A Taste of
MODEL : DONDRIA NICOLE
DESIGNER : SAINT CJ
GLOVES : ALEXANDER WANG
PANTS : ALEXANDER WANG
UNDERWEAR : SAINT CJ COLLECTION
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TONY TYUS
Volume 1* Issue 1
EDITOR IN CHIEF
Ashley Love-Mills | 407.451.1960
Ashley Love-Mills | 407. 451-1960
Michel Valbrun | 407. 451-1960
Tamera Revis | 407. 451-1960
Manisha Holiday | 407. 451-1960
Jayson Gilliam | 407. 451-1960
Tony Tyus | 407. 451-1960
Tony Tyus | 407. 451-1960
Elton Mattis | 407. 451-1960
Ashley Love-Mills | 407. 451-1960
Ashley Love-Mills | 407. 451-1960
Lakeisha Green | 407. 451-1960
Yasmin Lozada | 407. 451-1960
23 MARK BLOCK
29 SYLEENA JOHNSON
43 RHAVYNN DRUMMER
45 LISA NICOLE CLOUD
57 TASTE OF ATLANTA
There’s no such
thing as having
too much makeup.
A Natural Look.
It’s not a
statement, it’s the
closest to being
Welcome to our first issue ever! It’s been a long time coming after months and months of hard
work and planning. I’m so pleased that you picked up a copy and felt it worthy of a read. First
let me take a moment to talk about our dual cover—isn’t it just amazing?! Lisa Nicole Cloud
and Slyeena Johnson are both just absolutely fabulous. Both women were such a pleasure to
work with. Not to mention easy on the eyes and ever so stunning as models. It was exciting to
watch them work the camera, and we were very honored to have them as our first ever cover
models. Many thanks to them both. You all are going to love reading their stories.
This issue is about recognizing and celebrating some of the most influential people here in
Atlanta. These powerful women and men are experts in their own right at their craft, and
ADlanta felt it best to highlight them as well as their accomplishments. There is no time
like the present, and despite all the bad we might see and experience in the world, these
individuals have dominated in their industries and have changed so many lives for the better.
Atlanta IS the new Hollywood of the South with so
many Television and Film opportunities.
This city has so much to offer including many unique
restaurants along with a fun city life full of interesting
things that you should explore this summer. I’m excited
to share stories of some of Atlanta’s most influential
people as well as showcase what this beautiful city has
to offer the world….so happy reading.
Welcome to ADlanta…. and enjoy!
LOOKS GOOD ON
P.S. and don’t forget to check us out online
at www.adlantamagazine.com. Many more
write ups and stories for us to share with you all.
Essential nutrients for my one
A girl who left corporate America
to enjoy a life in wanderlust.
Rachel is a travel blogger, online influencer, and change agent on a
mission to help shift the perception and narrative of what it is…
seems…and feels to be as a Black Traveler. After battling with
anxiety disorder and depression, she “retired” from corporate America,
turning down a six figure income position, at the age of 27 years old to live
in her purpose and fully indulge in her wanderlust.
She’s traveled to a vast number of countries including Cuba, Mongolia,
Thailand, and Tanzania. Rachel shares her valuable insights on Racheltravels.com,
a travel blog, dedicated to educating and inspiring Millennials and
Black Americans to explore the world and push past their comfort zones, all
while encouraging the idea that world travel does not have to be expensive.
In addition to being a well-seasoned traveler, Rachel partners with global
brands to add travelers of color all while simultaneously providing consulting
to other online influencers to create an authentic and profitable brand.
In this interview, we discuss her transition into entrepreneurship, how to
travel on a budget, the importance of traveling with a significant other, and
how international travel can help expand your worldview.
By Michel Valbrun
Michel: Thank you for your time and
being in the country as well!
Rachel: Well, thank you.
Michel: Just wanted to you to share
with the people about what you do
and your experiences. I did a little
bit of social media stalking and loved
your message and your perspective
on traveling. I also wanted you to
share how someone else can do that
on a budget. But before we talk about
that, could you tell the folks about
Rachel: My name is Rachel, and
I’m the founder of Racheltravels.
com. My mission is to bridge the gap
between black American travelers
and unique destinations around the
world. So I’ve had the opportunity to
partner with brands and create content
around traveling to places like
Estonia, Waterloo, Latvia and create
awareness about what it is to be a
black traveler around the world.
Michel: I was looking at your blog,
and I noticed that you shared how
you got to this point of traveling. I
know you were working a corporate
job and had some issues while you
were there. Do you mind sharing a
little bit about that journey and what
brought you here?
Rachel: I had the typical life that
you’re supposed to have. You go to
school, you get a really good job, start
a family and then you work that good
job for you know the next 30-35-40
years and you just kind of retire. And
I did all those things. I got this very
great corporate lucrative job making
six figures; I lived in New York, I
lived in Philadelphia. But then I realized
I was suffering from anxiety disorder
and depression. So after going
to therapy every Wednesday which
no one kne, I decided to recreate my
St. George’s, Grenada
life. And what it looked like for me
was leaving this very promising career
to travel solo in Asia for like the next
three months. I started my blog to
tell my journey. From there, I realized
there was an opportunity for me to
share that story.
Michel: That’s incredible!
Rachel: Thank you.
Michel: I have a list of questions for
you using the letters T.R.A.V.E.L. So
starting off with the first letter [T],
traveling on the budget. Let’s say you
have someone who doesn’t have a
high paying job and they want to do
some cool traveling for like under a
thousand dollars. Do you have any
suggestions and places that they can
Rachel: I think a lot of times when
people think travel they automatically
assume international travel. And
the amazing is there’s a lot of things
that you can see here in the United
States. Right now we’re sitting here
in Atlanta. They’re pyramids one
hour north of Atlanta that most
people don’t know about. So that’s
something to see. You can go to
Utah and experience Salt Flats. You
can go to Arizona and hike canyons.
You can go to Montreal which I call
the cheat code, and it’s almost like
being in Paris. But you’re not flying
all the way to France. So travel
doesn’t have to be expensive, and
it doesn’t have to be somewhere
foreign. I would say explore your
immediate area get comfortable with traveling and just
being exposed to different people, cultures, and food.
Michel: Wow! Very cool. I did not know about those
pyramids, I’ll have to check that out. So moving on to
[R] in T.R.A.V.E.L., relationships. I’m a newlywed. My
wife and I love to travel. After a vacation, we tend to
feel a little bit closer to each other. What’s the significance
of a “baecation” and traveling with your significant
Rachel: I think traveling with your significant other is
important because you get an opportunity to experience
each other outside of your comfort zone. So this is your
chance to see how they treat other people and how they
assimilate with cultures, how they manage their finances,
and the things that you may not think about especially if
you’re traveling on a budget. Traveling with your significant
other allows you to get outside of your comfort
zones. For instance, getting out and doing a hike
together with each other. Putting yourself in different
environments to see them in a way that you normally
Michel: Cool! For the [A] letter in T.R.A.V.E.L., what
have been some of your favorite adventures?
Rachel: One of my favorite countries is South Africa
because when I go into the continent, I feel connected.
I love Thailand as well as Thai food. I love the beaches,
and I’m a certified scuba diver. I like Thailand for the
Banana Pancakes topped with coconut compote
diving, and then I just returned from Guadeloupe which
is the super small French Caribbean islands. That was
Michel: Very cool. Moving on to the [V] segment,
views. How has travel changed your views about the
world and the importance of traveling?
Rachel: I believe travel has helped me expand my perspective
and the way I look at social economics, religion,
and politics. Here in the States, we have a very one-sided
view of how politics look and then with our current
administration. So there’s traveling to other places and
seeing how we’re viewed on the outside or even the type
of propaganda or what they’re being shown has allowed
me to be a lot more tolerant. That’s another reason why
I encourage travel so that you can create your own opinions
based off of you know having more of a 360 view
versus what we see on TV every day.
Michel: Very cool. Since leaving your corporate job and
being an entrepreneur, I assume you have multiple
streams. Can you share with the people the importance
Rachel: Well, I think now more than ever it’s really easy
to be an entrepreneur because often you can build a
business online and not have a brick-and-mortar type of
business like our parents or grandparents. I believe the
biggest importance of entrepreneurship is the fact that
you have access to it today, as long as you have internet
you can kind of figure out some different strains. It’s not
for everyone to do full-time, but there is an opportunity
for people to at least do a little bit as a side hustle or just
another way to you know make money.
Michel: Very good. To close with the final letter, [L],
what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Rachel: When it comes down, I have a degree in marketing.
So I’m all about numbers and analytics. But
we spend [we as in black American travelers] spend 56
billion dollars in travel, but it’s mostly concentrated in
cruises Mexico and the Caribbean. And so there’s just a
lot of world for us to see and experience especially with
the way that people view us or the way that they think
that they view us because you know right now the perception
of black America is the Obamas or Jay-z and Beyonce.
And these are very extreme on the spectrum, and
there’s a lot of us in the middle. So how can we bridge
that gap between regular everyday people and then what
Place: Ubud, Bali
the world season experiences? So that’s what I want to
be remembered for -- exposing us to the world whether
it’s to show you how to do it or building up other people
who can show you the same way.
Michel: That’s amazing...
Rachel: Thank you.
