Voyage Austin Interview

nicolette mallow

Imagery from VoyageAustin Magazine. Photography of Nicolette Mallow taken by Vivian’s Muse.

Last December, I received a note from an editorial team to inquire if I wanted to partake in a literary project called the “Inspiring Stories” series published by VoyageAustin Magazine. For the first time in 16 years, someone else interviewed me. It was so exciting since no one has ever asked in detail about my artistic journey. People usually only inquire about my writing career and forget about my performing arts history. I’ve conducted hundreds upon hundreds of interviews, but as far as I can recall. VoyageAustin Magazine is my first non-work-related interview where I was the subject matter instead of the interviewer. Perhaps on a few occasions like at The University of Texas at Austin. I spoke on behalf of the company. But this was the first time anyone interviewed me. http://voyageaustin.com/interview/check-nicolette-mallows-story/


Hi Nicolette, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.

My writing career began in 2005 at Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). I joined the District, an award-winning student newspaper, and started to get published in my undergraduate program. After graduation, I left Georgia to begin an internship with the Editorial department at Texas Monthly magazine in ATX. Then I was hired as a contract employee to work in their Custom Publishing department for a different magazine. I wrote three stories for the Texas Monthly website and that was exciting! SCAD and Texas Monthly are the launchpads of my professional journey as a writer. 

Internationally published in the United States and Europe, I’ve obtained 110+ publications thus far, and counting. For 16 years, I’ve interviewed an extensive list of talent and collaborated with companies, directors, and PR teams from The Hollywood Reporter, National Geographic Channel, Prevention Magazine, HBO Films, SXSW, The David Lynch Foundation, Cine Las Americas, The University of Texas at Austin and more. Presently, my portfolio entails 12 national awards or scholarships, including both individual and group projects. Obtaining two degrees from the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD), I earned a Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration and a B.F.A. in Writing. But, writing is just one of the art forms I enjoy creating. 

From childhood until college, I focused primarily on performing arts. Born and raised in Texas and NYC—I’m an artist: writer, dancer, vocalist, thespian, model & (amateur) photographer. As a little girl, I was fortunate to be exposed to a colorful variety of music, artwork, and a beautiful array of cultures. A third-generation American, I’m a Latina, Lebanese girl that has always adored theatre arts, dance and music. 

Even at three years old, I knew I wanted to be a bellydancer after seeing the dancers and their costumes. My mummy says I ran to her at Disney in Orlando and declared, “I’m going to dance like that someday, too!” A year later, when I was four, my family took me to see The Nutcracker. Immediately, I was hooked. I needed to be part of the action on stage. I needed to dance! That desire only became more intense after seeing Phantom of the Opera at The Majestic Theater. Then, I wanted to be a vocalist, too. The makeup, the lights, the costumes and the music were hypnotic to me.

Anytime I saw a film, concert, or music video that inspired and enticed me. I wanted to be in it. Life just seemed so much more enthralling within the art world. And it is, for me. Tantalized by theatre arts and the world of music, beginning in pre-K and throughout elementary school, I partook in ballet classes. I attended music and voice lessons at the Jewish Community Center, even though I’m not Jewish. I was also part of our church choir. We showcased big theatrical productions in the winter and spring, as well as hymns every Sunday. 

When I got to middle school, I hid myself away artistically, at first, overwhelmed by the culture shock and the harsh adjustment from San Antonio to Lake Travis. In private, I auditioned for Barbizon Modeling and was accepted. In private, I kept singing and dancing. But I chose to focus on volleyball, swimming and academics, instead. In high school, I came out of my shell, once again. After I quit competitive volleyball and stopped swimming at West Austin Athletics, I re-focused my energy on performing arts. I became an Honor Thespian. And I think my favorite production we showcased was Daddy’s Dyin’ Who’s Got the Will? and I got to play Marlene Turnover. 

So, it began with theatres, classes and choirs, year after year. I tried the piano, too, but enjoyed singing and dancing far more than sitting still in one place. Although, I wish I had mastered at least one instrument. Anyway, I grew up in a house of musicians and artists. I am very fortunate to have grown up with such gifted, talented and intelligent individuals. I could go on and on with praise about each member of my family. 

But yeah, as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the performing arts and playing sports. As a kid, I was always torn between the arts and athletics. My first swim team in Kindergarten was the Shavano Sharks, up until my Master’s swim team in college at St. Stephen’s. I would bounce back and forth between my two greatest loves. In college, when I finally had to choose, I chose the arts. A decision I do not regret; alas, it was one of the most challenging choices of my young adult life. True, I am still an athlete—that energy in my heart will never die—but my career and my greatest passions lie within the art world. Art heals me and gives me a purpose in a way sports cannot. However, dance is a sport, too, not just a form of art. Regardless, it’s been a wild adventure ever since I devoted my life to the arts.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?

