Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Plus Model Mag - 20 Questions with Rasha Spindel-Chapman

I did my first interview for Plus Model Magazine and my interviewee (is that a word???) was the lovely Rasha Spindel-Chapman of "The Biggest Loser - Couples Edition" fame. The original article was too lengthy to run in it's entirety for print...but it is such an interesting Q&A that PMM has given me permission to run the full article here on my site for your reading pleasure!

It's a really great read....Enjoy all! And as always...please feel free to leave a comment or two.

Q


20 QUESTIONS with The ORIGINAL Runway Diva & Rasha Spindel-Chapman

1) When did you originally begin your career as a plus sized model and what agency were you signed with then?

I started my plus size modeling career in January 2003 in Portland, Oregon, when I signed with Q6 Model & Artist Management.. A few months later I signed with Seattle Models Guild. They are the two top fashion agencies in the Pacific Northwest. My sister, Yvette, a (size 2) model took me to her agent (Q6) in Portland, and they wanted to represent me within my first few weeks of moving back to Portland from L.A. and Honolulu. I had no luck finding an agent in L.A. and Honolulu, after being told that I was too big for the Plus market in those cities. - It was the exact opposite in Portland & Seattle.

2) What kind of success did you have when you first began your career as a plus sized model?

My very first job was a runway show for Nordstrom, and it was a blast! It was an all-plus-model show, and it felt so amazing to be around so many beautiful, and curvy women. I soon began working consistently for many clients like Nordstrom (Runway), Fred Meyer (Print), Macy's (Runway), and BAUXAL (Print). I was one of the only Plus-Sized Blondes in the market, so I got all of the work that was out there for a specialty size. Soon, the clients would start requesting me through Q6, and I started to build a solid client base.

3) How did you meet your husband, Edwin Chapman?

I actually met Edwin the first time I moved to Portland from my hometown of Honolulu in 1997. It was my senior year of high school, and I met him at a small get-together of a mutual friend. We dated for a few months when I was 18 years old, and he was even my Prom Date!!! Edwin knew from the start that we were supposed to be together, even telling me, "I am going to marry you one day!" That freaked me out, so I ended up breaking his heart, and moving to Los Angles. A few years later I was bored one day at work (this was before I became a Plus-Size Model - I was working in Sales at the beautiful Renaissance Hollywood Hotel @ Hollywood & Highland and I googled "Edwin Chapman" - and I found him! Over 4 years after we had dated! He just happened to be coming to L.A. for a business trip, and the rest is history. We did the long distance thing for a few months, were engaged right away, and I decided to move back to Portland to be with him, and honestly because I was so happy to have the opportunity to be a Plus-Size Model. While I lived in L.A., I went on 1 Casting Call in all 4 years I was there!!! Edwin and I were engaged for over 3 years (we postponed the wedding to film "The Biggest Loser").

4) One of the biggest misconceptions about being a plus sized model is that you have free pass to eat whatever you like. Now you and I both know that’s not true at all…Can you describe the “unhealthy lifestyle” that you mentioned living in your bio?

When I first became a Plus-Size Model, I did eat whatever I wanted, and Edwin did right along with me. I thought that I had free range to do so, because I was selling "big & beautiful". We ate any and everything, and never worked out, other than my playing softball. I became so lazy playing ball that I would hit home runs so that I didn't have to run around the bases. It was that bad. I just felt lethargic from eating too much junk, and not being active enough.

5) What was the turning point for you? Can you remember the exact moment you decided to change your unhealthy lifestyle to a healthy one?

I honestly remember watching the first season of "The Biggest Loser", and identifying with every single cast member on that show. I had been hiding behind "my plus-sized-beauty" for so long. I remember breaking down into tears, and realizing that I wanted to change my life. I didn't want to be skinny (I never have been), I wanted to be healthy. The exact moment that made me decide to send the audition tape in was when I saw Bob Harper (my soon-to-be Blue Team trainer) on the show, telling Mo that anything was possible, and Mo was well-over 400 pounds! It was the first time I had seen people like me on TV (Fat Chance hadn't aired yet).

6) What was life like for you growing up as a plus sized child in Hawaii?

First of all, I already stood out, because, despite my melting pot of different nationalities in my background, I am the lightest in my family. Standing at 5 foot 8 was a giant in Hawai‘i, and then to add on the fact that I had friends who came from mostly Asian backgrounds, I looked enormous next to them. My sister and I are as physically different as possible - and although she was always the skinny one, it was my sister who always kept my spirits up by recognizing my beauty. -But I always stuck out. My boyfriends were always darker, and so much smaller than me. I know I got started with dating early, because I thought that by dating lots of guys meant that I was beautiful, and it gave me self-worth (I know now that was ridiculous!)

7) Aside from your family, what kind of positive role models were there for you to look up to growing up?

I've wanted to be a Superstar as long as I can remember, but I never really had anyone that I truly identified with as a celebrity. No one really even remotely looked like me. -That's why my role-model was my sister.

8) I see that you have dreams of becoming the next “plus sized supermodel”, I have heard this phrase before – can you tell who YOU think the last “Plus Sized Supermodel” was/is?
The last one? - Hmmmm, I'd say Emme, Kate Dillon, or Mia Tyler. Where has Emme been???

9) What size were you at the beginning of the show?


I was a size 18

10) What size did you get down to by the show’s end?


Size 10/12

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11) What size are you currently?


14/16 (and I am sooooooooo much happier)

12) In what way would you say the “media interest’ in your career has helped you? Or has it hurt you?

