Trustworthy Magazine Vol 11 May 2021

Page 1

Trustworthy Magazine

Tamara Bass

“I want to make you feel seen, I want to make you feel included, I want to make you feel you are protected and worthy”

Väddö Gårdsmejeri We visit a Swedish farm

Jacqueline ENOUGH Living, Breathing, Loving Dancehall

MAY 2021


Trustworthy Magazine

Our Goal is to inspire & to be inspired. We know that everyone has a story; we want to know yours

Founder & Editor Amina Touray

Trustworthymagazine.com For comments, submissions & Inquiries please contact: info@trustworthymagazine.com

Trustworthy Magazine

On the cover: Tamara Bass Photographer: Amina Touray Page design: Moses Dalton

2

MAY 2021


Photo: Zetong Li


Trust

4

MAY 2021


Contents 8

Vol 11

My Sister's Hair

Deshimona Nathanael

14

Pernille Kjeldsen

22

Väddö Gårdsmejeri

30

Jacqueline ENOUGH

Life of a Pr Director

Swedish Farming

Living Breathing Loving Dance Hall

40

Tamara Bass

54

Darrick Ward

62

Kimberly Hearn

On the move

Dream Project

Trustworthy Magazine

5


Letter From The Editor I‌ ‌was‌ ‌talking‌ ‌to‌ ‌my‌ ‌friend‌ ‌the‌ ‌other‌ ‌night‌ ‌about‌ ‌how‌ ‌experiences‌ f‌ rom‌ ‌our‌ ‌childhood‌ ‌play‌ ‌such‌ ‌a‌ ‌big‌ ‌impact‌ ‌on‌ ‌how‌ ‌we‌ ‌react‌ ‌to‌ ‌situations‌ ‌as‌ ‌adults.‌ ‌Things‌ ‌we‌ ‌thought‌ ‌we‌ ‌had‌ ‌dealt‌ ‌with,‌ ‌but‌ ‌actually‌ ‌had‌ ‌suppressed‌ ‌in‌ ‌one‌ ‌way‌ ‌or‌ ‌another,‌ ‌and‌ ‌how‌ ‌that‌ ‌can‌ ‌create‌ ‌blockage‌ ‌for‌ ‌growth.‌ ‌I‌ ‌tend‌ ‌to‌ ‌analyze‌ ‌a‌ ‌lot‌ ‌of‌ ‌things‌ ‌from‌ ‌my‌ ‌past,‌ ‌especially‌ ‌when‌ ‌I’m‌ ‌driving‌ ‌and‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌focus.‌ ‌ When‌ ‌I‌ ‌went‌ ‌to‌ ‌Sweden‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌months‌ ‌ago,‌ ‌I‌ ‌walked‌ ‌around‌ ‌the‌ ‌neighborhood‌ ‌I‌ ‌grew‌ ‌up‌ ‌in‌ ‌and‌ ‌was‌ ‌fascinated‌ ‌by‌ ‌how‌ e‌v‌e‌r‌y‌t‌h‌i‌n‌‌g‌ ‌looks‌ ‌just‌ ‌the‌ ‌same...just‌ ‌like‌ ‌when‌ ‌I‌ ‌left‌ ‌it.‌ ‌Somehow‌ ‌I‌ ‌felt‌ ‌like‌ ‌a‌ ‌child‌ ‌again‌ ‌and‌ ‌wanted‌ ‌to‌ ‌deep‌ ‌dive‌ ‌further‌ ‌into‌ ‌the‌ ‌country‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌born‌ ‌and‌ ‌raised‌ ‌in,‌ ‌to‌ ‌learn‌ ‌more‌ ‌about‌ ‌myself.‌ ‌So‌ ‌in‌ ‌this‌ ‌issue,‌ ‌we‌ ‌take‌ ‌it‌ ‌a‌ ‌step‌ ‌further,‌ ‌and‌ ‌we‌ ‌visit‌ ‌a‌ ‌Swedish‌ ‌farm‌ ‌to‌ ‌learn‌ ‌about‌ ‌agriculture,‌ ‌we‌ ‌sit‌ ‌down‌ ‌with‌ ‌strangers‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌now‌ ‌friends‌ ‌-‌ ‌professional‌ ‌ dancer‌ ‌Jacqueline‌ ‌and‌ ‌fitness‌ ‌trainer‌ ‌Darrick‌ ‌(a‌ ‌beautiful‌ ‌couple),‌ ‌to‌ ‌talk‌ ‌about‌ ‌their‌ ‌passions‌ ‌and‌ ‌lives.‌ ‌We‌ ‌also‌ ‌chat‌ ‌with‌ ‌multi‌ ‌talented‌ ‌actress‌ ‌and‌ ‌director‌ ‌Tamara‌ ‌Bass‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌gracing‌ ‌our‌ ‌cover!‌ ‌I‌ ‌hope‌ ‌this‌ ‌issue‌ ‌will‌ ‌fill‌ ‌you‌ ‌with‌ ‌new‌ ‌ideas‌ ‌and‌ ‌encourage‌ ‌you‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌the‌ ‌step‌ ‌you‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌take‌ ‌to‌ ‌get‌ ‌closer‌ ‌to‌ ‌your‌ ‌goals!‌ ‌

Amina Touray

6

MAY 2021


Photo: Meruyert Gonullu

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

7


My Sister’s Hair

W

Interview & Photography By Amina Touray

e had the opportunity to sit down with My Sister’s Hair salon owner Deshimona Nathanael and chat about growing up in Sweden with Afro hair, curls, and how to avoid common hair mistakes. Amina Touray: When did your interest in hair begin?

Deshimona Nathanael: It started quite early. I have memories from when I was eight-nine years old. I started thinking about how to braid, and I remember that I thought it just looked so hard, and then I started practicing. After a while, it just clicked and I knew how to braid. That was the first hair interest I had, and then it just developed from there. I started thinking about hair when I was growing up. I think that's because I grew up here, and I had a different kind of hair. I think because I looked different from the regular ideal in Sweden is why I was thinking about it like I wanted to have long hair. So that’s how it started. AT: Growing up in Sweden, you didn't see that many people that look like you, or like us. Describe what that felt like? DN: Yeah, I remember when I and my sister were kids when we used to play, we used to put skirts or t-shirts on our heads and pretend that it was hair that was moving because we didn’t have that, we had our Afro hairs. And our mom is Swedish, so she has straight hair. I didn't think about it that much, it didn’t bother me when I was young. But now that I’m older, I can look back and see that I was affected by it, because you didn't have any representation at that time. You had your odd celebrity that was brown and Swedish, but it was very rare. We had Alice Bah, Kayo, Titiyo, and Neneh Cherry. Those were the ones that we had. And I remember that I thought their hair was really pretty but I wasn't confident with my own hair. I always wanted to have long straight hair. Maybe that’s why I’m having it straight right now (she laughs). But I Love my curls as well now!

8

MAY 2021


AT: So how would you say things are in Sweden now in 2021, is there more representation?

their moms are Black, the kids are mixed. They come in here and they light up because they get to hear that their hair is beautiful.

DN: First of all, we definitely get more representation, 100%! Also, this natural wave that’s come over the world I guess, the last ten years maybe. I think you see more curly hair and you see more curly hairstyles, and it's adding pressure to the whole hairdressing industry. So now you all of a sudden see more demand in education, like teaching curly hair. But I also think there are more hairdressing salons in Stockholm, at least, I don't know what the rest of the country looks like. In Stockholm, there are more and more popping up. So I think the kids today have a bigger chance of actually going to a hair salon where people’s hair looks like theirs, and where somebody can handle their hair, which is a big difference for us. I remember I had this idea of getting a cut and a blow-dry, and I went to the salon, and she completely destroyed my hair. She started thinning it out. She cut off a lot of lengths, and then she started blow drying it, and in the middle of blow-drying it, she said - “but this is not turning out nice, this hair is too frizzy". And I remember sitting there, I was like 14 years old. And I was like -“I hate my hair”. And that to me was a really strong memory. Now we get these young girls coming in here with their moms, sometimes Swedish moms, sometimes

AT: It's so good to see that it's changing. So when did you start building your hair skills?