I laughed when I read this question. No, it has most certainly not been a smooth road, and it still isn’t, especially with COVID-19. Artists all over the world can relate to this struggle. First, the most obvious challenge is that I’m a dyslexic writer, an oxymoron. It took many years, tears, and many successes for me to fully believe: I’m a writer. When it came to my writing, my confidence was intermittent, inconsistent. Even if I always knew from birth, I’m an artist and an athlete. I used to doubt my writing skills. 

Writers are supposed to be flawless at grammar. My dyslexia was and is a constant challenge. For decades, there has been a harsh stigma about dyslexia: if you have dyslexia, you must be incompetent, which is far from the truth. Earlier this year, I saw an article with a video featuring a dyslexic woman, Laura Schifter, that graduated from Harvard. She spoke of her struggles with dyslexia. Right before she attended Ivy League Harvard, an older man said something to Schifter: “Well, if you’re going to Harvard, then you must not have dyslexia.” Oy! It was hard to watch, but she talks about the brutal comments and the misinformed judgments many people hold towards dyslexia. 

For years, I kept my dyslexia a secret from employers. I was advised that no one wants to hire a dyslexic writer. It was implied most editors see a dyslexic writer like a deaf musician, a colorblind photographer, or a one-legged runner. I heard from other professionals that employers see a writer like me as too much work. It’s unfair, it’s wrong, and it’s saddening—but it’s the harsh truth. So I kept my dyslexia secret, which ended up hurting me in the end. Sometimes, I still get hate mail from a reader like, “You should learn to improve your grammar if you consider yourself a writer.” Or people will stop to correct me, mid-sentence, while I’m talking. I’m often treated as incompetent by insensitive people. But, I do not see myself as disabled or having a disability. Regardless, I am blithely aware that my grammar is a bit more “colorful” than most professional writers. 

Thinking back on it, I was always writing. I even had some of my little chapter books laminated. My first research paper for this gifted and talented program was about Ramses II (Ramses The Great). Obviously, I had assistance from my parents, but I still picked the topic, read about it, and put together the project. I’ve always loved reading and writing! And no one should be able to take that away because I’m dyslexic. It makes me sad for younger generations, the children, because what kind of message does that send out. “Kids, you can be anything you want to be, so long as you don’t have a learning disability.” 

It’s funny because I learned to read at the age of three using Hooked on Phonics. So I was already reading chapter books on my own before I even got to elementary school. When I read books, I felt like I was entering this other world of daydreams and imagination. Writing, the written word, was a safe place to have a voice of my own. I loved my diaries! Art is a healthy escape for me from the real world. Through artwork, I can create, express, or alter my reality; convey my mind, heart, and soul in a safe place: light or dark. 

Sometimes it can be frustrating to create art when your mind gets the words, times, and tenses all mixed up. I advise reading aloud, helps you with pronunciation for public speaking, and catch errors or issues with chronological time waves. I hate it when I jump around from the first person to the third person in my diction. The worst! 

Nevertheless, I still struggle between writer versus performing artist: introvert versus extrovert. Initially, I was accepted to Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) to study Media & Performing Arts in my undergraduate program. In my sophomore year, I switched my B.F.A. to Writing and was amongst the first crew of SCAD Writing students to ever complete the program. I recall the exact moment I knew I’d become weary of performing arts. I remember the class and the assignment. Up until then, I loved being on stage! I loved being in the spotlight. I loved role-playing. And I was so thrilled to be centerstage: all eyes on me! 

I was always on a euphoric high each time we began something new. Suddenly, to much surprise, I dreaded playing someone else. I dreaded memorizing someone else’s lines and someone else’s voice. Because I didn’t know my voice. I felt like I’d been roleplaying my whole life and had no idea who I was. I didn’t want to wear a costume anymore. Suddenly, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. I wasn’t as extroverted any more. That’s a long story, too. 

Ultimately, writing helped me rediscover my voice and identity. Writing reminded me of my role in life. Writing helped me begin to heal from any secrets I was harboring. I could rewrite the story or not, but I had the control to make it fact or fiction. After college, I got back into dance and learned belly dancing through Stacey Lizette and Suhaila Salimpour. I performed at restaurants, nightclubs, and parties. Then I got into my Master’s, and I haven’t been on stage in a few years to sing or dance. Not including karaoke. I’ve hidden away, once again, for good and bad reasons. Of course, now I miss being on stage. So, I need to find that perfect ambivert balance of writer and performance artist.

Due to COVID, I’ll probably go digital until the pandemic clears. I do my best to keep my professional writing career separate from my performing arts interests and my nonfiction memoirs. I want employers to see the distinction and that the two are not intertwined. However, I’ve discovered that some employers dislike my modeling and dancing career. They think it’s too sexy or salacious, which saddens me because I’ve never been fired from a single job, and my credentials are pretty solid for my age. Thankfully, many employers do not feel that way and love having artists and creative types onboard. Who I am at the workplace is not who I am on stage or in a photoshoot. We all wear different masks and different costumes at work. I am grateful to everyone that believed in me along the way. I have so much work to do in the future. I am still far from where I need to be. But I am on the road. Books are my next goal.