Michel: And then the last question. How can the people
connect with you and learn about projects you are
currently working on?
Rachel: You can connect with me at Racheltravels.com,
and I love Instagram so follow me @Rachaeltravels. As
far as projects I’m working on, I work for a major airline.
So curating content for them and I’m also building up
other influences of color. I’m excited about that project
just to help people do what I’m doing. How can I help
us still get that awareness for our audiences?
Michel: Well, thank you so much for your time. We
appreciate you sharing it your insights.
Rachel: Thank you for having me!
BOTTOM: PHUKET, THAILAND
TOP: NARI, FINLAND
“A flower does not think
of competing with the
flower next to it. It just
Photographs by TONY TYUS
MAKEUP ARTIST: PATRICE STORY
HAIR STYLIST: APRIL LANE
“They call us dreamers
but we’re the ones who
As a New Jersey native, Mark traveled down to South
Florida to attend the University of Miami. He graduated
with a degree in Broadcasting and Sociology. With initial
intentions of pursuing a career in Television Broadcasting,
he somehow found himself in Philadelphia back in school
getting a law degree from Temple University where he
graduated 2nd in his class. From there, he began working
as a successful attorney, focused on corporate litigation
under the nationally renowned law firm of Drinker, Biddle
& Reath. He decided to change career paths after a visit to
Nashville, TN, and there The Block Agency was birthed.
His clients are a force to be reckoned by dominating the
market. He’s had talent working on shows like Netflix’s
House Of Cards and Ozark, CMT’s Nashville and the
CWs The Vampire Diaries to name just a few. His clients
have also been featured in Vogue Magazine and have
booked national campaigns for brands like Fruit of the
Having known Mark for a few years now, he’s clearly a
man of many talents. I realized I’d never actually had
the chance to sit down with him and dive more into his
story. So when I finally did, I learned more about how
his interesting journey into the world of Entertainment
and Sports began after he left abruptly to pursue a new
business endeavor as a talent and soon thereafter sports
THE GUY WHO
FLEW BY THE SEAT
OF HIS PANTS
Founder/Owner of The Block Agency (Nashville, TN)
Elite Athletic Management, Director of Marketing &
Business Development/ NFL Agent ( Arizona)
So what was your initial plan when you started school?
[Laughs] I had high hopes of pursing a career in Television
Broadcasting. At the time, going to law school or
becoming a talent/sports agent was no where in my site.
As graduation approached, I thought more about what I
really wanted to do at the time and eventually I made the
decision to move up north and go to Law School.
So did you like it being an attorney?
It was good but I learned it wasn’t my passion and that
it was actually really boring. It was a lot of work—you
know, not what you would imagine it to be. I would
of preferred doing something in sports entertainment
instead of corporate law.
What sparked the idea of opening ‘The Block Agency?
I was headed to California and on my way, I stopped in
Nashville to visit some friends, and I guess I never made
it out west. I ended up really liking Nashville, so I stayed
and by way of some mutual friends I began to explore the
business. I saw a need for a new agency in the market as I
felt no one was doing it quite right. The city was booming
and had a lot going on and the rest is really history!
“Don’t be afraid
to take risks.
You have to try
never really know
what you can
You’re an entrepreneur/business owner…..how does
one go about starting a business?
I wouldn’t take my advice [laughs again]... because I didn’t
really know what I was doing at the time. I basically did
research online. Figured out what needed to be filed and
got the ball rolling from there.
So once you got the business up and running, how did
you market the agency to actually get the talent?
I just started networking. Meeting people in town. I had
a lot of friends who were sort of plugged in and to be
honest, that’s what really helped me.
Ok so lets switch gears a bit… You’re an NFL Agent for
Elite Athlete Management in Arizona. Tell me about
Tough! But I love working with the players. Growing the
relationships and you know you naturally just grow to care
about them as well as their families and of course, their
careers. I also work on NFL contracts. I spend a lot of
time creating endorsement and marketing opportunities
for the players too.
I know you also travel a lot as well...
My work trips often involve networking and socializing
with clients too.
Do you feel like you’ve peeked?
You know, I never really set goals. I just always want to
grow more and do better. That’s it really.
How do you feel about Nashville and what it has to
offer in the world of Entertainment?
It’s definitely a growing city but of course, it’ll never be as
big as the other markets [like LA or New York]—which
actually takes away the stress of the job because the talent
are really able to enjoy what they do.
What’s something our readers can take away from this?
Don’t be afraid to take risks. You have to try otherwise
you’ll never really know what you can accomplish.
Photography By Tony Tyus
Makeup By Yasmin Lozada
Hair by Ashley Alexis
Model : Ashley Love-Mills
Photography By Cat Harper
Makeup By Yasmin Lozada
Hair by Ashley Alexis
Model : Ashley Love-Mills
Male Model : Tony Tyus
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PHOTOGAPHY BY TONY TYUS
Hair by rikya taylor
makeup by yasmin lozada
wardrobe by lakesha green
THAT DOES IT ALL
S/ Y/ L/ E/ E/ N/
By Brittany Miller
MODEL : SYLEENA JOHNSON
HAIR : RIKYA TAYLOR
MAKEUP : YASMIN LOZADA
STYLIST : LAKESHA GREEN
PHOTOGRAPHER : TONY TYUS
Singer, songwriter, model, actress and now talk-show host, Syleena Johnson, is the
definition of major goals and paving a legacy of true black woman excellence, and she’s
making it her business to take as many people with her as she can. Through this exclusive
interview, Syleena expresses her love and passion for music as well as, her purpose in using
her voice to connect and speak to different women. She talks about her newest projects;
her latest album, Rebirth of Soul, and the Sister Circle, which airs live, daily, on TV One.
Syleena discusses personal challenges regarding the weights and pressures of the industry,
as well as some of her methods of overcoming it all, and just living her best life.
Not only does Syleena Johnson represent black music culture with a style that reflects
original jazz and soul, but she also carries the dignified duty of serving humanity by
using her talents and platform to resonate with people of all walks, that can relate to her
It’s no surprise that the daughter of legendary blues and soul artist, Syl Johnson, would
blossom to become a legend herself, however, this is no hand-me-down success story,
or piggy-back glory moment because of relation or association. Syleena Johnson has
“been hustling for a very long time, at a very rapid rate,” as she mentioned during our
interview; and the passion and authentic quality that goes into her work is undeniable.
She is here now in Atlanta, working simultaneously on multiple projects, as she continues
to broaden the horizon of her career, and prepare for even greater success. As a mother,
business woman, and true friend to so many, Syleena is owning her purpose, per usual,
and exemplifying a real matriarch of soul and entertainment, amongst women.
“If you are not strong in your beliefs and your
morals, and in who you are as a person, you can be
easily swayed into negative concepts, facets, and
situations that can mentally take you out”
What inspired you to get into the music industry? My Dad played an
instrumental part in getting me involved in music—mainly because he’s
an R&B/blues singer from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. My entire father’s
side of the family is very musical. My Uncle Jimmy is a blues artist and
most of the women on that side of the family all sang. My Dad had 17
brothers and sisters, and they all either sang or played an instrument.
So, I think that my father is probably my biggest influence, and I
always knew I had a musical talent, but it was my Dad, along with local
teachers and music teachers that really helped to bring that talent out.
What was it like growing up in Chicago? Chicago is a city of soul,
actually. It’s a city of blues, it’s a city of house music—a very soulful
city, a city that’s very full of LIFE! Chicago is so full of culture, and I
love it because it’s a conglomerate of all the different places I’ve been
in my life. I always feel like Chicago is that down-home, piece of
everywhere you’ve been. It’s the nucleus of cities in my opinion—if you
can imagine what New York is and LA is—that combo is Chicago.
Growing up in Chicago was probably like any other childhood that any
other African American person would have in an urban area, but it’s
just such a beautiful city; full of culture, with music being the staple of
What was the inspiration behind your newest album, Rebirth of
Soul? wRebirth of Soul, was constructed by my Dad. It was kind of
his idea because he was tired of the industry having a very inauthentic
approach to music. It was very auto-tuned, very automatic, and my
Dad just really wanted an artist from the millennial to be able to
bring back that original sound where music comes from, with live
instrumentation, and really paying homage to the R&B and soul artists
that paved the way. So, Rebirth of Soul is a “rebirth” of all the sounds
that we are used to hearing as children, but in the most authentic form.
What are some of the most memorable moments of your career?
There are so many memorable moments! One of my most favorite
moments, which I don’t really talk about with many people, because
they probably wouldn’t care; but it was a really cool moment for me. I
was signed to Jive Records, I think I was
working on my third album (Chapter
3: The Flesh) and a group from France,
named “I Am” was like the “Wu Tang
Clan” of France. They were a huge
hip-hop artist group, and they were
putting together a compilation CD.
They had artists like Missy, Beyonce,
Busta Rhymes, Timberland, lots of huge
artists; and they wanted me to be on it as
well! They flew to New York, and I had
to come into the studio to do my part.
I had to write in English, to their rap in
French. Then, I had to sing it in English.
I asked, “Well, what is the song about;
because I don’t know what you’re talking
about?” …and he said, it’s a song about
women in the urban cities that don’t
respect themselves. So, I had to write
“To be young…
To be wise…
To be old…
To be liked…
These are the fairytales,
Of Daddy’s baby girls…”
That’s what I wrote to, not knowing what
they were talking about. All I know is
that they liked it; but till this day, I still
don’t know what they were talking
about, but I do know that the hook
worked, and it did make the album!
