A Special Shout Out To My Supporters!!!

“If you’re blessed enough to grow older, which is how I look at aging (I think often of all the angels of 9/11 who won’t), there’s so much wisdom to be gained from people who are celebrating the process with vibrancy and vigor and grace.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Image of Feminine Transitions Indiegogo campaign.
Image of Feminine Transitions Indiegogo campaign.

I am now 22 days into Feminine Transitions Book Fundraiser campaign on Indiegogo.  It has been 22 days of sleepless nights, social media campaigning, networking and so much more…all while tending to my 3 beautiful children. I must admit, fundraising is an art. Although I am learning more than I did in my previous crowd funding campaigns, I have not fully mastered the art of it all.  On the bright side, I am still able to push through.  Not only because of my determination to make it happen, but mostly due to the support of my BACKERS!

A SHOUT OUT TO YOU…

UniTee Design, Inc.
Adèle Elmgart
Linda Lee
Sheri A. Wilson/DRW’S Support Services, Inc.
Chanda Pilgrim
Melissa Sears
Doreen Bonnet
Janiece Brown Spitzmueller
Dr. Nicole Cutts
Chinyere Garrett
…and to the four anonymous contributors

TO MY PIONEER SUPPORTERS!!!

Robert Harrington
Chante Burt
Vincent and Chenniah Patrick
Kaisha Arnold
Sherry Terao
Karima Amin
Dawn Hester
SHAY FRESH
Lane Cobb
Amanda Brandon
Imagine a Woman International – Trista Hendren
Juanita Smart
Sennait Blackman
Vernell Black
Randee Grant
Laura Paxton
AkoMona Mzinga Diabou
Cassandra Herbert
Mari Williams
Ruth Murphy

I THANK YOU!
I APPRECIATE YOU!
I AM TRULY GRATEFUL!

I will continue to keep you posted on the production of Feminine Transitions: A photographic celebration of natural beauty.  In the meantime…

SHARE, SHARE, SHARE

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Social media share buttons

…on your social media pages and via email. I thank you ALL for your support!

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions book cover
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Professionally Natural

Eighteen years ago, while a sophmore in high school, I decided to cut the perm I wore for the past 5 years, and return to my natural.  It wasn’t a very difficult decision but I must admit it was a bit scary.  I must now face my thick, curly, tangly hair and actually have to do more than just put in a ponytail.  I really wore my hair back in a ponytail throughout most of the 5 years.

Amidst the thoughts that were running through my mind, was a feeling of liberation. I no longer had to sit waiting in a salon to chemically alter my hair (that should be the biggest deciding factor when considering a perm – the health risks).  No more running through the rain to avoid getting my hair wet. I wouldn’t have to wake up extra early to “tame the main” with a hot comb. My hair is EXTRA thick.  Most importantly, I would be able to run my fingers through MY HAIR. MY NATURAL HAIR. The hair I was born with. That thought alone was freeing!

Before hand, I understood that going “natural” has a bigger impact that just a change of hair. It is an entire transformation. It makes a statement. At least for me it was. When I see women in their natural state, I see strength.  One that doesn’t feel it necessary to conform to societies view of what is considered “acceptable” or normal is in fact a leader and a leader exemplifies strength.

For this blog I interviewed Tonya Mosley, TV & magazine journalist with more than 15 years experience.  Tonya decided to  go natural 3 years ago, while working as a television reporter for KING 5 News in Seattle.  She is also the creator of NewNaturalista.com – a popular online resource for all things natural.  I was curious about her experience of being a media professional while transitioning to her natural.

Picture of Tonya Mosley
Tonya Mosley

What inspired you to go natural?

My decision to “go natural” was a progression. The seeds were first planted in my head by a news photographer in 2005. We were returning from a news story and I needed to stop by a beauty supply store to purchase a relaxer. (I had just moved to Seattle and hadn’t found a hair stylist yet.) When I returned to the car with a relaxer box, my photographer (who is white) wanted to know what it was. When I explained it to him he flipped. “You mean to tell me you put chemicals on your hair to make it straight?” He suggested I “wear it curly” as he put it – he brought it up for years. In 2009, my then 2 year old daughter would often sit in the bathroom and watch me primp. I was keenly aware that she sat there in awe with a mop of curly hair, and here I was straightening my hair. In what felt like a spontaneous moment, I took scissors one day and cut off all my hair. Looking back I see it wasn’t an impulse decision.