The media interest, without a doubt, has helped me. Once people found out that I was a Plus-Size Model (for whatever reasons, producers decided to not broadcast that fact when the show initially aired), the media started to love the fact that I wasn't going after an unrealistic goal of being the next skinny girl. I just wanted to be healthy, happy, and above all else, sexy in my own skin. I actually lost too much weight after the show for my liking, and my clients' liking (even after gaining back a few pounds, I still have not done any Runway, only Print - I was told by Macy's a few weeks ago that I was too small - HOW CRAZY IS THAT!!!) I feel happy in my own skin now. NBC is now very proud of the fact that I am a Plus-Size Model, and they are always looking out for media outlets for me.


13) As a reality show alumnus myself, I very am curious as to how “Overnight Celebrity” has changed your life?

I remember one of the creators of the show taking me aside before we started taping and said to me, "Rasha, your life will forever be 'before The Biggest Loser, and after The Biggest Loser, it will never be the same” -and boy, was he right! People come up to me every day, and ask me, "weren't you on 'The Biggest Loser?", and I love it, because, like "Fat Chance", you and I have inspired people. At first when I had gained back some weight, I was afraid of what the public might think, and then I realized how "real" it is. I am beautiful just the way I am, but most importantly, I am happy. The best part about the Celebrity Status is that when I go home to Hawai'i, I am embraced with open arms wherever I go. They are very proud that I am a Hawaiian girl. I am even on the list of "Famous Hawaiians", right next to Bette Midler. :)

14) History has shown us that as quickly as the media can “make” your career, they can “break” it twice as fast. Since you lost a considerable amount of weight, do you find the media and/or your fans either consciously or unconsciously trying to monitor every morsel of food you put in your mouth these days?

Everyone always watches what I eat, and especially what I put into my shopping cart at the grocery store. If they catch me having a cheat day, I tell them that I am human, and that I am going to work it off the next day. I am not about depriving myself. One of my good friends, Devin Alexander, who co-authored "The Biggest Loser Cookbook" that came out a few weeks ago (Edwin and I have recipes in her book as well) has been helping me with making healthier versions of the "bad foods" I love - like cupcakes. :)

15) Please explain how the media has taken a “special interest” in your career?
I think I have been focused on more than many of the other stars of the show because even as a model, I represent so many women (and men) out there that are not a size 2, and I still consider myself beautiful. I was taught by my multi-cultural family at a very young age to accept everyone for who they are, no matter what color, what sex, what sexual preference they have, what religion they are, or even what size they are. I feel that being a Plus-Size Model breaks down so many stereo types. No one can look at me, and read me like a book. I am unique, and I love that! :)

16) What kind of clients and/or work have you gotten with your newfound plus sized celebrity model status?

IGIGI (the most amazing clothes ever - so sexy!) has been so good to me, I've started shooting lots of editorial work in Los Angeles, and San Francisco, and I am constantly doing press for "The Biggest Loser" as it airs in different countries (I did over 10 hours of phone interviews with all of the Australian Media Outlets a few weeks ago), and all of them primarily focused on my career as a Plus-Size Model. I have been on lots of TV Shows, like "The Tyra Banks Show", "The Today Show", "Inside Edition" (they filmed our wedding in Honolulu), "AM Northwest", and many other shows, and it's all about the modeling. :) - and who can forget about booking the cover of Plus Model Magazine right now?! ;)

17) As an Olympic worthy athlete, you HAD to have been in awesome shape! Was it an injury that caused you to forgo working out? Or was it something else?

That's the funny part, I wasn't in awesome shape, but I was a phenomenal softball player. My speed (or lack there of) was my only downfall. I trained with a celebrity trainer in L.A., but tore all the ligaments in my ankle before my final try-out for the Olympic Softball Team, and I just gave up. -But I am a firm believer that "everything happens for a reason", and I soon found Edwin again after my injury, and became a Plus-Size Model, and did the show, etc., etc., etc....


18) Are you still pursuing a career as an entertainer, as well as a model?


Yes. I just completed filming my first (very small) movie role opposite Morgan Freeman, Greg Kinnear, and Selma Blair in "The Feast of Love" playing a softball player - what a stretch, huh? I am picking back up with theater as well, and I will be going into the recording studio to record with my Dad in Honolulu. I have been singing since I could breathe. -But, honestly, my bheart, and soul is being a Plus-Size Model. I love that it is my stepping stone for so much more. I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. I want to inspire people from all walks of life, and tell them that DREAMS REALLY DO COME TRUE!!!

19) What’s the best part of your new found celebrity for you?

I am SO PROUD to say that I am a Plus-Size Model. I am proud to say that I accomplishing my dreams. I am proud to represent my beautiful home of Hawai'i by spreading aloha (love). The best part is touching peoples' lives. Just a few weeks ago, I was recognized by a beautiful plus-size woman working in the Coach Store. I was just in a tank top, and black pants, with cute sandals on. I had no make-up on (I rarely wear it when I'm not working), and just felt like it was a casual day. She told me that I was beautiful, and that I had just inspired her to show her arms, and she hadn't done so in years. I know it's small, but it felt so good. I told her that she was gorgeous, and that she should OWN IT!!!

20) What’s up next for Rasha?

It looks like I will be traveling non-stop for the next few months. I've been back-and-forth to Honolulu, L.A. and San Francisco, and will be on my way to New York soon. I am in talks to sign with Wilhelmina NY (fingers crossed), and if that doesn't happen, I will conquer the world another way. I have been approached to go to Germany to model there. My goal is to sign deals with big clients, like Lane Bryant, Just My Size, Torrid, anyone with a positive message. On the home front, I have promised my family that I will sing more, and write more (maybe a book?), and I need to sneak in a few extra kisses for my husband, since I haven't seen him a whole bunch since my career has started to blossom. We're newlyweds, so we have a puppy named Stitch, and maybe we'll have a pup, or two of our own in a few years. Whatever happens, I know my life has only just begun.

It takes a small beginning to make a successful or great future.


