#Empowerista

Focus Magazine in partnership with Alex Wehrley brings you #Empowerista | Featuring, a series of inspiring conversations with women in our local community.


Dana Ward
You may have seen Dana Ward hosting for Clevver for years. But what you didn’t see was her dream and hard work behind the scenes to create a consumer product that empowers women. After three years of development, Dana and her partner launched PreHeels and made the business their full time venture. She tells us about getting started, overcoming obstacles, and following her passion, despite leaving a great opportunity.


The Bella Twins
The Bella Twins talk about how they’ve used their voice to show that women should be equal to men in the WWE. Plus, they tell us about their new female empowering panty line with a purpose, Birdiebee.


Ana Kasparian
Ana Kasparian got her foot in the door at The Young Turks as a temporary producer. Her courage to ask the CEO for a permanent position and her desire to be a truthful journalist has kept her there for a decade. Despite getting higher paying offers elsewhere, Ana chooses to stay at The Young Turks where she can share an unfiltered political perspective that isn’t governed by advertising dollars. Plus, she shares how she deals with trolls – and her take on the presidential election.


Jill Bigelow
This week, Alex Wehrley sits down with the founder of Mama Strut by PELV-ICE to discuss how they’re filling a gap in postpartum care for moms. After Jill Bigelow, (a mother herself), discovered a frozen glove was the common solution for pain after childbirth, the idea for Mama Strut was born. Along with providing this wearable soft brace for moms, PELV-ICE works to change the conversation around childbirth, in a society that thinks bouncing back means instant weight loss and looking good. Plus, we discuss the United States’ high maternal mortality rate, and how to balance running a business and motherhood.


Jesse Golden
This week, Alex Wehrley chats with Jesse Golden who is a yogi, mom, model, business woman, and so much more. She talks about daring to step outside the box society often wants to put us in, in order to live a dynamic life. Also, how she thrives with rheumatoid arthritis and finds empowerment through the team of women in her life.


Melissa Boloña
Melissa Boloña, a model, actress and philanthropist, knew she wanted to be an actress from a young age, but she also got a degree in marketing as a fallback. Thanks to hard work, staying true to herself and daring to go for her dreams, she doesn’t have to fall back on anything but her acting chops.

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Amy Paffrath
You’ve seen Amy Paffrath on E! News, VH1’s Dating Naked and in a national Amazon commercial, and nowadays you’ll find her working out, writing and meditating more often. When the TV host and actress wasn’t brought on for another season of Dating Naked, she chose to see the change in a positive light. The extra time and space gave her the chance to reflect on (and pursue) what she really wants. Hear how she got to this empowered place (hint: it wasn’t immediately!) and what she’s up to now.


Courtney Friel
Genetics, an attempt to be more outgoing, and a desire to numb out negative news stories were a few of the things putting KTLA’s Courtney Friel on a path of addiction. For years, she was a work hard, play hard kind of girl. While her career was thriving at her former network, Fox News, viewers would probably never have guessed that she was abusing alcohol, cocaine and prescription drugs. An intervention, rehab, motherhood and meditation, all led to her new and happier lifestyle, going on seven years sober. For the first time publicly, Courtney speaks about this dark journey with a light at the end of the tunnel.


Angela Davis
Alex Wehrley sits down with Angela Manuel Davis at the shoot for her AMDIO Method, recently previewed by Oprah’s OWN Network, as a 21 Day Motivation & Movement Challenge. Angela also recently made Oprah’s SuperSoul 100 list. As a former member of the USA track and field team, Angela now uses her athletic ability as a vehicle to inspire. In this interview, she explains how she believes we are all called to inspire.


Kim Rocco Shields
Kim Rocco Shields changes the way we view the LGBT community through her film Love Is All You Need? The award-winning feature film started out as a short. Many people told her a dramatic film about straight people living in a gay world wouldn’t work. After it got over 20 million hits and went viral in many countries, Kim knew she was on to something, and it inspired her to make the full feature. Kim says empathy is the most powerful tool to drive the message of abolishing prejudice and bullying.


Ashley Stahl
Career Coach, Ashley Stahl, teaches us how to find our passion and land more job offers. From learning how to connect with people to intentional networking to the perfect elevator pitch, Ashley has cracked the job search code. Plus, we learn about her journey from minimum wage to a managerial role at the Pentagon. Now she’s sharing her wisdom on how to land the job you love with other Empoweristas.


Tiffany Hakimianpour
This week Alex Wehrley sits down with Tiffany Hakimianpour, the founder of the Handstand app. Despite being a young, female, first-time founder in a male dominated industry, Tiffany had the passion, perseverance and patience to bring her revolutionary fitness app into fruition. Tiffany shares how she got the idea for personal trainer on-demand technology, overcame her self-doubt and perfectionism, and how she leads her business.


Heather McDonald
You probably saw Heather McDonald on E!’s Chelsea Lately, and now you can find her doing stand up around the country and bringing you weekly giggles on her podcast, Juicy Scoop. In this interview, Heather talks about women coming together, the Kardashians and her family.