What did your daughter think about it?

She embraces it because she really knows no different. She was 2 when I went natural. My hair is a part of me just as her curly/kinky hair is a part of her. I do get it flat ironed from time to time to get my ends clipped, and she always has lots of opinions about it like, “WHY?” 🙂

How long after being a reporter did you decide to make the transition to natural?

I decided to go natural in 2009. At the time I’d been in the television news business for 9 years.

Were you feel at all nervous about the transition being a reporter?

A few weeks before the impulse big chop, I had a casual conversation with my boss about black women using relaxers to straighten their hair. He said, “Well, I wouldn’t want you to do something that is unhealthy for you!” I think I was more nervous about having super short hair – it really exposes your face! I loved the time when my hair was short though, it was a liberating time.

Did you hear about Rhonda Lee being fired from ABC for responding to comments about her natural hair? http://sportyafros.com/hair/rhonda-lee-fired-her-responding-to-comments-about-her-natural-hair/ What are your thoughts about it and what words of encouragement would you give her?

I am acquaintances with Rhonda Lee, she wrote a story about her struggles with her natural hair for my web magazine http://newnaturalista.com/2011/headline/cloudy-with-a-chance-of-kinky/ a few years ago. We also collaborated on a National Association of Black Journalists Conference panel proposal. I feel terribly sorry that Lee lost her job, she is a fine meteorologist. It’s a difficult thing to get emails and Facebook messages about your appearance – but unfortunately in the news business we all get them. Viewers often feel they can say anything about you – your weight, your makeup, your outfits, your hair color – your hair style. So many people are ignorant about natural hair. Rhonda was trying to educate the commenter but unfortunately her response was in violation of her news station’s policy.

A young lady in the UK recently uploaded a youtube video titled “It’s just hair.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVPhT188rDg Do you believe that wearing your natural hair makes a statement? What statement are you making?

Even though we’ve grown by leaps and bounds in this country, wearing natural hair is still making a statement. However, many people of other cultures aren’t sure what that statement is. They’ve associated natural hair with the militant movement of the 1970’s and in many cases they aren’t aware of what we do to our hair. In many cases wearing natural hair says that the wearer is not conforming to the traditional standards of beauty. For me, my hair says that I am comfortable in my skin.

What advice would you say to women who fear going natural? Whether for maintenance reasons or fear of being judged by their peers and co-workers.

I think getting to a place of self acceptance is the key. I didn’t have fears about what others would think. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive. My coworkers all had great things to say, I only ever got one email from a man who called my hair wild, but I always chose to focus on the weekly emails I received from viewers of all races complimenting me on my hair.

Finish the sentence…

I feel empowered when…I do what my heart, mind and should leads me.

I am passionate about…philanthropy, uplifting young people and exposing injustice.

My biggest blessing is…my beautiful family.

Natural beauty is…what we’re all born with.

Being natural feels…awesome.

Tonya Mosley Bio

Tonya Mosley is an award winning journalist, producer and entrepreneur. She has a passion for using the power of her voice to uncover, inspire, enlighten and educate.

For 7 years Tonya reported for KING 5 News (NBC) in Seattle – telling the stories of extraordinary people and circumstances. Tonya is also the creator of NewNaturalista.com – a popular online resource for all things natural.

Philanthropy, community engagement and living well are her greatest passions.

Tonya is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Fashion Marketing/Business from Parsons School of Design in New York City.

