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07.30.20

the beauty of diversity: girls who create change

Inspiration > Girl Boss

By: Candice Kumai

Abiola Fasehun, Nigerian American

Attorney, New York

Abiola and I met after I gave a gratis presentation at “the wing” in Brooklyn, NY. She immediately came up to me + asked “Candice, do you need help, I just want to help you.” + from then on — we worked together + mostly uplifted one another. And boy, did we have our work cut out for us — but we pushed forward and we made a difference.. I commend abiola for her efforts as an attorney, a sister and a friend. Thank you Abi xx

“I am a first generation Nigerian American, a lawyer by training and currently work as a strategist. Growing up in a community where I could easily count on one hand the number of people that looked like me, I developed grit at an early age, learned how to stay focused and persevered despite others preconceived notions. 

I’m passionate about helping minority led start-ups and entrepreneurs through pro bono consulting. I enjoy mentoring young adults and children as well; it is crucial for those coming up to see examples of what is possible. So often, those I work with don’t realize their worth or after so many attempts feel defeated. I enjoy helping those I work with understand their full potential and bring their ideas to fruition.”

 

Rumi

Japanese American

Film, television and documentary producer 

Rumi and I met in Tokyo, Japan on set, shooting a Japanese documentary for NHK — she is one of my favorite people in the world. Graceful , kind, sweet, smart and she does a better job than anyone else I know… Rumi — mom and I both love you + I honor the work you do in this world. xxx ck

“The child of Japanese immigrants, my mother trained in the art of Shodo in Tokyo and was a gemologist in California. My father chose America to avoid running the family business. I grew up in the LA and Orange counties and lived in NYC and Memphis before moving to Tokyo. My formal education is in sculpture and cultural studies, and I’m a producer of film, television and documentaries.”

“My focus has been to get stories from marginalized peoples realized. Since the coronavirus hit, the push-pull of community and independence has been a recurring theme of the stories that interest me.  Currently, I’m creating a documentary series on small business owners in Tokyo — individuals who have chosen to not follow the pervasive corporate culture on this island and instead rely on themselves and their community.  Their stories are inspiring; everyday they choose their path—the unworn one— with all of its unique challenges and insecurities.  I try and do as they do: choose to be true to myself, do the difficult thing if it’s the right thing and strengthen those ties among neighbors and peers to breathe more compassion into our lives.”

 

 

Audrey Jean-Baptiste, Haitian Canadian

Professional Athlete//Track

Montreal Canada/Tuscon Arizona 

Audrey and I met through our love of health and wellness, sport and support… I am SO excited to cheer her on for the Olympic Games and through all of her dreams and endeavors! GO AUDREY!!!!

“I was born and raised in Montreal, Canada, but I am of Haitian heritage. My parents immigrated to Canada and have worked really hard to ensure that my sister and I got the best education. My athletic abilities on the track eventually got me a full scholarship to The University of Tulsa, where I graduated with a B.S. in finance. I then decided to pursue my dream of being a professional athlete.

My journey has taken me all over the world and forced me to teach myself to ignore comments like, “You don’t need sunscreen, you’re black, you don’t smell black.” But that’s nothing compared to what some of my male friends have to endure on the daily just because we live in a world where the color of our skin is apparently a threat to society. 

The Haitian Motto goes as follows,  “l’union fait la force,” which means, “Unity is Strength. Now more than ever, I am using my voice to encourage unity and equal justice.”

 

Hanako Ishii, Japanese

Entrepreneur, Makeup-Artist

Tokyo, Japan

Hanako and I met on set in Tokyo, Japan — she is still one of my favorite makeup artists + she has helped me through ups and downs, through hardships and through beauty — thank you Hanako I love you and Ana!! Okaasan says hi! xx

“As a Japanese Makeup artist and an owner of a beauty supply store, I strive to live a happy life and to love myself every single day. With this, it allows me to accomplish my vision and goal to make other people smile, feel confident and love themselves through my makeup. 

When I applying makeup, rather than aiming for a trendy look, I always try to think of bringing out the beauty each person already has. I also believe in creating an environment where women can thrive and have a work-life-balance. I think that a balanced life is possible without sacrificing time with family and friends.”

 

Jenelle Hamilton, Jamaican   

Entrepreneur, Publicist

Los Angeles,  California + NYC

To my Jenelle, You’ve been one of my very best friends since 2010!? Thank you for being my light and my rock — love you and I’ll never forget how hard and how tough we worked to get to where we are now in NYC — love you!  xxx PS THE RED BLAZER AND THE VEST FOREVER — DUSTIN AS THE BOUNCER

“I was born in London, England and my family is of Jamaican descent. I have worked in publicity for two decades and founded my PR firm, Jenelle Hamilton PR 10 years ago. I worked with global brands including many black-owned businesses, such as the beauty brand Mented cosmetics and food start-up Partake. 

