INTERVIEW – Author & Photographer of ‘Feminine Transitions’ talks to us about how she developed the project and more!

INTERVIEW – Author & Photographer of ‘Feminine Transitions’ talks to us about how she developed the project and more!.


A Shout Out To All My Supporters!

Feminine Transitions book cover
Feminine Transitions: A photographic celebration of natural beauty

Just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all who have LIKED, SHARED, and CONTRIBUTED to my first Indiegogo Campaign. Without you, reaching closer to my goal would not be possible. I’m grateful to your outpouring of support and look forward to sharing Feminine Transitions with you once it’s done.

Given that I didn’t reach my goal, I wasn’t able to publish for Women’s History Month as planned. Therefore, I re-launched a new campaign, which will be combined with my first. There are 23 more days to contribute and I’m pushing through as much as I can. Check out my new campaign and please share.

Portrait of Frances age 81 (excerpt from Feminine Transitions)
Frances, age 81

As of now, the books and other perks will be ready by May/June. I promise to keep you posted on my progress every step of the way.

I simply could not do this alone and want to thank each and every one of you for believing in this huge dream of mine. Feminine Transitions is bigger than a book. It is a movement. A shifting of our psyche. Developing of love and appreciation for ourselves as girls and women. Your encouragement means the absolute world to me.

THANK YOU again for your support…

R. Gordon/United Tee Design
Shay Ensley
Karima Amin
Vera Hoar
Melissa Starr
Kianga Jinaki
Doreen Bonnet
Paul Brunson
Chante Burt
Sheri A. Wilson/DRW’S Support Services, Inc.
Chanda Pilgrim
Janiece Brown Spitzmueller
Tracy Jones-Henry
Dr. Nicole Cutts/Vision Quest Retreats
Sherry Terao
Dawn McGee
Glenda Williams
LaVonda Williams-Diaz
Courtney Muhammad
Caroline Seipp
Andy Lama
Michele L. Simms-Burton
Adrienne Hernandez
Heather Katsonga-Woodward
Schiettecatte Wies
Cynthia Xerogianes
Chinyere Garrett
Jaimee Todd
Sharon Elliott
Linda Lee
Steven Hutchinson
Jessica Savage
Meshell Ndegeocello
Damali Rahman
Sally Wiener Grotta
Tamara Lumpkin
Calene Heureaux
Julie McGuire
Luther T Scruggs
Alison Cunningham
Tim Beeker
Fofie S Akoto
Christina Hayden
Betty Rose
Anu Prestonia/Khamit Kinks

By the way, if your in the Maryland area, my image titled “By Any Means” was selected, (along with works of ten other artists) in the exhibition “Homage to Harriet” at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, MD. It will be up until June 23, 2013. Please support the museum if your in the area.

Homage To Harriet Exhibition flyer
Homage To Harriet Exhibition flyer

My First Celebrity Endorsement

Meshell Ndegeocello Supports Feminine Transitions

Portrait of Meshell Ndegeocello.
Meshell Ndegeocello. Photo by Charlie Gross.

On February 22, while sitting in my doctors office, I receive a surprise notification on Twitter (via my iphone). Singer Meshell Ndegeocello contributed to my crowd funding campaign for Feminine Transitions on Indiegogo. First of all, I love Meshell’s music so I was honored that she took the time to not only notice my Twitter post to her, but actually make a financial contribution.

A few minutes later, she gives a special shout out about my fundraiser on her Facebook and Twitter pages. Within minutes I received close to 400 views on my intro video on Vimeo. It also got me over the $1,000 level on my campaign page!

Although I did not reach my funding goal, Meshell’s support and posts, as well as that of others, helped me reach closer to my target than I was before my campaign launch. For that reason, I started another fundraiser in order to combine the two towards publishing 500 copies of Feminine Transitions.

I truly need your help in order to make this possible. Please take a few minutes to visit my Indiegogo campaign page for Feminine Transitions and make a contribution.  Once you see, you’ll know your supporting a worthy cause.

Thank you for your continued support and patience! I will continue to keep you posted on my progress.  Please also take the time to also visit Meshell Ndegeocello’s website and support her music.

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!


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


Robert Harrington
Chante Burt
Vincent and Chenniah Patrick
Kaisha Arnold
Sherry Terao
Karima Amin
Dawn Hester
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 will continue to keep you posted on the production of Feminine Transitions: A photographic celebration of natural beauty.  In the meantime…


Social media share buttons
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

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 – 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? 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 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.” 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 – 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


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

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.

Author, Entrepreneur, Filmmaker, Photographer