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SUAVV IN THIS ISSUE...

Donnell Rawlings

77

James LaRosa

95

Comedy has been a staple in culture for generations. What happens when you give comedians the power to produce? Donnell knows.

Television programing may be at an all time high. WIth original series left and right, the creator of one of the hottest series takes a splash with us.

Slick Rick

35

Slick Rick “The Ruler� has always been an icon in the fashion aspect of HipHop. Lets see what happend when he partners with a major brand.

Garth Voisin

63

Knowing yourself is probably one of the most difficult people to know and understand. What happens when you are transparent with yourself?


Jeff Franklin

17

If you think training that new puppy that you bought for Christmas is going to be a breeze, you may want to change your mindset.

Charmaine Bingwa 67

Australian born filmmaker and actress Charmaine is taking her next step in the American based film industry.

Adam Ambroso

71

Making a movie is more than just entertainment for Adam, it’s his moment to shed light on a social issue.

Toast to the Weekend 29 Mamajuana is the go to drink for our Dominican Republic vacations. Try out these cocktails featuring the root based island drink.

McKinley Freeman

83

Music Therapy

23

Model, Athlete, Businessman, and Actor are some of the titles that describe McKinley, but none of them tell you who he is. Let us introduce you.

Music brings us all comfort in some aspect. Did you know that you were actually giving yourself therapy with what you listen to? Neither did we.


SUAVVstyle 33 Shoe On the Right Foot

31 Dead Soxy

53

Meet the Stylist

SUAVVfit

121Egg Weights

115 Kicking It with Krav Maga

125 Hanging Ab Exercises

SUAVVlife

21In Your Ears 51 Who’s with 1More Needs Headphones Dad?

28 Favorite Things

15 Smile Confidently


THE FAMILY Rashod Davenport | Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief *** Michael Letterlough, Jr. | Co-Founder /Director of Photography *** Kym Oglesby | Executive Editor *** Richie Skye| Editorial Consultant *** “The Swag Master”| Fashion Editor *** Andre Jones | Movies Editor *** Syreta Oglesby | Executive Editor Assistant *** Michelle Stackfield | Book Club Advisor *** Rodney Jon | Skincare Editor *** Paul Smith | Advrtising Director


Editors Note

Rashod Davenport Editor-In-Chief


A

In My Own Fashion

nother year has shined a light upon its glorious number. Walking into 2019, I made sure to reflect on the accomplishments of 2018. I pulled out my vision board from the party that I hosted for friends a year ago and looked at all of the things on that board that I was able to pull into fruition. One major area was placing an enormous amount of energy into developing SUAVV into a media hub. Creating SUAVV TV, SUAVV Podcasts, our brother magazine SUAVV fit, and a creating a mobile application were at the top of my list. Closing the year, our team was 3 of 4. Starting this year, it’s 4 of 4. I relocated myself and SUAVV to Atlanta, Georgia so that I could place this Black Men’s Magazine in the Mecca of forward thinking Black Men. With all of that happening and feeling proud Most importantly, I have dedicated more time to myself, my family, and my friends. We tend to get lost in the shuffle of life. Work becomes our family and Money becomes our children. We have lost the purity of human relationships and civility. As long as we can have a family page on Facebook, we don’t need to call each other or see each other. “I have to work” has become the cop out reason to avoid functions, friends, and family. As an entrepreneur, it’s a hard cycle to break. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to leave work at work and devote a percentage of your day to yourself. Pamper yourself. Splurge on yourself. Fashion and style are ways of dedicating time to yourself. It’s a moment to show that you are taking a few extra moments to worry about your appearance. My childhood friend always said, “It’s not what you wear, it’s how you rock it.” in 1996, he had a profound understanding of swag. he always seemed to be ahead of the curve when it came to fashion. I took a lot of cues from him in high school as to what looked great and why. He was my go-to stylist. and you have to think, I was a kid who was truly styling my wardrobe on a budget. What I have always loved about our fashion issues is the understanding that money doesn’t have to be the determining factor of style. Sometimes style can be created in a thrift shop as Terrisita Marie will tell you when she is looking for vintage pieces. An item as simple as socks can show a splash of your personality as Dead Soxy will attest. Sometimes, you’ll have to create your own thing the way that Belieni of Belieni Shoes did. If you have the money you can splurge like Slick Rick. However, at all times, you have to know that your appearance is the first thing that people see when you walk through the door. You are judged instantly on how you are dressed. Dami Adepoju creator of Fini Shoes reminded us of that. Ultimately, fashion is an expression of individuality and uniqueness. Get to know who you are. Garth Voisin took that time to get to know who he was. Now he is pushing others to do the same. James LaRosa figured out who he was as he finished his trek across the country and landed in an unknown world of Los Angeles. Thomas Orlina dedicated soo much time to himself that he decided he needed to make it into a show. ANd its a really cool show at that. McKinley Freeman is an amazing actor but an even more amazing person. Growing up, he was able to have friends from all over the world which allowed him to have a better adult view on life and society. When I finish an issue, I always read it myself before I release it to the public. This issue spoke to me in a way that others had not. I learned something about myself as I turned the last page. I learned that I am really young in this world and that there are a lot of things that I still do not know. I learned that my growth in myself is a never-ending process. and ultimately I learned that this is just the beginning. I look forward to sharing my life with you. Let’s enjoy this ride.

Rashod


N MORE “IT’S JUST THE WAY PEOPLE ARE”

There is never an excuse for domestic violence or sexual assault. It’s time we all speak out to stop the violence. No more excuses. No more silence. No more violence.

www.nomore.org © 2013 Joyful Heart Foundation. All rights reserved. All content and trademarks used under license (or with permission).

Blair Underwood


Keeping Your Whites Pearly

Doctor Plotka Toothbrush Hygiene is a very routine process. Most men use

the same soap, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, shaving cream, and razors that we have been using for years. While items are always being redesigned, updated, and reformulated, we tend to never leave what we are faithful towards. Well, we want to encourage you to try some new things in hygiene. Typically, we will just grab a toothbrush off of the rack with a color that stands out. Today, we want to introduce the Dr. Plotka Mouth Watchers Toothbrush.

The basics: NATURALLY ANTIMICROBIAL* BRISTLES For Better Health - Infused with silver to naturally eliminate 99.9% of bacteria that grows on the bristles between uses, this innovative tool is always clean and ready for the next use! Doctor Plotka’s™ helps achieve better overall health by not reintroducing harmful bacteria into your mouth and body. FLOSSING BRISTLES™ - Revolutionary, dual-layered bristle structure provides superior cleaning: the outer bristles, thin as a human hair, gently brush away food and plaque in places other brushes miss! Getting deep down the groves, this toothbrush cleans where 90% of cavities form! With thicker inner bristles, you’ll get a complete cleaning of the teeth and gums every time.

LONG LASTING POLYESTER BRISTLES - You’ll get up to one extra month worth of use thanks to the polyester bending and upgraded properties. (The ADA - American Dental Association- recommend changing your toothbrush every 3 months. The Doctor Plotka’s brush will last about 4!)

Our Thoughts:

I’ve been using the toothbrush off and on for 4 months. I cycled on and off because I was having moments of discomfort with bristles. Because we’re not used to having our gums engaged to this degree, it was a little uncomfortable at times to continue using the brush after a few weeks. Therefore, I cycled on and off ever two weeks with my electric toothbrush. I will say that my teeth felt cleaner than any other manual toothbrush has ever done. The toothbrush has not loss form or flared out at all. It looks the same way that it did when it arrived. Would I buy it? If there was a sample that was given out and I had the option to try it, I probably would move forward and purchase one. Its a great toothbrush to have in the collection of brushes for a cycle. My suggestion is to try it out if you see it, see how you feel and let us know. It may be the perfect toothbrush for you.


Sit, Stay, Fetch. Jeff Franklin on Dog Training

Busy pet parents are often not able to spend as much time with their pets as desired, but dog walkers or pet daycare can be expensive. The Gosh easyFeed automatic food and water dispensers make caring for a pet from anywhere convenient and interactive.

Pre-recorded messages can be triggered to encourage pets to play, go outside or find a toy. The app can also be used for live video and voice chat with pets. Owners can call their pet to the easyFeed ask for a trick to be performed, then tap the app to reward the pet with a snack.

Not only are pets fed the proper portion at each meal and provided Amazon customers can link with freshiswater their account the easyFeed. One of the biggest pet peeves that I have beingfor all day ble K-9 combat teams. Withwith no template to guide hydration, the easyFeed also gives Whenever the food storage binand the outside and seeing someone’s dog walking them. This him, Jeff creates the canine selection criteria pet owners the ability to video chat starts to run low, the easyFeed pet parent is trying to convince me that “it’s okay” necessary training protocol to meet the high-octane with pets, ask them to perform will communicate with Amazon ’s that they  “got” the dog. Meanwhile, the dog looks demands of the covert Task Force.  Through Jeff andinreward them with automatically order deliver like I am either the first meal hetricks has seen a month story,a you willtofollow “operators” andand their canine snack. food right to their door. of Sundays or the first friend that he will ever have warriors on fiercely dangerous, secretive missions

a chance to play with. Either way, I’m going to cross deep inside Middle Eastern battlegrounds. With 20-cup dispenser Perfect for dogs or cats, the the street. Because what WON’TThe happen is Icapacity find outfoodhis larger-than-life ambition, Jeff also finds himself can be set to automatically release easyFeed dimensions are that this person DOES NOT “have” the dog. in the hostile jungles of South America 40cm furnishing food at preset L x 47cm W x 44cm H and the war trained dogs to a national police force in the mealtimes. Using the free easyFeed unit weighs 14.5 pounds. It hasorgania Let’s get something clear; I am a proud dog parent against a powerful South American terrorist app, myself pet owners can select how food storage capacity of 20 cups (I never thought I would categorize as more zation much food should be dispensed at and can hold up to a liter of water. than an owner). My dog, Myles, is a Miniature certain ofIday view howWhatThe food tray hold Cobra four cups Schnauzer and was the runt of the litter.times While haveand SUAVV: inspired youwill to start Canine, much food is left in the storage bin. and the water is auto replenished. always had large breed dogs (and was strongly conand what’s your vision for the business?   New foods can out now be gradually It operates by plugging into sidering for a Great Dane), Myles’ size worked intobetter a pet’s diet anyteenager, 100V-240V and also for my New York apartment lifeintroduced and was even Jeff: As a young I hadoutlet the drive and paswithout extra effort by regulating features a battery backup caseyou for travel. I was determined not to have one of those sion for training dogs.  Little did I knowinthat percentages current food and power loss.it.The easyFeed app is did “ankle biter” dogs that bark at house flies andofgo could make a of living doing  Back then, people new foodthat using easyFeed. Thedogscompatible with iOS and Android crazy whenever they want. Myles knows if Ithe snap not treat as part of the family as they do now. I easyFeed can also provide owners operating systems. my fingers, his attention is to turn to me and away was inspired to start Cobra Canine, with Cobra, my their pet’s from whatever else he is doing. Iwith hadinsight to traininto myself firsteating imported working dog.  His name comes from habits, be used to help manage easyFeed is currently available in training a new puppy. That’s where we would like the Marine Corps helicopter “Cobra, ” which as a weight and keep pets active during through Kickstarter and will be savto introduce you to Jeff Franklin. very young Marine, I really appreciated them days when they are homeing alone for delivered to backers my company’s rear end several times in Desert long periods. starting in November. The MSRP Jeff Franklin is seen as one of the world’s leading dog Storm.  As time passed and my experience with for easyFeed is $290. For more trainers after training over 10,000 pet dogs. Jeff has training grew from pet dogs to sports dogs to police A builttraining in web camera information visit the easyFeed dedicated over 22 years to developing tech- and dogs and military special operations dogs, so did the microphone on the easyFeed can website at: http://www.whygosh. niques for police dogs, including tactical obedience, need for trainers in all areas. Although I originally be used to check in on pets during drug and explosive detection, tracking, personal wanted to playcom/products/Pets pro-baseball, after suffering an injury, the day to make sure they are not protection, and domestic pet obedience. As a canine I transferred my energy and drive towards dog traingetting into mischief.ing. If dogs expert, Jeff has trained thousands of dogs ofany nearly My vision for the future is to spread our training or cats are spending too much all breeds, including pets for civilian life. style, to educate dog trainers and owners alike, and to time sleeping instead of being ultimately better the relationship between Man and active during the day, easyFeed Jeff Franklin’s incredible career has been profiled in Dog.  One way to possibly accomplish this would be can help get off thethrough couch. franchising. the new book Franklin: The Man Behind thethem United States Commando Dogs, which chronicles his story of building the first-of-its-kind dog program for a SUAVV: Tell us a little about the book FRANKLIN, “top tier” Task Force within the preeminent branch which is based on your life. How do you know Matof the United States Military. Jeff ’s dog-training skills thew Duffy and are the two of you working on any are repeatedly put to the test as he single-handedly other projects together? turns men and dogs into the world’s most formida-