So let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?

One of the proudest moments of my career is when my editors at WideWorld Magazine in London, UK, commissioned me to interview a photographer for National Geographic and a sponsored athlete for The North Face, Jimmy Chin. They flew me out to Washington DC, where I interviewed Chin at The Madison Hotel before attending a banquet at National Geographic headquarters in his honor. The interviews were published in 2010. In 2019, he won an Oscar for his Documentary, Free Solo. It’s amazing! 

This interview made me internationally published in the US and Europe, a massive step for me in my career. Plus, I’ve adored Nat Geo since I was a child, and this was a dream come true. Mr. Chin was also very kind to me, and I remember that kindness because I was so new to the game and trying not to look or sound like a rookie.

Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?

Well, I’ve learned the hard way that not everyone is eager to help you. Especially if they’re competing for the same goal, you might find cold comfort from those who want to see you fail. Even if they like you, they might be disinterested in assisting you on your journey. And you may never know why. So, I advise going where you’re wanted and trusting your instincts. My advice is to seek mentorship from someone that is smarter than you, possibly older and wiser, but definitely more advanced in their career. You should not be competing with a mentor. You need someone to look up to. Seek out the “angels” of the art world that want to help aspiring artists. People that love and adore the arts and see their value. Also, be sure to remain open-minded to constructive criticism. Negative enforcement is not healthy, and you will know it when you hear it, feel it… Artists can get a little egotistical and hypersensitive when it comes to their craft, and rightfully so. But it’s imperative to be able to take advice from others that hold your best interests. 

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Naomi Whittel: Founder of Reserveage Nutrition has a vision for global wellness

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Naomi Whittel. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Founder and CEO of Reserveage™ Nutrition, Naomi Whittel has dedicated her career to naturally beautify the world with a vision oriented around science, health and wellness. Whittel is a ‘nutritional navigator’ who travels the globe studying various cultures and ecosystems to discover the best standards in nutritional health. Launching her company with four products in March 2009—Reserveage™ Nutrition now offers an extensive list of products ranging from skin hydration, metabolism boosters, anti-aging, cardiovascular support, antioxidants, and much more. Naomi Whittel has received several prestigious awards for her role as a successful female entrepreneur, including the following: the Gold Stevie Winner as Female Executive of the Year and the Silver Stevie Winner as Female Entrepreneur of the Year. “Naomi Whittel is one of the nation’s leading female innovators in the natural products industry. With two decades of experience in developing and managing sustainable companies in the health and wellness sector, she is the founder and CEO of Reserveage Nutrition™ and two sister companies: ResVitale™ and ReBody™. Together these natural health supplement brands have earned over 30 industry awards in four years, and are recognized for their mission to produce life-changing products based on ground-breaking science.”

Recently, Naomi Whittel assented to an interview with a local Arts & Entertainment Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, to talk entrepreneurship and becoming a CEO at the age of 23. Whittel also shared some helpful tips and insights related to wellness. The interview was held within the Press room at Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Nicolette Mallow: On stage, you spoke of age and numbers. You emphasized that a number doesn’t define us no matter how young or advanced in age. Listening to you talk about starting a company that went global and being the CEO at 23 years old is so inspiring to all female (or male) entrepreneurs. However, I also recall during the presentation you mentioned that sometimes in the past you hid the fact you were the CEO because you felt your age might cause others to not take you seriously… How did you overcome the fear of being the youngest? It’s important for us all to learn from our elders or those with the experience of time that exceeds our own. But I have often felt the same way as an artistic professional when I’m the youngest, and often the only female, in a group where everyone else is older. It can be hard to be taken seriously and it can feel discouraging… How did you break free of all that and succeed?

Naomi Whittel: Being a young entrepreneur can be difficult. In hindsight, I wish that I hadn’t always kept it a secret that I was the CEO. But it’s a learning process for everyone starting out. First off, in order to succeed you have to be willing to fail and to be bold. To take risks. Failure is a huge part of success, but so long as you hold fast to your purpose and sustain boldness in all you do. In due time your visions and dreams will transpire. It’s also imperative to have a voice and to be honest with yourself. To know your strengths and weaknesses… Not long ago, I was in a meeting with other entrepreneurs and we were discussing investments. We needed to raise money for something that day and it seemed daunting to the others. At first no one was willing to invest, but I saw no reason to not make a move and act. I was the first one, and the youngest, to offer up a check to invest. Once I made the first move, the others were interested in the investment and we raised the money that day. Boldness goes a long way… Once you harness your internal power and know how to use it in a healthy way. Once you find a vision and hold onto it: falling into success becomes natural.

NM: Speaking of healthy, in regards to nutrition and wellness, it can be daunting for those just starting out with a mission to achieve a better diet or a healthier lifestyle. There are thousands of books, recipes and products out there for people to try. Where to begin? What is your advice for anyone wanting to change their lifestyle and nutritional diet but they don’t know where to start?