I just always loved that moment—
being able to collaborate with a
completely different culture, and not
even being able to fully understand
each other. They were in the studio
speaking French, and I’m sure they
likely weren’t great with English; but
just to be able to work with them, it
let me know that music is universal
and that it brings people together,
no matter what the language is.
That was a really big moment in my
career, for ME. I mean, the album
went quadruple platinum in France
and that was fun; but to me, just the
collaboration of working with an
artist who speaks a different dialect,
was just amazing.
Syleena mentioned, of course, that her
collaboration on “All Falls Down” with
Kanye West was amazing and that she
had many memorable collaborations
with lots of artists—but this one was
just “career-changing” for her.
What’s your experience like,
hosting on Sister Circle? How did
you get involved with the Show?
Sister Circle kind of found me. I
did not see myself as a talk-show
host—it wasn’t like I was someone
who was focused on getting into the
talk-show game. I was minding my
own business, and my sister had a
meeting with a young lady that was
part of the creation of the show. She
was flying to Atlanta to move here to
help the executive producer, Helen
Swensen, create the show. My sister
told her if she’s going out to Atlanta
to do this show than she should call
Syleena Johnson (of course she’s
going to push me because I’m her
client, she’s going to push me for any
opportunity that there is). When I had the meeting with Helen about her
vision, I was really drawn to the vision. I’ve written all of my records, and for
many years I have spoken to women through music, and I felt like this was
the next progression for me. I felt like God was really saying something in
that moment. I felt like he was saying – I’ve used your voice as a vehicle to
grab the attention of people so that they can hear what it is that you have to
say. So now, you’re just going to get talking. I was very, very excited about
the opportunity. From the moment that I had my interview, I knew that it
would be what you see it is today.
What inspired your book, The Weight is Over? People probably think
it’s about weight, and although weight-loss is part of it, it’s not the central
part of it. The weight is the load of the pressure, being in the industry and
the fact that we have to look a certain way—we have to look perfect, we
have to be perfect. The weight of having to fit into a mold, the weight of
having to sing the right notes, sing the right songs, be connected to the
right people… that’s what the weight is. When you go through that kind of
progression, you can lose yourself as well as your self esteem in the process.
That is what happened, and it took me into a backwards spiral, as opposed
to growing and getting better. – And Yes! We go through things in our lives
that strengthen us, but mentally for me, I felt like I was going backwards. I
just felt like I was getting worse and I was getting sadder and angrier. I was
becoming more unhappy.
The Weight is Over, is a statement that is synonymous to finally coming to
that place in my life where I realize that you’re the person that is has to drop
the weight. You’re the person that is supposed to own up to what has been
happening and take back what it is that you feel has been taken from you.
I think that we are the people that are in control of our destiny and what it
is that our lives are supposed to become. So, the Weight is Over is saying,
“Yes, you’ve been through these things, but whenever you decide that it’s
going to be over is when it is going to be over.”
The book actually sort of chronicles my life, and since childhood there
are small seeds of negativity that are being planted in our brain, our spirit
and our hearts; and when we become women, whatever man that we come
into or whatever friends that we befriend, however we allow them to treat
“The Weight is Over is a book that
talks about women’s growth, and all
of the seeds that are planted, how
they became heavy and how I had to
drop them off”
us; those seeds begin to harvest. If you were told that you were ugly, even if
you didn’t believe it when you were nine or ten, now that as a 25 year old
woman, you know that you are ugly. Because of the watering of other people
saying things about you, it just grows and grows. So that’s kind of how I talk
in the book about different things about weight, my skin, my height, being
5’10” in the industry!
What female singer you know, that’s 5’10”? Even though I ended up modeling
for Wilhelmina for six years, that was cool. I also modeled as a child, but I
came into the game as an athlete; I played basketball. So, to me this body
is college ready! I don’t know what these people are talking about? – But
when I come through the doors of
Jive Records, its like wow, you can’t
deny the voice, but she needs to get
skinnier, or she needs to do this, or
she needs to do that, or we need
to make her neo-soul or whatever,
because they couldn’t classify me as
something they’re used to. I’m not
the stereotypical 5’1”, skinny, size
zero, little girl. I came in the door
like a Naomi Camble with a booty
The Weight is Over is a book that
talks about women’s growth, and all
of the seeds that are planted, how
they became heavy and how I had
to drop them off.
What would be some advice you
would give to someone looking to
get into the music industry?
I would say if you are going to
come into any type of industry, any
type of facet in the entertainment
industry, you gotta get “God’d Up!”
You gotta get your foundation, you
gotta get your God on!
You have to get God’d Up!
So, basically what that means is
you have to get a strong spiritual
foundation before you decide to
come into any type of situation in
the entertainment industry because
it is very influential. If you are not
strong in your beliefs and your
morals, and in who you are as a
person, you can be easily swayed
into negative concepts, facets, and
situations that can mentally take
you out. You have to be very strong,
you have to come in prayed up. You
cannot be weak—it is not for the
It is okay, especially for women,
to speak your truth, to be forceful
about what you want, and not care if people think that you’re a diva, or a bitch, or whatever the case may be. You have
to fight for your rights and you have to stand up for what you believe in, or no one will believe in you. You have to
believe in you, more than anybody else. I don’t care how good you sing, how bad you sing, or whatever it is that you
do—you have to know that you’re the shit before you come in the room! And you have to know that in the room, as
well as when you leave, or you’re not going to last. You might make it, but you won’t last.
How do you manage wearing so many hats, as a mom, a singer, a TV personnel, etc?
Chile, look here. I do not know! There’s no real answer to this question because I really don’t know. People ask me this
question all the time. How do you balance this many hats? Girl! Any given day could be different. I do it by the grace
of God. Again, with that spiritual foundation, obviously, I know that God’s not going to put anything in front of me
that I can’t handle. So, with knowing that, I just keep movin’ and groovin’. I just keep rolling with the punches. We
can’t control the things that are put into our lives, the things that happen to us; but we can control how we react to
them. We can control how we feel about them. So, I spend most of my time just trying to not attach my emotions to
everything. Obviously, I’m human so I’m going to feel a way on any given day about anything, so it’s going to vary;
but for the most part I have to stay out of my feelings about most of my responsibilities, and most things that happen
to me, because I won’t get anything done. I don’t have time; I don’t have a lot of leisure time to have a bad time in life!
I really don’t.
Like even if I want to have a really sad day and go watch Lifetime, you know, for a whole Sunday; maybe I can do
that, but really, life is just going! So, I think making a conscious decision to handle it, is how I handle it. I just make
the choice that I’m going to get it done, and if one day I don’t get everything done, that’s okay too. – And to just keep
trying. That’s about it; but there’s no real formula. I can’t just say, “Well, what you have to do is, when you wake up in
the morning… etc.,” because especially with having children, you don’t know what could happen. You could lose your
job tomorrow…you just don’t know. You have to be ready to be ready for anything.
If you had to project yourself in your mind, where would you want to see yourself in five years?
I’ll still be a talk-show host on Sister Circle, except it will be a much bigger platform, and I’ll probably be behind the
camera a lot more, doing things that are more creative from a production standpoint. I’m going to be very rich in five
years, it’s going to be very crazy!
I’m going to be extremely rich, because I like bags. (laughter) I’m going to be going for them, as usual. (laughter)
So even if you don’t think that, you gotta say that!
I do think that I am going to be very rich in five years, but I think that at some point I am going to calm down. I have
been hustling for a very long time, at a very rapid rate. In the next five years my goal is to be working smarter, not
harder, but richer!
At this stage in the game, I’ll be hoping that each seed that has been planted throughout the course of my career will
now harvest. I’ll be able to chill, be a mom, and be with my children. My son is 11 years old, so in five years he’ll be
sixteen, and ready to make college choices. My other son will be 12. He’ll be getting ready for high school. I would
want to be in their lives a lot stronger than I am now—not saying that I’m not because I am very, very hands-on with
my children, but I would really want to be there.
The Sister Circle might be all that I do on a consistent basis, and then everything else is just my health and fitness
company getting bags–just accumulating cheese, you know! (laughter) Books, just accumulating, all kinds of “eat
while you sleep” concepts, just turnt! (laughter)
In five years I’m just making all kinds of bags… (laughter) but I’m chillin’. That is my goal.
As I encouraged Syleena on her
future success of achieving those
goals, she said, “Oh, it’s going
down! I just spoke it here today!”
The faith this woman has, is
contagious and it’s no secret.
Her energy is refreshing, and the
knowledge being dropped here,
is essential to any soul looking
to find their purpose.
What do you want your life and
legacy to represent?
Service. I don’t want to be the type
of person where everything that I’ve
accomplished has only benefit me. I
want to be the type of person that is
remembered by my works, and how
it has made people progress. I want to
be what God put us all here for, and
that is for service—and to make an
impact by changing lives. I don’t want
to be the type of person that is onesided
that is just here for me. I want
my kids to be able to live off a clean,
strong legacy, and their kids as well.
I want to leave behind a legacy that
is strong enough to survive for many,
many, many years after I’m gone.
