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52 San Bernardino County Women Nominated for 2018 Woman of the Year at Annual Luncheon

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes hosted a Woman of the Year luncheon last weekend to honor and celebrate the 2018 Woman of the Year finalist from her district. The luncheon was held at the Don Day Neighborhood Center in Fontana.

In total, fifty-two women were nominated from the community for the 2018 Woman of the Year award which recognizes local women for accomplishments in their respective fields and for their dedication to improving the lives of others in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

Nominees came from a variety of different backgrounds ranging from educators and community advocates to county employees, students, business owners and heads of local non-profits.

“In the current political climate it is more important than ever to lift up the amazing women in our community. These women exemplify courage, dedication and determination to build a better quality of life for our community, and to face the challenges that are put in front of them,” said Assemblymember Reyes.

On Monday, March 12 Assemblymember Reyes honored one of the 24 finalists as the 2018 47th Assembly District Woman of the Year. The award was be presented to the Woman of the Year at the State Capitol.

The 2018 Woman of the Year Finalist for the 47th District included: Ana Carlos – Bloomington; Yesenia Gonzalez – Bloomington; Jessica Sutorus – Colton; Neli Gutierrez – Colton; Nina Torres – Colton; Victoria Mendoza – Colton; Lori Sanchez – Colton; Gloria Martinez – Fontana; Tamika Casey – Fontana; Mary Sandoval – Fontana; Denise Ferris – Grand Terrace; Rose Keller – Grand Terrace; Arlene Garcia – Muscoy; Suzanne Schaeffer – Muscoy; Lea Michelle Cash – Rialto; Joshlyn Earls – Rialto; Abigail Medina – San Bernardino; Cynthia Frazier – San Bernardino; Diana Z. Rodriguez – San Bernardino; Dr. Deanna Stover – San Bernardino; Dr. Jean Peacock – San Bernardino; Gigi Hanna – San Bernardino; Lieutenant Shelisa Williams – San Bernardino; and Tamara Ellison – San Bernardino.

Majestic Hearts Non-Profit Launches New Beginnings

Domestic2CARSON, CA- Newly established non-profit, Majestic Hearts, announces its existence. On Saturday, February 24, at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH). Majestic Hearts is an organization for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, whose mission is to convert victims into survivors. The purpose of the event was to raise funds for its shelter and counseling programs.

The launch event introduced Majestic Hearts to close friends, family and the public. The celebration opened with live performances from Saxophonist Keschia Potter, who’s performed alongside celebrities like Beyoncé, Jennifer Hudson and Lady Gaga, to name a few. She and her band set the tone for the event playing music from Potter’s newly released album “Rebirth of the Soul.”

Hosted by comedienne Chelley Chelle of LesTalk Radio, the event took on a humorous turn as Chelley Chelle lightened the seriousness of the topic with her comedy performance. Poetess/artist Estee “E dot” Marie delivered two spoken word pieces, “Love Is” and “Beautifully Made.” Both poems spoke to the subjects of domestic violence, sexual assault, self-worth, royalty and love.

Several raffles took place with prizes from Sephora, The Byrds Nest, B.A.L.L. (Build A Lasting Legacy), Her Trendy Décor, ANS Photography and more. There was also a Silent Auction that featured an autographed photo of LA Lakers Center, Brook Lopez.

After the last raffle, Majestic Hearts’ Chief Financial Officer, Ricsyhelle Davis, took the stage to introduce the Chief Executive Officer, Kanishia L. Jackson. Upon stepping on stage, Jackson read Majestic Hearts’ mission statement and announced its first two programs: shelter and counseling, prior to telling her story of survivorship.

The 33-year-old CSUDH Alumna was a staff writer for the school’s newspaper during her senior year. During her stint as a staff writer, she wrote an article about her experience with her abuser in Greensboro, NC. The CEO states, “In the moment of me being abused, I didn’t realize that was my purpose. I had to go through [the abuse] to get…where I am, today.” 

At the close of the event, the CEO thanked all the donors, supporters and attendees; the fundraising event brought-in close to $900. These funds will go toward this year’s grand goal of $50K.

To learn more about Majestic Hearts and to register for this event, visit www.majestic-hearts.org.

Exclusive Interview: Actress Stephanie Charles Chats on Tyler Perry’s ‘The Paynes’

Stephanie Charles

Stephanie Charles

By Naomi K. Bonman

To kick off Women’s History Month, I did an exclusive interview with a rising actress. Ms. Stephanie Charles is an actress and producer. She has been acting for a decade since childhood, but she is known for her roles in Adulterers (2015), Instant Mom (2013) and NCIS (2003). Her most current role is playing Nyla in Tyler Perry’s latest series The Paynes, which is a spin off of House of Paynes.

