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+ Luxury Hotel Architect, BILL BENSLEY, Opens His House to Epicc Magazine!

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T H E LI G H T M G Z

“We can change our mindset and find opportunity for growth, change, and a new sense of power.�

Denette Buenrostro-Ramirez Epicc Magazine Founder & Publisher


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elcome to the second issue of Epicc Magazine! I hope you have been staying safe during this pandemic by social distancing, washing your hands, and wearing your mask. #alonetogether and 15 Days to Stop the Spread turned into weeks of shut downs, teleworking, and distance learning. So many of you have shared powerful stories of resilience and hope on Facebook even in the midst of unimaginable loss. Life as we once knew it has changed—and who knows how much more our lives will change? How we embrace this change is our choice. We can crawl under our bed and never come out. We can say over and over again “Why me?” We can embrace our suffering and victimhood and remain powerless. Or… We can take action and keep moving. We can change our mindset and find opportunity for growth, change, and a new sense of power. We can embrace our talents and passions and reclaim our power. Maybe now is the time to create a full time business or a part time business for supplemental income. Do you love to cook? Maybe make and sell meal preps! Do you have

skills to supervise kids for distance learning? You’ll need the patience of Job to help kids stay focused. Do you have administrative skills? Offer yourself as a consultant to businesses and solo-entrepreneurs. The pandemic has definitely changed my entire outlook on life. I am more optimistic, more in touch with who I am as businesswoman, wife, mother, and mentor, and most importantly, woman of faith. I refocused on helping women find their inner power. This fall, Epicc TV, an extension of Epicc Magazine, will launch with incredible inspiring stories and talented performers. Also coming this fall, a relaunch of Buenrostro by Epicc, my cosmetic line with color names to empower women. You’ll love the new streamlined approach to empowering beauty. (We’ve learned a lot about beauty behind the mask!) I have decided that this pandemic will not defeat me. I will continue to follow my calling of inspiring and empowering others with lessons that I continue to learn. That is what issue two means to me—a new phase of unlimited love of self, new hopes, and new dreams. My best to you as always, and with love, Denette Buenrostro-Ramirez Founder & Publisher

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A WORD FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Do you know someone with an inspiring story? Let me know. This edition is full of editorials to give you that extra boost to carry on.

I am glad you are taking the time to read the second edition of Epicc Magazine. We have selected stories that we believe will inspire you to do more and cope with life challenges. It will also highlight the talent or stories of individuals in our community that you should meet. I am all about connecting people that share the same passion for what they do and are always looking for ways to give back to their community. As you may imagine we have had to overcome a lot of unforseen events while preparing this issue. We were planning to have another event to celebrate the cover story but we feel it is not the right time to be in a large setting yet. I had a great time photographing and talking to Mike Johnson about his book and future plans. I am sure you will enjoy the cover story written by our talented Katherine McMillan, PhD. I am also excited about sharing with you photos of Bill Bensley’s private garden and home. Mr. Bensley has built over 200 luxury hotels around the world. I am sure you will be inspired to revamp your house or backyard! Please install the Issuu app in your iPad if you have a tablet. It will enhance your reading experience and the app is free. Also, let me know if you know someone who has an inspiring

Waldinei (Wally) Lafaiete Editor-in-Chief

story to be featured in our holiday edition. My email is waldinei@hotmail.com Keep shining!


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FOUNDER & PUBLISHER Denette Buenrostro-Ramirez EDITOR -IN-CHIEF Waldinei (Wally) Lafaiete waldinei@hotmail.com EDITORS & CONTRIBUTORS Katharine McMillan Dave Strahan Janet Montagne Luz Ortiz Laura Curtis Violeta Burja Uchenna Umeh, MD Damien Vatel Lisa Astorga Shalay Peterson Ian Peterson Boravy Maloy Cristina Plascencia-Lopez Stephanie Eiland Shadia Khoury Jules Aldaz Guerra Lillian Guindy Elisangela Lafaiete Amanda Hinojosa

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“I feel lucky that my Baan Botanica is a wilderness in itself and is constantly evolving, so I do not feel the need to get out of Bangkok too often - I have a jungle on my doorstep!”

AT HO M E WIT H BI L L B E N S LE Y

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ENSLEY’s Bangkok home is lovingly named Baan Botanica ( Instagram @ baan_botanica) in tribute to the more than 15,000 species of plants growing in the gardens. There he and his husband, designer and horticulturist Jirachai Rengthong retreat from the bustle of the busy studio with their six Jack Russells, amidst exotic objects and mementoes from travels all around the world. At Baan Bontanica Bill tests out his funkiest design ideas, and on the weekend is often found painting friends or hosting amazing parties in the garden oasis - he recently hosted an African themed party complete with fabulous wax fabric outfits! He bought

this little black and white house in the side streets off Sukhumvit from an American named Billy Bones – at first, “I was more intrigued by the name of the owner than the house itself!” It is a jungle like house and garden in the heart of the city, and a true refuge from it. This garden and the house hidden in it is Bill and Jirachai’s playground, changing constantly - even friends who visit weekly get lost as it is an ever evolving wonderland! Especially in these times of COVID - “I feel lucky that my Baan Botanica is a wilderness in itself and is constantly evolving, so I do not feel the need to get out of Bangkok too often - I have a jungle on my doorstep!”


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Baan Botanica: where Bill and Jirachai test out their funkiest design ideas.


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Bill Bensley is world renown for his outstanding, unique and inspiring award-wining hotel, landscape and interior designs and eye-catching architecture. Affectionately known as the “Willy Wonka of Design�, Bill is a a jack of all trades - gardener, fisherman, architect, interior designer, lover of all things natural, and most of all, a wide-ranging explorer of as many corners of the earth as he can. Raised amidst the orange trees of

California, the Harvard Graduate took off for Asia the day after graduation and never looked back. After a few years working in Hong Kong and Singapore, he set up shop in Bangkok in 1989, soon followed by a BENSLEY branch in Bali in 1990. With a team of 150 interior designers, architects, landscape designers, artists and makers of all things beautiful, Bensley has brought to life over 200 resorts, hotels and palaces in over 30 countries, and is on a neverending quest to create their best work yet. Over the years Bensley has become known as a hotel designer who integrates sustainability into all of his designs, and is now hoping to share this knowledge with as many people as possible, in the hopes that if the hospitality industry bands together, they might be able to do their bit in reversing climate change.

www.bensley.com


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Authenticity for Success By Violeta Burja

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. – Oscar Wilde


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o you know who you are or what makes you different from others? Do you live your life with integrity, or you are afraid to show your true colors? It might seem easy to answer these questions but for most people it`s just the opposite. It`s not simple to recognize our uniqueness, let alone to form our own story, live it and breathe it through everything we do.

our uniqueness. Only when we originate from our hearts and live authentically, we are on a great path to make the best out of this life.

