Meet: Dehara

Dehara has a soul you can feel from a mile away. She has an energy that both demands your attention and keeps you seeking more. Born in Winnipeg and raised in Vancouver, she’s never been one to shy away from her goals- if she wants something she’s going to get it done. She’s also a new mother, and an amazing one at that. Her daughter has the same captivating energy that she does, which doesn’t surprise me at all.

Upon meeting Xenaiya, Dehara’s adorable baby, we’ve already hugged, laughed and become best friends. She’s a baby full of love and intelligence, something her mother has clearly bred into her. Dehara’s bond with her daughter is beautiful, to say the least. She’s real with her and talks to her like a person, which Xenaiya responds to. I can tell she’s going to be a firecracker, because her attitude is already shining through at just 1 and a half years old.

I’ve always been fascinated with the thought of motherhood, but I had never fully considered it. It’s a subject that can go both ways depending on what you want out of life. Being a woman is a phenomenal gift, and the definitions of womanhood are not what they once were. It’s up to us. While there’s still the assumption that all females want to become mothers, we’ve also have reached a point where it’s okay to freely admit you don’t want to have children. I’ve always wondered if it’s even possible to juggle everything at once. Is that a selfish thought? I never had complete assurance when it came to having kids, which led me to assume I didn’t want any. But after my conversation with Dehara, I know it’s an idea that I can keep open ended.

Dehara has everything going on and then some- she’s an entrepreneur, a fiercely independent woman, a mother, a  devoted sister and a partner to someone equally as devoted to life as she is. Her journey hasn’t been an easy one, but it’s clear to me she sees every single part of her existence as a miracle. She’s been through heartbreak and loss a number of times her life, but throughout it all she has always stayed devoted to rising up.

Upon finishing high school, Dehara played professional soccer for schools and countries around the world, including South Africa, the US, Norway and England. Feeling fulfilled in her athletic career at 25, Dehara moved back home to Vancouver.  She was hit with the news that her mother was sick. Within a short time she lost her boyfriend to suicide and her mother to cancer.

After taking her time to recover from events that would break the average person down forever, Dehara knew that she had to morph back into her true self to stay strong for her family, to make her mother proud. She began her career in real  estate, working side by side with her father at September Real Estate. Before long, she met her partner Xavier. By that time she knew she wanted a relationship, to start a family, and to continue spreading love into her world. He was the one.

During her pregnancy with Xenaiya she was told by her doctor that she was at risk for diabetes. Knowing she had to take action but not completely trusting Western medication, she researched different natural supplements she could take instead. She was approached to use Moringa– a superfood thats benefits include muscle recovery and help with arthritis. It also feeds the fetus all the nutrients it needs for proper development while keeping the mother healthy. Interested, but knowing it was overpriced, Dehara saw the opportunity to spread the word. At 30$ per bag that lasts up to 3 months, she has sourced the product directly to the Philippines, where her mother is from. She saw the opportunity to build a business on a product that promotes both ethical manufacturing and health and benefits her motherland.

Oh. She sings too. A songwriter that speaks freely from the heart, she sings from her soul. Her music is about finding your way, moving on, growing up, but also about love and relationships. She lists Sade, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill as some of her biggest inspirations. She plans on putting out an EP within the next year.

The fire in Dehara’s belly never went out- and it was never meant to. She’s a light for everyone around her, and she made me realize that life doesn’t have to be in a set path. Things change, sometimes they break down, and they should. That is what teaches us to grow and makes us evaluate what we’re all really doing here. She wants the best out of life, and she’s getting it. The devotion she has to being a loving mother and a woman of power assures me that it’s possible to do both.

After our conversation is over I feel uplifted. Despite everything she went through in her life, Dehara is concrete proof that nothing should ever hold you back from living a happy existence. She’s shown me that it actually is possible to have it all- as long as you’re willing to keep your perspective in check.

Photography: Marissa Morelos of MJ Photography

Make Up: Auzsha Potozny

Dehara’s Instagram: @deharaseptember

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I ♥ Toronto

Maybe it’s just me.

But there’s magic in this city. I’ve been here for just over a week and I already know it’s home. Walking down the street is inspiring. Everywhere you look there’s something to see. People are rushed, yea, but they’re all going somewhere. There’s a general energy that says ‘let’s get shit done and do it well’.

Maybe it’s just me, but everyone I talk to seems to agree. It’s funny how cities have such different personalities. Vancouver is beautiful. Gorgeous. Stunning. But I’m not superficial. I came here for a reason, and that reason finally feels validated.