Jeff: FRANKLIN is a broad snapshot of my life and career with dogs, dating back to my teenage years.  It has some fascinating and intense chapters that tell different stories along the way.  To be honest, it’s a bit weird for me to read.  I often think,  “Did I really do this or that? ...Not so smart!”  Very early in my career, Mr. Duffy became an instructor for my protection dog training, which leads to a lifetime of mentorship and brotherhood.  Many authors have offered to write about my life; however, Mr. Duffy was the only one I could trust with some of the stories and sensitivities surrounding them.  Together, Mr. Duffy and I have at least one new book, a bomb dog training program, and training seminars and videos in the works. SUAVV: How would you begin to train a dog that has been to several “Obedience Schools,” but still has no manners? Jeff: I start with a simple evaluation of the dog’s demeanor and trainability.   Further, I listen to the owners to find out how they have been taught to deal with poor manners from their dog.  A dog’s past training does not affect our relationship.  I only need the previous details to help the humans.  Manners are the most improperly trained behaviors that I have dealt with for over 20 years. SUAVV: What are some expert tips to help fix common complaints - Jumping, pulling on leash, barking, begging for food?   Jeff: We do not need commands to extinguish unwanted behaviors. People and “trainers” are habitually using commands to “stop” unwanted behaviors.  In fact, in using these commands--which are not likely very proficient—, people are just avoiding the problems. If training is kept black and white, then unwanted behaviors go away quickly.  Dogs thrive off of clear and precise communication and rules.  This is not to say that there is not also a time and a place for positive motivation, praise, love, treats, etc.  The more clear we are, the better and happier our pets will be. SUAVV: What is the best way to introduce your partner/partner’s pet to your dog(s)?   Jeff: This is always a very interesting question as there are so many factors that play into this, including the dog’s breed, personality, sex, age, and the owner’s behavior. However, I recommend for dogs to meet

on leashes on neutral turf with calm owners who are prepared if the dogs get out of hand. Remember, with all dogs, there will be a pack, and someone must be in charge…I prefer it be the humans! SUAVV: How do you housebreak a stubborn dog?   Jeff: The majority of the housebreaking issues I deal with are usually due to the owner’s lack of routine and understanding.  I am a firm believer in proper crate training, set routines, and clear rules.  Never do we use negative reinforcement (i.e., spanking, yelling, rubbing noses in “it,” etc.).  It makes little sense to punish a dog--especially a young pup--for relieving itself, which is natural and physiologically necessary. On the other hand,  correcting a dog for unwanted behavior, such as jumping makes perfect sense as the dog does not have to do this. As we always urge, before you buy or adopt a dog, make a list of traits that you want your dog to have, responsibilities that you are willing to take on and those that you are not (especially in the grooming area), think of size, sex, breed, and compatibility. Once you answer those questions, start researching breeds, met people who have those breeds of dogs, and make a wise decision. Dogs are a HUGE responsibility and often aren’t realized until they’re on their way to the humane society. So let’s make smart choices about becoming pet parents.


1More

Wireless Workout Headphones The gym has a plethora of sounds. There’s the faint music that you would probably never have on your workout playlist, the conversations that others are having on their phones and in person, and grunts from people listing more than they should, and finally, the gym announcements that we probably should

hear but thanks to headphones, we probably never will. This is the what I had the unfortunate pleasure of listening to when my recently charged headphones died. To my surprise, 1More iBFree headphones saved me from ever being in that predicament again.


The wireless sport in-ear headphones have a durable cord with volume controls, power button, charging port and call answering buttons on a small rectangular pod. The earbuds come with ear canal fittings that make sure the buds will not fall out of your ear. The bud matching metallic cover that gives a touch of personality to go with workout intensity. Available in Red, Blue, Green, and Black, you will be able to find a color that suits you. Comfort has always been a hard sell when it comes to workout in-ear headphones and this design has been one of the best that I’ve tried to date. When it comes to sound quality, the 1More iBFree headphones are sublime. Having a strong bass register allows me to keep my pace at a steady cadence, while the treble allows lyrics to stay vibrant and not get drowned out in the music. Switching genres and volume levels are not affected by these headphones. The canal fittings keep the buds in your ear for optimal sound quality. There’s no pushing them back in to hear your music. The true test of a good workout headphone is actually working out. When I first purchase in-ear headphones, I’m always skeptical about if they will be able to hold up with running, jumping, and sudden movements. I’ve run 5k-10k with the 1More iBFree headphones, have done explosive plyometric workouts, and gone through countless workouts and have not had a single issue with stability. A supposed 8-hour battery life on a full charge keeps you in your zone through your fitness routine. I haven’t tried to workout or keep the headphones in my ears for 8 hours so, I can’t attest to that. However, I have gone to the gym one day, run for an hour the next, and listened to music in my office on a full charge with no problem. For the reasonable price tag of $59.99, the 1More iBFree headphones are a solid option for a workout set. If you are new to the workout arena, or just looking for a new pair of headphones with good quality sound, design, and comfort, the 1More iBFree headphones are a great choice.


Image by: Eric Nopanen

Music Therapy How music can heal your ailness. Studies have shown music’s almost magical impact on healing and music is being used in a variety of new ways, such as teaching stroke patients how to walk and helping premature babies gain weight. “Music treats the soul, and If you treat your soul the body will ultimately positively react,” says D. Kenny Davin Fine MD, a gastroenterologist who is also the creator of Oro-Intestinal Fitness Products (www. finerhealth.com). “Music is underappreciated as a healing source that can be just as powerful a prescription as drugs.” Dr. Fine has held staff positions at both Baylor University Medical Center and the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School. His medical research has appeared in prestigious medical journals

including The New England Journal of Medicine, Gastroenterology, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, and The American Journal of Gastroenterology. He has been professionally involved in patient care, medical research, teaching, directing clinical laboratories, nutritional pioneering and original health product and unique organic health food product development for almost 30 years. Fine, a musician himself who recently recorded a “Rockspirational” double music album, has used his scientific and medical expertise to pioneer new paradigms to diagnose and treat a variety of illnesses and conditions. But he says music can be therapeutic as well. “Music can be an integral part of creating a unique prescription of health, happiness, and hope,” says Fine, who is also a highly regarded singer-songwriter, guitar and harmonica player, and recording artist


with 11 album releases to date. He has worked in the recording studio with Grammy and Oscar-winning producers, including Michael Lloyd, Niko Bolas, and John Hampton.  He proclaims he is the world’s only Physician-Musician on a Mission! Fine offers these recommendations for people who are having medical issues and want to incorporate music as a healing therapy: Sing to yourself even if it is just in the car or the shower.  Research has shown that music not only engages the auditory system but many other parts of your brain as well, including areas responsible for movement, language, attention, memory, and emotion.  The impact can be felt regardless of if a person is listening to music, playing an instrument or singing. Take off the headphones. Headphones cranked up too loud cause hearing loss.  Listen more to soothing music that relaxes you at lower volumes.  If you can’t give up the headphones, a good rule of thumb is to not turn the volume up so loud that you can’t hear other sounds around you. Learn to play an instrument.  This not only enhances your music appreciation but will encourage you to

listen to more. Learning to play a musical instrument also is one of the best exercises for your brain. “Music is an important part of our lives, but for people who have health issues, it could play an even more important role if they only utilized it,” Fine says. “I believe we are only beginning to scratch the surface when it comes to the healing power of music.  I think in the coming years we will have more hard evidence of its potential. I even predict that in the future people will choose their health practitioner not only for their specialty, and personality but in what area of creativity they dwell.”


Bill, Bills, Bills! Is upgrading your iPhone worth the financial cost?

Although roughly 28 million Americans say getting one of the new iPhones is worth going into debt, that might not be necessary, according to the personal-finance website WalletHub’s new 2018 iPhone Savings Report, which found that people can save $740 - $1,403 over two years by picking the right plan. You can find some highlights from the report below. You can also crunch the numbers to see which iPhone plan is right for you, using WalletHub’s custom Cell Phone Savings Calculator, ahead of the newest models starting to ship on Friday. A no-contract plan from Walmart Family Mobile is the best way to get one of the new iPhones, beating plans from all four major carriers. • For even more savings, keep your old phone. Individuals can save up to $1,552, and families can save up to $2,265. • 5X more millennials say the new iPhone is worth going into debt for than baby boomers. • 29% of cell phone shoppers don’t know they could be in for a credit check. • 44% of millennials believe their cell phone has a bigger impact on their life than their credit score. “Early cell phones were purchased for consumers by their service providers, which hid their cost to some degree,” Lewis S. Davis, an associate professor of economics at Union College, told WalletHub. “Most consumers are not particularly savvy about long term contracts. In short, we’re really bad at compound interest.” WalletHub’s Cell Phone Savings Calculator lets users input their upfront and monthly costs to compare the true cost of two-year contracts, installment plans and no-contract plans from all of the major carriers. You can check out the calculator, along with an embeddable infographic comparing the most popular plans, at https://wallethub.com


www.ThomasCuvor.com


I’ve never seen a pool table that wasn’t in use. While some of the more seasoned players have a strategy in their game, the amateur is excited by being able to hit more balls in the pocket then is opponent. Sure there may be moments when the cue ball goes flying off of a table and the miraculous shot that you wish was recorded for social media. And we’ve all seen the kids who just roll balls around the table trying to see sho can get them in the holes as if they were at a carnival looking to win a stuffed animal. Regardless of your skill level, a pool table can make you one of the coolest houses on the block. Therefore, if you’re going to be cool, why not be stylish as well? This Catalina pool table by Mitchell Pool Tables is probably one of the most modern and sleek tables that I have ever seen. The tables by Mitchell Pool tables custom handcraft each table to order and the build time is approximately 10-12 weeks this tables unique and intriguing design will run you upwards of $35,000.

Rack Em’Up


Who’s Your Mamajuana?


To celebrate fall’s return, Candela Mamajuana [www.drinkcandela.com] — the first ready-to-drink premium spiced rum specialty drink from the Dominican Republic — is sharing 5 rum-my recipes to keep you toasty all season. After a trip to the Dominican Republic and tasting Mamajuana first hand, we can promise you, that youll love these cocktails. As always drink responsibly and Stay SUAVV.

#1: PUNTA CANA Named after a popular resort town in the Dominican Republic, a Punta Cana is a tropical resort escape in a glass (aka exactly what we need to get us through fall!) Mix 2 oz Candela Mamajuana with 2 oz passion fruit juice and 1 oz fresh lemon juice, then serve. #2: TIGUERE Can you handle the heat? To make a Tiguere, mix 3 oz of Candela Mamajuana with 2 oz fresh lemon juice and 1 oz jalepeño-infused syrup. There’s no quicker way to warm yourself up than with a little kick.

#3: ORIENTE CALIENTE Ready for some adult La Croix? Mix 2 oz Candela Mamajuana with 2 oz of prosecco and 2 oz Yuzu Liqueur (a citrus liqueur). This bubbly treat gives you a little taste of summer when you’re snuggled up in your fall sweaters!

#4: HAPPY ENDING With fall inevitably comes office sicknesses. Instead of downing Vitamin C, protect yourself with kombucha. Mix 3 oz kombucha with 3 oz Candela Mamajuana for a cold cure you’ll actually want to drink.

#5: OLD FASHIONED, WITH A TWIST Update this classic drink for fall by substituting rum instead of whiskey, bourbon, or rye. Muddle 1 sugar cube with 2 dashes bitters. Add 2 oz Candela Mamajuana, ice, and an orange twist on the side.


Sock It To ‘Em

DeadSoxy Heads to the Boardroom.

The men in our office LOVE socks! There’s always been a pattern and design competition and anyone who can pull out the new and most unique sock maintains the ability to brag on their sock collection. Ironically, what many of us have found is that the most comfortable socks are typically the plainest and boring sock in the store. Stylish socks always have elasticity issues, tear easily, and do nothing for vascularity. Well, the Dallas based apparel brand, DeadSoxy, launched their Boardroom Collection and changed all of that. Men’s fashion and style have become more and more of a crossover shopping experience. Guys are proud that heir wardrobe can range from sweatpants to tuxedos. We are priding ourselves in the ability to be multi-faceted. Dress shoes and sneakers are becoming more and more interchangeable and dress socks need to be able to work in both. The unapologetically authentic brand is a mixture of dapper/gentleman’s style and street style. Whether you’re in the boardroom or going to the gym, this is the perfect sock for both! “The Boardroom Collection is a premium dress sock designed with the perfect balance of luxury and performance. The difference is in the details so we obsessed over every stitch and seam until we reached our definition of perfect,” says CEO Jason Simmons. Simmons always questioned how something so essential like socks could be so difficult to get right. Compounded by years of socks, sliding down, slipping off, and just wearing out, the frustration was real. “We tossed out tradition and started from scratch. During our pursuit we sampled, tested, and tweaked every single aspect of our socks. We engineered our own fabric built to achieve “our” standards of performance. We also meticulously focused on the technical design process so the fit will be the same each and every time,” says Simmons. The DeadSoxy Difference is that the socks are naturally antimicrobial, odor free, retain their shape, wick away moisture, do not shrink, do not fade, and offer a gentle compression. They were able to transform the traditional sock heel with a sleek, secure fit, and the ComfortBlend Design spreads the elastic out flat to prevent the band from digging into the foot, and created the unisex fit that is invisible and guaranteed to stay on!


Walk It Out Belieni Shoes

Seeking to bridge the gap between luxury and fashion, the sophisticated and stylish BELIENI brand raises the standard for sneakers by constructing a shoe with subtle and exquisite styling fit for individuals who yearn for upscale footwear without sacrificing classic design. Launching the brand in his own name, Belieni saw his dreams come to fruition in his initial creation for the brand. Introducing the CalibreV1, Belieni’s first entry and original concept. Specifically designed for men with a larger step, the CalibreV1 is handcrafted in Italy by master artisans and features fine, hand-tanned Napa leather, sheep’s leather, and ethically sourced natural materials. An aggressive high-top design keeps the shoe both timeless and versatile. A woven suede canvas on the front of the shoe hide the laces and create a conservative, yet bold statement without sacrific-

ing the opulent and eye-catching visage. Proving to be anything but a common sneaker, the Calibre V1 elevates the everyday shoe staples with embossed alligator leather, and IP copper ceramic hardware. Originally from D.C., and a born craftsman with an inherent knack for drawing and design, Belieni began designing at a young age. Childhood drawings fueled his aspiration, and Belieniwould eventually attain degrees in graphic design, industrial design, and fashion. Backing his passion with credentials, and after a stint working in private security, Belieni would eventually launch his own brand as an outlet for his passion and to satisfy a need in the shoe market for a high-end and practical sneaker.