NW: Yes there is a lot of information there. I would advise the first step to be the elimination of processed foods. Processed foods do not carry natural nutrients, or often any nutrients, and therefore the body is not getting anything vital or healthy from these processed foods. Processed foods can do more harm than good. Solely because processed foods often carry a lot of chemicals and damaging, artificial substances within them, too. People aren’t always aware that what they are eating isn’t actually food at all… I was fortunate to grow up in a home of science and chemistry with parents focused on a biodynamic, organic lifestyle. However, I want everyone to join me on the journey to wellness no matter how or when their journey begins.

NM: My last question is, for those of us who sustain an overall healthy diet, exercise, drink plenty of fluids, take nutritional supplements and hydrate our skin, hair and nails. For those of us who feel we are nearly doing it all. What is something else that we can do to improve our diet and overall wellness?

NW: Intermittent fasting is something even the pro’s can forget to do. Fasting periodically from 8 PM to NOON has amazing benefits on the body. Intermittent fasting has proven to control blood sugar and insulin. It can promote weight loss and reduce cholesterol levels. Intermittent fasting can even assist with cellular repair or inflammation in the body, reducing stress.

For more information regarding Naomi Whittel’s background story or to view and purchase products online, please visit www.reserveage.com.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

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Life coach Lauren Handel Zander speaks of self-discovery and the power of truth

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Lauren Handel Zander. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Lauren Handel Zander is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Handel Group®, an international private coaching company. Zander is a life coach with a sense of humor and she specializes in bringing dreams and visions to life.On Jan. 16, 2016 whilst she was in attendance of Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas: Zander consented to a short yet insightful interview with A&E Austin Examiner, Nicolette Mallow. Prior to the interview within the Press room, Lauren Handel Zander shared the stage with other talented professionals that included Joan Lunden, Naomi Whittel, Dr. Jennifer Ashton and Dr. Lauren Streicher to present the keynote “Love Your Age”.

Nicolette Mallow: During the presentation, you spoke of the past and hating the shape of your own shadow. That stuck in my mind. The way you described nitpicking yourself so deeply to the point it became absolutely absurd: disliking your literal shadow while walking about… I believe many people can relate to that sort of melancholy unkindness directed to the self. We often speak silently to ourselves, in our mind, and say such horrible things we’d never allow others to say to our face. Ultimately, my questions revolves around this: how did you overcome such negative self-feedback and rewire your mind to see things positively, accurately and with kindness? How did you conquer the inner-voice that was trying to hold you back and distort the truth?

Lauren Handel Zander: Yes; editing the voices can be a challenge. My journey of self-discovery began in my 20’s. The first step was being honest with myself and everyone around me. It’s easy to become afraid to be our own individual. To stay true to ourselves, we must be honest. In the past, I was hiding truths from myself, and others, because I was hiding myself away. I was lying to everybody. I was the epitome of a bad girl. One day I simply decided to reveal everything that was truthful. And that was when my life changed. I was born to be a life coach, it’s in my blood. I just had to learn to edit my own voices and learn to be true to myself, first, before I could coach others.

NM: Once we edit the voices, then we can get to the truth?

LHZ: Absolutely. One of the aspects I love most about my job is that I can get to the root of things. Throughout the process of life coaching, I want to know why someone is doing what they’re doing. I want to understand what’s going on beyond surface level and why they’re feeling whatever it is they’re feeling. I want to understand what they’re thinking. That way I can help find the blocks and I can fix it. Bringing shadows to light helps people reach their highest self. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, an investment, family issues or whether someone is unsure why they’re doing what they’re doing as if running on autopilot… I want to know everything so that we can work on fixing it. I like fixing things. But people have to be willing to do the work.

NM: So you help bring dreams and visions to life?

LHZ: Yes. I like to say that I have ‘a vision for my visions’. Having a vision and following our dreams helps us to reach our highest self. I want people to find the truth and find a vision so they can turn their dreams into a reality.

Lauren Handel Zander is a life coach, university lecturer, public speaker and, above all, a purveyor of the truth. As the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Handel Group®, she has spent over 20 years coaching thousands of private clients: entrepreneurs, couples, families, professors, politicians, Emmy and Academy Award-winning artists, Grammy-winning musicians and Fortune 500 CEOs. Her corporate clients have included executives from Sony BMG, The New York Times, News Corp, J. Walter Thompson Agency, Citibank, Dropbox, LinkedIn, Uniworld, The Gap Inc., BASF, NYU Langone Medical Center, and Vogue. She is a mediator, who has fixed corporate business relationships, mediated contract negotiations, reconciled marriages, and helped resolve complex family issues. In the early 2000s, Lauren created a groundbreaking methodology, The Handel Method®, which she developed and taught at MIT. Her methodology, supported by top educators and psychologists is now being taught at Stanford Graduate School of Business, MIT, NYU, Columbia, Yale Drama School, and Wesleyan, as well as in over 35 other universities and educational progrlauren-zander-candid-2ams across the country.”

www.handelgroup.com

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

nicolette mallow

Celebrity personal trainer Larysa DiDio talks fitness, healing and Kung Fu

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Larysa DiDio. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Celebrity personal trainer and writer Larysa DiDio was a featured fitness instructor at Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit. Sporting hot pink Nike shoes, athletic gear and a stylish braid: DiDio taught her groundbreaking workout, Fit in 10, that maximizes results in only 10 minutes a day. Afterward, DiDio consented to an interview in the Press room with local Arts & Entertainment Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, on Jan. 16, 2016 at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas.