My roommates agree. Old friends, new friends, family. Yeah, there’s definitely something magic in the air.

There are a countless number of villages scattered throughout downtown Toronto, and that’s what makes it continuously exciting. Vancouver is multicultural, but it never felt diverse. You can feel other people, no matter what background they come from, embrace other cultures and actually enjoy them too. It doesn’t feel segregated.

I currently live in The Village, off Church Street. It’s Thee Village, Toronto’s equivalent to Davie. Where else would I want to be? Despite being straight, I’ve always found comfort within the LGBT community. The isolation I felt growing up has lead me to always feel the most connected with others who had experienced something similar or the same. It’s the kind of adversity that makes you step away from bullshit and decide to love instead. That understanding lives here.

Dating in Toronto also feels completely different. Dates aren’t strictly about the endgame (sorry mom) but about meeting people, vibing, connecting. I’ve always been someone to strike up a conversation worth having with anyone, but I’ve never felt so understood by strangers before. No one really has the time to beat around the bush and fill up space with small talk, because they’ve got their eye on the bigger picture.

Again, maybe it’s just me. Maybe I just move fast. Maybe it’s just the luck I have that allows me to connect with great people. Maybe my bright eyes are making me delusional. Maybe I just needed a new place to explore. Either way, it feels good to be here. It feels right. It feels like home.

It’s official, I ♥ Toronto.

The Yaletown Diet

You’re classy and sassy and you’re sure as hell not about to step your off-brand Louboutins inside some dingy Gastown bar. You retired from Granville when you realized you were getting more attention than your friends at The Roxy. You’re moving up in the world, say goodbye to amateur hour, you deserve Yaletown.

You’re not an “aspiring” model anymore, you’ve got over 5,000 followers on Instagram. You’re #instafamous. You are Moses to the Jews; part the bridges and tunnels and lead your insta-followers to the elusive world hidden in Yaletown’s three cobblestoned streets. Give your followers a window into the lifestyle provided to you by one of Vancouver’s many 30K millionaires (your followers don’t need to know that part) #instacrop.

Yaletown isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. You have a responsibility to yourself and to your insta-followers to get on board the Yaletown diet.

The Cleanse

It’s vital that every Yaletown hottie has a killer bod, so stop eating and call it a cleanse. No need to get all complicated with meal plans and calorie counting, just avoid all food at all costs. No gluten, no fat, no sugar, no starch, no protein, no anything, no problem. Alcohol doesn’t count. Make sure you tell us all you’re on a cleanse for that extra motivation. If you feel like you’re about to pass out, blend a carrot with some kale and drink it while looking at a picture of a pizza alongside a fat chick #fitspo. Your dog isn’t just a super cute accessory, you got it to stay active. Walk your Chihuahua around a fire hydrant a few times to burn off the 25 calories from that fucking kale smoothie. It’s okay, you’ll have more willpower tomorrow. Losing 10 pounds in 3 days is a piece of cake. No cake included.

Natural is Subjective

To some people natural is what you’re born with, but we say it’s what you wake up with. You have no excuse to look average, and your natural look is only a few treatments away.  Wax and laser your body until you have a clean slate to glue and sew all your new parts onto. Next up, your fakessentials: hair, eyelashes, nails. Little East Indian girls dream of having their hair cropped and sold to the West. Don’t kill the kid’s dreams, glue that shit to your head. Extend your lashes so you can glare at your Vietnamese aesthetician with style as she shellacs your nails. When you’re on The Real Housewives of Vancouver, you’ll get this shit for free. Now you’re one step closer to waking up every morning as the perfect version of you- you know, the natural look. #iwokeuplikethis #longhairdontcare

Darwin’s Lizards

You’ve dominated nature once, you can do it again. This is survival of the fittest, and you’re an evolved woman ahead of her time. Reptiles get new skin, why can’t you? Inject the lips, implant the tits and throw a botox party to save a few dollars. There’s nothing sexier than a woman with a high financial quotient. Your body is a temple, not a homeless shelter. Everyone knows good interior design doesn’t come cheap, so invest in yourself. Refresh. 350 new followers.