Miss Sharon Quinn

Sunday, October 29, 2006

9th Annual African American Women in Cinema Festival

Last Thursday, I attended the opening night VIP reception for the 9th Annual African American Women in Cinema Festival (AAWIC). The event was sponsored by Wal-Mart & Oxygen and the reception was held in a new restaurant named Sofrito on East 57th Street. It was a brisk & chilly Thursday evening but mercifully there was no rain in sight. I was a few feet from the restaurant when I saw an old friend emerge from a taxi. Her name was Joy Matthews and she's a phenomenal singer/actress whom I had the pleasure of working with on an Off-Off-WAAAAAY Off Broadway musical called "Lovin' That Man Of Mine" at The Riant Theater. Joy is also the cousin of 70's actress, Jayne Kennedy-Overton and is the spitting image of her in her prime. I caught Joy onstage last summer (or was it this summer?? Hmmmm...) in a revival of "Menopause The Musical!"...she was awesome!

Anyway, we hugged & kissed and she introduced me to her lovely friend, (who's name escapes me, but i'll get it) who was an actor with a role in the film we were screening that evening...but more about that later. We entered the restaurant and quickly got reacquainted and caught up on each others lives. Because of the chilly temperatures, I chose to "dress down" and wore a simple red ribbed turtleneck with my jeans and black pointy toed boots with a matching red coat. A tall, graceful and elegant hostess guided me towards the coat check and was surprised to see my homegirl from my "Corporate America" days...Evelyn Rivera working the coat check with another beautiful lady. I found out that the restaurant was owned by her brother and she was the accountant for the restaurant. Now Evelyn is a saucy, little, voluptuous Puerto Rican sista with big beautiful eyes and an amazing smile! She's been my homegirl since forever so when she invited me back for dinner you KNOW I jumped right on it! lol.

The reception was from 6pm to 8pm with the screening immediately following. It was hosted by 98.7 KISS-FM DJ Lenny Green & Tony Award Winning Actress LaChanze. I hadn't seen Lenny Green since his "Baby Blue Birthday Boatride" this summer and I was pleased that he recognized and remembered me (we have had problems with this in the past..lol). He was dressed to the nines as always. I have never met LaChanze before but we do have a mutual friend named Alexander Bruce. I was glad to see that she was doing well and thriving on all fronts, newly remarried with a new baby (her first husband, Calvin, was an acquaintance of mine and he worked Cantor Fitzgerald and lost his life on 9/11) and absolutely GLOWING! I also met two lovely young ladies who work for Oxygen (and I am trying to get their names because they were incredibly nice to me and I want to put their names in my blog!) Thanks for making me feel special ladies! Anyway, I knew it was time for me to leave when they started passing around the steaming platters of Fried Pork! (See Maddy's Bday Blog)

I rejoined Joy, we got our coats and headed over to the theater for the first screening of the festival. It was a short walk to the theater maybe 3-4 blocks and we got there fairly quickly. I walked thru the doors to the theater and saw that they were doing press interviews with the film's cast. The first recognizable face that I saw was the actor who portrayed "Poet" on HBO's "OZ"----not the friendliest guy I have ever met (lol). I picked up my "All Access" pass (Thanks! Timikal Bobo from Oxygen!) and after a stop at the concession stand ($8 FRIGGIN' DOLLARS FOR A SMALL POPCORN AND SMALL SODA YA'LL!!!!) we quickly took our seats and after a few speeches and a presentation of a proclimation to Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), the film began.

My Brother is an inner city, New York story, of two impoverished boys, one of whom is developmentally disabled, and the bond of love they have for each other. This bond, forged in their youth by their mother, and made under lifes most desperate circumstances, is unwavering even in the face of adversity. In the present, one brother, trying to get free of oppressing debt, falls prey to ruthless men, setting in motion life-threatening events that test their greater-than-blood bond. This leads to a decision that only an epiphany, and courage, can overcome.

Quite honestly, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from start to finish. I thought it was beautifully shot and the acting was really good - there were no weak links and the performances of Vanessa Williams, NuShawn Kearse & Christopher Scott were outstanding. Also appearing in the movie are Tatum O'Neal (looking really good!), Fredro Starr & Comedian/KISS FM DJ Talent. There was a brief Q & A immediately following the screening with the films stars, co-stars and the director. I understand that there is a sequel in the works and I for one will be first in line to see it when it opens! I am not sure of the exact release date but keep a look out for "My Brother' in Jan/Feb 2007, when it opens in your city.

After the screening, Joy and I said our goodbyes and promised to stay in touch. She headed crosstown for a Margarita nightcap and I took the Subway back to Harlem and found myself eagerly looking forward to the panel discussions and screenings on Saturday.

If you don't set your boundaries someone else will.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Taste of Ebony at The Metropolitan Pavilion

Last night I attended The Taste of EBONY event at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. Taste of EBONY is and evening of food and wine tastings that celebrate the unherald history of the contributions African Americans have made to the world of Culinary Arts. The Event was the brainchild of Linda Johnson-Rice, President & CEO of Johnson Publishing Company, whose holdings include EBONY & JET Magazines.

I arrived at the Metropolitan Pavilion at around 6:45pm. The invite called for "Cocktail Attire" and let me tell you.....My people did NOT disappoint!!! The folks were seriously done ya'll!!! I was attired in a beautiful black, sleeveless, velvet cocktail dress with a deep "V" shaped neckline (I was SERVING up some Cleavage ya'll!!!) and a beautiful multicolored sash wrapped around my bustline and ended in a beautiful bow in the back, I topped my "look" off with a pair of 4 inch, black patent leather, peek-toe sling backs (what on EARTH was I thinking about huh?). My dress was courtesy of Miss Raymona for ENV New York.