Nicolette Mallow: You’re a remarkable athlete and clearly you posses a strong, resilient body to be such a steadfast, successful and powerful instructor. However, when athletes (male or female) get injured. It can be very difficult, almost emasculating, to feel weak doing something that used to come naturally to our bodies. How do you handle injuries, or what advice to you give clients (athletes) when they are in the recovery process after an injury or surgery? How do you keep the mind focused on the end goal without overworking the body in the process, or feeling as if the body lost its physical power?

Larysa DiDio: Week-to-week progress is how I look at my fitness goals when I am injured. Being kind to ourselves as individuals is also an important factor. Talk to yourself positively—turn the negative into a positive—and the healing process goes a lot smoother. Mind over matter really is a huge part of fitness and staying focused. For instance, I’ve broken my ankles twice. The first time I was really annoyed and frustrated. And that did not help me heal any faster nor did it alleviate the pain. Later on, the second time around when I broke my ankle playing outside with my son. Even though I was not pleased to break a bone: I knew what to expect and I had a positive outlook. I knew that in time my ankle would heal and it wasn’t something that would last forever. The second break was a lot easier and the healing process was far less stressful or straining.

NM: For the beginners just starting out fitness classes with no prior athletic training, it can feel overwhelming and intimidating being around those with athletic skills. What is your advice?

LD: The gym should be a haven for everybody, especially beginners. For beginners, the gym is not a place of competition. It’s completely natural for a beginner to be afraid and there’s no shame in that. I advise those just beginning to enroll in fitness classes and work out in groups. That way everyone is in it together, learning the ropes and finding their strengths and weaknesses… When I started fitness classes as a kid, I watched Jane Fonda videos. I watched her videos so repeatedly the video would skip. Jane Fonda was a great teacher.

NM: Do you believe massage therapy is essential to the fitness lifestyle?

LD: Yes. Massage therapy is absolutely essential. And if people cannot afford massage therapy regularly than they should invest in a foam roller and explore foam rolling exercises. It applies the same kind of pressure and manifests the same results as massage therapy.

NM: Out of all the exercises you have mastered or explored. Do you have a favorite workout?

LD: Yes, I love learning Kung Fu. Martial arts has become my favorite workout! I love learning how to train with weaponry. I love Tai Chi. It’s not only logical so that I can and will defend myself if need be. But it’s very empowering and I love crossing the standard gender roles. It’s a great workout for men and women alike.

“Larysa DiDio is a celebrity personal trainer and fitness author. With over 20 years experience in helping celebrities, Olympians, professional athletes as well as moms, dads, and kids meet their health and fitness goals. Also, an accomplished writer of “Sneaky Fitness: How to Slip Exercise Into Your Kids Everyday”– Larysa has provided exciting articles and content for national and trade publications as well as blogs and websites. She’s currently an expert health and fitness contributor to Prevention Magazine, host of “The Perfect” online videos and host/co-creator of “Strogation” and “Fit in 10” Fitness DVD’s with Prevention Magazine. Larysa has appeared on Good Day NY, Better TV and CBS Morning segments to name a few and has been featured in over 50 national women’s magazine. Larysa spends time at schools, hospitals, wellness seminars, and on television motivating and inspiring others to live a healthy, active lifestyle.”

www.larysadidio.com

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

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Dr. Travis Stork gets to the heart of the matter at Prevention’s R3 Summit

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Dr. Travis Stork. Photography by Jack Plunkett.

Dr. Travis Stork educated listeners about the human heart and how it operates at Prevention Magazine’s 3rd annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on Jan. 16, 2016. Dr. Stork works in the emergency room and he seeks to advise people about the warning signs of heart malfunction and when to seek immediate medical attention. Joining him on stage was R3’s Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, a Board-certified ob-gyn and fellow co-host of the Emmy®- Award–winning show “The Doctors”, ABC Chief Health Correspondent. Together, the two doctors delivered a compelling, interactive, playful and graphic presentation regarding heart disease and other medical miscellany.

