schmooze, as opposed to a hot, sweaty evening concert. But that was his ‘work’ clothes, and he touched on many subjects in a relaxed press conference prior to him taking the stage last August 6th in Toronto, as part of Roger Grandison’s and Daystar’s Group joint production. He commented how his concert the previous night in Montreal ‘was through the roof,’ but he was told nothing like what it would here in Hogtown. He spent time talking about his deep spirituality, which started auspiciously enough with him being stillborn, and then being declared dead at age 4 after a four-storey fall, but brought to life both times. His father died of an aneurysm when he was five, but God put music in his life to fill up the void.

As to his involvement in the President Donald Trump Inaugural concert on January 21st of this year, then the recording of his next album live in Nashville on February 2nd (although he had never been there before), and finally his winning seven Stellar Awards on a March 24th national American telecast, he said his first recollection of the beginning of the year was that “everything was a blur. But you know, as different as those platforms were, I just heeded to the will of God and never allowed each of those moments to consume me. I just stayed true to myself and just believed that it was another opportunity to share God with an audience.” And that night in Toronto, Travis Green was true to form and true to his God.

His first album The Move came out in 2007, but it wasn’t until the the 2015 release of his 3rd album The Hill with the two No. 1 hits “Intentional” and “Made A Way” that his music destiny began to be fulfilled. In the intervening eight years and the two years since Travis said he had grown a lot, matured a lot, while God was working on him so he could arrive at a place of success. “I am not defined by the stage; if you live for applause, you will die for the lack of it.” His 3rd single from the album, the current “You Waited,” was written, like everything, based on a Biblical revelation, in this case a statement that we are only successful in what we are called to do because God thought we were worth the wait. The reason he feels his music resonates so much with young audience is that it is genuine; but at the same time Travis is not afraid to show his humbleness, because he feels that is a key to what will keep him on top.

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ROGER GRANDISON: BUILDING A CAREERWITH

THREE GIFTS By Andrew Terry Pasieka

Over the course of SMJ Magazine, we have the occasion to do a number of profiles of people who have been an integral part of one of our interest areas. In this issue, we focus on arts & entertainment and faith & community, to talk with a multi-faceted gentleman who has perfected his skills in four different countries during his life. Roger Grandison is a pastor, a singer/songwriter, and a television/film producer. We wanted to know first of all if he ever envisioned that his career would be so varied. He answered that he had no idea, and was never really aware of what he wanted to do as a kid. He expressed surprise when kids his age knew what they wanted to do already! In response to the question if there was anything in his parents’ or family background that was a precursor to these gifts, Roger said his dad was a bit of a bathroom singer, but never did any public singing, except when he apparently serenaded the ladies in the local area with his guitar! Roger has one sibling, whom he remains close to this day, and lived in England until he was six years old. “One day I remember my mom sitting me down and saying we are moving to a beautiful island. I remember being very upset and not wanting to leave all my friends. Apparently my exact words were, “I don’t want to live under a coconut tree!” In and around my house were greeting cards from relatives. I remember there always being a palm tree of some sort on the card, so my imagination assumed that everyone one lived under trees in the Caribbean!” The island Roger’s family moved to was Jamaica, where he lived until he left again for England at age 19. It was in England that his ministerial career developed and singer/songwriter background was born and reached an apex. Roger’s ministerial back ground actually started in Jamaica when he was about 14 or 15. In his words,

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“I was always known as the counselor in my group. If anybody had an issue they would always come to me asking me for advice. Eventually I became a Sunday school teacher, then a youth fellowship leader, and started giving sermons amongst the youth at the end of meetings. That gave me a taste of public speaking at quite a young age.” As for music, the apex was a duet album recorded with his wife Samantha. Roger and Sam Live In London happened by accident! The young couple were worship leaders in their local church but chose to write most of the songs they sang in church. Roger takes it from there. “It was pretty unheard of in those days, but we felt that God had planted a seed in our hearts and we wanted to share it with our local church (Micah Christian Ministries) where I served as assistant pastor. It turned into a fullfledged ministry. Live in London was recorded back in 2005 and received several nominations and awards. The song “Awesome Wonder” was the big hit from the album. recorded by Hillsong, and nominated for a Dove Award. I think to date we have probably sold 300,000 albums and charted around the world. As a result we toured from 2007 until 2010 on one album! People just kept calling and calling…so we just kept going and going!” Roger and Samantha stayed in England until 2008 when the demand for ministry in the United States drew them first to Atlanta, Georgia, and then to Orlando, Florida. Canada was the next stop, so despite moving from heat to cold, Roger accepted the position of Assistant Pastor for the Church of God. By the time he arrived in Canada, Roger had formed his own music production company, Moza Productions. He has is coming up on twenty years with Moza Productions. He has some interesting comments about his time as a producer. “God always shows up in our lives in a stream or water driven way…for instance the name of our church is Church at The Well! Moza means fountain. Moza was our core music company, which has allowed us to branch into other types of productions. I have worked as a producer for Daystar Group, where my TV production highlight was producing The Spirit of Christmas with Kevin Pauls and The Gaithers. I also produced a number of TV shows and Commercials for Yes TV. I am currently working with Daystar on a concert series through my company