Is there anything else that you would
like our readers to know?
Watch Sister Circle, of course; it’s
5 days a week on TV One at noon,
WATL at 9am, it’s a live talk-show for
women of color, which is huge. We are
the first African American talk show
with four African American hosts. We
are the first one’s that have ever done
it, so it’s black history; Wakanda! -
Also, follow me on all social media
outlets, and of course, syleenamusic.
com, but be sure to connect with
me on social media because there
you can really get involved with all
things Syleena. You’d be abreast of
all my health and fitness, my yoga,
Sister Circle, my music, my book;
everything that I do and all that’s to
“Bold yet elegant designs coupled with technical knowledge and supreme quality. Her collection is all hand-made and composed of
italian acetates in vibrant colors fused together with the highest grade of stainless steel and high quality UV protection lens.
PEOPLE TO SEE
PLACES TO GO
THINGS TO EAT
By Lauren Spiridigliozzi
THINGS TO DO2018
Atlanta is full of amazing
things to experience this
summer. We have great
attractions enjoyed by tourists
and locals. The variety of
summer experiences has
something for everyone. If you
love being outdoors there are
nature, music and sporting
events to enjoy. There’s also
plenty of indoor activities,
too, when you need some
relief from the summer heat.
Here is a list of the top things
to do in our city this summer.
The World of Coca Cola
After your visit with the under water creatures, head
next door to the World of Coca Cola. Learn how the
soft drink was developed in Atlanta and see how the
drink is bottled. Guest can also sample Coca Cola
products that are sold all over the world.
CNN Studio Tour
Want to go behind the scenes at CNN to see how
a news is written and reported? Located in CNN
Center in downtown, Atlanta visitors can where its
all done and also shop the CNN store and have a bite
to eat before or after their tour.
The Georgia Aquarium
The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta is one
of the largest aquariums in the United States. Visitors
can learn about many different types of marine life
and their habitats. Guests can also purchase a ticket to
experience an animal encounter. Dolphins, sea otters,
penguins, beluga wales and seals eagerly await a visit
with you! www.georgiaaquarium.org
Check out animals from around the world
and a number of great animal related events
at Zoo Atlanta. The zoo is located a few
minutes east of downtown Atlanta. Check
out the panda cam before and during your
Outdoor concert season is in full swing in Atlanta
already started in April and runs through
October. Check out the schedule of bands and
artists performing at local venues such as Verizon
Amphitheater and Cellairis Amphitheater
Lakewood on www.ticketmaster.com
Enjoy the park’s outdoor attractions such as
Farm Yard and Geyser Towers and take in the laser
show after dark. Visitors can also hike trails and
picnic at the park. There is also an area of the park
for camping for those who really do love being
Learn About the Civil War in Atlanta
Atlanta during the Civil War has been depicted in movies and
television programs. These depictions of Atlanta and the southern
United States only tell part of the real story of the war. Explore
this era of Atlanta history at the Atlanta History Center.
Another place to learn about the civil war in Atlanta is Oakland
Cemetery. Three thousand civil war soldiers are buried here as
well as “Gone With the Wind” Margaret Mitchell.
One of the great things about the warm
summer months is the number of outdoor
festivals that happen all over the city.
Explore new foods, music and art throughout
June, July and August. Some of this
summers lineup includes Atlanta’s Summer
Beer Fest, the Food and Wine Festival, the
Street Food and Music Festival, the National
Black Arts Festival and Bronzelens
Film Festival. www.atlanta.net
Explore the Hollywood of the South
Atlanta Movie Tours gives visitors a behind the scenes
look at the television and film projects being produced
in Atlanta. To get a overall tour of the production sites
purchase the Best of Atlanta tour. There are also more
specialized tours such as the Gone With The Wind
AMC’s The Walking
Consider traveling to Senoia, Georgia, for the ultimate
Walking Dead tour. Fans of the show take a
walking tour to see the locations in the town where Walking
Dead is filmed and produced. Visitors may also see the
show as it is filmed. The tour will also take guests to filming
locations for other local productions such as Fried Green
Catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Sun Trust
Park or a Atlanta United FC soccer game at Mercedes
SHE CAME for THE SUMMER & NEVER LEFT
Our first issue is of course focused
on Women and Business. I
started to scan through my mental
rolodex of women I knew who
had amazing stories I felt needed
to be shared. Rhavynn Drummer
popped in my head almost
immediately. She is literally the
poster child of true success in the
world of Entertainment Business
and Entrepreneurship. As a New
Jersey native, Rhavynn graduated
from University of Virginia in
Charlottesville. She first started
off as a pre-med major but
eventually came to graduate as
a double major in Theatre and
American Studies. She is widely
known in Atlanta for being head
of casting at Tyler Perry Studios.
Having worked on many of TPS’
blockbuster films and TV shows
which can currently be seen on
OWN, she’s also ventured out
and works as a freelance Casting
Director as well. She wears
many hats that don’t just fall into
the realm of casting. So far she’s written, directed and
produced two original tv shows. She has also directed
and produced stage plays. Rhavynn IS a jack of all trades
in entertainment, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about
how this all came to be— how SHE came to be. Get
ready to have your mind rocked.
Ok so lets get right into it—tell me how you came to
work at Tyler Perry Studios. How did you find your
way into ATL? How did you get into casting?
Honestly, I had no idea what I was going to do with
degrees in Theatre and American Studies. I heard about
an internship at TPS so I came down for the summer in
2007 and 11 years later, I’m still here [laughs]. I initially
planned on going back to New Jersey to get a job in New
…… So at the time you did know if you were set on
having a career in Show Business?
honestly I didn’t know
what else there was to
do in this business other
than being an actor. I
literally knew nothing.
I didn’t know there
were other jobs like
being a casting director,
producer or associate
producer. I was super
green, and there I was
introduced to the a
casting department. I
started working under a
producer named Roger
Bobb as well as Reuben
Purple). I think working
with them got me more
interested in directing
and producing. I also
worked as a casting
intern for Alpha
Tyler on Mondays
and Fridays and then
switched to working as
Reuben’s assistant middle of the week. I literally jumped
back and forth between offices for a year. I transitioned
into being head Casting Director in June 2011. This will
make actually make seven years in the position. I was a
casting assistant for about 4 years before that.
What is it as a Casting Director that you look for?
I’m looking to feel something when I watch an audition.
I want to feel like an audience member. I actually had a
situation recently where I cried while watching this girls
audition. It tore me up. If you make me feel like I’m
watching a movie in your two to three minute audition,
I know there is something special about that actor. The
actors that are the most honest are the ones that I connect
to. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to necessarily be
an audition where they cry. It can be something funny.
When you make me laugh, or break my heart or make me
angry thats when I know that the same thing will happen
for the audience or the director or the writer.
What is it like for you watching so many auditions?
Does it get overwhelming?
Absolutely! It does gets overwhelming. Casting is a lot
of information at once—a lot of tapes, submissions, in
person reads, phone calls, emails, texts and DMs. And
when you do find somebody that makes you “wake up,”
it feels so against the information because it means I’ve
found that one person I’ve been looking for. It’s like
they’ve risen to the top. So overwhelming it is, but I also
understand that this is part of my job because I also have
a big responsibility—which is to open up the door to
somebodies dream. I can’t make your walk through it but
I can crack it open.
What do you love most about working in the business?
What are the things you like least about it?
You know I was literally thinking about that today.
Someone asked me what would I do if I never got paid
for it. I love being in rehearsal. I love the space of
creation. So whether that’s rehearsing a scene on set or
rehearsing for a play, I just love it. I guess thats because
that really is us trying to find a way to make things work
or work through all the obstacles of what we’re doing. I
think my favorite thing is watching other actors rehearse
and directing. There is something really beautiful about
rehearsing. I love it all.
The thing I hate the most…[guess you could say this is the
good and bad thing about the business] this might even
be sort of selfish of me but here it goes; I long that that
there was a step by step process to get to your end goal.
What I mean by that is, because I was initially a pre-med
major, I have friends that I started out with in school that
are now doctors. A part of me envies them because they
have to go to school and get good grades. And then again,
go to medical school and get good grades. They apply for
internships and different residencies and boom—they
have now become a doctor. They had this step by step
formula to make them what they are right now. Working
in our industry, it’s not like that. There are no rules, no
formula, no guide for getting this right. It’s really just a
bunch of hitting and missing and then maybe landing.
Then that might bring you a step up but then once the
job is wrapped, you’re really back to square one until you
land that one gig that might change your life. But you
know this really all is a faith walk and you hope to just
make moves in the right direction. You don’t even really
find out until you get to the end result.
Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur? Or a
I’d say that I wish I’d considered myself an entrepreneur
earlier in my career. I definitely see myself as that now.
But when I was a Casting Assistant, I wish I would have
seen myself as one back then. Like for instance, I just got
my LLC last year, and I asked myself why did it take me
ten years working in the business before I decided to get
it. I think it was partly fear but also not knowing. I do
consider myself a business now especially because I am
creating my own projects and casting in more than just
in one place.
Since we’re talking about projects — I’ve always
wanted to ask you about your projects Good Girls TV
and Brooklyn. Blue. Sky.