Heart disease is the number one killer for both women and men. And Dr. Travis Stork says that too many people neglect the warning signs or the red flags of heart-related health problems due to factors such as lack of knowledge or lack of awareness. Sadly a lot of people are unaware of the symptoms or they unknowingly confuse a heart attack for something less severe like fatigue, numbness, indigestion or nausea. Resulting in a heart that goes untreated, sometimes until it’s too late. “Time is muscle” and Dr. Stork wants everyone to be aware of the facts.

Dr. Travis Stork is an Emmy®-nominated host of the award-winning talk show, ‘The Doctors’, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Duke University as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and earned his M.D. with honors from the University of Virginia, being elected into the prestigious honor society of Alpha Omega Alpha for outstanding academic achievement. Based on his experiences in the ER, Dr. Stork is driven to teach people how to prevent illness before it happens. As a motivational speaker on the topic of health and wellness, Dr. Stork teaches people how to achieve optimal health by focusing on the 200-plus seemingly inconsequential health decisions people make throughout each day.”

Prior to his presentation at Prevention Magazine’s R3 Summit—Nicolette Mallow, an Arts & Entertainment Examiner within Austin—interviewed Dr. Travis Stork in the Press room.

Nicolette Mallow: Working as an ER doctor, obviously you deal with a lot of blood and trauma. You have numerous patients in dire pain and distress, sometimes on the verge of life or death. How do you handle such high volumes of pressure and chaos on a daily basis and remain calm all the while to serve and heal your patients?

Dr. Travis Stork: Being an ER doctor is a lot like anything else. A learned skill. For instance, I am sure when you began writing and interviewing people that it made you nervous. You had doubts, fears and hesitations. Everything can be scary in the beginning. As an ER doctor, I felt all those emotions and fears in the beginning. But as time went by it became more and more of a routine and I overcame my fear. When you have a patient gushing or squirting out massive amounts of blood: you have to learn to overcome the fear, manage the stress and work under pressure.

NM: What is one aspect of being a doctor that Medical school could not prepare you for?

DTS: The healthcare system. It’s a beast. Nothing at school could’ve ever prepared me for that and it’s most definitely a huge problem that I was not prepared for. Fortunately doctors are becoming more vocal about our dysfunctional healthcare system and seek to improve the inadequacies.

NM: A veteran who served our country overseas as a Combat medic in the US Army during times of war once told me that the heart is the most important organ in our body. People often think it’s the brain, but he told me that the brain can die and yet the heart stays awake. Which is what happens when people go into a coma. Do you agree that the heart is our most imperative organ?

DTS: Yes; without a doubt the heart is the most crucial organ. Let’s say someone’s brain is damaged after a heart attack or the brain stops functioning. The result is not because the brain died or was damaged on its own without cause. It doesn’t just happen for no reason. When oxygen flow is cut off from the heart to the brain, tissue dies. The effect of such scar tissue is damage (sometimes permanent damage) to the brain. Our heart pumps out blood and oxygen that flows into every particle, cell and organ within the body.

For those unable to hear Dr. Travis Stork’s live presentation at the R3 Summit, there is plenty of information provided by online. Please refer to his videos “Signs of a Heart Attack” and what happens to the body during a “Heart Attack”.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

Joan Lunden empowers others by sharing her stories of survival and life purpose

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Joan Lunden. Photo Credit: Jack Plunkett.

Joan Lunden delivered a vivacious and heartfelt keynote speech for Prevention Magazine’s third annual R3 Summit held at ACL Live at The Moody Theater within the Warehouse District of Austin, Texas on January 16, 2016. As she stood on the main stage under bright lights and gold curtains: Lunden’s words filled the room like fresh oxygen, purifying the air. Her message and its delivery focused on the vitality of self-care and self-love. Why all women need to discover their life purpose and how to follow our dreams. Lunden also emphasized the utmost importance of sustaining a positive attitude whenever life is feeling dark, dreary or defeating. Her message encouraged all women to take care of their health as if it were a second job in order to avoid a collapse or a burn out.

Ultimately, Lunden speaks out to pass on her life story in order to educate and empower all womankind. Joan Lunden speaks out in hopes of seeing the light within every woman shine bigger and brighter than ever before. To see the stars in every woman take flight. And to help other cancer survivors make it through the hardest of times. Many moments throughout the keynote speech, she addressed all the women in the audience as ‘us’ and ‘we’, unifying women of all age, nationality and ethnicity.

A survivor of breast cancer, Joan Lunden is also an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, health & wellness advocate, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur and mom of seven children. Listening to Lunden’s life stories of survival, television, journalism, family, men, health, sex, life and death—listening to how she succeeded despite any or all challenges or tragedies—was a deeply inspiring message to hear. Prior to Lunden’s keynote, The Master of Ceremonies for R3 Summit, Dr. Jennifer Ashton (a Board-certified Ob-Gyn, author and co-host of the award-winning talk show The Doctors) introduced her colleague to the audience as “The Queen of Good Morning America” and it’s a most befitting, honorary title.

To much delight, after the keynote address Joan Lunden sat down for a brief interview with local A&E Austin Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, to briefly discuss motherhood and her own inner-light.

