Erica Odell, Book Reviewer And Coffee Enthusiast

MY PASSION IS BOOKS AND COFFEE! They pair so well together. My favorite days are when I am cuddled up with a book in one hand and coffee in another, ” wrote Erica Odell, a popular instagramer, and book reviewer. We’re both communicating via email. “Honestly,” she adds, “The most exciting part of what I do is everything! This may sound nerdy, but reading is exciting! Climbing into a book and experiencing a new story is the best! Writing a review afterward is actually the hardest part because I never want to spoil the book for someone else.

Erica Odell lives somewhere in the beautiful state of California—perhaps, in Las Angeles, or, in San Fransico, close enough to admire the Golden Gate bridge and all its nobilities; because I’m sure the view would be breathtaking. But, let’s not speculate. Let’s deal with facts and stay as close to the truth as possible—because, after all, “Honesty,” wrote Thomas Jefferson,” is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” And so, as we move forward with this, it would not only be wise to not assume anything, to present the most honest and factual portrayals of Erica, and her three most important passions; coffee, reading, and book reviewing, but also, it is my belief that such facts will prove how creative, dedicated, and talented she really is.

Erica first became passionate about reading when she was in the fourth grade, where she first read the book; “Holes,” by Louis Sacher. In case you haven’t read it, and although I am not a great book reviewer like Erica, I will try my best to brief you about the book that she first read. The book “Holes” was about a kid named Stanley Yelnats (or, “Caveman,” as the boys at Camp Green Lake liked to call him), who was mistaken for a crime that he did not commit. And despite the very fact that he was innocent, the majority of the people who came into contact with him assumed that he was and, had to be, guilty. And because they assumed so, without giving him the benefit of the doubt, they played right into one of the lessons that the author, Louis Sacher, was hoping for all of us to avoid; i.e., judging others by their looks, or by their unfortunate mistakes in life.

And since that day, during fourth grade, when young Erica finished thumping through Louis Sachers’ book; by learning to not judge a book by its cover, or anything else for that matter, has given her the opportunity to, later in life, write honestly about many of the complicated characters that she has read about.

Erica has read and, continues to read, so much that she sometimes get, what she calls; bookhangovers. And unlike getting plenty of rest, taking a break, or even taking a hot shower, like some would suggest, Erica, instead, turns to her vice; coffee and more books. “Sometimes after I read a really good book, I cannot stop thinking about it. Which makes it difficult to start a new book, ” she writes. “I recently just finished A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas and it was amazing! Her next book does not come out to May, so I’m currently in a book hangover. The only way for me to get out of a book slump is to continue to pick up different books until one catches my interest.

Crazy about books would not be the correct prescription for Erica—-more like; mad for books. In fact, so much so, that, if given the choice to do one thing all day, she said she would; “Read, write, read and then write some more.” And not only that, but she also gets moody over her books, too. “I’m such a moody reader, ” she writes. “I can pick up a book and if another book on my shelf is calling to me, I can easily discard the book I was reading to start a new one. Or if the book does not interest me within the first few chapters I will not finish it. There are so many good books out there, I don’t want to waste time reading one I do not like.”

Erica’s lax concern for boring books, and the inclination to fill her valuable time with books that are worth it, is the thread that runs through all of her amazing book reviews; which, by the way, are always short, concise, and very practical. Erica feels that if a review is short, concise and sweet enough, people such as herself, will not waste their precious time having too many bookhangovers—or, getting moody because of how disinteresting their book choices might have been. In one of her most recent book review, entitled; “This is where it ends” by Marieke Nijkamp, she writes:

A quick read, but not because it was light and charming, in fact, it was just the opposite. I just could not put it down. Marieke Nijkamp delivers a story that is very current; a horrible act that has been seen across the globe. Shootings. The story follows four different perspectives over fifty-four minutes of terror. The story’s obvious theme is surviving the high school shooting. However, the different perspectives also show the characters surviving through love, life, high school and the most important, grief. For grief is a very powerful emotion and when not healed properly, can be expressed in some pretty horrific ways. The only thing I wished the book had more of was the back story of the individual characters. This is just me being picky, though. While the characters are living this traumatic experience, their past comes up in thoughts. This way secrets are shared and reasons explain current actions. This book does not make me feel happy, but rather sad for humanity. Nevertheless a good read.

