2014 Year In Review: My Thoughts

2014 has been an adventure. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I got out of my comfort zone more than I’ve ever had before. It’s amazing how far you can go when you really commit to something, and don’t stop until you get there. Earlier in the year, I wrote about my first fight and being in the cage. That fight taught me a lot about myself, and what I was made of. Never in a million years did I think that I would step into the cage, but I did and I’m glad that I made that decision.

I also played professional baseball this year for the Adrian Pioneers. Playing baseball was always a dream of mine when I was a child, and I that dream was realized this past summer. Playing with guys that have been in and out of the MLB was an experience that I will never forget.

This year I also found love. I’m a very private person (when it comes to my personal life), but finding love this year has definitely made me a happier person. It was totally unexpected, but when you find the right person–everything else falls into place into your life. My girlfriend is supportive of my dreams and goals, loves me for who I am, and of course, she makes me a very happy man.

One of the biggest decisions that I made this year–was that I decided to move with my girlfriend to Tennessee. It was not an easy decision to make, but it was the right one. Living in Tennessee was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had in my life. Sure it was scary (at first), but after being there for a while, I got comfortable with my surroundings, and even if you don’t plan on moving to Tennessee, I highly recommend you take a vacation there (trust me, it’s worth it.)

2014 has also been good to my blog. While I’m nowhere where I would like to be with my blog, I am happy to see it steadily growing. If you’re reading this or have read my blog before, I thank you kindly. I have a lot of plans for my blog in 2015, and I can’t wait to present them to you all.

I wish you all the best in 2015, and I urge you to get out of your comfort zone in the new year and go far beyond your wildest dreams.

Transcendence: Nikki Nova

Nikki Nova

A woman of many talents, Nikki Nova has been an international model for 17 years, Playboy TV Host, and B movie starlet. She’s also an incredible writer, and she is dedicated to teaching people about healing and wellness. There are many interesting layers to Nikki Nova, and one thing is quite apparent: her kindness and generosity will leave a lasting impact on you.

 

Justin Marroquin: Who is Nikki Nova?

Nikki Nova: A girl who grew up on the east coast, and moved to the west coast. I like to paint, and I’m into different forms of healing (all natural of course), I’m a vegan; I’m an art lover, music lover, and I’m pretty much friendly to people who are friendly to me, but I keep my close circle of people extremely tight—though I have about thousand acquaintances, but close friends I’m super, super particular and protective of—just because I am such a private person.

 

I used to do this ten minute little burlesque show once a month, or so at what used to be one of the hottest nightclubs in LA. A lot of celebrities would come out, and they would have for ten minutes—a different girl performing a kind of burlesque style semi-strip, but not a full strip because it was burlesque, and nothing was showing. Plus, it was a nightclub, so you really couldn’t do that. I did it once a month for a quick thousand bucks for ten minutes (it was a pretty sweet gig), and when I performed there, a fashion photographer happened to be there, and he liked me, and ended up having a photo shoot with me. And then from that, other scouts approached me and for some reason, although it’s not really too uncommon, I never looked into legitimate modeling, or fashion people who approached me, because I’m not tall enough to do runway, but for print I had quite a bit of interest from a couple different agencies. One of the main reasons why I never contacted them—was a lack of confidence, and virtually non-existent self-esteem. This lady (who was a photographer) wanted to shoot me for Penthouse, and that felt like that’s what I’m supposed to do. And it was a case of confusing familiarity with destiny.

 

I’m sure a lot of people in the adult industry will get very pissed off at me for saying this, but I stand by 100% on this: absolutely no one who comes from a loving and healthy family/childhood, ends up in the adult industry (it just doesn’t happen) granted I’m not in the hardcore end, but still—I’m in that world. I came from an extremely abusive, horrible home—and it is what it is. I didn’t actually think this was gonna be a career, I thought I’d shoot for a while, and make a little money, but that’s not what happened. I’m still contractually obligated to an online media company, and what Nikki Nova is now—is a character that I play, and it’s a character that I’ve played for so long, that when people meet me in person, they just assume that’s who I am (and that’s definitely not the case).