Vol 11

DN: I started braiding with extension hair when I was in the upper level of compulsory school. I started braiding my friends, and my friends’ moms and stuff. So I had a little “business” (she laughs) when I was like 14-15. I started getting people asking me to do their hair. So I did a lot of it at home and then I did it at high school. I studied economists in high school. So I just put that (hair) on hold. But after when I was finished, I just kept doing hair and I was working different jobs at cafes, grocery stores, and stuff. And then I was like - "but hair is like my biggest interest, why should I just not become a hairdresser?" So then I applied for hairdressing education through the employment service, and I got in! It was a year and a half, special “grown-up” education. Then I did an additional six months internship after that. Then I got my first job at Blacknuss Hair’N‘ Care. AT: How long did you work there until you opened your own so salon? DN: I worked there for six years. So by then, I had worked eight years as a hairdresser and then they changed owners, and it was just a little bit chaotic. So I left that. Trustworthy Magazine

9


AT: Do you think that was the push that you needed to open your own salon, or did you always want to start your own salon? DN: When I started as a hairdresser, I always thought I would have my own salon. I always knew I wanted a salon for curly hair. I had my own picture in my head! But then when I started working in different salons, I started second-guessing it because I saw the stress it put on the owners, and I saw the whole backside of it, how difficult it can be with employees and the clients with curly hair and Afro hair, they can be very picky. Mostly they want to go to you, they don’t want to change hairdresser. So it’s hard sometimes to build outwards. But I decided when they changed owners. I thought - "okay I could either rent the chair somewhere else, or I could just start something and see what happens", and so I did! AT: You work with all hair types, but you specialize in curls and Afro hair. So, what are some hair care advice that you would give specifically for curly hair, Afro, and straight hair? DN: I would say that curly hair and Afro, generally need more moisture. And not as many washes as straight hair. I mean there are so many differences. But for curly hair, I would say that product is key. What product you use; shampoo, conditioner, and deep conditioner, to heat protectors and curl creams, or whatever you are using. The product is key! While for straight hair, you probably need to be thinking more about volume. You want to keep it cleaner, so you might use lesser products. I mean obviously, shampoo and conditioners are very important whatever hair you have, but I think for straight hair you could wing it a little bit more. You don't have to be so specific, as long as you don't go for the hair weighing down types of products. AT: What are some of the most common treatments that you do here at the salon? DN: I think that most common right now is curly hair cuts. We cut and then we define the curls. That’s the most regular one, we have a few clients that do that every day. But we also do the relaxers, the texturizers even though they’ve become very “yelled at” lately. People don’t think you should do them and it’s like you want to step away from the straightening of the hair and go more to-

10

wards the natural. But we do both hairs, and I never shame anyone that wants to straighten their hair as long as you know how to take care of it. But I would say the most common treatments are curly hair cuts and highlights. AT: What are some common mistakes that you see people do to their hair? DN: Common mistakes would be using the wrong products, washing too much… AT: How much is too much? DN: Generally for Afro hair, I think more than two times a week is too much, depending on the hair type you have, like if you are more of a 3A, 3B, then maybe you could get away with washing a little bit more. But if you do it from 3C to 4C, then you should definitely not wash more than two times a week. AT: Because it dries it out, right? DN: it dries the scalp out and it dries the hair out. One of the most common mistakes about water is that water is a source of moisture. And I can see in a lot of these forums that people advise about curly hair and stuff. I've seen people advise about wetting the hair to moisturize it but that's a very common mistake because water is the most dehydrating thing that you can put on your skin and your hair right? So it does add moisture, but it also dehydrates. AT: So it's better to use moisturizing products for your hair… DN: Exactly! And maybe if you want to moisturize it, you should use a leave-in conditioner or primer for the hair. Like Bumble and Bumble has one that’s called pre-style, re-style primer. AT: So what can someone expect when they walk into My Sister’s Hair? DN: They should definitely expect to be treated with delicacy! Because I've always been fully aware of the stigma with Afro hair. Like, a lot of people with Afro hair, have issues with length. Like, maybe if you want to cut it, you're afraid that the hairdresser is going to cut it too much. You might be afraid that they're going to comment, say something like - “that looks frizzy”, or “it looks dry”, or whatever. So you can expect that not to happen! And get-

MAY 2021


ting a hairdresser that listens to you, understands your specific needs. and I think communication is very important. Right now I have extra staff when I'm on maternity leave, but my regular staff’s all been with me for a long time. I think six, four, and three years. So we've developed a tight team and we always talk about these things, and since they all have the same type of hair themselves. All of them know that you have to be delicate, listen to the client. I always say do less rather than more, don't be creative, unless somebody wants you to, of course, when it comes to curly hair because it takes a long time to get it to grow out. And a lot of people have issues that extend beyond going to the hairdresser. So you need to be a bit careful.

is really old. They teach curly perms that they did in the 80's and all this really old stuff instead of focusing on what's happening to the industry, what the world is looking like. The world is getting more mixed and we’re getting more different textured hair types. I think that’s where I see myself. And my business, I hope it just continues as it does. I would like to keep doing what I'm doing. I’m proud of at least in here, I’ve educated three new Afro hair specialists, that all came to me when they were in hairdressing school when they started their internship. And then they all stayed after and started working with me. So now when they go out to the world, they’re going to know all of this stuff. So for me, at least I gave them something. And that is my main goal, to pass on the knowledge.

AT: I definitely felt all of those things when I came into the salon. Estelle who treated my hair was very delicate and asked a lot of questions about my needs and desires, which I appreciated a lot! Lastly, where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?

Follow @Mysistershair

DN: In the next five years, I see it going forward with a lot of the natural hair type of treatments. But also going on the same path and following the developments in the industry. I see myself more at educating because I am a vocational teacher. I took my university degree in 2018, so I'm ready to start teaching this because I'm licensed to do so. So my mission is to get curly hair and Afro hair into the hairdressing schools in Sweden. I know that there's already an Afro hair school from another salon and they have an urban academy, which is more like the salon is doing courses. I think their education is great! My mission is just slightly different. I would like to actually get into the industry organization “Frisörföretagarna” (Hairdressers in business) and actually start educating teachers, so they can start educating people into the actual regular programs into high school education with hairdresser majors. I think that's the way we're going to be able to have salons where you could go into any salon, and they have some knowledge of cutting. As long as you have private courses, the interested hairdressers are going to come in and learn but the rest are just going to be like they were before. But if you get it into the actual system and make sure that you're not going to be able to get your hairdressing license unless you’ve done a curly hair cut, maybe on the chemical side, knowledge about relaxers, and so on. Because I think it's strange that it’s not. I mean why shouldn’t it be? A lot of industry education

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

11


12

Photo: Adnan

MAY 2021


Photo: Jacob Kelvinj

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

13


Photo: Suomi Photography

The Life of a

14

MAY 2021


PR Director

W

Interview and Photography By Amina Touray

e chatted with Danish PR Director Pernille Kjeldsen about her move from Denmark to Los Angeles, and learned more about the “behind the scenes” of her industry.

Tell us about your background, and what drew you to LA? I grew up in Copenhagen, Denmark, and have always had a huge desire to travel the world and where many people may stay with the thought I always acted upon my travel needs. I’ve lived in Spain, France, NYC, and now LA. I’ve never been afraid to take chances and seek new opportunities to satisfy my adventurous soul. When I studied for my Master in communication I got the offer to do an internship at the art gallery, The Hole, in NYC. I knew nothing about art but I loved New York and I was so thirsty after traveling again, so without thinking twice I was on a plane on my way to The Big Apple. This turned out to be the turning point for my future career and life. I completely fell in love with this intriguing world, with all these sophisticated and creative individuals I constantly met. I returned to Denmark to finish my master’s and worked a few years after as a PR Manager for a global fashion brand to gain some experience in my field. I couldn’t get LA out of my mind. While living in NYC I had visited this amazing city and felt so home here, a feeling I had never experienced anywhere else. I knew I had to move here one day and try to establish a life. Just to visit for vacation wasn’t enough for me, I felt a bigger appreciation for life every time I came to LA. My intuition told me that LA was the place where I could reach my goals when it came to my career, especially if I wanted to get back into the art world. When I turned 30 I quit my job, apartment, etc, and left Copenhagen knowing that I might never return. My instincts rarely fail and as predicted I felt even more in love with LA and have been here almost 5 years now. What expectations did you have when you moved to LA? I’m a dreamer, which can be both good and bad. I often make up these perfect scenarios in my head about how I believe something will be, but the fact is that the reality rarely is as romantic as I fantasize it will be. I had a strong gut feeling telling me that everything I wanted in life was waiting for me in LA. Nature, freedom, great weather, dreamers, like-minded people, hardworking professionals that like me wouldn’t settle but continuously try to reach their goals. Luckily all my expectations were met – and even more! I have learned so much about myself by all the challenges you face when making such a drastic move, so many

