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Looks aren’t everything, they are the only thing

April 1st, 2019

By Sumer Dene

My mom was a model in the 1990s. I traveled with her as a baby at the height of her career. I was modeling in New York and traveling 20 years later. I had a manager in New York, a contract with MSA models in Los Angeles, and boutique agencies along the East Coast. I booked a national broadcast fitness commercial and was fortunate to be featured on the cover of magazines and a book. I flew alone on an airplane for the first time when I was 7 years old, and lived in small towns and big cities all over America. Here are some lifelong lessons and tips I learned from traveling and working as a model.

1. Less is more. If it doesn’t make you happy, get rid of it. I learned to get rid of the “junk” in my life in order to make room for what truly matters. Nothing you buy will add up to what happiness feels like.

2. Be Comfortable in your own skin. I felt like I had to fit a certain mold in order to be beautiful. We all come in different shapes and sizes, yet industry values numbers and symmetry. Much of what you see in advertising campaigns is photoshopped and curated by an industry obsessed with measurements and follower count. Is it ironic only an elite few determine the standards of beauty? People who measure value by appearance and status lead miserable lives. Be happy with who you are.

3. Just say “NO.” When you set boundaries, you respect yourself. Moreover, say no with diction. Make sure your voice is heard loud and clear. Remember, you are a product with a short shelf life. This is the reality because in modeling looks aren’t everything, they are the only thing. Know your worth and say no when something instinctively doesn’t feel right.

4. The importance of Healthcare and Skincare. I struggled with acne for years and tried every possible remedy to manage breakouts. I was prescribed expensive medicine and harsh chemicals that rarely produced positive results. Through research, I found effective and inexpensive products that personally worked for me. Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin is a natural supplement to maintain overall health and wellness. Nuvothera’s Turmeric combined with curcumin is super-micronized to achieve maximum absorption, potency, and bioactivity without chemical enhancers. Turmeric and its unique compound curcumin heal the gut and the body. Turmeric and curcumin reduce inflammation, help balance blood sugar levels, improve circulation, rejuvenate skin and retain moisture, as well as detox the liver. Since using Nuvothera’s Super-Micronized Turmeric Curcumin, I’ve noticed a major difference. I feel healthier, happier, and my skin is glowing. My choice of face wash is Cetaphil Facial cleanser. It gently cleanses skin without stripping natural oils. I apply a thin layer of Differin gel every night, a topical retinoid treatment that restores skin texture and prevents breakouts. These three products have revolutionized my skincare and healthcare.

5. Be prepared. No one tells models to develop self esteem before marketing items like makeup that covers the face and clothes that expose the body. This could be done by creating programs that teach young models strong core values and a positive self image. How are you supposed to know who you are when you hide behind a mask? The advice models get is to be natural. It’s easy to magnify flaws and lose sight of who you are when you live in a facade.

6. Take care of yourself. It’s just a job. It doesn’t define you. There is an obligation to be “picture perfect” in the competitive world of modeling. You are constantly sized up and celebrated by the way you look. To take care of yourself is a form of self respect, and no job is worth losing your sanity or self-worth.

7. Happiness is key. Home is a mindset, not just a location. Home is where you feel most comfortable to be yourself. You can learn from every place you visit and each person you talk to. Nothing has meaning until you give it meaning. Be happy where you are, regardless of outside circumstances.

Healthcare Nation

December 1st, 2018

By Sumer Dene

Change is constant, and culture is changing. A society’s principles and policies represent a nation’s way of life. We all have freedom of choice, the natural rights inherent to all. According to the United Nations, Human rights include the right to life, freedom, liberty, work, education and even to enjoy the arts. However, in our Democracy, do we have the right to truth and transparency in public and private institution? What is the price placed on quality of life and well-being?