 

Nikki Nova

 

Justin Marroquin: What are some of your beliefs and values?

Nikki Nova: I personally do truly value this: I can’t have sex with somebody or share that part with somebody, unless I’m truly into them, have a deep connection with them, and that usually means that I’m in a relationship with them. And that’s why I’ve never done hardcore, and never will. I’m a very spiritual person to my core, and I absolutely believe in karma, although a lot of people define that differently. I do believe in reincarnation; I believe in a higher power, and that we are all interconnected; I’m a huge health advocate; I believe in nature, and I believe the answer is usually found in plants, and not pills.

 

 

Justin Marroquin: Imagine this scenario: somebody tells you that you can’t do something. How do you respond to that?

Nikki Nova: I would ask them what their reasons were, and it would also depend on what it was. Years ago, I probably would’ve accepted it, but now I would just prove them wrong. It took a lot of self-work to get to where I am now.

 

Nikki Nova

 

Justin Marroquin: How do you get through a tough day?

Nikki Nova: Usually, I stay focused on what needs to be done, and shut out the world, but sometimes I shut out everything—and don’t work at all, I just reach for the chocolate and the remote.

 

Justin Marroquin: Of all the things you’ve accomplished, what are you most proud of?

Nikki Nova: The person that I am. Overcoming everything that I’ve gone through: family abuse, childhood, and abuse as an adult. Getting through it all, and truly healing, which honestly—has come in the past nine years, and not just overcoming and healing from it, but never developing a drug problem, and not having it harden me or jade me in a negative way. I’m extremely proud of my non-Nikki Nova career, which is completely dedicated to helping people. I’ve used traumas in my own life to better understand the people I work with now, and turning negatives into positives.

 

Justin Marroquin: Who has made the most positive impact in your life?

Nikki Nova: There’s a few. Within my family, my grandparents (my mother’s parents), and my aunt (my mom’s youngest sister). If it wasn’t for them, I never would’ve survived the hell, and abuse that was my mother. They are amazing people, and the closest people who I value the most in my life. They taught me what real love is. Also, my high school art teacher, Mrs. Williams. She had so much faith in me, and gave me my own art class—and tons of art supplies to take home. And lastly, some women that are in my other line of work, and people who I look up to in the art world and the holistic health world.

 

Nikki Nova

 

Justin Marroquin: Where do you seek inspiration?

Nikki Nova: Everywhere. I’m such an observant person, and I’m always watching—and I might see something that’s inspiring. I’m just very easily inspired by everything from an animal, tree, or person.

 

Justin Marroquin: How do you handle criticism and negativity?

Nikki Nova: I used to not handle it so well. Oddly enough, the stalker situation that I’ve had over the past seven and a half years, that started from one tormentor—did something horrible to me, and I was mentally handicapped from a near fatal accident that I had. November 4th, 2013, was the eight year anniversary of that accident. I was not expected to live, and when the paramedics were originally called to the scene of the accident (the accident happened on the set of a photo shoot) due to drunk and negligent producers. And when the paramedics first arrived, I was unconscious and my skull was crushed, and hemorrhaging with blood coming out of my ears, and I was having seizures. They flew me by helicopter to the trauma center at the hospital, where I remained at in a coma. I was mentally handicapped for quite a while, and every predator that you could possibly imagine came out of the woodwork during that time, and one of those predators is my original stalker and tormentor, who did something horrible to me—in hopes of making a fortune with it. He was very public about his harassment with me, and through that, he developed a copycat. With those two crazy people after me, and the fact that they were so public about torturing me, I would get very upset, react to it, get angry, and constantly live in fear because of the threats I was getting. Until I learned more about the person that was behind it all, I just saw very clearly that those kind of people who bully—do not feel good about themselves. It’s a situation that you never get use to, and it irritates you, and you block the person, but it doesn’t sting like it did before, and it’s not about me, it’s about them.

 

Justin Marroquin: What is the best advice that has ever been given to you?