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

15


16

MAY 2021


aspects and layers of my personality, and what you as a human are capable of achieving with the right mindset and drive. I realized that the most important thing for me is my freedom and I have found freedom living here that I’ve never experienced anywhere else. I’m not going to lie, it was likewise very frightening to move this far away from everything that was familiar to me. Family, friends, job, a society I knew helped me out if I needed it. Many people thought I was crazy to leave all this behind for a future I had no idea about what would bring me. I’ve never chosen the easy road in life and I’ve been used to fighting for the things I wanted, which also have caused me tons of punches and failures. However, for every failure, I’ve become even stronger and wiser. And you know there will always come light again after darkness. Is the PR industry different or similar to Copenhagen if you compare it to LA? I see many differences in the industry between the two cities. One thing I often point out is that people in Denmark in general are very protective of their network. Why should they share a person’s email when they have fought for getting it themselves? Whereas in LA people often offer to put you in contact with someone that might be of interest to you, even before you have asked for it yourself. People are willing to go out of their way to help you out. I remember in the beginning how surprised I was about this kind of friendliness, it was so far from what I was used to. It’s a win-win since you are more than willing to pay the favor back and give back even more. The PR industry here is of course way bigger than in Denmark which I also love. I felt stuck back home because it was such a small group of people that all knew each other and it was hard to break out of the role you were given. Another huge difference which is more a general difference in society and not only in PR is the unwritten cultural belief we all live after in Denmark. ‘The Law of Jante’ which basically dictates emphasis on collective accomplishments and well-being, and disdains to focus on individual achievements. Don’t think you’re better than anyone else. I found it very refreshing to be met by a collective understanding in LA that it’s okay to have big goals in life and believe it’s possible because you know you’re good at what you’re doing. I’m not saying bragging is okay, but it’s okay to stand out and do your own thing, your own way and not care about people’s opinions. What does a PR Director do? In my job, two days are never the same. I have been so lucky to find a career path that I don’t see as a job, but more as a passion which makes it easier when you have to work crazy hours. I work for a Danish contemporary artist and we have the most hardworking team, it’s like my family here. We have traveled the world, putting up art shows in Miami, Copenhagen, and Los Angeles. My job is to be the point of contact for everyone we collaborate with in any regard. If we do a show at a hotel, if we have a collaboration with a brand, if we have a project going on with a charity etc. Most of my time is focused on PR and how to brand my manager the best way possible in public. To make sure he has a good image that is aligned on all platforms. I reach out to the media, TV, radio, podcast, etc to gauge their interest in him and eventually do an interview with him. I love how strategic my job is. It’s all about networking and knowing the right people, however, you have to think differently and combine efforts across different areas to get ahead of everyone else. A big part of my job is also project management. To make sure the team is aligned and on point when it comes to all the big projects we do. A few years ago we managed to arrange the biggest art show ever seen in Copenhagen without help from a gallery. We rented this huge warehouse and created a complete universe with his art, sculptures – even a Ferrari he had painted! We did every-

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

17


I’ve never chosen the easy road in life and I’ve been used to fighting for the things I wanted”

thing ourselves and worked nonstop for months. But to see the final result was worth everything. We had several thousand visitors at the opening weekend plus national tv covering it live. It was one of my biggest achievements to date.

Tell us more about the ups and the downs in the career path you’ve chosen? How much time do we have? Haha, joke aside. There have been a lot of ups and downs since I chose to move to LA. Not only with the career I have chosen but just life in general when you come as a foreigner and have to build up life from scratch. Let’s take the career first. As a publicist, you are worth your network, so moving here meant I had to start from scratch and fight for every single contact. Luckily I am very extroverted and have no problem introducing myself to strangers. PR is hard work, you constantly need to be ‘out there’ and network, know what’s going on and make sure people remember you. I feel it has been tough with all the fake people you meet in LA. It took me a long time to learn how to spot them before they take advantage of you. Another downside is that you as a publicist in some way always are working. You have clients reaching out any hour a day and you have to be ready to act if something slips out to the media about your client. You are basically the gatekeeper between your client and the media. The best thing is that I have advanced a lot in my career since moving to LA. I’ve connected with people I never imagined I would meet and my network has grown enormously over the last years. I feel very grateful for all the opportunities this city has given me. I work with a team where it’s allowed to dream big. We have created projects that many people back home would have expected to fail because they were so big in range, but we accomplished it anyway. I often question why I chose this fast paced lifestyle. It often feels like a rollercoaster at such a rapid speed that you have a hard time hanging on to it. I’ve become much better to handle failures and setbacks in the last couple of years. My mindset has changed a lot and I have been practicing being more adaptive and open to changes. Instead of breaking down when life happens in a different way than expected, then I’ve learned to believe that ‘okay maybe this sucks, but it’s a blessing in disguise because something better is waiting for me.” Believing something better will come your way is comforting and gives you the strength to continue on very dark days. I always say that LA is the toughest city to live in. LA is a melting pot of people from all over the world that all move here with dreams and goals they hope to achieve, so the competition is high. You’re constantly measured in every sense possible and there’s no time to relax and rest on your achievements, it’s non-stop moving forward. It’s a city where you always feel lonely in some way no matter how many amazing people you have around you. You focus on PR in the art industry. Why art, and how is it different from other industries? Art is such an interesting concept. You cannot fake it. Like, if you want to be able to have conversations with someone in the art world you have to have minimum knowledge about how the industry functions, know the names of different artists, genres, periods, etc. It’s a very sophisticated world and you meet so many interesting and creative people that inspire you. It’s a field that you can keep studying and there’s always more to learn. I feel the more I learn, the more I realize that there’s infinite knowledge to gain. At the same time, art is subjective,

18

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

19


If I can convince people to like the artist I work with, then it will benefit his sales,”

which also is so interesting. What I believe is beautiful might not be your taste, and that’s such an interesting aspect of my work as well. If I can convince people to like the artist I work with, then it will benefit his sales, prices, and career in general. You have to be very strategic and convincing when wanting to sell art or the artist him/herself. Art is so much more than “just” a canvas with paint on it. And my job is to build those added attributes via image and branding so that the artwork can become more and more valuable over time. There is no right way to do it, but I’ve been very fortunate to work for an artist that has a lot of success which has opened up many doors for me in my job. Switching industry from fashion to art I realized that I prefer branding a person over materials. It’s so interesting to help to form a person’s image, to be it gives me way more purpose. The art world simply just appeals more to me than other industries I’ve touched base with. How does one become a PR director? In Denmark, there is no specific PR education, but a more general and broad communication degree. PR is one of the areas you will get introduced to. It’s a great education as you touch upon all areas of the field of communication and it gives you a good indication of what direction you want to go in. I always felt drawn to PR more than anything else. I’m such an extrovert that it felt natural for me to pursue a career that requires a lot of networking skills. Not everyone chooses to study PR, I know people who are autodidact. PR is basically a form of sales. You are selling a product (the artist) to the media, which means your communication skills have to be on point and you need to be convincing in your pitches. Imagine how many pitches a journalist gets daily, so you have to make it stand out from the rest. You can either choose to work in a PR agency where brands and people hire you to be their publicist and you have many clients at the same time, or you can choose to be in-house at a company working for only that person/brand. What motto do you live by? I strongly try to live after the motto: “You only regret the things you didn’t do”. I recall this was basically what I told myself back in Denmark when I was in doubt whether to take this dramatic step towards an unknown future halfway around the globe. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to be the person waking up one day realizing I had past the changes I was given to explore my dreams. It has stuck with me ever since and every time I’m in doubt I remind myself of this. Another aspect of this is that there’s always a lesson to be learned if it ends up in a different way than you expected. Even though you somehow regret doing something, if you think about it you have become wiser in some way and can use that for future decisions.