Authentic therefore means being honest with yourself and others; accepting yourself with all the flaws and talents while being open about it; communicating with ease based on your beliefs and values without fear, speculation or need to prove yourself; understanding that you Why is that a problem? As adults, we should true power comes from within; and living with know ourselves by now. It is us who live our lives, integrity and self-confidence all the time. we alone run our shows, supervise our thoughts and make decisions, and only we know ourselves, with all our strengths, weaknesses and secrets. Ask yourself what your real story is, how you And yet, we are still confused and afraid when it want to live your life, review your core values comes to finding our voice and recognizing our and start honoring them. You will see not only positive changes within yourself but also in your inner power. relationships. Add an important ingredient to your recipe for success - be bold, take chances, Beliefs we form throughout our lives from our overcome fears and remember: BE AUTHENTIC childhood on play a big role in the way we NOT PERFECT! function; they are our filter through which we perceive our lives and everything around us. And, many times we believe, we are not capable or worthy enough to express ourselves fully and show the whole package. So, we tend to copy others and imitate their stories of success. We think we must follow the same path others took to achieve greatness. We hide behind the faรงade which we so carefully built to protect ourselves from being rejected, hurt and humiliated. We just want to belong and be successful, but we don`t realize that living such a life is meaningless and in a contradiction with our true nature. It makes us feel empty, disappointed and fearful, and it cannot bring any true prosperity and happiness Violeta Burja is a member on a long run. Each individual is born with a potential to achieve greatness within the given circumstances, the right to be accepted without any prejudice and to make free choices how to live. When making decisions, it is important to know that we can attract lasting success, abundance and overall well-being only when we are in sync with our truth, with who we are, and when we build on

of Epicc Magazine Editorial Board and a founder of H.E.A.L. Holistic Studio. She helps people on their path of personal growth through her healing work and education about mind-body-soul connection.


“Vintage Beauty� Model: Kat Day @model.katday Creative Director: Stephanie Eiland @PineappleHouse_Platforms Photographer: Brian Barbier @brianbarbierphotography Hair: Carol Lester @mystiquemakeupandhair Make-Up: Stephanie Eiland @sugarhippie_


“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.� - Audrey Hepburn


"Let glitter be the tears of beauty." With a nod back to retro 1920s makeup and styling The model Madison Anders, @_madison_lea Creative Director: Stephanie Eiland, @PineappleHouse_Platforms Photography: Jennifer Crowder, @jennifer_crowder_artist Hair: Stephanie Eiland, @sugarhippie_ Makeup: Cyn Rodriguez, @misscyn7 Location: The Parish Hub, @theparishhub


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Madison Anders


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adison Anders developed an interest in fashion at an early age watching Project Runway with her mother, and critiquing red carpet looks during the early 2000s. She began modeling at 12, and six years later, is proud of her accomplishments in the industry thus far.

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30 online and print magazines, and her work has been shown in San Antonio, TX, New Orleans, Louisiana, New York, New York, and Pingyao China.

Cyn Rodriguez is a freelance makeup artist with 6 years of experience traveling through San Antonio and South Texas helping brides She has been featured in multiple be their most beautiful on their publications, traveled to NYC, and wedding day. She's most likely to be begun making bonds with designers, jamming on set to the tunes of Jim photographers, and more. She hopes Morrison. to continue modeling and is striving for a big time career in New York. Stephanie Eiland is creative director, Madison credits her experiences and co-founder of Pineapple House through modeling as helping her to Platforms, a boutique creative agendevelop her character, as she pursues cy in San Antonio, Texas. With over her dreams. 15 years experience doing hair and makeup for weddings, music videos, Jennifer Crowder likes to find play- c-suite clients, fashion editorials, ful and imaginative images, with and SFX - she has turned her time a balance between fine art and now to advocating for other freelanfashion. She expresses through vice creative artists through her Pineabrant colors, with rich tonal ranges, pple House Platforms. influenced by artists like Richard Avedon, Cindy Sherman, and Sandy Stephanie has had work featured in Skoglund, with an emphasis on crea- various international publications, ting a narrative through her work. her brides seen on the cover of San Antonio Wedding's Magazine, in A 2009 BFA graduate of UTSA with music videos, and more. an emphasis in photography, and 2018 San Antonio Fashion Awards "Photographer of The Year' winner; Jennifer has been published in over


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YOGA,

the Way to Union

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n the midst of a struggling gig economy for local musicians, San Antonio-based mindfulness musician Adam Tutor spent his time going inwards to tune in with Divine inspiration. The result of his focus and musical reflection is a full-length meditation album entitled “Yoga, The Way To Union”, a soundtrack for inner-peace and stillness.

tation For Love. Love For All.” and this album was carefully crafted to bring that mantra to life in the hearts of his listeners. Inspired by the teachings of Yoga as a process of even-mindedness and creating union with the Divine, Tutor walks the audience through guided meditations via principles of detachment, karma, our inner light, and bliss (what the yogis call samadhi).

While Tutor incorporated a few local musicians for the soundscape experience, the production and recording experience was done nearly 100% by Tutor in his home studio. “This musical offering is the closest thing I have to communicating my relationship with God, so it was a very gentle and organic process from start to finish,” Tutor said. “Revealing your soul to the world takes on a mysteriously beautiful hue through sound, so I just listened and let it flow naturally –no judgment, no expectations.”

The album features unique instruments such as sitar, Tibetan bowls, and modular synths, and all feature Tutor sweeping the airwaves with his saxophone (his primary instrument).

Tutor’s mantra when it comes to his craft is “Music for Meditation. Medi-

According to Tutor the album is meant for everyone, not just the aspiring meditator or practitioner of yoga and mindfulness – “We all deserve to feel the peace and joy that is ever in our hearts. When we slow down and create stillness in our body, mind, and soul, we realize our gift (our responsibility) to be of service in this life and to do so with gratitude.” 0


“We all deser ve to feel the peace and joy that is ever in our hearts. When we slow down and create stillness in our body, mind, and soul, we realize our gift (our responsibility) to be of service in this life and to do so with gratitude.� Adam Tutor


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We are honored to welcome Jules to our Epicc Magazine team as a fashion editor. Jules is a national fashion stylist and lifestyle correspondent with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry.

