NOSSA Magazine

NOSSA Magazine



World Series Event - recap Connor Baxter:

The 2012 Turtle Bay contest was super sick and a lot of fun. It was a two day event with the long distance and the sprint race. 

The first day it kicked off with the distance race from Hukilau Beach to the Turtle Bay Hotel. It was an 8 mile race with little bumps, but for me any type of bump there is, I take advantage of it. It was a beach start and once my board was in my hands and I was on the starting line I knew what had to be done. When I heard that horn blow, I ran down the beach and got straight up to my feet and paddled as hard as I could for the first few minutes to get out in front. We had to go straight out to Goat Island, then we could start to head downwind to the finish. I wasn’t paddling that hard to get around the island, cause I knew once I headed downwind I would be able to take advantage of the small bumps and get out in front.

So, I paddled as hard as I needed to and then I turned around the island and put my head down and started to catch some little swells. It was pretty messy with swells coming from every direction, but every now and then there was a good bump going the right way. I stayed in the lead the entire time with Kody Kerbox and Andrew Legreco right on my tail. As I got closer to the finish I had a good lead on second, but I was still paddling as hard as I could just to make sure. We had to come in through a little key hole through the reef which made it interesting. I caught a wave to the beach and ran up in first place. I was super stoked on the win and now was preparing for the next day. 

On Sunday, the Sprint Race day, everyone was at the beach and wanted revenge, so I knew I had to be on it. It was ran in heat format, so I knew not to use all my energy in the first heats, so I had lots for the finals. I was in the first heat and I got in the water for a water start on my knees. The horn blew and I only went as hard as I needed to just to make it through. I rounded the first buoy in third and just stayed in third to the  next buoy. I rounded that one and started looking for a little wave and sure enough I caught one and no one else did so I came in first. In the next heat I had a little harder competition so I had to paddle harder to make it through. So I paddled just as hard as I needed to make to the semi finals and sure enough I got first again. In the semi finals, we had some of the best in it, including my fellow teammates Zane and Bart, so this one was harder. But I just put my head down and made sure I would make it to the finals. I rounded the final buoy with Zane and Bart behind me. I came in first place again - and was feeling good - but now this is where it all comes down. 

For the finals it was two laps, so I knew I had to go as hard as I could.  This one counted so I knew I had to use every ounce of energy I had to get first. So we all lined up on the start line and were all on our knees ready to go. When that horn blew I exploded off the line and got out to the front before the first buoy. I had the inside at the first buoy, so turning I kept in first and kept the lead to the next buoy and once again started to hunt a wave down. Kody and I caught a wave to the inside, but he fell off the wave and I kept on it to make the gap. I turned the inside buoy and headed back out for the last lap. I had a good gap so knew I had it but I still was going all out. When I turned the last buoy I knew I had to catch a wave and sure enough found a little one and crossed the finish line in first.

Pacifico Beer was one of the great sponsors of the event - and at the awards I had an unexpected prize - a bike!!! Thanks Pacifico Beer!!
I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim, Rainbow Sandals, Rista Fins, Dakine, GoPro, OnIt Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Sunrite Maui, Hammer Nutrition, EFX, and Hi-Tech Sports. And, my newest sponsor - iDcard!!!

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers. Fun Event!! 
Looking forward to the next event in Cocoa Beach Florida!!

Aloha -



WOM STREET: FOUNDERS OF WOMSTREET.COM Matt, Alex, and Ryan are a unique trio that have conjoined their knowlegde and expertises to create an oustanding and original idea. WomStreet is a competitive online platform that hosts videos and photo contests for brands. The three individuals are greatly diverse in personality and interests, but their one common love is their drive for entrepreneurship. Wom Street hit the ground this spring while launching at University Wisconsin Madison's world famous Mifflin Street Block Party. The three characters have continued to pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors by meeting with investors, taking on clients, and officially opening up office in Madison, Wisconsin. As Wom Street continues to grow so does their passion and unwavering ambition. Learn more about Matt, Alex, Ryan, and start using!





Matt Ford

Alex Kreindler

Ryan Schmukler





Tell me about your life before college and the transition into where you are now:


Matt: “In High School I was all about football, I knew nothing but football. I ended up walking onto the team at Michigan State, after much persistence. My career was ended by a severe break in my ankle. I ended up transferring to University of Wisconsin Madison to pursue my studies in Entrepreneurship, the perfect concentration in business that combined creativity and philosophy.”


Alex: “I was at boarding school in Massachusetts, but originally from Frankfurt, Germany. I started my own company Junior year. I had always wanted to work on Wall Street so I interned in a bank, managed student portfolios at Madison, involved in other organizations on campus, and my fraternity. Last summer I had a big internship on Wall Street in New York and I hated it... The hours were too much and with the financial markets going the way they are, it wasn’t for me. But I knew I wanted to do something on my own.” 


Ryan: "I started programming when I was 9, wrote programs and played on computers. I started an international gaming organization when I was 15. It was the second most popular gaming server in the nation. It ran entirely on donations from our members and people that played on our server, and it was way more expensive back then. It was called The Lazy Gamers. I shut it down my freshman year [of college] because I didn't have the time and was having fun. All the people I gamed with, we're still friends."





Moving onto Wom Street, have you always wanted to start your own business?


Matt: “I didn’t always want to start my own business. My dad is an entrepreneur so I think he may have planted the seed early. He always told me, how you make yourself in America is to start your own company. I thought, what kind of business would I start? You don’t understand how it all works, but [entrepreneurs] are just normal people that started their own companies. As I learned more about start-up companies and their stories, I thought I can do that too.”


Alex: “I thought about in High School, I had a lot of ideas. I finally got serious about it. I was analyzing all these companies and, it’s true, they’re all just normal people. If you look at their mistakes and learn from them, I realized I can do that, be my own boss... put in the hard work to achieve something.” 


Ryan: "I've startd companies prior to this. Previously, I did GoodMate (a roommate communicative website) with Cody Candee and most recently was working on Boomki. Cody and I worked together before WomStreet. On top of that I did consulting at Dreamcloud Studios. ( A web development company. I did the Facebook Hack-a-thon and won that and won third place at the computer science N.E.S.T. awards."



What are your interests outside of your entrepreneurial endeavors? 


Matt: “Skiing. My parents have a place out in Colorado, so skiing out there as much as possible. I play guitar, took that up about a year ago. I like to write, it’s a great release for whatever so I have a blog. Yoga and a little meditation but all for fun.” 

Matt's Ski Video




Alex: “I was on the Alpine skiing team here at Madison, I wasn’t great but I definitely improved. I heavily work on Wom Street, but enjoy playing racquetball. I still trade [stocks] quite a bit; I made my own trading algorithms...I guess you could say its’ like sophisticated gambling [laughs].”


Matt: [laughs] “Sophisticated gambling, I like that.”


Music, what’s your favorite?


Matt: “Grateful Dead. They’re awesome, 70 years old literally and still rockin’ it. Beatles, I love the classic rock.”


Alex: “Classic rock, rap... I grew up in Germany so I listen to a lot of electronic music but not like what we listen to here, I like the calmer stuff.”

Ryan: "Indie, dubstep, folk, bluegrass, but mostly indie."



What is Wom Street (


Alex: “Matt’s got the pitch down...”


Matt: “WomStreet is a social media hub and what we do is host online contests. If you think about YouTube, what they did for videos, we’re doing for contests.  They built a community around sharing and creating videos, we’re building a community around competing in online contests. 


You have television shows like American Idol, contests, where anyone can submit their vote. The users are the population and they ultimately vote the winners. We really liked that concept, so we thought, let’s bring it online. Contests online. 


For example, Doritos Crash the Super Bowl Campaign, they built a platform and crowd sourced the creation of their Superbowl commercial.  Instead of paying a production company large amounts of money to build a viral commercial, they hosted a contest.  Anyone in the world could submit a video, anyone could go on and vote for their favorites. In the end, 6,000 people created commercials for Doritos, and they threw all of the entries onto YouTube and amassed nearly 200 million hits—this was all before the Superbowl commercial aired!  They only paid 3 winners & over 6,000 people ended up doing work for Doritos, for free…  At scale, we will host contests like this.”


Do you have a target audience for Wom Street?


Matt: “Rather than a targeted audience, we target the brands that will elicit the right audience.  For instance, we’re hosting a contest for Jimmy Johns: the average person that would get excited for a Jimmy Johns contest is someone who we would want on our website.  We’re selective with the types of brands that we allow onto WomStreet.  They have to be cool, hip, and social media savoy.  The people who would be interested in competing for a contest for these brands, are indirectly our target audience.” 


How many current employees at Wom Street?


Matt: “3 Co-Founders that are more than full time [laughs] and about 7 other part time employees/contractors.”

Alex: “Matt has taken on the CEO role and I’ve been taking care of operations, financials, and text stuff. We need to raise money and I’m in charge of that.”




What’s a typical day working on the development of Wom Street?


Matt: “In the start-up world you don’t really have a set schedule. What’s going to happen tomorrow? That’s what you deal with.  But I handle most of the networking, and I also run all of our marketing meetings.  When a company comes on board, we get them into the office for a 2 hour brainstorming session…These sessions are electric to say the least. “ 


Alex: “We’re tackling a bunch of new things as they come up, it’s a new day every day.  I’m also creating our companies infrastructure—Anything from day-to-day processes to sales contracts.” 


Ryan: "Get in, turn on the music, get a drink: coffee, Gatorade, soda, sit down and slap away at the keyboard for 4 hours at a time. I get up, walk around, and go to meetings if I have to. {laughs}"



What inspired you to start Wom Street?


Matt: “I had a similar idea and wanted to call it (Word of Mouth). I came up with the idea in the shower, when most great ideas come along while washing your hair. I wrote it down and reached out to Alex. We both shared the passion for the idea and passion for starting a company, together we’ve seen the idea shift and evolve.”


Alex: “We looked at Youtube, Youtube makes money off of creative people and they don’t see any cut (.01 percent do). We thought hey, let’s create a YouTube like platform that rewards people who’s vides blow up.  This exact scheme wasn’t exactly sustainable, so we pivoted a bit and created WomStreet, which still has the underlying philosophy of justfully rewarding content creators.”


Who are your competitors?

Matt: “We have some indirect competitors, like Youtube or Funny or Die, but we’re the first website to centralize the social media contest and create community around it. “


Alex: “We’re really crowd sourcing talent and content for companies...”





What tips can you give to young entrepreneurs like yourself?



If you have an idea that’s great, but an idea is nothing without execution. Take your idea, google it, make sure it doesn’t already exist. If it doesn’t, the next question is, whose going to be my first customer?  How am I going to get my first 1000 users? Once you ask these questions its’ all about implementation. Know you have a billion dollar idea! You’ll hear it again and again, prototype early and often.


Alex: I couldn’t agree more. Get feedback, people are always scared of others stealing their ideas but once again you have to execute which takes money and man power. No one is going to steal your idea, you have to get feedback from experienced people. You have to be restlessly determined, if you don’t believe in your idea it’s not going to happen, if you don’t work hard, same thing. 


Ryan: "For programmers, always be working on something. Find something you're obsessed with and want to work on all the time. For entrepreneurs, don't be afraid to go do it, job security is over-rated. I quit my job last year and didn't look back, definitely one of the best decisions I ever made. If you have to make it happen you will make it happen." 


Shout Outs and Thank Yous’: Timothy from Mobile Igniter. Mom and Dad. City of Madison for submitting hilarious content. Ryan, the guy who built our platform. 


“Watch some hilarious videos, vote, comment!” Use WomStreet


Wom Street Homepage

Wom Street Facebook






Ready to revolutionize your college experience? Patrick Daleen and Brandon Forschino are two young, good-looking, and revolutionary entrepreneurs. During their freshman year at Florida Atlantic University, the two brilliant minds got together and decided to improve the college experience for all students and alumni. 


Today, Patrick and Brandon, are the founders of College Twist ( College Twist isn’t your average social networking website, it is the Official College Network: a one stop shop for all the students needs. The College Twist community is made up of incoming college students, on campus residents, and alumni who wish to stay connected with the campus and all that surrounds it.


College Twist doesn’t limit what users can see like other social networks; it truly provides an open “College” network where the viewers (students) can see everything and anything they want and need in an organized way. Everyone can locate the library or student union, but what about the best tail-gate, house party, secret study spot, or concert? College Twist has the revolutionary feature called “Heat Map” that allows users to correlate what is going on and where, all on a fun and exciting map view of the campus and surrounding area.


These two entrepreneurs and fellow college students have dedicated their time and energy to enrich all college students’ social experience. 






Aside from College Twist, what are some things you do in your free time (if any)?


Patrick:  â€œI’m an extreme sports enthusiast, I like Wakeboarding, snowboarding and things like that. I also grew up playing golf, so I do that quite a bit and I enjoy getting out there and relaxing.”

Brandon: “I love to have fun. I’m very adventurous.  I love the water, the salt-life. You know growing up on the beach I spent a lot of time in the ocean, river, boating, fishing. So I love being outdoors. I could never see myself living anywhere but the east coast.”

How did the idea of College Twist develop?


Brandon: “It all started from having the idea just from personal experience being a high school senior, and thinking about coming to a university for the first time. You don’t really know what you’re getting into.

 The university does a good job of getting you ready for the school; they give you information and give you a tour.  It’s a glorified tour, but everything they show you is really from an administrative’s point of view, for the most part. And we really wanted to hear from other students about what it was like being in college.   

I wanted to hear from friends of mine about it and I reached out through Facebook to some friends. But there were people I didn’t know on Facebook and I didn’t feel comfortable messaging them. 

So Patrick and I came up with this idea after living next door to each other as suitemates. We were “talking about moving into an off-campus residence together for sophomore year. And we couldn’t find any pictures of these places and that’s when we decided to brainstorm something cool that could take all these experiences we were having as high school seniors, as current freshman, living on campus and create something that could hopefully group the whole college experience into one thing.”



How did the idea of College Twist develop?


Brandon: “It all started from having the idea just from personal experience being a high school senior, and thinking about coming to a university for the first time. You don’t really know what you’re getting into.

 The university does a good job of getting you ready for the school; they give you information and give you a tour.  It’s a glorified tour, but everything they show you is really from an administrative’s point of view, for the most part. And we really wanted to hear from other students about what it was like being in college.   

I wanted to hear from friends of mine about it and I reached out through Facebook to some friends. But there were people I didn’t know on Facebook and I didn’t feel comfortable messaging them.

So Patrick and I came up with this idea after living next door to each other as suitemates. We were “talking about moving into another residence hall for sophomore year. And we couldn’t find any pictures of these places and that’s when we decided to brainstorm something cool that could take all these experiences we were having as high school seniors, as current freshman, living on campus and create something that could hopefully group the whole college experience into one thing.”

Patrick: “Our original idea was similar to rate my professor, except with colleges. From there we began running with the idea, and finding areas where other websites were lacking. From those problems we found, we came up with the solution of creating a photo driven social network for colleges."




What about Facebook made you thinking there needed to be a networking site specifically geared toward college students?


Brandon: “The whole thing about Facebook is to create a page and the goal is to get as many people to like your page as possible to find out info. If you go on Facebook and research these pages and sometimes you’ll see more than one, sometimes even more than five. They’re all the same page created year after year, so it’s really hard to find which one is the real page and which one is going to be the most useful. I call those ‘blockades’ because everyone is competing to get the same students and get everyone to like their page, but all the clubs, organizations and university are working together, but there needed to be a one-stop shop that all the students could go for information, without having to navigate through all these pages.

Another thing that bothered me was events, I was blown away with spam about event notifications from club promoters, from Farmville, or this and that. I came to a point where I got tired of looking at events because I just thought it was spam. All things became irrelevant to me. It made the experience irrelevant.”



How has College Twist grown and changed since original development?


Patrick: “Before it was officially developed we had a couple ideas of what we wanted to do, so it’s changed drastically. Developing this site has been a rollercoaster of emotions, because we got this idea and found out there were tons of sites out there that did the exact same thing. So when finally crystalized our idea to what you see today, it had been through a lot.  But as far as actually developing and coding goes, we had a solidified vision of what we wanted before we actually started developing so it’s been smooth sailing from then to the idea we have today.  