20

MAY 2021


Trustworthy Magazine

21

Photo: Alex Azabache

Vol 11


Väddö Gårdsmejeri We take you on a tour to a Swedish farm!

A

Interview & Photography By Amina Touray

fter a year of drastic changes all around the world, such as lockdowns, restrictions, and uncertainties, a lot of us got the opportunity to pause, reflect and reevaluate our lives. It was a time when people moved, bought a house, changed careers, built a family, and started working virtually. For me, it sparked a deeper interest in agriculture, which is why a few months ago I went back to my Swedish roots and visited a dairy farm located in Väddö; an island in Stockholm County, and to the municipality Norrtälje. We’re driving down an idyllic road, surrounded by white snow and beautiful tall trees. The anticipation is big, as we’re heading towards Väddö Gårdsmejeri; A family-owned dairy farm run by farmers Hasse, Yvonne, and their adult children. When we arrive, we are greeted by Johan, who gives us a “behind the scene” tour of where they’re making their renowned award-winning cheeses and other dairy products! We enter the cafeteria, which has a comforting atmosphere, kind of like a grandmother’s living room. That’s also where Hasse and Yvonne are greeting us with coffee and a Swedish-style cinnamon strip. We sat down by the table to chat, and to learn more about how everything goes down at the dairy farm. As we sit down, Hasse shows me the back of the chairs that we’re sitting on, which has embroidered fabrics with statements like “the king sat here”, and “the queen sat here”. The farm has a fascinating history with royal visitors that I also learn more about. Hasse - “It was 2013, and they called from the county administrative board because our king was going to visit all of Stockholm’s counties for a special event. I thought they were joking at first”, he laughs. - ”The ones that were responsible for this event had arranged so that the king and queen began their visit at our farm. So we sat down right here, eating cheesecake”. While Hasse was talking about the history of the farm to the royal committee while the king and queen were visiting, journalists were taking notes, and hundreds of people were gathered outside. On the walls inside the cafeteria, you can see pictures of the royal visit back in 2013, along with

22

MAY 2021


other important photos that show the farm’s history. Yvonne explains that she and Hasse have taken a step back, and are letting their adult children take more responsibility for the farm. On a regular day, they get up at 5:30 am to start the day Their son-in-law Johan explains that this year they have installed the “milking robot” - “Before we used to milk the cows in a pit. So we’d go inside of a room that has a pit where you stand, then you bring the cows inside lined up. We started it in the year ‘94, but this year we have the milking robot. While the cow is being milked, we give it candy, so the cows are all lined up to enter the milking robot”. It takes about six to seven minutes to milk a cow, and you may wonder what candy they get, and it’s grass with a little sugar, which they like a lot. Hasse continues - “so the cow part, and then the agriculture part works well separately. Johan starts with the robot, and then they begin manufacturing during the day”. Johan adds - “once we have the milk, we move it to the dairy and the girls decide what we should do with it (Johan is referring to his partner and her sister that work alongside on the farm). We then move the milk to different pots, we then pasteurize it overnight”. The people responsible at the dairy give direction to Johan on the tasks that need to be completed for the day, which he fulfills so that they get excellent cheese and ice cream at the farm. The cheese is sold in Stockholm city at a variety of stores such as Ica, Cajsa Warg, Urban Deli, and more. Väddö Gårdsmejeri is the first in Sweden to sell hamburger cheddar cheese. They are renowned for their variety of cheeses and ice creams. -” We also have the hamburger and ice cream restaurant here,” Johan says, which is open during the summer months. -” When you have your own animals, you have meat. Elin (Johan’s sister) and Micke suggested that we should start making hamburgers, we got the meat, but since we have a dairy, we have to make the cheese as well. So the idea then was to create a hamburger cheese”. It was great timing as they entered a collaboration with a hamburger restaurant in Stockholm, and more and more people started taking notice of their cheese. Elin and the people in production created cheese and sent it to the hamburger restaurant. They tried many different flavors, and it took a total of 1 year to make the hamburger cheese.

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

23


24

When you buy locally, it supports the workers”

MAY 2021


Finally, they had a cheese that everyone was happy with. -” other hamburger cheese that you buy from the store is actually a sauce that is wrapped with plastic, so there’s not as much cheese in it. But our cheese is real cheddar cheese. No one else is making cheese for hamburgers, and in addition, it’s organic. We haven’t found anyone else in Europe that is making organic hamburger cheese, and definitely not anyone in Sweden” Johan states. Hasse adds - “in the past, the cheese has just disappeared, they have thrown on a piece of plastic basically, and no one has reacted to it. So I think we found our niche there”. By this age and time, people are becoming more health aware and want to know what they put in their bodies. Having a great burger includes having a great cheese added. And Väddö Gårdsmejeri’s hamburger restaurant was ranked number 10 of the best hamburger restaurants in Sweden last summer. -” We’re now aiming for an even higher ranking,” Johan adds. All the products that are used to make the hamburger, from the lettuce to meat and cheese are made by the local farmers, which people enjoy. Seven people are working at the dairy and a total of 11 people at the farm. The work at the farm is split up between sales, dairy, agriculture, and the animals. Although the farm is closed during the winter months, the production is still going on. The farm opens in the summertime for visitors to see the cows, visit their hamburger restaurants, eat their ice cream, and say hi to their animals. They’re currently working on a secretive restaurant, which they are still deciding on what it’ll become, but it’s being discussed among the family members that have many different ideas. In June 2006 they started the cow-safari. -” Everyone that came to the dairy wanted to look at the cows. People would open all the doors to try to look at the cows” Hasse says. So Hasse suggested building a wagon and attaching it to a tractor that someone drives. He would then be there and educate people about how things work at the farm while visitors enjoy riding around among the cows. And that’s how the cow safari started! The farm has kept expanding over the years to be able to provide the popular demands. - ”the thought behind the cow safari that we offer is not just to show people the cows, but to explain and

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

25


show that the milk, cheese, sour milk, and ice cream comes from the same farm, so it’s given us some marketing as well”. The importance of living sustainably is something that many of us have thought about, and possibly even more so now than before. -” make sure that you buy locally. I agree that one should be aware of the climate footprints we make. But the idea of if you eat a soybean that has been cultivated in South America, then shipped to Asia to be packaged, then to Europe to be repackaged, to then reach us, is better than anything that may cost a little more, instead of coming from somewhere closer doesn’t make sense. The accessibility to beans may be a bit limited this season, but then you have animal products that you can produce all year round. Of course, it’s great for the Brazilian farmers if you buy Brazilian meat, but it may be even better if that meat is bought by Brazilians, and we buy meat or peas that are farmed here so that it doesn’t have to be shipped a lap around the world before it reaches my plate”. Hasse adds -” if you buy locally, you keep the landscape opened, but I think there will be noticeable differences in the next twenty years. When Yvonne and I started in 1979 with milk cows, we were twenty farmers at Väddö, now there are only two, everyone quits, because there is no profitability, so the fields are no longer grazed, so the archipelago is on its way to healing up because there are no animals. They have never had this issue before because there have always been animals. But when you buy locally, it supports the workers, so they can continue to have animals in the archipelago, so it’s only a win-win situation. -”The rules are also tougher in Sweden”, Yvonne adds. -” the minced meat we buy from Ireland, we’re not allowed to produce in Sweden, but you’re allowed to buy it at the store,” she says. Hasse and Yvonne are humble, yet proud of how they have expanded their farm over the years. While there have been challenges, it’s all been well worth it. Väddö is open for visitors from May until October. You can catch the boat to get there and find ferry tickets via www.waxhilmsbolaget.se. When you visit you can expect to eat great burgers at their hamburger restaurant, with their locally grown food, enjoy the farm’s homemade ice cream, and watch farm animals such as cows, pigs, goats, and bunnies. A must-do to reconnect with nature! Visit their website to support and learn more: www.vaddogardsmejeri.se

26

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

27


28

MAY 2021


Photo: Artur Roman

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

Photo: Jannis Knorr

29


Living Breathing Loving

DanceHall

30

MAY 2021


W

e sat down with dancer Jacqueline N Sahlin, aka Miss Long Legs - One of the founding members of the Swedish Dancehall crew ENOUGH, to talk about the history of Dancehall, the Dancehall community in Sweden, her creative process as an artist, and what world traveling has taught her.