Pinewood Films Canada called Sing Out Loud; The Journey of a Canadian gospel artist. My goal on this one is to allow the viewers to have an appreciation for the hard work that goes in to making music a career in Canada. The struggles, the pain, and the rewards.” Roger mentioned his current ministry at Church at the Well north of Toronto, where he has been lead pastor since it was founded two years ago. He told us of the daunting task of starting a brand new church. “Church planting is never easy, and if it is, it’s probably a transplant. We faced a number of obstacles but God has been good. The main obstacle we had as a new plant was that everything was done by Sam and me. Opening up, cleaning, setting up the instruments, being the musicians, being the worship leaders, being the preachers, the turning around and packing everything up again taking it to the car then going home and off loading. IT WAS A FULL DAYS WORK!! We also had the obstacle of being in an area where the residents are mostly Catholic, so when we knocked on doors we found most people already attended church, just not our kind! Yet two years later our numbers are good, the people are developing a solid relationship with God and we have a full band and full staff.” In summary, how would he describe where he is now in this tripleheader of a career? “Well for me if doesn’t feel like three careers because it boils down to me doing what God has called me to do, so it feels pretty effortless. I use my music in church to lead worship and my broadcast background to make the church visible. I would say this though. God continues to bless his children with new gifts all the time. There is a school of thought that says you are born with all your gifts. While I believe that, I also believe that God like any good father blesses you with additional gifts that are hidden from plain sight. When you question why, your searching for the extra gift will ultimately find Him. The real purpose of these hidden gifts is that we don’t just find the gift, but we also encounter the Giver in a real way.”

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AMATO Couture By Claris Minas Manglicmot

The making of AMATO COUTURE runway shows this past October 4 and October 7 in Toronto was over a year of preparations and planning. Numerous phone calls, skypes and emails with officials at Amato Couture and me occurred to ensure no stone was left in discussing all the details. This project would have been impossible to achieve without my team at Couture Culture and Arts. There is no way I could have done this alone. The fabulous couture creations of Amato Couture House are a given. Just simply google it and you will know what I am talking about. What I want to share with you is insider’s information about Amato Couture and the making of their first two shows in Canada.

The privilege of working closely with Furne One, the main creative force behind Amato Couture, and much later with his business partner Rashid Ali, is something I will always treasure. They are very humble in spite of the success they achieved with their brand. They still treat every collaboration and shows like it’s their first. Furne focuses on the creative side and Rashid the business side. At present, they are forming partnerships with renowned multi-national companies as they expand on their glamorous ready to wear line. It will be very interesting to follow and watch their business unfold. The October 4 show concept was simple, in order to capture the fashion conscious Canadian. Any fashionista could imagine owning one of the 37 pieces in the collection, carrying the Amato Couture 3Dplus look with intricate beading, embroidery and embellishments. The October 7 show at the 100-year old church in trendy Yorkville showcased a more

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dramatic and artistic Amato presentation. It wasn’t models emerging on the runway, but gods and goddesses, princes and princesses! They looked magical, as the runway was transformed into a fantasy like scene. The ambience (music, lights, and choreography) brought the overall look into something centuries old. I called this feast the “Amato Couture” effect.

