Monique Askew: Mogul Majesty

Aries Jones Photography

Exclusive Society Boutique is a plus-size boutique where your shape, curves, and size are ADORED in fact, curves are a requirement! Each piece is meant to make you feel bold, confident, and sexy in your own skin. We offer a variety of hand-picked fashion-forward garments that thrive on quality.

Monique Askew is the CEO of Exclusive Society Boutique. She created the company because she wanted to focus on an industry that often gets neglected. She put her plus size beauties FIRST. Monique struggled to find garments that fit appropriately and places that actually offer a variety of trends in our size. Monique is dedicated to making the process easier for YOU.

What inspired you to move in the direction of a Plus sized Boutique?

I was inspired because I’ve always been plus size. I struggled to find trendy, nice fitting items. If I was having that issue myself, I knew other Queens were having the same issue. I was instantly intrigued by the challenge of making a difference in an industry I personally claimed as my own. 


Boutiques are popping up all over the place virtually and brick and mortar. What sets your boutique apart from the rest?

Simple, Me! They don’t have me! I am so passionate about my business. It’s one thing to have a company that incorporates a few “plus size” items within their store. It’s a totally different thing, when the entire store is dedicated  to plus size. I can’t speak for all my curvy sisters but I know when I see that, my soul lights up.  Anyone that has done business with us will tell you, my customer service skills are immaculate, my garments are true to size and high quality! I strive to make sure every person feels special. Exclusive Society Boutique is an experience, and exclusive one! 


Exclusive Society Boutique has a plethora of items geared to Plus Size women. How do you handle patrons who are not Plus Size but love your fashions?

I don’t have this problem often, the way we market our business we are loud and proud that we are 100% plus size. With that being said, we do have some Queens that are plus size and don’t realize it.  


Let’s address how in love I am with the leopard print dress. It is H.O.T. One of the concerns I’ve heard over the years is that Plus sizes are full of flowers and patterns that are not appealing. What is your strategy to avoid those types of patterns?

I don’t! We love patterns over here! Matter of fact, we actually have a flower dress called ” It’s the Pink Flowers For Me”. The dress is HOT/Super sexy yet classy! My Queens LOVE IT. I think the design and HOW the garment compliments our curves is much more important for example: rusching in the front /side vs a zipper. It’s all about the design.


Finally, what advice would you give someone wanting to open the same type of Boutique to cater to Plus size?

I would tell them to do a lot of research first. Make sure your business is legally set up. Don’t be scared to invest in yourself by taking the leap to become an entrepreneur!  This industry needs a lot of Love, Attention, and Care! So take your time with it! It has been neglected in many ways for years so take representing this industry seriously. You will do great and remember “failure is not the opposite of success it’s part of success (author Unknown)”!  

Connect with Exclusive Society Boutique Online www.exclusivesocietyboutique.com

Aries Jones Photography

Alexa Ben-Israel ~ Victorious in Victory

“So many people have been hurt and told that there are no second chances with God, but he is always waiting for us to come to Him and start a renewed relationship with Him.”

Born in Washington DC and raised on the beautiful island of St. Croix US Virgin Islands,  Alexa Ben-Israel never envisioned becoming a part of a ministry and working for God. However, a tragic life event completely transformed Alexa’s perspective on life forever and lead her back on God’s original path.

As a survivor of domestic violence, Alexa has powered through life with incredible resilience and Faith. With her love for God and His teachings of mercy and forgiveness, Alexa forgave her abuser, offering him forgiveness for what he did. Alexa healed from her past trauma with the help of God’s living word and her husband of 11 years- a true Godsend.

Alexa endeavors to coach women to live a resilient lifestyle, with her guiding philosophy being, ‘Your life looks like what you have spoken; if you don’t like it, let’s change it.’ Alexa is a Board certified Pastoral Counselor, having completed her MA in Pastoral Counseling-Marriage and Family from Liberty University. She is the Co-Pastor of GSM Ministries (Glory Of The Son Of Man), a ministry centered and rooted in YESHUA, the MESSIAH, Who is the Son of Man. GSM Ministries is a body of believers who are both Kingdom-minded and Kingdom-driven, with their mandate being to build His Kingdom, enforce His Government, and administrate both His righteousness and justice.