Amina Touray: So Jacqie, what is your first memory as a dancer?

Interview & Photography By Amina Touray

Jacqueline N Sahlin: Oh, wow! That’s hard (she laughs) but I think I can share it from two different perspectives: My first memory of dancing, in general, was when I was young, probably around 4 years old. Both of my parents were dancers as well, so I was looking at VHS videos of them, of their shows. I remember a Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson dancing in the garage type of vibe. And If I have to say career dancing-wise...Is it the first memory you say? AT: Or, let’s just say a good and strong memory… JNS: One of the memories that I’m never going to forget was when in Jamaica (we’ve been going to Jamaica for years). It was a Monday night. I was at this street party, one of the best ones, Mojito Mondays, having a great time. A man walks up to me as I’m walking to the bathroom I believe, and goes - “Hey, you want to be in a music video tomorrow?” This must’ve been around 1.30 in the morning (she laughs), I didn’t think he was serious. I said, “Oh, okay, tell me more, what video and where?”. He continues - “Do you know Major Lazer? They’re going to do a video tomorrow and we need somebody because one of the models called in sick”. It all went so fast, I had so many thoughts in my head, here I am in the middle of a party in Kingston, Jamaica, talking about work with a then “random” man, while trying to be extra professional as I was half tipsy (she laughs again), and who doesn’t know of Major Lazer (?) and of course I want to join. After understanding that I was talking to the Jamaican Film Director/Music video producer Jay Will, I knew it was a serious offer and of course I accepted. Still wasn’t sure it was really happening until I pulled up to the shoot those few hours later. The shoot was for their major hit “Watch out for this (Bumaye)” featuring Busy Signal. I remember Jay Will asking - “can you maybe buss a little move?”. Little did they know I was actually a dancer, and from then on Jay Will had me dancing throughout the video, got bumped up from model to dancer (she smiles). Also got to bring with me my team member Johanna ENOUGH for the shoot and got to share the experience with a lot of super talented Jamaican dancers, it was great! That’s one of my favorite memories of my dance career. AT: Earlier you said, “We go to Jamaica”. That’s your group, right? JNS: Yes, my dance group and extended family - ENOUGH Dance Crew. The group has been around for almost 13 years. We live, breathe, and love Dancehall and that’s what we mainly focus on. A lot of us individually can do other styles of course, but Dancehall has been our main focus, the passion for it brought us together and it’s basically inna di dancehall we made our name. AT: You’re one of the founders of ENOUGH. And you guys bring people together, you have workshops and you travel...

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

31


it’s not just a dance, it’s a lifestyle”

32

MAY 2021


JNS: Yes, it all started when the first dance group we, the founders, were in another dance group that split up, and the 3 of us - me, Alexandra, and Stephenie kept on hanging out while I and Alexandra started teaching. Stephenie kept coming to our classes to hang out and dance and eventually she started teaching too. The passion for the dance and Dancehall kept us together, and we became best friends. And from there on we’ve had hundreds of students dancing for us, we’ve coached closed dance groups, performed, done music videos, parties, you name it. We also went from 3 to 12 members and all of this developed into calling ourselves not just ENOUGH Dance Crew, but ENOUGH Productions. Under the umbrella ENOUGH Productions, we have ENOUGH Dance Crew and other crews that we coach. Plus two of our dance crew members in ENOUGH; Naim & Nohemy, also study film and photography, so they started making videos under the name ENOUGH Visuals. Another one of our members - Jojo, went viral all by herself posting dance videos - a pregnant white girl who can dance Dancehall and twerk – and it has opened up more opportunities for her to branch out even more too. Teaching, touring, having international online workshops, and arranging trips to Jamaica. We are all very different people, with different lives, some have day jobs, some only survive by dancing, some have kids, some don’t, but we all came together because of a friendship and the love for dancehall. And for us, respect for the culture has always been an important part of it all. Giving cred to the originators and giving back to the Dancehall community, because at the end of the day we are using something that we did not create. Dancehall is created by amazingly talented Jamaicans from the lower class in Jamaica. When they come to our side of the globe, we try to book them and take their classes. And every semester that we teach we also have a theory class, talking about Dancehall history, codes, the origins, the creators, cultural appropriation, and more. We also started to invite the originators online to hear their thoughts and experiences. It’s such a great way for us and our students to understand and practice dancehall with as much respect as possible. We take it further, it’s not just a dance, it’s a lifestyle, a culture and you have to respect it. AT: You travel a lot to Jamaica and all around the world because of dance. What have you brought with you from your travels? What has been among your greatest lessons? JNS: One thing I’ve noticed a lot being from Sweden - Sweden is a good country but it has

Vol 11

its downsides when it comes to social settings. Let’s put it like this - when I travel I can just contact people that can be a friend of a friend, and they open up their homes because dancers, in general, are more open than your typical Swede would be. So for me, it’s been about meeting new people, getting deeper into the culture, experiencing new things, and living my best life. Travelling has made my world richer and bigger, but I’ve also realized how small the world actually can feel, everyone is tied together all across the world in a beautiful and strange way. I’ve traveled a lot because of Dancehall and a few times because of Ballroom and Voguing; my category is called Runway. I wanted to enter a Ball in New York in 2015 to compete in my category and that trip eventually became a 4-week long #ENOUGHnyjami trip with 3 of the girls from ENOUGH dance crew. We all went to New York, Jamaica, and Miami, while all of us entered the official Dancehall Queen competition in Jamaica and 2 of us entered that famous Ball in New York. On top of that, I met my amazing man Darrick during that trip and I’m sure it never would’ve happened if it wasn’t for my dance-related travels. Dance also introduced me to my, now best friend and sister Stephenie, that I mentioned earlier, one of the founders of ENOUGH. So, dancing and traveling have been the root of me meeting many of my friends that I have today. I think I also love traveling because of how Sweden is; like, you’re not really supposed to stand out too much, it’s not encouraged at all, you’re supposed to act and look the same as everyone else. We even have a Swedish word for this called “Jantelagen”, google it (she rolls her eyes with a smile). And with dancing, with Dancehall, with Ballroom, you do just that, you stand out and it’s encouraged… It’s almost needed. You can be extra, people want you to be extra, and you have to own what you do, you have to own your body, you have to own your space, and you have to stand out. That’s what I love about it! The dancing and those cultures are a part of me, but also a part of my alter ego versus “Swedish Jacqie” (we laugh). AT: I grew up here, so I know exactly what you mean. That actually leads me to my next question. What does dancing do for you spiritually and mentally? JNS: I do so much, except for what I already mentioned. I love that I get to be creative, express myself, and interpret music. I also think it does more for me than I believe. I often hear about how people use it as a way of expressing their feelings, letting steam off, pouring their hardships into their dancing but that’s not me, at least I don’t think so. But if I stay away from it too long, maybe then I’d realize that I do. I know that after a stressful day at Trustworthy Magazine

33


my 9 to 5 job, I might not want to go to class, but as soon as I’m there I don’t have a choice but to get into the vibes and just be in the moment. I mean that must do something for your soul. Except for that, dancing also means being a part of a community, to belong somewhere. Also, I feel like dancing has given me an identity that is not tied to - ”oh, so what do you do?” No, I don’t feel like I identify a lot with day jobs because most of the time I’ve always had a job besides “just” dancing. There are only a few of us who only dance, and you have to work kind of hard at doing that in Sweden. But when I was between jobs, if somebody came up to me and asked -“So what do you do?”, I’d say well I dance, even if I wasn’t working with it at the moment, I could tell them -“I’m a dancer”. So it was a part of my identity, and I realized that when I started to feel like it wasn’t as much fun anymore a few years back. I felt like, - what am I supposed to do, and who am I without this if I don’t like this anymore? So that was an eye-opener. It has become a big part of my identity and played a huge role in pushing myself to not be shy because I used to be shy, super shy! Oh and luckily I found my way back and I’m still dancing and in love with it. AT: I’m curious, as a choreographer, what is your creative process like, and how do you remember everything? JNS: It always starts with the song with a nice vibe, beat and flow that attracts my ears. It can be the flow of how the song is built up and how the artist sings or raps, not actually what they say because I’m not much of a lyrics person. However, I tend to listen more to the lyrics once I’ve decided that I want to create a choreography. I start by putting the song on repeat, listening over and over and letting my body and mind interpret the song, separating sounds and voices and putting it back together. Some of the moves just come to me, others I have to look up, meaning I have to go back into my “library of dancehall moves” that I have in my head or the one I have written down on an XL-sheet. Almost every move in dancehall has a name, a creator, and often a song that goes with it. Throughout the years I’ve learned hundreds of them and in the last couple of years, I started to write them down to not forget because there are so many. The library also really helps if I get stuck, I can go there while listening to a song and go, “oh, I want move B and C for this song” or “move X would be cool right there when the artist says this”. Then I insert it into my creation. I might switch up the move or just use a small part of the original to fit the song, I listen, maybe