For the majority of us out there, who cannot simply dive right into a book without, first, reading a review about it, we know that writing a good review takes time and talent. However, for the few of us who prefer to bypass reading the review section of a book, it might be hard for us to appreciate how important Erica’s work is. Writing a review, let alone, a great one, takes time, patience, and dedication. One must truly have a passion for books—for their intelligence, their wonder, their reveries, and their shapes, sizes, and colors. To a book reviewer, books are more than paper and words, they are gateways to other worlds—to seeing different perspectives and to discovering something new and rich about their own selves.

For those like Erica, who knows the benefits of good book reviews—like, the plenty of time you save from trying to force yourself to read a bad book—the trick to writing them, however, can be more complicated than their outcome. For instance, an effective book reviewer, unlike those who dive right into their books before reading a review about it, cannot read the book, first, because to do so, would prevent them from being objective. Book reviewers like Erica, must not only be objective enough to see the true nature and distinctions of the books that they are reading, but they must also, in a delicate fashion, determine who the targeted audiences are, try to explain how the author achieved their intended effects on their readers, what the relationships of the characters were like, how the paragraphs were displayed, is the book an original or an imitation, what the style of the book is; like was it, for example, riddled with dialogue or drenched with oblique and quick summations.

In addition to the aforementioned review that I presented to you, when you read some of her other reviews, it’s hard to not appreciate how honest, objective, and diachronic she is about her own feelings towards the books that she writes about. Also, her ability to delicately summarize what she just read—while, simultaneously, suggesting to us the many reasons why we should read or not the read a particular book, is something that deserves some sort of acknowledgment. Furthermore, and coupled with how irresistibly appreciative I find her reviews to be, I find her work, in general, to be quite engaging, emotionally rich, full of ideas, fresh, and utterly captivating!

I wonder; are her reviews so good because of the massive amount of coffee that she consumes, or the very fact that she’s been reading since fourth grade, and thus has developed a great sense of what’s interesting and what’s not? Perhaps, I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe what I should be more curious about is; where does the drive behind her great reviews stem from? “Why I like to read?” she asked, without me asking but, which she rightfully figured I would be curious about. “It’s an escape from reality. It allows my imagination to run wild and enter different stories and worlds.”

I do not know the exact secret to writing great book reviews, perhaps it has to do with how pragmatic and retrospective you are, but when I look at Eric’s work, I think it has a lot to do with being able to allow your imaginations to get lost or to “Run wild,” into the book that you are writing the review about. And right there, I think that was the answer that I was looking for—i.e., the drive behind Erica’s ability to create great book reviews stem from the fact that she wants to give the reader a chance for their imaginations to “Run wild.” In other words, if your intentions is to quickly captivate and seduce your viewer’s imaginations, then by default, your going to give them something to drool over.

This drooling-effect that only people as passionate and dedicated as Erica can provoke in their readers, is one of the many reasons why she has a lot of people following her—and, constantly giving her book recommendations to write about. And when she gets those book recommendations from her loyal and passionate followers, she tells me that she sometimes stay up late to read them, and then to write a review about them afterwards. “I’m such a night owl so I’m not ashamed to admit I will stay awake until 3/4 am and not wake until 10…maybe 11 if I’m being completely honest. #noshame,” she writes, “I always start my day with coffee and a little bit of reading and of course I post about it on Instagram. Depending if I have work that day (or any other activities) I pretty much spend my day reading. If I’m starting a brand new book, I usually read the back first, see how many pages it is and then settle in. Why I have to know how many pages? I don’t even know haha. While I read, I keep a journal, this way I can write my thoughts as I go. What I liked, what I didn’t like, quotes etc. When I’m finished with the book, I usually write the review within the day while everything is still fresh in my mind.”

