After being unemployed for a little over a year now, I have discovered the more creative side of me…MUCH MORE creative than I was before. I became a full time model and photographer. I have created A Walking Virtue, which is doing really well! I’m so thankful for all the support I have! I have been shooting a lot more and I’m proud to announce that my headshots have been agency approved at The Polygon Group and Envy Modeling Agency. This is HUGE for me! This time last year, I was so shy to be behind the camera. I wanted excellence but didn’t understand that that wasn’t an overnight thing. It came with practice…so now I’m happy! (YAY) As a model, I have been working more, and so excited to say I did a NARS Ad!(YAY again)
Along with modeling and photography, I have been volunteering my time at the Downtown Women’s Center. It’s been about 6 months. I have been teaching the fundamentals of Decoupage and Soap Making in the SET to Create Workshops. These are workshops for the women to develop unique skills to apply to their resumes. Volunteering at the Downtown Women’s Center has been a real experience. As many know, I come from a background of having extreme anxiety attacks when having to do public speaking. I have been working on this over the past several years. Being with the ladies have made me transition in such an awesome way! I can come off as really quiet and somewhat vulnerable at times. I have learned to be more assertive in a way to get respect, rather than wanting them to love their time with me. I have had times where women started arguing, crying, etc…in the class and before I would just let them sit back and let it all out. Once I got to understand the program a little more, I realized I didn’t want to just have a one on one personal relationship with the women, but I really want them to get out of the sticky situation they are in now. Now if I have to excuse a participant from class, so be it. That being said, I have become more assertive and this makes the workshops more consistent. The women know these products they make are to be sold in the MADE by DWC Store and Cafe at the Center. The past 6 months has been such a learning experience for not only me, but the ladies as well. I received this card in the mail today and it brought me to tears.
I was recently asked where I see myself in 5 years. I wasn’t quite sure how to word the answer, but this is exactly what I want to be doing in 5 years. I think my reply was, “giving back. I want to do non-profit work.” I want to keep my creative juices FLOWING!! I know that modeling can be a short lived career. I want to master photography and I want to continue mentoring girls and women because it’s very close to my heart. I want exactly what I have now, but on a much larger scale. Watch out world…here I come!
Deuteronomy 15:11 “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
A Walking Virtue is proud to announce its first mentorship program at Millikan Middle School in Sherman Oaks, CA. Founder, Latoya Hawthorne is collaborating with the STAR Foundation on finding out what “truth” means to young women. There are about 25 girls between the ages of 12-14 in this group. This will be a 15 week program. We will be covering topics such as self-respect, HIV/STD awareness, bullying, self-esteem, and dating violence. The girls are really enjoying the hour we get to spend with them each Friday.
Check out our “Truth is I” video with the girls:
We are having guest speakers each week. Let us know if you’d like to volunteer your time! Please email jpayne (at) foundationofstars (dot) org … Thank you kindly!
“Cherish your solitude. Take trains by yourself to places you have never been. Sleep out alone under the stars. Learn how to drive a stick shift. Go so far away that you stop being afraid of not coming back. Say no when you don’t want to do something. Say yes if your instincts are strong, even if everyone around you disagrees. Decide whether you want to be liked or admired. Decide if fitting in is more important than finding out what you’re doing here. Believe in kissing.”
― Eve Ensler
The world has lost an angel. I never knew Vanessa Banks personally but she was part of the modeling industry. My sister told me what happened yesterday. I was so heartbroken. I was even more heartbroken when I looked her up to know she was such a wonderful person. She had such determination! I could see that in all her video posts and photos. Many looked up to her as a role model in the industry. It’s really sad that such a beautiful soul had to be the victim of a murder suicide. Vanessa, you are an angel to me. I pray for your family and your beautiful children. May your soul rest in peace.
Sept 6, 1985- Jan 31, 2012…You have wings now!
STOP DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!! 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) – National Domestic Violence Hotline
On Tuesday, October 18th, 2011, Downtown Women’s Action Coalition(LA CAN) and Downtown Women’s Center hosted Take Back the Night, which was a march for the rights of women. We started the march at L.A CAN and walked throughout skidrow in downtown LA, ending the march at Downtown Women’s Center. The participants were victims, survivors, counselors, and even men. I had to the opportunity to hear so many stories that night. It was so touching. So many of the stories the women spoke about hit me at home because I also went through that with my abuser. I am glad these women were able to get out of their toxic relationships. You never know what someone is going through. I lived in downtown and saw quite a few of the homeless women participating in the march that I used to ignore on a daily basis on the streets. These women are wonderful! It was good to hear them speak. Some stories were heartbreaking to hear when a friend or loved one died from an abuser. It is SO important to surround yourself with positive people; those who want the best for you and who are motivating. I am glad they were able to find resources. I didn’t see anything as a resource when I was being abused. Centers like L.A CAN and Downtown Women’s Center offer many programs for women wanting to have stability in their lifestyle again. Downtown Women’s Center offers meals, enrichment programs, housing, clothing, and free clinics for these women. I am glad to be apart of the community. If you are being abused or know anyone being abused please do not hesitate to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline. (1-800-799-7233)
I recently went to NY to visit my family and friends. It has been such a long time since I’ve been back. I stayed close to the neighborhood where almost everything terrible in my past has happened. I would pass streets and have random memoirs; both good and bad. It brought tears to my eyes. Repressed memories came about which is good for my writing.