Nikki Nova: Just be here now, because my mind goes like a thousand miles an hour constantly, and I drive myself insane when I think about my future, and what I’m trying to do. Another one that resonates with me a lot is: If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? That hits close to home for me, because that’s why I never went after anything that I wanted in life, because of that lack of confidence that I mentioned earlier. So that’s something that I’m trying to lead my way into the future.

 

Nikki Nova

 

Justin Marroquin: How do you want to be remembered?

Nikki Nova: I hope people remember me as smart, kind, passionate, creative, loving, and giving.

 

Check out Nikki Nova’s website here

Follow Nikki Nova on Twitter

Like Nikki Nova’s page on Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Giving Up: Abigail Rich

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

It takes a lot of hard work to achieve certain goals in life, but hard work alone will only get you so far in life. You need determination, persistence, and be willing to fail. Abigail Rich embodies those qualities just named and more. Abigail has taken the twists and turns life has thrown at her, and turned them into something positive. Most people would throw in the towel if they went through what Abigail had to endure in her life. Get ready to be inspired, and take action in your life to accomplish goals you have set, put off setting, or have not set yet.

 

Justin Marroquin: What made you want to become a paramedic?

Abigail Rich: When I was a little girl, I was traveling with my grand daddy, and we saw an accident happen right in front of us. He stopped and helped as much as he could, and then the paramedics arrived. I was so impressed watching them work to save this persons life. I saw that they made a difference in that person’s life. From that moment on, I knew that was what I wanted to do.

 

JM: You were in a devastating air ambulance helicopter crash in 2003. What was going through your mind when that happened?

AR: Disbelief, a reality check of my life, questions about all the things that I missed, dreamed of doing. Yet, as we were crashing—at no time did I think it was as bad as it was. I thought it was going to be a rough landing; well at least I had that part right!

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

JM: What was your mindset like when you were recovering in the hospital?

AR: That my life was all over. I never have thought I was beautiful, or even sexy—and now, I have so many scars. I had over 400 stitches and 200 staples all over my body. I had titanium plates holding me together, broken bones, and tubes—how am I ever going to be able to go back to work? How would anyone fall in love with me now? Lives depended on me being there. How can I save anyone now when they need me? I had so many thoughts and feelings going through my mind, it was very overwhelming.

 

JM: When you walked out of the hospital on your own, how did it feel?

AR: It was a relief to be going home. It was time to rethink things; I refused to be in the wheelchair, and I walked out the very best I could on my own. It was time to make a plan on my future.

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

JM: Did you look at life differently after surviving that devastating crash?

AR: Oh, god yes! I realized that I was looking at life all wrong. That the little problems in life are really not that bad, they were just inconveniences. They are part of life, and that without a bad day—a good day really is not all that special. Bad things do not define who we are, but how strong we are.

 

JM: How did modeling come about for you?

AR: After about a year of hard work to recover, My sister took me to Hooters. She was telling me that I am still beautiful. I just did not want to hear that anymore. As I said before, I never had thought I was beautiful , but now it was even worse. I wanted to shut her up, so I asked to see the manager. When the manager arrived at the table, I asked him if I was pretty enough to be a Hooters girl. He got this big grin, looked me over and asked “when can you start?” in disbelief, I accepted. Within a week, I was approached to model at a trade show, and at that show—others booked me for their next shows. The very next week I was asked to do test shots for a major cosmetic company, which I still model for to this day.

 

JM: What has been your favorite experience in modeling so far?

AR: Oh, there are just so many. I have met such wonderful people. I have been able to create art, and help to bring someones vision to life. I have the best manager (Sophia), photographers (Model Shots Photography), and agents (Lonestar Modeling), in the world. But, if I had to say the one experience that truly amazed me the most, it was when I was asked to be a Playboy bunny.

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

JM: You were a bunny at the Playboy Club at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, NV. What was your experience like being a bunny?