So Good Girls was really my first project that I, wrote,
directed and produced on my own. I started writing it
in 2013. I just felt the need to write stories that reflected
me and my friends. So I ended up writing 30 episodes of
that show. I didn’t quite know what was going to happen
with it, and I told a friend who helped me produce it. I
thought I could film all 30 episodes, but I actually only
had a budget to film five. So I saved money and we did the
five. I’m really proud of it because I directed, produced,
was head of wardrobe and also acted in it. I really wore
many hats in that project. It was really the project where
I got all the lessons in learning how to create. I learned
that I could do a lot but that honestly one person can’t do
everything. I learned how to delegate.
With Brooklyn. Blue. Sky., it was a project that I created
with my friend Dui Jarrod. It was a web series as well
as my first
project, I felt
like I learned
on a higher
we did sell it to BET. It was featured at many different
film festivals as well. It was filmed in its entirety (cast,
crew and produced) in New York. This was our first taste
of what it was like to work as a larger entity to actually
license our work to a network.
…So I’m a writer as well, and I often stop and take
long breaks and put things down when I sometimes
don’t feel that inspired. So where do you start? How
do you start your writing process?
I still feel like I’m figuring out the whole writing process
as well. But when I wrote Good Girls, I felt divinely
inspired. I felt like the story and the words were always
there. I remembering working during the day for 10 or 12
hours and then I’d come home and write until midnight.
But now I’m the space where I still love and enjoy writing,
but I have to stop waiting for inspiration to hit me. I’m
learning how to write even when I don’t feel like writing.
That has literally been something I’ve had to practice and
sometimes it means I have to allow myself to be a bad
writer. Sometimes when I get to the computer, I fear that
what I write is going to crap. But I have to allow myself
to write crap because it’s going to lead to me writing the
good stuff. Sometimes it’’ be brilliant and sometimes it
wont be but I have to keep writing no matter what. I
give myself a do list. Like I’ll say instead of focusing on
trying to get an episode done, I’ll say just write for twenty
minutes. Maybe you finish a scene. Maybe you don’t.
Maybe I only got five words out but thats better than no
words at all. But be disciplined.
I know you travel a lot and host workshops. What do
you talk about in your workshops? How can readers
take part if they are interested?
My workshops are mainly focused on auditioning,
techniques, principle do’s and don’ts. What I’ve found
in the Southeast market is that a lot of actors don’t have
the opportunity to audition in person that much. Mostly
just taped submissions and they’re not sure what to
do or they’re being done incorrectly. Or they’re doing
in person auditions, and they’re dealing with all the
uncomfortable weirdness of doing the audition live. So
I do a powerpoint presentation where I go through the
process from beginning to end. I tell actors often that
Casting Directors can feel when actors are not enjoying
the process. They show fear in the face and body language
that says I can’t wait to get out of this room. I just want to
get this over with and as a Casting Director, we can feel
all of that.
I also provide them with sides and we’ll run through cold
reads. Sometimes they have ten minutes to prepare and
then other times they’ll have the sides over night and
perform the next day, and I’ll give them feedback.
I have two coming up soon actually. The next workshop
will be on May 24th at Get Scene Studios. I’m doing
another (with SAG) on June 2nd from 9-11am. I post
everything on social media so people can find out how to
What is something that most people don’t know about
you that they would be surprised to learn?
Oh gosh [laughs]. I am a very nice person, but according
to my assistants I’m not the most sympathetic person.
And what I mean by that is that I can be kind and friendly,
but I am — there is a part of me that is also very matter of
fact. My assistants will sometimes talk to me and sort of
have an emotional moment, and I’m just sort of staring at
them with a poker face and they say to me that I just don’t
care. But that’s not true at all.
Do you see yourself exploring other avenues in
Hollywood? Will Atlanta always be home?
I am very inspired by someone like a Donald Glover
or Debbie Allen. You know they’re actors one day and
directors on another, rappers and singers or whatever. So
there is a big part of me that wants to explore all of that. I
recently went back to my Alma Mater in Virginia, and my
teacher gave me the biggest compliment. She said, “I love
that you’re still curious.” That has never left me. I realized
thats a quality that I want to keep. So for me, I really
want transition into directing, producing and writing full
Also, I really love Atlanta for everything that it doesn’t
have. I love that we don’t have all these training programs
and schools where in the city yet. What a great place to
bring all those things to. These are the things that LA is
so inundated with so what a great opportunity and time
to bring those things here. I would love to be apart of
building a business here while Atlanta continues to grow
in this business. And you know I love LA, and I have
family in Jersey so I’m already close to New York but I
have no real desire to move or to be anywhere else. Of
course, if an amazing job opportunity comes up I’ll leave
but this is home for me. So I am really hoping to build
something great here.
…my mom asked about why I decided to become
Editor in Chief of this magazine. I told her that I’d
made myself a promise that I wanted to learn as much
as I could and to sort of grow my intelligence as much
as possible before I die. You seem just as curious as me
and very unapologetic for exploring other things that
really are outside of your craft.
You know its funny because I really think that you being
Editor in Chief is actually going to make you a better
actor. You know people put so much weight into one
thing that sometimes the pressure gets in the way of them
actually achieving their dream by saying to themselves
likes “this has to work”. It will work. But you have to
give yourself the permission and opportunity to be in a
space where you can explore other things. It makes acting
more fun. It makes it more playful and really does take
away the stress and the nerves of actually booking. And
that’s when you actually do book!
What are your thoughts on social media and how
its been driving this industry? Do you check actors
handles before hiring them? Do number of followers
I get that question a lot. Actors will ask the numbers really
do matter in terms of followers. For me, I personally look
at social media as a business tool [I hope actors look at
it the same] but Im not looking at an actors numbers to
determine if I cast them. It is 100% a none factor to
me. I want to see artist first, and then let artist use social
media to promote their art. At the same time, I’ve been in
situations where actors were cast because they have a lot
of followers. I will say of all the roles I’ve auditioned in
the last year, less than 10% were chosen because of their
social media. Most were cast based off their talent and
Unless social media really is your “gift,” I don’t think
that people should put out content specially just to get
more followers and to become more popular. That does
concern me. I mean if you’re going to do it, do it because
you love it and present something thats honest and not
just because you trying to get the attention of certain
people so that someone can book you for a project. Do
it for the art. Be true to your authentic self. Run social
media. Don’t let it run you.
Take Will Smith for example, he is someone who built
his career on talent and just six months ago started an
Instagram page and he uses his page in spread whatever
messages he wants. He’s a great example of someone who
I feel is using social media in the best way. Its so easy to
let it take over your life. Think to yourself, is what you
want to be known for — Social media versus your talent.
What advice would you give to people either trying to
break into the business on the acting side or on the
casting (directing, producing) side?
I think the best way to break in is to really start by offering
your services for free. I feel like the hardest part is literally
getting your foot in the door. For instance, when I was
an intern, it was ending and I had no idea what the next
step was. I figured I’d just go back home. So I stopped
by Reuben Cannon’s office and let his assistant know that
my internship was ending and I told her to let me know if
they needed help with anything. She asked could I come
in on Monday. That was on the Friday before when I
asked and the rest is history. It wasn’t paid but she needed
help, and I agreed. From then on, I was there everyday.
For actors, be careful with doing work behind the scenes.
I understand the approach but be aware of getting stuck
because now people think of them as crew, or behind the
scenes versus what they really want. Find other ways to
get Casting Directors to see your work. Invite them to
plays or tag them in a clip your post from a scene you
might have been in on television. This is one thing about
social media that I do like actors doing. Don’t flood
my inbox. This is how you can use your social media
as a business tool. Do your research. If social media is
used the right way… it can make all the difference. If
I’m watching something on TV I really like, I watch the
credits to find the actor and keep them in mind for future
If you do your research then you know who should
actually be seeing your work. So many people want to
send things directly to Tyler Perry or to Oprah and fail to
realize that its the producer that no one knows about that
will put you on.
So how do you feel about networking?
Networking, I do think is important so that you can meet
people and ask questions. But it shouldn’t be about trying
to sort of get in with people. I love with Issa Rae said,
“People don’t ever really network across, they’re always
trying to network up.” I think more should consider that
the person next to you is going to be able to help you do
something. Work with people who are like minded and
use the resources that are closest to you.
There is always something about LA that will make you
fell like you’re working for someone else. I’ve been told
that the only reason people go to LA is for validation.
Atlanta shouldn’t be a place where you only search for
opportunities. People should think more along the lines
of what can I add to Atlanta. You know you should come
here to create opportunities and to build something. Don’t
think what can Atlanta do for me, but rather can I do for
Atlanta. This is a smaller market that is growing and you
have a great chance to thrive and really be successful.
The actors that are most
honest are the ones that
I connect with.”
THE UPSCALE LIVING MAGAZINE FOR BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS IN TODAY’S AFFLUENT CULTURE
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The quiet storm who built an empire.
Hair by Tayanna J
Make-up by Yasmin Lozada
Designer: Lisa Nicole Collection
Styled by Lakesha Green
Photography by Tony Tyus
Lisa Nicole Cloud is truly the epitome of what many little girls dream to one day become. She
is an entrepreneur and business woman who literally built her career from the ground up and
shows no signs of slowing down. She graduated from Emory University as a Psychology/Pred-
Med major. She went on to complete her graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University where
she successfully carried out their Leadership Development Program. Soon thereafter, it seemed
as if she’d gone to have a successful career in Pharmaceutical sales. But Lisa wasn’t satisfied,
and it was then that her journey to becoming a self-made millionaire began.