Alexa has been coaching and counseling while enriching the lives of women and couples for over a decade. She specializes in counseling for Marriage, infertility and trauma. Alexa counsels specifically under GSM Ministries’ ‘I’m Fruitful’ a division which is dedicated to counseling clients battling infertility. Under this division, Alexa works passionately to reignite hope into women and encourage them throughout their journey to motherhood.

Alexa Ben-Israel has earned a distinguished reputation as a catalyst for using God’s Word to speak and watch Him work. Alexa is currently based in Atlanta, GA, where she shares her home with her husband. 

Your story is an amazing one and oh so familiar to many Domestic Violence Survivors. One of the things that intrigued me the most was the ability to forgive your ex, who subjected you to a life of Domestic Violence while with him. 

What did that moment of forgiveness look like when it happened?

What a tough day, but I had to do it for me to move forward.

I needed to let go of the pain I was holding onto; the physical scars were still there, but I had to do this to begin HEALING.

I met him in a public place with my sister on the phone as a backup (in my pocket) and told him I forgive him for all the things he had done to me. 

I needed to do this so that God could step in and Judge him and fight on my behalf. See too many times, we hold on to grudges and assume that this is harming a person, but it only breaks us in reality.

You are also a Board Certified Pastoral Counselor. How does counseling clients under the guise of “Pastoral” differ from a “traditional” marriage/family Counselor?

This is one of the best things I could have done; I get to have God in the room. I don’t have to hide him in a box or be guided by rules I don’t agree with, whereas a traditional counselor has to follow rules that they don’t believe or agree with 100%. It’s tough when being in a box or giving someone advice against their faith.

I love your philosophy “Your life looks like what you have spoken; if you don’t like it, let’s change it.” As a Empowerment Life Coach myself, I adopted the concept “You already have what you need to succeed,” and to see that your philosophy is in line with Empowerment makes me oh so happy! With that said, when you pose the concept of clients changing their lives, how often are you challenged with resistance or ambivalence? How do you help them overcome this hurdle?

Before we begin anything, I am straight up transparent. Are you willing to do the work even when it gets tough? I don’t prefer to work with anyone that is not hungry for results; it becomes a chore instead of a new season. Remembering that we are creators by what we speak, say, and believe in our hearts. So we must get ground rules established upfront, that way, we are all on one accord to success.

As a Faith-Based Coach, is there some push back from non-believers to use your service? If so, what do you do to “bring them along” and allow them to see that you’re there to help them with their lives?

I don’t get push back, but curiosity on who God is and what can He do for me. I thought I had to be perfect, to even to have a seat at the table

Finally, what big things are in the works?

Oh my goodness, more ” Im Fruitful “podcast entries to come. I have been working behind the scenes on many ideas, but I got to run them by God first .( smiles)

DISABLED VETERAN AND SURVIVOR OVERCOMES HER BATTLES BY INSPIRING OTHERS AND MODELING

Brandi L. Benson is a 36-year-old veteran, speaker, author and cancer advocate based in Miami, FL (from Novato, Calif.). Joining the military in hopes of playing soccer for her country, she ended up with her own battle. Fresh out of basic training and only three months stationed in Iraq, she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, at age 24. Walking away with one less muscle in her left leg, she triumphantly defied odds. Brandi has written magazine blogs for Conquer Magazine, Cancer Wellness Magazine, American Cancer Society and more sharing her story. She is spokesperson for Bristol Myers Squibb alongside ABC’s This is Us Sterling K. Brown, has signed a modeling contract with HOP Models & Talent Agency and is the author of The Enemy Inside Me, available on Amazon.


I want people to know that cancer is not an automatic death sentence and that modern medicine is a lot better than it used to be.

Patrice: What makes a pretty woman who hustles?

Brandi:  A pretty woman who hustles has a story about overcoming adversity and continuing to reach her goals.  A pretty woman that hustles understands that the hustle will not always look inviting, and most times, it is very intimidating, but sticking to the course is what makes the hustle. Hustling is pushing forward with the mission even when you feel like you don’t have the right tools, and in that case, you make them. 