AR: It was the best. It was so classy and so elegant. Playboy has always been very classy, and tasteful. I never felt like it was work. I met and worked with such wonderful people—ah, I mean bunnies. I loved being a Bunny, they are all so beautiful, and it made me feel proud to be a Playboy Bunny!

 

JM: Now you’re involved in acting. How did you get interested in that?

AR: I started doing TV commercials while I was at the Playboy Club. As of this interview, I have four airing in Las Vegas for major clients. I have such a great time doing them. My wonderful agency got me booked on an episode of TNT’s “Leverage.” It was so much fun to be handed a script that someone wrote, and now I had to become this character. I have to create this whole new personality to make this character real. This is the part of acting that I love. After Leverage, I got some more TV shows. Discovery Channel’s “Cheating Vegas” then I was offered a part in the feature film “The Hangover Part III.” I think that the opportunity of becoming an actress and modeling together—makes me better at both careers.

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

JM: You’re the definition of never give up. How can people instill in their lives your attitude and mindset?

AR: Don’t quit, and never give up! We all have problems and disappointments in life. It’s up to us to take these minor problems, and use them to make us stronger; to spend every moment enjoying life; to make our dreams come true—just look at my life!

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Model Shots Photography

 

See more of Abigail at lonestarmodeling.com

Check out her IMDB http://www.imdb.me/abigailrich

Like her page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/pages/Abigail-Rich/121014871396418

View her YouTube channel http://youtu.be/wZJK5xB6GG4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America’s Sweetheart: Cami Bradley

Cami Bradley 4

 

Music has a way of inspiring us, and some musicians come along in our lifetime—and completely blow us away. For Cami Bradley, she inspires people on a nightly basis. You’ve watched her capture America’s heart on America’s Got Talent, and now—you’ll get more insight on this talented woman, and why she will become a huge influence in the music industry.

 

Justin Marroquin: How did you get interested in music?

Cami Bradley: I grew up in a musical family, so music is normal for me. I never knew anything different. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, and playing the piano since I was seven. I took lessons for a few months, and hated to practice—so I quit. From that point on, music became a passion; I did it because I loved it, not because I had to. I was a sponge growing up. I learned everything I could from watching, listening, and paying attention.

 

JM: What do you enjoy the most when you’re playing music?

CB: Music is emotional. It can draw tears, laughter, passion, and raw emotion from people. I love to find that in every song I sing. I love how music can make you feel, and so anytime I sing or play, I enjoy getting to portray that.

 

Cami Bradley 5JM: Do you look up to anybody in the music industry?

CB: There are so many artists I find inspiring. New and old. Adele, Mumford and Sons, Ray Charles, Monsters of Men, Etta James, Michael Buble, Coldplay, and the list could go on and on.

 

JM: What made you audition for America’s Got Talent?

CB: Ha ha, oh my. I didn’t want to audition at all. I’ve never been a fan of the spotlight. I was asked to audition, and my initial gut reaction was, “heck no.” But after some encouragement from my husband and family, I knew I needed to step out of my comfort zone. And boy, am I glad I did.

 

Cami Bradley 1

 

JM: Describe the experience you had while you were on America’s Got Talent?

CB: Unbelievable. It truly was life changing. For obvious reasons of course; being on TV, getting recognition and exposure, etc. But for other reasons too. I was stretched a ton. Forced into timelines and restrictions musically—that I thought would make things difficult, but actually pushed me to think outside of the box, and be even more creative. I got to meet and work with some amazing people (crew and contestants), and beyond that, I learned a lot about myself as a person, and a musician.

 

JM: What is one specific goal you would like to achieve in the music industry?

CB: I don’t care about a certain level or status to reach, I just want to do what I love. I got the exposure, now I hope to capitalize on it, and continue to get my music into the hands of people who truly want to hear it.

 

Cami Bradley 6

 

JM: How do you deal with criticism and negativity?

CB: Criticism is good. It’s the only way you can grow, learn, and change. I welcome it—if it’s healthy. Negativity, I ignore. I have people in my life who I trust, and if what I’m doing, saying, or singing about is OK in their books, I know I’m on the right track.