Following her departure from Bravo’s Married To Medicine, Lisa has taken her career to a whole
new level. Her Elevation Collection also received rave reviews at the 2018 New York Fashion
Week. She is also the owner of several other businesses not to mention, the founder of the
Women’s Empowerment Network. I was eager to sit down with her and learn more about her
journey not only to becoming a business mogul but also to better understand her path to financial
freedom. So many people want to own a business yet have no clue where to start. A quiet
yet strong presence she has—I knew the moment she spoke she’d have much wisdom and
knowledge to share once we sat down to talk. I’ve now had the chance on a few occasions to get
to know Lisa, and I’m truly in awe of her story and how she has built her empire. It’s even more
amazing as to how open she is in helping others reach the same level of success.
So you are basically a business
mogul….I’ve read a lot of the info
on your site explaining who you
are so…for all of our readers out
there… lets just start by having
YOU tell them who you are in your
First, I woman of God. Everything I
do in my life is ordered from above.
I started off in direct sales, because I
really am an entrepreneur at heart. I
just love entrepreneurship. I made a
lot of money in direct sales, and then
I took the money I made from direct
sales and invested it in my clothing line,
invested in women’s empowerment
network and invested in our media
company. So I would definitely
say that I’m a serial entrepreneur.
I love starting businesses, building
brands and watching them grow into
empires. But I am also a mommy and
a wife. Those are the most important
titles I carry. But I do love business,
entrepreneurship, and I love helping
other people become successful
entrepreneurs. That is my passion.
So you have 3 different lines…
Lisa Nicole Collection, Lisa Nicole
Diamond Collection and Lisa
Nicole Signature Collection. So
whats the difference between the
Lisa Nicole Collection is a ready to
wear collection. It was my very first
collection. It was that every day piece
that you wanted to make a statement
in—very on trend while keeping
the business woman in mind. We
used fabrics that were easier to
travel with and very forgiving in
our problem areas. Then, I started
getting approached by high end
boutiques that wanted to carry more
than just ready to wear pieces—you
know fabrics like crepes, laces etc.
So I started to enhance my fabric
selection, and thats what started the
Lisa Diamond Collection. I began
to get calls with people asking me to
style them for the red carpet. That’s
when we developed the Lisa Nicole
Signature collection. You know we
can take you from the board room to
the ball room. I’m super excited about
our new collection called BOSS. It’s
more moderately priced for a young
professional who may not have $200
to spend on a suit but still wants to be
classy and make a statement.
The other thing I love about BOSS is
that it really embodies who I am. It is
a program designed to teach people
who have a desire to be in the fashion
industry—stylists, entrepreneurs, or
everyday people who just like stylish
clothes—we teach them how to
pretty much start their own mobile
boutique. They buy a certain volume
of pieces, but they buy wholesale.
What always happens when you wear
something everybody likes? They
say, “Oh my God! I love that! Where
can I get it?” We have websites for
every brand ambassador to purchase
pieces they are wearing. It’s exciting
because it takes my background in
direct sales and bringing it into the
world of fashion. But remember what
I said first. I am a woman of God and
BOSS. That stands for Believer of
What inspired you to become a
designer—because clearly you
It’s funny how we end up doing
the things that we do. I always
taught women with the Women’s
Empowerment Network that you
must dress for success. Don’t dress for
the position that you hold. Dress for
the position that you want. It was an
evolution of who I was as a business
woman to not only teach women
the importance of how they present
themselves but also to wear the
clothing that is right for their body
types with options. So I knew I’d
always wanted to start a clothing line.
But there was one thing that tragically
happened that pushed me into the
world of fashion. I was speaking at
Madison Square Garden—talking
with Russel Simmons. I was looking
good and even spent a couple grand
on my outfit. I walked in and all of
the air was sucked out of the room.
A person who was sitting on the
panel with me had on the exact same
dress! Russel made a joke asking if
we planned it—totally rubbing it in.
I swore THAT would never happen
When you buy off the rack, there is a
risk. So I started designing my own
pieces and took them to someone
to sew them because I didn’t know
how. I’ve always had a very keen
sense of fashion—what’s on trend,
what women are wearing and what
they want. Women would say, “Oh
my God I love that! What are you
wearing?” My reply, “Me! Lisa Nicole”
and hence the Lisa Nicole collection
So do have you still have your
boutique in Atlanta?
I have a show room. I had a store in
Bulkhead but with everything I do
and all the traveling, it was hard to run
a brick and mortar and be there every
day. No one runs your business like
you run your business! I went back to
what I did in the beginning, which
is wholesale. We sell to boutiques
that carry the line. Our showroom
is in the Norcross area. Our private
clients come there to have us design
pieces for them. We also have a
stylist pull studio. There, stylist can
pull pieces for their clients and rent
them. We also have a work room
and warehouse as well. Meetings are
by appointment only.
You have been dubbed a self-made
millionaire. What advice would
you give to those looking to also
take control of their careers and
financial destiny by becoming an
When I talk to people who say they
want to start a business but aren’t
sure about what to do or I how to
start, I tell them to chase their passion.
If you chase a passion and not
a paycheck the money will come.
Think about what you do that you
just love doing that you would do
even if people didn’t pay you. That
is where you will find your passion.
Then, you can learn how to strategically
develop products so that you
can monetize your passion.
That is one of the things we really
focus on with any marketing strategy
in order to really help entrepreneurs
build brands—Looking at
their social media, looking at their
website, looking at their marketing
collaterals, looking at how they’re
presenting themselves with magazines
and different media opportunities.
When we do our “Master
Mind Days,” we bring in entrepreneurs
who are smaller businesses
and really help them build that
million dollar brand.
So what type entrepreneurs are
you currently working with?
We work with a lot of coaches,
authors, speakers—also businesses
that need brand strategy. A lot of
businesses are good at their skill
but they don’t know how to brand
and market what they do. Those
kinds of businesses get a lot of use
out of what we provide.
I work in entertainment and everything
that you’re saying I think
would even benefit me. [laughs]
As an entertainer, you are the talent.
Talent can’t manage all their
social media pages. You can’t manage
can’t keep your website updated
with everything that you are doing.
You can’t develop your marketing
materials that you are posting.
You have to have a team of people
to help you focus on building. If
you do, you’ll far exceed the other
talent out there. Entrepreneur’s
makes mistakes by trying to do
it all. They try to wear the hat of
CEO and Chief Marketing Officer,
Chief Operations Officer
and Chief Sales Officer. They’re
not really accomplishing what
they need to accomplish. In this
day and time where it’s so easy
to outsource things, you must be
resourceful and invest money. You
can really invest a small amount.
It will take more time for you to
utilize your hours than it would
take for you to pay somebody to
do it quickly for you.
“Married to Medicine”. How did
you and your husband come to
be on the show? Whats the experience
The show is about doctors and
doctors’ wives. I’m married to a
doctor. What is unique about me
is that even though I’m married
to a doctor, I made more money
than the doctor. I was very different
from the other wives on the
show. Based on my success and
lifestyle, it was just a natural fit. I
loved the time I was on the show.
I think it was a great platform for
the clothing line and the Women’s
Empowerment Network. It was
even an amazing platform for my
direct sales business. They always
tried to throw shade, and I would
always use it as an opportunity to
talk about the business. I’ve helped
twenty-six people become documented
millionaires in the past 15
years from direct sales.
What are some business do’s and
don’ts? Name your top 3 of each.
Don’t try to do it all yourself.
Do what it is you’re good at and
master it. Hire a team to support
you and budget for it. Don’t ever
quit. Entrepreneurship is not easy
but it is rewarding. Just beyond
your comfort zone is the life of
your dreams. It’s truly the way you
choose to take over your financial
destiny. Find a mentor. Success is
not a secret. It’s really a system. You
know when I started my clothing
line I didn’t go to fashion school. I
didn’t sew either but there was a lot
of information out there on successful
designers like Donna Karan
and Ralph Lauren. I read through
case studies. I really studied their
models. If you notice Donna Karan
had an entry-level brand which was
DKNY—then Donna Karan and
Donna Karan Runway. Success is
very simple. You follow successful
people and duplicate their strategies.
Are you hands on with these people
that you work with?
Very much so. I just flew in from
New Jersey because I was there
speaking to about 3000 people.
I believe there is no income like
residual income. Most people make
money from linear income. When
they work, they get paid. While I
was shooting a television show for
five months my other business was
generating a recurring residual
check every month, whether I went
and did a presentation or not. It’s
residual income that allows me to
start other businesses.
You offer business workshops…
what are some of the things you
talk about? How can our readers
Where I have been very successful
in direct sales is by keeping
my finger on the pulse of what is
the next wealth trend. I made my
money from VOIP, Voice Over
Internet Protocol—that was back in
the day when there was no Skype
or Whats app. When I first started
telling people about VOIP, I told
them they’d would be able to see
the people they’re calling, and you
could call all over the world. They
looked at me like I was talking
about something from The Jetsons.
Because I was on the front side of it,
I was able to deploy it to thousands
and thousands of customers. I’ve
been getting paid ever since.