Nicolette Mallow: Motherhood was a big focus throughout your presentation. And while I do value, honor and respect family traditions. Do you have any advice for women (of any age) that are unable to bear children? Or do you have any words of encouragement for women that choose to not have children in a society where motherhood almost seems to be expected of us?

Joan Lunden: When I first became a mother, I bore three beautiful children the natural way. Later on in time when I wanted to have more children in my 50’s, it was not as easy to get pregnant. I began using fertility methods like in vitro. Eventually it became too complicated. One day my husband lovingly reminded me that it’s not a competition. And I quit in vitro. At that point we sought out a surrogate mother. Our surrogate mother has become like family to us. I now have two sets of twins in addition to my other three kids. And it’s wonderful. I love all seven of my children equally. So, no woman should think just because their body cannot facilitate childbirth that there is anything inadequate with them… On the other hand, I have many female friends that do not have children and are successful and happy individuals. Motherhood does not define a woman even if it can be an all-encompassing trait of what it means to be a woman.

NM: Your career is so impressive and I know you have even more to offer the world in the years to come. However, when was the time in your career that you knew you’d made it?… Your life is so magical on so many levels that it reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor’s line in the Hollywood film based on Tennessee William’s play Suddenly Last Summer. The line when she speaks of ‘the sunshine days’. The days everything was in perfect sync and harmony… When was it that you knew in your heart that it was only going upward in your career from then on?

JL: (she smiled) During my 30’s when I began co-hosting Good Morning America with Charlie Gibson. That was when I knew. He and I used to describe the feeling as “the best seat from which to view the world”. It was an amazing time of my life with such happiness that I will always cherish… Suddenly I was going to The White House, interviewing politicians, rock stars, celebrities and all sorts of prominent figures. I was traveling worldwide covering global news… The happiness we felt on the show is something I will always treasure. Charlie Gibson and I made a strong team and we co-existed together. Which really caught everyone’s attention: seeing a man and woman work together so wonderfully on national television. Having said this, I am sort of a Master of Reinvention, and so I look forward to new journeys and new thrills as I began new media campaigns.

For more information pertaining to Joan Lunden’s life story of survival and success. Or to find health, beauty and lifestyle tips, please visit her website Joan Lunden: Creating a healthy lifestyle for a better tomorrow at www.joanlunden.com.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

Bob Roth talks Transcendental Meditation and dharma at Prevention’s R3 Summit

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Bob Roth. Photo Credit: Jack Plunkett.

Transcendental Meditation teacher Bob Roth spoke on the opening night of Prevention Magazine’s R3 Summit at ACL Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas on January 15, 2016. Self-transcending meditation was the focus of his speech. Bob Roth explained how this unique and timeless form of meditation could transform people’s lives for the better. Living in a such a stressful world where everything around us is moving at a hurried and constant pace, it can be immensely difficult, if not beyond overwhelming, for us to take complete care of ourselves: body, mind and soul. Through the course of his interactive presentation, Roth guided listeners through the scientific process as to how transcendental meditation and its sound mantra practice can help strengthen the brain and relieve trauma, stress or stagnant energy that’s locked in our minds. This form of meditation even lowers high blood pressure, reduces chronic pain and depletes excess amounts of Cortisol levels, a hormone that is directly related to stress. He described the end result like being in a state of dharma.

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Sharing stories of healing and delivering an insightful overview of his life’s work. A career that began in 1968 around the age of 18, when Bob Roth started to change his diet and even studied Prevention Magazine. Roth emphasized and explained the immense empowerment and peace-of-mind that comes from transcendental meditation (TM). He expressed the ‘constellation of positive changes’ and scientifically described the peacefulness that comes from integrating TM® into the routine of our daily lives.

Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and sought-after meditation teachers in America. Over the past 40 years, Bob has taught Transcendental Meditation to many thousands of people and authored an authoritative book on the subject, fittingly entitled, Transcendental Meditation, which has been translated into 20 languages. Bob currently serves as the Executive Director of The David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity which has brought meditation to over 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, to veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.”

Fortunately, Mr. Roth also had a moment to speak with an A&E Austin Examiner, Nicolette Mallow, regarding this ancient form of meditation.

Nicolette Mallow: During your presentation, you mentioned that you’re deeply focused on helping children, homeless shelters and veterans suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And I do believe that people find immense peace and calm through transcendental meditation. The end results are obviously beneficial and worthwhile. But it can be hard for those who’ve endured such trauma to sit still in the silence and close their eyes. How do those beginning TM® overcome the struggle to find the patience and stillness to meditate with such internal angst? How do people overcome their turmoil and meditate in peace?

Bob Roth: That’s a beautiful question… Transcendental meditation doesn’t enter darkness and it’s a very forgiving practice that is practically effortless. Closing our eyes and looking into the dark can be scary. TM® is not scary nor is it a grueling process that sets off triggers or trauma. It’s a very charming, peaceful form of meditation. It does not evoke darkness on any level, and it feels like being in a state of dharma. Therefore people want to repeat it because it brings out positive feelings: a complete state of peacefulness.