Jule s A lda z G u e r r a Photos by Suzanne Pack

My authentic love for fashion makes me passionate about helping people feel good about themselves. As a professional wardrobe stylist, I am privileged to help so many achieve their style goals, encouraging my clients that the most fashionable part of any outfit is that it makes them feel strong, confident, and comfortable. My clients enjoy complete style makeovers, image consulting, assistance in creating a new wardrobe, or a complete closet “detox.” I pride myself on considering each client’s personal taste, lifestyle, and specific needs, offering my expertise to both women and men of all ages and sizes. I specialize in working with people who have undergone drastic life changes such as significant weight loss, helping them see themselves through “new” eyes. I am national fashion stylist and lifestyle correspondent with over 20 years of experience in the fashion industry. As a four time nominee for San Antonio Fashion Stylist of the Year, I love being a

part of the fashion community in the great city of San Antonio as my home base. I am proud to say last year I received the award for San Antonio Fashion Stylist of the Year as well as was nominated for Texas Fashion Industry Initiative Professional of the Year. I style for media outlets, fashion shows, photo shoots and red carpet productions around the country. Currently, I am the wardrobe fashion stylist for KENS5 Great Day SA where I style the show hosts. In addition, I write a fashion column for SA Scene Magazine. I recently opened a new concept boutique showroom inside of the New Image Salons called Trend. My production clients include KENS5’s GreatDaySA, where I can be seen giving fashion advice and style makeovers as well as chatting it up with the hosts about the newest trends. My goal in all of these endeavors is to show my clients, viewers, and followers that although we all have our favorites, fashion and style is not about labels, but about feeling good about yourself. I do what I love and I love what I do! www.jules.style


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“I do what I love and I love what I do!” - Jules Aldaz Guerra Photo by Natalia Sun


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Three years ago a couple from San Antonio, “The Board Couple” came up with a concept of delivering and customizing charcuterie and cheese board.

THE BOARD COU P L E We have all sent flowers, dropped off balloons, or cake, a bottle of wine maybe or certainly a gift card to someone for a birthday or other. But have you ever brought a cheese or charcuterie board to the party?? If you haven’t, it is time to try! Three years ago a couple from San Antonio, “The Board Couple” came up with a concept of delivering and customizing charcuterie and cheese board. Send it, bring it, be the most popular gift giver at the party! Bryan and Monica have known each other for a while, both experienced in and around food oriented careers. It’s easy to see how Bryan, “the artisan” son of a butcher, obviously grew up surrounded with charcuterie while Monica, a jour-

nalist and food writer with local foodie reporter Tanji Patton, would have the right combination of target training for this deal. One day out on a date they couldn’t figure out a place to go, and decided to get their own stuff, and go home to put it together... that’s when the first board was born! They subsequently became “the board couple.” Great idea! I thought, but now comes the difficult part of measured expansion: from the home kitchen idea to the commercial enterprise ... location, size of investment, size of building, product stock, website styling, number of employees etc...


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THE BOARD COUPLE: MONICA & BRYAN


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As they near a grand opening at their blackberry location (that’s Zarzamora for San Antonians) at 2218 N. Zarzamora, the struggle of the last few years, in terms of establishing a stable stream of orders, depending on word-of-mouth and referrals, is starting to pay off! You can see how an impressive board at a party could quickly impress her number of guest every time, and that could well turn out to keep their hands full in the near future, providing they can fend off the competition and the copycats. But with their years of building up the brand, jovial and passionate personalities, I trust it is a solid bet...

Lisa Astorga & Damien Watel Culinary Editors


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“One day out on a date they couldn’t figure out a place to go, and decided to get their own stuff, and go home to put it together... that’s when the first board was born.”

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www.theboardcouple.com Phone: 210-573-2100 2218 N. Zarzamora San Antonio, TX, 78201


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WRITTEN BY: LUZ ORTIZ

“I have been truly blessed in my 35-year career as a Makeup Artist, I would not change it for anything.” - Carrie Von Loudon


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CARRIE VON LOUDON THE BEAUTY OF MAKEUP AS AN ART FORM

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akeup Artist, educator, business owner Carrie Von Loudon’s work can go from abstract edgy to a quiet elegance. Her goal is for you to see a beautiful woman and not the amount of makeup she is wearing. Taking from her experience with corporate giants such as MAC Cosmetics, Estee Lauder and Armani von Loudon gained the knowledge that she would use throughout her career. Her work has been featured in British Vogue, Trends, Texas Monthly, Woman Aye Chihuahua, Forbes, Spice and La Connexion plus commercial ads such as Nike National, Proctor and Gamble, Gunn Automotive, Wayne Wright Law Firm, Spurs Entertainment, Fox Sport News, Sports with Jim Rome, local affiliates WOAI and KENS TV to name a few. Carrie has taken her skills to the tents and behind the scenes and has been a key/lead artist for several fashion and runway shows in New York City and around the country as well as judged pageants in the USA. She forged the way for other artists by creating opportunities with the Spurs Silver Dancers, Miss Fiesta, Tejano Music Awards and San Antonio Fashion Awards so they could experience the excitement of working on real events and fine tuning their craft. In April 2013 von Loudon opened the doors to the Institute of Makeup Artistry. “It was definitely

a struggle but well worth it” von Loudon says. “I have taught some of the most amazing artists. I have been truly blessed in my 35-year career as a Makeup Artist, I would not change it for anything.” In 2019, Von Loudon moved the school to the Maestro Entrepreneur Center so it would be able to cultivate and grow under the guidance of this nonprofit. This new season after covid-19 is bringing one more change to the school, it will be opening the doors on the weekends under the name THE ARTISTS PALLET for other Makeup Artists, Educators, Photographers and Stylists so they will be able to have a place to work instead of working in unfamiliar homes or businesses. Carrie confirms that standards of sanitation will be over the top in order to protect industry professionals and the clients they depend on to make a living. Von Loudon has been highlighted in several magazines and on TV showcasing her amazing artistry or discussing the importance of education and the importance of being an educated Makeup Artist. “Today’s women want to learn from you they are hungry for information” von Loudon says to her students. Von Loudon’s teaching concept is a little different in that she teaches correction thru color. “When your client looks in the mirror, they should see a transformation, an enhanced version of themselves if you will. To me that is what being a Makeup Artist is about. Creating a feeling, an experience... Creating a positive reaction. 0


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IBOX said YES immediately. I was truly humbled, amazed and thankful that he had come in. God definitely BEAT is an authentic Boxing works mysterious and at for the correct moment. I immediately met with the PD group led by Gym in that providesways training Founders Dianne Johnson, RN and Raul Garza who started the Punch Out Parkinson’s Program 3 all levels from beginner to pro for years ago at the Rendazzo Gym led by a Local Longtime Boxing Coach Leo Zuniga, who also now has every typeAnd of man, woman and Parkinsons. invited all to the group to Box Beat as another location addition to the Program.

child. Members of Box Beat receive the same training, perform Dianne, a movement disorder nursethe worked and did research on PD for almost 24 years. While attending a Parkinson’s Congress in Scotland she saw a patient with very little mobility hit a heavy bag same drills, and undergo the same and the smiledevelopment on his face of accomplishment brought tears to her eyes. A few years later after reading technique as profesmore on the benefits of boxing she decided to go to Indiana and become a certified instructor for Rock sional boxers. Steady Boxing. Unfortunately, due to cost and the need to have to charge patients it was a no go.

