Miss Amazing

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When she was just thirteen years old, Jordan Somer had a desire to provide the opportunities that she had received through pageantry for the female athletes that she met at the Special Olympics. It was this combination of creativity and passion that gave birth to a new program for girls and women with disabilities. Jordan took the premise of pageantry, a vehicle that she had always used to expand her potential, and made it accessible and empowering for the female athletes that she had met at the Special Olympics. Just a few months after the idea’s conception, she held the first Miss Amazing Pageant in November of 2007.  This inaugural event was a pure and powerful celebration of abilities that continues to be a reference point for their mission today.

Jordan coordinated the first Miss Amazing Pageant in her hometown of Omaha, NE and became hooked. Jordan held the Miss Amazing Pageant on an annual basis and, upon receiving a Teen Nick HALO Award in 2010, began using her newfound resources to expand the program to other states. Jordan has been honored with the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a Daily Points of Light Award, and a Silver Prudential Spirit of Community Award and was selected to be in the top 30 of L’Oreal Paris’ 2014 Women of Worth for her work with Miss Amazing.

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What has been your greatest inspiration?

I am inspired by anyone with grit. It's my favorite quality. The most worthwhile and status quo-shattering endeavors always require a level of courage and stick-with-it-ness that is hard to come by. Through Miss Amazing, I get to meet and speak with women that, despite being held up against low expectations their entire lives, have the grit and courage to push back and fight for their rights and for the rights of others. 

What has been the highlight of your journey?

There have been so many peaks over the last 11 years! For now, I would say that my highlight was this August at the sixth annual National Miss Amazing summit. I worked with a team of incredible volunteers to bring 140 outstanding girls and women with disabilities and their families to Chicago for a truly moving celebration and meeting of the minds. That national summit was a real-life embodiment of the forward-thinking community that Miss Amazing has become - and a reminder of how much our movement has grown since the beginning. 

What has been the greatest challenge? 

My greatest challenge has been staying ahead of such rapid growth. The small community event that I organized with my family and friends when I was a teenager became a nationwide non-profit organization with programs in 9 states over the course of a year. Ever since then, my learning curve has been very steep. We have needed to simultaneously produce quality programs, evaluate areas for improvement, and build out the proper organizational infrastructure that a national program requires. However, I think that it was really a blessing that I was thrown into it. I wasn't really given the time to doubt my abilities or second-guess the idea, nor did I have the knowledge at the beginning to know what I didn't know. 

How can fellow Jane's get involved?

Jane's can join our online community by following us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter (all @missamazinginc) or by going to missamazing.org to sign up for our newsletter. They can also volunteer at a local Miss Amazing event by going to missamazing.org/find-your-state. If a Jane wants to do even more she can give to our Giving Tuesday giving campaign through Facebook on November 27th (Facebook and PayPal are matching donations!) or she can assemble a committee to host an annual Miss Amazing event in New Jersey or New York. We also love creative partnerships and are always excited to chat with people who are motivated by our mission and want to do more. 

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Jordan graduated from NYU with a degree in Media, Culture, and Communication. She is now the full-time Executive Director of Miss Amazing Inc. and looks forward to a life dedicated to making certain that girls and women of all kinds can be heard, valued, and empowered to reach their greatest potential.

#Purdiebrows

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This month’s #JaneDID rockstar is our friend, microblading artist Purdie Baumann. Purdie first met our co-founders, Jacey and Dani dancing for the Radio City Rockettes She was also one of the founding instructors at Jane DO.

Purdie has transferred her artistry and creativity into making women feel strong and beautiful by giving them stunning new brows! 

Full, fluffy eyebrows are the latest trend and Purdie is here to help create that perfect eyebrow look of today! Microblading is a semi-permanent tattoo of the eyebrow, making precise hair like strokes into the skin using a small hand tool and pigment.

Microblading is a very natural way to enhance your own brows, or build hairs where there are no hairs. This process allows her to re-shape and create an eyebrow that has never been full and fluffy, or that has been "over-tweezed" in the 80s and 90s when the thin brow was in!

Today's "brow" is back to natural, bringing back a fuller fluffier brow. Microblading is for men and women. Purdie loves making people feel fabulous and believes “brows are the window frame to the eyes.”

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Jacey’s brows

 Dani’s brows

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Purdie Brows is making art in the beauty industry! Read more about the microblading process Purdie does here. Purdie is a Jersey City resident and a forever Jane. We love you Purdie, keep kicking a$$ and making people feel confident and beautiful! #JaneDID

For bookings and information, please DM her on instagram at @purdiebaumann

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Literally, let that shit GO

This month's ROCKSTAR Jen Gonzalez, is a respected colon hydrotherapist. In the spirit of "letting that shit GO," this Jane started Doody Free Girl in an effort to build awareness around the importance of bowel health with regards to disease, depression, repression, social anxiety, skin issues, and weight management.

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Jen received her certification in colon hydrotherapy in 2009. Inspired by the book The Raw Food Detox Diet by Natalia Rose, she started seeing Gil Jacobs (the colon hydrotherapist featured and highly recommended in the book) religiously. Gil is known as the Godfather of Colonics in NYC. He taught her much about what she knows and encouraged her to consider colon hydrotherapy as a profession.