The attention to detail by Furne One and Toby Lavares, his top Designer of the Amato Couture House, who travels with him in his shows abroad are impeccable. Furne’s show director, Kevin Oliver, transforms his visions and technical effects into runway reality. The trust Furne puts in his team is tremendous. They all function like an orchestra with a maestro conductor. There is no secret, as they have been doing shows together for over 15 years. Toby Lavares is Furne’s friend and classmate since first grade. Kevin Oliver has been his show director since 2000. Rashid and Furne started the business from scratch and have remained they partners since. When the Amato C o u t u re team left Canada, I watched t h e m p a c k the 37 collections into 7-23 kg maximum suit cases. They

: An Insider’s Assessment

catalogued each suit case. They are very systematic in everything they do. A week later, and the “Amato Couture” effect was still on me. While I browsed through hundreds of Amato Couture photos in my phone, one of my conversations with Furne stuck in my mine. A rush couture gown is done (depending on design) in 3 weeks to a month with 8 workers. The base of the gown is just double tule. All the other layers are laid one by one by the Amato couture team (beads, thread, charms, and other embellishments). Everything is handmade with close supervision, and the final say comes from Furne One’ himself. I was mesmerized, and I can still envision the details of the gowns as I assisted in packing the 37pieces!!


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CCA EXECUTIVE TEAM 2017 Executive Producer/Founder of CCA: Claris Minas Manglicmot PR/Media and Communications Director: Sands LCP Casting and Social Media Director: Trist Licud Creative and Photography Director: Michelle Aristocrat Stylist and Backstage Wardrobe Director: Mason Lyle Schlueter PR Director: Patricia Olivas VVIP Relations Specialist: Miriam Magno Amato Couture: October 4, 2017 (at TOM/Toronto Women’s Fashion Week) CCA is the proud presenter of Amato Couture as the finale runway International Spotlight Runway producer: Jeff Rustia: Founder, TW Show producer: Hans Koechling, TW Official Videographer: Willy Santiago Official Philippine TV Media: GMA Television Network Amato Couture: October 7, 2017 Rachel Pusateri: PR Director Kim Mahistrado: Walk Coach Jun Alapan: Technical Consultant Isaac Ansah (Founder of AFWT) : Over-all Production Set Up Consultant Justin Manabat: Official Videographher Andrew Terry Pasieka: Media Director SMJ Magazine (Shelley Jarrett-Publisher): Official Print Media Shahrzad Gharib Doust: Director of Volunteer Resources Imelda Concepcion and Marleth Sagun: F & B Managers Other Credits: Sponsor: CN Tower Welcome Dinner: Amie Hipolito and Kim Mahistrado Sponsor: Production Team Post Event Dinner: Rashid Ali and Furne Amato of AMATO COUTURE

PHOTOS LINKS AND VIDEOS- AMATO COUTURE (OCTOBER 2017) OCTOBER 4, 2017 Runway Photos by Olga Hutsul:: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_CCz7MimSDV3czb0xCU1g4eG8 VOGUE ITALIA FEATURES: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_CCz7MimSDSmhVcU1DNkIzc2M

OCTOBER 7, 2017 Please see attached link : https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_CCz7MimSDUVQybndsTTRBdHc Photographer: Maria Bokhari @miabokhari BTS by Michelle Aristocrat: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_CCz7MimSDZXRPajQ2bENkSEk Runway Photos by Maloney Aquirre : https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_ CCz7MimSDU0R4aU1td05CZEU VIDEOS Please find the attached link to Highlight Video During Amato Show! Videographer: Justin Manabat https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B5_CCz7MimSDeV8tZ2dYcnZERFE

To contact Claris Minas Manglicmot Founder & Managing Director, :Couture Culture and Arts (CCA) 647-294-4883 (mobile) Email: couturecultureandarts@gmail.com www.couturecultureandarts.com SMJ Magazine FALL/HOLIDAY 2017

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We had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with Furne One after his second show in Toronto. We wanted to explore his love affair with fabric, the ways it can be finished and presented on the runway. Furne has been all over the world with his designs, won all kinds of awards, and dressed all kinds of celebrities. While perhaps not jaded by his success, he probably is not as excited as he was in the beginning. We were wondering if it was simply the physical presence of his collections in a part of the world he has never been before.

FURNE ONE: QUOTE, UNQUOTE

By Andrew Terry Pasieka

“Yes, the plan for 2017-2018 is to go mainstream. We opened in Dubai in January, and now we want to take this strategy to all the major fashion centers around the globe. It is part of our branding.”

toned down my finishing pieces and accessories. At the church three days later, I added on a lot of finish; masks, scarves, and other things. With the shadows and the less commercialized style of lighting, I was going for a more dramatic look.”

