Latoya Hawthorne, a native of Jamaica, moved to the United States with her family in 1993. Many know her as Latti; a nickname given to her by her mother as a child. She spent the rest of her childhood growing up in suburban Westchester County, N.Y. However, shortly after arriving in the United States, Hawthorne was diagnosed with severe arthritis and spent much of her early years on crutches. She eventually overcame adversity and learned to live with chronic pain, and taught herself to walk without assistance.
Hawthorne went on to study mass communication and advertising, and after years of building her confidence to an all-time high, she entered the dating scene. It wasn’t too long before she fell madly in love with a man she believed to be her soul mate-or so she thought.
Her former boyfriend wanted to take care of her, but under his rules: He wanted her to be a stay at home wife. However, Hawthorne, on the other hand, wanted to be a runway model. Although deep down, she knew she was created for a greater purpose, she eventually compromised to be accepted by the only person she believed loved her. After a few years of catering to his wishes, she decided she wanted more. But her former flame was none too pleased by her independent streak…
Hawthorne endured years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of a man she believed to be her “rock.” Brick by brick, the self-esteem she worked so hard to build began to crumble. She tried to run away from the pain, but fell into a downward spiral of drug abuse, leaving her hopeless and desperate for a way out.
Eventually Hawthorne escaped her troubles and followed her dreams, moving to California to pursue a career in the arts. She instantly began modeling and started shooting with some of Southern California’s finest fashion photographers. But it was when she began to explore the other side of the lens, working as an assistant photographer, that she found her passion for the craft. Her confidence and self-esteem returned with a vengeance, motivating her to push herself to the next level: creating A Walking Virtue.
A Walking Virtue is a creative studio that empowers women with tools to advance and sustain their artisanal product lines through photography and brand strategy. In her spare time, founder, Latoya Hawthorne speaks on violence prevention in schools. She empowers young women to build healthy relationships with one another through the arts. By sharing her skills and experiences, she hopes to inspire young women as others have inspired her. Latoya obtained her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Studies in 2015. Latoya has hopes to travel and help under-served women launch businesses in countries around the world. She spends her leisure time visiting new restaurants, modeling, sewing and volunteering at performing arts schools with at-risk teens. Latoya is a member of the American Art Therapy Association. She still resides in California and is currently writing her memoir on overcoming domestic violence, low self-esteem and drug abuse.
© 2012. Latoya Hawthorne
Kerry-Ann Ellington, Co-Founder
Kerry-Ann is a native of the beautiful island of Jamaica. In 1994, her family migrated to the United States in search of the American dream. She completed the arduous Pre Medical Magnet program and graduated with honors and in the top 10 percent of her class at Ely High school in Pompano Beach FL. Upon graduating from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Kerry-Ann relocated to California with her husband Delwin, a 1stSgt in the Marine Corps. They currently reside in Southern California with their 3 gorgeous boys and their family dog Chip.
Blessed with the opportunity to live in a state where she not only pursues her passion for acting and modeling, Kerry-Ann is also a community activist and philanthropist. She lends a hand to various organizations in support of military families, as well as female empowerment and youth mentorship.
Kerry-Ann is the Co-Founder of “A Walking Virtue,” a collective of young, artistic women from Los Angeles, CA, who cultivate healthy relationships through a sisterhood of creativity.
Working as an Event Manager for the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that provides financial assistance to wounded and critically ill service members who were injured after 9/11 has been extremely rewarding for her. Due to her ambitious work ethic and service driven heart for military families, Kerry-Ann, along with 29 other hard working and dedicated military spouses, were recipients of “Oprah’s Favorite Things 2012” and she was blessed with the opportunity to meet one of her idols, Ms. Oprah Winfrey.
Her passion for making sure our youth focuses on their goals in life led her to be on the Board of Directors for the S.T.A.R Foundation, a cause that teaches young people to abstain from sex. They also teach sex education to make sure our young people are aware of the dangers of having sex at an early age. On any given Saturday, you can find Kerry-Ann at the Watts neighborhood’s Imperial Courts playground in Los Angeles, CA where she mentors some of the most adorable children ever through the Red Eye Inc. organization.
In her spare time, Kerry-Ann loves doing fun activities with her family and friends. “I am a bit of a risk taker and will try anything at least once. Once I fall in love with an activity, I will try my best to master it.” She also enjoys cooking, baking, writing, reading and a hearty obsession with board games. “It brings me great joy to be able to live out my God given purpose in life. I believe that a life filled with purpose and service, is a blessed one.”