Crowd Funding Campaign for Feminine Transitions

Image

My Story
Feminine Transitions unmasks women and exquisitely demonstrates that young is beautiful, old is beautiful, and natural is beautiful. Never before has a book so vividly projected the images of women in all stages of life in a way that reveals who they really are as women. Feminine Transitions: A Photographic Celebration of Natural Beauty is a refreshing and inspiring, full-color book of photography. Its pages present a series of portraits that reveal the elegance and subtly honest beauty of female faces between the ages of 7 weeks and 105 years.
Author and photographer Alyscia Cunningham has truly unmasked the natural beauty of aging. “In a world filled with ‘Photoshopped’ images of women who are heavily made up, this book is a breath of fresh air”, says Trista Hendren, author of The Girl God and writer at the blog Elephant Journal.
What I Need

I am so proud and excited to produce my first photography book that is scheduled for release in March 2013, Women’s History Month. I am also coordinating traveling exhibitions showcasing the images from my book. With your help and contributions, I hope to be able to raise the money for my shows and book production. The funds will be used for printing the first 500 copies of my book, rental space, framing, invitations, marketing, installation and all of the other things that go along with launching major solo exhibitions.If I do not reach my entire goal on this round, I will purchase 100 copies using Blurb to publish. However, Blurb’s prices are far higher than going to a traditional printer. Nonetheless, have a few copies in hand will be beneficial as people would rather see a product in hand. From there, I will continue to collect the funds until I reach my goal by holding future funding campaigns. I’ve also submitted applications via my local arts organizations for grants and currently awaiting the status.

How To Contribute

You can make a contribution by visiting my Indiegogo campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/FeminineTransitionsBook/x/123267.

I sincerely thank you for coming to my page to take a look at my project. I want to share the beauty of Feminine Transitions with the world. Your contribution is helping to make this happen.

Feminine Transitions Media Kit

Feminine Transitions cover design
Newly designed cover for Feminine Transitions.

My press kit for Feminine Transitions is visable on www.Alyscia.com. View it on my website.

I am now working my media contact list for interview opportunities.  My focus for this week is also to connect with agents. I am keeping my options open. I will be able to obtain more information if I did decide to work with a publisher and if one decides to work with me. The least I can gain is more information and understanding. You can’t beat that with a bat!

I’ll keep you posted!

 

A Conversation with Paul Carrick Brunson: #Matchmaker #Coach #Author

My husband and I have been together for over 12 years.  The physical attraction between the two of us was evident from our first encounter.  The appeal heightened after a few seconds into our initial conversation.  Soon after we briefly spoke of that fact that we had a deeper mental chemistry. In other words, we were not only attracted to each other physically but found each other mentally stimulating as well. How sexy is that?

I thought today’s blog would relate to the topic of my book, Feminine Transitions: a photographic celebration of natural beauty, relating the appreciation of authenticity when it comes to uniting two people as a matchmaker. However, after interviewing Paul C. Brunson, matchmaker, coach and author of It’s ComplicatedI gained a new understanding of what attraction and connection truly represent to everyone on an individual basis.  Through our conversation I discovered what shaped the very attraction I had for my husband when we first met.

Cover art for Paul C. Brunson's book, It's Complicated.

What are most men looking for in a woman? What are the majority attracted to?
A mans upbringing most likely determines what he is attracted to. Therefore the females that he grows up with play a significant roll in his life when it comes to choosing a partner. For example, if he grew up in a house hold with sisters that often walked topless he will probably like a woman is a free spirit and may even enjoy walking around topless freely at home.  It’s simply comes down to what he was used to and comfortable with growing up.
(Note: this was an AHA moment for me. Paul’s answer put so many things into perspective. I also realized that what I’m attracted to as a woman is a reflection of my relationship with my father. Although my husband and father have different personalities, they have very similar characteristics. Great stuff!)

Read Paul’s article on Essence.com The Top 7 Things That Really Attract Men (and Why!)

What advice do you give your clients before meeting her match for the first time?
I don’t give any advice. I let the chemistry speak for itself. I always recommend a match meet for no more than 30 minutes on the first date.
Why is that? The first attraction is physical attraction and people typically know right of the back if they are attracted to each other. If two people aren’t interested in each other there is not reason to stay on a date any longer than 30 minutes. This way they don’t waste any time.

Is there a particular age range that you work with most?
I work with all ages but, when I first started I the majority of my clients were professionals in their 30’s-40’s. After I started airing on TV and radio the response shifted. Surprisingly I received a larger reaction from individuals in their 20’s. I believe that’s related to the age group of the particular channels as well as radio.

However, there is no age limit. I’ve set a up a successful match for someone that was 68.