Amato Couture has been about branding and strategy all along. Their main claim to the market has been in high end couture gowns and dresses. Typically his dresses start at $5000, and can run as high as $10,000. He wants to take the Amato name to the next level with luxurious ready to wear lines. He has combined modern denims with the 18th century Anna Karenina looks and made it his own. To become mainstream, it would mean designing dresses that are affordable. To reign himself in like that he says “is hard. I have to pay attention to patterns. It makes you think.”

Another interesting aspect of Furne’s work is that he was raised in a country (the Philippines) and works in another (the U.A.E.) that essentially has only one season, yet many of his major clients live and work in places where there are four seasons How does he reconcile the two?

In Toronto in October, Furne had to do some quick thinking because he brought with him one 37-piece collection, and he had to show it in two very different spaces.

Designers can get their inspirations from a particular fabric, or they can get it from envisioning a certain style. Which is it for him? Amato Couture collections must have some sort of signature that is strictly Amato.

“How can I contrast one collection?. At TOM, I decided that less was more and

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“I play with colors and fabrics, and change them around for some of my clients according to season when I am doing the styling. Of course in my travels I often come up with ideas in my sketches which become an outfit I would consider seasonal.”

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“It’s important for a designer to have identity. You can tell that Channel is Channel. I weave the elegance of the production; the music and the lighting under which the pieces are presented: I’m a risk taker. I am a storyteller; first I get the basic story line I want the piece to tell. I am always checking with fabric suppliers about what is new but is saleable. After all, fashion is a business.” Furne mentioned earlier about coming up with ideas in his travels. Has he had any in Canada so far? “I love the logos and the masks of the indigenous people. I went to Niagara Falls yesterday and I have a day off tomorrow, so perhaps I will get inspired and come up with more ideas.” All these comments are made by a man who is at ease with himself and with his ranking in the design world, Furne One says, “I only compete with myself. I don’t think about awards or achievements, because for me it’s all about the work.” But he is ever the artist. Designing “is like painting a canvas.” Spoken by someone who would be in theatre if not in fashion.


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A Boy Designer

He loves traveling, and all forms of visual art such as sculpture and painting. He takes a sketch book with him wherever he goes. Furne stated that he gets his inspiration from a variety of sources; such as music, cinema, vintage pieces, architecture, cosmic mysticism, myths and legends, disturbing images, science, nature, old villages and even intelligent conversations. He is one of a kind and his imagination is unlike anything the fashion world has ever seen.

Becomes the

By Nakeisha Geddes

(Editor’s Note: Couture, Culture and Arts brought international designer Furne One, founder of Amato Couture, to Canada for two shows in October. Elsewhere you will find out more about the shows and get comments from the man himself. Nakeisha Geddes approached SMJ about the opportunity to be involved in this project. She writes about how life has shaped this designer and continues to define him.—ATP) Furne One chose to follow his dream of becoming a designer at the age of 10 when he started sketching. Most of his earliest designs were inspired by the clothes his well-attired mother and grandmother (who were part of the fashion world) wore. He was always amazed by their sense of taste and loved the way they could make their apparel look like a masterpiece. At that young age Furne discovered his passion. Major doors opened after college, when he won the MEGA Young Designer of the Philippines Award in 1994. One of his prizes was the opportunity to work as an apprentice for lingerie designer Josie Natori at both her Paris and New York studios. That same year Furne won first prize at Japan’s Women’s Wear Awards and three years later he became a finalist at Manila’s Fashion Designer Awards. Furne One had a dream that one day he was going to travel to a faraway place that looked a lot like a middle eastern

country. That place had to have an air of magic and mystery and something inside him told him that that was where he belonged. He is proof that dreams do come through because a year after that dream he re-located to the southeastern Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula in the city of Dubai. A craftsman and an artist are a few of the words that can be used to describe this man. Zee Lifestyle stated that Furne’s flair for drama has made him one of the most exciting designers to have risen in the last decade. His drive and desire for designing unique pieces were evident in pieces that can be described as works of art. Furne gives each one of his designs all his attention, including accessories such as hair, makeup, jewelry, lighting and music. If this fashion guru had not achieved his dream of becoming a designer, he mused that becoming a theatrical director would have been a natural second career choice. He would have gravitated to a place where costuming is an integral piece of each production. He would have treated it as he does his runway shows.