Laurel House
Laurel House, a dating coach on E!’s Famously Single, explains how to:
-Understand what you need, versus what you want
-Date on purpose… Or in other words, communicate who you are and what you’re looking for
-Create a memorable connection on a first date and beyond
-Be a person you would want to date
-Redefine what a fairytale romance looks like
-Deal with the pressure of your “biological clock” ticking
-Maintain a good relationship when you’re in one


Rachael McCrary
While working in the lingerie industry, Rachael McCrary saw and heard firsthand how lingerie often disempowered women. The advertisements in particular often left women feeling they weren’t beautiful and could never reach the beauty standard being showcased. When it came to shapewear, it was marketed as something that should be hidden, and it’s nude color made it look like bandage…. So not sexy. Instead of continuing to work for a company that played by these rules, Rachael chose to start her own and change the rules. Alex Wehrley talks to her about how she started Jewel Toned and its empowering, body-positive message. For more information, head to shopjeweltoned.com


Lauryn Evarts
In this week’s episode, Lauryn Evarts of The Skinny Confidential gets candid about her blog, the pressure that comes with being in the public eye and how to have balance and boundaries when you work with your significant other. Plus, why she is perfectly fine with simply being engaged and why she is not in a rush to get married.


Danielle Cuccio
Danielle Cuccio found her passion where beauty and yoga intersect. Growing up in a family with a beauty background, a love for beauty was in Danielle’s blood. After studying at UCLA, she was drawn to beauty school where she became an esthetician. Still she felt her new role was inconclusive. This dancer turned yogi, discovered beauty was more of an inward journey. No facial could give a person the glow they get from yoga, and she decided it was her calling to share this with the world. Since then, her beauty and yoga connection has expanded beyond the mat. Her blog The Beauty Blender shares tips on beauty, health, happiness and yoga. And after getting asked by clients about her DIY yoga lotions, oils and sanitizers, she started Cuccio Somatology to create and sell these products for others.lients about her DIY yoga lotions, oils and sanitizers, she started Cuccio Somatology to create and sell these products for others. www.cucciosomatology.com www.thebeautyblender.com


Lauren Gores Ireland
In our first episode of #Empowerista, Alex Wehrley interviews the popular and inspirational lifestyle blogger, Lauren Gores Ireland. Lauren shares about her journey going from a local news anchor to the blogger behind You & Lu. She talks taking risks, facing fears, dealing with haters and celebrating it all with cupcakes and champagne.


Eden Sassoon
In this week’s episode of #Empowerista, Eden Sassoon, the daughter of legendary beauty icon, Vidal Sassoon, talks about her self-love journey. Although Eden says it’s been a lifelong journey, it was around the time of her father’s death she chose to continue her family’s legacy in order to have the biggest impact — which is her ultimate mission. She believes the best way to lead and empower others is through being a living example. The example she lives includes choosing sobriety, working out daily, eating healthy, getting a full night’s sleep, being present and constantly looking inward.


Brittany Bell
#Empowerista creator, former Miss Wisconsin USA & 2015 Miss USA co-host, Alex Wehrley, sits down with a former Miss USA & the creator of SheIsMore.com, Kristen Dalton Wolfe, and actress & the reigning Miss Guam, Brittany Bell, to talk about how pageants empower.


Rachel McCord
Rachel McCord, the founder of The McCord List, first moved to Los Angeles to support her TV star sister, AnnaLynne McCord. After battling with depression during her early Hollywood years, Rachel decided to: no longer see herself as a victim, surround herself with empowering people, and turn her pain into her purpose. Thanks to her new mindset, deep desire to make an impact and the positive influence her husband, who launches brands, had on her — The McCord List was born. Now Rachel is living a fabulous life and teaching others how to do the same, through her blog, events and influencer-brand collaborations.


Nia Sanchez
Alex Wehrley catches up with Miss USA 2014, Nia Sanchez, in Las Vegas the day before the Miss USA 2016 telecast. Nia tells us about her early pageant years when she wasn’t being true to her authentic self, because of the influence of others, and how it negatively impacted her performance. After taking a year off to focus on herself and get in touch with who she was and what made her feel best, Nia came back to the pageant world, won Miss Nevada USA and Miss USA and placed 1st runner-up at Miss Universe. She also fills us in on her exciting past year which included tying the knot, the launch of Universal Confidence and becoming an ambassador for taekwondo.


Katharine Emmer
After trying (and failing) to land TV & film roles for about seven years, Katharine Emmer hired herself. She went from nannying to acting, directing, producing and writing for her first (and so far only) film, Life in Color. Determined to make her first film the right way, she asked filmmaker friends lots of questions, did her research and built a team of passionate people. This detail-oriented, figure-it-out, risk-taking, favor-asking attitude paid off. The film was accepted into South by Southwest and won awards at two other U.S. film festivals. In addition to sharing her journey, Katharine explains the importance of hiring more female filmmakers and what we can do to support them.