What makes College Twist different from other social media sites?


Patrick: “The first question people ask us is ‘how is it different from Facebook? ‘That’s our number one question. Facebook is centered on you as a user. On social media sites like Facebook and Twitter the user is the center. On College Twist, we take the user out of it and create the college as the center. All the different spokes that go out of it are all the different categories we have on the site, which are the different aspects of the college from social life, Greek life, academics and anything of that matter. We eliminate the so called walls, or barriers that people find where they can’t see pictures because they’re not friends with that person.”

Brandon: “You can create an event page and upload pictures and invite people to your event. There are three ways to invite people:  1.Through College Twist, 2.Through email list, 3.Through Facebook.

But the best part about it is you don’t have to invite people to your event because we have a calendar on each page. So say you’re on housing and you’re looking at residence hall, you can view the calendar of weekly or upcoming events at that resident hall. As you develop your interest you can find calendars advertising them instead of getting notifications. Then you can go around make things your favorites and then you have your own personal calendar of events based on your interests.”





What are some new features currently in development for College Twist?


Patrick: “A really cool feature we’re developing is our Heat Map. The Heat Map is a really revolutionary idea we started developing. It allows you to correlate points of interest around campus, on-campus, and surrounding areas that you can filter out by the eight main categories we have on the site. So if you want to see off-campus dining, or bars and clubs, or academics buildings then you’re able to see the points of interest and you can correlate that by where people are at and we do this with a visual representation.  It’s similar to how you see a heat index on the Weather channel. Similar to an area on a map, you’d see a cloud over certain views and demographic; if it’s hotter in that areas it’s going to be darker. We do that same concept, but with concentrations of college students, and we do it without giving out any demographic information, so it eliminates the creepiness factor.

Another new feature we’re developing, besides the Heat Map, is the ShoutOut wall. The best example I can give is Twitter. It’s the ability to correlate what’s going on from first-hand experiences from users. Users can give information about events going on on-campus, post questions, or tell people about their experience on these ShoutOut walls. It’s something we’re developing right now that we’re really excited about. It’ll really compliment the heat map over all.  




How do you balance going to a university and running a business? And what drives you to continue to expand College Twist?


Patrick: “I was a full-time student when this idea started, but when we got an investor in the company we had to focus on College Twist, so we had to start ramping down the course load and ramping up the work load for College Twist. So last semester I took one course online, but for this semester I’m going to be zero classes with the intent of going back to school eventually.

It’s definitely a struggle and what we’ve been blessed with, College Twist, is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  School will always be there and it’s a goal of mine to graduate, but since we have the opportunity to do this we’re taking full advantage of it. It’s always been a struggle with time management but at the end of the day, you just lose a little bit of sleep and you get it done.”

Brandon: “That was a really hard thing. When we first started this we were both full-time students and we were constantly, constantly doing stuff for College Twist. People were constantly calling us, emailing us, and we had a lot of responsibility. We didn’t sleep for the most part trying to balance homework, studying, writing papers, and answering our consumers-the college students-and trying to hold meetings with our team. So we had to take a little break. As Patrick said we’re planning on going back, because we think school is important, but as we say school will be there forever but this opportunity won’t.

The drive toward working hard on College Twist is easy, just thinking about how far we’ve come from the beginning.  Also hearing from people about how their needs are being met, or telling people about our site and hearing ‘oh that’s great. I’ve been looking for something like that for my residents from a RA. That people really show some interest in it and find a use out of it.”




What are your goals for the future of College Twist?


Patrick: “Our goal is to be the official college networking site for current students, prospect students and alumni. We have to get the current students on the site, making it what a social networking site is, and from there we want to build great content for the students that are looking to possibly go to the university. So we want to become this one stop shop where you can find all of your needs whether you are a student, been a student, or want to be a student.”

Brandon: “We hope it can become for incoming freshman-as they go through the whole college experience and graduate-they have a way to look back. And high school students have a way to find out what they’re getting ready to get into. It’s kind of a way to capture the moment before, during, and after college.”




What advice can you give to aspiring entrepreneurs or people with creative ideas?


Patrick: “Preparation is the one thing you don’t really want to do on day one, but once you start developing your business plan you need to have it rock solid, because when you start talking to people about this, whether it’s the universities, its business investors, advertisers, or maybe other potential investors, you need to make sure you have your idea rock solid and everything thought out. You just want to get out and start doing it, but be prepared and taking the initial steps and getting your business plan solidified is one of the best things you can do as an early company.”

Brandon: “First advice is to just go for it. It’s not an easy thing and obstacles and hardship will happen, but it’s the greatest feeling in the world actually accomplishing something.”


College Twist Homepage

Contact Brandon or Pat







Name: Logan Cascia

Birthday: June 28, 1990

Hometown: Glenview, IL

Current City: Madison, and Chicagoland Area

Education: University of Wisconsin Madison

Major/Concentration: Communication Arts: Film & Video, Business Certificate

Company: Cascia Films



"I love that I love what I do and I can make a living," the words of Logan Cascia. Don't we all wish that we could find something that makes us feel alive and inspired, something that motivates us to get out of bed everyday and on top of that, pay the bills?

Logan Cascia is a genuinely unique individual who has been a true artist for nearly his entire life. When his love for filming and photography took charge there was no stopping him. Today, Logan has followed his passion and through hard work and dedication, success has found him. 




Logan began filming at a young age, but through his artistic opportunities in High School and unwavering support from family and friends he was able to evolve as a digital artist.


Life before college:

“I grew up with a love for making movies with my friends, anything from home videos to photography. I started by using a little starter camera called Digital Blue, it’s a camera for kids that’s easy to use. Along with Digital Blue, I had some software where I could play around with sound effects etc. I quickly grew out of it all and realized the limitations. I upgraded cameras and once I was in High School at Glenbrook South, I was extremely involved in our television program. We were really fortunate to be a part of a cable television channel, I had always grown up watching it.” 


Anatommy that became a world-wide success:

"My parents kept telling me that my video skills were ready for something more, so I took television class in hgih school. My first project was a documentary, titled Anatommy. The short film is a documentary about Tommy Carroll, a remarkable blind boy, he skateboards, plays the drums, and a family friend of ours. The title is a play on words, his name is Tommy.


Anatommy was originally a class project that I shot, directed, and edited in 2006. It won first place in the Illinois Video Film Festival, someone else discovered it and played it in Chicago and shortly after that it went on a circuit around the word. When Anatommy was finished, I thought it had a lot of potential but before I knew it the documentary received all sorts of attention. It was featured in the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival (featuring films geared towards a younger audience, films made by professional adults) in the Fall of 2007 and also ended up playing around the world in Australia and New Zealand. After Anatommy, we also made a music video adaptation called Believe, which ended up winning first place in My Hero Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA. Anatommy won second place at My Hero [Film Festival]."


Anatommy won second place at My Hero Film Festival in Los Angeles, CA. 

"I really want to make meaningful stuff that inspires people.”


Learn more about Anatommy on Logan’s Website

“Filming has always been fun for me. My teachers, family, and friends have always been awesome and support what I do. The positive feedback definitely encouraged me to pursue a career in film and apply to film schools for my undergraduate studies.”




With unwavering love and support from Logan’s friends, family, fans, and international recognition he decided to apply to film schools out of high school, but as his film career unfolded he decided he rather be a “big fish in a small pond” when it came to arts schools. In 2008, Logan committed to University of Wisconsin Madison studying Communication Arts and Business. 

Why University of Wisconsin?


“I had my heart set on University of Southern California (USC) studying film and cinematic arts. I didn’t get in, I was bummed that they did not accept my portfolio of work because I would have been thrilled to share Anatommy with the panel. I applied to Madison because I knew it was a cool school, it was just the atmosphere that attracted me.


University of Wisconsin Madison’s film school is geared more towards film studies rather than the step by step process of directing, producing, editing etc. It seems as if Logan did not choose Univeristy of Wisconsin for its’ film school but more for the opportunities he would have as a film artist. Logan entered University of Wisconsin with an outstanding portfolio that most film students work toward even at post college graduation. By establishing himself as a successful film artist, he was a big fish in a small pond.


“At USC, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had at Madison. I’ve been able to shoot [UW-Madison] football games, stuff for the Big 10 network, and I highly doubt I would have those opportunities at USC. Great things I couldn’t have predicted came my way and I’ve been able to make a name and improve my portfolio.”



Activities while at University of Wisconsin Madison:


"I was pretty independent outside of production classes. I learned the most from doing my own thing and learning from my own mistakes. It's great being independent."


What do you LOVE about film/production/directing?


"I don't do it for the end result, although the end result and feedback is nice. After the documentaries were made people contacted me saying things like, I wake up and do so many things, this guy [Tommy from Anatommy] is blind and so positive, it makes me feel like I can do anything.’ When I hear things like this from someone who has watched the documentary and know that I touched them, it's all worthwhile. 


...while I'm in the moment, creating stuff, I'm obsessed with visuals and color...getting that one beautiful shot. I'm into photography as well, so I’m always after capturing those epic shots, whether it’s still or moving images. I like to edit my own stuff, I have control through the entire process. I get to direct, shoot, and edit which sometimes can be a drawback because I get so overwhelmed but the clients pay for the look that I have."


It's apparent you have a unique filming and photo style, can you describe your style?


"I think a lot of people notice my work because the of the color grading. Depending on the project, I like a stylish iconic look with high saturation and high contrast, blown out whites and crushed blacks. I'm obsessed with the look."





What’s your ultimate goal?


“Down the line I’d like to make a feature film. It's a long big goal I'd like to achieve. I'm building up my portfolio until it's time to jump on an opportunity.


Right now I've found success and doing well operating how I am. So far, it doesn't require a lot of  marketing but at some point I might need a strategy. I'm heading to Los Angeles, realistically I should live out there and get on that competitive stage. I'd love to continue doing what I do, being my own boss. I don't know if I would want to be on a set working for someone else, working for a director instead of being the director. 


I really want to make meaningful videos that inspire people. Its’ always been fun for me."


Logan has been doing freelance work for ESPN, Harley Davidson, and other live commercials. 


What are some of your current challenges?


"Man power. I run myself pretty hard with school and at that time I wasn't sleeping for days. I need to bring more people on board, more management, technicals, and financials. Ultimately, I shoot, edit, direct, and produce...I need someone to schedule my time."


Who are your idols and inspirations?


"Tommy, the star in my film. He made all of this come full circle. He's awesome, I enjoy filming him and hanging out with him. As far as directors go...this is a problem, I don't have a favorite movie. I work more than I have time to hang out, my inspiration is intuitive...which might be a bad thing {laughs}."


What's been the best thing about your career?


"My dad is a creative director and an artist. He helped me get the gig with Harley Davidson. I hired him and we worked shooting motorcycles. It was a lot of work but at the end of the week, I was sad it was all over. I thought, we got paid to do this? This is awesome! It was like a vacation for me, but I get to make a living out of it. Editing is grueling but when I’m out in the field and with my dad... it doesn't feel like I'm working. 


I love that I love what I do and I can make a living."


What advice can you give to others in the filming world or anyone who wants to pursue their passions?


"Sometimes I find myself complaining to people around me that I need a boss to say I have to get this or that done. It's hard when you have to make your own deadlines because you can't fire yourself. It's stressful and I'm tired. You know there's something that always needs to be done and you have to be OK with that stress. 


A lot of kids go to school. School is great and it makes you look good on paper but unless you're in the field doing it... that's the best experience to have. It's much more impressive to do things you've done on your own. If someone says to me 'I want to direct so I'm taking film classes' that's great but get out and go film. They have no idea, you have to pick up a camera and go shoot."


Shout Outs:

"to always being around art and supporters of art, anyone that appreciates it. My family, high school teacher Mark Ferguson, and the inspiring Tommy Carrol."


Logan’s Top Videos at University of Wisconsin:


-Feelin’ So Fly Like a Cheesehead

-Packer Rock Anthem


Other Wisconsin Videos:


-Summerfest Music Video

-State Fair Music Video



Anatommy - Documentary
Believe - Music Video








Shannon Hayden -- Instrumentalist

Who is Shannon Hayden?

Shannon Hayden, 22 years old, is an extremely talented cellist, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. She combines both classical and electronic cello into one uniquely organic and smooth sound. She started playing the cello at age of seven and has not stopped since. Shannon’s unique and hauntingly beautiful sound comes from her recording studio in Martinsville, IL which dually functions as a family owned, self-sustaining organic farm. Shannon was classically trained on the cello at Indiana University and attended Yale University for a three-year graduate program at the age of 18. Today, Shannon is based out of Brooklyn, but has been traveling all over the U.S. performing for audiences that are, like myself, drawn in and blown away by her arresting cello sound with an electronic flare and other added effects. Nossa Magazine was lucky enough to see Shannon perform at the Logan Square Farmer’s Market in the great city of Chicago. 
Play and read on...

A cover of Little Dragon's "A New" performed live at Melt House in Indianapolis.


So, how and when did you get started playing the cello?

“When I was about three, I heard ‘Eleanor Rigby’ by The Beatles and, even then, I was so intrigued with the low cello sound. Some time later I saw the cello for the first time when I saw Bjork and the Icelandic String Orchestra perform. After that I knew I wanted to play the cello. I begged my parents for a green cello for years, but they never took me seriously. When I was seven, after four years of begging, they must have realized it was not a phase and bought me my first cello.”



Tell me a little bit about your cello training.

“I am a classically trained cellist, but actually started out taking lessons from a local violin teacher. From the ages of 12 to 17 I started traveling two hours to Indiana University where I trained under Professor Janos Starker [the Grammy Awarding Winning Janos Starker, by the way]. Then, when I was 18 I applied for a three year graduate program at Yale University where I was accepted and received my Performer’s Certificate.”


“She can do anything with the cello, but what will it be?”

-Janos Starker


You also play the guitar. How and when did that come to be?

“I had always wanted to play the guitar -- Jimmy Page had a big influence on that. Around the age of 10 I had one teacher that was very traditional, strict, classical, and a bit harsh, so I felt somewhat limited and constrained by the cello. During that time I had been making a little money playing in regional orchestras and such -- so I used that money to buy myself a guitar. I loved how much freedom and creativity the guitar could offer and that was not something I was getting from the cello at the time. From there, I was in a few bands and through being in the bands, I learned a lot more about sound, recording, amps, and effects.”


What are some of your inspirations as a musician?

“My dad, although not a musician, but a creative and expressive visual artist has always been a huge inspiration to me. Musically, I have a pretty eclectic mix of interests ranging from Bach to Rage Against the Machine. Specifically, I really enjoy Bjork, Radiohead, Shosta Kovich, Kodaly, Tame Impala, and Arvo Part. Right now I am really into the Japanese rock band, Melt-Banana -- I can’t get enough of them.”




How has your music evolved over the years? 

“When I was 16, I was experimenting a lot with effects on the guitar. I wondered what it would be like to experiment with effects on the cello. My dad always encouraged me to branch out, improv, and do different things -- so I did. I started messing around with electronic effects on the cello and loved it. I discovered that the cello is not as restricted as I had thought -- I quickly learned that it is a very versatile instrument and I knew there was a lot I could do with it.

My music, in a lot of ways, reflects my familial values and lifestyle. When my dad reopened the family farm, he wanted to return to the more traditional values and work ethics, but also wanted to move forward with more cutting edge ideas like solar and wind power. As for me, I am classically and traditionally trained on the cello but added an electronic twist that sort of combined the old and new ways of the cello. I have always been looking for new ways to express myself, but for now, I am really happy just experimenting with my own ideas and trying to connect with audiences -- that’s what music is all about.”


Tell me a little bit about your first album, Pieces of the Sun.