 

JM: Besides music, what else are you interested in and passionate about?

CB: I love photography. It’s actually a side business for me camibradleyphotography.com   I also love to ride my motorcycle, play with my pups, and be with my family. I am addicted to coffee and chocolate, and I adore being at home.

 

Cami Bradley 2

 

JM: Share some advice that has helped you a lot in your life?

CB: My Dad always told me, “never rely on your talent.” It’s something that’s always stuck with me. There are a lot of talented people in this world. Talent doesn’t get you that far. You have to work hard, apply what you’ve been given, and facilitate it wisely. That’s why I say “I’m a sponge.” You’re never done learning and growing.

 

JM: What can we expect from you in the future?

CB: You can expect me to continue to make music—covers, originals, everything. Check out my original music from my album, SEAS on iTunes. I am certainly not done, and can’t wait to tell my fans what’s next for me. Follow me on twitter: @camibradley or Facebook: camibradleymusic to see what’s next for me!

 

Cami Bradley 3

 

Follow Cami on Twitter: twitter.com/camibradley

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/camibradleymusic

Check out her music and her website: camibradley.com

 

 

 

The Definition Of Determination: Ashley Alexiss

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Playboy Miss Social February 2011. Playboy South Africa Girl Next Door 2012. Internationally published glamour/lingerie model. Creator of Cleavage for the CURE. Student. Ashley Alexiss works hard at anything she does, and her determination is second to none. Ashley is the perfect example of working hard and not giving up. I admire her attitude and the way that she carries herself. She doesn’t understand the word “can’t” and if you dare utter that word to her, she will most likely prove you wrong. Everyone will benefit from learning Ashley, and I’m proud to bring you my interview with her.

 

Justin Marroquin: Have you always been interested in modeling?

Ashley Alexiss: This is funny. When I was a kid, I hated pictures! I look back at my childhood pictures and I would literally have this death stare. It wasn’t until high school that I started actually smiling, then decided in my Junior year to enter the Miss Teen Massachusetts pageant. I ended up winning the title of Miss Congeniality, and had to do a mandatory photo shoot where I knew this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, and took to it and here I am.

 

JM: Of all the photo shoots you’ve done, what’s your favorite?

AA: Honestly, every photo shoot I do is different, and special. Until I do a shoot with penguins, I won’t have a particular favorite.

 

Photo Credit: Bob Sleeper www.zzzphotos.com
Photo Credit: Bob Sleeper http://www.zzzphotos.com

 

JM: What has been your best experience as a model?

AA: My best experience has been meeting some of my life long friends: Megan Retzlaff, Cassandra Marie, Katy Ann, Amy Madison. There’s so many other ladies too—but these girls have changed my life for the better. I’ve met them all through work and if I wasn’t in the field I’m in, I may never have gotten to share my life with them. I appreciate good people and good people is an understatement for those girls.

 

Photo Credit: Hot Shots Photography
Photo Credit: Hot Shots Photography

 

JM: Tell me about Cleavage for the CURE?

AA: Cleavage for the CURE was launched after I had gone through two life changing experiences. One, getting a breast augmentation and two, losing my grandmother to cancer. I put the two of them together and wanted a way to use sex appeal for better reason. I started by auctioning off my bras that I’ve worn in photo shoots, that no longer fit, on Ebay, and would donate the majority of the percentage to Susan G. Komen. Since then, I’ve sold silicone bracelets to raise awareness of C4TC and have made model contests to give models exposure. I want to think of Cleavage for the CURE as a pay it forward type of campaign.

 

JM: Where does your determination come from?

AA: My determination comes from being rejected the majority of my life, being told I can’t do what I’m doing because I’m short, curvy, and nobody would take me serious. I love proving people wrong, and that’s what I’m doing while making a positive impact.

 

Photo Credit: StewartSmithPhotography.com
Photo Credit: StewartSmithPhotography.com

 

JM: What do you want to achieve the most in your life?

AA: I honestly just want to be successful in this industry, create a movement that other people can follow and inspire others to follow their dreams no matter how far-fetched they may seem.