34

change to another move or rearrange the other of the moves, listen again, and repeat the process. The last couple of years I’ve created my choreographies in my head and they usually stay there until I’m going to teach them. I really need to start dancing them full out with my body more again like I used to. I think this thing about just dancing it in my head came about because I’ve created 80% of my chores while traveling, mostly when I’m flying or on the subway heading back and forth to work. Hard to dance in the middle of a crowded subway and also “Jantelagen” doesn’t promote one randomly dancing in that space neither something I don’t give a sh*t about today though. However, the lack of dancing space might also be why I started to write the choreographies down. It also helps when I nowadays usually work on several choreographies at the same time. My phone notes are filled with bits and pieces of my creations mixed with lyrics that I’ve written down or googled. I’m realizing this all might sound kind of intricate (?) but I’m an organized perfectionist, which isn’t really what you would think of when you think of dancers or creative people but I’ve found my way of doing it and it works for me (she laughs). I’m curious what the process looks like for other dancers though, I bet it can vary a lot. AT: I’m asking this for aspiring choreographers. What are some traits that you think a great choreographer should have? JNS: Oooh, I’ve never thought of this before… possibly because it never really was a goal for me to become a choreographer or because I haven’t worked with “choreographers” like that. For me I see it like this. I’ve danced and worked with friends aka my crew and others, we’ve put choreographies together to teach, do shows or music videos, something that came along with developing my passion for dancing, a natural step. I’m now realizing that I don’t necessarily identify as a choreographer. I’ve even had a hard time identifying as a dancer for a long time because I’ve never done it all in full time, it’s always been something on the side of my day job or school, but the one thing I wanted and want to spend more time on. I’ve never thought it would be this hard for me to relate on a personal level to the choreographer part, even though I create choreographies (she laughs). But back to traits...Hmm…One thing’s for sure, to be a great choreographer you have to start out as a dancer, loving movement and studying the craft before taking it further into choreographing. From there start to create from your vision and share it with others - however, ALWAYS give cred to the source and where you get your inspiration from!! Also, I believe that a good choreographer has a vision and sees a bigger

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

35


picture, what is this feeling I want to convey or the story I want to tell. To understand that “less can a lot of times be more” and dare to let things breathe, not kah kah kah (she moves robotically), hit every beat all the time, but feel the music. And if you get lucky enough to choreograph with or for others it’s a good trait to be able to see and highlight the people’s strengths and weaknesses, individually and as a group. Also, not being afraid of having others share their vision and skills is good. And please use the people that really know, love, and respect what they do, and please, dare to look outside your net of contacts, don’t always use the same dancers... Now I’m mainly talking to the mainstream choreographers. Go to the sources of the styles you want to use and invite them to join. I’m so tired of seeing “schooled” dancers always getting the big mainstream jobs, and it’s always the same people. Dare to hire an underdog, someone that is way different from you, someone with other skills, that way you can take things to another level. AT: Do you think being a dancer is a talent that you are born with, or can anyone train and become a dancer? JNS: My heart wants to say that anyone can, but I actually don’t think anyone can, to be honest. And now I’m referring to actually becoming a dancer, not just dancing to have fun. If you can’t do a simple one-two step to save your life then I bet you were made to do something else in life, like be a singer, a coach, a teacher. I don’t know if you’re born with it or not. I can’t answer that, but I do feel you’re born with rhythm though; however, I believe some can develop that if practicing from an early age. I think your chances increase if you were raised around music and dancing and if you have people around you that showed you it was something you could pursue. AT: You have a nickname, Miss Long Legs, I think I know why but where did it come from? JNS: So when I dance Dancehall it’s Jacqie ENOUGH, or Jacqueline ENOUGH, but when I do Ballroom, I’m called Queline Miss Long Legs, or mostly Long Legs. I first experienced Ballroom at a small event back in 2008 in Stockholm and fell in love but got deeper into it because of this organization called Streetstar, which hosts events that focuses on street dancing. Every year they would put together this big competition - where they brought in dancers from all over the world; The States, Japan, France to judge House, Hiphop, Popping, and Locking dance competitions. They eventually also added Dancehall because

36

I’m an organized perfectionist”

the community here is so big and in 2015 they started with Voguing. I go to these events every year because they´re the best way of getting the real deal and experiencing the Streetdance community as a whole. And when I heard that Voguing was added and saw the category Runway I just had to do it, it felt like it was perfect for me, not only because I’m tall but when I was little my parents also modeled - they used to do fashion shows and I used to be in the shows with them. I also used to love borrowing mom’s heels to strut around the house at a young age, and I remember she told me you have to be able to walk in those properly before buying a pair of your own, so I walked and walked. Basically, I was like - “I’ve done this since I was little, let’s go!”. I was so very close to not doing the first competition because I didn’t know they had a theme or what to wear, and I didn’t really know the setup of the whole thing, but my sis Steph was like - “no just go and put this on”. I felt like I didn’t have the right outfit and stuff, but I entered and I went against people that I know have been doing it for years and I won the competition! AT: Wow! JNS: It was so much fun! Oh yeah, my name… So during this competition Dashaun Wesley, from New York and from the House of Lanvin I believe, was the one on the microphone chanting and commenting. He was referring to me as Miss Long Legs during the whole competition and from then on, that was it. And, of course, because I have long legs which is the obvious answer (she laughs). By the way, you might recognize him from the American shows POSE or LEGENDARY on HBO Max, if not you have to check them out! Also his voice is

MAY 2021


a-m-a-z-i-n-g. AT: Where do you see yourself in the next few years? JNS: Funny thing is people usually ask - “what’s your five-year plan?”, and I’ve never had one ever, even though I’m such a planner. Last year I wanted to have a; ”this is kind of what I want to do” sit-down with myself and friends, and then a year later, check back in just before New Year’s, still hasn’t happened. But not too long ago I woke up in the middle of the night, couldn’t sleep, and decided to make the most out of my insomnia and I wrote that famous five-year plan. My plan contains a lot of “travel here, pursue dreams by then, get your driver’s license gurl” and so on. Workwise I now work as a Project and PR manager at Warner Music/Asylum Records which takes up a lot of my time. Hopefully, I can find something else that I want to do within that sphere, marketing and PR is cool but I think I would love to get more into the studios and work with artists there. When it comes to dancing, my crew and I want to start a dance school. We have over 300 students during one semester, so we already have it going, it’s just that we don’t own the place where we teach but that’s going to change within the coming years. And within let’s say 5 years maybe I’ll be having kids. If my sister is reading this she is now rolling her eyes hoping it won’t take 5 more years (she laughs). I actually wish I was younger because I feel a little bit stressed about the whole idea of having kids, I could go probably 10 more years without kids because I feel like there’s so much more I want to do, but I’m not 20 anymore and to be honest, I’ve done a lot already. I guess you’re never completely “done” which is also okay and maybe even good, hopefully, it keeps you going. In the next few years, I also hope to be happy and healthy and that my family and friends are too. I also know I’m going to keep on working on myself and the relationships I have which is one of the most important things and that work never stops.