“I do almost all my writing and recording on our family farm which is entirely solar powered. The music was recorded and mixed using only the solar and wind power available at the farm -- it’s kind of my ‘solar powered project’. All the tracks were written and recorded myself at my studio. The artwork on the cover of the album was all handmade by my dad and everything was printed locally. This first album was very cello-based with textured sounds, beats and singing. It is a sort of sample of all my work over the past few years. I hope for my next album to be more current and present with what I have been doing lately -- I really want to transfer that sort of trippy, electronic, Melt-Banana sound I was talking about earlier and try to channel that through the cello.”


You’ve been touring around the U.S. this past year. Where have you been? Any favorite locations or shows?

“I did a tour in L.A. and a few other locations on the West Coast, but I really loved one show in San Francisco at the Revolution Cafe. I performed on a random Monday night, but the place was packed with such an eclectic crowd! There were big open windows so people walking by could listen in which was really welcoming and friendly. I really loved the whole atmosphere, vibe, and crowd there. More recently, I’ve finally been able to venture around the Chicago scene. I performed at Observatory Studios in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago; that was a really great show. Everyone was so appreciative and there was such a great crowd -- it's always great to play for people who are so active in the arts community. I also did some touring around the East Coast, too. I went to school out there and am currently based out of Brooklyn so I had a few contacts in the area. I love performing in New York because there are so many different audiences and scenes to play for. I think traveling and touring is really important -- just getting your name out there, doing random open mics, and getting feedback and reactions from so many different audiences is extremely useful for me as a writer and musician.”



Do you have any advice for other young, aspiring musicians?

“My dad always encouraged me to think outside the box and I think that is some of the best advice. Stay open minded, don’t feel inhibited, and don’t ever let anyone put restrictions on you. Today, musicians have to be somewhat innovative and willing to try new things, so just dive in. No one is perfect at writing at first, so keep at it. Also, perform as much as possible -- even if it’s just for your friends. Always ask for advice and take thoughtful criticism and critiques, because even if they don’t know music very well, their listeners, and their opinions can be helpful in your writing.”


Shout Outs:

"I would first of all like to thank Alison Trebe who has been doing a great job of managing my affairs in Chicago and who booked the show that led to this interview in fact. But more than anything I would like to thank eveybody whose had an open mind about all the strange things I do with the cello. After all, if Ian Anderson hadn't taken his flute to band practice, we would never have heard of Jethro Tull."


NEED to hear Shannon Hayden's music?



[Want to see a live performance by Shannon Hayden? For those in the Chicago area, Shannon will be be the opening performance at the Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival, Friday, July 20th at 5pm]



By: Caitlin Mahoney


Nossa Magazine


Wayne Hwang Founder of Ignite Brand Group


Wayne Hwang, current founder of Ignite Brand Group out of New York City, is a brilliantly diverse character with knowledge in a variety of backgrounds, cultures, and styles. Spending 5 years in the San Francisco area, graduating from Stanford University in Biological Sciences, he has a deep understanding for West coast culture, fashion, and trends. Wayne left his mark at Stanford University by building “Charity Fashion Show” from the ground up, now the largest runway fashion show on the West coast. Wayne has recently brought his expertise to New York City launching Ignite Brand Group where he already has a vast array of clients and experiencing explosive growth.






Name: Wayne Hwang

Birthday: March 24th

Hometown: Midwestern roots (Eagan, Minnesota)

Current City: New York City

Education: Stanford University

Major/Minor/Concentration: Biological Sciences


Company: Ignite Brand Group

Established: 2012



How did you find yourself at Stanford University studying Biological Sciences and becoming the entrepreneur you are today?


"In high school, I really focused on art & music, but I didnʼt think any of these talents were serious career options for me. So I considered medicine and started volunteering at the United Childrenʼs Hospital in St. Paul, MN. I eventually graduate high school valedictorian and got into Stanford early action. Then proceeded the next four years on a rigorious pre-med track in Biological Sciences. Nevertheless, the arts always attracted me and I found myself spending all my time creating my first start-up, a non-profit called “Charity Fashion Show.”


Charity Fashion Show’s home link, take a look at what Wayne’s created:



What is Charity Fashion Show?


"Over the four years at Stanford, it became the largest fashion show on the West coast, featuring some 100 designers and 300 corporate sponsors. These designers ranged from being small local artists to the national platform to international designers. From each show, all proceeds benefited an annually-selected charity, including Doctors Without Borders and Kiva.”




What inspired you to create Charity Fashion Show at Stanford University?


"I used to be a model here in New York City and well exposed to the fashion industry. When I started at Stanford, I felt like I had enough experience to pioneer the fashion industry in the Bay Area. I was very fortunate to network with a variety of brilliant people in the SF Area to make Charity Fashion Show possible.


Even after I left Charity Fashion Show, I spent another year starting another company, WDesigns – my own fashion label. After successfully launching two collections and a debut runway show in San Francisco, I decided to finally leave fashion. 


So I moved out to New York City and became an in-house branding consultant for a national medical practice, American Access Care. My new life in the city led me to some powerful investors that made me believe that I could start my own branding firm.” 





What is Ignite Brand Group?


"The general philosophy is simple. What we do as a brand group agency is we simply help our clients market themselves effectively. We strengthen their brand image. When you invest in the brand’s image you invest in itsʼ future, making a company marketable and profitable. We help other people make themselves more memorable. Now, what we actually do for our clients really varies depending on who they are. Our clients range from small startups to large corporations.


"They also come from various fields: medicine, law, non-profit, fashion. Iʼve connected with people from my rather diverse background and networks in California, the Midwest, New York, and even overseas in Germany. I also speak Chinese, which is helping us expand into Asian markets."



Whatʼs your role at Ignite?


"As one of the co-founders, I focus a lot on the consulting behind the brand image...discussing how one is perceived by their target demographic. The first thing I ask my clients is how do you want to be perceived? Are they viewed the way they want to be and how do we improve that image?"



How is Ignite unique from other branding firms?


"Ignite is different in comparison to other groups because we focus on digital branding. We come from Silicon Valley where the tech world is everything and now being in New York, it’s a great feeding ground for our clients. Many of them are well-established in old marketing practices and with this digital age weʼre in online branding is essential.


At Ignite we help our clients by starting with looking at their general look and image. We clean it up, refine it, and specify their image.


There are two processes/services that we offer our clients through: brand development and brand management

Brand development, we develop stunning brand imagery to make it engaging and effective. Brand management, we expand company growth by drawing people to come in and see what the client has to offer. It’s easy to post an outstanding website but if no one sees it - it’s useless. Combining these two services of development and management makes the branding process complete."



Be careful what you wish for?


"This past New Year’s, I spent it with my three best friends in L.A. I remember telling them my resolution to find a job that would fully make use of my various talents. Now at Ignite, Iʼm getting paid to be creative – I’m constantly challenged to produce fresh and inspiring products. "



What are some of your drawbacks and fears youʼve encountered while creating Ignite?


"This is not my first start-up and I know what doing start-ups is... It is very tiring work. The rule is you wonʼt see profits for the first 18 months, should you succeed. Everything could come crashing down by tomorrow. But what I’ve learned is to know when to keep going and when to stop. The main thing that got us going is our investors that believe in our idea. The minute we got investors it exploded and clientele expanded.” 



Whatʼs next for Ignite?


"Iʼm looking forward to hiring full-time employees, weʼre ready."



What advice can you give to young entrepreneurs?


"My general advice is to have a truly original idea. Have something that you are passionate about, that you would wake up every day doing, even if you couldn’t get paid for it. Have passion for the idea. Then...go for it, make it happen by putting in the time and the investment. Then find enthusiastic investors and thatʼs how you make the idea explode and worthwhile."



Shout outs/Thank you: Thom, Steph, and Mo.


If you want to learn more about Wayne, Ignite Brand Group, and all his successes check out these links:


Ignite Web Site:

Ignite Facebook:

Ignite Twitter:

Charity Fashion Show:


By: Jennifer Yih @jenyihs

NOSSA Magazine



Connor Wins the Haleiwa SUP Race



Recap of Event - by Connor

The 2012 Surf N Sea's event at Haleiwa was a super fun day at the beach with friends and family. I flew over to Honolulu from Maui the night before the race - and then my dad and I got up super early and drove from Kaneohe to the North Shore.

The day kicked off with a 4-mile race in a circle and then back to the beach for a running finish. I used my Starboard 12'6" BOP Race board. There was crosswind, headwind and a little wind behind me. I had a great start and got to the front right in the beginning and stayed there for the two laps and hit the beach in first. 

The top ten from that race made it to the second round, which was a different shorter course that went straight out, then back to the beach. Same with the first race, I had a great start and got to the front and held the rest of the pack off to the buoy and back to the beach. I ran up the beach in first. 

For the third round, the top 5 made it and it was a full bore sprint down and back three times. We had people holding our boards for a fair start. When the horn blew I had one thing on my mind “WIN”! So I paddled my hardest and right in the beginning lost my balance and fell in. They all got ahead, but with me falling, it just made me paddle even harder. Before they got to the first buoy I caught up and was back in lead - but I was tied with the guy next to me and we battled it out until the last leg and I just went all out and came in first.  

So, I won all of the races and got $1,000. After the prize giving - there was a great raffle. Hundreds of prizes. 

A big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers. Great Event!! I'll be back next year!!!!!
I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim, Rainbow Sandals, Rista Fins, Nike, Dakine, GoPro, On It Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Sunrite Maui, Hammer Nutrition, Garmin, EFX and Hi-Tech Sports. 

Aloha -

    Connor Baxter






Where the Magic Happens

2012 has been a year of exciting gains and unlimited possibilities. Here at NOSSA we've been blessed with an amazing staff, writers, interviewers, interviewees, and therefore have established a tight network that keeps every one energetic and motivated. 

As NOSSA spreads its' wings, we are enthused to bring new interviews to the website as well as hiring more staff and interns due to outstanding growth and popularity. We're always looking for individuals that are original in not only their talents but way of life. Now is a time when innovation and taking calculated risks to turn ideas/goals into reality. If not now when? 

I'm thankful to those individuals out there who are going after it every day with no idea if they are going to win or fail, but deep down I think we all know that it's not about winning and losing. These individuals win every day by waking up and taking one step further towards their goals. Knowing what you want is 90% of the work.

A big thank you to my writers, interviewees, and all who have been a part of NOSSA thus far. 

-Jennifer Yih

NOSSA Founder and Director


Our very own interviewee Connor Baxter is at it once again! 

Connor wins the Olukai Ho'olaule'a Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP) event. 



SUP MAGAZINE WRITES: "The sport's best showed up on Maui to compete as young phenom Connor Baxte took the men's Elite title ahead of Australia's Travis Grant, California's Danny Ching, Hawaii's Dave Kalama and Jamie Mitchell (Australia)." 

"At the pinnacle of the standup is the downwind run, combining every skill in the sport, from paddling, to surfing to seamanship. And one of the most classic downwind runs in all of paddling is the Maliko run on Maui's north shore."





The 2012 Olukai Event was one of the great events. It's a downwind run from Maliko Gulch to Kanaha Beach. This event is on Maui - my home turf, so it was game on. It was on Saturday and started at noon - and there were 280 competitors!!! The forecast was for light wind - which we were all dreading. But - luckily the wind picked up, so there was decent wind for the competition. 

I paddled out of Maliko to the start and lined up outside. When the horn blew I knew what I had to do and put my game face on and started paddling as hard as I could. Danny Ching, Dave Kalama and I all pulled out to the front and started to pull away from the other racers. After a little ways, Danny and I pulled away from Dave. Danny and I battled it out for a little bit, then I knew I had to have a little lead on Danny before the flat water. 

So I just kept paddling as hard as I could and pulled away from him and never looked back. I caught a little wave going through Camp One and hit the flats and just kept the throttle on as hard as I could. I remained in the lead for the remainder of the race, whereas the next four racers - Danny, Travis, Dave and Jamie - traded places by the finish.

I hit the beach and ran as fast as I could and crossed the finish line in first place - 47 minutes - the fastest time for this event.

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support – Starboard, Maui Jim Sunglasses, Rainbow Sandals, Rista Fins, SIC, Nike, Dakine, GoPro, EFX, On It Pro, Waterman’s Sunscreen, Sunrite Maui, Hammer Nutrition, and Hi-Tech Sports. 

Also a big Mahalo to all the event organizers and volunteers. Great Event!! I'll be back next year for sure!!!!!

Aloha -
    Connor Baxter




Alexander Zafran and Noah Miller from their Political Satire Website: "The Washington Fancy"

We unfortunately live in a time where the portrait of America is painted with broad brushstrokes of seedy politics and thin brushstrokes of civilian solace. Given America’s state of economic and social imbalance, there’s a place, a wishing well if you will, that people are looking for to assuage their worries and accelerate their hopes for America. It is in this vein that political satire can prove to be a remedy that helps people coup with these type of anxieties, as it allows the antidote of comic relief to lighten the load.

Alexander Zafran and Noah Miller are two college students who have shared this desire for an open-minded outlet where they can blow off some steam about the maelstrom of things going on in the political media. As a result, in June of 2011, they established their own political satire website called The Washington Fancy, which has been a barnburner ever since its launch. Eight of their best-read articles have been featured in a new book entitled Net’s Best Satire, Vol. 1 and the caliber of success isn’t falling off the crescendo anytime soon, especially in the heat of election season. The two partners were nice enough to do a couple interviews with us to catch us up to speed with The Fancy, their personal dockets and their first viral article that finally opened the floodgates. 


Name: Alexander Zafran
Title: Editor in Chief
Hometown: Miami, FL
Current City: (Rome, Italy) Washington D.C.
University: George Washington University
Concentration: Classical Studies


With your senior year of college approaching, what are some of your plans for post-graduation?

Alexander: Getting my M.B.A. and J.D. I’d like to specialize in two fields. In this world where globalization is bringing people together and there’s more competition in the workplace, there’s a huge advantage in being trained in two completely different skill sets, which is exactly what I want. Whatever I do I’d like to be able to use my fluency in Italian, Spanish, Hebrew, and Latin...does Latin count? (laughs) Oh, and can’t forget my two sentences in Chinese and a few words of Portuguese (winks).

How did you end up at George Washington University since you grew up in Miami?

I always saw what it was like to grow up in a big city, and I knew I wanted to keep that environment as a part of life. Miami is a very flashy place. Most people identify Miami as having a Spanish influence, gorgeous beaches and classy living. On a different note, there’s only been cultural history up until the last one hundred years. When I was sixteen I was in Washington for a summer program. Washington is a city of thriving cultures, politics and power. It embodies a much more fast-paced city and workplace, which contrasts the flashy lifestyle in Miami – those aspects of D.C. appealed to me.

Aside from your work at the Fancy, what are some of your hobbies?

“Food is my life. I’m big on nutrition and fitness – a big gym buff. I obviously love languages…Hmm what else do I like? Jews. I’m gonna say it, I love Jews, Judaism, and my roots in England and Cuba. I enjoy classical history, politics, and deep and meaningful conversations. As far as music goes, hip hop keeps me going.

What would you say is the top 3 artists on your iTunes?

Chris Brown, Dre’s songs, and Daddy Yankee, love my Spanish grind.

Enough about you, tell us about the Washington Fancy.

So after working on the hill for about five months, I came home to realize that one of the biggest elements of politics is egotism. It’s something that comes with money and power. I came home from this internship that taught me a lot. I was with my friend Noah Miller (Director of Operations at the Fancy) and we talked about how the ego is such a substantial part of politics; there’s no real outlet.

At this time, the election was bubbling up, people were complaining about gas prices and the war, plus things were not progressing. So, we got to thinking, what kind of outlet can we give these people? What could we offer politics that is unique?

We ended up getting involved with a lot of high schools and wanted to do something different, so we devised a political satire website. We definitely wanted to do something humorous, leaving our readers feeling a little bit better after reading an article. We recognized that, aside from The Onion, there’s no major satire website online. Our generation can name The Onion and that’s about it! We wanted to drill in a market that was untouched and still untapped.

Over a period of six weeks, we registered the domain name, set up an infrastructure for how the website will run, made the website, hired writers, editors, and the whole nine yards. Sure enough, we were ready to go six weeks later on June 27th, 2011.