I made my way through the crowd and collected my red EBONY wristband (needed for entry into the event) and headed through the doors to the foyer. The first thing to catch my eye was a beautiful display of cooking saute pans stacked like an elaborate Christmas tree with the EBONY logo interspersed within. I took a quick photo and headed off to find the ladies room but stopped when I saw a bunch of cuties hanging out near the restroom area. I realized quickly that they were "working" the event and a very sexy, bald headed, light skinned brother, graciously insisted upon personally escorting me to the Ladies room (He loved my shaved head...thank you cutie!!). I quickly took his outstretched arm and allowed him to do just that! I entered the bathroom and immediately hear my name being called, I look up and see a someone that I have not seen in AGES!!!! My Sista/friend/former plus model turned visual stylist - Miss Breea Williams. Breea is another sister that I met during both of our early days as Plus Models - She was also a member of the "Diva Team" that took the top prize in the Team Runway Competition at late fashion designer, Angel Claudio's Collection Show in Newark, NJ. You KNOW I couldn't resist providing a clip!




(Whew! THAT brought back memories). We have been making plans to see each other for YEARS now, so you can imagine the noise in that bathroom when we saw each other. We screamed and hugged each other for a very long time. We talked as we tried to remember the last time we saw each other (it was at Union Square Cafe - We had a late night supper with Kym Hampton after and Ashley Stewart Event at the Puck Building) and she told me that SHE was the one who had done the visual styling for the entire event (and that included the pan display I was admiring earlier - You GO Girl!!!). She headed off to change in to her outfit for the event and we agreed to meet in the main room before the night was over.

By the time I returned to the lobby, my guest for the evening had arrived. My guest was Mr. Don Echoles-Conway, who is an accomplished jazz musician and a well loved music teacher in the NY City Public School system. Don is one of my favorite people and I was so glad he was able to join me for the event. He looked quite handsome in a suit and he smelled amazing! There was a bar in the foyer so we stopped there for our first cocktail of the evening. There were a couple of specialty drinks offered for the evening and we decided to go with a pomegrante flavored cocktail that came in a martini glass. One sip was enough for me to decide that drink was WAY too strong for me. Across the room at the coat check I ran in to menswear designer, Shaka King and Margo Lewis, owner of CakeBliss of Brooklyn, NY. Margo designed an incredible cake that looked like shipping crates with various EBONY magazine strewn about. The entire cake was edible and simply amazing to look at.

We took our drinks and headed to the main room where the opening remarks & presentations were winding up. The room was beautifully decorated and was totally packed with good looking people! After the remarks & photos, the floor was open for the tastings. We ditched the Pomegrante cocktails (too strong for me - too "girly" for Don) and went to sample some of the wine offerings. Don got to sample quite a few red wines and even a brandy, while I stuck mostly to the whites & sparkling wines. After we sampled a few wines, we moved on to some of the delicious food being offered. Along the way we ran into Earl Graves Sr, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Black Enterprise Magazine, Sonia Alleyne (careers & lifestyle Editor at Black Enterprise), Sonia was the Editor in Chief at BELLE Magazine and she gave me my first cover with the premiere issue of the magazine. Also in attendance were photographer Donn Thompson, Melba Wilson (owner of my current fave restaurant in Harlem...Melba's), CBS Morning Show anchor Maurice DuBois, who hosted the evening's festivities, Audrey Smaltz (the Ground Crew), Black2Broadway's Kevin Anthony and one of my favorite TV Chef's G. Garvin, of TVOne's "Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin" (Um..."G" must have been having a "moment" cuz Bro'Man was a little er...funky when I tried to greet him initially....I'll forgive you this time "G"!)

The food was excellent and we sampled a dazzling array of dishes from Anheuser Busch's Budweiser grilled chicken wrapped in collard greens (Which were REALLY tasty) but my mouth was really watering for the Beechwood Fried Baby Back Ribs!!!! (sigh...I am STILL off the pork for now ya'll...but I ain't gonna lie....I WANTED to EAT THOSE RIBS!!!!). We then moved on to a delicious Seared Scallop with Spinach Ravioli & Fall Truffle Sauce (from BG's Restaurant in Bergdorf Goodman's)...Yummy!! Maryland Crab Cake "lollipops", Red Velvet Cheesecake, Spiced Coconut Chicken Noodles with Shanghai Bok Choy (From Ginger..The new restaurant on 116th St). We also sampled seared yellowfin tuna medallions with onion marmalade (needed a lil salt though), Beer Battered Catfish (which I actually enjoyed although I don't really care for Catfish), Mac & Cheese croquettes from Melba's, Jerk Chicken Wings from Maroon's (That set my entire chest on FIRE!!!), Deep Fried Pork Belly with Sauteed String Beans & Pickled Onions (Damn, Damn...DAMN!!! The pork belly was looking good....but I was a good girl and only ate the string beans...WHICH WERE AWESOME!!!) to a delicious stuffed shrimp & and a mixed berry parfait from G. Garvin, who was in a much better mood later on and even stopped to take photos with us. There was so much good food in the room, I felt like I had died and gone to Heaven. After we were stuffed we stopped at the bar for one last cocktail before departing and I decided to try the OTHER specialty cocktail of the evening...a pink colored, passion fruit drink also served in a martini glass. It was delicious and didn't burn going down...lol...like the Pomegrante Cocktail did... and it was a great way to wrap up a wonderful evening.