 

Photo Credit: Bob Sleepr www.zzzphotos.com
Photo Credit: Bob Sleeper http://www.zzzphotos.com

 

JM: Has there been a photo shoot that you didn’t like how it turned out?

AA: Every model knows you have more than one of those during your career. Whether the photographer just decided to be a creep, or not get your photos back. I’ve had that happen a few times by people I had highly respected only to find they clearly didn’t care about their professionalism. It happens, and you just have to keep moving on.

 

Photo Credit: Radiant Inc
Photo Credit: Radiant Inc

 

JM: How can people get more determined in their lives like you?

AA: Just believe in you. As long as you love yourself, believe in yourself, and are motivated, you can do anything! Seriously think about it. If you don’t think you can do it, how do you expect anyone else to think otherwise?

 

Photo Credit: Bob Sleeper www.zzzphotos.com
Photo Credit: Bob Sleeper http://www.zzzphotos.com

 

Follow Ashley on Twitter: twitter.com/AshAlexiss

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/AshleyAlexiss

Be sure to check out www.cleavageforthecure.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Persevering Through It All: Lauren Ashley

Ice QueenEach person I interview is exciting for me. I get to learn more about them, and how they live their lives. There are moments in our life when we meet somebody in our lives, and come away astonished at how much stuff they have gone through and are still joyful and happy in their life. Interviewing Lauren, and hearing about her story was inspirational and moving. Lauren was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and it held her back from her modeling career. She was also a victim of Hurricane Sandy, which happened two weeks prior to the date of a photo shoot Lauren had for a billboard ad. She lost almost all of her personal belongings from furniture to childhood pictures, but it did not break her spirit or smile. Her family’s two homes were damaged as well as her family’s business. Still, Lauren did not give up, and she volunteered for a local church, where she cooked, and fed those were less fortunate. Lauren is still continuing to chase her dreams, and I’m honored to tell you a little bit more about her.

 

Justin Marroquin: How did you get into modeling?

Lauren Ashley: As a young girl I always dreamed of being a model. While in NYC one day, I was approached by a talent scout for Wilhelmina and joined “America’s Next Top Model” contest. I was unable to sign the contract due to being on mind altering medication since I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, and was just starting treatment. I then just did promo modeling. Last summer I did a hair ad for my hair stylist mentor, Michael Miller. During the photo shoot the photographer asked if I would like to pursue my modeling career. I then made my portfolio, and did some editorial work. Then, my first paid job for an ad wound up being on a billboard in Las Vegas. I always said “one day I’m going to be that girl” while pointing at a billboard ad, while walking through Manhattan. Well, that dream came true!

 

602999_4133374467235_1894832724_nJM: Describe what you went through when you were diagnosed with Lyme disease?

LA: I became ill in 2004-2005. I was extremely fatigued, suffered from joint pain, small seizures, mental fog, aches all over, and was so weak at times, my father had to carry me into my doctors. Being I was young and did not look sick, it was a tough battle. I was blood tested at least once a month, or sometimes twice a month for over a year. Doctors and nurses did not believe me because I did not appear ill. I was told I must be on drugs by pediatrician’s nurse because of my age and the symptoms I had. It was a very difficult time for myself as well as family and friends. Everyone close to me knew there was something wrong, and knew that I was not under the influence. In 2007, I tested positive for the western blot test and began treatment. About six months after treatment, I began feeling all the symptoms again. My infectious disease doctor had said “there is no way possible you could have Lyme disease again. You must have HIV or some type of lymphoma.” That being said with no significant reason broke me into tears. I had just been tested one week prior, and was negative for HIV and my blood cell count was 14, which is only slightly elevated. There was no medical signs or reasons as to why the doctor would say that. A month had went by, and I was tested for Lyme disease again, and had a new stain of the Lyme bacteria, and when through treatment again in December of 2008. This was the worst thing to go through, and I do not wish Lyme disease on anyone. I hope someday they will find a cure!

 

JM: After going through that, how did your life and modeling career change?