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

37


38

MAY 2021


Photo: Pixabay

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

Photo: Cats Coming

39


Tamara Bass Written by Mia Nicole

W

hen Tamara Bass walks into a movie set and flashes her big, infectious smile that lights up the room, any room - no one would ever believe the curly haired beauty looking every bit of twenty-five years old, was forty-three. Or that she was the director. That is, until she quietly sits in her chair and commands attention. The petite powerhouse is a triple threat – also conquering Hollywood as a talented actress and gifted screenwriter. Her body of work includes the heartwarming film Tamara wrote and co-directed, about a group of friends and difficulties in their world, called If Not Now, When? (The amazing cast – includes her business partner, the stunning Meagan Good), and the 2021 TV One Film which she also directed, Don’t Waste Your Pretty surrounding a circle of friends searching for love and happiness. Both must see movies give us a glimpse into Tamara’s creative genius. Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Tamara has always wanted to be an actress. “From the time I was 6 years old, I knew that I wanted to act. It was all I have ever wanted to do. It was like, ‘I want to be an actress and a child psychologist” she laughs. Acting has always been what I wanted to do.” While in high school, Tamara discovered writing and directing. “I am a theater girl, and I could never find a monologue that was appropriate for myself,” she said, “because monologues for teenage black girls were so few and far

Photography by Amina Touray 40

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

41


42

MAY 2021


Monologues for teenage black girls were so few and far between”

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

43


44

MAY 2021


To me, art should represent life and those are the kinds of movies I am drawn to not only to watch but create”

between,” she recalls. “I was in the NAACP ACT-SO program and you always had to do a monologue. So, I would do Rose’s monologue from Fences. Well, I am 14 years old trying to tell Troy, ‘I’ve been up in this room for 17 years’ and that doesn’t go well,” she chuckles. Tamara then began writing monologues herself and creating entire scenes around the monologues. In addition, she added videography to her creative resume by taking classes. Determined to become a director, she says, “I got my feet wet in directing - and I don’t tell many people this,” she laughs, “but my first directing project ever was a video that we had to create. I used my cabbage patch dolls to create a music video to Brandy’s ‘Broken Hearted,’ Tamara giggles. “I had this whole stop motion thing going on before it was cool. I did not know what I was doing, because I could not get anyone to act in it; I was 15 but I had to do what I had to do. I borrowed a video camera and came home one night, and I would record and edit, and my mom and my bonus dad were like, ‘What is she doing in there?’ It was sheer comedy,” Tamara remembers. Her goal is to ensure that women of color are represented in a positive light and have a voice. Tamara says, “My goal with everything that I create - even if I am writing it, acting in it or directing in it, whatever part of the creative process that I am contributing to, The first thing I ask myself is, “What do I want to say? What do I have to contribute to the narrative? And how do I center black women? How do I center us and make sure we are seen because for so long we didn’t have that opportunity?” She continues, “We have watched Sex in The City for years and we were trying to figure out ‘are you a Miranda or are you a Charlotte’ – but none of those women are really us. We have the added thing of walking in life as a Black woman in America; I had this debate with someone. Unless you are Black in America, you will never understand what it means to be Black in America. It’s a different layer to it and then you add in being a Black woman in America.” Tamara continues, “To me, art should represent life and those are the kinds of movies I am drawn to not only to watch but create. I should be able to turn on the TV or a film and say, dang that reverberate inside of me because it is a realistic portrayal of an experience. And granted everything we watch is

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

45


46

MAY 2021


I want to make you feel seen, I want to make you feel included, I want to make you feel you are protected and worthy”

not going to be our experience, but I do believe the years of aligning black women to this myopic view, singular view of what it means, must be over,” she states. “There has to be room for portrayals of us that aren’t cookie cutters. My mom had me at 18 and she has never been to a club, has never partied in her life - she has worked her whole life. Where are those stories about that experience? I graduated from high school a year early and I graduated from college at 21 – where are those stories? I feel like the more we progress and the more the stories like, If Not Now When? and Don’t Waste Your Pretty get made and embraced, the more we can continue to make them. Then you must normalize the varying hues of us as well. It was important to me that the women in all our films look like a direct representation of all of us. You have natural hair, you have chocolate, you’re slightly thicker – it is all those things because that is who we are. Also, Tamara is someone who loves to help others despite past obstacles. “I try to live a good life and be a good person. I try not to let what I have been through and I have been through a lot, permeate how I treat people. If I felt excluded, or if I felt unseen, or unprotected – which I have most of my life, I do not in turn make other people feel that way. I, in turn, go the opposite way. I want to make you feel seen, I want to make you feel included, I want to make you feel you are protected and worthy. I am a champion. I did not realize how rare I was until recently – I just live. I put my money where my mouth is. If I say I am going to fight for you, I am going to fight for you. If I say it is not about me, it’s not about me.” Despite being an actress and director, you would never believe Tamara hates being the center of attention. “I am socially awkward. If I am in an unfamiliar environment and I do not know anybody, and it is more than 5 people, I am typically in a corner on my phone playing, Candy Crush because I do not know what to say to people,” she states. “I am such an odd ball.” While the culture in Hollywood is changing with Black women now given the ability and being recognized as directors, there are several who Tamara respects and looks up to. “Regina King is the GOAT” she says, “I have always been a fan of hers, because as an actor growing up, she was my direct rep-

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

47


resentation – a brown skin girl and we don’t see that often. And she has been consistently and steadily putting in the work over the years. Puts her head down and does the work. Not a lot of people outside of us were singing Regina King’s praises. She never deterred, she just kept doing solid work,” she states. Having the opportunity to meet her was a dream come true. “When I met her years ago, I fell in love with her,” Tamara exclaims. “I was like, ‘Oh! You are everything I thought and then some! Why are you this great?” She laughs. “When Regina started directing, she did the work. She studied, she started with TV, then a TV movie and she just kept growing, building, and learning. And now that other people have discovered Regina King – because we have always had Regina King – sis has earned every single accolade she has because she did the work. I am a very firm believer in putting your head down and doing the work and Regina King has done just that.” Tamara includes Issa Rae and Ava Duvernay as other incredible Black female Hollywood creatives who use their platforms to inspire and encourage others to follow their dreams. “Issa uses her platform to advocate and support and make sure voices in the Black community are amplified. Ava Duvernay gave women a chance when others were saying no. Another director she admires is her friend, director Pete Chapman. “Pete is one of my best friends and someone I admire. We have known each other for 15 years, and I have watched him grind and bet on himself – grind and bet on himself all the time. When everything looked like he was not going to be able to do another movie, he just pivoted and did the work. Now in the past three years, he has amassed 20 something TV credits. And all of this because of his grind and hard work. I respect and I am inspired by anyone who does the work. Don’t be afraid to fail,” she states. “Learn from the mistake, get back up and keep going.” Peering into the future, where does Tamara Bass see herself at the age of 50? Because whether she is appearing on television, film, directing or writing, Tamara is not done. “God willing, “she says with a smile in her voice, “and everything aligns, I would love to have my own little empire like Shonda Rhimes. I want to be in a position where I have the ability to say yes to other people and in a position where all my creative avenues are thriving – my acting, my directing, my writing. But more importantly, I am in a respected enough position that I can say, ‘I greenlit that with no questions asked and it makes it to the air or to the screen – especially for those who have been marginalized or who are not telling the conventional stories. I want to be able to say yes to those people. There is so much left in me.” With everything she has done, there might be a few Emmys and Oscars in her future.

48

MAY 2021


Dress by Charles and Ron @Charlesandron Provided @Maisonpriveepr_la @Maisonpriveepr_alexandra

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

49


50

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

51


52

MAY 2021


Photo: Dziana Hasanbekava

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

Photo: Alex Azabache

53


On the Move

54

MAY 2021


Darrick

W

Ward

Interview & Photography by Amina Touray

hile visiting my home country a few months ago, I had the opportunity to talk to New York-born personal fitness trainer Darrick Ward, about his move to Sweden, what brought him there, and what the process was like to move to a new country and establish a business. Of course, he also gave us some tips on how to live a healthier lifestyle. Amina Touray: Where are you from, how long have you been in Sweden, and what brought you here?