Rule of Thumb Slick Rick the Ruler becomes the face of the Collaborative Campaign between Nordstrom and MCM


The pioneering storytelling emcee made his mark more than 30 years ago representing wealth and prestige like no other b-boy, wearing luxury brands his own unique way. A new collaborative campaign between fashion retailer Nordstrom and luxury travel goods and accessories brand MCM will feature the face and flair of Slick Rick. Pop-In@Nordstrom, the rotating concept shop at Nordstrom, will feature a special capsule collection celebrating the heritage, history and future of MCM. The collection includes over 100 exclusive items for men and women, inspired by the brand’s most coveted and iconic styles. Veteran hip-hop photographer Sue Kwon shot the campaign highlighting the collaboration. She returned to the streets of New York to shoot Slick Rick, who merges his personal style with pieces from the collection. “This is what I’ve always been about,” Rick said. The project began last year when Nordstrom VP of Creative Projects Olivia Kim visited the MCM archives in South Korea and emerged with a reimagined collection of new classics. Pop-In@Nordstrom MCM will be available at 10 Nordstrom locations and online at Nordstrom. com/pop from October 5 – November 11.


Zip and Switch

Dami Adepoju and Fini Shoes

I’m a lover of hi-top sneakers. Supra, Creative Recreation, Puma, and Adidas are my favorites sneakers in that specific order). I love the uniqueness of each brand and the fact that there are soo many options when it comes to how you want a casual shoe to look. Nonetheless, my love for the style comes with a downside. When i was ready to travel, I had to make a decision on how many shoes to take and if i needed a separate bag. When i saw this sneaker come across my desk, it’s easy to say i was intrigued. The concept is amazing but my concern was the comfort and the quality of the shoe. I wore the sneaker for a week straight and I LOVE IT!!! They are not only comfortable, they are functional. I put one of the attachements in the car with me because i wanted to go from a mid sneakerduring the day to a hi-top that evening. It was seamless. I sat down with the creator of the Fini Shoe, Dami Adepoju, and spoke to him about his creation and

wanted to know more about where not only his interest in fashion developed but what lead him to making a sneaker that I was able to fall in love with. SUAVV: How did you get into fashion? Dami: I grew up in Nigeria, Africa and one of the things my mom taught me growing up was that, people perceive you by appearance. Before you meet someone the first impression is what they keep. It’s very modest. So just going by what my mom taught me, I take my appearance seriously. I always try to look nice. By age of nine, I noticed, that I’ve always followed fashion brands, trends, and trying to see what’s new. It just became a passion of mine and that’s how I first got into studying fashion. SUAVV: Your mom is very correct on that. First impressions are always remembered. You fell in love with fasion at a very early stage and then decided to turn it into a career.


Dami: It wasn’t something that I could pass on at that point. I thought it was good idea and I wanted to work on it and I just started doing it and you know, and all you can do is take it one day at a time. That’s where I am right now. SUAVV: I completely understand. So looking at your sneaker, what, what made you think of designing the shoe the way you did? I mean, it’s really creative to have five different shoes in one. What made me think of that? Dami: Well, what inspired me was traveling. When I graduated from college, I was traveling on a spring trip, to meet up with my friends. I went to school in upstate New York. It’s very cold and snowy winters there. So, I was traveling from very harsh cold weather to tropical weather and the hassle of bringing multiple shoes for different occasions became more of a headache than fun. You have to bring boots, normal shoes, and slippers. In that moment, I thought of one shoe that could transform into another and started at that point. It was the initial phase and then I continued working on actually designing something that can be effective. SUAVV: Which is probably the hardest part of packing for a trip. When you look at your design being more in the creative style, how do you plan to compete with other sneakers, or do you even worry about competing with other sneakers, shoes, or boots? Dami: My idea is to bring something unique, that makes us stand out from everyone. I think that will be my edge to compete. Right now, I’m trying to

get in the open market, worldwide. That’s the number one priority. We want to bring something that allows you to be versatile with your shoe choice. I wanted to make the design to go with any kind of any kind of outfit. If you look at our marketing campaign and our wardrobe photos in our look book, it shows that you can wear the shoe with a suit, casual chinos, or jeans. It just caters to you. It makes it easy to transition your outfit. That’s how the shoe is designed. Listen, we’re a really cool brand and we’re bringing something different and something new to the market.


Who Needs Dad? Words: Allan Caldwell

‘Who needs Dad?’ I never thought there would be a time in my life when this would be a question that many people in the nation ask of themselves. As ‘Father’s Day’ has come and gone I thought it would be appropriate to ask the serious question. Who needs dad? Over the last 20 years there has been a push to confront the growing problem of fathers who are absent from the lives of their children. It has led many to develop a stance that questions the importance of having dad around. This change along with the growing acceptance of non-traditional family structure has contributed to the question, “Who needs Dad?” What we know of the traditional Dad or ‘man of the house’ role for some families is bestowed upon the young sons of households which develops an unhealthy and often times unrealistic sense of responsibility or duty. The responsibility that young men are asked to shoulder is not practical for them, but can be argued as always being the default responsibility when dad is absent. We will definitely discuss that relationship in a different article later. Something to also consider is the impact this has had on mothers who now find themselves assuming the dual parenting role. In recent years many women have felt the stress of having to be mentally flexible by shifting between their ‘idea of self ’ and the ‘idea of the pseudo-personality of dad’. I wonder is it such an easy transition or done with the idea that ‘I am doing the best I can’? The concern I have is how do the children fair through these situations. The children are robbed of so much because of what is not provided. The lack of stability that can be brought with both parents in the house is huge. Imagine the relationship issues that can be developed from not having enough engagement for the children. Mother’s don’t have to be, and cannot be Dad. So, often they have to cover a lot of ground attempting to provide a complete parental experience for their children. This is an incredibly large topic and I

want to focus specifically on the need for ‘Dad’. My goal is to stimulate a dialogue about progress for the lives of our future community. It is amazing how we as adults can look out and see the possibilities of what the community can look like if we honestly assess our impact on the children we raise. There is stability in every community regarding those that are the biological Dad or play the role of Dad are given the autonomy to be active. The issue or concern I have is related to the stresses of how important it is to them (Dad) to be a parent. Unfortunately, parents do not have a manual to guide them to be parents over their children. But then again, most parents probably wouldn’t read through the whole thing. If there were training courses available for fathers, it’s possible that they would have difficulty staying consistent. The attitude that is attributed to men in this instance is a stigma of ‘lack of communication’. It is important to consider how young fathers are being supported in the process. For example, where can new fathers learn the ropes of being a “father”, while still learning themselves? If there is no community to aid in supporting men emotionally as well as assist in legal support? How do they overcome issues that arise from broken relationships leading to a disconnect in parenting dynamics? I encourage the active or ‘acting’ dads to come together and build a network full of programs to support each other. Let’s answer the question definitively ‘Who needs Dad?’.


Opposite Page: Top: Pretty Little Thing Pants: Isabel Marant Shoes: Ralph Lauren

Styling the Set Teresita Marie

Photographer: Evelia Ayala

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ashion is a voice interpreted through the eyes. It tells how meticulous you may be, if you're a free thinker, if you play it safe, if you are bold, and even if you have a message to send. The first lady of the United States, Melania Trump, found out that her clothing may send a much bigger message than her words or her actions. Clothing is an expression that fluctuates with race, gender, region, and culture. To further complicate things, it will change with social circles, financial status, personal taste, and body type. Needless to say, shopping can be your worse enemy or your best friend. Celebrity and commercial fashion stylist Teresita Marie sat with us and talked us about all things fashion. She is sharing some of her expertise so that you may be able to either dress like a celebrity or just like the Pinterest fashion superstar that you feel you are. SUAVV: How were you introduced to design? Teresita: I studied fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco then, branched out to costume design at a local college in Santa Cruz. While I was living at FIDM, they provided opportunities for retail associates with merchandisers at local boutiques like Emporio Armani, Juicy Couture, and Stella Mccartney to get your foot in the door. I wanted to do more than that. I didn't want to just be at a store. I later found

out about opportunities in Los Angeles that could help me as a stylist. I always imagined that styling was only a dream. Something that only happens in movies. As I started booking projects in Los Angeles as an assistant and in San Francisco, one of the stylists that I was working with recommended me as a full-time e-commerce stylist for brands to style props and styling clothes. I was there for a while, but again, I wanted to do something a little more. So, I moved to L.A. and continued to sustain under high profile stylists. After about two years, I branched out on my own and I was working with a lot of up and coming artists, producers, and directors. That's where I'm at today. SUAVV: That's really cool and shows a lot of dedication. What would you say, in your early years, was your biggest learning experience while working under other stylists? Teresita: I already had a grip as to what I wanted to do. I knew what area I wanted to work in and I knew what I wanted to style. When I was working with other stylists, I was finding out about other routes, instead of just looking at styling as red carpet and working with celebrities. I found out about commercials, ads, music videos, and all these other opportunities that kind of opened up doors to meeting other artists and other up and coming musicians. That's one of the things that I feel that I learned most. Going to interviews, press junkets, and all these huge events like red carpets also lead you into other doors.


I like helping consumers learn how to dress like celebrities and help people on how to achieve a good fashion sense. SUAVV: And I think that is one of the coolest aspects of fashion You can literally teach someone who has no fashion sense how to have a bit of a style of their own. With so many new trends, styles, and designers out there, how often would you say that you're researching for your career?

SUAVV: I've seen people RUIN outfits with a bulky sneaker. And I'm thinking to myself "what in the hell did you see when you looked in the mirror?" LOL. When you started your career or even now and do you find yourself going more to a specific type of item? If so, where do you find them? More boutiques or department stores?

Teresita: Oh, of course. I'm a huge denim head and so when it comes to vintage, I go crazy, you know, I'm a huge fan of finding vintage bits that are so Teresita: Every Single Day. I don't stop. I'm research- unique. People are finding different ways to wear ing on my phone. I'm researching on my lunch break. them and they always want to be like that one perI'm literally having my lunch and I'm researching. son. You want to be that one person where people I come home, getting ready for bed, and for like an come up to you and they say "Oh my God, what are hour I'm researching. I'm seeing what's happening. you wearing?" You know? So having to go to all these Seeing what's going on with all the hype around cervintage stores and grabbing these unique pieces, it tain labels, what's going on with vogue, what's going just makes you look so much better. And also suron with the runway, what new collections came out, prisingly, something that I just learned a couple of what people are wearing for such and such event, years ago is a lot of designers that are huge now go to what people are going to wear? Then, brands are con- vintage stores and they buy these samples from old stantly emailing me, sending me all these lookbooks labels or designers that are not known to anybody and all of these gifts that they want to give to my anymore and they copied them and we remake these clients. So I'm always looking at what people are dopieces as their own. So, people think, "Oh wow, look ing. Not just high-end designers anymore. It's a lot of at what the designer came up with." and I'm looking these clothing designers are now they're making their at them like "that was from the seventies and that was own brands. So then they're signing you up to all worn by this person." (laughing) Like that's old. You these showrooms that are sending emails. It's almost know what I mean? So, it's really extraordinary what like a world of brands and looks that are coming in. you can find out there because to another person it That just opens your eyes. You're thinking, "Oh, I will be like whatever. But, then it becomes a label. want to dress this person in this", but then something Whereas you have a stylist, like me, that's constantly comes in and you're like, "nevermind, I want that". looking for vintage. Then I put it on someone and We're so filled with so many styles nowadays. It's not they go, "Oh my God, where'd you get that?" So it just one thing anymore. could be either way. There are always so many ways to wear vintage and denim. I'm a huge fan of vintage. SUAVV: Very true. I think I can say that we get a Huge! Especially with fabrics from back in the day. new designer sending us an email weekly. FortuIt's incredible. Huge, especially with fabrics back in nately, my inbox isn't as full as yours with fashion. the day. It’s incredible. With so many options in the fashion world and wanting to make an impact with your styling, what would you say is one small mistake that makes a big impact? Teresita: I'm going to say shoes? Shoes can really ruin an outfit. And I've noticed that a lot nowadays. People are so focused on wearing the coolest, newest shoe that it just completely destroyed your outfits. Look at it in the full picture. If the shoe is going to go, then wear it because you're creating an outfit around that shoe. But if you're gonna wear an amazing outfit and then just explode it with a shoe. Just don't do it. Wear it another time.