As the evening wound down and we started to make our way towards the coat check, I finally met up with Publicist Mary Moore, who got me the tickets (Thanks Mary! and Thank you Cynthia Horner, for inviting me!) and she arrived with Theresa Randolph of JT Productions along with Troy Safi, The reigning Miss Full Figured New York 2007 (Troy is also one of NYC's Finest!) and Alicia Mitchell, who was a top 5 finalist on Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance, Season 1. I quickly instructed them on which booths to hit first and Don & I headed outside, but first we stopped off at the sign in booth where we turned in our red wristbands and received 2 of the most amazing gift bags ever!!! Our bags were filled to the top with cookbooks, napkin rings, A slice of Banana Nut Cake, a G.Garvin cooking DVD and tons of other things. We picked up our bags (so heavy you need both hands to hold them....now THAT'S A GIFT BAG!!!!) and since I was determined to take home some Red Velvet & Sweet Potato Cheesecakes to my Monster, Don was kind enough to carry the bags as we walked to his car. We must have walked about 30 feet when I decided to abruptly stop in front of this other building where three men had come outside for a smoke and chat. I gave one of the men my biggest and brightest smile and asked him to please hold my two plates for me, he obliged and (to both Don's amusement and the gentleman holding my plates) I announced that my feet were what???? BURNING!!!! And I promptly removed those 4" Black Patent Leather, Peek Toe Slingbacks and put on my flats. I breathed a deep sigh of relief, retrieved my plates and walked up the street with my dignity intact!

It was a most wonderful evening, Thanks Don for hanging out with me, Thanks to Cynthia Horner for being kind enough to invite me....and Thank you Mary Moore...for always thinking of me!


A fool says he can and does nothing, but a wise man knows he can't and asks how.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Surprise Birthday Celebration for Maddy Figueroa-Jones

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Hello Family!

Last weekend I attended a surprise birthday celebration for Madeline "Maddy" Figueroa-Jones. The party was hosted by Gwen "Diva" DeVoe, CEO of DeVoe Signature Events and was held a small club on Eighth Avenue

Okay...I actually completed this post a long time ago and then accidentally deleted most of it after working on it for over two hours!!!! Needless to say, all of the wind was taken out of my sails at that point....hence the delay in this post lol!!!

Anyway, I arrived at VESTA at the appointed hour of 5:30pm to help Diva with the decorations....after spending the first hour putting together giveaways and covering the room with photos of the birthday girl...people began to trickle in. The event started off in a small private room in the basement but later on we moved the party upstairs. In attendance were many familiar faces from the plus sized movement...Ashley Stewart Diva Mia Amber & her boo...comedian Mike Yard (Who I absolutely LOVE!!!!), The beautiful Fluvia, Designer Monif C., Make up artists Karen Duncan, Alicia & Tonya Giddens, along with up & coming models, Elisabeth, Sheka, Jeannie as well as popular PM-er, writer & former model Anna Kujowski. The guests were told to arrive between 6pm & 7pm as Maddy's hubby Luke was to arrive with Maddy in tow at 7pm. Well, 7pm came & went and no Maddy. Calls were made and I understand that Luke was having a bit of trouble convincing Maddy to come out...lol..(This part NEVER goes as smoothly as folks would like!). Well, Luke must have done some of his best acting work because at around 7:45pm he finally got her through the door....Maddy arrived looking fabulous (wearing a bustier set that I was truly coveting!!!) and VERY SURPRISED!!! (The expression on her face alone...was worth the wait time for me!).

Anyway, the drink specials (2 for 1 cosmos & apple martini's) were flowing and every one was having a great time. I started off with cosmos and at some point T-Boogie & I (Ms Giddens) began switching to Champagne (Big Mistake) right before we sang the happy birthdays and brought out her cake. Diva ordered a beautiful Mocha birthday cake and we all sang Happy Birthday and made a toast to the birthday girl. Most notably for me....I escaped getting cake in my face this time!!

Before, I digress....Maddy! I had a wonderful time at your party and may each birthday be brighter and better than the last one!

Love ya!

So here's what happened AFTER I left the party:

The party began to wind down around 9pm and folks began saying their good byes and picking up their gifts FROM the birthday girl (How cool is that?) and heading home. I share a cab uptown with Diva & Al and run up 5 flights of stairs (yeah...I live in a walk up) because I am starving and my mouth is absolutely watering for these barbecue spare ribs from the chinese restaurant. Now, mind you...I already know I am pushing my luck with these ribs because I had already had them earlier in the week, but they tasted so good...I simply HAD to have them again. So I put on my Nike's and run back downstairs and around the corner to pick up my ribs. And let me tell you children.....they didn't disappoint!!! Those ribs were DAMN GOOD!!!! and I ate them with G-U-S-T-O!!!! I chat with my monster, watch television for a while and then decide to turn in for the night....(please note the time ya'll) it's about 11:30pm.

Well, I get up at about 1am to use the bathroom and realize that I don't feel so good...I have cotton mouth & a nasty lil headache. oops...I think: "I have been drinking and I forgot to take two tylenol and some water to ward off a hangover"...and I procede to take two Aleve (it's all I had) and go back to bed. Well I wake up at around 9am....my headache is gone but now I JUST DON'T FEEL RIGHT....I am very lightheaded and dizzy....I decide to take my blood pressure (a bday present from my mom...after my LAST episode) and am horrified at the reading.....so horrified that I take it three more times!!!!! Children....my blood pressure was 175/150!!!!! That definitely put my ass on STROKE STREET!!!!! I literally RAN to the ER!!!

I won't even comment on the SHODDY, ASININE care that I recieved in the ER at St Luke's...(Nice docs...don't listen though)I took me nearly TWO WEEKS in bed to get my pressure back down to normal.

So, alas....I am off the pork for now (although...I don't know how I am going to do with out Pernil, BBQ Ribs, Christmas Ham & Bacon, for the rest of my damn life!!! The Horror of it all!!! lol....) as well as cutting back on my alcohol consumption...I didn't like how that felt at all....and I ain't trying to feel it again anytime soon....The NEW goal for me is to be healthy!