Darrick Ward: I’m from Brooklyn, New York. I was born and raised there. I attended around six different high schools. My mom was a traveling nurse, so I moved around a lot. AT: So you’ve been all over, and now you’re in Sweden! DW: Yes, I’m here in Sweden because I met my lady Jacqueline about five years ago in New York. It was hard for her to move to New York. I did most of the traveling, so I spent a lot of time here in Sweden. AT: How long was the process to get your papers and everything together to move here? DW: I think it took ten months. Faster than expected. During my interview I was informed it would take up to 18 months. AT: How do you like it here so far? DW: I struggled a little bit to be honest, I felt alone. Never been away from all of my family. Swedish culture isn’t really inclusive. The Beginning was definitely tough for me. Until I surround myself with some good people. AT: Jacqueline was the only one that you knew here, right? DW: Technically, yes, but remember I also used to come to Sweden a lot. We’ve been together for five years. A year into the relationship Jacqueline’s mom Sussie was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I decided to do all the traveling to spend time with her and her mom while Sussie was

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

55


here with us. During my trips I would spread the word that I might be moving here, just so I could see if I could find work. We received word that I was given permission to move to Sweden. A little over a month later Sussie passed away during my long weekend trip in October. So In a way yes I knew of people but I didn’t have a business and I definitely didn’t have friends. For me, if you are in my circle - you know, we take care of each other, we see each other, and we help build each other up. AT: How are things now, because you’ve been here for a little over a year and you’ve established a career as a personal trainer? DW: Right now, I’m in a really good space. It took a lot of time, and I’ve kind of built relationships, really good and important people. If I would have stayed in New York I wouldn’t have been in as good of a position as I am now. So I’m really glad I did the move because it forced me to stay out of that safe zone. If I’m going to be away from my family, it has to be worth something. So I need to try my best. I need to be more solution based instead of sit and complain. AT: So you’ve built your own brand here, and you have a pretty good following too. How were you able to build a career and a brand in a new country. What was the process like? DW: My following is from New York, I haven’t really been able to build in Sweden yet. My process is really just being me, getting to know people rather than trying to sell them something. I mean I’ve been working really hard. AT: How does a normal week look like for you? How many clients do you usually take on? DW: My normal goal is to have five clients a day. If I have three on a Monday, I fill the other on a weekend. AT: Do you train them at the gym, outdoors, or where do you guys train together? DW: Mostly I train at the gym, but with Covid, as a trainer, you have to adapt. Online Training is something I planned on doing in the future, for people in The States that I can’t be present for. Now I do it for people in Swe-

56

den as an online training. I’m also a trainer at a Start up gym called Hart54. AT: What’s unique about your way of training? DW: I would say, my niche is functional training, and, of course, building strength and conditioning. But I really want to do personal training that people can utilise on a day to day basis. It’s like knowing how you use your body without injuring yourself, and if you injure yourself, how to get out of that pain, how can you fix that. I’ve been using rehab like movements and bodyweight workouts. AT: And your clientele, is it both men and women? DW: Mainly women, like group training, and most of my PT’s are women. But what I’ve been noticing is that most men won’t really do PT, unless you look like what they want to look like. The women don’t care what you look like, they just care about you knowing what you’re doing. So it’s two totally different dynamics between men and women. Women are a lot stronger mentally than men are. So I actually really love working with women. They always seem to amaze me! AT: We’re living in a really strange time. There are a lot of things that we are used to that have changed. There have been, and are lockdowns around the world, people isolate themselves a lot more now. It’s easier for people to eat a lot more when they’re home. So, do you have any tips, or some simple steps to get back into shape and to become healthier? DW: I think, first of all, most people need to really understand - don’t think Diet! Diet has this negative feel to it. You need to really think about it like a lifestyle. So what I would say is, be mindful of your day. You don’t eat to get full, you eat to nurture your body. Think about it like that. So I’m nurturing my body to fuel my daily task. If I’m going to have a really heavy day, running around, doing a lot of tasks. I’m going to eat more than I did yesterday because I was sitting at home. For me, like right now, I’m trying to gain weight. So if I have a heavy day, I need to eat even more now because I’m going to be doing a lot. So I would say to think more like a lifestyle situation. I always say stay away from dairy products. I’ve read a few studies, and for African Americans, we do not process pork as well as other cultures. So I stay away from pork, and also pork is a really nasty animal to eat.

MAY 2021


If I would have stayed in New York I wouldn’t have been in as good of a position as I am now”

Look at what the pig eats. AT: Interesting about African Americans processing it differently, I’ll have to look that up. It’s been great talking to you. Lastly Darrick, Is there any motto that you live by? DW: My motto is to treat others, the way you want to be treated. Try not to be so discouraged by people who don’t see life the way you see life. I always think people should be kind to everybody. Not everyone is going to think like that. Especially moving here to Sweden, no one really thinks about the person next to them, they only think about themselves. I was thinking why is everyone so rude, but it’s not rude to them because this is their lifestyle. So I had to understand that a little bit more. I mean, I’m not going to say it’s okay, but now I understand it. Lastly, hard work and dedication to everything you touch!

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

57


58

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

59


60

MAY 2021


Trustworthy Magazine

61

Photo: Edgar Colombia

Vol 11


Photo: Ksenia Chernaya

62

MAY 2021


Kimberly Morris Dream project

B

Interview & Photography By Amina Touray

eing an actress is something that you had dreamed about since you were a little girl. What urged you to go all-in now, to pursue it? Yes, what’s crazy is that I can remember being 8 years old. My family & I were living in Los Angeles off of 78th & Western at the time. I can remember reading the newspaper in the job section for actors in Los Angeles. I wanted to audition for a role on The Cosby Show as Rudy’s cousin. Due to my family’s unfortunate life circumstances & living situations, I never made it to the audition, but Erika Alexander did. She got the role of Pam Felicia Tucker (Rudy’s Cousin). Every now and then I get this spark in my heart that reminds me that my dream is still alive and is still waiting to be manifested. How do you feel about this relatively new journey that you’re starting? Well, I can tell you that I’m most definitely out on the water now. And there’s no turning back. This photoshoot was a big accomplishment for me. At the same time, I’m feeling kind of nervous because I’m coming out of the shadows. And this is a new experience for me. I can only hope & pray for continued success. When we did our photoshoot, there were three characteristics that you described that you wanted to portray; 1. Afrocentric 60’s soul sista, 2.Cherokee Indian woman - which you also have in your ancestry, and 3. Harriet Tubman. Please describe why you chose these 3 individuals, are those your dream roles? Yes, the three characters I chose, when I decided to plan my photoshoot “Afrocentric 60’s Soul Sista and the “Harriet Tubman” character automatically came to mind. It was like an Internal lightbulb that came on. I said to myself, but I need a third character, that’s when I envisioned a peaceful “Indian Woman” surrounded by nature. I believe that these are my dream roles because I envisioned them, and I’m genetically rooted and can relate to all three. I can ‘shonuff’ be sassy classy. Lead, instruct & direct. Find peace and serenity in the beauty of God’s nature and his plan. You’ve mentioned that past traumas held you back from acting. Are you using it as fuel to the fire as you’re now pursuing a career as an actress? My past experiences and traumas growing up as well as experiences and situations as a grown woman have most definitely fueled this fire which has propelled me forward to pursue my dreams. So tell us, what is “Kimberly Morris dream project” all about? The Kimberly Morris Dream Project is about breaking free from past traumas, facing

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

63


Allow God to restore your broken pieces. Allow Him to blow that spark into a flame to dream again”

my fears head-on, And taking a chance on me, because I deserve it! What advice can you give to other women that also may have put their dream on hold? The advice that I would give a woman that has put there dreams on hold is that we’re only given one life. You can either let it make you or break you. There’s a time in all of our lives where we have been fragmented, broken, to a point that we have become stuck, stagnated, mentally and emotionally paralyzed. All I say is, but God!!! If it had not been for him, I wouldn’t have the full faculties of my mind, or strength to be where I am now. Allow God to restore your broken pieces. Allow Him to blow that spark into a flame to dream again because He’s the one who put it there in the first place. What do you envision for yourself in the next five years from now? In the next five years, I envision myself bold, and successful, sharing my testimony with women all over the world on how they can too overcome. I can also envision myself on the front cover of Instyle & Lifestyle Magazine and starring in a role in a Tyler Perry movie.

64

MAY 2021


Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

65


Photo: Bob Ward

66

MAY 2021


Trustworthy Magazine

Vol 11

Trustworthy Magazine

67


Trustworthy Magazine