I try to use my social media responsibly and share the struggles and achievements of black women, particularly black men working in public relations. I also volunteer 1 to 2 hours of my time a week to assisting organizations taking positive actions to advance the black community.”

 

Marcela Contreras, Mexican American  

Entrepreneur, Graphic Artist

San Diego + Los Angeles, California (formerly NY)

Marsy and I have worked together for over a decade — from LA TO SAN TO MEXICO TO NYC — to KYOTO, TOKYO, NAGASAKI — we have done it all, all over the world girl! Magazines, cover shoots, books, tv shows .. we moved to NY and had no home! lol IM proud of US. Mars: when I watched you get married last year — it was a moment with your family — ill never forget how I felt — beyond happy and so much love for you xxx queen always — you’re my EDGY and my 3 hour salad forever babe xx CHRISSSS YKM XX

“I love using my graphic design and illustration skills to help female creatives showcase their work to the world.”

Sahara Rose
Boston//Iranian American
Keynote Speaker
Sahara and I met through her incredible podcast “Highest Self Pod” — she was immediately a bright light in my life… we had so much in common and so much love to give — I loved that she was different, smart, and beautiful… when I met her family at her wedding last year — it made even more sense to me — a sharp father, MIT grad, a mother who was just stunning and poised, a brother who was kind, lively and outgoing — Sahara, I love you and I support you all the way — you’re my Ayurveda soul sister xxxxxx so freakin’ proud of you!

“I’m a first-generation American citizen, born and raised in Boston, with parents who immigrated from Iran. I grew up speaking Farsi, celebrating Persian holidays and learning about Persian culture and history. I always felt particularly drawn to India and later learned that 40% of my ancestry is Indian, who migrated to Iran. After college, I moved to India for two years, studying Ayurveda, the world’s oldest health system and sister science of yoga. Since then, I’ve written multiple books on Ayurveda, including Eat Feel Fresh and Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda, as well as created A Yogic Path Oracle Card Deck and Reflective Journal. I also have Egyptian and North African heritage and am very drawn to Kemetic Goddesses.

I am here to raise the vibration of the planet and help people discover their dharma through the path of joy. I’ve been podcasting for three years on Highest Self Podcast, which is now ranked the #1 spirituality podcast, with guests from Deepak Chopra, don Miguel Ruiz, Gabby Bernstein and many others. Every week I deep dive in solocasts, sharing what is happening energetically and how we can best evolve.
I teach about embodying our inner Goddess archetype in my membership community, Rose Gold Goddesses, as we are all aspects of the various divine feminine archetypes, from our inner warrioress to our sensual queen to our medicine woman. I’m passionate about helping people discovering their dharma, soul’s purpose, and have my upcoming book Discover Your Dharma, launching this January. I also love to dance and teach Healing + Embodiment Through Dance, helping women connect back to their body temples. You can discover your Dosha on my free quiz over at iamsahararose.com and connect with me on IG and TikTok over at @iamsahararose!”

Daniela Zamora, Costa Rican

Psychologist

Costa Rica (formerly NYC)

My dani came to work on my team as a volunteer about 5 years ago– she was a light in my life — only wanting the very best for all of us and to help, to learn and to love. She selflessly did everyday work with us, sans her Psychology degree– it didn’t matter to Dani, she was in this to help others with admin, baking, cooking, cleaning and team meetings  — Dani, now that you have your own family + you’re on your own in Costa Rica — I miss and love you each day — thanks for being my sister xxx

“I’m Daniela, a psychologist from Costa Rica. I worked with Candice while living in New York City with my husband. We were there for two years while we were both studying and my husband went through treatment for Lymphatic Cancer.

I studied Positive Psychology and Mindfulness, two of my passions which I use to work and help women build resilience and compassion for themselves and their lives. My work focuses on helping women on the path of building a life of their dreams through presence, gratitude, mindset and positivity, and achieving a life they love. I am also a big advocate on bringing Mindfulness and Meditation to Latin America and helping people live more joyful, compassionate, conscious and mindful lives.” 

 

Kimberly Nguyen, Vietnamese American

Photographer, Production

Connecticut

Kim came to work with my team in 2019 + she was devoted to hard work — it was wonderful to see her learn and grow  — I commend Kim for writing for her school paper as well as her opinion pieces + its been amazing working with other women of diversity on our team because we all love and learn and grow in the same ways — love and light to keeeeem! xxx

“As a recent college graduate, I wonder often how I am going to change the world now that I have a degree and a foundation to begin. I know I want to change the world by making sure my voice is heard. How do I channel my voice? I channel my voice through photography. I capture moments around me and my community as a person of Vietnamese descent and capturing fleeting moments from my world travels.