Furne is a great example that we were created with a specific purpose that is embodied in sharing our gifts. His life journey is very inspiring and empowering. He was just a boy from Cebu, the Philippines, but his observations became a passion for designing. He overcame all challenges and took advantage of his opportunities to learn all the tricks of the trade. He keeps on pushing himself beyond his limits. In conclusion, he has said that things can’t just be left to chance. “It’s a tough battle, but patience, hard work, determination, and a little bit of luck has kept me going. I have earned my way to be where I am today.”

Nakeisha Geddes work as a Developmental Social Worker in Toronto, Canada and she is a writer. She is co-author of 100 Voices of Inspiration: Awakening & Empowerment an international bestselling book. She is currently working on a second book, a memoir titled My Crossroads to be released September 2017. Nakeisha has been working with individuals with Developmental Disabilities for eleven years and is a strong advocate for fairness and equality. Nakeisha is a wife and a proud mother of four children. To know more about her work, visit www. nakeishageddes.com

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Michael Stuckey: Reworking His Glass Awards Dream By Andrew Terry Pasieka

In previous years of the Canada Glass Awards, SMJ Magazine had to interview founder and inspirational leader Michael Stuckey weeks after the show was over, on some road being traveled in the United States. (For some reason, we always found him in the car!) But at the fourth annual show, held on November 4th at The Prayer Palace in Toronto, we were able to lure Stuckey, soaked in sweat, hoarse from singing and praising the Lord at the top of his lungs, to the red carpet for the after party. He was either shaking or shivering as he came up to the microphone, and as we about to question him on it, he provided his own off-mike answer: “I am so excited.” And so the interview went. The energy on the carpet was as electric as it was on stage for the two and half hour show. Or in a delivery room birthing a baby? “Yes, there are major 26

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contractions, but to see the fruits of this labor come out on the stage, it makes all the pain of planning worthwhile.” And make no mistake about it, there was pain. Michael had to take a year off between the 3rd and 4th annual show. “I had to take care of myself, my music, and my son.” And there was a move from Ohio to Georgia. Those regular trips to Toronto took a lot longer from Atlanta. “The Lord spoke to me while I was on tour and said you need to go back into Canada and do the Glass Awards in 5 months.” So he wrote the plan, and thought of every major obstacle that would come up against him. And what did he see as the result? “Now that it’s over, I saw that God has taken us to new levels. We had kinks to work out, but people left here tonight being inspired, being set free. A good leader passes the torch or at least shares it, and I allowed Sheldon and Londa to have input as well as all department heads, because it was everybody’s show.” The reference was to Sheldon Neil and Londa Larmond, returning as co-hosts of the evening. They work well together. Seeing them work the stage is like eating a jumping bean and drinking a cool chardonnay. How about the change of venue to The Prayer Palace? He spoke glowingly of founder Pastor Paul Melnichuk and his son Tom whom he called a man of wisdom, a man to whom he would gladly sit at his feet. Stuckey and Pastor Tom’s musical praise and worship tandem on stage was a thing to behold, deserving of an award in itself. Michael Stuckey had two shout-outs during our frantic few minutes on the red carpet. He paid kudos to SMJ Magazine for being a premiere publication, for stickling with the Glass Awards right from the start. He predicted a Special Edition of SMJ in 2018 for every attendee with the price of the ticket! And lastly, he said in his most serious part of our talk that this event would have never been possible without the prophecy of Bishop James Robinson, who three years ago prophesized that God was going to allow a setback in order for a comeback to follow. He said tonight was the manifestation of that provision coming to light. “If you want a Word, go to Bishop James Robinson’s Open Faith Open Doors Ministry. I promise you will be blessed.” As we all were, for Michael Stuckey reviving his Glass Awards dream in Toronto. To find out more, go to: www.glassawardsca.com SMJ Magazine FALL/HOLIDAY 2017

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ONE DAY AT CARIBBEAN TALES By Andrew Terry Pasieka