AL: After becoming ill with the Lyme disease, my life changed a lot. I have to make sure I eat healthy, and get as much rest as I could. I couldn’t go out with friends and celebrate being 21. I couldn’t keep up with my friends and a social life because I was always so tired. It also caused complications between my boyfriend and I. We soon broke up after he said I had no chance at being a model, and no one would ever love me because I was sick. Everything consumed my mind in a negative way, and I no longer tried to pursue my dream career. I kept track of everything I ate and every symptom I felt. Doing that was supposed to help me keep track of what to stay away from to feel better. I soon realized that I was focusing on what was wrong instead of what was right, and positive in my life. I stopped keeping track of every little thing in late 2010, and began meditating and Reiki therapy. I’m not saying it’s all in your head, but sometimes as a complex as our lives are now, we tend to forget how powerful our minds really are. I focused on getting healthy mentally and physically for a year. Then when I was to pursue my dream career!

 

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JM: You are a strong, positive woman. How do you stay that way?

AL: The saying “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true and is something I live by. I have friends who also have Lyme disease, and I help them out by sharing advice, books, and self-experiences. Helping others cope, and making them feel like they are not alone like I did, really makes me happy. I have to stay positive not for myself, but for them as well. “Being positive is contagious, smile without a doubt, laugh without a care, live your life with no remorse. Make others smile, and live the positive life just as you are. Your strength will grow to overcome every obstacle you face in life while mentally blocking out negativity.”Lauren Ashley

 

JM: What are some of your beliefs and values?

LA: I believe that you have to be strong and independent to get what you want in life; you just have to work for it. You can achieve anything you wish if you believe in yourself. I value my family, friends, and my strength. Without family and friends, I wouldn’t be who I am today.

 

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JM: Going through so much in your life, how do you keep moving forward?

AL: I set goals for myself and write them down. Your past is history, and you can only learn and grow from it.

 

JM: What is your advice on how to accomplish a dream or goal?

AL: Write down your dreams and goals; hang it somewhere you will see it each day. Then as you achieve each one, cross them off.

 

JM: You were affected by Hurricane Sandy. Describe what you went through?

AL: I live in the Jersey Shore area, and we were mandatory evacuation October 28, 2012. My family and I went to my grandparents a few miles inland. Our pets were freaking out, and kept looking in the direction of the ocean; the dogs were whimpering, and the cat ran right in his carrier! While driving there I was almost struck by the lining of a truck bed that was at the stop light across from me. The wind was so strong it was hard to control the vehicle. I felt like I was in the “Wizard of Oz” and it was something I have never experienced before. The power went out around 9 p.m. that evening, and all cell phones had stopped getting service. The sounds of the storm were like something from a movie, I couldn’t sleep. I had a feeling that something bad was going to happen, and was scared and sick to my stomach. I was scared for my life! My cell phone would get one bar of service every so often, so I was able to send and receive text messages while I had service. My family and I returned to our homes the next day. On the way home stuck in traffic, seeing all fallen trees and telephone poles had already made me nervous to return home. The main road was still flooded with a foot of water in some areas, including where I had lived. My parent’s street wasn’t as bad; we were still without power and it was dark, so we couldn’t really see the damage. In the morning we went to where I had lived, the home flooded with three and a half feet of contaminated flood water. I had to throw out everything I owned. Furniture to childhood photo albums. I didn’t lose hope or my smile, and my family was there to help me. I just kept thinking that I had my photo shoot for my first paid ad coming up in two weeks, and things could’ve been worse. My parent’s two homes were damaged as well as our family business. Being I had to toss my belongings to the curb, I arranged some so that the neighbors would smile. The National Guard were on almost every street corner in my town for over a month; it was certainly not a pleasant time. I helped volunteer at a local church on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to help prepare meals for those that lost everything, and had nowhere to live. Doing so, made happy knowing with all I lost personally, I could still help out others.

 

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JM: Is there a certain goal you are trying to achieve right now?