Love Ya'll & Sorry for the delay!

To know your limitations is the beginning of knowledge and success.

VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2006

Greetings Family!

I just finished watching VH1 Hip Hop Honors 2006 and I have to say...I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS SHOW!!! The music takes me back to a really great time in my life...and almost every tune takes me back to a specific event that's connected to THAT particular song!! Now although...Last year's Big Daddy Kane Tribute featuring Common may NEVER EVER BE TOPPED!!! (I was up out of my seat SCREAMING when Common broke into that break dancing ya'll!!!)..I enjoyed most of this year's show anyway...I enjoyed the "Law & Order" opening as well as the special appearance by "Mike B."...I was totally surprised that Mayor Michael Bloomberg actually has a real sense of humor....it was really quite funny to me.

I am not the biggest Beastie Boys Fan, so I didn't really "get" their set at all...I know maybe two of their songs...lol..but I DID enjoy seeing Diddy, Q-Tip & Fabolous in the old school sweat suits & Cazals!!

I thought the tribute to MC Lyte was THE BOMB!!! Love her!!! I have been a fan of hers since I first heard "I cram to understand" on the radio...you know a show is good when you are sitting in your house singing the lyrics to songs...when Da Brat, Remy Ma & Lil Kim hit the stage doing "Cha Cha Cha" (my favorite Lyte track) I was up out of my easy chair singing and taking it back to "128th St between 5th & Madison" ya'll....And then Lyte came out and did her thing and she looked GREAT!!!! lol...I kept looking at her old photos & videos and her current closeups...did she have slight nose job? Her nose looks a little more upturned than when she first started out...no matter...she looks fabulous everybody!!!

Shout out to Lil Kim!!! Freedom looks good on you mama!!

I enjoyed the tributes to Ice Cube & Eazy-E as well (wouldn't it have been great if they could have gotten all of the original members of NWA on stage for a proper tribute?)....but Rakim (Hmmmm...wonder where Eric B. was?) Rakim, RAKIM!!!...damn...damn...DAMN!!! I could just sop him up with a biscuit...I think that lil man (and he IS short peeps!) is SO VERY SEXY in a dark & dangerous sort of way...ya know? I enjoyed his set immensely although I was really disappointed that they didn't do "I Know You Got Soul", For me, the set just wasn't complete without it. However, "Paid In Full" took me back to my Darien Young days....






I remember him sitting in my kitchen singing (okay, rapping) "I used to roll up, this is holdup, ain't nothing funny, stop smiling, but still nothing move but the money" lol...this was one of his favorite songs...(remember Doc??)....Rakim baby love, YOU can still get a slice!!!!

I also enjoyed the Russell Simmons tribute....I dunno...but I might have enjoyed it more if I could have actually seen a lot more of the acts he help put on the map...(Has anyone seen the remaining Fat Boys???)

The Afrika Bambaata (I think I spelled it wrong) tribute was interesting as well...I remember "Planet Rock" at it's peak...at one point all of the local stations were playing almost all at the same time...I remember dancing with my sister Karen in my mom's living room, listening to a top 20 countdown and The Soulsonic Force had the number one song in the COUNTRY!!!! We heard the first opening bars of the song and lost our minds!!!! You simply HAD to dance when they played this song in the clubs!!!
Erykah Badu looked great (lol...and crazy) as usual....that chick is SO beautiful ya'll...

I am also not the biggest Wu-Tang Clan fan either...so I couldn't really identify with most of the stuff I heard...I also heard from my home girl (who actually attended the taping) that a fight broke out amongst the Wu-Tang during the show but it was edited out of the broadcast (I dunno WHY we have to do that stuff on LIVE television!!! Sheesh!!)

Anyway, like I said...at 45... I must be one of the oldest hip hop heads out there...but this was MY time I was young, and ALL of my peeps were still alive & Kicking, we partied hard and I just absolutely LOVE THIS MUSIC!!! As long as they have a show...I will keep tuning in.

Kudos to Ice-T on a hosting job well done.

As always, your comments are welcomed!

Life is a fight, so learn better battle skills.


Miss Sharon Quinn

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Flavor of Love - Season Finale

OOOOooooooooooooooohhhhh.....ya'll please tell me you watched the season finale of Flavor of Love???? I have to admit I was glued to the TV the ENTIRE TIME!!!! Kudos to Deelishis who was just a class act the entire time....I only saw her actually lose her temper once or twice and she seemed to be the only contestant who would NOT allow NEW YORK to get up under her skin...or if she did, she didn't let her see it.

But I gotta say, until NEW YORK made the mistake of acting like a psycho on their boat date...I almost thought he might actually consider picking her....and when she decided NOT to spend the night with Flav, I was like "Brava Bitch"!!!!...I did not expect that at all and she got major cool points for doing that...Although she lost them when she took her crazy behind back....it was season one all over again....NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Do-Do!!!! you already let him play you last year and now you're gonna do it again????? WTF???

I actually felt sorry for her when he told her..."your time is up New York". I was like "Damn...you just got played again....in front of the entire world!!!! Damn. When she flashed her ass to the world...I was laid out on the floor!!!! But have no fear....from what I hear....New York got her own show out this gig...so I ain't mad at her.

As for Deelishis...as I said earlier...a class act all the way...she maintained her game face throughout the whole argument between Flav & New York...she also looked as if she felt New York's pain for a moment as well. I am so enamored of Deelishis....a friend of mine sent me a link to her website (www.londoncharles.com) and is it me or does this look like a pay porn site??? Look for yourselves & let me know....I like her my space page better....and home girl has like 55,000+ friends!!!!

As for the two of them....Flav & Miss London Charles (Cool ass name girl!!!!) I wish them well....but I really don't see this as being a long time thing....I think it will last until Flav gets bored....after all....looks aside....he can pretty much have his pick of the litter....I for one, want to see how long "true love" will really last.