Patrice: Your story is amazing and it’s very inspiring to others who face challenges with diseases in their life. For those who don’t know, what is Ewing Sarcoma?

Brandi: Ewing Sarcoma is a very rare and aggressive cancer. About 1,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed a year. Since this cancer is so aggressive and has a very high probability of it manifesting somewhere else in the body, it is treated very aggressively with a lot of chemotherapy. I was treated with 17 cycles of chemo in less than a year. This cancer is a childhood cancer and is typically found in young, Caucasian boys. You will find this cancer attacking the limbs (arms and legs) of the body, lungs, brain and spinal cord.

Patrice: When were you diagnosed with this rare form of cancer?

Brandi: I was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in 2009 while I was deployed in Iraq. I ended up leaving the war (fighting for my country) to return home to defeat an enemy inside me – cancer. I was not prepared to fight a battle from within myself. You don’t go to school and learn how to fight a terminal illness. I was in a state of shock and denial for a while. There is something to be said about facing your mortality.

Patrice: You walked away with only one less muscle in your leg. You are definitely blessed! I was reading that people die from this rare form of cancer. How has becoming a survivor changed your life?

Brandi: Cancer has saved me and truly made every day magical. I know it sounds strange and a bit unreal, but cancer has changed the person I am from the inside out. I appreciate the small things in life, like being able to walk and have both legs, but I am now a pillar in the Sarcoma cancer community. I can give hope, and hope is so healing. I can touch people worlds away with my story. I want people to know that cancer is not an automatic death sentence. We are so much stronger than we know. Cancer has made my life much more purposeful. I am no longer just living in a world, but I am adding value now. I am not sure if this would be the case if I did not experience cancer.

Going through cancer has taught me about mental strength and mental health. These are both so important when you’re going through or have survived a traumatic event. 

Patrice: So tell us more about your experience in Iraq on the battlefield. What branch of service did you serve?

Brandi: I was in the U.S. Army. I loved being in the military and had dreams of retiring as an officer someday. I enjoyed the physical aspect of pushing yourself to the limit. When I got deployed to Iraq, I had just graduated basic training and Advanced Individual Training (AIT). I was at my first real duty station for one month and nine days before I was shipped out to fight for my country. I felt unprepared and not ready for the real Army.

Nonetheless, I was deployed to Al Diwaniyah, which is 98 miles south of Baghdad. I was petrified. Iraq was very scary to me. I was only 24 years old and in the middle of a war zone. Months later, I was fighting a different battle; one that required me to swap out my M16 and grenades for vomit bags and chemotherapy.

Patrice: What type of experience did you have over there?

Brandi: Being deployed is very similar to what you see in the movies. The energy is very high from the unknown. Everyone is on their toes, in a sense. I noticed that once it became winter, November to December timeframe, the activity picked up tremendously and shortly after that, I discovered a strange lump in my left leg in January 2009. 

January 10th is the exact day I found the lump in my left leg (groin area). I waited a week before I went to the medic station. I was put on a helicopter and never returned. That was the beginning of the end for me. Life was never the same. 

Patrice: How long have you been a model?

Brandi: I got signed to Gamut Management in 2020. It is a modeling agency that contracts models/talent that have a disability. I just did a show with them. I modeled Tommy Hilfiger. It was such a fantastic time, truly magical. I hope to do more shows, campaigns and commercials with Tommy Hilfiger shortly. I am also the brand ambassador for the Sarcoma Alliance. The Sarcoma Alliance is a nonprofit organization that focuses on Sarcoma cancer. We spread awareness, education and programs for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Patrice: Tell us more about the Adaptive Runway Show.

Brandi: The event was on March 9, 2021 and was held outdoors. The event was all about adaptive wear for those with disabilities. I had my entire adductor muscle removed due to cancer and, as we know, muscle does not grow back. So, I have one massive muscle missing from my left leg, which has left me disabled. 

Runway of Dreams teamed up with Tommy Hilfiger in 2016 and they were the first clothing brand to cater to the disabled community. The event was nothing less than epic. I had a blast.

Patrice: As a spokesperson for Bristol Myers Squibb, what topics do you address to the community?