AL: Currently, I am in Playboy’s Miss Social contest, so I hope that I will soon win. I also wish to be a Guess model.

 

JM: What do you think the meaning of life is?

AL: There is no exact meaning of life, it is self-belonging. No two people have the same opinion on what the meaning is. I believe the meaning of life is creating yourself, finding what makes you happy, having an open heart to love, and living your own life. If you keep searching for the meaning, you will not be living your life; just as if you keep searching the meaning of happiness, you will not truly be happy.

 

A note on modeling and the mind: It’s not all about what you see, but what you don’t see. It’s not just about looking good and being pretty. It appears that way to the eye. What is the real emotion hidden behind the beauty? How do we hide the true emotions we feel? We do it with our minds, escape reality, and get into “character.”Lauren Ashley

 

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Follow Lauren on Twitter: twitter.com/LaurenAshley0X0

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/x.Lauren.Ashley.x

Vote for her on Playboy Miss Social: playboymisssocial.com/laurenromanowski

Check out her website: xlaurenashleyx.com

See her photos on Instagram: instagram.com/x0laurenashley0x

Photo Credit: JAMills

 

Backstage Pass: Charlie Jacks

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The music industry is filled with people who have great talent, but there is only a select few that can engage people, and make them feel the music. One of the few people who can do such things is Charlie Jacks. She is a UK music superstar, and has a massive following in Japan (and soon to be US) with six number one albums, and nine singles at the top of the Japanese iTunes charts. Charlie took time out of her busy schedule to tell me about her music career, achieving goals, and what inspires and motivates her.

Justin Marroquin: How did you get interested in music?

Charlie Jacks: I’ve always been a bit of an entertainer. I loved singing in school and my mum noticed how much I danced around the house singing as a kid, so she put me in classical music lessons. I think it really kicked in at a Chinese restaurant. We went for a family meal and there was a performer singing with a piano and mic this particular time. My family managed to persuade me(with a $8 bribe) to go and ask if I could sing. I sung “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. It was the silence of the room and the applause after that—made me want more. The feeling that you can acquire someone’s emotions with your voice, and impact them just a little really moved me. And that my friends is where it began.

JM: Where do you seek inspiration and motivation to write songs?

CJ: My motivation is simple—literally, life. If it makes me emotionally happy, sad, hurt, angry, I write about it. The same with my friends; if I see something I can relate to, it’s a beautiful thing to be able to capture in words and replay as a song. I find if people can relate to your story, they want to listen.

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JM: What do you enjoy more: writing songs or performing?

CJ: Performing songs I’ve written. It’s a beautiful moment when you see someone join into a song you’ve written.

JM: Do you set goals? If so, describe how you go about doing it.

CJ: This is tricky. My goal when I started music (in Japan) was only ever to release one single, that turned into six and nine albums. Now I have the same goal, but in the UK and US.

JM: How do you handle negativity?

CJ: IGNORE it. How does negativity ever benefit anyone? It doesn’t, so the best option—cut it out.

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JM: Do you have any plans to come to America?

CJ: Yes, I do all of my writing and recording in the states. I’ll be back soon to start the new EP.

JM: What is the best part about the music industry?

CJ: Achieving goals—meeting and working with creative people. Two creative people in the same room is a recipe for magic.

JM: What’s the worst part about the music industry?

CJ: There a huge amount of no’s. You have to be thick-skinned and willing to be turned away a lot to survive the industry. But if you are persistent and believe in yourself enough, you’ll get there.

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JM: How do you want to be remembered?

CJ: I just want to make a little impact on some people’s lives. “That song helped me through hard times” or “That song reminds me of summer” that kinda thing.

JM: What is one piece of advice that has helped you in your life?

CJ: If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

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Follow Charlie on Twitter: twitter.com/charlietoons

Like her page on Facebook: facebook.com/OfficialCharlieJacks

See her photos on Instagram: instagram.com/charliejacks

Read her Tumblr: charliejacks.tumblr.com

Listen to her music on SoundCloud: soundcloud.com/charlie-jacks

Check out her website: charliejacks.com