After getting a taste of the 12th annual Caribbean Tales International Film Festival in our last issue and publishing four stories on the Media Launch and the Canadian premiere of Shakirah Bourne’s A Caribbean Dream, SMJ Magazine spent last September 20th taking in three more Canadian premiere films. Actually, Caribbean Girl NYC** was also a world premiere. It was a West Indies diasporic TV comedy, and a pilot production sponsored by the Festival and its major funder, Flow. Think a re-imagined Sex in the City involving four young immigrant women crammed into one tiny apartment, dealing with the harsh reality of life in New York while trying to live the American dream island style, and you have it about right. The series is directed by Mariette Monpierre, who was one of the winners of the 2017 CT Incubator Program. Next up was the introspective film Keyla*** from Columbian director/ cinematographer Vivianna Gomez. Set in the middle of the Columbia/Nicaragua conflict, this story is a think piece about a young woman who must deal with the disappearance of her father, the sudden arrival of her Spanish stepmother, while trying to accept her pre-adolescent halfbrother being thrust upon her, with a search for pirate’s treasure built in, and all at the same time. Finally, from France by way of Guadeloupe come Caroline Jules’ Torments of Love**** ( Tourments d’Amour), a slowly simmering and tension-filled climatic film of a father’s inability to communicate affection or

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anything to his two grown daughters. When the girls’ grandmother dies, the sisters go to her house to sort out her belongings. The younger sister is aghast to learn that her older sibling has invited their father, who has been distant from them for as long as they can remember. The luncheon that takes place becomes an emotional wringer of an ordeal, with the older sister precariously balancing on pleasantries, and the younger one dishing out tidbits of cynicism. It creates an interesting pacing to the film, with the lightness of the setting contrasted by the darkness of the younger daughter’s flashbacks. In conclusion, a trifecta of treats from the Tales.

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YOUR By Dr. Lisa Ramsackal

Is it me or does it always seem like summer comes and goes in the blink of an eye? One minute you’re putting on your favorite shorts, and the next you’re pulling out your heavy winter coat. So long summer body, right? WRONG! Now that fall is here your summer activities may be coming to an end but your fitness levels don’t have to die with the season. There are many easy and fun ways to stay active indoors. If you’re like me, you tend to hibernate from October to May. You’re probably wondering how to keep up your activities during the fall and winter months without being able to take advantage of the warm weather that got you moving. There are plenty of options for staying active over the fall and winter months.

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is your

help in the prevention of injuries related to physical exertion. As we age, stretching becomes more important in injury prevention so it is a good idea to develop a regular routine and keep your muscles loose and healthy. Whether you do fitness classes, mall walks or your own stretching routine at home, the most important things to keep in mind are have fun and listen to your body. Don’t just rush into a new routine giving it your all, as excited as you may be. Injuries can happen with any new activity no matter how easy it may seem. Your body needs time to adjust and learn new movements so be patient and work within your limits so you can enjoy the benefits during the cold months ahead. Dr. Lisa Ramsackal H.BSc., D.C., R.Ac.

Mall walks are a great way to keep up with daily light cardio and fitness routines. The nice thing about mall walks is that it’s a bit like window shopping while keeping fit. What a bang for your buck right!? Even better if you can take a friend with you and get caught up on the latest events or whatever else is up for discussion. There are already so many mall walkers that you just might make new friends as well.

Chiropractor, Registered Acupuncturist, Health & Wellness Educator Green Health Clinic- #3-265 Queen St South, Miss, ON, L5M 1L9 T: 905-997-4468 / M: 647-234-3747 www. chiropractor-drlisa.ca / E: drramsackal@gmail.com www.facebook.com/DrLisaR/ @DrLisaRamsackal (Facebook) dr.lisaramsackal (Instagram) / DrLisa Ramsackal (Youtube)

Community centers are another great place to keep up with routines. With so many classes to choose from you can easily find yourself booked up for the entire cold seasons with aerobics, yoga or Zumba classes. Another bonus is that you won’t have to worry about costly annual membership fees like when joining a gym. Check out your local center schedules for classes that can keep you fit and having fun. Pick up a new hobby or interest such as hip hop, ballroom or Latin dance lessons. Have a blast busting a move and working all new muscles. Dancing is also a great cardio workout. You can improve on toning muscles and weight loss while learning something fun and becoming the life of the party with some envious dance moves. If dance is not for you then perhaps do something more mindful and relaxing like a daily stretching routine or yoga. Stretching is an important factor in maintaining muscle health and strength. It not only helps in keeping you limber but also SMJ Magazine FALL/HOLIDAY 2017