Although Erica is really good at what she does, she admittedly shared with me that, writing book reviews is still new to her, and that she still has a lot to learn. She also said that, someday, she would like to pick the brains of Cassandra Clare and Sarah J Maas, both women are bestselling authors. The hope is; by continuing to do what’s she’s doing, and picking the brains of the aforesaid authors, her writing capabilities will greatly improve as well. In the meantime, and before she meets those two amazing authors, Erica said she’s content with reading and writing reviews from her home library. “It’s definitely small but, I love it,” she wrote, “Because it’s so cozy and I can do it all in my pajamas. lol. I also really like going to coffee shops. Who doesn’t love the smell of constant coffee brewing?”

Like most of us who are good at what we do and are high achievers, and thus we may feel stagnant if we happen to miss a day of what we love to do, Erica sometimes feels like she’s not reading or writing enough. But her advice to us is that we shouldn’t feel pressured to read so many books, that, after all, it is not a competition; “You should do what makes you happy. We only have one life to live, we should spend it fulfilling passions and dreams,” she wrote.

When Erica is not reading, working, going to coffee shops for some R&R (rest and relaxation), or writing creative and vividly stimulating book reviews in her pajamas, she’s usually spending the little downtime that she has thinking about her grandparents—-the both of them, she said, taught her that hard work and education can really get her far in life. “They told me I could be anything I want to be as long as I put my mind to it and, that it is never too late to get started,” she wrote. From her grandparents, the many books that she has, to her massive amounts of coffee, and coupled with her passionate followers, are where her inspirations are often drawn from. With those things, she knows that her future is bright. In 5-10 years she figures that she’ll not only still be writing great book reviews, but she will also be an author—specifically, writing poems and children books.

To check out Erica Odell’s blog, where her great book reviews are waiting for your eyes to see, click the following link; CozyBooks&Coffee

To follow her and see some of her amazing photos of books, her cat, and coffee obsession, check out her Instagram;  @CozyBooks&Coffee

Also, be sure to click the following link to read about our last weekly inspiring person; Meaghan Michel, a very passionate college student with the desire to help and motivate people through fitness.

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Meaghan Michel, What Inspiration Looks Like

ON THE SURFACE, 22-YEAR-OLD MEAGHAN MICHEL from Orange County, New York looks like any typical college student at SUNY Buffalo State; hardworking, tenacious, and insanely driven. But, if you were to try to decipher the origins of her hardworking, tenacious, and driven personality based solely on the few glimpses that she might have allowed you to see, it would be unintelligent of you to assume that you truly knew who she was. Like most people, Meaghan Michel has had her share of struggles—-throughout her short, young life. But unlike most people, Meaghan, with grace and a strong sense of determination, has managed to keep going.

To hear Meaghan herself tell it, her perseverance and her strong sense of determination was less a product of practice and persistence than it was of good fortune and luck. For almost two decades, Meaghan’s passion used to be Softball. “Being on the diamond,” she said, via email, allowed her the opportunity to steer away from the problems that she was going through at the time. But it wasn’t until she discovered another kind of passion that she truly began to learn not only how to manage all of her problems but also how to use what she learned to inspire the people around her.

“My passion is the gym,” she said, “Because it saved me from depression and the confidence I lacked. I was able to find myself through pushing myself in the gym and I became stronger: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Dedicating myself to the gym has helped me prosper in so many different aspects. It has helped me to find out who I am, what my purpose is—-and, it has allowed me to feel what self-love is.” 