Our mission is the to empower Thinking outside box and fortodays a way to make this program happen she reached out to Raul Garza and youthuptowith learn theOut art Parkinson’s of professiocame Punch Program. They started at Randazzo gym and recently at Box Beat. nal fighting, while supporting an-

Patients in this program with Bradykinesia, ti-bullying efforts in young adults. stooped posture and tremor after a few weeks improve their walking speed and posture.

Female owned and operated Box is supporting andhow em-they come in to the gym walking slowly and leave with more IBeat have gym personally seen it myself powering We women to be whobreakdown you movement. have had people during are, and find your inner strength.

class because they so hate this disease and then leave with a smile. I can’t put into words how their faces light up when theythe box.most It is AMAZING! Boxing is rated difficult

sport by ESPN.COM. With a team

Box Beat and I want to help Dianne and Raul take this Program to another level. I, along with my of professional trainers, you will de Oca have joined the board and The Punch Out Parkinson’s BFF Janet Montagne and Luis Montes train likebecame a professional fighter. Aside from donating gym space and time our Box Beat family is Program a 501c in November. We helping have the best the thank Adrian “AD” Rodriguez for donating his time to teach also with thetrainers training. for I especially and help toughest us spread the wordWe for take future hopeful funding. Our long term goal is to extend our program world’s sport. statewide and provide help to less in San Antonio and all over Texas. pride in getting our membersfortunate in

the best shape possible!

www.myboxbeat.com

4553 N. Loop 1604 W. Ste 1209 San Antonio, TX - 78249 (210) 414 7222


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KAMAL ALDAYEKH

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“If you dream it, you must believe it, because it exists.”

Kamal Aldayekh


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D R EAM ING I S BE L I EVI N G Kamal’s open-mindnesses, creativity and above all, musical talent set him on a path of international performances that culminated in life in America. - By Wally Lafaiete

K

amal Aldayekh’s charisma, poise and

His talent gave him a chance to travel to Germany,

expressive talent have the power to transport

Tunisia, Korea, and Russia representing his country.

listeners to a magical mental place. His

Kamal credits his nonjudgemental way of seeing the

musical stylings conjure the beauty of One

world to these international travels.

Thousand and One Arabian Nights, the captivating stories of adventure. Kamal’s performance at “A Night in

As an aspiring artist—he was also appearing in theatrical

Syria”, an event hosted by the Mediterranean community

plays and on television, Kamal dreamed of migrating to

in San Antonio, revealed to me his mastery over classical

the United States, “the land of freedom”. When he puts

Middle Eastern music.

his mind to do something he “will get it done.” “The more you see yourself doing something the more skilled

Since emigrating to Texas in 2017, the 50-year-old

you get at it” he repeats to me as we sip a latte in a cold

Lebanon-born musician has performed in the Lebanese

morning. At 22, his dream came true. With $300 in his

Festival, the Mayor’s Ball in San Antonio, the Ayva

pocket, he moved to the city of San Jose with the help of

Center in Houston, as well as for private events. He

a brother who already lived in California.

tours with the Karavan Dancers and famous belly dance instructor Karen Barbee Adkisson. As a way to keep the

Flexible, resourceful, and eager to acculturate, Kamal

traditional art forms alive and foster talent, Kamal takes

enrolled in English classes where he developed a

on students of guitar and other instruments.

passion for writing. Adjusting to American life was easy for an open-minded risk-taker. “It was a surprise to see

His path to becoming a musician was partly luck and

that unhappy customers could easily return purchased

mostly visualizing success. Kamal discovered his talent

items, including watermelons, to a local supermarket -

for music at the age of 13. Through the mentorship of

something unheard of in Lebanon,” he recalls.

an older brother, who often invited him to performances and studio recording sessions, he developed a passion

“Dreams become reality when we put our minds to

for playing multiple instruments. As luck would have it,

making it so,” says Kamal, taking a final sip of his latte.

Kamal was introduced to a music teacher who took him

“And it is never too late to start dreaming. If you dream

under his wings. Kamal learned how to play the guitar

it, you must believe it, because it exists.” 0

and mastered the steel drum “tableh”, and by age of 15 became the youngest drummer in a classical orchestra playing Mediterranean music.


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www.brasaousa.com


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NEW CLASS OPPORTUNITY

YO G A FO R ST RE SS + A NXI E TY WITH SO MUCH UNCERTAINTY IN OUR LIVES, NOW IS THE BEST TIME TO LEARN TOOLS TO CALM DOWN YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM Beginner yoga class with an introduction to meditation. We work on balance, strength and flexibility while toning the vagus nerve activating our rest and digest nervous system.


HOW CAN YOGA HELP ME? The Vagus Nerve Emotion, stress, inflammation, heart rate, blood pressure, vocal expression, digestion, brain-heart communication, adaptivity, epilepsy. What do these things all have in common? The vagus nerve. It allows for communication between the brain, inner body, emotions, and world. The vagus nerve takes its name from Latin—it means wandering, like vagabond. It is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves. Most of the cranial nerves (there are twelve), stimulate or direct only one or two particular functions; for example, the first cranial nerve controls our sense of smell, the second our sense of sight. The vagus, however, which is the tenth cranial nerve, extends from the brain stem down into the trachea, larynx, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas, and intestines. Among its many, many functions, the vagus stimulates the voluntary muscles that effect speech and expression (which is why Darwin called it the nerve of emotion); it’s associated with digestion and relaxation of the GI tract; it slows the heart rate and reduces inflammation. It is the oldest branch of our parasympathetic nervous system, and carries within it imprints of hundreds of thousands of years of the evolutionary imperative that we all have within us to feel safe, connected, and loved. - Eddie Stern Join Maria Jose "MJ" Escobar, E-RYT 500 and Chopra Center Meditation Coach for yoga and meditation classes Visit www.meztliliving.com for more details @mj.themindfulmama


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(AKADR. LULU | THE MOMATRICIAN)


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Are you a Yelling Parent? Dr. Lulu has dedicated her life and her voice to creating awareness for suicide in children, teens and young adults, especially in the minority community.