For those of you wanting to know more about the book I’m writing…here’s a gist!
On January 26, 2007, I was on a flight to California from New York. I had my scarf on my head. I had just left the hospital in Pleasantville, NY after getting many tests done. My father told me I needed to pack as much as I could. He had no idea my head was shaved under that scarf. I took numerous Advils for the pain going on by my lower back. I was limping. My father took me to Rite Aid about 2 hours before the airport. I got my medication. I was breathing. I was outside. Everything felt new to me. The air, the sunlight, the trees, people, I was free. I looked at my dad while sitting in the passenger seat. He told me I could never return to NY for a while. That echoes in my head to this day. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my friends. I had no cell phone, no memory really. I hadn’t had my phone in months. Who was I kidding? Did my friends even think I was alive? I looked out the window. I looked in the back of my father’s truck. My clothes were tucked into two huge suitcases. To hell if I knew where everything else was. I didn’t value anything. Half of my clothes were destroyed. Saying goodbye to my father was horrible. I didn’t cry. It was strange. My whole flight, I didn’t cry. I was so happy to be alive. I was still in shock that I was free. I was going to California. I arrived in California. My sister and her family picked me up. I was so happy. They looked at me and noticed my appearance. I was about 20 lbs lighter than usual, I had scars everywhere, my skin looked a mess, and I had no hair. My sister was wondering how my dad didn’t see that my hair was gone. We called my father. He freaked out and wondered why I didn’t press charges. Stay tuned…
Hey all! It’s been a while since I’ve updated my blog. I have been so busy!! (God is good!!) I am starting an advice column. Please feel free to write me with any letters/questions you may have and I will do my best to answer at my earliest convenience!! Here is my email: latti.KO4Gadvice@gmail.com
I had a shoot last week with one of the most phenomenal people I’ve crossed paths recently. Karen Christensen and I met at Gabrielle Bernstein’s Money & Miracles workshop a couple of months ago in Los Angeles. We kept in touch via twitter and Her Future. I got to know more about Karen and her work through her interview on Her Future. Her interview really touched me! She is the owner and photographer of The Legacy Boutique. Karen’s photography has been exhibited throughout Los Angeles raising funds for issues faced by women and children of all ages, races, classes, sizes, abilities, and sexual orientations. I am so glad to have be chosen have this spontaneous shoot with Karen. She is truly an amazing person. I’m glad to have her in my life!!
I was recently approached and asked why I’m a boxer. I gave a brief description of why I believe it’s very important for a woman to be empowered and know her self worth. The response was “Women should not get themselves into a situation like that.” I replied by saying, “Women don’t go into a relationship thinking the relationship is going to turn out dangerous.”
I was in a relationship for 4 years only to find out it was a dangerous relationship in the 3rd year. A lot of women going through domestic violence do not speak about it much. I didn’t. I had to have a “life or death” moment for me to get out.
I think a woman should know self defense. The organization that I’m apart of is made up of female boxers who went through heartbreaking experiences, whether it be domestic violence, low esteem, or even an eating disorder. We form a bond with young women who reach out to us. Women and men are equal. A woman can do anything a man can…
“Because women are the pulse of the earth and nothing happens unless it comes through us, we need to embrace that.”
“I am very happy and pleased to have a very giving young woman mentor our students at Millikan Middle School through Jennifer Payne’s Star Foundation. We are a middle school in the San Fernando Valley which caters to students interested in the performing arts. As a counselor I have placed 25 students to explore contemporary issues with Latoya and guest speakers. The girls have really enjoyed meeting Latoya, and the interesting guest speakers she brings to the meetings. Also, the group will include field trips, and a culmination fashion show.” Marlene Wasserman- Counselor at Millikan Middle School,
“I have worked with Latoya (Latti) since 2008 with S.T.A.R. Foundation on many of our projects. Latti is compassionate, reliable, and dedicated. When we needed someone to oversee our mentoring program for teenaged girls, Latti was the first person we thought of, and the last person we had to turn to as she wholeheartedly accepted the challenge, and continues to successfully fulfill this task. Latti is an asset to the community, and I recommend her and her services for any organization.” Jennifer Payne- Founder of S.T.A.R Foundation,
“Latoya is a volunteer for the non-profit org I run, KnockOuts for Giving (KO4G). Since day one, Latti (as we call her) has been a tremendous asset to our organization. I can honestly say I have never seen her without a huge smile from ear to ear-she instantly brightens the days of those we work with and those we help with her positive energy and her huge heart. I have counted on Latti for so many things and she has never let me down and always performed above and beyond what is expected. She has taught boxing lessons with KO4G to blind children, foster children, homeless women and troubled teens. Latti has done so much for KO4G, it’d take me pages and pages to write it all out! I am so grateful to her for all that she has done for our organization. She has helped countless people. Latti is one of the kindest persons I have ever known.” Pattianna Hooratian- Founder & President of KnockOuts for Giving,