Ms. Charles chatted with me about her inspirations in getting into acting, her current role in “The Paynes” and her next career moves. This rising star is definitely on the move.

So for those who don’t know you or need to be re-introduced, can you briefly describe who you are, where you grew up and all of that fun stuff?

Oh, yeah. I’m Stephanie Charles. I was born in Boston and raised in Haiti until I was six years old and then I moved to [Los Angeles] around 8-years-old. I was signed to Universal Motown for a couple of years with a group called MRZ. It didn’t pan out, but I’ve been acting as well since I was a kid off and on and I’ve been focused on it for the last seven years. 

So you are on The Payne’s which is Tyler Perry’s spin off of House of Paynes. What character do you play and how do you identify with her?

I play Nila. She is a single mother of two who volunteers at a church and an after school program which gave her solace while she deals with an abusive relationship with her boyfriend. Mrs. Ella and Mr. Curtis are like the main characters and that’s when they come in and try to save Nila from her situation. 

I fell in love with this character with the fact that she is so different. The situation of her being [in an] abusive [relationship], she was homeless and she has two kids is so far from me, so the excitement of getting into character and doing my research was pretty much the fun part of it. As well as growing as an actor. 

Is this the first season of The Paynes?

Yes! This is the first season of The Paynes. It aired January 16 I believe. That was the first air. It comes on every Friday night at 9 p.m. on OWN. 

For those who haven’t tuned in yet, what can they except to see, without giving too much away, give us a little teaser?

[Laughs] Just except a lot of laughter and some tears along the way. It has a perfect mix of obviously comedy first. And whoever is familiar with The House of Paynes, they know the formula of the balance of comedy and then some real life moments of tearing up and everything. It’s good for the whole family and anyone of any age. 

You mentioned that you started in a girl pop group, so are you still singing or just mainly focusing on acting right now?

I’m not singing at the moment. Right now I’m just 100 percent all on acting. But now let’s say I have an audition for a character that sings [laughs] that would be great! I would definitely do my warm ups and get that going, but right now acting is my 100 percent focus and my passion as well. 

Back in the day you had a small guest role in Sister, Sister, what other sitcoms were in coming up in your career?

I was in, I don’t know if you remember Smart Guy, that was actually Tia and Tamara Mowry’s little brother. I did ER, Bones and an old Robert Townsend show when I was a kid called The Parenthood.

So you’re used to comedies or family comedies?

I’m used to that, but I love all kinds of stuff. My favorite type of stuff to do and want to do and kind of cross over to is horror and Marvel or any action film with strong women characters and DC Comics. I like all that kind of stuff [laughs].

What other projects are you working on?

Right now I am auditioning and looking for projects to audition for and to work with. Whatever excites me and any opportunities that come my way. I also create my own content on social media with a group of people called FunnyDumbShitSquad. It’s on Instagram. We just create and put little projects and videos out and you know, fun stuff.

How did you guys get started with that?

I was in acting class so I know a lot of people, but me and my friend Dimitri Morantus wanted to be creative and be pro-active and take control of our careers, so we wanted to get a group of people together who write, produce and have the passion for acting and creating content in order to be pro-active, so we all came together and started to be consistent with it.

I also read that Jada is one of your inspirations, is she someone who you would love to work with one day and who else would you love to work with?

Yeahhh [laughs]! I would absolutely love to work with Jada Pinkett. I would love to also work with….who would I like to work with? I haven’t sat down lately, but I love Andy Serkis. I didn’t know that he was in Black Panther and the Avengers until I was looking him up, I was like “Wait a minute! He’s in it!” because I love him. So I would love to work with him. That would be a dream. 

I know you probably get this question asked a lot, but how was it working with Tyler Perry and the rest of the cast?

Cool as hell! They’re cool people man. There’s so much good energy. I love being around people who have such a good heart, work hard and make things comfortable for everyone. Tyler is definitely that guy. He works really, really fast paced but he’s also willing to let you be creative and express yourself which is an amazing situation to be in.

I like working with people and seeing their process of working, so that was pretty cool too seeing how everyone work because I like to learn and grow. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I love hanging out with my friends, chilling drinking wine and riding my bike.

What’s your advice to actors of color who are trying to land that one big role?

Confidence is a big thing. Don’t let others crush your dream and stay consistent. Consistency is key.

Follow Stephanie Charles 

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