Loss

by Shambreka Ward

loss act or process of losing something or someone

It’s never easy. Life isn’t easy.

Coping with the loss of my grandmother, uncle, and even myself at times, has been a silent struggle. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not the most emotional person. You’ll rarely see me cry, and if you do or have, you know something is really going on. I guess I’ve always subconsciously thought that tears were a sign of weakness and a lack of backbone; but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Through it all, I’m happy to say I’ve experienced another loss…

...the loss of expectations.

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Now when I say expectations, I don’t mean the expectations of greatness for myself and others, but the expectations of perfection. I’ve been holding myself back, because I didn’t feel things were “perfect”. I was overly concerned with the opinions and thoughts of others, which I’d never outwardly acknowledge, but would let it eat me alive inside... No more.

That loss, unlike that of my loved ones, is probably one of the best things to ever happen to me. Loss of expecting perfection. Perhaps everyone could use a little of that loss.

Ex·plore

by Rachael Patterson

ex·plore travel in or through (an unfamiliar country or area) in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it

Travel is something I have dreamt about since I was a child. When I discovered that there was more to a map than Texas, I was eager to get out. In fact, I distinctly remember moving to several cities, just my mother and I, and I never really was sad or fought moving. I was typically excited to see what new places (and trouble) I could get myself into.

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Upon recently cleaning up my memory on my computer, I stumbled across FASH squad’s trip to New Orleans.  Scrolling through the reel brought back so many memories, and now I’m eager to get back on a plane or in a car and travel away from home. I want to get back to exploring, and this year is the year we get back on it! We have so much in store for you guys in the third issue. But until that drops, here’s some photos from our NOLA adventure.

Pur·pose

by Myca Williamson

Pur·pose the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists

Sometimes I like to describe myself as a professional wanderer.

Not a wanderer in the sense that I am forever lost, but in the sense that I am always seeking new perspectives, challenges and ways of understanding the world around me. Perhaps this is the reason I chose fashion and the reason journalism chose me. Each bestows upon me the opportunity to tell an unheard story and create emotional experiences for myself and others.

On April 27, I was invited by award-winning journalist and stylist Leah Frazier to watch Soul Purpose, a play written and directed by Chericia Curtis. The play told the story of five uniquely different women and their struggles to overcome various hardships. It was their determination to maintain their spirituality and sisterhood that particularly touched me. Regardless of their health, relationships and family adversities, these females embodied the definition of resilience.

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As I sat in the Naomi Bruton Theatre at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, I was empowered, encouraged and inspired by the cast of incredibly strong black women. The fervor in their voices as they sang and acted their hearts out demanded that you, too, dig for your soul’s purpose.

“The entire evolution process of the women was like that of a beautiful butterfly, each woman coming into their own in their own special way,” Curtis said.

For her, watching the women bring her work to life was truly a blessing. “My personal and spiritual connections with the women quickly became a strong sisterhood, one we will have for a lifetime,” she said.

The play touched on important topics of discussion in the black community, like interracial dating, fidelity and homosexuality. There was even a scene in which natural hair and women’s bodies were celebrated as divine and wonderfully made.

It was a true #blackexcellence moment.

“How often do we thank God for our hair texture, our skin color, our lips, our hips, our thighs?” Curtis said. “I want our young black girls growing up knowing their worth in Him, both spiritually and physically.”

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In 25 scenes, Curtis and executive producer Cheryl Polote-Williamson captivated the beautiful bond built by these sisters and told a story so many of us can relate to.

“I found my soul Purpose through actively seeking God and asking Him what does He have for me?” said Polote-Williamson. “After asking the question I remained quiet and waited patiently for the answer. In the waiting, I was tested in many areas and broken in many others. Yet, at the end of the questioning, waiting and listening, I truly found my purpose.”

There’s an adage that says not all who wander are lost, and it's true. I believe every day is a new adventure, and that the obstacles set before us are simply chances to celebrate our resilience and seek out our purpose. Whether that purpose is in God, your community, or somewhere else in the universe, never stop chasing it.