So now there are two more wealth
trends that have hit. I’m now teaching
people how to capitalize on
them as well. One is IPTV, Internet
Protocol Television—which means
cable and satellite TV will eventually
be a thing of the past. Now
you can send high-definition video
over the internet. It’s changing the
whole landscape. People who get in
now can make some serious money.
The other thing that is very big now
is the business of Cannabis. I teach
people how to get in position for
that because it’s very, very lucrative.
I’m not talking about marijuana.
Cannabis is inclusive of different
types of products. CBD, which
is legal in all 50 states, has all the
medicinal benefits of marijuana.
It’s a Cannabinoid. If you have a
headache, you can take a few drops
of that cream and your headache
is gone in minutes. Any type of
inflammation—it’s like a miracle
product. Nobody knows about it
right now because it was just legalized
in all 50 states.
We teach entrepreneurs how to
capitalize on these types of wealth
trends. With wealth trends you
have to be on the front side of them
before they explode.
So for those who might want to
attend what should they do?
People who have an entrepreneurial
spirit, and are looking to learn
more about just starting a business
in general, can go to www.moreincomeforme.com.
Put in their information,
and we will get in touch
with them and invite them out to
one of our information seminars.
For people who are interested in
CBD can actually get a free sample
of it www.cbdforfree.info. People
who are interested in our BOSS
program can go to www.bosscollection.info.
A designer, business mogul— lets
talk more about the Women’s
Empowerment Network. How did
that come into fruition?
It initially started off as a way of
giving back. I would do a one day
conference, which is now a three
day conference, with women who
are at the top of their game—million
dollar earning business women.
Women who have blazed trails,
and I would have them come to
the conference and speak to other
women that are aspiring to achieve
that same level of success. It was my
way of connecting women who believe
in sisterhood, who believe in
collaboration, and are empowered
and aspired to grow. It’s become
this amazing conference of breakthrough.
As women the one thing we don’t
do enough of is putting ourselves in
environments where we can release.
We carry the weight of the world on
our shoulders. We are taking care
of everybody else. We take care of
our kids, our spouses—the person
we often time neglect is ourselves.
WEN is really that weekend where
you can get away and you get to
be still, reflect on what your goals,
surround yourself with people
who encourage you and help you
to achieve those goals. There are a
lot of Mastermind Circles that are
formed. I bring in some amazing
women. We also recognize women at our WEN awards
ceremony who are doing amazing things in their community
and in their professions.
The next WEN conference will take place June 8th
through the 10th at the Evergreen Marriott Resort in
Stone Mountain, Georgia. This is our seventh year. It’s
an amazing weekend and, women often say it’s the one
conference they attend that changed their life. Women
come there and when they leave they are literally
starting businesses, writing books, and birthing non
profits. They are connecting with the people who can
help them achieve real success.
How are you able to balance your work life, running
businesses, doing the show all while being a mom?
When you do what you love it doesn’t feel like work.
Everyday I get up and work on everyone one of my
businesses. I have a great team of people that are tied
to each of the businesses. I have daily contact with
every executive team. I make sure we are moving
forward with our objectives. We map out our one year,
three year and five year plan. We know what we have
to get done and make it happen. People often ask how
I do so much? My husband says that everything I put
my hands on turns to gold. When you do what you
love you attract success. You attract who you are. I’ve
spent a lot of time personally developing and investing
in myself. I went to all kinds of workshops. I studied
from some very successful people. Most entrepreneurs
who are varied in their success they don’t one just one
business— they own multiple businesses.
Do you feel like you’ve done it all based on where
your success is right now?
I’ve done the things I’ve wanted to do, and I know
there is still more in the future for me. There are a lot
of projects on the horizon. There are TV opportunities
that are presented to me on a regular basis. There are
scripted TV opportunities that come to me. I just do
what I love. If I stop enjoying doing something, I don’t
do it anymore. There is a time and a season for everything.
Sometimes, like in the case of Married to Medicine,
I enjoyed what I was doing on that show. But that
season came to an end for me because I needed to be
very focused on my businesses. I gained what I needed
to gain from that experience—my relationships, my
contacts, my businesses were out there. When it turned
toxic, I had to let it go. I don’t do the drama thing. I’m
about positive energy—focusing on positive things.
And since we’re talking about seasons and transitioning,
where do you see yourself in five years?
God is blowing my mind with opportunities that have
come from the clothing line. I just got a call to go to
Cannes Film Festival in France which is a very big
deal. I will be at the Essence Festival on their fashion
stage showing the Lisa Nicole collection. I will then fly
to Bermuda for the Bermuda Fashion Festival. There
is a TV show that is in discussion now surrounding
the clothing line and all the businesses. It’s a lot, but I
just take everything one day at a time. I’m very clear. I
listen to God and let him order my steps.
Anything else, maybe a few words of encouragement
or advice that you want to leave with our readers?
The thing that a lot people tell me is that they are afraid
they will fail. A lot of times they don’t take chances.
They are afraid to fail. If only you knew how many
times I failed in the things I attempted to try. Failing
is part of succeeding. You are going to make some
mistakes trying to figure it out along the way. You just
have to embrace it. In every failure and every set back,
there is a lesson and a set up for the next comeback.
I tell people let go of your fears and go for it. Live life
like there is no tomorrow. The one thing you don’t
want to do is live your life with regret. I can honestly
say that I’m not afraid to take a risk. I take a lot of risks
daily. I think there is a freedom in doing that.
Where can people find you and follow you online?
Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter Lisa
Nicole Cloud. You can follow the collections on the
A Taste of Atlanta:
A Tour Guide of the Cities Best Restaurants
South City Kitchen Midtown
Fox Bros. BBQ
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
Thumbs Up Diner
Mary Mac’s Tea Room
Atlanta Breakfast Club
West Egg Café
C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar
Atlanta Fish Market
Ray’s in the City
Six Feet Under
Chops Lobster Bar
Atlanta really does have a lot to offer. Plenty of things to do and places to go. But the one area
that Atlanta can never fail in is food! Food! Food! Food! Everybody loves food. There is no
shortage of food options here, and with its southern draw, no one could never get sick of eating
in this city. We’ve complied a list of the best restaurants in the Atlanta by category. We would
suggest you try as many as you can this summer. Not only that, one of our writers visited a local
eatery. Flip to the next page to read all about his unique experience at Buttermilk Kitchen.
The Capital Grille
Chama Gaucha Brazilian
La Grotta Ristorante Italiano
Nan Thai Fine Dining
The Capital Grille
La Grotta Ristorante Italiano
Pasta Da Pulcinella
Antico Pizza Napoletana
Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria
Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse
Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill
McKendrick’s Steak House
Kevin Rathbun Steak
Hal’s On Old Ivy
The Capital Grille
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Atlanta Fish Market
La Mei Zi
Grand China Restaurant
Ah-Ma’s Taiwanese Kitchen
Bo Bo Garden Asian Cuisine
Fox Bros. BBQ
Fat Matt’s Rib Shack
Twin Smoker’s BBQ
Nuevo Laredo Cantina
No Mas! Cantina
Bartaco West Midtown
No Mas! Cantina
Bone Garden Cantina
Raging Burrito and Taco
Sweet Auburn BBQ
Sweet Auburn BBQ
Bullpen Rib House
Farm Deviled Eggs
A Simple Touch
Southern Cooking in the Heart of Atlanta
By Jeremy Ball
Just about anyone who has driven through Atlanta knows the city is known for one
unmistakable negative trait: traffic. With endless bumper-to-bumper mayhem,
many can begin to hear their stomachs rumble to where it can be heard over
the horn-honking. When one feels that hungry itch, there are very few places to
experience real unique southern cooking better than Buttermilk Kitchen. The
simple setting on such a busy street can cause the restaurant to be hidden to the where many can pass by it. But
I’m here to tell you, BK is definitely a rare gem in the heart of Atlanta. The ambiance gives any southerner a blissful
To give more props to Buttermilk, Suzanne Vizethann, Executive Chef and Owner, was a winning participant on The
Food Network’s Chopped. She’s been featured on the Today Show, Martha Stewart Living, Atlanta Magazine, Creative
Loafing and the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
Being a newcomer to the joint, I didn’t know what to expect. BK is a breakfast and brunch restaurant so they’re
not usually open past two; three on the weekends. Taking a seat at the bar, I was thoroughly entertained through
conversation with the waitress serving me. One thing that sets Buttermilk above the standard is the friendliness of the
staff. I felt very welcomed, and my waitress helped me decide what to eat.
One of the most popular menu items is the chicken biscuit. This entrée is served with a side of pimento cheese grits and
house pickles. Pimento cheese is an ingredient that is very popular on the menu. This ingredient is also used in their
famous pimento cheese omelet, which is also stuffed with Benton’s smoked bacon. They also serve a pimento cheese
snack as an appetizer. Another popular choice is the B.E.L.T. That’s toast with bacon, egg, spinach, green and red
tomatoes with mayo served on top. According to online reviews, this restaurant serves pancakes that are indescribably
good. However, if one desires to attain a unique dish, pancakes may not be the desired route to choose. Though not
served on the regular, the store has a fried chicken dinner that is served once every month. It’s encouraged for those to
go at night if anyone is looking for a worthy southern-cooked dinner.