A lot of the lacking of confidence that Meaghan talked about, used to come from her struggles with weight loss. But going to the gym almost every day, eating right, and holding certain people in her mind—like, talk-show host Ellen Degeneres and English supermodel, Iskra Lawerence, has kept her inspired and motivated to the point that the issue of weight loss is no longer so debilitating. “My inspiration for others come from their growth or based off of their character. Iskra Lawrence is an English model who created a website meant as an outlet for women of all shapes and sizes,” Meaghan wrote. “Her everyday life is focusing on embracing her curves and imperfections along with motivating others to do the same. She has been someone that has inspired me throughout my weight loss journey. Just following her on social media has helped me find more self-love for myself and allowed me to accept a lot of the things I never used to.”

I am not surprised that Meaghan felt inspired by English Model, Iskra Lawerence—because, when I briefly accommodated myself with her work, I too was blown away by what I discovered. For instance, let me describe to you a video that I found of Iskra, and what she said, while she was on a crowded train: so, basically, Iskra is standing in front of people with her clothes still on. But then out of nowhere, she starts to give a very powerful speech about “Body shaming” while slowly taking her clothes off. “I want to make myself vulnerable today,” she said, while the moving train caused her body to sway from side to side. “So you can see truly the journey I’ve come on with my own body and how I feel about myself today. So I am going to reveal myself to you, to prove that we are in control of how we feel about ourselves.” While calling her body a “vessel” Iskra went on to say to the crowd that while she was growing up she hated her body because it didn’t fit in with the “small standard” of beauty that society seems to perpetuate—via, the media.

To say that what Iskra did wasn’t brave, selfless, or even admirable would prove that those who cannot imagine the kind of struggles that people like her has gone through are in deep denial of the unintentional consequences of such perpetuated standards. But, and although the latter group of people are not entirely at fault in their denial of something that, perhaps, they, themselves, are not affected by, what I find interesting is that “Body shaming,” like most unforeseen consequences perpetuated by our media, can only continue to debilitate its victims when they haven’t learned how to take back control of their lives. And in knowing this, I feel, gives people like Ellen, Iskra, and Meaghan all the more reasons to continue to do what they do, not only for themselves but for other people as well.

For Meaghan, and this is what some people may not be able to decipher just from looking at her, is that taking back control of our lives, and being proudful of our bodies are some of the many maxims that lie at the origin of her hardworking personality. No matter if it’s seeking out people to have in-depth, intellectual conversations with, motivating others to strive for greatness, or even pushing herself to go the extra mile during a workout, Meaghan is constantly reminding not only herself, but others to take control of their lives.

And the reason she’s so determined to get people to take back control of their lives is because she knows how emotionally painful the alternative can be.“Throughout my life, I was belittled and was put down more often than not. I fought depression and lacked confidence. I felt that I didn’t have the freedom others had because I battled my insecurities…,” she wrote. Knowing this, that is why “I’ve learned that I have the tools to shine a light on other people’s values and their worth,” she wrote. “We don’t give ourselves nearly enough credit as we should. I believe that I’m that outlet for those who struggle with finding motivation to applaud themselves.”

When you look at Iskra and Meaghan, you can’t help but to see that they both share a commonality in their pursuits—commonalities, that can have amazing effects on the people that they are trying to reach. And such commonalities display themselves in the fact that one; wants to encourage us to reimagine a life without “body shaming,” while the other; wants to empower us to own and feel proudful of our different body types. Each are beautifully intertwined, and each, are necessary for inspiring people to take back control of their lives.

Like, Iskra Lawrence, there is something deeply humbling and honest about Meaghan—and what she is trying to do in the lives of others. If you glanced at her social media you would seen that she’s very open and transparent about her journey, and if you’d bothered to read her statements you would have also discovered that she’s always highlighting the uniquenesses of the people around her. Having learned this for myself, it didn’t surprise then, when Meaghan described herself as a selfless person; “I learned that I’m a selfless person and love going that extra mile to make sure everyone around me knows how much value they truly have.”