Jour•ney

by Shambreka Ward

Jour•ney passage or progress from one stage to another

My friendship with Samantha spans the years now and in this stretch of time, I’ve had the privilege to witness her journey. She is wholeheartedly dedication to her work and is an amazing wife to the coolest dude I know. The connection and love they share is unmatched, and I aspire to have the same one day.

photos by Rachael Patterson

photos by Rachael Patterson

 

But, no greater joy comes from the milestone of motherhood! I’m beyond excited to be the auntie to not one but TWO amazing individuals. 

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I wish her abundant blessings and prosperity. “It takes a village to raise a child”, as they say, and I’m officially volunteering to be a part of the village...

...with the “I love my auntie” onesies and all.

Re·fresh

by Rachael Patterson

re·fresh verb (used with object) to provide new vigor and energy by rest, food, etc. (often used reflexively); to stimulate (the memory)

Sha’kiyla and I met last week and went to a field for some letting loose. It’s always refreshing to get on set and channel any bad feelings or vibes into my work, especially when you have a goddess to photograph! Sha’kiyla doesn’t hesitate in front of the camera, and she always keeps the mood light. Singing Spice Girls’ Groovin’ to her own beat and laughing way too much were how we spent our session together, and a wonderful session it turned out to be! Check out the reel for more.

Em·pow·er

by Myca Williamson

em·pow·er make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights

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I once asked for strength,

But He gave me too much. 

I didn't know I'd have to carry the world.

 

I once asked to forgive,

And now my heart is too big.

Who knew it could ache like this?

 

I once asked for thick skin,

To protect me when I'm scared. 

I didn't know I'd be grazing bullets.

 

I once asked for rain

To grow beyond belief. 

But I forgot the mud came too. 

 

I once asked to be brave,

Fearless feats and no doubts. 

I forgot about the angst of battle.  

 

I once asked for truth,

Enlightenment of the unknown. 

But now I bear the burden of honesty. 

 

I once asked for love,

And now my soul is smitten. 

I didn't know this haven existed. 

 

I once asked to feel,

Nostalgia bleeding from my being.

But now I wish to be numb.

 

Then, I asked for the key to happiness,

To unleash my daring dreams. 

It was in my pocket all along. 

See more writing by Myca Williamson in The Individualist Issue. Use code INDVDLST until Sunday for FREE shipping!

Pro·gress

by Shambreka Ward

pro·gress a movement toward a goal or to a further or higher stage

When people call themselves a “starving artist”, believe them. It’s a thing, and it’s been my life recently. Chasing your dreams isn’t easy, and it’s definitely not the road less traveled, but it is oh so worth it.

I’m making progress.

From the humble beginnings of the nostalgic Coastal Scents 88-piece eyeshadow kit to the ever so popular Anastasia line of sleek and modern palettes, I’m making progress.

I started with mastering eyeliner and graduated to perfecting a flawless complexion. I’m making progress.

From the self-doubt of “What the hell are you even doing? That looks terrible!” to “You got this, Sham.” I’m making progress.

And, I couldn’t be more proud.

I’ve always believed in working for brands that exude real and raw artistry. Brands that celebrate the individualist and embrace the masses. I finally found that in MAC. With my new management position, I have the opportunity to expand my artistry and help people in the best way I know how: by making them FEEL beautiful.

I’m a MAC girl now! Yaaaaasssssss!

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Lim·it·less

by Rachael Patterson

lim·it·less without limit; boundless

Riley and I played with some architecture last Thursday, and the lines and symmetry and contrast between light and shadow was so satisfying to watch as she moved around the structure. It was almost as if the organized beams of metal were trying to form a cage around her, and her free spirit was breaking through.

It was a vivid reminder for me. To test your boundaries. Push the limits. Reach beyond your comfort zone. Let nothing hold you back, and never be afraid of what’s next. So long as you’re trying, you’re winning.

Move·ment

by Myca Williamson

move·ment 1. a group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas; 2. an act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed

Ariel Monticure and Abby Marchesseault; photo by Rachael Patterson

Ariel Monticure and Abby Marchesseault; photo by Rachael Patterson

Movement 1:

It began with just a spark. A spark of joyful madness that ushered me into this idea that has become F.A.S.H. From the very shitty lessons learned to our unimaginable feats, Fearlessly Aspiring Something Higher has become a tiny, yet mighty, powerhouse of women whose hunger and drive is pretty damn limitless.