After a detailed look over the menu, I decided to go with the chicken
biscuit. Though a bit pricier than most chicken biscuits, this is no
ordinary chicken biscuit, and I believe any customer would get their
monies worth. Tripling the size of a Chick-fil-A chicken biscuit—the
chicken is cooked to perfection. Tender in the middle, brined in
sweet tea and fried perfectly, giving the chicken a fantastic texture.
The biscuit resembles one of the Red Lobster’s cheddar biscuits. To
top it all off, the red pepper jelly that comes on it, gives the chicken
biscuit a sweet, which in my opinion is crucial to giving the entrée,
perfect finishing touch. I’m not a fan of pimento cheese, but the
pimento cheese grits were quite satisfactory. The warmth found in every bite was almost good enough to light up your
Overall, BK’s dining experience gave me a friendly, simple, and genuine environment that has enticed me to return
again in the near future. If you have a craving for southern cooking, this restaurant will not disappoint. BK has
impeccable service, delectable food and a setting that reminds any southerner of home. The seating was not the most
comfortable [at the bar] but that wouldn’t stop me from going again. I would encourage anyone who is stressed out
from the traffic in Atlanta to put their busy lives on hold and experience the majestic presence it has to offer.
An Open Letter To The Mentally Ill
....from someone who is also suffering....
By Casey Williams
As a person who has suffered from ADHD, an anxiety disorder, and mild depression, some
of it has been exacerbated by difficult circumstances while some of it is in fact genetic.
Either way, it’s had a huge impact on my life in a neurotypical world. Even though I have
had the financial support of my family, I’ve had to navigate most of my mental health journey
and gather wisdom on my own through life experiences.
Over time, I have improved with the help of God, therapy, books, and my wonderful friends.
I have gained a great deal of wisdom over the years that I would like to share with you because
I know that some need to hear this advice. So let me just say this before I get started—I’m no
mental health expert, but I have found these things to be true.
If you have a mental illness, you could say that
something ‘wrong’ with you. But don’t misinterupt
this in a negtaive way.
There is a real chemical imbalance in your brain.
You’re not just making up to get attention no matter
what anyone may say. It sounds ridiculous but the hardest
truth I’ve had to face — getting myself to accept is that
what I feel is real. There are so many people, in my family
and friend group included, who do not understand and
underestimate what I feel. Many people
underestimate how difficult mental illness
is to manage.
As a result, I have spent a long time
trying to convince myself that emotional
suffering is suffering, too. I’m not
exaggerating when I say that this doubt
has tormented me for years. I have spent many hours
praying, talking to my friends, talking to my therapist,
and reading the Bible to make myself accept my problems
are real. It’s only when you accept this truth that you can
begin to fix your problems.
Having a mental illness does not make you a bad
person who will automatically do bad things.
Your mind and soul are unhealthy. That’s all. Being
sick and being evil are two different things. One of
the worst things anyone has ever said to me is that my
depression and anger could make me a school shooter. I
understand better now that she was trying to persuade me
to repress my emotions, so I wouldn’t become dangerous.
She wanted me to fear my feelings. She thought she was
helping, but it was wrong to use.
I hardly should have to explain why thinking like this
is wrong. Firstly, it’s misleading. The mentally ill can be
violent, but that doesn’t mean they will be. Secondly, it
hurts how the mentally ill see themselves. It makes the
non-neurotypical see themselves as a danger to society
simply because of their illness. Thirdly, it’s alienating. It
stigmatizes the mentally ill even further from others. It
also pushes the mentally ill to repress their feelings and
withdraw from society, so they won’t harm others instead
of addressing their problems and getting the help they
What you need to know is that people will think
all these things about someone who might have a mental
illness, but they’re wrong. You’re not a criminal for having
problems in your head. Just about everyone deals with
secret battles of the mind that they hide well from others.
There are people close to you who will probably
never understand what you endure with your mental
illness— but if there are people in your life who do,
you can get through it.
You don’t need to waste your time making people
understand if you have others who do.
I have people in my family and
friends group who don’t understand
my mental illness and probably
never will. They think that I can
sort of ‘will it’ to stop if I try hard
enough or that taking medication is
somehow wrong. Fortunately, many
of these people are supportive even
though they don’t understand. But there are others who
deride me for feeling bad, and those who even think that
I’m holding onto my emotions out of spite.
The same will go for you. Our culture underestimates,
or rather misinterprets, the pain of the mental ill, and
there will be people close to you who do the same. They
may support you which is great, but there are other people
who will think that you’re holding onto your feelings to
spite them or that you are simply not trying hard enough
to act normal.
However, as is the case with me, there are people who
will understand what you’re going through and be there
for you to talk to when you need it. These people will
be your support system, and if you have them, you can
endure without the support of the others.
difficult mental illness
is to manage”.
not displaying or characterized by autistic or other neurologically atypical patterns
of thought or behavior.
Struggling with emotional trauma doesn’t mean you
are unforgiving—It means you are still hurt.
Let me say this louder for the people in the back.
Struggling with emotional scars from a dysfunctional
relationship does not mean that you haven’t forgiven
your perpetrator. There is a difference. I know this from
personal experience. People have hurt me, and despite
how difficult it has been, I’ve forgiven them and moved
on with my life. However, that does not mean I’m not
damaged from the experience and don’t have to deal with
For many people who’ve made mistakes, it’s hard to
understand. They have turned their lives around and
want to move forward, so they expect you to be able to
do the same. When they see that you’re still hurt by the
experience, they take it as a sign that you’re still angry at
them when usually that’s not the case.
The scars in most cases have nothing to do with your
feelings for the person you’ve forgiven. They are side effects
of the negative experience you were forced to endure, and
you must deal with them whether you like it or not. It
took me years and a conversation with an understanding
friend to know this to be true.
To go back to my previous point, you may want this
person to walk with you as you deal with the emotional
trauma, but odds are that they can’t because for them it is
too painful. If they want to, that’s great but if they’re not
emotionally capable of doing so, you must accept it and
There is no shame in going to therapy. Therapy
helps you understand your problems and move on. I
spent years foolishly thinking that I could ignore my
emotional scars and deal with the issues on my own. I was
wrong, and it took a difficult semester studying abroad
in 2015 to finally accept the truth. Since I’ve started
therapy, my mental health has improved and I’ve grown
as a person.
Odds are you need to do the same. You need help
dealing with your scars. You can’t do it on your own. It’s
impossible and will only make things worse. Trust me—
Finding help is the only way you can help yourself move
through your illness.
I know that therapy can be expensive. I’ve been blessed
to find a therapist within my church’s ministry who
could give me discounts, but if you look hard enough,
you can find something. I recommend looking at https://
www.7cups.com/. It’s a website for people with anxiety
or depression who need someone to talk to. It does not
replace the need for therapy, but it’s a good place to find
In addition to therapy, I have been reading psychology
books to help me understand my feelings. However,
while these books have been incredibly helpful for me, I
hesitate to recommend them since they are mostly written
by Christian psychologists with a Christian worldview.
I’m not sure how helpful non-believers would consider
them to be despite the validity of their advice. All religion
aside, my recommendation would be to find books that
speak to you no matter your beliefs.
Of these books, the most helpful one has been Happiness
is a Choice: a Manual on the Symptoms, Causes, and
Cures of Depression, written by Dr. Frank B. Minirth
and Dr. Paul D. Meier in the late 19 70’s. Ironically, I
have not finished reading the whole book since I salvaged
it when my church nixed their library in high school, but
what I have read has helped me understand the underlying
reasons behind my anxiety and depression. Believers and
non-believers can learn from them. Nevertheless, this
book is very insightful when it comes to understanding
the psychological reasons behind one’s own emotional
I’ve also read The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck
published in 1978. This book is well-known, but I didn’t
read it until my good friend, then a British expat working
in France, sent me the book as a Christmas present in 2015
once I decided to seek help in my journey to psychological
healing. This book played a heavy roll in finally getting
my mind to accept that psychological problems were real
issues that affected people. In addition, it opened my
eyes to how neurotic I really am and what a problem it
really is. The book outlines what it means to the author
to be a fulfilled person in his experience as a person and
a psychologist. As a believer, I did not agree with every
piece of advice he gave, but I respect Peck for his wisdom
and for treating religious beliefs respectfully as something
that needs to be encouraged if they help and questioned
if they hurt. That last bit means a great deal to me since
I have dealt with well-meaning people who have tried
to convince me that my religious beliefs, or that having
religious beliefs period, was something insane that needed
to be dropped to make me healthy, but I digress.
The point is to take psychological books with a
grain of salt. Even if they are written by wise, seasoned
psychologists, their advice may not necessarily always
be right for you. On the same token, you should read
these books with an open mind, especially if you are as
stubborn I am. These people are smart and know what
they’re talking about. Psychology is a science, and even if
their advice is not helpful for your situation, psychologists’
words about psychological conditions apply to everyone.
Again, I’m no mental health expert. These are only
things I have learned over time as I have navigated the
world of mental illness mostly on my own. I hope I can
give some of that desperately needed guidance to people
like myself, so they don’t have to spend years wandering
like I did.
underestimates, or rather
misinterprets, the pain of
the mental ill...”
Thing To Do
LISA NICOLE CLOUD