Brandi:  I did a social media campaign with them last year in 2020 called Survivorship Today. This initiative aims to share stories of people across the country who have been affected by cancer and advance our collective understanding of what it’s like to live with the disease today. 

Patrice: I see that you have written a book called “The Enemy Inside Me.” What do you want the readers to take away from the book?

Brandi: I want the world to know that cancer is not an automatic death sentence and that modern medicine is a lot better than it used to be. I also want them to know that life can still be amazing and extraordinary as a survivor.

Patrice: What do you want people to know when it comes to Ewing Sarcoma?

Brandi: Early detection is critical. Cancer can be found anywhere in the body, yes, the arms and legs. Before having Sarcoma, I never knew that you could get cancer anywhere else in the body besides your brain, lungs, stomach, liver or breast. I think it is time to speak up about this cancer and let the world know it exists. If you have a lump that is larger than a golf ball, please visit your doctor.

Patrice: Any empowering advice for people who are dealing with a rare form of a disease?

Brandi: Yes, we are so much stronger than we know. We all have an elite version of ourselves and it is up to us to discover it.

Patrice: What motivates you?

Brandi: There are so many things that motivate me. I find inspiration in so many forms, but reaching a goal of mine fuels me to keep going higher and to push for more. I believe we are limitless beings and with that mindset I try to shoot for the stars. Right now, a goal is to work with Tommy Hilfiger personally and make Sarcoma cancer a household name like breast cancer.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any new projects for the year?

Brandi: I am currently working on spreading awareness about Sarcoma cancer with the Sarcoma Alliance. 


Connect More with Brandi:

Instgram: @brandil.benson

Website: http://www.brandilbenson.com

BEAUTY AND LIFESTYLE INFLUENCER GLAMOROUS TAYE ENGAGES ON NEW PROJECTS AND UPCOMING EBOOKS

Patrice: Tell the readers a little bit more about yourself

Glamorous Taye: Glamourous Taye is the youngest of; a 29-year-old mother of 4 and serial entrepreneur, fashion, and beauty influencer. I also conduct master classes for those who wish to learn more about the beauty industry and learn the basic makeup application steps. Though beauty is my passion, I am also a woman of many other trades, such as a social media influencer, brand ambassador. Besides wearing many hats in entrepreneurship, I also have experience writing and publishing my E-book called “How to become a successful Influencer,” which hasn’t released yet. To add to my experience as a one-on-one consultant helping influencers build their brands and online presence, I have expanded my talents as a boutique owner, public speaker, aiming to motivate the community’s masses. I was raised in Florida, with my father being Jamaican and my mother being American, where I grew up in a poor neighborhood.

Patrice: What makes you a pretty woman that hustles?

Glamorous Taye:

● My loyalty towards everyone.

●I am destined to win

●I put all my hard work in and grind

●I support you even if you don’t help me

●I put my best foot forward.

Patrice: Are you currently working on any current projects right now?

Glamorous Taye: Yes. My eBooks will be released next week, a fur and contour line that’s launching, and my coaching/mentoring sessions that I am working on.

Patrice: How do you face diversity as a woman/man entrepreneur/author?

Glamorous Taye: A lot of people don’t believe women are capable of handling huge task, but little do they know “We Were Built For This”

Patrice: Is balancing your personal life, work-life, and business life challenging for you at times?

Glamorous Taye: It’s challenging because I am a full-time mother, school bus driver, and social media influencer. It’s super hard, but I was built for this, and I deserve this life that I am working so hard for.

Patrice: What does being an entrepreneur or business owner mean to you?

Glamorous Taye: Being an entrepreneur to me means being the head CEO of the world bosses. Business first, and treating everyone with respect.

Connect with Glamorous Taye:

Instagram: @glamorous_taye

Tiktok: @glameduptaye

YouTube: glamorous taye

Twitter: GlamorousTaye

Website: www.glamoroustaye.com

52nd Annual NAACP Image Awards Q&A with Meg Deloatch

We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Family Reunion Series Creator, Showrunner and EP Meg Deloatch who won Outstanding Children’s Program. She paved the way for shows such as Family Matters (1989) and Malcolm & Eddie (1996). She has truly made her mark in the industry.