Meaghan attributes her drive and selflessness to the many quotes, motivational speeches, and bible verses that she has been lucky enough to come across. One of her favorite quotes is; Starve your distractions to feed your focus. “I could physically live out words,” she said very poetically, “however; mentally and emotionally it would be extremely challenging for myself. I relate to quotes, motivational speeches, bible verses, etc., to find my motivation to get by. It’s a sense of encouragement and it eases my stress levels in all aspects. Although it might just be a bunch of words followed by a period, it speaks often to me. I feel that I’m being related to and that I’m not alone.”

After four years of schooling—putting so many pens to papers and perhaps staying up late nights to study for exams that were scheduled as early as the cock-a-doodle-doo’s of vexatious roosters, Meghan is slated to graduate in May, with a degree in Journalism-Communication and Leadership. “I intend to go to graduate school after I graduate in May for Higher Education and Student Affairs,” she said. “My project as of now is to continue critiquing my resume and personal statement letter so that it creates a successful and smooth process for my school(s) of choice.” When Meaghan obtains her degree in May, I’m sure that even she, herself, would agree that, that would be a perfect example of how she managed to starve her distractions to feed her focus.

Although Meaghan has the drive and focus to always strive for something greater—-and, also the compassion for the people that she is trying to empower, she admits that there are still some days when she, herself, feels more challenged than others. “I have many days that I see as challenging or difficult for myself,” she wrote. However, and because she’s come too far to give up now, she’s not planning, anytime soon, to let those days get the best of her. “I try to take the trials and tribulations I face and allow those series of events to motivate me and encourage me to persevere. Just a couple of years ago, whenever something went left in my life I automatically found myself shutting down and giving up. But I believe that God gives his hardest battles to his strongest soldiers.”

“Everything one goes through is for a purpose,” she continued. “Whether it’s a lesson or a blessing, it’s something that I can either let make me or break me. We have more power than we think. We have the power to decide whether we’re going to persevere and keep fighting the battle that is in front of us or give up and get defeated. I see my bad days leading me into better days. When I feel that I’ve reached rock bottom I tell myself that there’s only one other way and that’s up.”

To watch the video of English supermodel, Iskar Lawerance, that I previously described, click the following link; Brave model Iskra Lawrence on a train 

To see some of Meaghan’s amazing photos, and to follow her journey, look for her on Instagram@Megmichel 

And don’t forget to click the following link to read about our last “Weekly Inspiring Person;” Maria TenHave-Chapman, a young aspiring fashion designer from Detroit, Michigan. 

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Maria TenHave-Chapman, A Fashion Designer In The Making

WHEN YOU LOOK AT FASHION MODELS—say, in magazines, on posters at airports, at bus-stops, or even on the television—what stands out the most? is it their smile, is it the way that they’ve positioned their bodies, or is it what they’re wearing? If you need some time to think that through, no problem, take as long as you like. In the meantime, I will share with you the one thing that has stood out to me the most. And that one thing is; the lacking of clothes. Before I continue any further, let me just say that I am quite aware that some of you might interpret the latter in a dirty way—in fact, I can imagine some of you right now, with tongue in cheek, asking yourselves: ‘what type of magazines is the author looking at?’

Because I have a sense of humor, I will not fault you for laughing at my questionable observations. This is a judgement-free zone. But for those of you, whose minds did not automatically go to some dirty place, congratulations you are not human. Being human is knowing when to catch ironies, and allowing yourself to laugh when such discoveries are made. If you aren’t able to do that, then what Henry Beecher, a congregationalist and avid abolitionist, once wrote—-may suit you well; i.e., “A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.”

Now then, and if I may continue, here is what I meant about “the lacking of clothes;” currently, in our American culture, there seems to be a proliferation of more nudity and fewer fabrics. And my concern with this is, that there is nothing special about our naked human bodies—-namely because we all have the same parts. However, what does make us different from the rest of our human counterparts, is the clothing that we wear. It gives us a sense of identity; a kind of expressive utility, and a distinctive style—-that exists nowhere else but on our persons’

In view of this, and what I would like to see more of, is a push towards less nudity and more fabrics. And I’m not just talking about any kind of fabric, but fabrics that can push our restrictive understanding of expressions into a woven cosmopolitanism of electicity. It is paramount that we, the American public, advocate for such a push, so that we can stop living in a society where “We undress men and women,” wrote Pierre Cardin, an Italian-born French designer, ’cause we don’t want to “….Dress them anymore.”

