Cover Stories

Stories That Inspire

Edward Tapia is changing the face of fashion & traditional beauty standards

Florida

There is no conventional image of beauty. It comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms. Beauty is not only to be found in the eye of the beholder, it is whatever each individual decides it is for themselves. If those who act as gatekeepers for an industry in desperate need of change are still sadly deciding what constitutes beauty and what does not, Edward Tapia is here to change that. Edward was born with a cleft lip, cleft palate and teased because of these differences. Having these adversities hasn’t stopped Edward from living his life to the fullest. Ironically, it is the things that were destined to hold him back that he turned into his own unique star qualities. Storming the barricades of tradition and perception has allowed Edward to blaze a trail through the industry, shining like a beacon for diversity and inclusion.

Jeresha Sherri J. White brings fempreneurs together to innovate & inspire

Atlanta, Georgia

Building a business is hard work, and many aspects must be considered before you see the light of success. Though it might begin with a simple idea, the evolution of your model has to go through several intricate phases. It involves extensive research, networking, blood, sweat and tears — full stop. Imagine all the work and sacrifice and multiply it by one hundred. Then, you'll begin to visualize the effort it takes for a single mother, or any mother, to become an entrepreneur. No success comes without hardships, that's true. However, it's much more than your average struggle to victory for mothers. "I believe being a teen parent alone is the aspect I credit most for my level of success and drive. I had to figure out a way to be successful very fast. I just could not allow my daughter to go without, or to look at me as anything other than a steady pillar she could always count on, especially in her moments of need."

Master artist Sir Daniel Winn explores the duality of life through existential surrealism

Los Angeles, California

Art is about blurring lines and intermingling theories to make a statement evoking strong emotions and big ideas. Transcendent art is about finding would-be opposites and mixing them like they’re destined to unite. That’s precisely what world-renowned, modern Renaissance artist Sir Daniel Winn is most successful at doing. He exquisitely pushes the boundaries in the realm of art by merging art and science. He blends these dichotomies flawlessly together to create stunning works all in the name of helping people understand our purpose on this planet.

Rootless is fashionable wear for freedom seekers

Rheinstetten, Germany

Philosopher and author Albert Camus once said, “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.” In other words, break the mold, live your life as you want and seek freedom through the eyes of your own adventures. This quote embodies what Rootless is all about. It’s a rarity to encounter a brand that genuinely believes in its sacred message.

Roman painter Giorgia Grassi on healing through art

Rome, Italy

People have been relying on the arts for communication, self-expression and healing for thousands of years. Born and raised in Rome, Giorgia Grassi is an abstract expressionist who began painting as a way to channel and process certain deep emotions. As a sufferer of both bouts of anxiety and sleep paralysis, it was through her art that she found a way to explore and perhaps better understand where such issues were coming from and how she could deal with them. Over the years, she has tailored her own techniques and processes to better reflect the feelings caused by such moments, a style of art to experience the intimate nature of such happenings. Anyone who feels overwhelmed or pressured by the hectic world we live in should try creating their own artworks. Creating art will give you a chance to slow down and explore any issues you may be having.

Turning Pain into Power: T. Denise breaks mental health barriers in communities of color

T. Denise had an inside view of gang violence and witnessed a plague that affects these poverty-stricken areas; lack of opportunity and career crime. T. Denise stands as a beacon of light for those with little hope of changing their circumstances and is living proof that the situations you are born into does not define you or decide your life. Quite obviously, she's a hard-core advocate for positive change. Given the circumstances that she was raised in, she's focused on turning the pain of the strenuous daily norm from these struggling urban environments into a hub for healing. For her cover shoot, the idea was to take the stigma out of the more gangster-inspired look that surrounded her in her youth. What can be more gangster than getting an education and doing things your own way, of not following the rules but then using that rebellion to plant altruistic seeds in communities similar to those that you were raised in.

Chains are meant to be broken: Techno-pop artist Mercy extinguishes gaslighting

Los Angeles, California

If you have ever struggled with breaking free from the chains of your past, addiction, gaslighting, abuse, or any other form of bondage, you know that breaking chains can be a daunting task. Maybe you have chains of negative thinking or limiting beliefs. Perhaps they are chains of insecurity, chains holding you back from reaching your full potential. Regardless of your chains, the very word chain produces an image of something solid, heavy and impossible to break. We often assume that a chain cannot be broken; yet chains are not unbreakable. When put into these chains that shackle us, it is our choice to stay bound or free ourselves.

Self-Love & Rebuilding Confidence: Monica Luisi

Everybody gets stuck somewhere along the way, but when you can free yourself to be your true self, you’ll have a beacon that leads you where you need to go. By letting go of the judgement, you embrace positivity and let go of the past. It is a sense of loving yourself, a desire for new experiences and a driving ambition that leads you to make the most of every opportunity that life has to offer. Monica Luisi’s story will inspire you to have self-confidence and faith in yourself despite what others might say.

EDM artist Michael Schmidt on overcoming opioid addiction & helping others as a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

Michael Schmidt is a US Army Veteran currently studying to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. Battling opioid addiction, music became his lifeline. When his relationship with EDM (Electronic Dance Music) grew from admiration to creation, his own music was born. He dove headfirst into his passion crafting a dynamic mix of beats that is sure to make waves in the dance music scene. As a new father with a bright future ahead of him, he is an example of the importance of finding yourself in recovery.