Dear parent, Today we are going to talk about Susan Smith (name changed). She was only 15 years old when she ran away from home and attempted suicide. Yes, she is one of three children of her parents, and she has not only run away from home, but also tried to kill herself, both in the space of a couple of months. “Why would anyone want to do that?” You ask. Well, that is the exact question her mom asked herself, and that was her complaint when she brought her to see me that afternoon in January of 2020. Her mother, like any other concerned parent, was very distraught, and not only wanted to know why her little girl had run away from their “sweet home” but also why she was “selfish” enough to want to kill herself. Yep, many people think of suicide as a selfish act, some even think of it as cowardly. Luckily for this mom, neither of her daughter’s two attempts (deep cuts on her left wrist, and taking enough of her grandmother’s Xanax Uchenna L. Umeh, MD/MBA Also known as Dr. Lulu

to make her sleep for 36 hours) resulted in her death, but many other teens and children are not as lucky. Just this past weekend, my


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neighbor’s son hung himself in his bedroom, and

suicidal change the course they are on. So,

many years ago, one of my patients walked out

though she is alive, doing better, and even

unto the front lawn during the family fourth of

thriving today, I think her note gives us an eye-

July barbecue, placed a shotgun in his mouth

opening look into the minds of children and

and pulled the trigger. There are many more

teens who want to kill themselves. Thankfully,

stories of youth suicides like these nearly on

and she also gave me permission to share it with

a daily basis, all you have to do is perform a

you, see below (names all changed)

google search for child, teen or youth suicide on your device, and the list will alarm you.

Asking What Happened?

As a pediatrician, and mother of two teens

I remember asking her mom the usual questions

and one young adult (all males), youth suicide

that day. What is going on ma’am? How may I

is something that keeps me up at night.

help you? She very eloquently described what

Having suffered from my own fair share of

in her mind she thought was the situation:

suicidal ideation, I know what it is like to be

She is an immigrant mom, with ailing parents.

overwhelmed, misunderstood, trapped, invisible,

She works two jobs (weekdays and weekends)

anguished and in despair. I know what it is like

to provide shelter, put food on the table and

to reach the end of the road and have no more

clothes on her daughter’s back. She is stressed

will to live. I know exactly what it is like to want

out with deadlines and near impossibly high-

to die by your own hands. Many of you reading

performance expectations at work, suffers

this may have also had those feelings one or

with guilt from a bad marriage that left her to

more times in your life, or maybe not. While I

care for her daughter all by herself, though her

never acted on my ideations, they were very real

current husband is in the picture. She tries to be

and it took everything in my power to get past

the best parent she can be when she gets home

them. Needless to say, the medications the kind

at the end of each long workday. She did not

doctors gave me while I was stationed at joint

understand how Susan could be so ungrateful.

base Lackland, did not help me, they actually made me worse.

When I asked the little girl what happened, her first words were “I miss my mom.” “She works all

Luckily, Susan wrote a suicide note the second

week long and all weekend long.” And the next

time she attempted to kill herself, and was

words that came out of her mouth, nailed it.

kind enough to share it with me during one of

“From the moment she walks in the door around

our sessions. She told me she had never felt

6 pm every day until she goes to bed each night,

comfortable enough to share it with any of

she is non-stop yelling at me, it bothers me

her former caregivers, and she has never even

so much that I figured running away or killing

shown it to her parents before. This brought

myself would be the only way to get it to stop.”

me great joy, as I often doubt myself on the

Hmmm, two very different sides of the same

effectiveness of the work I do. I often wonder

story. Her mother could not believe it. She had

if I can truly help my young patients who are

not even realized S.S was viewing the situation


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that way. There she was thinking her daughter

you? Are your children afraid of you? If yelling

was selfish and ungrateful to say the very least.

truly worked, how many times would you have

It never struck her that she was in any way

to do it? Have you ever tried not yelling? Does

responsible for the way her daughter felt, and

it truly correct the behavior you are trying to

most importantly, how she responded.

change or does it re-enforce it? What is the real reason you yell? Would you yell at your boss or

Are You a Yelling Parent?

coworkers if they did the same thing your kids (or spouse) do to make you yell? When I teach

What about you? What kind of parent are you?

my Parenting Without Yelling course, many of

How are you and your family dealing with the

my clients/students/parents are alarmed at the

#stayhome ordinance? Is it bringing out the best

potentially negative effects of “simple� yelling,

or the worst in you? Imagine if you were Susan,

both on them and on their kids.

how would you feel if that were your situation at home? I know that for many of us, yelling at

Many are shocked to learn that their children

our kids comes second nature, but at what cost?

can develop emotional problems like low-self

Have you ever wondered how your kids view

esteem, depression, anxiety, learning disabilities,


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and anger management issues. Or become bullies, sociopaths, and even experience suicidal ideations or exhibit suicidal behaviors. Parents can themselves develop their own problems like

household members being in jail or prison • scary circumstances like yelling, parental discord or bullying (by siblings or parents) • sexual abuse or any form of molestation

sleep disorders, high blood pressure, memory loss, fatigue, mood disorders and even a heart attack

ACEs are linked to chronic health problems,

from their bodies’ physiological responses to

mental illness, and substance misuse in adulthood.

yelling. Yes, your body goes into fight, flight, and

ACEs can also negatively impact education, job

fright mode from yelling! Imagine that? Needless

opportunities and future relationships and even

to say, like your kids’ first teachers, they will learn

family life. It is a strong predictor of suicidal

how to yell from you and grow up to become

behavior and suicide. However, ACEs can be

yellers (just like you did), or possibly worse.

prevented. It begins with us. We as parents must be willing to become more intentional and more

The Role of ACEs

present in every aspect of our home life. Our children must see us as trusted and we must be

According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC.

their ultimate cheerleader and have their back all

gov, ACEs or Adverse Childhood Experiences

of the time. It is our duty.

are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). The bottom line is, if a

In Ending

child senses an event as traumatic, then it is traumatic. It is not for us to judge or decide what

So, in ending, while the causes of suicidal

signifies trauma in other people. Just like bullying,

behavior and suicide are protean, one of the

if a victim thinks, believes or perceives a situation

most significant causes of distress for our kids,

as threatening or as a bullying event, then it is.

especially the teens, is relationship issues,

While there are many examples of trauma not

particularly conflicts at home. Many articles have

often considered, the common examples often

been written and studies have shown that suicidal

noted are: experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect

or not, adolescents who are able to identify one

witnessing violence in the home or community

single trusted adult in their lives often thrive. Yes,

having a family member attempt or die by suicide.

just one. Interestingly, the adult does not have to

Also included are aspects of the child’s

be a parent. Alas, as in the case of my patient, S.S,

environment that can undermine their sense of

like very many children, it could be inferred that

safety, stability, and bonding such as growing up in

she was lacking that one trusted adult in her life

a household with:

at that time. Are you one? Are you the one trusted

• substance misuse

adult to the teens in your life?