Although that sounds like an impossible task for someone to advocate for, still, I think that it can be done. When the right person comes along—someone with passion, an air of electicty, and unfettered reveries—-the change and reversing of an undressed culture will be swift and revolutionary. Now then, the question becomes; not when, but where will that next advocate and visionary come from? In my opinion, I believe that person will come, not from abroad—like Italy or France—but here, at home, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

19-year-old, Maria TenHave-Chapman, from Grand Rapids, Michigan is on the trajectory of becoming a fashion designer. Her unique and visually-tasteful fashion sense is truly something special. The young 19-year-old has been modeling for over a year now; is currently enrolled at an Art and Fashion school at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, and not too long ago, just had her first-ever successful Top-and-Skirt design showcased at the Grand Rapids Downtown Market. The theme for the event was centered around nature and personal growth. And, although students were usually held back by some of the strict fashion-course requirements throughout the semester, this time, however, each student were given the freedom to freely showcase their creativities.

Maria’s dress, if I may quickly describe to you, was uniquely-simple, but yet, aesthetically-refreshing; it’s length, draped eloquently from the top to just inches above the knees. The color of the dress itself had a rich deep blue color, like an ocean on a brisk, windless afternoon. And all over the dress—-predominantly on the bottom and then fewer on the top—-were, what appeared to be tiny scrunched-up clouds. If you’re having a tough time imagining that, no worries, I will provide you with a visual at the end of this piece.

My passion has been and always will be fashion. For the longest time, I had a sense of shame about pursuing fashion because it’s seen as a shallow and unintelligent industry to be a part of. [But] within the last year, I’ve learned to take pride in what I’m pursuing because I know it’s what I’m meant to do, ” wrote Maria, via email. “I’m confident that I’ll be successful, it might take quite a while to be successful but I’ll get there.

Since I was little,” she added, “how I dress myself has always been about self-expression. I’m a quiet and introverted person when first meeting new people, so I’ve liked being able to show a part of myself through clothing and make an impression that way. I’ve never really cared about what other people thought, I dress for myself and myself only. I’ll wear whatever makes me laugh, or makes me feel confident or cool.

I find it interesting that Maria initially thought that the pursuit of fashion was a kind of exercise in futility—-Because I’ve always viewed it to be the total opposite. In my view, I think it’s a selfless, intelligent, and noble pursuit. What other industries, if but only a few, can you find talented, passionate, and gifted individuals pressed with a task to not only express their creativities but to also clothe the world in the same process?

With that said, I really don’t think that she meant what she said in a literal way—-I think she was just trying to be modest. It is a tendency for artists that are introverted to be humble and unflashy. And there is nothing wrong with that. What I find interesting, though, is that, those exact same artists are the ones who end up revolutionizing the world. Take, Pierre Cardin, for example; throughout his career people always described him as a meek, kind, and deferential person. But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t sociable—no, and in fact, his upbeat and inspiring personality often attracted many people to him. Moreover, and the point that I am trying to make, is that this same deferential individual was also the first person to put his brand on his clothing. Today, and because of Pirre Cardin, you will not find any pair of shoes, dresses, T-shirts, watches, etc, without the brand of the designer on it.

“…I don’t accept failure. I will do what it takes to be successful and I know I have it in me to be successful (that’s mostly regarding being a designer, not modeling),” she said, via email. “I won’t cut corners and I won’t step on others to get to where I want to be. The best part of modeling is being able to meet everyone that I have. Every photographer I meet is so unique and genuine. Being around creative people encourages me to be creative and encourages me to push myself to create. The more I create the more I will learn. I don’t see myself being a model in the future because it’s not what I feel passionate about, although I love doing it.