Because of our desire to build, grow and connect with other creatives, we have formed the most precious bonds with inspiring humans from all around the world and in our very own city of Dallas. 

Movement 2:

Forward Magazine opens with a very special editorial featuring the dance project Avoir Motion's founding members Ariel Monticure and Abby Marchesseault. The piece titled "Press Play" is more than just a celebration of dance. It honors the work of two artists seeking to inspire and enlighten their communities through dance. Check out our IG page to see the them both in action in a special film produced by the F.A.S.H squad. #celebrateForward

Follow Monticure and Marchesseault @avoirmotion on Instagram and Twitter! 

Follow Monticure and Marchesseault @avoirmotion on Instagram and Twitter! 

Sis·ter·hood

by Shambreka Ward

Sis·ter·hood: the solidarity of women based on shared conditions, experiences, or concerns

Some say blood is thicker than water, but I’ve realized that isn’t always true. Sisterhood. It’s a helping hand or a consoling word when no one else understands. It’s the freedom to cry... to laugh… to vent… to be you and know that your sista has walked in your shoes at some point and time. It’s sympathy AND empathy. Sisterhood is said to be one of the most powerful bonds known to man, and with reason. It’s not defined by how long you’ve known her. Sisterhood is unyieldingly strong and exists sometimes even without conversation or acknowledgment… I know I wouldn’t have made it through the trials and hardships I’ve faced without the support of my sistas...

Ex·per·ience

by Rachael Patterson

Ex·per·i·ence to encounter or undergo (an event or occurence)

You know that feeling you get right after you’ve been anticipating and preparing for something? All the pressure has accumulated in your chest and stomach, and you feel kind of like you might get sick. Then, all at once, the moment arrives. You feel a strange calm, like a gentle breeze after a tidal wave. And I must say, the result is pretty euphoric.

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I was definitely riding that wave last Saturday as the F.A.S.H Squad met Saturday to prep for the launch of our second magazine. In fact, when I think about it, I’ve actually been riding this wave since the first production for The Individualist Issue. Maybe even since the first brainstorming meeting. You should see the madness that comes from our brains.

However, the overwhelming emotion never fails to hit me right up until the 24-hour mark. And then I’m stressing. Although, this time I will say my tidal wave might have been more of a tsunami, but my gentle breeze has got to be one most satisfying.

Friends, family and special guests gathered to commemorate four hardworking individuals whose mission was to find other individuals who stand apart and brilliantly showcase their work.

Sweetbeat sponsored a good time! We drank, we ate and we laughed. We shared a great memory.

Com·mu·ni·ty

by Myca Williamson

Com·mu·nity a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals

When I think of myself Fearlessly Aspiring Something Higher, I can’t help but also envision the sisterhood that I’ve been blessed with. As it continues to grow, so does my desire to inspire as many young women as I can reach. The family of friends and mentors I’ve accumulated along this journey are phenomenal women who unknowingly push me to become a more active leader and positive influence in my community.

At the Forward Magazine pre-launch on Feb. 18, I was beyond humbled to see so many of our supporters and contributors not only delving into the pages of The Individualist Issue but also empowering and building up one another. In an industry that often capitalizes on competition and feeds off rivalry, F.A.S.H simply welcomes comradery and collaboration.

So, here’s to celebrating with a badass tribe of leaders and creators. Get your tickets to the launch of Issue TWO at midnight! We look Forward to seeing you there :)

Joy

by Shambreka Ward

Joy a feeling of great pleasure and happiness

Since our humble beginnings in 2015, F.A.S.H has been a joy to develop and grow. From early mornings to late nights, slaving over concepts, wardrobe, and color schemes, it somehow never felt like work. That’s when I knew I had found my niche...my element..my true sense of joy.

 

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself.” These words really shook me and helped me realize that you have to trust the process and redirect your initial definition and expectations of the root of true joy. Joy should come from the struggle AND the triumph. So, in everything I do and strive to be, joy must be at the core. It’s my hope that our creation reaches heights we could never imagine and ignites an unstoppably wild fire of joy not just within ourselves but in everyone that wants to fearlessly aspire to something higher.