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How to Know if Your Online Dating Mate is Serious About You How to Know if Your Online Dating Mate is Serious About You By Akua Hinds

Finding the right person for you is often a trial and error process. Women may need to kiss a lot of frogs before they find their true prince. Men may need to try to make the glass slipper fit on many women’s feet before they find their genuine Cinderella princess. Finding love isn’t always the way that it is played out in fairy tales. For one thing, happily ever after is something that both of you need to work towards; it’s not something that will just happen on its own. Online dating can definitely help you find someone who shares your relationship goals and is willing to work with you to achieve them. However, you should qualify everyone who you meet so that you know whether or not it’s worth your time to invest in a person who interests you. There are ways to know if someone you meet via a dating website is serious about building a real connection with you.

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Their Dating Profile Is Completed In Full A person who is serious about using the dating site to find a mate will complete all of the steps to creating an attractive member profile. A member profile that looks good is one that has a recently taken picture, has every question filled with an intelligent answer, and has a username that is non sexual and inoffensive. People who treat the online dating process with the same seriousness that they would approach applying for a job online are those who are more likely to succeed with their search for love. You would never behave indiscreetly or inappropriately on a job search website if you hope to get a job from it, would you? If you see another member’s dating profile that looks incomplete or offensive, pass it by and search for profiles that reflect competence and seriousness. They Ask You Questions about Your Goals You will never be able to know where you’re going unless you first plan your destination. Dating is the same way. If another person is truly interested in building a long term relationship with you, he or she is going to ask you about your short term and long term goals. Potential love mates who don’t question you about what your life plans are probably don’t care to know because they don’t plan on sticking with you for the long haul. Online dating members first get to know each other through the dating website’s email system. If another member hasn’t begun to ask you what your interests are after the two of you have exchanged more than five messages, then that’s a sign that he or she is not seriously interested in getting to know who you are and what you want. They Mention Their Past Relationships A Lot Who wants to constantly be reminded of things that didn’t work out? I know that I don’t want that! The only time that I want to reflect on something that didn’t work out is if I wanted to use that experience as a life lesson on what to do differently in future opportunities. A man who truly wants to start over with someone new will not be constantly discussing his former wife or ex-girlfriend. You shouldn’t be discussing your former flames with your new potential romance because your focus should be on the here and now. Prove to each other that you’re really ready to move forward by discussing your common interests and goals. Look for these signs that your potential mate is giving their best effort. Akua Hinds, journalist, actress, music performer & instructor, is the founder & owner of dating sites www.InterracialDesires.net, www.RichSinglesDate.net, www. ChristianPartner.co & independent business owner of www.PureRomance.ca/ AkuaHinds and www.PureRomance.com/AkuaHinds. Please visit www.AkuaHinds.com SMJ Magazine FALL/HOLIDAY 2017

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My Story THE WAY IT IS By Shelley Jarrett

“One of the greatest burdens is an untold story”. Maya Angelo I tell my story in order to inspire and encourage someone today and for generations to come. My journey is marked by a series of milestones that took place in three countries; Guyana, England, and Canada. In Guyana I grew up with my aunt, my grandmother and my mother. In England I grew up with my father and stepmother. In Canada I was on my own for the first time. FIRST GENERATION IMMIGRANT: I arrived in Canada August 1978 as a young adult, from London England, a native of Georgetown, Guyana. While living in England as a teenager I dreamed about moving to Canada. I studied and read lots of books about Canada, watched films, and wondered what it would be like to live there. My mother and some of my siblings were already in Canada, so the transition would be easy. I do not recall comparing it to England; it just seemed more like home. For some reason I did not think of the cold weather upon my arrival; all I remembered was how clean the streets were, and I was sold on that. By the time I was 22 years old I had already purchased my first home in Barrie, Ontario; I lived there for two years, and then moved to Mississauga Ontario in 1987.where I still reside. My story in a larger scale is a little girl in one country who later became a teen in a second country, and post38