Maria pointed out that being around creative people “encourages” her to be creative, and that the more she creates the more that she will learn, but I wonder, where does she draw her inspirations from? “I find a lot of inspiration in old movies, fine art, and the ’60s,” she tells me. “[Basically,] I’m inspired by anyone with a strong sense of individuality.”

It’s obvious that Maria has what it takes to succeed, and knows how to draw inspiration from the things around her, but, and aside from her relentless drive and creativity, she contends that she’s just a typical girl from the West Side of Michigan—-who loves being photographed around Grand Rapids, or at her families lake. When I asked her to tell me—and her fans—something interesting about herself that most people wouldn’t know, she replied; “Hahaha my fans, because I have so many. I feel like I’m not too interesting of a person, I have a pet bunny who’s four years old. I named her Ingrid after the singer Ingrid Michaelson, mostly because I couldn’t think of a name for her that I didn’t associate with someone I disliked lol. 

For Maria, Detroit, Michigan may be a good place to live—-“I love having all four seasons in Michigan, the change of season allows for a change of mind and a change of wardrobe,” she said—–but it is not where Maria wants to end up. Maria has bigger goals for herself. “I’d like to live in New York for a bit because that’s where everything, fashion-wise, seems to happen.” she writes. “The type of success I want for myself and my life won’t be found by just staying in West Michigan all my life. I’m content to be here for now, though. I’ll try to intern for some companies and bust my ass to do creative and original things. Those will help me figure out my place in the huge fashion industry. I know once I find my niche I’ll be able to thrive.”

Most people do not know this, but Detroit, Michigan is well-known for its fashion extravaganza. Every year they put together a sell-out, annual “Fash Bash” event that has consistently raised more than $4 million dollars for the Detroit Institute of Art. Also, “The Renaissance City,” one of the many nicknames of Detroit, Michigan, has another annual event that draws a massive crowd of people and sponsors each year; The Michigan Fashion Week. “Michigan Fashion Week is a company designed to showcase and highlights Michigan’s prestigious talent in the fields of fashion design, photography, art and modeling, looking to present their businesses and talents in a professional manner,” they wrote, on their website. “We create opportunities of invaluable exposure, networking and aligning them with experience professionals and advocates in the industry and in business. We are now in our fifth year and have had 4 very successful, highly attended inaugural Fashion Weeks and have reached and touched over 1200 people each year.”

And in addition to that, “The Renaissance City” has produced a lot of local and famous fashion designers—like, Anna Sui, Adriana Pavon, and Bonnie Foley. One of the amazing highlights in Anna Sui’s career was that she somehow got singer and songwriter, Mick Jagger to wear her men’s designer suit on Saturday Night Live. Adriana Pavon and her heavily-influenced Mexican garments and fashion line won, the Fashion in Detroit Local Designer Award back in 2010. And then for Bonnie Foley, with her “Christian Larue” fashion line, has caught the attention of international designers in the fashion industry. And according to a statement on her website, “Bonnie is poised and ready to expand her label to an international level.”

Given this little well-known fact about “The Renaissance City, I think that before Maria sets sail for the Big Apple, perhaps she should consider presenting her unique fashion style to the many different fashion events around Michigan. Those venues could use her strong sense of determinism, passion, and creativity. And I must stress, that although Maria is young and still has a lot to learn, it is my belief, that she has the potential to someday become someone as original, prodigious, and divergent as Pierre Cardin, Anna Sui, or Adriana Pavon. Her funny and engaging personality, coupled with her unique fashion perspectives, and drive for success are solid precursors for someday achieving the latter.

Here is the photo of Maria’s dress that I previously described:

To find out more about Maria and to see some of her amazing photoshoots, look for her on Instagram, @maeriea

Main photo was taken by Madison Heetderks. Check out her work, here @m4di_s0n

Don’t forget to click the following link to read about our last Weekly Inspiring Person; Brittany Herbert, a young aspiring law student at the University At Buffalo

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