How’s your activity on

Right now our site receives just under 400,000 views a year. Of course, there are spikes in activity depending on popular interests, articles, etc. There’s a lot to consider. Viewers are so fickle. If it doesn’t catch their attention, we’re belly up. In order to keep viewers interested we have to do something unique and attractive so it will make people intrigued and want to click.

As for views, we’ve been seen in more than 170 countries, chiefly due to one specific article that put us on the map about two months into operation.


The guy in the article went through T.S.A and was patted down in the “private area,” which allowed us to reach out to people that weren’t necessarily interested in politics or who knew a lot about Mitt Romney. The story served more as one of those things you laughably talk about at your dinner table or out to coffee.

It was an in vogue issue that was being talked about and people believed it! The picture was definitely believable and, because of the pseudo credibility and ridiculous humor, it was bought by average newsreaders, which put us on the map. That article and activity set a precedent for the Washington Fancy satire.

How did you feel, as a co-owner, seeing the T.S.A. article go viral?

It was fantastic. That’s the kind of day you refresh the page every five seconds and you see the view counts multiply by the thousands. It was an incredible feeling. It was the first milestone for The Fancy. We had not only achieved our goal, but surpassed it.

It was a game changer from then on. We could attract a 70-year-old in Milwaukee or a 16-year-old in California to click. It made us recognize our market existed.

What’s a normal work day look like at The Fancy?

I’m the co-founder and Editor in Chief. There’s a staff of 35 writers and 10 editors. We’ve created a very reliable system: the writers contribute, they send content to an editor, editor sends content to me, I post on the website, and then a final check is shared between me and two editors that monitor the entire presentation of the site. The whole process works very well.

It’s nice because people get well acquainted with each other. Our crew starts to understand our writers’ personal styles and they form strong relationships. The whole staff is always talking about political issues, jokes, sharing stories, wishing one another happy birthday – maybe two writers are dot dot dotting [laughs] – that’s what makes the internal infrastructure special and work.

Who are your employees?

Our youngest writer is 17-years-old and the oldest is 66. We even have a contributor from Australia. We definitely wanted people from different backgrounds, ages, expertise, and preferably different political backgrounds and preferences. We didn’t want it to be college students only; we wanted people from all over the country. 

What are your goals for the website?

My goal is to be on par with, if not surpass, The Onion regarding political satire. The Onion has done a fantastic job, but I want it to be done exclusively.

Every day the election draws nearer. With Santorum recently dropping out and the Republicans- Obama relationship getting heated, there’s a lot going on in politics. Around September, the peak of [political] interest, The Fancy is going to be expanding. One department that’s being built up now is our video department. We’re interviewing people on the streets of D.C. about people’s current situation in America – giving constituents their 15 minutes of fame.

I want The Fancy to provide light and humor on the political world, but also to educate and spread political awareness.

What keeps you motivated?

Viewing all the comments and interest from the online community. The fact that we can keep people from all over the world entertained and provide them a much-needed service is motivation enough. People are coming to us for political satire and counting on us to make them laugh.  There’s nothing better then the community’s positive feedback.

How often do people contact The Fancy? How responsive are you to your followers?

People contact us all the time. They send in their own opinions, which is why we created a separate account for guest writers. Our guest account is for people that have something to say and who have a piece that they want to publish on any political topic. Whether it’s 150 words or 1500, if they want to contribute and be involved then that’s fantastic. That’s how it spreads.

Shout Outs:

Noah Miller (Director of Operations). We do this together, but the fact that we can make this work from two different continents is amazing in itself. Thanks to all of the writers, film crew, editors and interns. Thanks to Max Freidman, Freidman Creative for website design.... and of course to all the politicians who give us limitless, comedic gold.





Name: Noah Miller
Title: Director of Operations
Hometown: Boca Raton, FL
Current City: Orlando, FL
University: University of Central Florida
Concentration: Business

So we’ve got the rundown with Alexander. Let’s hear your side of things. I know you’re only a junior, but do you have any post-grad plans or ambitions?

I’m not quite sure yet, but I’m thinking it’ll have something to do with the business world. I’m keeping my options open though.

How did you and Alexander get connected?

We went to high school together in Boca Raton and just stayed friends throughout college, which is when we started the idea for The Fancy.

What are some hobbies you enjoy?

Obviously, I like learning about American and international politics. I’m a big news junkie. I love music…I play guitar and piano. I’m like being social and enjoy meeting new people.

Could you explain the origin and process of how this publication came to be?

We both worked in proposal campaigns and were active in political affairs. Last May, we were both kind of bored before we started back at our jobs and…I kind of made a half-serious joke about how I wished there was a place that satirized politics and that poked fun at both parties and every candidate on either side of the aisle. So I said to Alex, ‘Let’s start one.’ To be honest, I didn’t think much of it, I didn’t think it would be big, I didn’t think people would get involved. However, when we first started, our month goal was to have 5 writers, including Alex and I. After month one, we ended up having 25 writers. So right off the bat it was just something that blew up and took over. We realized in two weeks that people were really interested in the idea.

Can you point to a time in your life when you were first turned on to satire?

I was never a huge satire junkie. I never checked satire website everyday, month or even year. What really turned me on to satire was when I got discouraged by politics, around last May. Alex and I were upset about how American politics were being run. We decided we needed to find a way to laugh about politics, which is when we realized that satire humor was the appropriate outlet for that.

Have any favorite satires?

The Colbert Report is my favorite satire. I think that’s the best. It’s better than The Onion, it’s better than John Stewart…Steven Colbert is just a sweet genius.





Describe your role at The Fancy.

I do all the managing of the site – web development and web design. Alex deals with all the writers and whatnot. I’m the finance guy as well and anything that doesn’t include looking over the articles and editing stuff. 

Any exciting events or opportunities happening with The Fancy?

We’re always looking for more writers, contributors and editors. Something that we’ve been testing over the last several month is producing original videos. We’re looking to do political interviews with people on the streets and provide more media content to our site because we feel it’ll add another dimension for our readers.

Since The Fancy is nonpartisan, has being surrounded by neutrality influenced your personal political views?

Yeah, it has a little bit. I think it’s a mixture though. I was politically one-sided a couple years ago, and as I’ve become discouraged with American politics on both sides, I’ve become more moderate. I think working with people from both sides has helped develop my views and open my eyes a little bit, absolutely. That was the point, we were upset because a lot of politics, and even political satire sites, were bias and run by either all liberals or all conservatives. That’s where we found our niche. We wanted just as many people making fun of Mitt Romney as there are making fun of Obama. I think people are sick of the bias. An equal playing field can kind of bring the community together.

What advice would you give people aspiring to start a project/business for their niche?

That’s a great question. I’m glad you asked. One, start small because any time you start some sort of business/niche endeavor, you have no idea what you’re going to need to do until you have to do it. Even if it’s your first time, you’re going to learn on the job and you’re going to learn quickly. Also, it’s good to be naïve sometimes because if I knew how much work I’d have to put into this I would have never started, but the fact that I was naïve allowed me to think I could do it. It’s tough at times starting a website and managing people, but you’ll learn. If you’re really passionate about something – even if you have no idea how to do it – you’ll do it. Naivety won’t hold you back.

And obviously, you have to enjoy it because if you don’t enjoy it then you won’t want to do it. During the development phase, Alex and I didn’t even want to leave the table. We’d sit from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. just working on this dream we were so excited about. We knew this was what we wanted to achieve.

Check out the Fancy’s website and their Top 5 articles below:







Ian Becker and Joseph Ayers-Johnson in FeatherSane

Name: Joe Ayers-Johnson (left)                                  
AKA: DJ Feathas                                      
Age: 20
Hometown: Roseville, Minnesota
Current City: Chicago, IL
Studying: Philosophy                                                                                 


Name: Ian Becker (right)
AKA: iAnsane
Age: 20
Hometown: Roseville, Minnesota
Current City: Chicago, IL
Studying: Digital Cinema


FeatherSane is a hip hop duo featuring the two young, ambitious MC’s, DJ Feathas and iAnsane. These two Roseville, Minnesota natives or, “RoseVillans”, are currently residing in Chicago, Illinois as students at DePaul University. After the release of their first mix tape, Jest Mentality, Nossa Magazine was lucky enough to sit down with these two and discuss FeatherSane and music over pizza and PBR. 


Listen to FeatherSane while you read...


"Alpha Step"     


When and how did you each start getting interested in making music?

   Ian: When I was younger, I’d entertain myself and other people on the bus by freestyling to B96 beats over the radio. I guess that’s how I became familiar with more mainstream rap. As I got older, my tastes expanded and I got into some more independent stuff – Minneapolis has a good hip-hop scene. As far as recording, I guess I’ve always been fascinated with recording my voice. I remember using Windows Recorder with friends at sleepovers when I was young. 

   Joe: The first album I ever bought was Country Grammar by Nelly (laughs), but when I stumbled across Eminem’s The Eminem Show, that’s what really got me interested in hip-hop. I had already been interested in and had written some of my own poetry, and turning poetry into rap was a pretty natural and easy transition.


How did you guys meet and decide to team up and collaborate as a hip hop duo, FeatherSane?

[In agreement] We met playing football in high school. We both weren’t very good and we didn’t play much, so we started freestyling on the sidelines. Also, we had an English class together in high school where we had to write journal entries, but instead we would write rhymes.

   Ian: Yeah, it was freshman year and we had to write about “Julius Caesar”. Joe and I decided that, for fun, we should make the assignment rhyme. So Joe and I (among others) volunteered to read our own in front of the class. Joe started reading his and the whole class sort of lit up when they realized he was rapping. Everyone was so entertained and it was cool being the source of that entertainment.

   Joe: After that we were both kind of like, ‘well...that was fun, we should keep doing that.’ So, we decided we wanted to make a song, but we had no idea what to write about. We asked a friend, and she said to write it about her, so we did. And that was our first official track. Our first couple songs were the goofiest things ever...but after a while we realized that we really weren’t that bad at rapping, so we decided to start actually trying to write good shit. 



I’m so curious, how did you come up with the name ‘FeatherSane?’

   Joe: That’s a long and funny story actually. Well, maybe not that long or funny. I got my friend an ugly wooden owl for his birthday as a joke, but he ended up hanging it on his wall. A while later while hanging out at his place, I was trying to think of an MC name. I remembered this insane beat boxer I had heard back home named DJ Snuggles. DJ Snuggles...I liked the sound of that; so I knew I wanted something similar. I happened to see that stupid, ugly, wooden owl on my friend’s wall and just went with DJ Feathas. FeatherSane is just a combination of DJ Feathas and iAnsane.

   Ian: Yeah, we thought about changing it a few times...maybe to the “RoseVILLANS” because we are both from Roseville, MN. But in the end we just left it as FeatherSane.


"Pop Filters and Mic Stands"


What are some artists that inspire you?

   Ian: A long time ago I heard this song on the radio that had such a different sound that I really liked. My dad later informed me that it was ‘Fight For Your Right To Party’ by The Beastie Boys. That inspired me, even though I never really listened to them. Now, I get inspired and challenged when I hear someone better than me. It makes me try to answer and come back with something better because you want to think you are the best. An artist that challenges me lyrically now is Childish Gambino. I also love Atmosphere, Hoodie Allen, The Dean’s List, Big Krit, Jay Electronica, Hopsin, Nas, The Roots, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Jay-Z, the whole Watch the Throne album, Matt & Kim, Blu. I still even listen to Linkin Park, Brother Ali, P.O.S, and early 50 Cent now and then.

   Joe: I agree with a lot of the artists Ian mentioned. I especially love Atmosphere -- I aspire to be as lyrically profound as Slug [of Atmosphere]. Eminem is a big influence, too. His album Infinite continues to blow my mind and The Eminem Show got me into hip-hop in the first place. Obviously Notorious B.I.G., Nas, and Jay-Z are classic influences. Kanye West, Big L, Blu are big influences, too; and, outside of hip-hop, the band Cake.


What are some of your individual strengths, weaknesses, or some things you are currently trying to improve on?

   Joe: It’s hard to be a young college kid trying to rap, because everybody does it; but I want to be better than that. I kind of hate that I fit that typical white rapper stereotype. I want to break that cliché. I’ve spent a lot of time lately playing around with different rhyme schemes. To me, it’s almost as much about the rhyme itself as the content. What you say is important. But the art is in how you say it. 

   Ian: I want to work towards making our own unique sounds. I still want to try to incorporate other styles I like, but exploring and experimenting is essential right now. I also think it would be awesome to become “THE DePaul Rappers.” We want FeatherSane to come to mind when people think of rappers on campus. College is the perfect time to be doing this because we have a built in audience of thousands. We want to get as much music out as possible while we are still at DePaul because it’s the perfect launching point for us.


"Figs on the Table" (Prod. by Rawdawgg)


Tell me a little bit about your first mix tape, Jest Mentality...

   Ian: It had been a work in progress for a while; we would record a little here and a little there. The production quality wasn’t always the best, mainly because we would record in a dorm room, our apartment, or in Joe’s basement back at home. But Jest Mentality is a mix of a lot of styles and every song is different. We’ve been exploring a lot to see what works for us and what doesn’t.  Friends have given us a lot of feedback, some of it surprising. At first we weren’t sure about songs like “Figs on the Table”, but it turned out to be one of our most popular. 

   Joe: Yeah, Jest Mentality definitely doesn’t have an established style. Two of the songs on it are over a year old. I’ve been in a bit of a writer’s block this year, so I used some verses I wrote before I even came to DePaul. I feel like I’ve improved a lot since Jest Mentality, though, so I’m really looking forward to what we come out with next.


What are some things we can look forward to with FeatherSane?

   Ian: I don’t think we are much closer to finding our own sound, but we want whatever sound we have to have a higher level of quality. We want our next project to combine our caliber of lyrics with quality of audio.  

   Joe: We also want to record a new single and shoot a video for that single. It might be a couple months until our next tape and I wanna give people something to jam to in the meantime. Also, we are going to work on promotion. A video is great for that because videos get views and are easily shared. That gets our name out there and will help hype our new mix tape. 


How does it feel having fans and knowing your music is out there being heard?

   Ian: It’s definitely weird getting props from other people and realizing we actually have fans (laughs).

   Joe: Yeah, just seeing that people are actually into us is crazy. At one show I threw up my hand during a song, almost by accident, and this kid in the back threw his hand up, too. He quickly realized that nobody else had their hands up, so he put his down abashedly...but for that moment, knowing he was feeling it was awesome.


What advice do you have for other young, aspiring MC’s?

   Joe: Always keep writing. Whenever I stop writing it’s always that much harder to get back into it. Plus, the more you write, obviously the better you become and the easier it is. 

   Ian: Switch it up. Don't be afraid to try different styles or different rhyme schemes, etc.. And don't be afraid to throw away a verse or a stanza. If you are stuck on a few lines and can't finish them, then move on to something fresh. If it doesn't come naturally, then it won't sound like it. 


Shout Outs:

Shout out to Johnny Castle, Mike Kronzer, Charlie Adams, John Ascher, Higgy Bear, and Ben Nichols, and all Minnesota cats in Chicago!

"Amy Winehouse"

For more information on FeatherSane...
Facebook: "like" FeatherSane
Twitter: #FeatherSane
and more FeatherSane music on SoundCloud at:



Our very own NOSSA Interviewee, Connor Baxter, will be live on air on the Stand Up Paddle Magazine Show tomorrow at 12:00 and 5:00 EST and again on Saturday at 9:00AM EST. 

Read more about the 17-year-old Stand Up Paddle Surfing Champion and his background at NOSSA Magazine.






Travis Pitcher and Joseph LeBaron from The Good Line


Organization: The Good Line
Co-founders: Travis Pitcher and Joseph LeBaron
Current Location: Utah
Worldwide Clients: Help International, Yeah Samake, The Leavitt Institute, Komaza, Fairbourne Consulting, The Ballard Center and Downtown Streets

Documenting and promoting acts of public welfare is just as important as the people and organizations performing such acts. These days, there’s an ongoing relationship between altruistic and seedy walks of life. Each path has a great potential to impact the world in very significant ways, which is usually why people are attracted to one or the other. There are two men (and stalwarts supporting them) that go by the names of Travis Pitcher and Joe LeBaron, who have consciously taken the path of philanthropy, and they have started an international project called The Good Line. We were fortunate enough to engage in an eye-opening interview with them about topics like their worldwide travels, their work with a presidential candidate in Mali and how they’ve been able to integrate their passion and talent for capturing life as it is to colorfully serve humanity.  