• mental health problems • instability due to parental separation or

If I had to pick one thing for all parents or


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guardians to do in order to end child suicides,

And on that note, I will say, take the next several

it would be to look out for potential sources of

days, weeks or months to think deeply about what

childhood trauma aka ACEs in your homes. What

you just read and make appropriate adjustments

you might think is a simple remark about your

where and when needed. Remember, I am rooting

child’s weight, or physical appearance, “innocent”

for you :)

name-calling or usual yelling episode (because that is how y’all “have always done it,”) can result

Yours in the fight.

in stress in your child. And since as humans, who tend to accumulate our thoughts and stack them

Dr. Lulu

up, while that child of yours might not show an outward reaction but could snap one day when they have had enough.

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Ray Altamirano MD Founder of Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic

R

ay Altamirano MD is a first generation American and proud to be from the Southside of San Antonio. He graduated Harlandale High School as Valedictorian in 1998 then attended Texas A&M University and medical school at Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara in Mexico. He subsequently completed his residency program in Conroe Texas. The entire journey of his education was geared to return to San Antonio to practice medicine. He returned in 2011 to San Antonio ready to make a difference. He worked in a community clinic for 3 years before taking on leadership roles in hospital medicine and emergency rooms. His passion, though, has always been in his community. Dr Altamirano felt jaded with the current healthcare system and knew his only was back in primary care would be under his own terms. Seeing an opportunity to practice outside the red tape and tactics of the current healthcare system and health insurance, he created Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic in March of 2019. This clinic caters to America’s most vulnerable population, the sick uninsured. He quickly realized that this demographic of patients needed an alternative to their current options which were often not very trustworthy and expensive, even predatory. Dr Altamirano set out to be that

honest option and practice with ultimate transparency. As a hobby, Dr Altamirano, finds a healthy therapy in creating his own pop art paintings called Amar Es Vivir (to love is to live). He began to sell his artwork to pay for his patients’ medications and specialist care as he came across patients in dire financial circumstances. This story garnered national attention highlighted by appearances on The Kelly Clarkson Show and The Doctors in the fall of 2019. In December of 2019, Dr Altamirano was recognized as one of San Antonio top 40 Under 40 by the San Antonio Business Journal, and was subsequently named 2020 Man of the Year in January 2020. Dr Altamirano finds the attention very flattering, but he says the real magic is what is happening every day at Casa Salud via the community outpour of support. He has become a beacon of hope for his community. From his patients paying for the next person in line, to other local artists donating their pieces with all proceed going to help fund Casa Salud patients’ needs and a bevy of health professionals donating their time to help in-house. It’s been less than a year since Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic embarked on its trek to provide affordable healthcare access to the uninsured. Having generated national buzz and a viable business model and alternative to the current health insurance model, Dr Altamirano has only scratched the surface of what he can do for his community and is eager to grow.


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E

very successful business owner has someone they look to for advice, support and guidance. I find that we, as business owners, need coaches and mentors for several reasons: 1. We need an impartial third-party view of our business and feedback to solve problems when we are too close to understand the root cause 2. We need to cut the learning curve to avoid wasted energy and achieve our version of success with less loss and damage 3. We need someone who can hold us accountable to work ON the business while everything around us is going crazy and all we want to do is work IN the business 4. Most of all, we need someone who has faith in us and our ability when our own faith wanes. But I’m not the only person who has gotten burned putting my faith in the wrong coach or mentor. Since most industry experts give answers based on what makes them look like a superstar, it’s even harder to figure out what matters most when considering adding a coach to your team. Too many business owners end up going with their gut and when that gut feeling turns out to be wrong, and it often is mislead here, it is extremely painful both financially and emotionally. In addition to that gut check, here are a couple things I consider when interviewing a coach to limit my risk of hiring a toilet (you know, something full of crap that works best when it’s flushed).


EP IC C MAGA ZINE

How to choose a GREAT COACH

By Stephanie Scheller

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I first look at track record. I don’t care so much about whether they are industry-experienced as I care about what they have accomplished in business in general and if they have repeated success doing what I need. The key is repeat success. Anyone can get lucky. I know a guy who sold his second business for a cool eight-figures, and has been completely unable to replicate it in the five years and five businesses since. If I’m hiring someone to help drive sales in a service-based business, then I want to know that they have driven sales repeatedly in service-based businesses to the scale I want. Then I check self-confidence. There’s a difference between confidence and bragging. In my experience, the individuals who fixate-on, or repeatedly volunteer information-designed-to-impress (For example: bragging on millions of dollars in revenue or the trappings of success) are usually trying to buoy themselves and make themselves feel better or look better to make up for a gap. A coach with experience and consistent results doesn’t need to repeat the same story every meeting, or push their success down my throat. They comfortably live and breath it. Next I ask: Are they cheap? I’ve reached a point in my business where I care less about the price the coach is charging than about how they think and act around money. Great coaches charge what they charge because they are worth it. But there are coaches who charge crazy amounts of money just to see if they can get some poor Sap to pay it (Don’t be the poor Sap!). I’ve learned to listen to how they talk about and look at money. Is it part of their casual conversation or do they seem to consciously make an effort to talk about money to seem competent? When they get excited about money, why are they excited? Are they excited because of what all you can buy, or because of the impact you can make? Are they awed or intimidated by money? If my coach can’t see bigger than me, I’m in trouble before I get started! The more you learn to listen, the easier it becomes to hear how people truly talk about money. Second to last, I need to know that my coach has a coach and is growing. Unless they are constantly evolving and growing, I will outgrow them quickly, and I also question how modern and effective their toolbelt is if they aren’t committed to growth. I ask them straight-up who they are coaching with, what events they are attending? How do they commit themselves to constant learning and growth? If they don’t have a coach, how are they selling something they don’t believe in themselves? Finally, I need to click with my potential coach. They need to get me. I need to feel that there is a connection there. This is someone I will spend time with and have to be willing to be vulnerable with in order to make the most of our relationship. If I don’t feel the connection, I move on. There are other coaches out there! Regardless of where you’re at in your business, get a coach. Find someone to help you accomplish your dreams in your business, and hold you accountable to the goals you set. Find someone who believes in your potential more than you do and will push and prod and inspire you to achieve greatness. Find someone to be on your team. We all need a coach.