Cel·e·brate

by Rachael Patterson

Cel·e·brate to observe a day or commemorate an event ceremonies or festivities

And we will be both observing and commemorating something extremely special on March 3. Forward Magazine is launching Issue 2 (as I’m sure you’ve seen us boast about on all our social medias). Even though we had our ups and downs, we’re way too excited to share another momentous success with our supporters and readers! So in honor of our upcoming celebration, I’m sharing some special behind-the-scenes shots of one of our largest editorials! HUGE thanks to Brendan and Kelli Ahern of Nine Photography for collaborating with us on Ode to Color!

Be sure to check out their work on Instagram @ninephotography and their website ninephotography.com.

And be sure to #celebrateforward with us! Last day to buy your tickets is February 16th!

In·dulge

in·dulge allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of

by Myca Williamson

I'm not sure of the exact moment I fell in love with traveling this globe, but I can tell you it's a blazing romance I'll lust after forever. 

In March 2017, my daddy and I embarked on the most incredible journey to the end of the world. Literally. After 24 hours in the air and a 6-hour layover in New Zealand, we finally landed in Perth, Western Australia.

For two weeks, I left my work with the FASH ladies back home, prepared sub plans for my students, turned off nearly all social media and chose to delve into the newness of an experience I knew I'd never forget. I can honestly tell you that it felt weird not Snapchatting breakfast by the Indian Ocean, tweeting photos of our wine tours and cave visits or posting live music shows on my Instagram story. But, it was wildly exhilarating to simply live and experience. 

In a digital age, where our lives are inundated with constant updates and endless feeds, it's vital that we allow ourselves to genuinely be OK with indulging in life's most precious moments, even if that means being disconnected from the rest of the world to connect with yourself. 

Art

by Shambreka Ward

Art the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination

Some say makeup isn’t a form of artistry, and if you’re only scrolling Instagram and Twitter, you just may feel that way.

Art is something that I feel can’t be critiqued. It’s your personal expression of your imagination, so how could anyone possibly criticize that? I say this to address the unnecessary judgement that’s become prevalent in all forms of art. I feel the very beauty of art is its ability to stimulate innovation and can sometimes make more impact than traditional academic intelligence. Art. It soothes. It releases joy and pain. It unites. It inspires. It speaks...speaks to the soul. For me, makeup artistry is an outlet. No matter how fast the relentless wheel of worry and uncertainty turns in my mind, I know I can turn to art, my art, to reinforce my gift and right to create. Unapologetically.

Play

by Rachael Patterson

Play to amuse oneself

It’s always a joy linking up with Jillian Doerr, a.k.a. @an_t_onia from IG, to lose ourselves in our shoots. I almost always forget that I’m technically on business,  we are on a schedule and we have work to get done, because we click so well. We often end up playing in between our shots, laughing our asses off at stupid little jokes, getting excited catching each other up on the latest, obnoxiously making offensive responses to people who wince at our style and so on and so forth.

Playing in moderation is always a therapeutic relief. It’s the right way to mix business with pleasure: a good ole time. Here are some shots from our last session. Enjoy!

Be·gin

by Myca Williamson

be·gin start; perform or undergo the first part of an action or activity

Is it just me or is there just something oddly exhilarating about ushering in the unfamiliar? I know a good majority of us bought new 2018 calendars, wrote our annual resolutions and tried to envision what this year could possibly bring after a nebulous 2017 took Hugh Hefner and our beloved Chester Pennington.

The reality, though, is that we can never see what’s coming. It’s impossible to for us to prepare for the unknown or anticipate the unforeseen hurdles that befall us all.

photo by Rachael Patterson, model Lucy Gerbert

photo by Rachael Patterson, model Lucy Gerbert

We can, however, begin. That is, begin to lay the foundations of the greatness we’re destined to attain. Begin the pursuit of the dream that’s begging to meet reality. Begin asking the toughest questions that demand answers. And, yes, begin again when you fail. It is inevitable, but it is also your greatest momentum.

I can’t quite tell you what 2018 will bring for the F.A.S.H squad, but I can tell you that our family of creatives begins and begins again every day. Every lash, flash and piece of steamed clothing is a mini, yet mighty, piece to the ultimate puzzle that is Fearlessly Aspiring Something Higher.

photo by Rachael Patterson, model Lucy Gebert

photo by Rachael Patterson, model Lucy Gebert