Tell us a little about your life before The Good Line.

Travis Pitcher: I’m originally from Utah. I lived abroad in Argentina and Puerto Rico. I had an interest in continuing to travel and to contribute to something greater than myself. I started studying international development, but that was kind of too much– I learned a lot, but I wanted something more hands-on. So my friend suggested filmmaking to me and at that point I didn’t know people could major in filmmaking. So I ended up graduating from BYU as a Film Fellow. I was given the opportunity to travel to Africa and Europe then I started working in the TV corporate world. It was during that time where Joe and I met. So I’ll let Joe tell his half.

Joe LeBaron: I’m actually from Utah as well. I worked in the corporate world for a long time as a copywriter. I got really fed up with feeding people advertisements. So, on a whim, I quit my job and moved to Europe for about seven months. I hung out around the Oxford area and audited some classes there to try and figure out what a 31-year old guy trying to start over should do with his life. Then I came back to Utah and met Trav playing basketball. He told me he “did” film and I told him, “Yeah, sure, everybody ‘does’ film,” but then I saw his work and then I was convinced that he did some seriously good filmmaking. 

Could you explain for our readers the mission of The Good Line?

JL: Every story out there has that thread – that right story to tell to communicate and connect with other people.

TP: It’s something very simple, something very sincere, something that connects a person to another person. That’s our goal. In traditional advertising, there’s a hard push for companies to sell you something, whether it’s a product, an idea, or a person. However, we just thought they were missing something with all this great social media out there. We realized people don’t want to connect to products or flashing lights. People want to connect with other people on a more intimate. So we sought online video as the strongest way to accomplish that. 

Part of The Good Line’s creed states that you’re “fueled by the art of Storytelling.” Who are some storytellers that have inspired either you personally or the group collectively to become your own storytellers?

JL: I grew up around a bunch of hicks that tell stories [laughs]. We didn’t have a TV and our source of entertainment was when my dad took us out to the porch with our sleeping bags and we’d tell stories during thunderstorms. If you would have told me when I was 20 that I could make a career out of talking to people and sharing stories, then I would have tried to go to school for it.

TP:  As for me, I’ve always liked the radio ­â€“ stuff like talk radio and Radiolab. Once I started studying documentary films, I always liked the old filmmakers of silent film like Robert Flaherty and the Lumière brothers, who were the first to go out and capture life as it is. Whether it was just people walking to the train or coming out of the factory they were documenting it. There’s something very honest and sincere in that.

JL: Also, I was trying to tell someone about this the other day. Let’s take, for instance, the corporate ad world. What they do is take “the best” moments – when we’re not flawed, when we’re not breaking character, when we’re not laughing oddly – and capture them. If you look at our stuff you’ll see that those are the moments we find most beautiful and human. Those are the moments that tell the story of people.


Yeah, that answers a question I had about why you chose a more realistic approach to storytelling instead of an embellished one. But moving on, what are your responsibilities with The Good Line?

TP: Well, we’re both are the founders. My responsibilities, as with any small business, are pretty much everything. But specifically, they are: strategy, working with technology, audio capture, editing and just going out and filming.

JL: My main responsibilities are to produce the stories and ask the questions during the interviews. I try to have this loose idea of how an interview should go, but questioning needs to be open enough so we’re not forcing people to tell us what we want to hear. I just keep my ears open then once the interviewee hits on something substantial I focus on that and run with it. On the tail end, I also help with the audio and Travis has been cross-training me out in the field with filming.

How much time and energy did it take to get where The Good Line is at today?

TP: I’m trying to think of a price. Money wise, we both had to invest in buying equipment. We both started without much. Time wise, there’s just been a huge sacrifice ever since we started.

JL: It’s difficult to calculate the time and cost sides of it. I could say I abandoned my career because I believed in something like this…Trav had twins on the way…he was working a corporate job on top of all these crazy hours. So it was just a giant leap of faith.

What’s your favorite part about your job?

TP: My very favorite part is planning everything, planning the contract, telling the story, meeting with people and getting to know their stories. At that point, the sky’s the limit. I also have a love/hate relationship with editing. I love it because it’s where everything comes together with the story, music and emotion, but it’s definitely tedious at times.

JL: The brainstorming stage is fun, the surprises you absolutely cannot plan for are fun, I really love the traveling, the people, and everything else…but the thing that I like best is when Trav and I fight in the editing process because when we fight I know something good is going to come out of it. Once we get to that middle ground it’s always something we’re proud of.


What kinds of challenges do you face with your endeavors?

TP: One of the biggest challenges we have is that we’re not business-oriented people, we’re creative people. Another big challenge is marketing ourselves, though, all our clients have actually come to us, which has really helped us out. Any amount of success we’ve had has generated through word of mouth. One client just latches on to our vision and then they tell someone else they know and then we’ve got our next project.

JL: We’ve never been told no, but one of our biggest challenges is not being able to catch up with demands from interested clients. Our business model calls for us to be away then we have to come home and play catch-up with editing and such. Also, when we were offered a gig with Johnson & Johnson our challenge was knowing what we’re worth and knowing how to grow.


Well that kind of answers one of my other questions about how you end up selecting the subjects you document with such a vast amount of interesting things to cover.

TP: That’s what’s fun. One of the reasons I got into filmmaking was because I’m interested in everything. When we were in Ukraine, I loved learning about the architecture, the history of the churches, the political history that existed there. I love to learn about culture… and just all these different connections.

One of the many places we haven’t been to are India or Asia. So Joe and I think about how we can go to Asia and about who has contacted us that’s in Asia. So it’s more about experience that interests us and not so much topics.

How would you describe the emotional experience of working with such fascinating people?

JL: For me, there’s different levels. With Help International, when we were able to see that we achieved all our goals and then they doubled their return within 24 hours of their info-graphic…that was very emotionally satisfying. Plus, getting to see these extremely impoverished areas, you see what some of these groups have to go up against. On the tail end, you land back in the United States, they hand you your passport and say, “Welcome home,” and then I remember that I live in the best country on the planet.

TP: For me, it’s just everything we do. We get to see influential people on a human level. When we were with Yeah’s [Samake] entourage he gave me the front seat and I was like – “Yeah, what are you doing?...You’re the future president of Mali” – and humbly he said, “But you guys are helping me get there so you deserve the front seat.”

Wow. That’s really cool. When did you discover you wanted to be a part of this humanitarian network, if you will?

TP: It was when I was living in Argentina. I got to have a really close association with a family on the brink of poverty. I met this guy who made a living chopping firewood. He had to live up in the mountains all week and then he would come down on the weekends. He barely had enough to feed his family, barely enough to feed himself and he had to have a guard dog to protect his chainsaw or someone else would try and steal it. After talking with him and his family, I made this resolve to do whatever I could to give back to those kinds of people and those kinds of situations – no matter what they’ll be.

JL: I grew up in this little canyon nestled by these mountains in Utah, I was so protected and shut off from the rest of the world that when I got older I discovered this completely different view of the world. The world is more harsh and beautiful that one can possibly imagine…Also, being in Oxford I was trying to find out what good I could do. When I learned about a lot of social development for the first time that was really when it peaked my interest. Then once I met Trav and he told me that he was about to take off to Africa to film for a month, I just wanted to jump on and see what I could offer.

What advice would you give to people who are aspiring to be in your line of work?

TP: Everybody has their certain niche. If you can just find what you’re really passionate about then there’s a niche for that. Then you just try and get as good as you can at it. There’s compromises and it gets complicated as you go, but as long as you keep that vision you’ll do well in it.

JL: If I had to simplify, mine would be: learn to listen to people, shoot for the moon with ideas, and leave yourself open for surprises because you might just hit Mars. 


Check out The Good Line's amazing work here!

A Look at Good Line from Good Line on Vimeo.

Komaza- An overview from Good Line on Vimeo.

A Brief Overview of Social Development from Good Line on Vimeo.

The Human Slingshot from Good Line on Vimeo.





Raimi Merritt
Professional Female Wakeboarder

Birthdate: April 12, 1993
Years Wakeboarding: 10+
Current City: Orlando, FL
Hometown: Lantana, Florida
Sponsors: Hyperlite, MonaVie, and R3 Global
Achievements: 5-time World Cup Champion


Raimi Merritt is a fearless 19-year-old professional wakeboarder currently residing in Orlando, Florida. Raimi's early passion for wakeboarding coupled with her dedication enabled her to launch her professional career at the age of 15. Raimi has demonstrated incredible athleticism and is one of wakeboarding’s rising female stars. Over the years, Raimi has strengthened the women's wakeboarding scene having won five World Cup championships, obtained the title "Female Pro Rider of the Year" for 2010 and 2009, plus earned herself bragging rights as the Queen of Wake's "Rookie of the Year" in 2008. We were fortunate enough to be able to exchange a few words with her about her exciting career. 


How did you first get into wakeboarding? Since I was nine, I grew up water skiing with my dad, then he introduced me to wakeboarding and I’ve been hooked ever since.

How did it feel when you turned pro? It felt great. I was already competing for a few years before I turned pro so I was pretty confident going into the upper division. I was stoked about turning pro because I saw it as my next challenge since I was winning all my amateur competitions.

You’ve been dubbed as an "up-and-coming phenomenon in an up-and-coming sport." How do you feel about these compliments about you? I think it's awesome to be able to make that kind of a name for myself at such a young age plus see other people’s opinion on how I'm riding. When you hear about other people talking about you in a positive way, it's both encouraging and exciting.


What's the hardest thing about being a professional wakeboarder? Hmm…There's nothing really hard about it. You get to be on the lake everyday instead of sitting in an office. There's not really any fault to it.


What would you be doing if you weren't a professional wakeboarder? I'd probably already be in college. Though, I want to start taking college classes anyways. I'm not really sure yet.

What's 2012 look like for you? I don't have my full schedule yet, but I know for sure that in March I have a pretty big tournament. It's called the World Cup Stop and it's out in Australia.

Australia? Sounds awesome. I bet it's beautiful wakeboarding there. I went to Sydney and Melbourne a few years ago just for a few days and I had so much fun. I love it over there. Where is your favorite place to wakeboard? I wakeboarded in Qatar and flew over to Audabai and I love it over there! I definitely like Australia too. I enjoyed it the first time I went so I'm pretty excited to revisit.


Any tricks you're working on for this upcoming season? I have a few. A backside 540, a heel-side, and toe-side 720s, which are all spins. That's what I'm working on now and also just trying to get all my other tricks as consistent as possible for the season coming up.

How do you control your nerves during a competition? What's it like right before you hit the water? I don't necessarily get nervous before competitions since I've been doing them for so long now, but I definitely try to go aside, put my headphones in and focus. I like to focus instead of worrying about what the other girls are doing because I can only do what I’m capable of.

What challenges have you faced climbing to the top of the women’s wakeboarding rankings? Any big injuries or setbacks? I've had a few injuries…One of my biggest injuries happened last February, it was during the offseason so I was training really hard and I ended up tearing my bicep.


Yeah, it was probably one of the most painful injuries I’ve experienced. It kind of set me back a bit because I was working really hard and everyone had pretty high expectations for me going into the upcoming season. Also, it messed up the beginning of the season a little for me, but towards the end of the season I was riding well and ended up winning most of the tournaments at the end. So I eventually came out on top. That was the biggest challenge I had to go through with injuries. But it's not that bad compared to some other people who tear their ACL or something and have to get surgery, which means they're out for the whole season.

What's your favorite trick to throw? I like to do topside 360's. It looks stylish and it's a fun trick to pull.

What is your advice for any upcoming riders? Take one day at a time. People might try to put you down because you're a girl, but don't listen to anyone who aims to put you down. Just keep going. I think a lot girl riders fall off because the guys are on a whole other level, but, at the same time, we're pushing our side of the sport to new levels as well.


Hyperlite Wakeboards, Monavie, Nautique Boats, and my family!







Alexander Meyer



Full Name: Alexander James Meyer

Birthday: March 25, 1992

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota 

Current City: Madison, WI

University: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Major: Consumer Affairs and Management 


Tell us a little about your sport, for people who don’t know about the cycling world: It’s pretty simple, I race bikes. In the US, a lot of the racing is called criterium, which is short, closed circuit racing, normally in a city area. I race in different locations all over the US from February or March through August or September. 


When did you start cycling and why? When I was younger I tried other sports like baseball and basketball, but realized quickly they weren’t working out for me. So when I was 14, I started riding bikes and I got really hooked on the endurance-sport world pretty quickly.


What’s a typical day in the life of Alex Meyer? On an average day, I get up, make breakfast, spend my morning in classes, do a training ride for 2 - 3 hours, eat lunch, study, go to strength training session for an hour in the evening, come home, eat, relax, and am in bed by 10:30.


Is it difficult to balance school and cycling? It is and it isn’t. It’s simple in theory to schedule each day and know what I have to do and when I’m going to get everything done, but in reality it doesn’t always work out that way. In general, I have a good balance between life, school and training.


What does training include? My training varies quite a bit depending on the time of year. At this point in the season (beginning of the year) I ride about 15 hours per week and have 3 strength-training sessions during the week. Mostly, I’m just getting riding hours in during this time.


What kind of bike(s) and gear do you use for cycling? Do you have any sponsors? My team, Bianchi/Grand Performance Elite Cycling Team, is sponsored by Bianchi Bikes, Grand Performance components, SRAM parts, HED wheels, and Continental. The team’s riders are provided with a bike for the season, financial backers -- such as St. Paul Bicycle Racing Club and its’ members -- pay for the costs of traveling.


Do you have coaches and teammates? The team I’m on has five other riders. We travel around the Midwest and throughout the rest of the country together. We have two directors, who serve as coaches, that give us advise on racing, strategy and training.


How do your competitions work? It varies on the type of competition. In criterium racing (the most common), all the riders lineup at a starting line, the course is about a mile in length, and it’s a time-based race.



What is your current ranking, national or international? I don’t know off the top of my head. USA cycling has a ranking system, but rankings don’t mean much. There is not a good way to rank a Midwest rider versus a West Coast rider because they don’t race much together which makes it difficult to judge rankings. For a ballpark estimate, I finished 21st out of about 160 starters in a recent race.


Where in the world has cycling taken you? All over the US, East and West coasts. One of the coolest races was in Kentucky a few years back called Tour of the Red River Gorge. Also, as a junior in high school, I was able to travel to Quebec Canada for a week-long race I entered called Tour de l’Abitibi, which included top junior riders from around the world. Another race that allowed me to travle was the Junior National Championships which was in Bend, Oregon.


What keeps you motivated? I juust really love riding my bike, plus getting to travel and compete with teams and teammates is motivating. 


Are there days you want to quit? After a lot of training or riding, I sometimes feel tired or burned out, but I’ve never thought seriously about or actually felt like quitting.


Why is it important to have supportive family and friends? My family and friends are amazing. My family is incredibly supportive, as they drove me all over for races, especially in high school. My friends are great because they help me keep my sanity, and they are a great outlet outside of cycling. Their support is really critical to any success I’ve achieved on and off the bike.


What’s the best thing about your sport? Two things. First thing is riding my bike. My favorite part of every year is in the Fall when racing wraps up and I get to take a break from strenuous training and can just ride my bike in the nice weather. Secondly, I like giving back to the sport by coaching and working with a lot of junior riders who are in our junior development program. 


What’s in the future for cycling and for you? Goals? For me, turning pro and trying to earn a living out off of that is a future goal. Also, just moving forward in the next few years, everything is pretty focused on that right now.



What advice can you give to other cyclers who are pursuing a similar dream? To other cyclists, my best piece of advice would be, regardless if you’re someone racing or just enjoying the time on your bike, go out and be calm and relaxed. It’s good to have that opportunity. Cherish and enjoy it. Pursue goals and dreams, if you want to be successful in something, do it because you love it. You have to commit a lot of time and effort when pursing dreams, so if you don’t love it, you won’t be able to hold up a commitment that large.