Are there any significant differences when matching younger or older women?
From my observation women in their twenties don’t really have a “list” of what they desire in a man.  If they do, it’s pretty short. The twenties is more of a carefree period. Given that they are not completely aware of who they are as individuals they are still searching for what it is they want.

Women in their thirties typically have long “list” of characteristics for their ideal man. Maybe sometimes even unrealistic.  It is specific about what they want from head to toe.

The forties and fifties women seem to retreat back to the twenties group.  Their list is not very long and more direct and indepth. They also tend to go with the flow and are more secure in who they are and what they want.

Do you think being a Matchmaker is what you were born to do?. Most people don’t know that I’m also a coach. I enjoy working with people to help them discover their purpose and accomplish their goals.  I feel most at harmony with life when I’ve changed or influenced someone’s life positively.

What is beautiful you? Life

BIO
Portrait of Paul C. Brunson In the last 3 years, Paul Carrick Brunson (also known as The Modern Day Hitch) has become internationally recognized as one of the most successful matchmakers and relationship coaches. As a pioneering African-American matchmaker in the world, Paul has served over 400 clients directly and collectively through live events and social media, matched over 3,000 people on dates.

Paul’s unparalleled ability for successful matchmaking and coaching comes from really knowing and understanding his clients and their needs. Like his clients, he is cultured, well-traveled, well-educated and trained – he holds a graduate degree from a top business school, as well as additional certifications. His professional career started as an investment banker and most recently included a senior position with a top international firm. He is also a philanthropist who co-founded and chairs a foundation that focuses on school rehabilitations in the U.S. and Jamaica.

Understanding that a matchmaker is truly a guide to help clients achieve self actualization, Paul received his life coaching certification. Next, Paul further immersed himself in the art and science of matchmaking by training with Harvard Business school graduate, New York Times bestselling author, and matchmaker, Rachel Greenwald. Lastly, to ensure he was as knowledgeable as possible about the dynamics of human relationships and love, Paul undertook a literary review of hundreds of books and academic journals on psychology, sociology and behavioral science. Paul then put his acquired learning to the test by practicing pro-bono throughout 2009.

Paul’s expertise and unique understandings of love and relationship have made him a sought after expert on dating, self-actualization and relationships. Paul’s understanding and insights into romantic and lasting relationships have been featured on Dr. Drew’s LifeChangers, ANDERSON, the Washington Post, Essence, Extra, The Root, The Grio, AOL Black Voices, ABC news and Hot 97. In addition to participating in numerous relationship and community-focused panels, Paul also served as the first male speaker for the 2011 Black Enterprise Women of Power Conference and was the keynote speaker for the 2011 iDate Matchmaking Conference, the largest internet dating conferences in the US.  Read Paul’s inspiring biography on his website.

I’m Working!

Feminine Transitions cover design
Newly designed cover for Feminine Transitions.

I haven’t blogged in a while as I’m heavily indulged in Feminine Transitions.  Although I am enjoying the process I must admit it’s bitter-sweet. I love the creative aspect of this journey and I’m truly enjoying the folks I’m meeting along the way. However, I would honestly prefer to leave the technical part into the hands of a professional (in that particular area).  On the bright side, I am learning more than I’ve ever known about book publishing and the energy, time, creative and technical aspects involved in it.

I finally found a graphic artist to layout the design for me. This is where my project is at the moment.  Presently, I’m gathering leads info for online, radio and TV interviews.  As of last week, my press kit is complete. Since writing is not one of my strengths (and I’m not afraid to admit) I’ve had great success hiring contractors from Elance to complete writing materials, including my press kit. A job well done it was!

Here are a few mock-up pages:

Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 1
Feminine Transitions page layout
Layout 2
Feminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions page Layout 4
Feminine Transitions page layoutFeminine Transitions page layout
Feminine Transitions Layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More work has to be done but Feminine Transitions is closer to its completion. Travel exhibits and speaking tours are to come. I’ll continue to keep you posted along the way. Or feel free to contact me with any questions you may have.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed by making a donation or pre-order. Know that I am working diligently to publish this baby.

Stay connected via my website and social media pages: