Q U E E N I N - The Backstory. 

 It's been about 2 years since I've been operating outside of the corporate realm. Being a young, single mother from Newark, NJ it's definitely been a challenge to connect with people in my community who are facing the same struggles.  In the beginning , living so close to NYC, I felt like a lot of other creatives from jersey feel - like I had to establish myself in New York for some kind of stamp of approval. I got tired of that , quick. There's so many amazing talented creatives from Jersey , doing things, but where were they? Where can I find them? Especially women. Why aren't we visible? Why aren't we connected?

 

One day, about 2 months ago I spoke at a panel discussion about dealing with fear as a creative. Melody Asherman , who was in the audience, asked me  what do you do when people blatantly copy off of what your doing?. I shared my experience and what I learned, which is to work at your craft so much , and be so unique that someone couldn't copy even if they tried. At that moment we connected. Right after the panel we talked and hit it off instantly.  I asked her where she was from. She said NEWARK and my face lit up! She showed me her designs and I was absolutely floored. THIS. WAS. IT. I asked her if she'd be down for a shoot fit for QUEENS and she replied quickly with a huge smile and a  YES.  At first it started off as a collaboration between she and I , and I thought, let's find some more female creatives from Jersey and let's make the BIG. 

Just like that 👑N was born .

👑 from left to right : Melody ( Fashion Designer) Dyasia ( Set Assistant) Pita ( Hair Stylist) Jasmine ( BTS Videographer) Sydney (Jewelry Designer) Charlene ( Makeup Artist) Veronica ( Writer) Kaila ( Videographer ) Photograph by @Dwoodsonphotography

👑 from left to right : Melody ( Fashion Designer) Dyasia ( Set Assistant) Pita ( Hair Stylist) Jasmine ( BTS Videographer) Sydney (Jewelry Designer) Charlene ( Makeup Artist) Veronica ( Writer) Kaila ( Videographer ) Photograph by @Dwoodsonphotography

👑 (IN) F O R M A T I O N - The Lineup .

Before I put together a team, I had to really hash out what 👑N meant to me and what I wanted this project to represent. There was a gap in my community that needed to be filled. But with what? With who?  I knew I was looking for women from Jersey who were individuals and exuded confidence and creativity.  So I had my starting pointed. But what did 👑N mean to me👑N is giving credit where it's due so I didn't want to be the focus of the project but rather a representation of what it looks like when we join forces on a vision and make magic happen. I wanted this to be proof that not only are we HERE but we can work together.  👑N is connecting. A lot of times, especially as women, we're taught to be in constant competition. Whether we realize our part in it or not, I knew there was a reason that this platform didn't exist. We miss a lot of opportunities to collaborate, to teach, and to uplift one another so I wanted 👑N to encompass all of that. 

Photograph by Donell Woodson (@Dwoodsonphotography) 

M E L O D Y (Fashion Designer)- "Evrrrything Rouge"

Age: 27 (look 23 lol) 

Brand: Everrything RRouge

Location: Newark 

What made you start your brand? I absolutely LOVEEEEE FASHION! 

What keeps you going? My passion, culture and creativity drives me. 

What are some obstacles you've overcome? I was my biggest obstacle. I had excuses for everything. I finally stopped with the excuses and started making things happen!  

What obstacles are you working on overcoming? Sometimes I doubt myself and then I have to remind myself that I'm capable to do anything I put my mind to. I go down the list like remember that time you thought you couldn't and you killed it? 

Where can people purchase your pieces? Email melodyasherman@gmail.com for purchasing inquiries.

Social media handles? @Rrfashionista ig

What does Queenin' mean to you? Queenin to me is you simply being you. Walking in and slaying. Queenin is walking with your head held high. Existing! We are descendants of queens so it's already written. 

P I T A ( Hair Stylist, Personal Trainer) - Hair Bully/ Body Bully Fitness 

Age: 24
Brand: Hair Bully x Body Bully Fitness x PitaGrace
Location: Newark NJ
What made you start your brand?
What keeps you going?  My Dreams and knowing that there is no such thing as Max Potential
What are some obstacles you've overcome?
I've lost about 45 lbs changed my eating habit, moving up 9 hrs away from my hometown having to start over in a big city.
What obstacles are you working on overcoming?  Becoming a pro athlete and trying to become a young business owner debt free.
Where can people purchase your pieces? Pitagrace.com & For Hair Bully Styleseat.com/thehairbully
Social media handles?
Twitter/ @PitaGrace
IG / @Pita.Grace
Blog Pitagfit.tumblr.com
What does Queenin' mean to you?
"Queening' is letting your soul shine at its highest potential through the art you put out into the universe "

C H A R L E N E (Makeup Artist)- MBC

Age: 31

Brand: #MBC

Location: Newark, NJ (travels)

What keeps you going? My love for the ART of makeup, God, my love of the art of enhancing faces, and being a part of special moments in people's lives. 

What are some obstacles you've overcome? Being patient with the process of building and individualizing my brand as well as finding more time to market myself. 

Social Media Handles? IG: @Lenewitit 

How can you be contacted for booking? CharleneLee11@gmail.com

What does Queenin' mean to you? Queenin' means being comfortable in your own skin, believing in yourself and uplifting others. 

S Y D N E Y  (Jewelry Designer)- ShopSol

age:23

Brand: Sydney Bell Presents SōL

Location: Trenton NJ

What made me start my brand: I originally started making Jewelry back in middle school When i got involved with an amazing summer program by the name of M.O.B (Minding our business) our of rider university. The program teaches Middle school students how to Start and run a business and become entrepreneurs, through intense classes, homework, business plan competitions (that I won 2 years in a row) , trips into NYC for us to shop for the products, and we had the opportunity to sell our products at market fairs in our community also set up by the program. My first year in the program I was unsure of what business to start so my mama have me the idea to a jewelry business, she used to make jewelry when she was younger so she taught me everything I needed to know about it, I am still learning from her till this day! Since then i've been creating on and off but I never really went hard because i was honestly afraid of both my potential and afraid to fail so I would half-ass, I was making jewelry but I was never really committed. I was scared to take the first step in getting back out there because there were so many things that could go wrong, its risky, money isn't always guaranteed, what if people don't like it!?!! 

I started SōL in may of 2015 after I got laid off from my 9-5. At one of my darkest times I saw the light. Me being a firm believer in divine timing, I knew that me being let go was a blessing, so I decided to boss up and go back to pursuing my passion full time, fearlessly! I named my Brand 'SōL' (Latin for sun) because of the joy and light that comes from me creating it. SōL to me is the light that shines from within when we as people are pursuing our passions and what makes us feel most alive! 

What keeps me going: I gravitate towards what makes me happy, and creating does that for me. When I look at all of the progress i've made in under a year, I have to keep going! its so exciting! At this point creating is more than just something I want to do, Its what I have to do in order to continue to stay true to myself. 

Some obstacles ive overcome: 

One major obstacle that I had to overcome is fear of failure. I had to change my mindset, I stopped second guessing myself, and decided to go after any and everything, I also separated myself from people who made me feel like i wasn't good enough. something I am currently overcoming is trusting in divine timing. Im grateful for my friend/mentor Ms Bilquis who constantly reminds me that everything happens the way its supposed to, not to rush & that everything will fall into place. (so far she's been right!)

Where can people purchase:

My website: shopsol.squarespace.com 

My ETSY: @YendySol

My social media:

@yendy_s

@shop.sol

What does Queenin' mean to you?

Queenin' to me is owning how powerful you are and not letting anyone dim your light, when you can walk into a room and own it without having to take away from anyone else. Queenin' is when you finally get to a point where you can look at your fears directly and say that you're going for it anyway! Queenin' is Bossing up and taking back your power, Queenin' is when you can finally be/love 100% yourself unapologetically! 

K A I L A  (Videographer)

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Age: 23

Brand: The Kaila Boulware Company

Location: New Jersey 

What made you start your brand? My brand started from the sheer hunger to win from a college kid and the obvious need for there to be media that represents melanated people. 

What keeps you going? What keeps me going is the necessity for an elevated voice among the black community. 

What are some obstacles you've overcome? Some obstacles I've overcome was switching my careers and having the courage to fulfill my true passion. 

What obstacles are you still working on overcoming? Mentally, physically, and spiritually- I am working on remembering to take care of myself and not get lost in my work. 

Where can people find your work? All of my information and portfolio can be found at

Social Media Handles? On all platforms @KailaBoulware

What does Queenin mean to you? Queenin' means to live , breathe, and always fully embody you natural position as a woman of royalty. 

 

J A S M I NE  (Videographer/Photographer)

Age:22

Brand: SheisJasmine

Location: Hillside, NJ 

What made you start your brand? I started my brand out of pure eagerness to learn. 

What keeps you going? My passion and my faith keep me going. 

What obstacles are you overcoming? Time is always an issue and finding a balance between my passions and my way of living as far as finance. 

Social Media Handles: IG: @SheisJasmine 

What does Queenin' mean to you? Queenin' is a woman embracing and loving who she is unapologetically. 

V E R O N I C A  (Writer) 

Age: 25

Brand: Self-love and self-care are some of the things I’ve been focusing on recently. I’ve chosen to take up a natural/holistic lifestyle these past two years and have seen the benefits of taking care of not only my body, but my mind and spirit as well. I’d like to be able to  encourage people to do the same.

Location: Jersey City, NJ

What made you start your brand? I realized that happiness comes from within, but there were a series of personal events that made me want to focus more on myself. And in all honesty, you don’t really even need a particular reason to focus on yourself. I found that once I accepted who I am and the greater things that I have been destined to become, everything else fell into place.
What keeps you going? Knowing that I have a purpose in life is honestly what keeps me going day in and day out. There have been many times where I’ve wanted to throw in the towel and stop putting so much effort into creating a better life for myself. But then I realized that wouldn’t do myself or anyone else around me any good. The things that I HAVE gone through also helps keep me going because I know that somewhere out there are other people who are going through the same things and are in need of help.
What are some obstacles you've overcome? I've overcome the obstacle of self doubt and low self-esteem. Growing up being made fun of really affected me well into adulthood; overcoming that obstacle by gaining confidence and self-love has helped me pass that positivity along to others.


What obstacles are you working on overcoming? Currently I'm trying to learn the art of being mindful and not acting off impulse. I tend to rush into things from time to time.

Social media handles? Instagram: cosmoses.jones  Snapchat:vero.ashley

What does Queenin' mean to you? Queenin’ is realizing your royalty and worth; it’s when you don’t allow the opinions of others to impact you negatively or come into your atmosphere and steal your inner peace.

D Y A S I A (Set Assistant, Aspiring Model) 

Age: 24

Brand: Name coming soon :)

Location: Brooklyn, Ny

What made you start your brand? For as long as I can remember I've always been interested in fashion design and personal stylingbut I didn't always have the confidence in my abilities so I never pursued it as much as I should have. Now that I'm older and more self assured, I feel like I owe it to myself to follow my passions.

What keeps you going? In the past I feel like I've relied too much on the approval of others and I let their opinions shape how I live my life. So I would say that what keeps me going now is myself and GOD because who else could possibly know me better.

What are some obstacles you've overcome? An important obstacle that I have overcome pretty recently is accepting myself for who I am. Acknowledging the fact that I'm unique in many aspects and realizing that my weirdness isn't a flaw, it's an advantage.

What obstacles are you working onovercoming? Self doubt is an ever evolving obstacle that i'm working hard to defeat. My self doubt stems from being easily discouraged when my plans or ideas don't pan out as I hoped they would. But I am learning to use the discouragement as a lesson and not be so hard on myself.

Where can people purchase your pieces? When I launch my collection the links to purchase will be found on my instagram

Social media handles? @_dressed2kill_

What does Queenin' mean to you? Queenin to me means being fearless in pursuing my goals and wholeheartedly being myself

I want to give a special THANK YOU to this beautiful woman. Dyasia emailed me a few weeks before the shoot and expressed that she loves my work and wants to help in anyway she can. I was completely shocked and grateful that a young woman not only appreciated my story, but had the courage to see how she can be a part of it. The day of the shoot was INSANE. There was so much going on and she held it down. As the model and creative director, I couldn't be everywhere every time and answer every single question or phone call. In came, Dyasia , with little to no direction, she filled in where necessary and played a MAJOR roll in bringing this project to life! THANK YOU !!

Seeing this project come together inspired me to keep dreaming and executing. I felt so powerful bringing all of these women together. To see them connect, and laugh, and do the shit out of what it is they do was humbling.  They all showed up for me because I had a vision they believed in, I reached out, and it was all history from there. 

 

👑fully Yours, 

Chris 

 

If you are a female creative from Jersey and would like to be featured on the 👑N please email me through my contact page. 

All photos were taken by Donell Woodson//@DwoodsonPhotography

 

 

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