Shout Outs: Definitely my mom, dad, brother and sister for their support and encouragement. Thanks to my teammates, coaches, and sponsors, without their support it wouldn’t be possible for me to keep this going. And lastly, to my roommates. Oh, and I have to give a shout out to Porch Cat.


Photos & Videos:



Interested in learning more about the Bianchi Grand

Performance Elite Cycling Team? visit 



(photo credit: Erin Fitzgerald)


The beautiful Brittany Reuss has been dancing almost as long as she's been walking. Her passion for dance has taken her from small town Wisconsin to the stages of Chicago, her university, New York, and other major dance hot spots. Her brilliant advice and unwavering zeal for dance is contagious. 



Age: 21

Birthday: February 26, 1990

Hometown: Lake Geneva, WI

Current City: Iowa City, IA


When did you start dancing?

"I started dancing when I was seven years old at the Dance Factory in Delavan, WI,

which is where I continued to train until I went to college. I was very fortunate to have

great training and to experience many styles of dance. Every week I took 15-20 hours

of all types of dance: ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap and even African





What are you doing with dance these days?

"I am currently a Senior at The University of Iowa pursuing a BFA in Dance and a BA in

Communication Studies. My dance training at the University consists mainly of ballet

and modern dance styles, but I feel that my past training in many styles of dance has

allowed me to be extremely versatile. The dance program at Iowa provides us with

many opportunities to perform and Iʼve definitely taken advantage of that. I have also

taken up a great interest in choreography over the last year at school. In my last

semester at Iowa one of my professors will be choreographing a solo on me for my

Honors Project, which I am very excited about. It will explore aspects of my personality

as we attempt to dig deeper into my world. I will also be part of a grad studentʼs thesis

work and will be choreographing more of my own work. In the midst of all this rehearsal

I will be managing a full academic workload in order to graduate in May! In addition to

my busy life at Iowa most of my weekends will be spent traveling to audition for dance

companies in other cities."


Favorite type of dance?

"I wouldnʼt say I necessarily have a favorite type of dance, but rather I enjoy technical,

athletic, innovative, and intriguing movement. Ballet will always be my foundation, but

Iʼve found myself enjoying modern dance more and more. I love movement that feels

good, yet provides a challenge, physicality, mentally or emotionally."


Favorite thing about dance?

"Hands down my favorite thing about dance is the performance aspect. I love working

towards being on stage in front of an audience. There is something so rewarding about

performing, it canʼt really be explained. One of my other favorite things about dance is

how you meet so many great people through it and develop unique connections and

friendships with them."


Is it difficult keeping a balance between dance, school, a social life, etc.?

"Ever since I began dancing it has been difficult to balance it with the rest of my life. As

most dancers know, we have to make sacrifices in our social life in order to keep up with

our dance life. Living in a college environment, finding the balance between dance,

academics, and my social life is nearly impossible. Dance almost always wins!

However, over the years Iʼd like to think Iʼve developed good time management skills

and am able to somewhat make time outside of dance for schoolwork and a social life."



"My inspiration…hhmmmm. Well my inspiration to begin dancing came after I tried every

sport you could think of and hated them all! Many of my friends were in dance class so I

thought it couldnʼt hurt to try…and it was a perfect fit! As Iʼve gotten older, the

inspiration to dance, choreograph or perform comes from several places. Iʼm inspired

by the sheer emotion of dance and how it allows me to feel in a deeper way. Iʼm

inspired by my fellow dancers whether itʼs a conversation we have or movement I see

them doing. Iʼm inspired by events that happen in my life or even in othersʼ lives around

me. The inspiration for dancing can really come from anywhere at this point."


What do you hope to accomplish with dance in the future?

"Seeing as I graduate in less than 6 months, the future is blending with the now, and Iʼm

both excited and nervous for whatʼs to come. My intention is to pursue a professional

dance career with a company that can feed my artistic desires as a dancer and

potentially choreographer. I havenʼt settled on the city I want to move to, but most of the

companies that interest me are in Chicago or Minneapolis. Traveling is a huge passion

of mine, therefore if I could travel and perform with a company I would be extremely

happy. I am looking into companies that suit that technical, athletic style of dance I

most enjoy!"


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

"In 10 years I see myself in a great place. I will definitely be on the track of

choreography, with an awesome career of professional dance and performance at my

heels. I may or may not be still performing, but I can see myself at a transition point in

my career where I seek out greater challenges as an artist in the form of

choreographing and teaching dance. I also have a great interest in Yoga, therefore I

see myself being a Yoga instructor and practicing regularly. Around this point in my life,

realistically I also see myself having a family!"


Any wise words for young dancers?

"The wise words that Iʼve received lately are to just go after whatever you want, be

humble yet confident, and be persistent. So If I were to give some advice to young

dancers it would be just that and to truly understand who you are and why you love to

dance. Also, to take in as much information as possible, and never be hesitant when

trying a new style of dance or when doing something unfamiliar to you. You want to

have a large pallet of movement vocabulary and experiences to choose from. Versatility

is key in my opinion!"


Want to follow up with Brittany? Find her on Facebook. 









Born: September 25

Age: 29

Hometown: Williams Bay, WI

Current City: Salt Lake City, UT

Graduated from: Portland State University, Graphic Design

Years Skiing: 25


Paul Yih is the current Creative Director and Senior Designer for 4FRNT Skis LLC based out of Salt Lake City, Utah.


Paul’s love for freestyle skiing has taken him from the small Midwest hills to British Colombia’s ideal ski spots and to various ski hubs such as Oregon and Utah. After years of balancing his passion for skiing, professional ski career, and professional life as a graphic designer, he has now landed in Salt Lake City as 4FRNT Skis Creative Director. 

Tell me a little history about your skiing career and how you ended up at 4FRNT:
“Skiing has always been a passion of mine. I ventured West out of the Midwest to pursue that dream, while at the same time keeping in mind that I need to build a professional career....”

Paul made the move from his home state of Wisconsin to out West at age 19. 

“While I was out West in Oregon, I was able to ski and finish my education [at Portland State University studying Graphic Design]. I stepped out of the ski industry for awhile to pursue my career as a graphic designer, which happen to be a good time... The position at 4FRNT opened up... I was a former athlete for the company and had a close relationship with the owner so that put me in a good spot.” 


You also have a freestyle coaching career, what was that like?

“ was about skiing and more turned to coaching... I started off trying to be a figure at Camp of Champions in Whistler British Colombia... So I coached there for 6 years and did 1 year at Windells and coached Lincoln High Schools Freestyle Ski Team in Portland, Mount Hood.

Coaching was a way just for me to ski...a reason to stay on the hill... It was never my goal to be a “ski coach” it just worked out that way.” 


You competed in national freestyle competitions, do you recall any big moments in that?

“I don’t know, I wouldn’t say any big moments in my competitive path....I did compete but its’ not a highlight for skis...”


Tell me a little about 4FRNT Skis:

“Well...4FRNT is in its 10th year, it’s a start up ski company.

4FRNT started because at the time free skiing and the ski industry was progressing...the old traditional ski companies weren’t producing the kind of skis that us skiers were wanting...they were more focused on World Cup and Olympic race skis, rather than skis for the kids skiing backwards doing flips and stuff....4FRNT was created out of opposition to the other brands that didn’t see this genre of the sport to valid.”

“We’re a rider owned rider inspired company.”


Being behind the scenes of the ski industry what are some of your comments/perspective on the future of the ski industry?

“I see ...the potential for free skiing to get a lot more global exposure...half-pipe and slope-style...are going to be in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi [Russia]... There’s mixed feelings within the ski community about being included in the Olympics because it’s putting skiing in the hands of judges rather than, ya know, rather than our peers. Overall, I think its’ good and it means free-skiing is here to stay.”


What’s next for 4FRNT?

“Our biggest edition to the company has been the White Room....which is.....a prototyping facility here in Salt Lake City where we concept and prototype all our skis with the fellow skiers. We hand build everything, we have a ski press and come up with the most innovative/progressive designs.”


You studied Graphic Design at Portland State University, what are your responsibilities at 4FRNT?

“Creative Director...and Senior Designer. To sum it up, I pretty much dress the brand. 

What’s the normal day like in the Creative Director at 4FRNT?

“Depends what time of year it the spring we’re preparing and designing skis to come out two years from now. It’s hard to say what a normal day is, the role I play is to brand the make sure all ski graphics and apparel, all hard goods and soft goods, print campaign, web campaign, and videos...anything with a logo has to have uniformity with our designs.”


What would you say 4FRNT’s style is?

“Our style is raw...its’ true to the sport.”

“...Basically on any given day the owner of the company can be back making skis, responding to e-mails and on the phone...I don’t think that is the same for most companies.”

“Everyone that’s involved in 4FRNT is a skier.”



SHOUT OUT: “Friends and family, the Green Bay Packers, and 2900 S. West Temple Salt Lake City Utah 84115.”






Name: Connor Baxter

Birthday: September 15 

Age: 17

Hometown: Pukalani, Mauai, Hawaii

Current City: Pukalani, Mauai, Hawaii

Sponsors: Starboard, Rainbow Sandals, Maui Jim, Rista Fins




Stand Up Paddle Surfing: Stand Up Paddle Surfing (SUP) is an emerging global sport originating from Hawaiian heritage. The sport is an evolution from traditional surfing that originally was a way for surfing instructors to manage groups of surf students. The sport is greatly gaining support and popularity around the world. 

A paddle board can range from prices of US$500 to US$1500 and materially made up of glass-reinforced plastic using epoxy resin “that is compatible with the expanded polystyrene foam used in the core.” 


Connor Baxter from Mauai, Hawaii might as well be part fish part human. Coming from a family with an extensive history in competitive water sports, Connor has spent a lifetime on the water. Whether it is surfing, windsurfing, or paddle surfing, Connor’s unwavering passion for surf has taken him around the world and back. 

Connor Baxter is now one of the top “Watermen” around the globe, his upward success is breaking the barriers for the evolving sport of Stand Up Paddle Surfing. 




Tell me a little about yourself: 

“My mom and dad were both professional athletes. My dad almost made it to the Olympics for sailboat racing and my mom was one of the top three women windsurfers. So, already from them I had a pretty good background. 

Right away when I was three or four I was on a surfboard, ever since then I’ve been on the water. At eight and a half I started windsurfing, traveling the world, to Asia and Europe...which was super cool since I was only ten or eleven. 

About four years ago I started stand up [paddle surfing] and that’s where I am life, traveling the world, and doing what I love.” 


Tell me a little about what you do, about Stand Up:

“It’s a super new sport for sure. It has taken off like crazy though. It’s really simple, you’re standing on a surfboard that’s bigger and wider with a paddle. You can do it anywhere and anytime; paddle around with your friends, surfing, and racing. There’s a lot of things you can do [on a paddle board].”


Any other hobbies besides Stand Up?

“Windsurfing, surfing, and tow-in surfing. 

Anything to keep me active really, whether it’s outside playing with the dog, kicking the ball around, anything to keep me going.”


What about high school? “I’m seventeen and a senior in High School. I’m doing my senior year through online schooling.”


Is it difficult balancing school and watersports?

“Yeah for sure, it’s hard. I did 9th and 10th grade at a normal high school and left my senior year. As far as my sport, it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I give school a few hours a day and it’s not like I’m locked in...starting school at 7:00AM and finishing at this really opened up my schedule as far as that.” 


How do the races work?

“It’s different for every race, depending on the organizer. You can, like this one in Fiji, down-wind race. It’s where the wind is on our back during the race, it was 23 miles we did. We also, with the same board, go in and out of the surf...paddling out, catching the wave, and back to the wave, ride it into the beach to finish.”


“It’s different for every race, depending on the organizer, you can..this one with did a down wind race, wind on our back going w/ the race.. 23 miles... we did, then we also with the same board we go in and out of the surf...paddling out catching the wave and back to the wave and back to the beach to finish.”


When is race season?

“Summer is the biggest season. I was in the mainland during the summer. Since it’s a new sport, not a lot is organized as far as races, but most of the main events were from June until now (November). This weekend I have a surf event.”


You were just in Fiji, what were you doing there?

“That was a race [in Fiji]. I was there for ten days for the race.”


See Connor’s Fiji Race Results (2011 Namotu World Paddle Challenge Event) 



What kind of competitions have you been doing and with who?

“Mostly, right now, I’ve been doing stand up in the waves and in the surf. Windsurfing and all the other water sports are on the side just for fun, with my buddies and stuff: Ky, Baker, Cody, those are probably the three main guys I windsurf and do stand up with.”


What do you do for training?

“Keep active. As far as training, now not so much because it’s the end of the race season. But basically I’m up in the morning, down to the beach for an hour or two, at the Kahului Harbor. I’m there in the morning and then come home, homework, and either depending on the conditions, I’m back down at the beach surfing or a down-winder.”



“There’s the ‘Battle of the Paddle’, which you could consider a world event. There’s people from all over the place like Japan, Europe, Argentina. But it’s not really classified yet, it’s held in California. M20 is another world classic event, people from all over the place compete. I was first place at both of those. 


What kind of boards, equipment do you use?

“For boards and paddles I’ve been using Starboard and paddles I use Ristafins. It’s the best equipment that I feel is out there.”


Do you have anyone coaching your or other teammates?

“My parents are my coaches. They do everything, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am. My dad, helping with the technical side, getting the boards ready and making sure all that’s good to go. My mom, helping with the emails and stuff like that. They’re the power behind everything.” 


What do you see for the future of Stand Up Paddle Surfing? 

“Trying to get more and more kids into this sport...follow what they love.”


Who are some of your idols in the surf world?

“I look up to this guy Chuck Patterson and another guy named Dave Kalama. They’re both pretty much doing the same as me, they’re ‘Watermen’...they do every sport out there on the water.” 


Have you met a lot of great people through your sport?

“For sure, I have friends all around the world that I still keep in contact with. I’ve met a lot of people older and younger, which is really neat and different, lots of different cultures.” 


Where has paddle surfing taken you?

“Yeah, I should actually make a list. My favorite...well I actually just came back from Fiji, that was an amazing trip and great food [laughs]...not to mention the surf; it was a great trip.

Africa was pretty amazing. All around Asia was really cool, the people especially... coming from the United States, it’s a different attitude people have, everyone respects everybody all around Asia.”


Any injuries? 

“Yeah. I’ve broken both of my arms and my ankle. That’s the three major things that have happen. The ankle was from windsurfing and then my arms [laughs] I actually broke them at the same time which was actually off of a swing set.” 


What’s the best part about your sport?

“I guess just meeting new people and being able to travel the world.”



Any advice for other surfers?

“Yeah just always keep trying and never give up.” 


Advice for young people pursuing their talents?

“If you love it, if it’s what you want to do, try 100%. Stay focused and never give up. If it’s what you want to do you’ve got to keep trying no matter what happens.”


Shout Outs: “Shout to all my sponsors I mentioned, to my mom and dad and sister.” 


Want to know more about Connor, Stand Up, and Waterman?







Hometown: Park City UT

Current City: Park City UT

Sponsors: 4FRNT, Cole Sport (local ski shop), Saga Outerwear

Blake Peterson is an 18 year old freestyle skier. Starting her ski career at only the age of two and growing up in the beautiful ski town of Park City, Utah, Blake’s skiing career has taken flight. She is currently training and competing in world class ski events and breaking the barrier for the future of women’s freestyle skiing. 



When did you start skiing? 

“I started skiing when I was two, then I was a racer until about the 4th grade. 5th and 6th grade I tried to be a mogul skier...and that didn’t really work out. So then I started doing some freestyle skiing, and got on the Axis Freeride team in the 8th grade. With them I started doing aerials, doing a lot of water ramping during the summer--which is basically going off plastic jumps practicing tricks into a pool. So that’s how you qualify your tricks for inverts---front flips and back flips. I did a lot of that. Then I decided I wasn’t really into aerials, I started doing more slope-style and half-pipe, and that’s what I mainly do now---pipe skiing.”