A ‘conscious corporation’ succeeds by recognizing a need in society and satisfying that need in the most effective, responsible way. Consumer expectations evolve as we empower each other and find true purpose for the greater good. In the media age, there is no gap between corporation and consumer and no limit to how far we can go together. There is no room left for egos and agendas as we face fundamental issues across the nation, within industries and throughout humanity. Difficulties stem from misunderstanding of ourselves and others, misleading claims in media and advertisements, and insufficient research sponsored by parties of interest. We are inundated with information as we search for innovative ways to discover life-changing medicine, communicate shared value systems, and allocate resources efficiently. If people are confused and distracted, it’s far more difficult to think critically and make imperative, conscientious decisions. Marketing is everything. How something is presented to you determines what you see.

A study from BBC indicates pharmaceutical companies spend more on marketing drugs, in some cases twice as much, than they do on developing them. BBC concludes profit margins are often much larger than money spent on research. Furthermore, companies have been faced with multi-billion dollar fines for malpractice and misbranding unsafe drugs. According to Reuters, an international news agency, “U.S. prices for the world’s 20 top-selling medicines are, on average, three times higher than in Britain.” In America, prescription costs are based on economic incentive and marketable value. Although, by being innovators and leader in research and technology, we help subsidize the rest of the world’s drug costs. The FDA works closely with pharmaceutical companies to determine which drugs can be marketed to the public. In recent years, FDA regulations are not as rigorously regulated. Competition and variety in a free market, in theory, would help lower prices of medication and encourage Americans to be more involved with their health. However, Consumers pay for brand names, not the effectiveness of drugs and the strained relationship between patients and healthcare providers lead to an overmedicated, mismanaged system.

America spends the most per capita and GDP on healthcare, yet has less than average life expectancy rates and higher rates of chronic conditions, obesity, and infant mortality. The U.S. Government mandates outdated dietary guidelines that advise a low-fat diet, which is linked to poor mental health, hormonal imbalances, inflammation and higher risks of insulin resistance and diabetes. The Food and Drug Administration allows companies to market processed, chemically engineered food that is highly addictive and unhealthy, not to mention cheap to produce. A recent study at the 2018 Experimental Biology conference examined the biochemical effects of artificial sweeteners on the body.

Data suggests artificial sweeteners alter how the body ‘processes fat and obtains energy.’ Top researchers at the Center for Science in the Public Interest agree, “Artificial colors pose risks of cancer, allergies and hyperactivity in children and should be banned.” Factory-farmed animals are cramped in small cages and injected with artificial hormones and antibiotics. If one animal becomes sick, they all are treated with antibiotics in order to reduce need for individual care. However, unnecessary use of antibiotics can lead to antibiotic-resistant organisms that propagate in dangerous numbers and enter the food supply. In the US National Library of Medicine, researchers conclude Antibiotic resistance is an emerging public health crisis and the effect on human health is yet to be determined. Experts agree, “Given divergent stakeholder interests and inadequate research to date, public policy discussions of this issue are often contentious and highly polarized.”

A change of perspective begins with grassroots effort. The goal is to spread knowledge and build a connection that links individuals, international policy and industry to global needs. Consumers want dedicated research, consistency and transparency in public and private industry as well as honest, sustainable product development. After all, people are far more important than profit, and we’re all people looking to make a difference while making a living.

Academic institutions, government agencies, non-profit organizations and industry lead the way to a future of preventative medicine, technological development, educational programs, and breakthroughs in research. Organizations can change culture through collaboration and honest communication. They can create a value system that measures value and outcome on a large-scale by setting a criteria and specific goals. Professionals from many backgrounds could develop teams to measure progress and cost-effectiveness, working together is simple when you speak a universal language.

For the holiday season, I encourage you to continue to be active in festive activities and involved with your health. Communicate with friends and family and do your own research to improve health and wellness. Eat good food but be mindful of what you’re consuming. Most of all, be grateful and give thanks for all of the blessings in your life. Let happiness, love and spirit follow us into the new year.