NM: Does it take a lot of time to learn and is it hard to integrate into daily routine?

BR: It does not take much time to learn and it’s an easily acquired skill. This is why we have TM® teachers to help others begin the sound mantra meditations over the course of four days so it’s imprinted into memory… Frankly no one has the time. But what’s the alternative? Stress destroys life and it’s toxic. If we make the time twice a day to meditate, the results are remarkable and deliver an inner-calmness, ease, peace and state of happiness. Every aspect of our health and mental wellness improves after meditation. Transcendental meditation protects and regenerates the body. It’s very cleansing and the feeling of awakening and resilience is very purifying.

For more information regarding Transcendental Meditation and where to locate a TM® teacher in your area: please visit their website at http://www.tm.org. Lastly, if you are a veteran or know a loved one that served and is in need of cost-free healing: The David Lynch Foundation also has a division, Operation Warrior Wellness (OWW), that serves veterans in need of healing. Donations to sponsor a veteran can also be submitted on their website.

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in January 2016.

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Prevention Magazine will host its 3rd annual award-winning R3 Summit in Austin

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R3 Summit event logo by Prevention Magazine.

R3 Summit is an award winning one-and-a-half daylong experiential event hosted by Prevention Magazine that provides women with the tools to take action when it comes to their health and happiness. Taking place at ACL Live at The Moody Theater on January 15-16, 2016; the term ‘R3’ represents the three focuses and the overall mission of this extraordinary event: Revive, Refresh, and Reinvent. Only two blocks away from the trails, bridges and waterfront of Lady Bird Lake (Town Lake), the venue is adjacent to the W Hotel within the heart of downtown in the 2nd Street District. Austin is a befitting city to host a sponsored event like this due to the locals and their love for fitness, wellness and beauty. The water also possesses a sense of tranquility, utopia and peacefulness.

Presently, tickets for Prevention’s R3 Summit are available for purchase online. Guests have the option of selecting a one-day or two-day pass and prices do vary. Limited VIP Tickets are also available and a gift bag valued at over $300 is included with a VIP purchase, as well as priority seating. Students can also find tickets on sale at a discount to accommodate the college budget.

The Celebratory Reception on the night of Friday, January 15th will feature live music and tapas from an inventive, multi-course dinner menu curated by Top Chef Masters alum, Chef Monica Pope. Bob Roth will also be speaking about how to harness your inner power to reach your full potential. “Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and sought-after meditation teachers in America. Over the past 40 years, Bob has taught Transcendental Meditation to many thousands of people and authored an authoritative book on the subject, fittingly entitled, Transcendental Meditation, which has been translated into 20 languages. Bob currently serves as the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity which has brought meditation to over 500,000 inner-city youth in underserved schools in 35 countries, to veterans and their families who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and women and children who are survivors of domestic violence.”

The program of events hosted by R3 will also entail fitness and body sculpting classes, tastings and cooking demonstrations by top chefs, one-on-one beauty consultations, and wellness workshops. Additionally, all guests will be served a delicious breakfast, lunch and other tasty snacks on Saturday, January 16th. Attendees can also participate in free yoga all day. And all attendees will receive a custom-designed Prevention R3 reusable gift bag. Furthermore, main stage panel discussions will last from 9:30 A.M. to 4:45 P.M. on Saturday, January 16th.

There are numerous speakers included on the program and the full list can be found online. Doctors, physiologists, nutritionists, chefs, motivational speakers and artists of various sorts will be present at the event. A few of the confirmed speakers for the third annual R3 Summit include the following:

  • Joan Lunden – Keynote Speaker, award-winning journalist, bestselling author, health and wellness advocate, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, and a mom of seven children.
  • Dr. Travis Stork – Emmy®‐nominated host of the award-winning talk show, The Doctors, and a board-certified emergency medicine physician.
  • Lizzie Velasquez – motivational speaker, author and activist, A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story.
  • Chad Sarno – VP of Plant-Based Wellness for Rouxbe Online Culinary School.
  • Monica Pope – James Beard nominated Houston Chef and Restauranteur, Top Chef Masters.
  • Mary Joan Cunningham – health and wellness activist, creator of #ThrivewithMS and motivational speaker on ‘How to Rise Above Any Diagnosis’.

To purchase tickets online or obtain additional information pertaining to the schedule, speakers, sponsors and event times: please visit the official website at http://www.preventionr3summit.com.

“Prevention is the nation’s leading healthy lifestyle brand, with a U.S. magazine audience of 7.5 million readers, 34 million readers outside the U.S. and a top digital destination that has 6.5 million unique visitors each month, 15 million page views per month, and 4.3 million newsletter subscribers.”

Note: This article was originally published on Examiner.com in October 2015. 

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