Wear the Yaletown Uniform

Your starving, I mean cleansing, is working wonders for you. Show it off in your Yaletown uniform, known by outsiders as the “bandage dress.” If you haven’t already, find yourself a sugar daddy to sponsor you; you cannot walk through an intimate room like Pierre’s Champagne Lounge wearing the same dress as last Thursday. That 2 meter walk is your fucking runway. It’s okay if you’re walking like Bambi, you look hot. #showstopper

The High Life

Now that you’ve established your natural look, give your personality a lift. Being totally wasted is essential when you aren’t interesting, and drugs will help with that. Make a “bathroom trip” every 20 minutes to ensure you’re staying on top of your game. It’s also a great way to meet the white-knights who ensure you’re always equipped with some nose candy (zero calories, hell yes). Some guys are so generous. You know what they say, stay as high as your heels.

No New Friends

Yaletown co-habitants don’t look nearly as bomb as you do now that you’ve bankrolled your looks, but they still need to be put in their place. #nonewfriends Remind those bitches of how hot you are by showing your superiority with a disgusted face and an eye roll. For best results, practice this look in the mirror between contouring and backcombing before leaving for Y-Town. You’re a woman with class, and you left your bar fights behind on Granville Street. Compliment the girl in the washroom on her passé dress, have her follow you on Instagram and don’t follow her back. Bitch- 0, You- 1 (followers, that is).

Claim Mister Right Now

If you’re single and ready to mingle, it’s time to find Mr. Right Now. Your sugar daddy is at home with his wife, so it’s time to find someone to sponsor your night out. If the club promoter doesn’t pimp you out to someone’s bottle service upon entry, do laps across the 35 year old buff guy with bottle service at VIP until he notices you and signals you over. Nod and listen attentively over Avici as he tells you about his “import and export business” and how “much money he makes.” After he gets you drunk enough, take selfies in his Mercedes on the way to his house. This is ideal back-log material for your Instagram inventory. Afterwards, assume starfish position while he fucks you rapidly and asks you if “you like that”. Best three minutes of your life.

Public Relations

This is crucial, and must be constant. Make sure to Instagram everything you do to showcase your natural beauty, your sponsored lifestyle and your Yaletown cleanse. Isn’t it pathetic that other girls have to make a duck face? Now yours comes naturally! Staying on top of your PR is the key to keeping those followers tapping twice on your photos.

Embrace The New You, Until It Gets Old

Being this hot is a way of life, and it’s a lot of work. You deserve to look your best, and if you make an honest commitment to follow these instructions, you’ll be on your way to becoming a Yaletown legend. If you’re ever down on yourself, call the doctor and have him pull your face up. Cut those calories, put on your uniform, and bask in that attention. You’ve earned it. Your Instagram followers and your happiness are directly correlated- ugly chicks get no hits, and you were destined for #instafame. When you’ve hit your peak and time starts catching up to you, you can start a new life. After all, Yaletown is just another village; once you become the village idiot, you can retire your Instagram account, move to Kits and take up yoga.

And She’s Back At It

It seemed like a better time than any to reminisce on my former fascination with blossoming rose, Lindsay Lohan. Written 3 years ago today:

Addressing the Lindsay Lohan Issue

If you know anything about me, you know that I have an obsessive fascination with Lindsay Lohan. When I’m not rambling on about reality, I am thinking about Lindsay Lohan. What is she doing right now? Is she having a smoke and wishing it was sprinkled with crack? Arguing with her publicist? Running a club manager over with her leased Ferrari? Is she looking at pictures of herself from 8 years ago and crying?

Lindsay Lohan is, hands down, the most compelling celebrity of our time. And by compelling I mean we’re as addicted to her as she is to fame.

Our fixation with celebrities is arguably the most palpable piece of evidence we have of humanity’s downfall. We watch these people, who we’ve deemed ‘stars’ because they stand in front of a camera and live a lie, go to the grocery store, stumble out of clubs, and leave the gym. We follow their relationship statuses and we take political advice from them because they, obviously, have a greater sense of what’s right. I know more about Taylor Swift’s love life than my best friend’s.

If celebrity magazines and TV shows devoted to capturing stars walking out of restaurants weren’t enough, we’ve even started giving filthy rich non-celebrities TV shows, thus making them celebrities. Once a week North America, no, the world, watches Kim Kardashian ugly cry because she’s exhausted and ‘over’ going from one photo-shoot to another everyday of her life. If I had the power to send one person to live in isolation with chimps, it would be Kim Kardashian. But I would never do that. Because a camera crew and a 50 million dollar deal would follow her every step of the way. I know better.