You think there will be a new show along the lines of "Strange Love" with Flav & Deelishis????

Any thoughts or comments peeps??? I would love to hear them!

Watch who you share your dreams with.


Miss Sharon Quinn

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Circle of Sisters & The Wendy Williams Experience

Okay, so I had a VERY busy Saturday afternoon....I scooped up my baby sis, Karen and dragged her with me all over NYC....our first stop was on 104th Street & 5th Ave where we tried to catch my favorite DJ....DJ Rockin' Rob doing his thing at a festival called "Miracles on 104th Street" anyway, Rob never told me what time he was going on and as fate would have it, when we arrived....he had just finished his set. No biggie though....Rob was happy that we even came....he was very surprised to see us and for me it was a big reunion, as I hadn't seen him or his "crew"...Chuck & Eric in a very long time. We are LONG overdue for a good house party ya'll!!!!! Rob!!! TAKE A DAMN DAY OFF!!!! (Love you boo!)

Anyway, Rob was kind enough (and Rob is ALWAYS kind ya'll!!!) to give my sister and I a lift to the West Side where we picked up the train and headed to 34th Street to check out the WBLS-FM sponsored "Circle of Sisters" expo at the Javits Center. We exited the train at 34th & 6th Avenue and caught the crosstown bus to 11th ave. The bus was packed and I ran into my girl Rasheeda Wallace (The Queen of Street Soul) and her manager JV (told you I wasn't gonna forget again!!!!) headed to the expo as well. I met Rasheeda at the New York casting for FAT Chance this year and I thought she was absolutely amazing....almost TOO amazing for FAT Chance (lol)...Miss Rasheeda is a True Diva ya'll...I was drawn to her look and her aura and never forgot her after her initial interview....as fate would have it....I would keep running into her and we have become fast friends....I look forward to working with her in the future!!!! Thanks for the cold remedies Rasheeda!!!!

We finally get to the Javits Center (shout out to Mary Moore of the Britto Agency for securing the tix for me! Thanks mama!) and enter the expo. It's packed and I immediately start running into folks that I know or that know me. I am surprised however, that the event isn't as large as I thought it would be. My sister and I actually made it through the expo quickly, stopping a few times to watch the crowd go nearly MAD waiting to catch a glimpse of Bobby Brown (who actually looked quite good on this particular day) and to follow this deep chocolate colored brother, at least 6'4" with his locks tied neatly behind his back and a body of a GOD!!!!! I kid you not.....this brother was so fine that we (okay...it was MY idea...lol) followed him from the bathroom to wherever he was going (and we weren't the only ones following him!!!!). Anyway, he wound up a table for the Ebony Men of Soul Calendar and it was a booth full of FINE ASS MEN of all colors and nationalities wearing jeans and NO SHIRTS!!!!! It was a testosterone festival and the ladies were coming over in droves!!!! As is normally the case with me....I knew one of the models...a brother named Shawn that I had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with during "Full Figured & Fabulous" a few months ago in Baltimore, Maryland. Shawn reminds me of (Please don't kill me...) Will Smith in his "Bad Boys/Ali" prime days (WAITAMINUTE Ya'll!! Will was kinda seriously foine..(and I like em' blurple ya'll)... during that period ya'll!!!) and he's charismatic to boot. He greeted me with a big old hug and didn't mind that we were clearly salivating over him and his friends...lol. Shawn & I exchanged numbers....again..lol and my baby sis and I departed the Javits Center and decided to walk back to the subway station.

When we reached the corner of 34th St & Ninth Avenue we were instructed by NYPD to cross over to the other side of the street as the Red Carpet of the VH1's Hip Hop Honors was already in progress at the Hammerstein Ballroom. I tried to catch a glimpse because my "House Daddy/Cameraman/Security" from FAT Chance; Big Al, was also doing camera duties for Hip Hop Honors.....I couldn't reach him though so we jumped on the subway and headed back uptown.

I quickly changed my clothes, fed my monster and fetched my sis a chilled bottle of Boru Vodka from my fridge (I don't have room for ice trays) and she relaxed as I changed my boots (mustard yellow suede, flat joints that were KILLING MY DAMN FEET!!!!! Flats??? Go figure.) and we headed back out. She took the D train uptown and I took the D train downtown to meet my girl Eda at Gotham Hall where we were gonna check out "The Wendy Williams Experience Live!".

I arrived at Gotham Hall and met my homegirl Eda outside. We got in with no problems and I was told by Cynthia Horner (Ya'll remember Cynthia from her Right On! Magazine days right??) to head to the photographer's den for photo ops! (Now you KNOW I LOVE photo ops, so I didn't have to be told twice!!!) after clowning for the photogs for a bit, Eda and I headed to the main room where the show was already in full swing.

The show was packed and Miss Wendy was holding court to the right of the stage. She was wearing a fabulous black dress...but I was shocked....no, alarmed at how tiny her waist appeared to be in comparison to the rest of her body....she had a Barbie doll waist and I couldn't stop taking photos of her because I wasn't sure how she was even breathing being held in like that. Trust! I am gonna post the photos as soon as they are developed (Yes, I said "developed"...I don't own a digital camera yet..hint-hint!) because you have to see it to know what I am talking about.

The show was sponsored by Alize and the bar was open (ya KNOW I love that! lol), so you know we made a beeline straight to the bar..lol..at the bar I ran into a brother named Rahim..who oddly enough, I met a one of Toccara's birthday parties last year. We exchanged numbers that same night and then just kept running into each other at different events (Rahim...you know STILL owe me right???...lol). He's a cool brother and he is busily preparing for his event which is called, I believe, "The King of Rap", it's a nationwide search for the best rapper in the country or is it the world.hmmm..i'm not sure but it sounded really interesting when he told me about it last year and now it's about to come to fruition. I wish him nothing but the best and I certainly hope that I am in town when it premieres.