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Chantil Minton Black Card Travel Society

In 2007, while serving on active duty, Chantil Minton crossed paths with a fellow nurse while traveling to a nursing conference in Las Vegas, NV. The ladies met at the airport baggage claim, sparking an instant connection. They quickly realized that they both shared a passion for the finer things in life, all things travel, and women empowerment. Throughout the years, they remained in close contact and attended and curated several events together. In 2010, after calling several hotels to make reservations for the 2011 NBA All Star Weekend in Los Angeles, Chantil discovered that many places were completely booked or greatly overpriced. So, she did the next best thing, rented a multimillion-dollar property and invited some of her closest family and friends. Since her military retirement, Chantil has taken the bull by the horns branding this niche into Black Card Travel Society. She meticulously creates itineraries that provide a lavish , celebrity studded experience. Most recent events include New York Fashion Week, Super Bowl High Tea with Keshia Knight Pulliam, and the Billboard Music Awards. Over the years, Chantil had often questioned her passion of how a military nurse could turn into a travel extraordinaire, cultivating one of a kind VIP experiences. Well she is here to tell you, she did it and she is here to stay. For entrepreneurs that find themselves questioning is it worth the effort, she has a message for you. “Trust the process, no one can do what you do. It matters not, that others may have a similar journey. Your journey is just that, YOURS. Do not let those who cannot see your vision, cloud your vision. Success doesn’t happen overnight, and it is a lesson that comes with several modules. Find a mentor, research your industry and become the subject matter expert. Awake every morning with gratitude and a mindset to take your journey to the next level.”

The road has not been totally smooth. Some of the struggles Chantil faced with Black Card Travel Society was access to capital and exposure. Other obstacles included securing the right team of likeminded individuals to match her entrepreneurial passion and drive. Black Card Travel Society is a one of a kind travel brand that specializes in curating upscale travel experiences for women created around coveted events such as the NBA All Star Weekend, Billboard Music Awards, Kentucky Derby, and New York Fashion Week. Each experience is designed with the very essence of a woman in mind. Black Card Travel Society is known for its attention to detail and luxe accommodations ranging from 4/5 star resorts to penthouse or multi-million dollar private properties. Each travel experience is inclusive of an onsite hairstylist and make-up artist to provide the “red carpet” look, private chauffeur for premier transportation, professional photographer, fashion stylist, event admission coverage, private chef prepared meals or exclusive meal reservations, group fitness event, celebrity meet and greets plus so much more. Traveling with Black Card Travel Society is more than a trip, it is an entire mood that sets it apart from any other travel brand in the industry. This is something Chantil is very proud of. Over the next 5-10 years, the travel industry will creatively double. This Global Pandemic has truly opened the eyes of many and travel is more important now, than ever before. Personalized travel, the use of villas and luxury brand hotels and resorts will be in higher demand. Private jet usage will also increase, to avoid crowded airports and planes. Black Card Travel Society is already ahead of the trend in changing how women experience travel. A typical Black Card Travel Society experience can range between $2500-$6000, dependent of locality, accommodations and events.

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SAN ANTONIO CHRISTMAS BOOK Local authors’ coffee table book to benefit River Walk

A

new 160-page book, Si San Antonio, our favorite places, people and things at Christmas, captures the spirit of this unique American city at the most magical time of the year. This coffee table book by co-authors Patricia Hart McMillan and Natalia King-Sun is a gallery of glorious photographs by Natalia. River Walk, featured on the cover, will officially launch the book at a September 23 reception for media and friends of River Walk. Book sales will benefit River Walk, the secular heart of San Antonio. The authors say that it took a village to create this book. The foreword by Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller reminds readers of the Cathedral’s past and present role as the sacred heart of the city. In his introduction, Marco Barros, longtime CEO of the San Antonio Tourism Council, points to the city’s great diversity and welcoming spirit. Among San Antonians photographed at favorite iconic and

insider places are Mayor Ron Nirenberg viewing the Christmas tree in Travis Park, and Robert Rivard, founder of the online San Antonio Report, at his favorite River Walk bridge. Gordon Hartman entertains friends from the Prosthetic Foundation at Morgan’s Wonderland. Radio star Blanquita Cullum with friends Freida Graham Wright and Jamie Mathis shop at famed North Star Mall. Readers will recognize these and many other residents at the The Guenther House, Zoo, Six Flags, The Pearl, Morris Kaye furriers annual Christmas party, favorite shops, hotels and night spots. “We mean for Si San Antonio, our favorite places, people and things at Christmas to be a loving look at a very special city and its exceptional people who open their hearts and arms to visitors all year long and especially at Christmas,” say the authors.


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“Epicc Magazine will be a platform for me to advocate more and more for women to play an active role in their community.� Denette Buenrostro-Ramirez - Publisher


Epicc Women L

ook around and you will realize that there are a lot of role models out there—a family member, a key player in your community, a celebrity, and even a character in a book. The following is a small sampling of the women who recently inspired me with their life stories. Each of these ladies demonstrates a strength of character that is both formidable and honorable, and it’s a privilege to celebrate them here. Epicc Magazine will be a platform for me to advocate more and more for women to play an active role in their community. When there are more distinct voices involved in the conversation, there is the potential for more change, more empathy and greater success. Hair & Makeup by: Teal-Quila Parker & Jessica AnnMarie Tovar Photos by: Aiessa Ammeter


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“An Empowered woman is one that speaks her truth ; stands tall, is fearless, strong and confident. She is a woman that knows her value by taking center stage, shining with brilliance�. - JACKLEEN


“I think being an empowered woman is believing in another woman’s dreams and supporting her. Cheering her on and praying at the same time that she succeeds”. - SHIDA


“An empowered woman is to have an internal strength, to have self love, security, and confidence in the never ending beauty of our own skin� -LYNN


“Empowering to me is making women feel confident, loved and important about themselves. Doing so empowers them with self confidence to believe they are able to get through whatever is thrown at them.� - ZOEY


“Empowering women to me is when women realize that they are strong enough to overcome any of life’s challenges and hardships. Whether they may be personal or public battles, we are strong enough to prevail”. - SYMPHONY


“Maya Angelou wrote that each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women�. - MYA


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COVE R STORY

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Mike Johnson Gets Real on Love, Life, and Lasting Success...

MIK E J O H N S O N WRITTEN BY: KATHERINE MCMILLAN, PhD - PHOTOS BY: WALLY LAFAIETE Mike Johnson sat down for a heart-to-heart chat about his debut book, Making the Love You Want, with behavioral scientist and contributor Katharine K. McMillan, PhD. Slated for Oct. 2 release on World Smile Day, the much-anticipated book is a soul-baring epic journey from bad boy to romantic icon to self-improvement guru. TV’s most romantic celeb—known for his awesome smile—burst onto the scene in 2019 on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise. The 32-year native Texan shares a soul-changing Self-Love Mantra and his Top 5 Actions for loving yourself exclusively with Epicc readers.

