Adlanta Magazine Final Layout Issue 1







TV Host







A Taste of






















Volume 1* Issue 1


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



Contact: 404.606.0538









Smooth skin.

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!


~ Ashley


P.S. and don’t forget to check us out online

at Many more

write ups and stories for us to share with you all.

Essential nutrients for my one

essential body!



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,

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

of [E]ntrepreneurship?

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,

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!






“A flower does not think

of competing with the

flower next to it. It just



Photographs by TONY TYUS




“They call us dreamers

but we’re the ones who

don’t sleep.”



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





Mark Block

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

otherwise you’ll

never really know

what you can


You’re an entrepreneur/business owner… 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 26

Photography By Cat Harper

Makeup By Yasmin Lozada

Hair by Ashley Alexis

Model : Ashley Love-Mills

Male Model : Tony Tyus






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Cover Story


Hair by rikya taylor

makeup by yasmin lozada

wardrobe by lakesha green





S/ Y/ L/ E/ E/ N/



By Brittany Miller







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

the city.

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

and thighs!

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.




By Lauren Spiridigliozzi


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!



Zoo Atlanta

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


Summer Concerts

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

Stone Mountain


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.

Summer Festivals

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.

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

Dead Tour

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


Sporting Events

Catch an Atlanta Braves baseball game at Sun Trust

Park or a Atlanta United FC soccer game at Mercedes

Benz Stadium.




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?


Casting Director


You know,

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

Cannon(The Color

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

business woman?

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 that

was actually


With this

project, I felt

like I learned

the business

on a higher

level because

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

register there.

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

really matter?

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

talent alone.

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.”




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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

own words.

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

Supernatural Success.

What inspired you to become a

designer—because clearly you

know fashion!

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

was born.

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

been like?

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

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 People

who are interested in our BOSS

program can go to

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

same platforms.



A Taste of Atlanta:

A Tour Guide of the Cities Best Restaurants

Local Cuisine

Home Grown


South City Kitchen Midtown

Fox Bros. BBQ

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

Thumbs Up Diner

Buttermilk Kitchen

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

Atlanta Breakfast Club

West Egg Café


Buttermilk Kitchen


The Optimist

C&S Seafood and Oyster Bar

Steamhouse Lounge

Atlanta Fish Market


Ray’s in the City


Six Feet Under

St. Cecilia

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.

Fine Dining

Bone’s Restaurant

The Capital Grille


Nikolai’s Roof

Chama Gaucha Brazilian


La Grotta Ristorante Italiano


Nan Thai Fine Dining

The Optimist


The Capital Grille


La Grotta Ristorante Italiano

Babette’s Café


La Tavola

Sotto Sotto


St. Cecilia


Pasta Da Pulcinella

Antico Pizza Napoletana

Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria

Fortune Cookie

Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse

Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill

McKendrick’s Steak House

Kevin Rathbun Steak

Hal’s On Old Ivy

Cuts Steakhouse

Bone’s Restaurant

The Capital Grille

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Atlanta Fish Market



Stoney River


Hsu’s Gourmet

Orient Express

Fortune Cookie

Canton Cooks

Gu’s Dumplings

La Mei Zi

P.F. Chang’s

Grand China Restaurant

Ah-Ma’s Taiwanese Kitchen

Bo Bo Garden Asian Cuisine


Fox Bros. BBQ

Fat Matt’s Rib Shack

Heirloom Market

Twin Smoker’s BBQ

Daddy D’z



Nuevo Laredo Cantina

Alma Cocina

No Mas! Cantina

Bartaco West Midtown

No Mas! Cantina

Bone Garden Cantina

Raging Burrito and Taco


Sweet Auburn BBQ

Tin Lizzy’s


Sweet Auburn BBQ

Lovies BBQ

Smoke Ring

D.B.A. Barbeque

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

nostalgic feel.

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.

Chicken Biscuit

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

very soul.

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.

“Many people

underestimate how

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

the scars.

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

move on.


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:// 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.

Our culture

underestimates, or rather

misinterprets, the pain of

the mental ill...”









Thing To Do







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