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secondary graduate in a third country. This graduate became a young entrepreneur and homeowner, then a wife and mother of twin boys. CHALLENGES AS A BLACK IMMIGRANT WOMAN: Like every immigrant to a new country, there were major adjustments that had to be made. I kept myself busy by attending different courses, and always looking for opportunities that would further my career. I also took jobs that were in the areas of both accounts payables and receivables (always involving money). I even did an income tax course and worked every tax season, to learn more. I faced many challenges, but nothing like the years 2004 to 2008, which were the worst years that I can remember. In 2004 I lost 3 family members including my children’s father, all within 6 months. I suffered with depression in 2005 and in 2008 I lost my home. The country and most of the western world had suffered a major recession, and I was caught in it. One of my sons had started university the year prior. I was at the worst point in my life, no house no car. I had hit rock bottom but never stopped smiling. MARRYING OUTSIDE OF MY RACE: My experience of being black in Canada is having the opportunity to meet other immigrants and sharing my Canadian experience, all the while learning about different cultures and experiences. I met my second husband in the summer of 2009. I was not dating or looking for a mate at the time, it was actually the lowest point in my life.


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It was more like destiny collided on a summer Friday afternoon in a busy banking institution, a most unlikely place, but around money again! God always has a purpose and plan for our lives, and He was our matchmaker. Being married outside of my race was not something I thought about. It’s an experience that happened totally by divine intervention. Being in the right place at the right time…. My husband is a wonderful man and a first generation Canadian of eastern European heritage. We get along well and have much in common. We are business partners and best friends. AWARDS & ACHIEVEMENTS: • June 2013 – November 2017 (over 30 published articles in SMJ Magazine) • July 2013: Received a Canada Glass Award for Entrepreneur of the Year • September 2013: Delivered a Keynote Speech in Ottawa at the “Women in the Media” event for the Network of Black Business and Professional women In 2014: Was profiled by the Canadian Small Business Women Association as the Business Woman of the Month • May 2015: SMJ Magazine and Shelley were nominated for two MARTY Awards at the 21st annual celebrations at the Living Arts Centre • May 2015: Was selected to be part of a panelist “Making it in the Media” and was honored as one of the 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada by “Infinite” Canadian International Black Women • May 2016: SMJ Magazine and Shelley were nominated for two MARTY Awards at the 22nd annual celebration at the Mississauga Convention Centre. June 2017: SMJ Magazine was nominated for a Media award for African Fashion Week Toronto. November 2017: Recipient for Women of Essence Global Award in media. To be held in South Africa in May 2018

the financial services industry after a year and spent nearly twenty years sharpening my client care skills in that field. I enrolled in an entrepreneurial program in Oakville in 2011, which helped me to transfer my social work and financial skills to successfully begin my own business as an image and lifestyle consultant in 2012. I am the founder and Publisher of SMJ Magazine, an online image lifestyle and business publication launched on June 21, 2013. It is published 4 times a year with limited printed editions in selected outlets throughout the GTA. SMJ Magazine is on all social media platforms. There is also an App, which can be downloaded via Google Play Store and the Apple store. I have grown my business primarily through partnerships and collaborations. I have developed expertise in building relationships, networking, content marketing and social media, where I have attracted an impressive following by helping people understand about using their gifts and talents to find purpose in their lives. ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS: I choose to tell my story because it’s my way of giving back to Canada what Canada has given me, a great future to build my life and that of my family. My main focus now is to help others tell their extraordinary stories through multimedia, working with marginalized communities, giving voice to the voiceless.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: I have accomplished much, but still have a long way to go. Many more people to meet and lives to transform. My twin boys are first generation Canadians, as is my husband. So I am proud that Canada is part of me. Today I find myself as a multiple award winning Image/lifestyle consultant, magazine publisher, speaker, mentor, author and (in 2018) an aspiring film producer! I obtained a diploma in Social Work from Sheridan College, and a bachelor degree in human services from the University of New Mexico in the United States of America. I moved into

“It’s about the rush I get when I take an Idea; turn it into reality, something others can aspire to”.

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Profile for SMJ Magazine

SMJ fall holiday2017 issue #19  

SMJ Magazine's final months of celebrating Canada 150 and kick-off the holiday season. The front cover feature of the Publisher and Founder....

SMJ fall holiday2017 issue #19  

SMJ Magazine's final months of celebrating Canada 150 and kick-off the holiday season. The front cover feature of the Publisher and Founder....

Profile for shelleyj
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