Trench Coat: Ralph Lauren Bustier: Forever 21 Jewelry: Hannah Frost


Photographer: Michael Letterlough, Jr. Grooming: Rodney Jon


Thomas Orlina Living The Life

Reality television is more of a part of our culture today than the 11 o’clock news. There was a time where reality television was watching the OJ Simpson trial or the Gulf War footage. Lifestyle’s of the Rich and Famous was the only time you had a true peek into a Stars life. Suddenly, times changed and MTV decided to give pop culture a taste of reality. The Real World hit the airwaves in 1992 and launched what would be Reality Television. They took 7 strangers and flew them to a new city and had them live in a house together. The nonstop footage took the culture by storm and the audience became invested in the lives of people who they didn’t know, wouldn’t have known, and probably don’t remember. Fast forward 25 years and the once frowned upon genre is the hottest concept of television. Thomas Orlina, a Filipino American Los Angeles native was ready for his spotlight. The former TMZ assistant was fascinated with the concept of reality television and took matters into his own hands. Being inspired by shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, and the Housewives franchise, Thomas created Your Time with Thomas, a YouTube channel that allowed his social media following to be a part of his everyday life. Little did he know, the response would be just as “REAL”. SUAVV: What would you say was the motivation that drove you to create your own reality series? Thomas: What really drove me to do that is I’ve always wanted to be on reality TV. It’s been like a lifelong goal to be a part of that whole atmosphere in that whole world of reality television. And I’ve always joked around in the past that, you know, I would be somebody that would be great for reality TV and people have also believed in that. So when I realized that I could actually produce, I just really took matters into my own hands. One of the first reality shows that I ever watched was MTV is the real world. I actually in high school actually got voted to be most

likely on a TV show, which is kind of funny. So it was, it was a really interesting thing because at that, at that point in my life, a lot of people already saw my personality and you know, when I do run into people nowadays, it’s not, it doesn’t really surprise them that I do have a show called Your Time with Thomas. SUAVV: That’s really impressive. It’s not easy to go through networks and have a reality show if they don’t know who you are. Was that the reason that you decided to produce this yourself? Thomas: You can create a reality show and don’t necessarily have to wait for executives to greenlight the dreams that you might have. With the right ideas, the right team, and the right concept, you can come up with something really great on your own. Like I never thought I would be on a CNN branded show talking to people in the Philippines and being on live television and talking about something that I created having that big of an impact. What was important for me was to create a show that was going to inspire other people to follow their dreams and to create whatever it is that they’re passionate about. SUAVV: ABSOLUTELY!!! So when you, when you start the show, like what helped you pick your topics? I know they’re real-life kind of topics. At what point do you say, “I want to do this”? And are there things where you say, “you know what, I really don’t want to approach this”? Thomas: Well, it was the first season, and I definitely wanted to share my heritage and my culture. Highlighting that community was really one of the main focuses for me. I’ve been watching reality TV since I was really young and even today I do not see a lot of Filipino American actors or reality television stars. I really wanted to be at the forefront of that. Another topic that we discussed in the show was my coming out story. We actually already teased the coming out


as the next time on your time with Thomas, which was definitely something that I wanted to do and share because, you know, being a person that’s in the LGBT community, I think it’s important to share those personal stories because it’s something that really happened to me and something I really had to go through that was extremely difficult and you know. Having to share that with a public audience and not knowing what the response was gonna be was definitely a risk that I’m really happy that I took. I received messages from people from New York, Thailand, Hawaii, London, Miami, and just all over the world. I got messages from a lot of people that really appreciated the episode and a few of them that said they actually cried after watching the story. People have different journeys, some of them are easy and some of them are really difficult. By me highlighting this, I’m hoping that it makes the next person coming out much easier than mine. I was really proud of that one for sure.

director and an editor to help put this together. I definitely was looking for someone that was experienced and was a filmmaker. I get compliments from people and they say, you know, this show could be on a big network. As well as executives who I’ve actually shown the show to were really blown away with the way that it was filmed and edited. It was all put together to look like a show that could be on Bravo, E, MTV, or logo. So the quality of how we filmed the show was very important for those reasons. You have to be careful to not take cheaper shortcuts because they can come back to bite you in the butt.

SUAVV: Authenticity is what captures people. So that was not only an amazing understanding but very brave. What do you find is the hardest part of creating your own platform and having your own show?

Thomas: I would definitely say to create a blueprint of exactly what your idea is and to really focus on it. I know how it can get as a writer and somebody that produced the entire series on my own. You definitely have to be committed to doing a show like this or creating a product that you want to last. Oftentimes, I think people create things and there are too many ideas and there are too many concepts and everything gets lost in translation. But if you have exactly what you’re trying to do and want to accomplish, you are in a great starting place. And you know, creating a base is definitely important.

Thomas: I think the hardest part was definitely to have created a whole eight-episode series of the show and having it have spinoffs shows like Your Time with Thomas: The Shuffle, which is a fan base interactive show. Then just being a little bit weary and seeing if people were going to connect with you. I think if you’re on a reality show and if you go through the production company, they pretty much handle the craft of the show. There’s a genre with it. But in my case, I had to be many different people. I kind of went into it with that mentality of, I’m going to do it just like they did and I’m hoping that people connect with me. They did and to this day, I mean it’s grown into this bigger thing, but I never imagined so it was worth the risk of putting myself out there and creating a brand for myself. SUAVV: That’s cool. So when you started, you said your production was extremely important. How did you go about filming? Was it a simple camera setup? Did pull the iPhone camera setups from time to time? How did you go about the taping process? Thomas: With Your Time with Thomas, I hired a

SUAVV: Yes. Starting out the right way sets the tone for how to proceed. Even with a low budget, no one should be able to tell. Now, when someone says like they want to start their own show and really have like no idea where to begin, what would you say is the beginning point?

SUAVV: Creating a base is extremely important. Regardless of how great of a product you have, it doesn’t matter if no one knows it’s there. When you put out a series and you say, I have a YouTube series and there are 30,000 people watching it, how does it make you feel? Thomas: OMG, I have cultivated this strong audience and that on YouTube alone, but with almost 70,000 followers on social media. Them knowing about the Your Time with Thomas brand and following the show, it makes me really excited because it’s only uphill from here. I’m learning more about the business and more about what I need to do to really get things to the next level. It makes me really excited for the future. Each episode has a segment called takeaway. This is where I’m actually saying positive, uplifting things to really motivate my viewers be-


cause I wanted to create something that was going to be useful to people and it wasn’t necessarily a show fully about me. Yes, there are things about me that I wanted to share, but the end goal of it all was to connect with my social media followers and people around the world. SUAVV: I love that. When you get to that point of “what the future holds”, what do you want your show to grow into? Do you want to put another eight episodes? Spin-off shows? Like what do you want? I created Your Time with Thomas: The Experience with just the spinoff show. I definitely wanted to create something more personal. It’s actually shot in a video blog format. In the first season, I’m traveling to the Philippines, which was my first time visiting the Philippines. I wanted to take the fans that watch Your Time with Thomas season one to the Philippines with me. I partnered up with a Filipino entertainment company, and they actually launched it on local Philippine television. Your Time with Thomas, season one was also picked up on a network in Houston, Texas.


The

Evolution of Garth Voisin


Authoring a self-help book requires an extent of transparency that can be overwhelmingly uncomfortable. There’s an established trust that comes with relatability and truth. Fitness enthusiast and model Garth Voisin decided to be transparent. Growing up on the island of Trinidad, Garth was feeling like he wasn’t living up to his full potential and knew that he there was more in the world for him. Leaving his family behind, he did what he always would, jumped out of life’s airplane with no parachute and landed in New York City. After the trial and tribulations of figuring out life in the Big Apple, he decided that he would be an author to share his story. Ironically, this was because he was challenged by a television commercial. Garth was consistent on what he was trying to do with pursuing the passion for writing. While wanting a full Mind, Body, and Soul understanding, Garth began training and consulting in the fitness industry. “A lot of people focus on the body, which is not a bad thing,” Garth explains. “But, I think sometimes we don’t understand that the center of it all would be a mind. Your actions come from your mind. Feelings come from your mind. Everything comes from your mind. The mind is the mainframe of life. So I wanted to connect the two of them and to share it with as many people as possible.” Garth was a transplant in the beautiful city of New York right after the turn of the millennium. He was excited, enthusiastic, and optimistic. He was in a new space with a world of possibilities. Never did he think that the struggle of The Empire State would be the first challenge that he would be faced with. The eager newbie was faced with sleeping in his car for a stint and even slept in a house with no heat. By 6 o’clock, he was asleep because staying up beyond the 6 o’clock hour would mean that he was conscious of how cold he was. Those memories continue to remind him that if he could overcome those things, he would be fine. However, he doesn’t feel that he will ever be “OK”. “You’re never Okay, man,” Garth laughs. “I think, I think the point where I realized that things will work themselves out. You will never be okay because you know, not every day is going to be okay. you know? It was definitely a hard transition. Being as transparent as transparency can get, there was a lot of depression. Missing being at home, and then there’s this idea of ‘what I should do? Just give up and go back? So you’re trying to push on, and it was tough.

Garth continues, “There was this commercial that said “if you were to write a book about your life, would anyone read it? I kept hearing the commercial regardless of where I was. I like cars, right? When you want a new car and you think about the car you want, you see that car over and over and over and over. All of a sudden [it feels like] there are 100 million of these cars in your neighborhood. So the first time I heard the commercial about it, I was just joking around like, yeah, okay, you know, I should write a book about my life. And the next two days it came up again and then came up again. I’m like, you know what, alright, okay, I’m going to do this.” Garth’s first book was not much about his own life but more about experiences and trying to encourage his readers to reflect on their own lives. In doing this, Garth admitted that his ego and pride were bigger than his purpose. All of that would change when emails, facebook messages, and posts responses informed him that his messages were resonating with the readers. They were experiencing the things that he was writing about, thus, making them one of the same with him. The only avenue left to travel was that of full transparency. To achieve this, Garth would have to allow his purpose to overtake his ego and pride. “A lot of these things are happening to other people and they don’t have a voice,” Garth explains. “Sometimes, if you are free to share what you think that went bad in your life, that’s a good thing. Most people just share the highlights. I’m actually trying to reach into the mind of men. I feel as though I posted a lot of stuff recently from the mind of a man, and got some feedback. Some of it was good, well, most of it was good. But again, I’m writing it regardless. I feel as though we are in a society, now, where the man’s mind is more closed off from when it was from before. I’m trying to write from a perspective of the mind of a man because I feel as though a lot of men are staying silent in order to not have a confrontation or all the context. People don’t understand that that leads to so many different things.” Men are raised to be a locked chest of emotions. While kids, boys are told not to cry and to “man up”. Taught not to complain when upset about issues. And encouraged to fight our way out of any situation that arises. While little girls are taught to do the exact opposite of all of those actions. Into adulthood, the once boys playing with trucks are now men, closed to expressing emotion. Therefore, it’s always rewarding


when Garth has a man send him a message of social media.

the book to maybe sit down and chat with them a little bit.”

“The biggest shock is the reaction from people who you would assume would not react,” Garth says. “The feedback from people who at one point, would say writing a book is not going to work. But, when you see the writing and being consistent and be in something that is put out there they say, ‘Hey, you know what? I didn’t support that in the beginning, this writing makes an impact.’ So from the time I started to get a little bit more feedback from writing, and that’s when I realized that as much as I would have loved to go into more acting or modeling or more, I think it makes sense.”

Never leaving the world of fitness, Garth saw the opportunity to address the full rounded Mind, Body, and Soul method for his training sessions. He was excited to talk to men about the mental training of fitness. Many trainers will say that mentally overcoming your obstacles is the first step to achieving your goal. We encourage people to just “make it” to the gym. Worry about the workout after you get there. With the mental workout, it’s just being open to an authentic and transparent conversation. You wouldn’t believe how difficult this is. Transparency leaves you open to judgement, ridicule, and even unwarranted guilt. Men tend to not like the truth of themselves as it’s told from another person.

While pondering writing a post on instagram about influencers and influencers being people that have to be more than someone selling a product, we’ve come to an understanding that their posts should be something, and they should be someone that changes somebody’s life in a type of way. That way when you read a post or see a photo, there was an impact. Everybody has a role model in some way. Maybe it’s a small circle, but now that you’re an influencer in a bigger circle, what are you doing to impact people that are around you? How are you using your popularity to effectively help create change? Many people who really want to impact the lives of others have the “if I can only reach one person” mantra. This stands true of Garth. “I’m at that point where it has to be something that’s not just a passion or mission that you’re on,” Garth pleads. “You have to at least help somebody. I think that’s where all that came about. Just the idea of sharing experiences with whoever’s listening, whoever was reading, whoever had once paid attention. I just hope that my words can help somebody. The trials I’ve been through, and we haven’t gotten to those things [via social media] yet. I set out on a mission, a personal mission to get new books out to as many people as possible. I didn’t plan to make anything off of the book. So the mission now is that as many places as I go, if I know somebody had said to me, Hey, I love the book idea and I could meet up with them. I just go to different places and just tried to give them

Rules have changed. The ideals and ideas of manhood have changed. Society has changed. But the one thing that has not changed as the fact that there are very few outlets for men to really come out and say how I feel about something. Outlets that reassure a man that he isn’t the only person dealing with a particular situation. Or allowing yourself to believe that if you get emotional and begin to pour out your feelings that you’re less of a man. This is a primary reason that the magazine you’re currently reading was created. And for Garth, it’s one of the biggest motivations for him to connect with others. He understands that if you keep it in your mind, your actions will begin rebelling or lashing out, which could lead to anything from woman to alcohol or worse. “It’s okay to want to talk to somebody about something because it’s on your mind,” Garth explains. “Instead, we, as men, to compartmentalize our problems or put our issues into a little corner, which is what you’ll do whenever it comes back up again, which is not actually dealing with it. So you’re constantly dying in silence. Screaming with no audible source. Because again, you’ve had this mask on for so long that it’s like they removed in mass and say, hey, And they put it back on because they can’t be themselves when they go anywhere else.”