Anywhoo....I am not much of an Alize drinker myself (tastes like candy to me) but the bartender gave me the option of having a plain ol glass of champagne, which I quickly took (i'm a bubbly sort of girl ya know?). They also had a buffet which Eda & I thought was fabulous....they featured mini burgers, pomme frites (french fries...for those of you not up on your French....lol) & Chinese Chicken Salad that was set up in these cute little chinese takeout boxes complete with chopsticks!!!! It was SO very classy and it tasted good to boot! But honey you know my people....we ain't happy unless we have chicken & potato salad at EVERYTHING!!!! lol....so that food was just SITTING there...(What a waste!)

In between acts DJ D-Nice ("My name is D-Nice...taking out you suckers and you don't know how I did it!!!!") kept the crowd pumping with a mixture of old school & new school music. I remember D-Nice from his rapping days (I actually bought his single ya'll!!!) because he's a tall, light skinned cutie with hazel eyes and reminds me so much of my nephew Darren that it scares me! Comedian TK Kirkland came on and dropped MAD science on the art of um...Cunnilingus...it was funny AND educational...for the brothers...I enjoyed him and I stopped him after his set to tell him so and I was quite surprised and pleased that he recognized me from the show.

After TK Kirkland's set, we found out that we had missed Shareefa's set but caughtKeyshia Cole who came on after TK and did a 4 song set...the sound wasn't all that good to me, so you couldn't really hear her over her band...she had to shout to be heard. But she looked great!

But the highlight of my evening was when Eda spotted "Like Dat" from "Flavor of Love" chilling with her publicist. We both got giddy when we saw each other and ran to the photographer's den to take photos together! She's really cool and we plan to have lunch so she can REALLY give me the low down on what went down on Flavor of Love! Can't wait for THAT conversation ya'll.

Anyway, as all things do...this magnificent day had to come to and end and we decided to leave Gotham Hall and head uptown to "My most favoritist place" at the moment...lolPier 2110 in Harlem for a nightcap....unfortunately the restaurant was closed and we wound up next door at "Harlem Lanes" , the new bowling alley in Harlem and had a nightcap there.

When the bar closed at 2am, we jumped in a taxi and Eda dropped me off and headed home. I had a wonderful time and can't wait to do it all over again.

Thanks again Mary Moore for a most wonderful weekend!

Courage is the ability to respond to truth in a positive way and change.


Miss Sharon Quinn

Monday, October 2, 2006

Flavor of Love - Down to Three...no Two!!!

Okay, although I have NOT been blogging each time I see Flavor of Love....please KNOW that I am watching faithfully EVERY Sunday night!!!!.....as I watched the extremely ridiculous elimination ceremonies for the last two weeks (am I the ONLY person who already knew who was getting eliminated?????) Hello???? Who didn't know Bootz was gonna get the boot because she made it clear to Flav that she was sticking to her vow of celibacy??????.....NEXT!!!! Cute as she was....you knew she was going the minute she threw THAT wrench in the works...lol.

And Krazy???? Can you say "Kiss of Death" the minute her demo er..."Accidentally" started playing in the CD player???? And the breathy singalong???? Please!! It was hilarious watching Flav pretend to be listening to what has to be one of the worst demos I have ever heard!!! The chick can't sing.....period.

And now millions of people know she can't sing either......Dumb move! But hell William Hung got a record deal....It wouldn't surprise me in the least if she got one! Actually, I'm glad she's gone....I was sick of her punk ass letting everyone bully her.

Now let's move on to Miss New York & Co? Aside from the fact that she and her mom are clearly crazy....(the father always looks like he would rather be in HELL than be around them)...lol...and what was up with "Daddy New York's" pony tail?? If he had a quarter inch of hair in that rubber band....that was a lot!!!!

I don't know ya'll every time I see New York and her Mom's....every thing starts to look really staged...(it's not just me...is it?) "The mother's "I have a terminal illness and I don't have much time" Speech???? WTF???? NOBODY was believing that???? Hell, even her daughter was laughing at her!!! Some of the worst acting EVER!!!!!! And yo!!!why hasn't someone clocked either of these broads??? How come no one is finishing the shit they always try to start????? That's what I want to know???

But did you notice that neither New York or her moms were willing to step to Deelishish or her family? Hmmph!!! Game knows game.....they knew they'd get dropped if they tried to push up on the home girl from Detroit OR her fam!!! lol....go Deelishish!!!! Btw...Mom's & Dad were fly....Detroit style!!! They KNEW they were gonna be on TV and they tried to represent!!!! Which was more than I could say for New York's or Krazy's parents!

OOOOHHHHH YA'LL!!!! Why did they put Krazy and her family in CORNBRAIDS????? Are you kidding me??? The folks at VH-1 ain't right. lololololololol!

And speaking of Deelishish.....is it obvious that I want her to win???? Love HER!!!! I will leave out the obvious and just say that I Love her spirit and her genuineness....and the fact that she's educated???? You can't go wrong with that. She's been a class act the whole time. That's what Flav needs (if that's really what he's looking for...I personally believe he just wants to get laid...lol..on the regular). His kids couldn't break her (but they sure saw clean through everyone else!!!) and neither could anyone in the house.....I just hope her Amazonian like stature doesn't mess with his lil ol' ego.

Unless she does something incredibly stupid during the finale....she's my pick to win!!!

Any thoughts ya'll.....I know I ain't the only one watching this show....er...quietly!!!

Peace & Blessings ya'll!!!


Preparation and execution with opportunity equals success.