I channel my voice through the written word, writing what needs to be read. As a student of journalism, I am writing stories to share with others on a large scale, so that they may be informed of what is happening in the Asian American community and the world. I believe through my commitment to storytelling, to create attractive content to share the most uncomfortable parts of human society, I can make a change to the world by first endearing to the minds and hearts of my community. Above all, I am keeping myself constantly informed through conversations, books and continually questioning the world around me.”

 

Christina Suarez Alvarez, Latina American

Chef and Food Stylist

NYC+ Florida + Dominican Republic  

Christina — my Suarezzzz — where do I even begin? You’re my little sister — you are my light — From NYC to LA — what havent we done? I am here for you always and forever and I cannot wait to see you take off with your cooking career… you’re my sunshine on a tough day, and girl, you know how to cook + keep it gorgeous — you’re more than a chef, you’re my inspo!  xx love you and mom — ps DR OZ YKM  xxx

“I am a proud Latina American woman. Born in Florida and raised in the Dominican Republic, I come from a family of immigrants who came to America for a chance at a better life. Over a hundred years later, my family runs a successful business and I represent the 4th generation of that business.

Along with representing my family, I represent myself as a chef, food stylist and photographer and investor. While these are part of my profession, I aim to better the lives around me through peace and positivity. As beautiful as this life is, we live in a world that is dimmed by disease, hate, violence, systemic oppression and now more than ever, we need to come together. Regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. we are all brothers & sisters. This is the time for change and never loosing sight of one of the early ideologies taught to us as children: treat others the way you would like to be treated. “

 

Raiany Belle, Brazilian American

Nutritional Therapy

Brazil + Atlanta  

Raiany and I met 5 years ago when she asked to be a part of my team — she flew from ATL to SAN, to NY to SF to LA — we did it all together and everywhere — Rai you’re my little sister, my friend, my confidant — after spending so much time with you — through the good, the bad and the ugly — it showed me the kind of person you are — you helped me not only when things were great — but mostly through the darkness. Darkness reveals the character of what one has, when there is not much left to offer + you always showed me the light, your grace and hard work + importantly you stood by when times got REAL tough — love you and may we grow well to help others and each other xx love you!!!

 “I was born in Brazil where tropical fruits sprouted right in my backyard, I believe that’s where my passion for wellness started. Over the years, I battled with an eating disorder that changed the trajectory of my life. Although the journey towards healing was not easy, I found myself on the other side filled with a fresh understanding of my body, my health, and how I wanted to impact the world. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, my passion is to help women rediscover the relationship they have with themselves and food. My hope is that my story and my healing can inspire others to dive into their own personal journey of wellness and implement sustainable practices that last beyond diet fads. Com muito amor, Raiany.”

 

Agustina Pais, Latin American

PR + Communications Manager

Argentina + Atlanta

To my agustina! — may we learn, grow and love together — ages came to my team while studying to get her second degree — she is smart as a whip + calm, beautiful and graceful — easy to talk to — we laughed and cried and went through all of COVID together — Agus, thanks for being a rock and a gem — to the moon I love you! xxxx

“I was born in Patagonia and relocated to the United States with my parents when I was 6 years old. Growing up a Latin immigrant at such a young age, where I spoke Spanish at home and spoke English elsewhere, gave me a sense of who I was, and wasn’t, at an early age. Such diversity in my life also allowed for my creativity to flourish and to explore different modes of expression, from cooking to writing, and finding myself across the globe.

I believe that I must help myself before helping others, and that the most crucial steps to a better world begins at home. Outside, the little things are the ones with the biggest impact, something as simple as a genuine smile and as sincere as a “thank you.” I used to be stuck in my association of becoming a better person through grandiose acts. I’ve finally realized that you can have a positive impact in the world through the most minimal details. I commit to those every single day.”

 

Rosie Acosta 

Los Angeles//Latino American

Holistic Health Coach

 

To my Rosie, last but not least — I love you always — since we met on your incredible podcast “Radically Loved” I have learned to love myself even more love the past few years with you… I am thinking of you and always knowing in my heart — we will make a difference and we are making a difference — for all women – from all walks of life — I am so proud of you, I’m so excited for your book!! — thank you  — you’re my mamacita — YKM and that booty — sensual xxx ck

“My momma’s family is from Spain, they moved to Mexico City in the mid-sixties, My father’s side is from Mexico, with Peruvian roots. My parents met, fell in love and moved to Los Angeles. I grew up in East Los Angeles during the 92’ riots, it was a chaotic time and was crucial to what became my life’s trajectory.

I found Yoga and Meditation at a young age as a way to deal with anxiety from seeing so much violence. It was what set the tone for my career path.
Today, I get to travel the world, teaching and certify students who want to become teachers. I get to work with people of all backgrounds to teach them the importance of connection, compassion and self-awareness. I believe that we move past our differences by listening, connecting and finding what makes us more similar than what sets us apart.”

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