Charmaine Bingwa Directing from Down Under

Photo By Paul Smith

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hile in college, Charmaine Bingwa was given the opportunity to enroll in an elective theater course. Falling in love may be an understatement. Being a singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, and a DJ, this entertaining powerhouse was more than prepared for the physical and skillful demand that the Hollywood’s of the world could bring. However, the question was if she was ‘ready’ for the industry. By the end of 2018, Netflix will have produced or acquired 700 new or exclusively licensed television shows including more than 100 scripted dramas and comedies, dozens of documentaries and children’s shows, stand-up comedy specials as well as unscripted reality and talk shows from an estimated 21 countries. When Charmaine realized the ability to access those types of statistics, the new filmmaker threw her hat in the ring. Charmaine’s passion for diversity led the Australian native to decide that the US market was what she wanted to pursue next. She arrived with nothing more than her with her love for acting and film and an exuberant amount of drive for creating a global career. SUAVV: So from my understanding, you were a business major, never really had a passion for acting and decided one semester that this was going to be the class that you took to fill in your schedule?

Charmaine: I just thought it might make me a bit more career savvy and a more confident public speaker. Then, from the first moment, I just kind of clicked with everything. Doing exercises and then when we started getting into scene work, it just came really natural in a way that I felt like I shouldn’t have had an ability to perform at that level, for someone who’s never done it. I really enjoyed it. SUAVV: Nice. So you’re a natural. You went through this learning process and you said: “Okay, I enjoy this and want to do this.” What was your introduction to the film industry like? Was it difficult, quick, long, and/or easy? Charmaine: I had done like a couple of productions and then I had a business background. I gave myself three months and to do as many projects, (whether they’re short films or independent films), and then at the end, I can decide whether I want to do this for the rest of my life as a career. I think I did like 15 projects in those three months. It was enough to become psycho, but I loved it. SUAVV: That’s a lot of work and a lot of different personalities and roles to take on in a short period. After that, how important do you think it is to have a level of authenticity in this career? And at what point did you decide that you needed to have your own voice and start creating your own material? Charmaine: Um, well, it was just kind of when I was


“I always wanted to shoot something and I was just waiting for the right story.” more determined to have more of an international career. From what I’ve seen, the kind of way to really put your own stamp on things was to, to write something in your own voice. I mean there are people like Issa Ray and Donald Glover who are just killing it by putting things into their own voice. So, I just thought, I felt like I had a story to tell and if you’re doing other people’s material at the beginning of your career, you’re always going to be shaped by what they see you as. I’d wanted to shape myself by what I saw myself as; when people would do the opposite. That way, they could really get a sense of what I’m thinking, who I am, and what I’m capable of. SUAVV: Very true. Making your own lane has become the new pulpit of talent. Do you find it harder to keep that voice or even feel that you may lose a part of your audience because you’re a part of the LGBT community? Is it more difficult for you? Charmaine: Um, no, actually. I think it’s been a really, really good experience. Like, it’s so much easier to write when it’s just the absolute truth of who you are. It has just been released as it’s been responded to really strongly. I’m pleasantly surprised by the support and how everyone’s been receiving it. SUAVV: Now, you will next star in the upcoming web series Little Sista which you also wrote, produced, and directed. Congrats. Tell me about “Little Sista”. What inspired that project? Charmaine: First, Thank you! I guess it came from

two things that we’re talking about in terms of just wanting to make something that could play on an international scale, that would kind of introduce me to the market. I was talking to a friend and the story kind of came organically because I was actually a mentor in a little sister, big sister program a couple of years ago. I kind of took that story and made a hysterical comedy and dialed up everything. And the story just painted out quite naturally and before I knew it, I wrote a season of it. I’m just a self-starter, so I was like, ‘let’s shoot this thing. Let’s do it, let’s do it now’. And then, this is where you’re at. I always wanted to shoot something, and I was just waiting for the right story. And then as soon as my friend reminded me that I had mentored in this program, I just started writing it and it came out in like a week and I kept and revising and had a story very quickly. Prior to and since this interview, Little Sista has enjoyed success on the festival circuit, winning the award for Best Screenplay at the LGBT Toronto Film Festival and earning selections in the Web Series Festival Global, Hollywood, Out Fest LA, Sicily Web Fest, Roma Cinema DOC, and Melbourne Web Fest. The highly-anticipated series also premiered on the re-designed Revry network. To see more of Charmaine and follow her career, check her out on Instagram at @CharmaineBingwa


Adam Ambroso

Learning to Fly


“I sat down with the rest of the producers before making this film, and we discussed the very real danger of our shining a light on this terrible problem and how that could possibly endanger and negatively affect our lives. Thank God, that has not happened so far.” Helping to spotlight Hollywood’s reckoning in the wake of the #MeToo movement, actor, producer and gifted entrepreneur Adam Ambruso stared and holds a producer credit in the Sony Pictures award-winning film, BUTTERFLY CAUGHT.

Lee ab workouts.

Written and directed by Manny Rodriguez Jr., the film follows three bright-eyed women with dreams of making it big as actresses. Each is pushed past breaking points when they’re tempted with promises of fame and will be forced to decide how far they’re willing to go to become actresses. BUTTERFLY CAUGHT explores the dark underbelly of glitzy Hollywood and illustrates with deafening power, how the cut-throat industry makes victims of naïve newcomers. Touching on drugs, sexual advances, and makeor-break career decisions, the film’s artful take paints an all too real portrait of Hollywood’s deepest secrets.

SUAVV: When did you become an actor and how did you get into the industry? Adam: I became an actor actually when I was taking drama classes at The University of Texas at Austin, as I started auditioning there during college. I got into the industry by just packing up my life in Austin and driving it to Los Angeles in a U-Haul Truck and just plain making the decision to act professionally.

Drawn to projects that passionately move audiences, Ambruso also recently starred in and executive produced Will Wallace’s thrilling drama, TRAFFICKED. Starring alongside Ashley Judd and written by a Harvard professor who wrote a book about human trafficking, TRAFFICKED explicitly details the story of three young women who are abducted and thrust into the vicious underworld of sex trafficking. TRAFFICKED made it’s premiere in 2017 and found the perfect balance to portray the horrifying truth of sex slavery while also not pushing the audience beyond it’s limits. Originally from Austin, Texas, Adam graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and has since made deep roots in Los Angeles, and while not on-set has also balanced a career as a successful entrepreneur; building properties and dabbling in investment real estate. Adam is also a strong health advocate and maintains a rigid fitness routine complete with Bruce

We sat with Adam to talk about it all and gain an honest perspective of what he sees a s problem and his oblicgation to help recitfy.

SUAVV: Butterfly Caught has a very relevant place in the Hollywood Industry. How does it feel to be a part of a movie that is such a powerful movement right now? Adam: It is truly an honor to be a part of BUTTERFLY CAUGHT not only because it is a great film that has a raw truthful voice, but also because it has such a relevant place in the Hollywood Industry. I am so proud of the movie, and I am so proud to be a part of it. SUAVV: When did you become an actor and how did you get into the industry? Adam: I became an actor actually when I was taking drama classes at The University of Texas at Austin, as I started auditioning there during college. I got into the industry by just packing up my life in Austin and driving it to Los Angeles in a U-Haul Truck and just plain making the decision to act professionally. SUAVV: Butterfly Caught has a very relevant place in the Hollywood Industry. How does it feel to be a part of a movie that is such a powerful movement right now?


Adam: It is truly an honor to be a part of BUTTERFLY CAUGHT not only because it is a great film that has a raw truthful voice, but also because it has such a relevant place in the Hollywood Industry. I am so proud of the movie, and I am so proud to be a part of it. SUAVV: What would you say was the most difficult aspect of breaking into your career in Hollywood? Adam: Finding out how to do just that…break into my career. Like almost everyone who decides to make the journey to Hollywood and act, I didn’t even know where to start. There really is no roadmap for this…or at least one that is glaringly obvious. SUAVV: TRAFFICKED is another film based on a really hot topic right now. How does making a film like this impact your private life? Adam: Making the move TRAFFICKED, based on such a hot topic right now really has not affected my private life in a huge way so far. I sat down with the rest of the producers before making this film, and we discussed the very real danger of our shining a light on this terrible problem and how that could possibly endanger and negatively affect our lives. Thank God, that has not happened so far. If anything, making TRAFFICKED has impacted me in a very positive way. It has forwarded my career as an actor and a producer and has led to a lot more opportunities for me. I also feel really good about making a difference to help shed a light on what is in my opinion the worst human rights violation plaguing the world today.

veloping a high-end luxury house in the Hollywood Hills at the top of Runyon Canyon that should be finished around the December/January timeframe. I have a goal to do 29 more. I am also planning on developing the John Varvatos Hotel in Malibu next year and maybe even the Robert Mondavi Winery renovation in Napa Valley. I will be ultimately building large commercial residences in Hollywood and the surrounding areas as well. I got involved in real estate by buying my first home in the Hollywood Hills and knocking it down in order to build a brand new on at triple the size. When I was a child I would build toy log cabins and with Legos. Now, I am essentially building life-sized log cabins and Lego buildings. What sticks out about a home to me is its uniqueness, how it makes you feel, and its livability. I want it to feel modern and sexy while at the same time feeling very cozy and warm and some place you just want to lounge and hang out. Lenny Kravitz Interior Design has done a very good job at mastering this art I think.

SUAVV: What is the Bruce Lee ab workout? Would you be willing to have some of our followers try it out as well? Adam: I love to work out and challenge my body to its maximum potential in order to be in the best physical shape possible. Consequently, I am very much inspired by Bruce Lee’s mindset and what he was able to accomplish with the human body. He was particularly obsessed with his core and abdominal muscles in particular. He felt the core was the epicenter of the body and were the only muscles that were used during every other exercise. For this reason, he spent an inordinate amount of time developSUAVV: Do you have any plans to do any type of philan- ing his abdominal muscles. The exercise that he liked thropic work regarding both topics? to use to do this was called the Dragon Flag, which I Adam: I do have plans to do philanthropic work in believe he created or at least popularized. I watched the area of Human Trafficking and am open to doing him do them in a video online once and was imwork in the “Me Too” movement. I’m just not sure mediately mesmerized by the difficulty of them and how else I could help with the “Me Too” movement his strength as he did them seemingly effortlessly. I other than trying to expose it through cinema and became obsessed with them and now do them almost by continuing to share my personal story, whenever every workout. At first, I could not even do one possible, at this point. properly, so I would do three sets of ten with horrific form. I have worked up to three sets of 20 with great form now. My stomach is usually pretty sore after SUAVV: Tell me more about your real estate ventures. this, so there is no need to keep going, haha. I highly How did you get involved in the industry? What about suggest them as a goal to do a few sets of ten with a home sticks out to you? What is your favorite room in good form ultimately. I would love your followers to a house? give them a go, so to speak. Adam: One of my biggest and most loved hobbies is real estate and in particular developing it. I am de-


Donnell Rawlings Keep On Laughing L

aughter is a soul cleansing act. Comedy is an art form that takes practice, patience, and creativity. In 2003, a comedic powerhouse in Dave Chappell created the Chappelle Show and gave comedian, writer, and actor Donnell Rawlings a shot at the mic. Donnell, being the ambition comedian that he is, jumped on the opportunity. Creating characters like Ashy Larry and Beautiful, Donnell was on his way to big things. Merging with fellow comedian Kevin Smith, Donnell embarked on a project that would give the power of the industry to the fans. HOLLYWEED launched its pilot episode on Rivot TV for an opportunity to be funded and greenlit by the viewers. Creating a show based on the cannabis industry, Donnell knew it was time to make a statement. The best comedians used their life stories and found a way to laugh through some of their deepest and darkest truths as well as approaching the most controversial topics in society.  Alright, so um, just to kind of jump into your interview, how did you get into comedy? Well, I used to have a regular nine to five [job] like most Americans and hard working people. A lot of the employees at my job but go to a comedy club just to hang out and have some fun as coworkers and everybody knew that I was funny. I used to go to comedy clubs because I was a heckler. At this particular comedy club, a majority of the audience started to come to see me as the heckler. The owner wanted me to shut up and stop ruining the show. So he invited me on stage and 24 years later that’s what I’ve been doing. Basically, I got my start like a lot of comics. It was almost a dare. That’s hilarious. Bein that you were a heckler, do you hate hecklers at your shows? I don’t usually have hecklers at my shows and if I do, I annihilate them. So it’s not a good idea to heckle

me. You get heckled early on in your career because you don’t have the skillset to deal with certain situations. It’s like how a dog can feel fear on a person. Unless it’s somebody drunk, they don’t really come at you like that. You went into the air force right out of high school. What inspired that? Was it something you always wanted? I was like a lot of kids that really didn’t know what the next step in their life was going to be after high school. I didn’t want to go to college and I didn’t really have a skillset to keep much of anything after I got out of high school. The military was a good alternative for me to get some structure in my life, to travel, and become a man. And traveling definitely happened because you were based in Korea and learned how to speak Korean. Then you took that and you put that back into your sketches on Chappelle show. Yeah. A lot of people think I’m fluent in Korean. I’m not, I’m just conversational. Which means that if I went on a date with a woman, I knew what type of food to order. (laughing) We were doing the Chappelle show and there was a scene when I played Beautiful, where I just ran a line in Korean. A lot of people who don’t speak Korean think I was speaking gibberish anybody that speaks the language was like ‘oh, he’s nice with it.’ Right. And that’s the thing. We thought it was just a joke that you wrote out. But this is really what you knew. Yeah, it was funny. To hear anybody speak Korean, it’ll throw you off. But to hear a black dude from the hood speak Korean, you’re like what the hell just happened. (laughing)