Where’s your favorite place to ski?

“My favorite place to ski...definitely my home mountain, Park City. PC is my favorite because I’ve been skiing there since I was a little girl. I train at Copper and Breckenridge in Colorado, also Snowbasin here in Utah. 

I definitely want to go ski other places this year, but we’re always training here.”




“I have training Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Sunday’s sometimes...pretty much all week long which I’m finding out is really hard to do while in college. High School was a lot easier to work a

round, the teachers were better about it, but college there’s so much more work to be missed. I’m trying my best to figure that out. I’m going to try to take some online classes.”



“Right now I am Art Administration... it’s Art and Business combined. But I might switch to photography, its’ something I’ve always done but I’ve never taken any classes for it.”


How was Junior Worlds 2010 Competition? 

“Junior Worlds was SO cool. [At Worlds] there are four girls from the United States competing in slope-style and half-pipe. I got to do slope-style, I was one of the two that got to do both slope-style and half-pipe. I was down there for two weeks training. 


We stayed in Wanaka, New Zealand, half-pipe was at Cardrona, and slope-style was at Snowpark [New Zealand]. There I got 5th in slope-style and 4th in half-pipe. 


s really cool because there are people from all over the world, Japan, Switzerland, and New Zealand...all over the place pretty much. I got to meet all sorts of people...Bobby Brown, etc. It was cool to be able to train with them because most of them have been doing this for awhile... I was probably one of the least experienced and it was an honor to ski with them.” 


“The biggest thing I learned was after awhile was not to push yourself too. [At Words] I do both of the events and its really hard because you’re warn out from one and it’s difficult to bounce back and do well at the other... I had to take a few days off to relax and get back on my feet.” 


Current Tricks: "Well for half-pipe I'm working on 540's both spinning left and right...Getting those down...because it's hard to spin the opposite way. I spin left, spinning right is really unnatural. I did a couple of 7's, one or two in the competition but I'm working on those this year."

“The biggest thing for girls is to get enough air...girls don’t go that big...its’ really impressive for the judges to see, they judge on 

that a lot.”

“As far as slope-style...I need to work on just spinning more, we did a lot of 9’s. I’m working on getting those down and I really need to do backflips. I’ve seen so many people smack their can get hurt either way doing front flips or back flips, but front flips are my favorite, they seem the easiest. I practiced them a lot in the summer. 

Also, Misty 5’s and I’m working on corks this year.” 


Do you listen to music while you ski?

“Kanye West and Jay-Z...and Atmosphere, Kid Cudi, last years pump up song was â€œHello” by Martin Solveig & Dragonette.



Who are your idols in the skiing world?

“Hmm athlete wise..Ashley Battersby, she’s big in slope-style and has been in the X-Games. She’s been around for awhile and moving the sport forward. She’s from the midwest, I think Chicago. All of my coaches too...a lot of them are from 4bi9, making movies. All my coaches go to the U (University of Utah) and work for Axis Freeride. L.J. Stranio, one of my coaches, he’s a big slope-style skier, pro, and still puts in the time to be one of our coaches. 

...for the business part of it, my biggest influence is my photographer at Saga, he’s the one that asked me to intern with them...really really cool kid (Jordan Harper).”


Any big injuries? 

{laughs} “Yeah.”

“Injuries is the biggest deal with our sport, you want to get ahead but you can’t push too hard. There’s a fine line between moving forward and being safe. But for me, I started skiing in 8th grade, which was the first year I really did competitive skiing. The next year I broke my arm really really early in the season and it wasn’t supposed to be as bad as it was. I had nerve damage and that called for surgery, now I have a big nasty scar on my funny bone. The next year I didn’t train enough and I went off and tore my ACL. The biggest thing is being fit. I’ve been injury free the past few years. There’s been a few small injuries like heels, shins, ankles, nose, thumbs, fingers, etc.”


Plans for the upcoming season?

“Starting right after Thanksgiving we train half-pipe and for some reason, the Olympics, has pushed all the competitions way early so we start competing right off the bat...which is hard because we had so many girls injured, just not ready. We’ve always had December as training time, but because the Olympics are all hyped up they want all the competitions right away. 

I’ve got Grand Prix, Rev Tour (Revolution) at Copper---again at Tahoe, Aspen Open, Grand Prix in Park City, and Grand Prix in Mammoth. After that we’ve got Junior Olympics, another Rev Tour at Mount Snow in Vermont, and finally Junior Worlds. For Junior Worlds...if you do well at Grand Prix and Rev Tour you make Junior Worlds, which is in Italy this March.”


What’s the best part about your career?

“Everything {laughs}. I’d say just being able to do what you love but still still moving forward and being a competitor. I love being a part of that world... skiers and a bunch of cool’s not just athletes, it’s everything, a world of cool and talented people...they love skiing and have other talents like art and business.”



Advice to upcoming female skiers:

“Biggest advice I’d say... first of all you need to put your health first. You need to be strong in order to be throwing big tricks. Another thing is that, everyone gets wrapped up in trying to get sponsors and recognition but the biggest thing is skiing for yourself. This is the first year I’ve been sponsored but I’ve been in the ski world for awhile, let the sponsors come to you, rather than sucking up to bothers me when people ask the company although sometimes it is good to ask for support. As far as competing, I just got a message saying that I invited to this years DEW TOUR in Killington! I’m excited!”


Shout Out:

“Shout to VSQ, that’s our little ski crew of me, Keni, and two other girls. My parents and to my little brother. Axis Freeride and Saga outerwear.”


Keep up with Blake's success!









KATHRYN MORGAN: New York City Ballet Soloist


Kathryn Morgan, 23 year old New York City Ballet soloist. She eats, sleeps, and breathes ballet. From a young age, Kathryn fell in love with her passion for dancing. Her unwavering love and devotion for what she does has taken her around the globe and she continues to shine in one of the world’s most prestigious ballet companies. 

Despite her recent set backs, Kathryn is now healthy and strong and looking forward to this winter’s upcoming performances. Read more about Kathryn:

Full Name: Kathryn Elizabeth Morgan

Nicknames: Katie

Age: 23

Birthday: August 17

Hometown: Mobile, AL (Born in North Carolina)

Current City: New York City, NY


Songs on your “Recently Played” Playlist: “Any classical music, I’m a classical music freak, any ballets that I’m dancing at that point...honestly my iPod is 99% classical.”

Chocolate or Vanilla: Chocolate


Glass Half Full or Half Empty? Half Full


What is a typical day in the life of Kathryn Morgan?

“Well, I wake up and have an easy morning. I check my e-mails and have breakfast. I might sometimes do a little light stretching, pilates, yoga. At 10:30 I go to “work”...I don’t like to call it that, but it is work. I take [ballet] class from 10:30-12:00, and after we have about 6 hours of rehearsal during the day. If I’m not too busy I’ll try to go to my pilates instructor somewhere in there. If it’s a performance day, 2 hours before the show I do my hair, make-up, eat, and stretch. After everything I come home relax with my dog, lay on the couch, and watch television.” 


How many years dancing? “I started dancing when I was two and a half.” 


What other hobbies besides dance? 

“I play the piano. I’m also really into make-up, I do very elaborate stage make-up and playing around with that. Also, my dog, Duchess.”


First Ballet Teacher & School: “My first ballet school was Mobile Ballet in Alabama, where I’m from. My head teacher there has also been one of my mentors, Winthrop Corey.”


History of your dance career? How can you say you got to where you are now?

“I started dancing when I was two and half, then when I was eight I saw the New York City Ballet perform, we were in New York for Thanksgiving and I saw the Nutcracker, when I walked out I said I’m going to be up there someday, that’s going to be me. I kept dancing and started receiving scholarships to summer programs...

When I was fifteen I came to the School of American Ballet for the year, and at seventeen I received my apprenticeship, your half student and half with the company. You perform with the company, but it doesn’t guarantee that you will be accepted to the company. I did get accepted, and from there, two weeks into my apprenticeship one of the principals got was totally unexpected. A few days later they asked me to do Romeo & Juliet, I almost fell over and I got to do the principal role. That role helped me get on the fast track. I still had to focus on the corps roles, you have to pay your dues no matter what. I remember in [George Blanchines] the Nutcracker I did “Sugar Plum”, “Snow”, “Flowers”, and “Grandmother”. I kept going and then I got to do full length Romeo & Juliet, just two months into my contract. It was just more and more... Then October of 2009, he (Peter Martins) called me into his office, I thought I was in trouble... he goes “I’m going to promote you today to soloist,” I almost fell over. I then did full length Sleeping Beauty, so fun but the hardest thing. 

Then last year, beginning of 2010, my hair started falling out, I was gaining weight for o reason, I was sick, miserable, tired, I went in to test for mono and I found out it was Hypothyroidism, when your thyroid is super low. Since summer of last year I’ve been out with this thyroid problem, which is a nightmare. I gained 35 pounds and almost all my hair fell out. But if somethings not right you have to wait, this has taken me a year and a half to recover. I don’t think I’ll make it on for Nutcracker this year. I’m healthy now, I’ve had it for three years and I didn’t even know it. I’m getting my strength back, getting my body back, and hopefully be performing this winter...that’s my ultimate goal.”



Past Schooling: “In High School I did ‘Correspondence’ which is like homeschooling, I didn’t want to go to college because I was at New York City Ballet my junior year.”

Other Dance Companies and Programs?

“During the summers, when I was eleven I went to Joffrey Ballet in New York City, Central Pennsylvania when I was thirteen, and when I was fifteen I went to SAB and Houston Ballet.”

Favorite Pointe Shoe? “Freed Classics, we have them customize a shoe for each of the dancers when they start your contract. My make is U, 6 no X.”


Where has your dance career taken you in the world? 

“We’ve toured a lot. I haven’t toured as a soloist but we’ve gone to London, my favorite, Paris, Tokyo, Copenhagen, and Barcelona...a lot of places.”


Upcoming Performances: “I’m hoping for Romeo & Juliet in February, that would be a great come back, that I’ll be ready for but it’s a matter of them trusting me.” 


Most Beautiful Moments in Dance: 

“Definitely Romeo & Juliet, every time I do that one it’s my favorite, I’ve performed it several times. I’ve had different Romeos but each one is different and I love them all. Sleeping Beauty, and the fact that I made it through that the first time in Saratoga. But doing Juliet at seventeen was an incredible experience. Also being promoted, the secretary tricked me when I went into [PeterMartins] office, she gave me a stern look like I was I was in trouble...I was like what did I do?...and when I walked out she congratulated me, incredible. 

Also in March I’m going back to Mobile (Alabama) and doing Swan Lake.”

Do you go home often?

“I’ve been home a lot this year when I was sick, otherwise I don’t go home except in the summers. My family and my doctors are there, so I’ve been home a lot this year, it’s hard to be around everything in New York while I’ve been sick, I had to get away.” 


Why do you dance & what keeps you motivated? 

“I think I dance because I love music, and thats why I started. When I was little anytime classical music came on I started dancing and I wanted to become the music and that’s the only way I knew how. What keeps me going is the moments on stage. I’m one of those people that doesn’t enjoy class everyday, I have to push myself everyday. You have to work. I like performing and becoming someone else on stage, and that’s what keeps me going...being on stage.”


Are there days you just want to quit, what keeps you going?

“There’s a couple times, this year has been so difficult...weight thing...I don’t even look like the same person. I thought to myself this is going to be so hard, I see the road ahead of me. I thought, what if I never dance again? And that’s not an option for me, going back to where I was, being on stage is where I belong.” 



Are you proud of yourself? 

“Yes, just the fact I got through this year. It’s different than an injury, this is a whole guessing game. I give kudos to Peter [Martins], he was very supportive, encouraging me to get well and to ‘take your time’. The company has been great and I’ve managed to get through it.”


Family and Friend support? 

“Absolutely, my parents are incredible. I was actually adopted, at 5 weeks, so they are my parents. They are the best in the world. My mother is so ‘anti-stage Mom’. She was always like ‘are you sure you want to do this, is this too hard on you?’ But when she saw that I really wanted to do this, she was behind me 100%.”


Do you do much outside of your dance life? 

“Not really. It’s dance 24/7. On my days off I don’t get off the couch. You have to give 110% to this career. I’m still very young so I’ll eventually get to all of that. Right now I’m just, let’s get back on stage, no time for anything else.” 


What do you plan to do after your dance career?

“I haven’t even really thought about it, I don’t know if I would teach. I have a great time but I don’t know if I could actually be around dancers. It would be very hard for me. I honestly haven’t thought about it, I think I’d just be a mom, have a family...I have no idea.”


What tips can you give to others pursuing their dreams? Tips for other dancers?

“Just keep working hard and believing in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself other people won’t either. Ignore the criticism. I had a lot of that, I didn’t have many friends. People were very jealous, and for me I knew I wanted to dance so I had to tune everything else out.

For dancers, never cheat in class...don’t hike your hip, don’t spin a million times and not finish a pirouette. Be clean in class and it’ll benefit you.

Other people, remember your passion and remember why you do it, and that will get you through the hard times.”


Shout Outs: “My parents, Peter Martins and the whole administrative team at New York City Ballet, Jennifer Ringer--she’s principal with the company and went through something similar to me when she was younger, and she’s been very helpful to me, she’s been wonderful.”


Click to Find Out More:







JEN OLEJNICZAK ON "Color Me Invisible"





Jen is a 21 year old writer, student, and role model. Jen struggled with anorexia nervosa for several years, but through her strength, discipline, and self-respect overcame her struggle. This past year Jen published a book called “Color Me Invisible” at just 20 years old. NossaMagazine got the chance to talk to Jen about overcoming her struggle and how she was able to turn something that held her back into something beautiful. Jen's book is now available on Amazon. 


Birthday: June 24, 1990

Age: 21

Hometown: Germantown, Wisconsin

Current City: Madison, Wisconsin

Major: English with Writing Concentration



What inspired you to start writing?

“I have been suffering with anorexia nervosa since I was 12. When I was 15 I was 88 pounds. My doctor said I had to get treatment otherwise I would be dead in 3 months. I started treatment as a sophomore in High School and was home-schooled, I just tried concentrating on getting better. My counselor noticed that I had been keeping a journal and suggested that I started writing a book. When I was a senior, I started writing."


How did you come up with the title Color Me Invisible for your book?

“I had another title idea and when I was talking to my uncle he said that the original title wasn't very good so I came up with Color Me Invisible because I didn't want to be there, I didn't want to be sick.”


Was publishing a book and recovering ahard process?

“Recovering from Anorexia is a lifelong process and writing was triggering. Getting my book published was very tedious work. It didn't get published until last January (2011).”


Do you see writing as a career?

“I do want to continue writing, I have a couple ideas for some more books but I really want to get into book editing.”


How has your family been through all of this?

“My parents both have been really supportive. I have an older brother who is like the "golden boy". I felt like I had to live up to him. I thought that if I couldn't be good at everything like he was, I could be the skinniest. I'm close with immediate family and not really my extended family but when my extended family they saw and heard about the book they got back in contact with me.”


Where did you go for treatment and what was it like?

“I spent a week at Aurora hospital and then spent 6 months at Waukesha Memorial hospital. It saved my life.”


Any advice for people suffering?

“I feel that it's important for people to get their feelings out.  I felt like I could write better than I could talk so I decided to write out my feelings. You have to learn to get it out somehow, you can't keep it bundled up because it will eat away at you.”


Are you proud of yourself?

"It’s a difficult thing, I'm not proud, I'm glad I got it out. I didn't write the book for money or recognition, it was for people suffering that felt like they were alone. If I could touch one person and to help them realize they are not alone and that someone else has felt what they felt and gone throughout what they have, its all worth it.” 


What are your future goals?

“I want my book to get more publicity and to continue writing and go into book editing.”


Who inspires you?

“My mom has been my rock throughout everything. She's shown me that it doesn't matter what life throws at you, you have to get through it the best you can.”


What is your advice for people suffering from eating disorders?