Jen says, "I founded Doody Free Girl in 2012 in an effort to erase the social stigma surrounding our human right to take a shit." 

Colon hydrotherapy cleanses the last five feet of our intestinal tract known as the large intestine, or the colon. The colon is our body’s septic system. Everything our body needs to rid itself of, including metabolic waste, gets discarded in the colon. When we are backed up, all of our bodily processes slow down, including metabolism. The gravity-fed method of colonics is the most gentle, yet effective method of colonic that used to be employed in hospitals before pharmaceuticals really became a thing. There is no machine or chemicals involved, just an elevated tank of filtered water, which allows gravity to pull water in and out of the body.

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You can find out more about Jen by listening to this podcast on Beauty Inside Out with renowned nutritionist Kimberly Snyder. 

Her goal has always been to create a safe, fun & inviting environment for everyone to talk shit and then literally and figuratively let it all go. Life is too short to be full of shit! Rock on Jen! #janeDID #letthatshitGO

More about Jen:
Cap Beauty Blog
Poo-Pourri Blog

 

Katelyn gives your "I Do's" a new do!

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Katelyn Stanis' father wanted desperately to write a eulogy that would honor how he felt about his father (her grandfather) after he passed away this July. But, no matter how many times he reworked each paragraph, he couldn't capture what was in his heart. Katelyn rewrote the eulogy and in the process, learned that she loved giving life to others emotions.

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She opened her own digital based business this summer as a wedding toast-writer, Wedding Words. She works with brides and grooms to "ghostwrite" their wedding vows. Everyone has heartfelt emotions they want to share, but the tricky part is trying to articulate those feelings. That's where Katelyn comes in. Her goal is to collaborate with couples to create wedding vows that honor their love story and make the bride or groom beyond excited to deliver their words.

"My grandfather always supported my writing and it fills me with joy to know that he has inspired me to continue with my talents even after he's gone." - Katelyn Stanis

Getting hitched? Be sure to check out her services here. We are so proud of you, @KatelynStanis! She #JaneDID those I Do's!

Taking education into her own hands...

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Shelley Skinner had a life changing realization that reset the course of her personal and professional life 10 years ago. Her daughter Ella was about 3 (she is now 14 going on 25) and Shelley started looking into the local public school options for her education.  Her research left her enraged, as most of local Jersey City Pubic Schools were failing despite being funded over 20K per student annually.

She only knew one politician, former Ward E Councilman Steven Fulop.

Figuring as an elected he must have some responsibility in school quality, Shelley took matters into her own hands, copying over 70 of her nearest and dearest parents and community members demanding to know what he was going to do about it.  She found that Jersey City Public Schools were under state control and as a city councilman, the governance of schools were way outside of Fulop's set of responsibilities. Instead of putting Shelley in her place, Steve encouraged her to organize parents, get involved politically if she wanted to effect change.

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She took on this challenge and, with his mentorship, organized hundreds of parents to get involved in board of education elections. This eventually led to Shelley managing Steve's 2nd council race in 2009, as well as making a professional change and working in Education Advocacy. Today she is the Executive Director of Better Education for Kids, an education advocacy organization focused on advocating for policy to improve educational outcomes for low income and minority children. Shelley is also proud to be the President of the Learning Community Charter (LCCS) School Board and to be named in the top 100 most Influential Policy Makers in NJ.

We love you and are so so proud of you, @shelskinner. Thanks for showing us what its like to kick ass and take names. She sure #JaneDID it. 

 

Bad ass optometrist Julia helps us see clearly

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Jane DO devotee Julia Dunnavant began her journey to Optometry when she was 14 years old, learning how to use contact lenses in her eye doctor's office. "Hey mom, I can do this for a living." While her mom thought she meant wearing contact lenses but she meant being an eye doctor. And she MEANT it. 

She graduated from college with a degree in Art History (Studying for an organic chemistry final while reading 100 pages about Renaissance tapestries... BADASS) and continued to pursue her doctorate degree at the SUNY College of Optometry in Manhattan. After graduating in 2015, she started working in opticals asking "what's better, 1 or 2?" for 8 hours straight without a lunch break just to pay the bills. She realized that she could do better because leaving work feeling beat up and under appreciated is not what she worked hard for her whole life. That's how she found Savoy, Siegel and Desai Optometrists (and Jane DO!) right in the heart of downtown Jersey City 1.5 years ago. She treats 30 patients a day - managing ocular emergencies and treating diseases for a living. With patients ranging from 6 months old to 96 years old, her exams vary from the basic eye check up and contact lens fitting to helping patients cope with vision loss from uncontrolled blood pressure/diabetes or progressive glaucoma. 

She learned the true importance of what she does in February 2016 when her mom, who had been living with stage 4 breast cancer for 6 years, called her to say that she was experiencing double vision. Julia worked closely with her mother's oncology team to help diagnose a late stage complication of metastatic cancer called Neoplastic Meningitis. Her mom passed away a year later - 6 months past what her doctors had predicted because of Julia's early detection and persistence. 

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We love you, @_jsd888. You #JaneDID it. Keep inspiring all of us to DO good for others.