“I used to study Richard Pryor because he was one of the most honest comics you could ever meet? A lot of people think that he was a dirty comic, you know what I’m saying? It wasn’t that he was necessarily ‘dirty’, it was characters. These were people in his life that were the raw people.” Once you decided to become a comedian, how did your life change? Was it a hard road? What was the transition like for you? Getting into the industry, I instantly became broke. I mentor a lot of guys, and I make sure to let them know that if you don’t know how to be happy being broke, this is a tough field to be in. I would say with anybody in this field at least 50-60 percent of your career is not going to be money when you making connections and building to go to the next level. Now, there are some exceptions to that rule. But there aren’t many. Right. When you are living and hustling through the broke phase because a lot of people that I’ve talked to say like it’s. It can be long. Like how long were you in that area? I would honestly say about 60 percent of my career. But it’s a mindset and I’ve never felt it. You know what I’m saying? I was happy with the small things. I always knew it was one thing to be financially successful and not knowing where you’re going. It’s another to have a vision. There are a lot of people with a dream that they’re not going to make a reality. I knew it wasn’t going to last long because as long as I kept moving, there was going to be some light at the end of the tunnel. It was fun. It was a good time. Even in the darkest times when finances weren’t adding up, whatever. I felt blessed and it felt good that I was doing something that I enjoy. I knew it would pay off sooner or later. Not to say that I’ve made it to an amazing level of anything. But anything that I have ever done through comedy, is because I took the road that I have taken and I never regret

that. Understood. There are a lot of comedians that I’ve spoken to, over time, who have said there are moments when things are just not funny and people expect you to always be “on” and always be funny. I know you have a different perspective on this and would love for you to elaborate a bit on that.   I don’t think there are too many situations where something is not funny. I think there are times where the joke may be too soon for a particular person, but as a person with humor, It could never be too soon for funny observation. There’s always something to chuckle about in your worst moments. Everything is funny. Everything has some type of humorous undertone in some type of way. It’s about how to find it? How did you develop your comedic career? Did you start studying comedy after you became a comic, or were you a student of the craft beforehand? I watched people for different styles. Martin Lawrence, he was just this guy who had the voice of the hood. He had the voice of what I came from. I was like, ‘man, this dude is talking about stuff that I see and do every day.’ I used to really appreciate Bill Cosby. This guy is


destroying an audience while sitting in a chair, with no profanity or anything. I used to study Richard Pryor because he was one of the most honest comics you could ever meet? A lot of people think that he was a dirty comic, you know what I’m saying? It wasn’t that he was necessarily ‘dirty’, it was characters. These were people in his life that were the raw people. I found something in every comic that I watched. It wasn’t that I could necessarily do what they did, but, I’ve found reasons why I could do this. There are certain people that were animated, there are wordsmiths, there are certain people that are physical comics, and I find a way to find something in every comic that I could incorporate into what I do. That’s cool. So ultimately you are a student of comedy. Now, how did you get into the acting field? How did you go from comedy into acting? I don’t think most people know you were on ‘The Wire’. I was doing stand up and my guess was this is a part

of the work. My showcase agents sent me out just to see what would happen. Nobody knew what it was gonna turn out to be, but it’s a function of training myself and thinking outside the box. Once we did this, on top of film, television agents in New York City were like, ‘something about this group, something about this guy, and let’s see what we can do with him.’ I was just starting to build this. Success met you and placed you in front of the world. Did you find yourself dealing with a lot of the jealousy and stress that come with success in entertainment? Have you found the “lonely at the top” phrase to be true to you? I don’t know if it’s lonely at the top, but it gets cold at the top. A lot of people won’t root for you. The more you get, the more haters come at you. And people want to see your downfall. You’ve got to have a strong base. If you have a strong base with your family and a handful of really, really good friends, you don’t have to deal with that. There are people who don’t know


how to reach out to find the people that love them, people that inspire them, motivate them, and make them better. When you find those people, you’re never at the top by yourself. That’s real. I’d even say that with anything in life, you should have that kind of a circle. So you and another comedian, Kevin Smith have a project that you have been working on and a network that is gaining some buzz. Let’s talk about that. A lot of times, the things that people don’t see, are pilots which are funny. Sadly, maybe one or two people have the power to say if they greenlight it or not. The beauty about this platform is it gives the power to the fan base by really believing in them to say what would be the next big thing. Rivot TV is the new platform and I think HOLLYWEED was a perfect example of that. HOLLYWEED was a project that Kevin Smith came up with years ago and was excited about. I had a conversation with him and he said ‘Donnell, I don’t want to do anything in my career that I don’t have fun with and I’m not excited about.’ With that said, it doesn’t necessarily mean the people in the suits are going to believe in it same way. So, when Kevin came with this pilot three years ago, we thought it was dead. There is a lot of frustration with continuing to do stuff and not have the right people seeing it. This is something that may have been shelved or something that was created and ended up in the hands of some “important people” This platforms allowed people like Joe blow, Barbecue Beckie, Combat Tom and whoever, the chance to say ‘I like this person’. Also, now with social media, we have this fan base. Kevin Smith had Millions of people that he could say ‘watch this and tell me what you want to do with it.’ The great thing about HOLLYWEED is 90 percent of the feedback that we had been getting has been great. So, you get a platform like Rivot TV to give those opportunities to people that produce it a win-win situation. That’s an amazing concept for a platform to have shows picked up by the fans. Ultimately, we are the ones who will watch or not watch. When you’re able to put that platform on the map with a show like yours, do you go back and start pushing other comedians and actors in the hopes of trying to bring them into the platform as well? Always. Always. I have people that I’ve been working with for years and we root for each other and we try to put ourselves in a position to win. Those are the

only people that I have around me. When you’ve been doing this, you know who the naysayers are and who has the negative energy and you just shed them like a snake. anything that you do with your success, your ambitions, your aspirations, will always in some way help the people that you are around. Those are the people that drive you to do great things. You’ve had the Success of the Chappelle Show and now, you have HOLLYWEED that you and Kevin Smith created together. Things are going great. You automatically start working on another show or do you focus on this one? Kevin and I get together to have writing sessions often. That way if the show is ever picked up, we’re going to be ready. You know, we’ve already started story lines for a couple of more episodes. As we speak, we’re ahead of anybody’s decision. If people love it, it’s going to be a marriage. You are going to see some funny stuff and you’re going to find some stuff that I think people desperately need. People need quality programming, you know? We’re going to hitting some real stuff regarding the insight that we have in the cannabis industry. You know? We’re talking about how laws have changed, the medical benefits of smoking marijuana, and so forth. HOLLYWEED is not just going to be like a pothead movie. The show is not just about ‘hey dude let’s get smoked out,’ or ‘I’m so smashed.’ This show is going to really go deep inside the whole cannabis industry. Because it’s big business, now.


Opposite Page Jacket: Barabas

McKinley Freeman Breaking Ground

Photographer: Michael Letterlough, Jr. Grooming: Rodney Jon Styling: Nior Jazz

6’4”

star of BET drama Hit The Floor, McKinley Freeman never thought that he would live in Los Angeles and acting would be his claim to fame. His MVP character in the basketball drama is even a stretch. McKinley was cut from his 8th-grade basketball team, had no idea how to do a three-man weave, and his height wasn’t enough to put him in uniform. Sports were fun but we won’t claim that he excelled at them. His first thought of being outside of the business industry was rejecting an offer during a scouting meeting with Elite Models in Chicago. Instead of posing for commercial ads and walking a runway, he went on to live in Atlanta, Georgia, taking a high leveled position with IBM. Giving presentations and having video conferences with other managers around the world would be the closest he would come to a stage or a screen. It was the efforts of Rodney Harris, owner of Slam Management in Atlanta, and his friend, Malcolm Bachelor, that would lead him into a new life role.

“All My Children was holding a casting call in Atlanta one weekend, and Rodney and Malcolm were like ‘you should go,’ Mckinley reflects and laughs a bit as he is lounging in his house during a rare week off. “The audition was in midtown or somewhere. At the end of the day, if we went down there, we could still hang out. I’m like, alright, cool. I told Malcolm, ‘I’ll go if you go because I’m not about to do this by myself ’ We walk in there and it’s a full casting session. It’s all these people and maybe four or five people from ABC. And here I am, just walking in there and running my mouth for a little bit, cracking jokes and shit. Ultimately, the whole thing comes full circle and I ended up being cast for a part of the project. That made me think that if I was able to get a taste of what acting’s like without having given the true focus that it takes, imagine what could happen if I did. Playing sports, getting an educational degree, or even becoming a biomechanical engineer takes a professional level of focus. And now I have this [acting] thought in my head.”


Jacket: Amir Adnan


“ I remember when Don Cheadle was nominated

for an Oscar for Hotel Rwanda. And some of the interviews were asking his questions almost as if it happened overnight, not really recognizing that “overnight” is like decades of nights and hours worth of hard work. Those projects may or may not ever.

When he finally realized that acting was what he wanted to do, McKinley’s excitement took over. He completed the screen testing for the popular ABC soap opera All My Children, signed his talent contract, began packing up the new home that he purchased in Atlanta, and began looking for a new place in New York. This unforeseen moment was happening. There was work to be done, rehearsing to happen, he needed coaching, and to top it off, it was time to get settled into a new city. All he needed was a start date. As the saying goes in Hollywood, “many things are guaranteed, but projects are not”. “My first taste of show business when nobody hit me up,” McKinley says laughing. “I asked the team at ABC ‘When is somebody going to let me know when I’m going to be moving to New York?’ Finally, somebody said, ‘Oh yeah, I think they went in a different direction.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, what would direction are we going?’ Then I’m like ‘Oh shit, you mean Y’ALL are going that way.’ There’s a very real part of being a dreamer that blinds your mind into pushing aside all of the other things that people say you should be doing. There are times where you are stressed out about everything involved in chasing this dream, while continuing to focus on the one thing that your heart is telling you to do. This takes a very stubborn mindset. And that’s why McKinley feels that artists have to do a better job of supporting one another. The person who supported

him the most was not in the entertainment industry. It was his late manager from IBM. This interview would be the first time that he verbally heard himself describe his mentor in the past tense. “Alan Everard, he was the one,” McKinley says sincerely. “He was like, ‘What are you doing? You’re so talented. Why don’t you go do something else? It’s like, you do this and it’s so easy for you. You should be doing this professionally.’ I remember one time he told me that a job like this will always be available for me because of my education and with everything I have already accomplished. By this time, I started really talking to him about the idea about moving to California and all these other things just because he was my boss and I was willing to give my job up.” The pursuit of a dream is completely about understanding your capacity to handle “things”. Things are hard because they’re hard. Being a believer isn’t an easy process and there are always moments that will be rough. However, if you realize how easy it is for you to handle difficult things, you’ll see that all of life has prepared you for your current moment. As people, we have to mentally get out of our own way and out of our own fears. That’s exactly what McKinley was prepared to do. “I decided to just move,” McKinley says. “When I got to California, I continued to work full-time for IBM and pursued acting full time. Some nights, I’d be in an acting class to 1 o’clock or 2 o’clock in the


“You know, everybody talks about the American dream. Just how we talk about as a societal level of what success is, you know, somebody else’s success doesn’t take away from you and yours. It’s no different than what we do choose to do for our job.”


morning, and then be on conference calls at 5:30 am. The rest of the business world is concerned with New York and Chicago time zones. So when we had those conversations with teams in Mumbai, it was sometimes 3 o’clock in the morning in Los Angeles.” McKinley firmly believes his strength and determination comes from his mother. She received her MBA while she was married, raising three kids, and working a full-time job. In his mind, if she could do all that, he could take acting classes, study his craft, and have a full-time job. McKinley earned his MBA from the University of Illinois and was a very successful employee at IBM, however, a career in acting does not come easy. While many solely recognize McKinley for his role as Derek Roman on the series Hit The Floor, he isn’t just arriving at the court, he just happened to be on the bench preparing for his moment to shine. “Overnight successes” are a common misconception in Hollywood. While there are very few, he is not one of them.

McKinley vividly remembers being in Atlanta, sitting on the couch, looking at commercials, and saying “that could be me in the damn commercial.” We’ve all been there. Asking questions about trying to figure out how to get from where we were, to remotely, where we are generally at today, which most of us are still trying to figure out. Ultimately, the point is to be on your way. You’ll figure it out. “If I could pass anything along to anyone would be that I’m, you,” McKinley says with a passionate tone. “You know, everybody talks about the American dream. Just how we talk about as a societal level of what success is, you know, somebody else’s success doesn’t take away from you and yours. It’s no different than what we do choose to do for our job. The cool thing about Los Angeles and just being in the entertainment business is if you really do focus, ultimately, the world is big enough for everyone to be successful and for everyone’s dreams to get a step closer to them. This is the coolest shit, right?”

“There are so many talented people and they definitely get the respect they deserve and that is why they’ve Actually, it is the coolest shit. been nominated for awards,” McKinley explains. “But, you think about guys like Don Cheadle or Jeffrey Wright. I remember when Don Cheadle was nominated for an Oscar for Hotel Rwanda. And some of the interviews were asking his questions almost as if it happened overnight, not really recognizing that “overnight” is like decades of nights and hours worth of hard work. Those projects may or may not ever turn into anything. And I think that’s the part that is alluring and appealing about the shiny entertainment industry.” One of the messages that McKinley and I share is that you can literally do anything. Life is about putting your head down, submerging yourself in your goals, and working hard as hell to achieve them. And let’s be honest, everyone isn’t willing to do that. Some are discouraged early, some get beat up in the process and decided to let it go. With a goal to grow in leadership empowerment, McKinley is working with some tech startups in California to try to find creative ways to empower and educate the masses. With education and understanding how important self-confidence is when pursuing a goal, he looks at his own journey. He never forgets where he comes from. In fact, he still goes back there. That’s home. That place is as much a part of him today that it was growing up.