EPICC: Why did you write Making the Love You Want? MIKE: Making the Love You Want is my solution to growing pandemic of mental illness. Part of the reason for writing this book was that a friend committed suicide. All my life, my family and friends have come to me with issues about themselves, issues that were controllable (or not controllable). During COVID, I have seen people’s personality changed and their behavior change, myself included. Everyone on earth has insecurity. Everyone needs to use a tool in the toolbox to love themselves more.


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Mike Johnson shares a soul-changing “Self-love Mantra” and his “Top 5 Actions for Loving Yourself” exclusively with Epicc readers.


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EPICC: You write about two episodes of major depression in your life. What did you learn from going through depression?

book links self-love with actualizing goals and achieving success, and it seems to have worked for you.

MIKE: When I went through my own depression, I learned a lot about myself. The book is my way of sharing. Everyone goes through depression at one point in life. No matter how strong or how great you are or how secure your life seems to be, you can be broken. I learned that the way through depression is to not be in isolation, to not not talk about it, to not drown one’s self in alcohol, and to not go through a random hook up phase as a coping mechanism. The way through depression is by being introspective and using that self-knowledge, grounded in self-love, to find your way.

MIKE: The way that self-love helps with your success is in knowing your worth. You won’t accept less from self or others. What I mean is that if you know you are worth $20 per hour but you’re earning $7, you’ll speak up. If you’re in a bad relationship, you’ll leave it. If you’re self-deprecating, you will start taking action and start forgiving yourself. Knowing your worth, forgiving yourself, and taking action are a beautiful part of self-love. You are imparting the gift of yourself to others. Others see it in you and say, ‘I need some of that!’

EPICC: You talk a lot about having tools in the toolbox. What’s your favorite tool? MIKE: Introspection is one of the tools in the toolbox for good mental health. The best way to be introspective is to have completely honestly within yourself. Don’t hold back. Don’t make excuses for yourself. Do release guilt and release shame. Do accept fault whether it was your own doing or someone else’s. EPICC: Guilt and shame makes people feel unworthy of love and self-love. Was there ever a time in your life that you felt unworthy of love? MIKE: There was a point in my life I was unsure if I could obtain love and if I ever would be able to obtain love and from whom I would obtain it. We should obtain love from ourselves. We need to be content and at peace with love from ourselves. EPICC: Is self-love transformative? The

EPICC: What changed when you were on The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise? MIKE: My self-love changed one hundred percent. My level of self-love changed because of all the trolls on the internet posting negatively about my personality. It challenged me being in the spotlight. People feel like being on reality TV would be a good thing but it isn’t always that way on a constant basis. It takes a lot of humbleness, and that was one of those things that I was tested in that regard. EPICC: You’re a romantic icon. What do you find most attractive in a woman? MIKE: Poise. Poise really is by far the most attractive quality a woman can have. And, the beauty of it is that you can work on building poise. Nobody is born with poise. It is not like someone is born to be on TV, for example. If you use your ability to be introspective, you can build poise.


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EPICC: You talked earlier about forgiving yourself. In your book, you’re candid about your bad boy past. Why are you being so open? MIKE: Oh, I am not proud of it at all but if I’m going to be a person who embodies self-love, then I need to be open about my past. My readers might not be able to relate to those particular things I did but they may be able to relate to what happened in their lives. When I was going through that period of my life, I left the environment. If you are unhappy, you may need to leave that environment. Environment is a big deal. I love people who are creative about their home, for example, because they are making their home their own environment. And, the first step to figuring that out is introspection and figuring out what will the future hold if you leave that environment whether than staying in a toxic environment. EPICC: What’s next for Mike Johnson? MIKE: After my virtual book tour, then I’ll be going on speaking engagements. I am working on a media platform of curated content about lowering insecurity and boosting self-love, or amor sui, Latin for self-love. EPICC: Any final thoughts? MIKE: When you pick up the book you read it straight though, you can read it multiple times, or you can go to the parts you need. Just like self-love, Making the Love You Want will always be there for you. Exclusive signed copies of Making the Love You Want can also be purchased on www.mikejohnsonsmile.com Paperback and Kindle versions available on www.amazon.com


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Self-love Mantra Self-love is about me. It’s not about them. This time I choose. And I choose me. Today, I choose what I desire and what I need. I let go of other’s expectations. No longer will I live in the shadows of recommendations. I will listen to my heart. I choose to define my own happiness. I am enough. I love my body. I love my mind. I love my soul. I love all of me. (Say your name), I love you. From Making the Love You Want (2020) by Mike Johnson. Used by permission of the author.


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Top 5 Actions to Loving Yourself 1. Schedule solitude in your calendar. As little as 10 minutes of self-reflection can build self-understanding.

2. Find your inner beauty. Gazing into the mirror helps you find your true beauty. Note down what see and tuck the paper behind the mirror as a reminder.

3. Be accountable. A weekly check-in on goal attainment will shift your thinking from doing better to becoming better, a far worthier goal.

4. Manage your change. Focus on strengthening two good habits and transforming two bad habits per month. You will see profound, sustainable change over time.

5. Build faith in yourself. Pick three doable goals - like writing a

short book, recording your music, or performing standup - per year. Watch your confidence soar from taking actions every week.

Adapted from Making the Love You Want (2020) by Mike Johnson. Used by permission of the author.


, “Making the Love You Want” is Johnson’s guide for readers who are willing to put in the work and genuinely level up in their lives from the inside out, through the practice of self-love. The book details Johnson’s personal journey and courageous truths and provides readers with the tools to find out how to springboard their lives and reflect on and rewrite the stories that have been holding them back. Some key points readers will find throughout the book: how to stop looking for external validation and focus on the internal journey, how to unchain yourself from limitations other place on you, how to cast off the limitations you place on yourself, how to dig deep on who you are and use your experiences as a mirror, how to show up more courageously on your path to success/freedom, and how to develop, cultivate, and integrate self-love into all areas of your life. Both paperback and Kindle versions of the book will be available for purchase on October 2, 2020 on www.amazon.com, and are also currently available for pre-order at https:// www.amazon.com/dp/B08F78Y8FV?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420.


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Epicc Magazine - Summer Edition  

Epicc Magazine - Summer Edition. Cover Story: Mike Johnson - ABC Bachelorette. Plus: Bill Bensley and other inspiring stories.

Epicc Magazine - Summer Edition  

Epicc Magazine - Summer Edition. Cover Story: Mike Johnson - ABC Bachelorette. Plus: Bill Bensley and other inspiring stories.