Following the week-long virtual experience, the NAACP celebrated the stellar achievements of the 52nd NAACP Image Awards winners during a special LIVE broadcast on BET and simulcast across ViacomCBS networks including CBS for its first time, as well as BET Her, Comedy Central, Logo, MTVMTV2ParamountPopSmithsonianTV Land, VH1, BET PLUTO, and CMT.

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris kicked-off the night in a special recorded message highlighting the importance of the NAACP and saluting its work.

Winners of the night included D-NICE (Entertainer of the Year), Viola Davis (Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – “How To Get Away With Murder” and Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture- “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Regé-Jean Page (Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series  –“Bridgerton”), Issa Rae (Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series – “Insecure”), Stacey Abrams (Social Justice Impact) and “Bad Boys For Life” starring  Will Smith and Martin Lawrence (Outstanding Motion Picture).

The late Chadwick Boseman won the award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture – “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”. Chadwick’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award in his honor, encouraging fans to be proactive about their health and visit StandUpToCancer.org for more information about detecting the signs of colon cancer.

During the ceremony, legendary entertainer, film icon and two-time Image Award recipient Eddie Murphy was inducted into the acclaimed NAACP Image Awards Hall Of Fame. The Hall of Fame Award was presented by Eddie Murphy’s collaborator and long-time friend Arsenio Hall.

NAACP President and CEO, Derrick Johnson, presented NBA superstar, business entrepreneur, and philanthropist, LeBron James, with the President’s Award which was presented in recognition of a special achievement and distinguished public service.

Civil Rights Movement Icon Rev. D. James Lawson, was recognized with the NAACP Chairman’s Award during the ceremony. In his acceptance speech, he recalled a time in High School in 1944, where he went door-to-door soliciting memberships for his local NAACP chapter in Ohio.

Image Award Outstanding Female Artist nominee Jazmine Sullivan, kicked-off the music portion with an electrifying performance of “Pick Up Your Feelings” from her latest album Heaux Tales. Additionally, Grammy Award-winning singer Maxwell took to the stage to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his debut album Urban Hang Suiteperforming “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)”.

Additional guest appearances included Alicia Keys, Andra Day, Arsenio Hall, Cynthia Erivo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michelle Obama, Misty Copeland, Regina King, Samuel L. Jackson, the cast of Tyler Perry’s Sistas, Swizz Beatz, and Tracy Morgan. MC Lyte served as the night’s Voice Over announcer.

The LIVE show followed the week long NAACP Image Awards Virtual Experience, which invited fans to join the Image Awards in a celebration of “Black Excellence”–including the non-televised awards program, virtual red carpet, and a curated conversation series. The Virtual Experience additionally played host to the night’s post-show virtual afterparty which featured classic cuts by DJ Questlove, current cuts by DJ Kiss, and a Jazz Lounge performance by Robert Glasper and Lalah Hathaway. Fans can relive all of the Image Awards moments from the week in the Virtual Experience’s NAACP Theatre at virtualexperience.naacpimageawards.net

The 52nd NAACP Image Awards is presented by Wells Fargo, and sponsored by AT&T, FedEx, Nike, Bank of America, American Airlines, Airbnb, Alaska Airlines, AARP, Ford, and Hilton.

The NAACP Image Awards honors the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also recognizes individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.

For all information and the latest news, please follow NAACP Image Awards on Instagram @NAACPImageAwards.

NAACP

Founded in 1909 in response to the ongoing violence against Black people around the country, the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) is the largest and most pre-eminent civil rights organization in the nation. We have over 2,200 units and branches across the nation, along with well over 2M activists. Our mission is to secure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights in order to eliminate race-based discrimination and ensure the health and well-being of all persons.

In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP.

NOTE:The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP but separated in 1957 to become a completely separate entity. It is recognized as the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization, and shares our commitment to equal rights.

About BET:

BET, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ: VIACA, VIAC), is the nation’s leading 

provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel is in 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, sub-Saharan Africa and France. BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions including BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; BET HER, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the African-American Woman; BET Music Networks – BET Jams, BET Soul and BET Gospel; BET Home Entertainment; BET Live, BET’s growing festival business; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET around the globe.