James Larosa Making A Splash

Photographer: Michael Letterlough, Jr.

At the perfect time when VH1 was looking for a juicy, new drama, a relatively new face to Hollywood (and a self-proclaimed obsessive fan of television), decided to throw his own unique concept in to the hat. “Hit The Floor” was soon created, and whose name was on the by-line? James LaRosa (it’s actually still a shock to him sometimes too). James, a Boston native, spontaneously decided two weeks after graduating from Syracuse University that he would take anything that was able to be folded or stuffed in a bag and throw it all in a Ryder truck (with a Jeep Cherokee trailing behind on a flatbed) with a friend who was moving to California. The City of Dreams didn’t send James an invitation...he just crashed the party. And like so many hopefuls who pilgrimage to Los Angeles, James felt the bright lights of the Hollywood strip were not only calling his name while in the icy mountain town of upstate New York, but they seduced him. It’s exactly why when the opportunity arose, he didn’t hesitate to leave and make that long trek to the sun-kissed state. He just

wanted to tell a story. “My mom was really brilliant at telling off the cuff stories,” James laughs. “Because she was so good, I thought ‘that’s nothing I could ever do’. And like anything you do, like any muscle, you have to exercise it and learn. When I went to Syracuse University I knew I wanted to major in communications. But, it never occurred to me that I could work in Hollywood. I’m from Boston, and a working-class part of Boston, where people just really don’t leave.” He went on to explain that he realistically thought he would just go back to Boston and possibly work in public relations or write for a local station. “But, when I was in Syracuse,” he continued, “I was around kids who didn’t have those kinds of blinders on. So they were more like, ‘I’m going to go do this,’ ‘I’m going to go do that.’ So I thought, well if they can do it, I could try. Right? So, I switched my major to writing for TV and film and then I just got really into it. [Writing] was like a drug. I was really loving the female characters. I come from a family with very strong wom-


“BET has been amazing...They asked of us to be ourselves and, and go balls to the wall. So here you go.” en. And I was always brought up to not just respect women, but take them very, very seriously. So (the characters) were just real people to me.” Just like many of the women James would later create in his script, L.A. proved to be just as real. Of course, his move wasn’t met without the cautionary tales of homelessness, drug addiction, and failure. Not to mention, when he arrived in tinsel town, he didn’t know anyone. As many Los Angeles transplants will tell you, LA is a very scary place when you don’t know anybody. It’s a city that is all about who you know and what circles you’re in, and if you don’t know anyone, well...you’re screwed. It’s a city where you have to be brave. You either have the “stuff ” to make it, or you don’t. “I didn’t know!” he exclaimed in a tone as if reliving the moment. “I knew of one person who was connected to someone, who was connected to someone, who texted someone who I knew. And I don’t mean connected like “powerful” (he says using air quotes). I mean just like, someone I could call. Ultimately, I wound up in a writer’s group. Then, someone in the writers’ group worked at a company and said, ‘oh, there’s a writer who just got a deal here, and she’s looking for an assistant.’ And I was like Kimmy Schmidt,” he laughs. “I was like, I can do it. I was sending my resume as if I had a resume, but I was sending it to shows like ‘90210’ and ‘Melrose Place’. ANYTHING! All I was, was a fan with a dream. But the thing is, as overwhelming as LA can be, there are plenty of opportunities for a fan with a dream, you know? No matter how dumb (the dreams) are. And I include my own. I mean, I was calling people who would have absolutely no reason to answer the phone or return my call. And I’d be like, “Hi. James LaRosa here, I’d like to work for you.” So you know, somewhere you have to tell people, sometimes ignorance is probably the best thing you could have in your life at certain points. And it’s like, this isn’t how this happens. But, oh well. I’m here now.” People sometimes often ask James which character he’s most like on his blazing hot series. Like most

writers, there’s a little bit of him in every character. As he explains his writing process, it almost sounds like he’s in a padded room with 15 alter egos all having a conversation. He talks about a scene he wrote where half of the cast is sitting at a poker table and one character would say something and five different personalities would respond in their respective tones. The early years of LaRosa are a lot like his character Kyle--shameless; doesn’t think she belongs; but always gets the job done. He’s outgrown a bit of that early version of himself. Today, you could say he’s pretty well established, and when it comes to “Hit the Floor,” well, he’s practically running the show. But don’t get it twisted, he’s a writer at heart. On any given day you can find him in the writer’s room, pumped up on caffeine and in a writing frenzy. That’s where he’s the most comfortable. “From 10am to 6pm I’m in that room,” he says. “If I’m on my own, I’m going to some sort of a coffee shop. I’ll bring my laptop and it just becomes a brainstorming orgy. When I grew up, I didn’t always have the easiest time. I was in my room alone sometimes, which wound up [being written into] the show. [The character] Jelena talked about how she was sort of locked away in a room and hiding out, which was me when I was growing up. I’m very comfortable with being alone with a bit of a fantasy life. Fortunately, as an adult, you can choose not to be [alone] and you can get over some of your shit.” These days James is actually a pretty social person. However, he’s also just fine with spending his time alone...sort of. “I still enjoy going to the coffee shop, having 18 conversations alone, and just sort of letting my mind wander. That’s my happy place. If we’re in production, I’m (working) 24/7. Whether I’m writing, rewriting, casting, choosing a song, choosing a lipstick, looking at choreography, deciding what the devil’s playground is gonna look like this season, or I’m talking to the fans on social media, it’s the kind of job where it differs all the time. But I do well with that because I get bored very easily. ‘Hit the Floor’ is like a mirror of my mind. It’s dance, murder, music, comedy, drama, business, politics, shade, and sex. I


mean there are so many things that go on and I need to switch topics every 30 seconds or I just start twiddling my thumbs. So a production is like that. It’s just all over the place.” Although, there was a time when James wasn’t always certain the show was going to be renewed for new seasons. Seasons Two, Three and Four were literally dangling with uncertainty. However no season had more question marks for renewal than Four. The show was switched from its original home at VH1 to the more urban media network, BET. The change forced the show to have an incredibly long break, which left many fans wondering if the LA Devils were coming back at all. Thankfully, the fans had the patience to stick with the return on BET and this time James was ready to really give it all or nothing! “BET has been amazing,” James says. “They asked us to just be ourselves and go balls to the wall. So I’m like, okay here you go. You have no idea what you’re

asking for! We don’t talk down to our audience. We don’t think that they can only handle a certain amount of information. Sometimes we go fast and furious. And sometimes when you’re doing the ‘mystery science theater,’ you might miss a murder clue that we buried nice and deep. But this show is just fun and it’s meant to be shared. I would definitely not watch alone. I would watch with a bunch of people. I mean, we’re kind of like a movie, but on TV. Because a movie audience is going to be like, ‘don’t trust him.’ ‘What are you doing?’ I mean, this [show] was made for running commentary. (It’s) a little possessive in a way. That’s why we really enjoy social media and why we’re really connected to the fans, and vice versa. I mean, we all watch this together. The show is designed to make you go, ‘Did that bitch just do what I think she did?’ And you have to say that out loud so someone can answer your question,” he laughs.


www.madebyrjon.com


www.madebyrjon.com


PEC ASSAULT Help That Chest Grow


It’s time to head into the gym to work the ever popular pecs. Regardless of how you organize weekly volume - upper/lower, full-body, push/pull, etc. – for maximum impact you’ll want to spread volume to target chest at least twice weekly. While there are numerous effective chest exercises here are five to consider when targeting various sections of the pectorals. Before you pile on the plates warm up your rotator cuffs. Doing so will increase performance while minimizing injuries. Let’s lift!

Warmup Sets

1. Band Pull Aparts

Straight arms, pronated grip (palms facing down): 10-12 reps Straight arms, supinate grip (palms facing up): 10-12 reps Arms to side, elbows bent at 90-degrees, supinate grip, abduct arms (spread hands apart): 10-12 reps Arms to side, elbows bent at 90-degrees, pronated grip, abduct arms: 10-12 reps

Working Sets

2. Flat Bench Press This staple exercise utilizes a full range of motion and is easy to progressively overload. The primary drivers are the pectorals. Triceps and front deltoids are also activated. 4 sets x 6-12 reps - final set performed as a drop-set for extra volume.

3. Standing Overhead Press Press: Sometimes referred to as Standing Overhead Press, this is a technical and highly beneficial exercise. It’ll target the chest. Yes, chest - particularly the upper area, and shoulders. While keeping chest high to the ceiling, lock knees and tighten abs, quads, and lats. Maintain neutral head position, looking straight ahead the entire time. Take large inhalation to help stabilize your core. Grab bar at shoulder width so that forearms are perpendicular to floor with elbows just in front of the bar. Press overhead, locking out elbows while shrugging traps at the top of the movement. This is a great way to hit the clavicular head, the upper region of the pec. As the second pressing exercise of the session dumbbells might be easier to manage than a barbell, particularly if training without a spot. 3 sets x 6-12 reps.


4. Incline Dumbbell Press

For this movement, cables are preferable to dumbbells because there is constant tension throughout the entire range of motion. Placing the bench 1-notch from flat will help to spare shoulders. An angle up to 45-degrees is effective, especially if targeting the upper region of the pec. 4 sets x 6-12 reps.

5. Bench Cable Fly These can be performed assisted, as body-weight, or weighted depending on your ability level. Keep torso rigid and angled slightly forward by hinging at the hips. Keep elbows from flaring out to protect shoulders. Perform as deep as comfortable, usually ideal depth is when triceps are almost parallel to the floor. 3 sets x 10-12 reps

6. Dips

Volume and intensity should be adjusted according to your program and progress. I recommend that beginners use an on-sight trainer from whom to learn proper technique. It’ll cost a few bucks but shave time from progress and likely spare injuries. Contact Curtis through Instagram @Curtis.j.Williams His new website launches end of September.


Fight Club

Krav Maga is teaching you to defend yourself Photographer: Michael Letterlough, Jr. Grooming: Rodney Jon

T

oday’s fitness atmosphere is saturated with routines like CrossFit, Kickboxing, BootCamp, and Zumba. Working out and staying active is about finding something that you enjoy doing or that you can find beneficial. With today’s climate of random acts of violence and crime, we wanted to find a way to encourage our audience to stay fit, build confidence, and learn to defend themselves and their families. When I was approached by Krav Maga Worldwide to learn more about their programs, it was perfect timing. Krav Maga is a very skilled yet dirty street fighting style. Created after World War 2 in order to teach the newly created Israeli state to defend themselves against anti-semitic riots and violence. The objective is to end a fight as quickly as possible. Hungarian-born Israeli martial artist, Imi Lichtenfeld created the style of training which is a blend of boxing, wrestling, kickboxing, and a few martial arts disciplines. While people join a Krav Maga studio for different reasons, my trainer for the day, joined simply to protect himself.

“I really just kind of walked in the door one day,” Ross says. Ross is a small statured guy, full of personality with an intense look in his eyes. As we talk more I find that the look is just a look. He’s funny, cheerful, and patient. When he kicked the heavy bag, I knew he could be a threat when needed. “I grew up in Virginia and moved to Los Angeles in 1998. I played sports when I was younger and, I was kind of like a tough kid but I never really knew how to fight. I’m in this big city and I’m like “shit, I better learn how to fight and throw a punch and a couple of kicks so I don’t get my ass kicked.”. I started training here and then I got into the instructor training program through Krav Maga and kept doing that. So, but really man, everybody comes here for a reason. Whether it’s like mine, like I was scared of getting my ass kicked, want to lose weight, or they want to get stronger or whatever.” As you may be figuring out, Krav Maga was never intended to be a discipline of martial art to would be applied in competition. Doing dirty things like kicking in the groin, poking in the eyes, and gauging people on the throat, if you watch the sanctioned sports fight, that’s against the rules. Krav Maga is purely about self-defense and survival. The studio has branched out into fitness programs where there are


weightlifting and CrossFit. The Krav Maga team has a class where it’s all work on the heavy bag and the same striking techniques would be used in krav maga self-defense. “When you train from a self-defense perspective, it’s different than training something like a for a fight, right?” Ross begins to explain. “It’s not like a woman who weighs 105 pounds can count on someone attacking her to be in the same weight class and of the same skill level. In that way, we don’t think about things being fair or rules applying. We get the guy that works at the grocery store and the guy that drives for uber or you know what I mean? Bartenders and some actors and so it’s a mixed bag, so a little bit different way to train. I try and tell people if you get into a fight, chances are someone’s going to get hurt. It’s either going to be you or you’re going to hurt that person and you have to be ready to kind of deal with the consequences of that either way. So we try and stress to people that, you only get into a fight that basically you can’t get out of.” With social media and the political climate, there’s a lot more tension in our society in general. While trying not to play into that because it’s not their role, Krav Maga does their best to counter and educate. As a way to encourage training and community engagement, a couple of times a year, the studio offers anti-bullying seminars for kids and a large promotion every April for sexual assault awareness month. There are also pieces of training to the community for free or a donation based training that goes to a couple of different charities. The clientele for the studio fluctuates between gender, age, beliefs, and skill set. Nonetheless, Krav Maga is there for everybody and when people go to their studios, everyone’s on an equal level. “I think it’s hard to put our typical client profile because it’s a pretty good mixed bag of people,” Ross Laughs. “I teach it a self-defense class and I have a guy that comes, he’s an older guy like 70-75 or something. He comes and he has trouble jog and he is still

doing some stuff, but he sticks it out, man, you know, he stays there, and he does everything the best that he can. So it’s pretty cool. I mean we’re pretty much all over that map. Our sort of “ideal” customer is someone who’s living in the area, a little bit younger (so they’ll stay with us for a few years and trained for a while).” The main aspect of training that Ross teaches his students is to make a good decision. There’s no reason to get yourself into a fight that you don’t have to get into. When the studio has its seminars they deal with a similar philosophy. You’ve probably heard the run, hide, fight, theory, right? If not, it goes a little something like this. RUN: If you can get out, get out. HIDE: If there is no exit and you can’t get out, trying to find someplace to hide. Fight: well….I’ll let Ross describe when you should PROBABLY fight. “So a good example would be like someone pulled a gun on you and says, ‘give me your keys, give me your wallet’. If you comply, hopefully, you’ll walk away. That doesn’t assure that you’re going to be safe, but it, hopefully, makes things easier. The difference would be if they pulled out guns, said, ‘Okay, now you’re coming with me and we’re going to go somewhere.’ This probably not gonna end well and at some point, you have to figure out what you’re going to do. I tell people, I’m not a lawyer, you know what I mean? Like, if you feel that your life is in danger, you feel that you or the people that you’re with, your loved ones, their lives are in danger and it’s a situation you can’t get out of, you’ve got to go and go and go and go (he says punching and kicking and kneeing) until, until you can get out.”


