Maya Contreras: Drummer, Author & Editor-In-Chief of The Dirty Durty Diary

 Born in Denver, Maya grew up in a creative family. She has done everything in the arts from writing, performance to management. We had a refreshing conversation at NYC’s Gramercy Park Hotel about her novel “The Him Book: One Woman’s Almost Religious Search to Find the One” ,   NYC , Family, longer editorial, Jeffrey Wright and the story behind her bi-annual print magazine THE DDD – Dirty Durty Diary. As an Artist Manager, Maya has worked with distinguished stage and film composers including, Marvin Hamlisch who received an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe and Pulitzer Prize, as well as Bill Conti, an Oscar and three-time Emmy winner and one of Hollywood’s most sought-after composers and conductors.As a musician, Maya has worked with producer Dallas Austin, Professor Griff, composed the music for the Jomadi/Crossroads production of Six from the Rainbow, and was a student of Grammy Award winning drummer Woody Williams.

As a professional writer Maya has covered everything from New York Nightlife to the current climate of the music industry. Her interview credits include: Legendary MCs- KRS-ONE and Pharoahe Monch, Editor-in-Chief of Complex, Noah Callahan-Bever, Editor-in-Chief of the Austin Chronically and Founder of SXSW Louis Black, playwright and actor Paul Stoval-Oakley (Clear, Metamorphoses, The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci), actor Amina Robinson (Precious, Mamma Mia), Award Winning Director and Producer Jeremy Simmons (Trans-Generation, Eyes of Tammy Faye, One Punk Under God, and The Last Beekeeper) and legendary New York Graffiti crew The Tats Cru.

Creative from the Heart: Detroit Entrepreneur, GM, “Learn Floral Design”, Giving & $2.50

In February, my family and I were looking for a florist for my Mother’s funeral. We selected a lady that was starting a floral business from her home. Plants. Flowers. Everywhere. My Aunt did the talking, I couldn’t really think. After we sorted our order of flowers, I was captured by her enthusiasm and passion. She is running a floral shop from her home..a floral home. Its called Creative From The Heart. We were lead to the right woman. Her story is inspirational to say the least. Nursing, General Motors, being saved and a husband that made her live on $2.50 a week. Lily is strong optimistic woman to say the least. Honestly, she represents the spirit of survival and bringing dreams to life. It is no surprise the celebrities when they are in Detroit call on Lily.

Stacey McKenzie: The Scout, Jean Paul Gaultier, Workshops & Passion

I randomly met up with Stacey. Like many I know of Stacey but until now I did not really know her story. Stacey shares her inspiring story of passion as her anchor to accomplish her goal of being a model although everyone told her she did not have the “look”. Stacey McKenzie (born in Kingston, Jamaica) is a global fashion model living in Toronto. She is a runway coach and most recently a model coach and judge on the Canadian reality television show Canada’s Next Top Model. After being told, early in her career, that she was too distinctive for the Canadian market, she moved to New York. She was immediately picked up by Elite Model Management. Unprepared for the challenges of a modeling career, McKenzie returned to Canada and finished high school. In 1995, she moved to Paris, France to pursue modeling further. During her first season, she modeled for top designers including Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler and Christian Lacroix. She also landed her first campaign with photographer Oliviero Toscani for Benetton. In the wake of her initial success in Paris, McKenzie was commissioned to work in markets around the globe including Paris, London, Italy, Austria, US and Japan. She worked for Alexander McQueen, Betsey Johnson, Tommy Hilfiger, Todd Oldham, Michiko Koshino and Jean Paul Gaultier. Her magazine covers include Essence, Le Monde and Panache, as well as editorials in Vogue (US, Japan, Korea, Britain, Spain), Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, Flare, Fashion, and Vibe. She has appeared in a number of major campaigns including Calvin Klein CK, Jean Paul Gaultier, MAC, Mexx, Reebok, Todd Oldham Jeans, Nordstrom, Barneys, and Banana Republic.

Christ Couture: Christian Entrepreneur,Fashion & Brooklyn 1yr Anniversary

Dawn Elizabeth Adams is the entrepreneur behind Christ Couture – “Fashion For The Saved & Fly”. She lost her job and turned a challenge into an opportunity. Dawn invited me to her 1 year anniversary at a Brooklyn Brownstone. She has great energy, faith and after years as a music industry publicist, she is focused on being “God’s Publicist” now. Christ Couture® is a Christian lifestyle brand that represents the latest, hottest, and hippest products and services for Christians.

THE CAST: The Couple Behind A Punk/Heavy Metal Inspired Clothing Store

 Meet the entrepreneurial couple behind NYC’s The Cast. He is from New Jersey. She is from LA. Together they are leveraging their passion for Punk & Heavy Metal into a collection of tshirts, denim and vintage clothing. They have a great following. For example, I was told many times by other small businesses on NYC’s lower eastside “you should film the rock-n-roll couple and their store.”

Kevin Powell: Congress, Lefferts Gardens, Bologna Sandwiches & Absolut Brooklyn

 A long-time activist and award-winning writer, Powell was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, and is the product of a single mother led household, extreme poverty, fatherlessness, and violence. In spite of these harsh circumstances, Powell studied at Rutgers University in New Jersey and he has become one of the most prolific and respected writers and leaders of his generation. He is the author or editor of 10 books, including his newest, Open Letters to America, a collection of essays that examine American leadership, politics, and various social issues in the era of Barack Obama. Additionally, Powell’s writings have appeared in a range of publications including The Washington Post, Newsweek, Essence, Ebony, Esquire, Rolling Stone, and Vibe, where he was a senior writer for several years documenting, most famously, the life and times of the late Tupac Shakur

Dinosaur Hill Toy Store: South Dakota, Pre-School, East Village & Butterflies

Pamela Pier founded NYC’s Dinosaur Hill 27 years ago. From South Dakota preschool teacher to a NYC toy store owner, Pamela has got to be one of the kindest people in NYC I have met. Remember, I randomly walk into small businesses in NYC. “We are committed to purveying handmade wonderments, toys and clothes that challenge the mind, please the eye, and stimulate the senses.” Dinosaur Hill

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