“For those who are suffering: you’ve got to get help. It's not about weight its about you wanting to be perfect you you’ve go to talk to someone.”


Any advice for aspiring authors?

“Good luck and don't censor yourself, you’ve got to be honest and tell it like it is.” 


Are you happy now?

“I am happy now.”


Check out Jen’s book “Color Me Invisible” on Amazon:

MATT MANNING ON W.O.R.C. (Worldwide Orphanage Relief Corporation)




Matthew Manning is an outstanding individual of our generation. Matt has devoted his time, energy, and self to creating the Worldwide Orphanage Relief Corporation (aka WORC). WORC seeks relief for impoverished children and essentially improve the conditions of the world we live in. Matt’s compassion, strength, and motivation has improved the lives of many and he is a true inspiration to all of us.  


WORC: "Worldwide Orphanage Relief Corporation (W.O.R.C.) is dedicated to the betterment of the international impoverished youth. W.O.R.C.’s mission is to establish lifelong bonds among international orphanages and provide them with the supplies they need to enhance the lives of their children and overall community. W.O.R.C. strongly values the health and wellness of children globally and works hard to ensure their humanitarian rights needs are met."



World Orphanage Relief Corporation:


Full Name: Matthew Robert Hawkinson Manning

Do you go by any nicknames?

Cocoa Candy 


Where were you raised? 

Stockholm, Sweden / Minneapolis, MN USA

Current City: Chicago, IL


Birthday: October 8 1990

Age: 21


Zodiac: I don't know. I can't decide. Libra I think... Yes! Libra. (Haha get it?? Cause I'm indecisive)


Tell me a little about your childhood?

“I was born and reared in Stockholm, Sweden, moving to Minneapolis in 1999. I had a great early childhood. I was part of a community and family that was loving and passionate about life. However, since moving to America, our reality has been a bit more harsh. We find ourselves struggling everyday merely to survive. Having faced most of the all too common American struggles (depression, cancer, eviction, domestic abuse, homelessness, divorce, battles with suicide, etc.). I lost my childhood, and was quickly forced to grow up, stepping up as a father and support for my mother and sisters.”


Where do you get your values from? 

“My values come from my family, as well as the life I have lived. From perseverance to optimism and motivation, everything I know came from the lessons I learned in life, as well as from my family of substantial andunwavering faith.”


Glass half full or half empty? 

“I think it isimportant to acknowledge the negatives, but they have no control over me. Glass is definitely half-full. Infact, it's about 3⁄4 full.” 


If your house was burning down what’s the first thing or things you’d grab? 

“My dog and my roommate. Everything else is material to me. Relationships are my everything.”


If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be? 

“That might be the toughest question ever. Pie maybe.”

Chocolate or Vanilla? “Depends on what we're talking about. Cake? Chocolate. Ice cream? Vanilla.”

Dog or Cat? “Dog all the way. Still love cats though.”

What kind of shoes are you wearing right now? “Sperry's.”

Favorite TV show? “Scrubs, Modern Family.”


What would be the first few songs on your Top 25 Most Played playlist? “Charlene by Anthony Hamilton / Imagine Me by Kirk Franklin / Family Business by Kanye West / Sister by Rhymefest / Always Coming Back Home To You by Atmosphere.”


Favorite quotations or idols?

“I admire Nelson Mandela and the life he has lived. Same as Ghandi. I do my best everyday to be as self-less and passionate about humanity as they were. My favorite quote is actually an entire poem used by Nelson Mandela in his “Healing Institute of Light” speech to the South African people in 1999, “Our Deepest Fear” by Marianne Williamson.”


What inspired you to create Worldwide Orphanage Relief Corporation? 

“Having been depressed for almost 8 years, my life changed when I volunteered in Ghana, West Africa, the summer before my freshman year at DePaul. I was moved by the children, their strength, and their resilience. Though their impoverished conditions crushed me, their jubilance despite it all was even more heart-wrenching. Here were some children that very well had the right to blame the world for every injustice they've faced – yet, they smiled, they laughed, and they genuinely enjoyed life. 

Though their hunger and ailments occasionally caused them distress, nothing crippled them from the joy they had the capacity for. It was this optimistic view of life that I took to heart. Having come back to the states, I decided to stop pouting about my life, and do something about the issues in this world. It is not to say that anyone should discredit what they've been through, nor do I, because it is all of grave importance to our own context and situation. However, I realized that the world is so much bigger than my issues, and that despite my problems, not only did I have the capacity for joy, but I also had the power to change the world. Then, upon entering DePaul [University], I quickly became of the talents I had in service and leadership. This was not just an undeniable passion; it was what I was born to do. So I started WORC [World Orphanage Relief Corporation]. Though I originally started it to get a head start on my future desires, I quickly became engulfed in the work, and I could not slow down. Now, two years later, I am still doing everything I can, pushing forwards in this highly progressive non for profit organization, to better the lives of the same children that changed mine.”


Who were the major actors that helped you or inspired you? 

“My family and friends were incredibly supportive of all that I did, and they still are. However, my biggest inspiration has always been the children we as an organization serve.”


Who keeps you motivated? 

“My motivation stems from the faces of these orphans. All my screen-savers and wall papers, both on my phone and laptop, are of children I know and love. Their eyes keep me driven, and their stories keep me humble. I owe my life to them, and I will keep trucking until I am no longer physically or mentally able. After all is said and done, if I have contributed to the betterment of even one young life, I would consider that I life well-lived.”


How much time have you spent in Africa? How frequently do you return? 

“I have been to Ghana twice, and will be returning this upcoming summer as well. I facilitate annual trips, and I attend most of them as well, so I am able to return pretty frequently. This summer I will also be visiting Uganda, Sierra Leone, and perhaps even South Africa. I am extremely excited. 

Anywhere else you’d like to travel? 

“I would like to travel all over the world, and particularly to all the orphanages we help serve. By the summer of 2013 I should have been to South Africa, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Honduras, and others.” 


Is it difficult to juggle school and this? 

“It can be, and it has been in the past. I find myself very busy at times. However, both are working towards the same goal, and both inform my future, so ultimately it all works out. Besides, I'm doing pretty well in both, so I'm going to keep on doing what I'm doing.”


Do you plan on devoting your life to relief in Africa post-graduation? “

I plan on devoting my life to relief for the WORLD, not just Africa. In fact, I like to believe that I already have. Everything I do strives to better conditions for this world, whether its the equality of women in our culture, minorities even here in Chicago, or orphans globally. We're all in this together; it is all one cause!” 


What stresses are you under in regards to the starting and maintaining of the organization? 

“I do not find myself stressed very often. I so thoroughly enjoy what I am doing that its always a lot of work, but not a lot of stress. The only thing that is causing me any kind of distress (besides the preventable daily deaths of thousands of children) is how rapidly this business is expanding. It is growing so exponentially that I need to start reconsidering my position in it. The funny thing is... this is a great problem to have. In order to reach a new echelon of success, I may have to allow someone else with more time and more proficiency to take WORC where it needs to go.”


Are you proud of yourself? 

“I try to be, but I also have a difficult time doing so. At the end of the day, it is not about me or my successes, it is about the help that these children are receiving. Furthermore, there is always more I can do.” 

What can you say you’ve learned from these experiences? 

“I have been awakened to the beauty of this world. Yes, there are issues, lots of them. However, there is a lot of beauty as well, and a lot of people doing great things. It is important that we stay optimistic and hopeful in the midst of turmoil. The minute we say something is unachievable, we just spoke it into existence. My life thus far was something I never saw possible even three years ago, so no one can discredit the potential of this beautiful world for me.”


What’s next for you? Goals? 

“Another business. A partner organization to the one I currently have, one bettering the world and sustaining WORC through community-based, green sustainable architecture! Halfway there!”


What advice can you give others? 

“Stay optimistic, stay humble, and keep on truckin'. Never give up. Find something you're passionate about, and then reach for it. That's it. Lastly, believe in yourself, and find a larger purpose for your life. It does not mean you have to start a business for impoverished orphaned youth, but it does mean you have to do something. You are a significant role in the future success of this world, so what will you do to contribute?”


Contact Matt at the Worldwide Orphanage Relief Corporation Homepage: 












Born: July 28 

Age: 19

Hometown: Lake Geneva, WI

Current City: Park City, UT


Keni is competing in women’s slopestyle and superpipe competitions around the nation. Her strong will, dedication, and creative personality is pushing the freestyle ski industry further than ever before, especially for female skiers. NossaMagazine got the chance to interview Keni about her upcoming events, goals, inspirations, and tips for other athletes & skiers.


What are you doing with skiing right now?

“Well right now I am preparing for a competition this December in Colorado…training for the Grand Prix Event for Superpipe. After Grand Prix I’m on to the Revolution Tour.”

What’s the Revolution Tour?

“The Revolution tour makes three stops across the country in Colorado, California, and Michigan…for Superpipe and Slopestyle.”


“I’m doing small competitions in between for practice, the big ones get me more Olympic points…I don’t want to word it that way, but more points for my national ranking.”


“More towards April and March is U.S. National Championships and Junior Worlds which is in Italy this year, I’m not sure if I can make it but if I get enough points this season…”


What are your largest competitions? 

“I’m competing in as many competitions as possible to get my points up…the top goal would be the Winter X-Games and eventually Olympics …hopefully I get accepted to the Dew Tour this year, beginning of December—I’m not sure how many points I need, my coaches keep track of that stuff, but I need to get the top three spots in the larger competitions.”


Who are you sponsored by?

“Right now Glyptic Apparel, Sean Quinn’s company…you know him. I’m hopefully going to get something from Roxy and 4FRNT skis ( …so we’ll see how it goes.”

Keni’s older brother and fellow skiers have had past sponsorship with 4FRNT skis out of Salt Lake City, Utah. 


Where and what do you do for training?

“I spend the first month of the season training at Copper Mountain in Colorado we do half-pipe there and we train from 8:00PM to 4:00PM. In beginning January I come back to Park City and train at our park everyday from 1-7 or 8-4. We usually pick a day if we want to do slopestyle or halfpipe…concentrate on that all day.”


Who do you train with?

“I train with my coach, Tim we call him Godzilla. I train with them and the three other girls on my team: Blake Peterson, Emily Simpkins, “Peaches” Harrison…like the fruit.”


Who do you ski with?

“Our group is us four girls (mentioned above), we kinda singled out as the VSQ, Varsity Squad, we’re on the Axis Freeride Team…which is the team based out of Park City that travels and trains.”


Any inspirations?

“My brother [Ty Maras] has inspired me and pushes me to do my best…keeps re-assuring me I can do it. It’s good to have family support you…my mom too…willing to financially support me...”


Is it hard to balance school and skiing?

“Yeah…I’m a full time student, as of yesterday I decided to switch my major.”

“I’m full time for pre-nursing and psychology human development, but in the fall I take full time at the U [University of Utah] but this winter I’m going to take online classes through the U so I can travel and train for skiing.”


What advice can you give to other upcoming skiers or athletes?

“Have fun doing your sport because it’s what you love…If you don’t like it then don’t do it.” {laughs} 


What tips can you give for female skiers in particular?

“I would definitely say throw your biggest tricks and don’t be scared to fall…the bigger trick they try, even if you land it or not, you’re pushing women’s skiing…and it pushes other girls to try harder. Girls that try to play it safe and straight air…don’t want to fall…they’ll get better scores but they’re not noticed as much as a girl that throws down and essentially…falls.”


Shout Out: “Shout out to Lake Geneva, my Varsity Squad and my boyfriend, Matt Heinz! I give a shout to him in everything it’s so random {laughing}.”






Photographed by Jake Preedin


June 25

Age: 20

Hometown: Williams Bay

Current City: Rome, Italy


Jennifer Yih is an uniquely ambitious 21 year old. Coming from a small resort town in Southeast Wisconsin, Lake Geneva Lake Area, to spending her final year of High School in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she's found herself to be a young individual with a passion for creativity and entrepreneurship.


Jennifer is currently a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her college career at Loyola University in Chicago later transferring to University of Wisconsin Madison to pursue her studies in Political Science, Business, and Communicative Arts degrees. 


While at Loyola, Jennifer started a non-profit organization selling sunglasses via her online website. The profits went to a foundation for impoverished children in Ethiopia called Mossy Foot and later to WORC (World Orphanage Relief Corporation). As her ideas evolved and she became inspired by other young individuals, the small online business transformed into an online magazine that now features inspiring young individuals. 




What inspired you to get involved in a business that helped others?


“In 2009, I started my first non-profit online business called JENZ, humble name I know. I was a freshman at Loyola University Chicago and had just returned from finishing my senior year of high school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Before I went down to Brazil I was a burnt out High School student. I was heavily involved in my academics, clubs, sports, ballet career, and of course the booming social life. My parents saw that I lacked energy and drive for everything probably because I'd spread myself too thin. My dad was from Brazil and decided to send me down for a few months to learn about the culture, people, language... Luckily, it was just what I needed. I came back high on life and ready to take on the world with passion, originality, and a little spice, something Brazilians taught me. 


During my time in Chicago, Tom's Shoes was really blowing up and I thought the whole idea behind the company was really great. Tom's was a good business for a good cause and it inspired me. I got to thinking...I could do that!

I started talking to a few friends and decided to do a small-scale non-profit business with wholesale sunglasses. We sold the sunglasses through our online website and gave the profit to Mossy Foot Foundation. It did really well and we had a lot of support from friends and family. My friend, Robert Mahoney, was voted the 'Face of Colorado State University'... he helped me out tremendously selling sunglasses and furthering the cause in Colorado."


How did NOSSA come about? 


“I took a bit of a break from JENZ sunglasses due to work and school, life tends to get in the way of things. I was in the middle of transferring from Chicago to Madison and everything sort of slipped through my fingers. But last year my creative juices got flowing and I started doing more work. We, Caitlin and I, decided we wanted to bring the business local and donate to a foundation in the midwest. 

Caitlin's (Co-Founder) good friend Matt Manning started the World Orphanage Relief Corporation out of Chicago, IL (Depaul University). He's a spectacular human-being, he's like Ghandi and Nelson Mandela reborn. Matt travels back and forth from Ghana building orphanages, improving the world we live in, and he really inspired us. So we started Nossa to raise money for Matt's foundation, World Orphanage Relief Corporation (WORC

At this time I was still on the clothing, accessories, design route but I realized dealing with merchandise and having to design, order, and ship was not a good way to run a business while I was in college. I continued to network with other entrepreneurial students and realized that there are so many people, ambitious people, waking up every day juggling school and whatever else their passionate about: sports, starting their own business, writing, music, etc. For years and years, I think since I could hold a pen in my hand I loved writing. I even started a book when I was seventeen. Finally, it hit me, I put two and two together... I wanted to create my own company that harnessed my writing skills and creativity, while still learning about all the amazingly ambitious individuals out there. That's when NOSSA Magazine became what it is today." 


What does NOSSA mean?

"The name Nossa was developed from the Portuguese language. It means "ours" in “nossa casa” means “our house”...the word represents a community. It’s also an expression for "wow". Why Portuguese? Brazil is a very dear place to me, my dad is from there and I spent a substantial amount of time there too... anything Brazilian is my weakness.


We developed more ideas on how we can promote Nossa and create a company that has good morals and ethics and stemmed away from retail and moved more towards writing and creativity. We decided to start our online magazine that features inspiring young individuals that are doing amazing things with their lives. We have all these magazines that idolize people that aren't really personable and we wanted to change that. The website isn't about making money or advertising anything, its fueled by people and the more people that are involved the better it's gonna do. I want this to be a company where success isn't measured by dollar amount but by how many people we are inspiring to do something great with their lives.”


What do you hope for in the future? 

"I really want to inspire people by people. I would like Nossa to be known and eventually receive support from sponsors that share our vision. I hope to make it a real tangible magazine someday."

Shout Out: "My family & homies for always supporting my crazy ideas, the lake, and Grafton my little buddy."


First interview will be posted by Thanksgiving. Get ready for exciting and inspiring individuals of our generation! Think you have what it takes to be a Nossa celebrity, send us what you've got to offer to the world. 


Forgot your password?