Put Out The Fire Fire Department Coffee Launches New Backdraft Espresso Brew Get the robust flavor and eye-popping kick of this hauntingly bold espresso without the fuss. As temperatures plummet and the days get shorter, staying up late to take care of business is getting harder and harder on our hardest working men and women. Luckily, Fire Dept. Coffee is coming to the rescue with their all new Backdraft Espresso, a smooth drinking, boldly flavored roast with a caffeine kick that went live on October 3. The veteran-owned brand specializes in roasted-to-order coffees that are delivered straight to one’s door, with 10% of proceeds from every order going to support firefighter and military charities nationwide. “We believe our new espresso is the flavor we’ve been missing,” said Fire Dept. Coffee Founder Luke Schneider. “This is the brew you recharge with after late nights on the job or for early morning wake-up calls. It gives you that jolt while spiriting you away to a cafe in the heart of Paris.” No espresso machine? No problem. Backdraft Espresso is crafted to ensure a scintillating experience whether it’s brewed in a french press, stovetop espresso pot, or the reliable old coffee machine in the break-room. Backdraft Espresso is available in either 14 oz or 5 lb bags and can be purchased ground or whole bean. Fire Dept. Coffee offers a 10% discount to those who participate in their subscription program, and 15% off for military, firefighter, and first responder orders. Available for purchase at https://www.firedeptcoffee.com/products/backdraft-espresso.


Egg Weights for the Cardio Win Searching for a fitness tool that is simple, easy to use, fun, and won’t clutter your living room like chunky dumbbells? Egg Weights are a great solution to help your loved ones stay active and burn more calories in less time. Get stronger and stay active by taking advantage of this whole new take on weights. Egg Weights are ergonomically designed hand weights that increase the intensity of any workout without restricting your natural movement. They are different from regular dumbbells, that get bigger and bulkier with increased weight because Egg Weights are made from dense metals to keep the weights small like an egg from 1 to 5 pounds. Egg Weights are also palm centered, not side, top, or wrist heavy. Having the weight centered and balanced in the palm of the hand is groundbreaking and so important for proper arm drive, running form, and core engagement. These innovative weights are scientifically proven to burn up to 62% more calories

per minute during physical exercise and can improve balance, form, and overall performance. If you are looking to enhance your sports performance or get the most out of your cardio workouts check out these little powerful weights. From World Champion Boxers, to UFC Champions, to Professional Iron Man Athletes, to Marathon and Ultra Marathon Runners, they are all dropping dumbbells for Egg Weights! Even top celebrities are adding Egg Weights to their workouts including: Wiz Khalifa, Sly Stallone, Mario Lopez, Adriana Lima, Chris Hemsworth, and many more.  Your family will love them too! They even offer a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee!


Why Eggs Weights Make the Perfect Gift for Family Fitness: • Increased Performance - endurance, power, and speed • Helps with Form Development - forward lean, core engagement, and arm drive • Light Intensity Training - strengthens fast-twitch muscle fibers • Increased Calorie Burn - increases calorie burned by 2-5 per minute • Increased VO2 Max - increase heart rate 10+ per minute • Ergonomically Designed - securely fits in the palm of your hand with a rubber grip and finger loop so they’re more comfortable and safer to hold than a dumbbell • Different Sizes – choose from weights that range from 1 to 5 pounds per set


Beating the Bloat

Regardless of weight or body type, it’s common to see some belly bloat. The foods we choose, how we’re digesting and simply the air we’re swallowing, can all add up to feeling and looking bloated. To help us keep our bellies as bloat free as possible, is Dr. Niket Sonpal, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Board Certified in Internal Medicine specializing in gastroenterology, digestive health and nutrition, who shares what to eat and what to avoid and why.

Simple Carbs The general population is aware that foods like soft drinks, sweets, desserts, and white bread are not conducive to a healthy diet. Simple carbs are processed into the bloodstream very quickly and have little nutritional value other than the energy they add to your body. When there is an overflow of energy being stored in your body versus what you are burning you begin to gain weight and feel bloated.

“It’s really important to pay attention to bloat, especially when it either comes on suddenly or is prolonged with pain. It is possible to develop an overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine which gives that distended belly and full feeling,” explains Dr. Sonpal.

Processed starches Limiting pasta or bread to a once per week treat can really make an impact when addressing bloat. These foods are like sponges when it comes to water. When you cut starches, you’ll notice bloat minimizes pretty quickly.

The discomfort caused by bloating is a fixable issue. Watching the choices you are making and the way your body is reacting to them is key. According to Dr. Sonpal, here are some foods to steer clear of when it comes to banishing the bloat.

Sugar substitutes and faux sweeteners Here’s the catch, you may think you’re doing the right thing by opting for “fat-free” or “sugar-free” food options that say they are “derived from real sugar.” Dr. Sonpal clarifies that these kinds of sugars are actually


low-digestible carbohydrates. Our bodies metabolize them differently due to their chemical structure leaving them hanging around in our small intestine leading to bloat. Raw cauliflower (and other uncooked cruciferous vegetables). Cauliflower has become the “it” vegetable because it takes on the flavor of anything it’s mixed with. We see recipes for cauliflower mashed, cauliflower pizza, fried “rice,” and even mac and cheese; all created with cauliflower as the main ingredient. When cooked, these vegetables are great sources of nutrition and fine side dish substitutes for pasta, rice, and potatoes. However, when cauliflower is chopped up and eaten raw along with kale, broccoli and brussels sprouts you can expect bloating to occur. Cooking is key! Salt If you want to reduce water retention which always leads to a bloated stomach, cut out the salt. In fact, if you have a lunchtime meal you can significantly reduce the bloat and puffiness simply by avoiding salty foods for the remainder of the day. People who are mindful of their salt intake, prepare their own foods and avoid things like canned soups, chips, bacon, sausage, lunch meats will look and feel leaner.

What not to fear: Ripe Bananas! What’s not to love about bananas. You can grab one on the go, they are high in potassium which is another thing that rids water retention. Cucumbers They’re known to reduce swelling and given they contain the flavonoid antioxidant, quercetin. Cool crisp and delicious they’re common to salads and they can also be eaten solo as a snack. You can also add them to water. Watermelon Chunks of watermelon are low calorie and filled with water (over 90%) and very low sugar. Watermelons are mostly water — about 92 percent — but this refreshing fruit is soaked with nutrients. Each juicy bite has significant levels of vitamins A, B6 and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants and amino acids. There’s even a modest amount of potassium.

Fermented Foods Kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and kombucha. These high probiotic, bacteria-friendly fermented foods are key to maximizing digestion and maintaining a healthy gut. Drink water and green tea! Since carbonated beverages contribute to bloat stick to water and flavored teas. Sipping on these beverages throughout the day keeps the digestive system moving. When you are water deprived your body will hold on to the water already in your body without excretion leading to appearing bloated. Things to avoid when dealing with belly bloat include: Drinking from a straw The mechanisms of straws make it so that you suck air in to take sips of your drink. An excess of this can fill you up with air and cause bloating. Sleeping right after eating Many people get drowsy right after a meal. The best course of action is to go for a walk or do something that gives you a bit of energy and helps your body process your meal. Going to bed right after eating cripples your digestive process, slowing down the breakdown of your food. Eating Too Rapidly If you find yourself struggling with bloating observing the pace at which you eat can help reduce the amount of air you intake while consuming the foods you love. Generally taking more time to enjoy your meal.


Hanging Out

Developing your lower abs never felt so good. Development of your lower abs may seem like the hardest challenge of your fitness routine. As men, the lower abdominal area is the first place that we notice weight gain. We will typically try all kinds of variations of workout to lose that pudge that starts right above our belly button. The truth of the matter is that crunches, alone, will not stranghthen the lower portion of the abdominal wall. As I worked out in the gym, I became frustrated with how hard I would train abs and not see progress. I decided to speak to a friend/fitness model with an amazing physique. I asked him how he targets his lower abs. (yes, I am the guy that will ask questions in the gym about a part of my body that I can’t figure out.) His advice was to do more hanging movements. As I researched, I found that exercises that involve raising the lower torso toward upper strengthen and

develop the lower abdominals while movements pulling your upper torso to the lower will streghthen the upper abdominals. I thought to myself, “there is no way that I am the only one who thought I was doing what I needed by laying on the grould and crunchin my life away. Hanging leg workouts are challenging because you will have to work your abs in a way that you may not be doing. Slow controlled movements (without swinging momentum) are the only proper way to perform these exercises properly. Here are a few exercises that we have encorporated into our routines that have allowed us to see some progress in our mid sections. Take your time and don’t worry about how many you can do. Focus on proper form and breathing. Let’s Go!!!


Hanging Leg Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps

Arm Strap Assisted Knee Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps

Hanging Ring Knee Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps

Hanging Ring Twisted Knee Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps

Captains Chair Knee Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps

Captains Chair Leg Raises 3 Sets x 12 Reps


Gluten Pioneer Says Food Labeled ‘Gluten Free’ Isn’t Always What You Think


A physician who is a pioneer in discovering and diagnosing the problems with gluten says many products touted as gluten-free today are not. Dr. Kenneth Davin Fine, a gastroenterologist, and creator of Oro-Intestinal Fitness Products (www. finerhealth.com) and the Gluten/Food Sensitivity Diagnostic Laboratory EnteroLab.com brought gluten sensitivity to the public consciousness more than 20 years ago. He says during those early years, gluten-sensitive patients usually experienced significant improvement in their health on a “gluten-free diet” but his patients have told him in recent years they have seen fewer improvements. “Products can now be labeled ‘gluten free’ even if that food contains up to 20 parts per million of gluten,” Dr. Fine says. “While that doesn’t sound like a lot, a little gluten can go a long way in the reactions of the most active immune systems.” Gluten is a protein found in the cereal grains wheat, barley, rye, and oats. It is a mixture of proteins and causes illness in people with either celiac disease, when the immune reactions to gluten damage the intestinal tissues visible on a biopsy, or more commonly non-celiac gluten sensitivity. This happens when symptoms and intestinal dysfunction are present in the absence of such changes on a biopsy. Recent studies found that most (but not all) celiacs could eat gluten without resulting in damage to their small intestine. In his research, Dr. Fine has found that only about half of celiacs or non-celiac gluten sensitive patients can tolerate oats. He says “gluten-free oats” is a misnomer and may be responsible for symptoms experienced by people who think they are eating a gluten-free diet. Dr. Fine believes the gluten sensitivity epidemic is caused by: • A combination of greater immunoreactivity in most people stimulated by mainly environmental factors (stress, exposure to hormones in food, medicines, pollution, and possibly EMS from electronic devices). • The way many foods have been altered by producers so they can be manufactured in mass quantities more efficiently. • Widespread use of stomach acid-inhibiting med-

icines. • A general lack of breastfeeding in this country from 1955-1985 (when synthetic infant formula was falsely touted to be more healthy than breast milk). • Public health directives recommending that the public should eat mostly grains as part of the USDA food pyramid. • An evolution of agricultural practices leading to hybridization of grains to increase their gluten content, and more widespread use of herbicides and pesticides. Recently, there also has been a significant increase in the mass marketing of products said to assist the gut microbiome in digesting food. The microbiome is the genetic material of all the microbes – bacteria, viruses, and fungi – in the body. Dr. Fine says the best way to keep a healthy gut and microbiome is to eat the right foods. “Researchers have sometimes detected a different microbiome in obese individuals compared to non-obese individuals; although this has attempted to be the blame for the obesity, it cannot be ruled out that their microbiome is different because they make different, and perhaps less healthful food choices,” Dr. Fine says. Other reasons for a poor microbiome are frequent exposure to antibiotics, the bactericidal chlorine added to public water, improper sleep, stress, and diets heavy in meat, cooked food (as opposed to raw vegetables/salads and fruit), and “junk food” and other sugar-laden foods. This is all typical of the modern lifestyle, which Fine says is a primary contributor to poor overall health. “If you really want to achieve a healthy body, you must have a healthy intestine and intestinal flora,” Dr. Fine says. “And when it comes to immunologic food sensitivities, one must really be more restrictive of antigenic foods than was necessary years ago because of the progression of this immunologic epidemic.”


Profile for Rashod Davenport

January 2019 - Style Issue  

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