While you were reading about the Jolie-Pitt’s parenting techniques, your baby threw the sugar cereal you put in front of it for breakfast across the room, fell off it’s high chair and into a black hole where it will be raised by television for the rest of it’s life. Ice T and Coco will host it’s favourite children’s learning show because you know damn well those implants and extensions are not going to pay for themselves. Everybody’s got to make a living, right? Right?

Anyway, reality stars are pseudo-celebrities and I do not care nor have time for them. Back to the real star, Lindsay Lohan. She defines everything. She represents exactly why Hollywood works and why fame exists. She’s a decaying flower of glory and with every stunt she pulls she reminds us that although she’s a class-A whack job with not much hope for a future, we’re the real losers in all of this.

Every time Lindsay Lohan gets arrested I begin to internally argue with myself. I catch myself caring and I begin to question my life. She deserves to go to jail, probably hell, but she will never, ever go to jail. She, however, will eventually go to Hell. Lindsay Lohan is a human shield against punishment. She could be shooting a scene of her shitty straight-to-DVD film and murder her co-star in front of the whole crew and get away with it. She could rail a line off the judge’s ass in the middle of a hearing and just get probation. Does Lindsay Lohan use the law of attraction? Or is she superhuman? Either way, justice is Lindsay Lohan’s bitch. Which is exactly why Lindsay Lohan is amazing. She epitomizes everything that is wrong with celebrity and she has fucked herself over so many times I’ve lost count, but it’s working. We care about her. We’re so mad at her, but we care. And this right here is what motivates me to become a better human being, to rise above caring about celebrities. Will I?

Lindsay Lohan is trying to prove a point. No she’s not, but we’ll say she is. Her life mission is to keep us fixated on her until we realize that we’re the ones that paid for all of her drugs. You make 9 dollars an hour but will go see a reasonably shitty 15 dollar movie and buy a 6 dollar magazine full of make-up-less celebrities at their downfall. She made 200,000 grand off that upskirt photo, and she probably snorted all of it.

Let Lindsay teach you a lesson. She will party until her world ends because she knows no other way, and this is how we accept her. She has taught me to look beyond the image of celebrity and look into the sad, sad reality of it. She has brought some wisdom  into my life and for that reason she will be the only star I ever follow.

Lindsay, I love you. Never get your act together because that’s when I’ll start forgetting about you.  Keep failing, keep doing you, because that’s what you do best.

I’m Moving Across the Country

Below is my current pump up song. It’s from the Blue Crush soundtrack, a cinematic experience to be reckoned with. You should listen to it while you read this to really understand how I’m feeling in this very moment. Also because Nikki Costa needs more recognition, and also just because it’s a very inspiring song. Almost as inspiring as Blue Crush.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m getting on a plane to start my one way journey to Toronto. The centre of the universe, as it were. A Canadian city that actually made it to real city status. New York but in Canada. The six. Drake. Crackhead mayor. From what I gather everyone in Toronto thinks they’re the one. Which, if you know me well enough, you know I’ve always blindly assumed I am. I’ve been told I’ll fit right in. I was also told that on my first day of kindergarden and we all know how that ended, so people have been wrong before. Let’s hope for the best.

I’ve lived in Vancouver for my entire life. This city has taught me most of  what I know about life so far, which is a blessing and a curse. I know Vancouver like the back of my hand- I could tell you where to go and what to do at any given moment. I made small talk with the mayor once. I’m friends with all the local hobos. It’s my city. But being here my whole life has also limited my experience of the world, which is the sole reason I’m moving to Toronto.

I’m kind of a nutcase when it comes to fulfilling my human experience. I’m not opposed to acting like a crazy person (acting?) just to make things more fun or get some kind for reaction out of my life. I think that’s important- to be a little crazy. I booked my flight to Toronto right in the middle of a mental breakdown and nothing has ever felt more right to me. I’m excited to feel out an entirely new side of life, but I’m also so grateful for all the experiences I’ve already had here. I’m blessed to have finally figured out who I am thanks to the people I’ve been surrounded by and everything I’ve been taught and given. So far.

This is my new chapter, but it’s not a fresh start. I’m taking with me all the love and joy and pain and amazingness and bullshit that I’ve aquired in my life. Those things, the great and terrible, are what made me realize I’m capable of moving to a new city by myself just to make shit happen.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be struggling as fuck for a while. I will definitely call a few of you crying, but I’ve never been more ready to dive right into life.

So here we are, on my official public diary. On this brand spankin’ new website that has my name on it and is owned by me. Whatchu know about being a narcissistic but fiercely independent lady?

x

The escapades of a cynical optimist.