Eli Brown is doing his best to Shine the Light On Mental Health Issues

I was recently introduced to a company and movement I immediately clicked with called Shine the Light On. Shine the Light On is on a mission to bring a voice to mental health issues impacting youth. I’ve had a few phone conversations with the charismatic founder, Eli Brown, who has impressed me even more! You should head over to the website and check out the Our Story video to see him in action speaking on stage and giving away t-shirts like a rock star! But, it’s not all fun and games, on the homepage you can view a video explaining more about the company and the Our Cause page tells you that “with every purchase, STLO donates one educational program to advance mental health in youth.”

The facts may be a bit shocking to some but “1 in 3 youth from all walks of life suffer from mental health related issues. Two out of three suffer in silence due to fear of rejection and alienation.”

From the first moment I spoke to Eli, I felt like I knew him and his own struggles. His battle with his issues began after he was sexually assaulted at a young age. The shame and difficulties navigating his feelings were familiar to me in my own experiences and struggles as a youth. I know his story will resonate with many young people and adults and his advice is important.

As with all Social Good issues, the most important part is that WE CAN HELP others in what may seem like a small way. Buying a shirt or a few shirts may not seem like much but once you see what they are doing you realize that collectively, it will help a great many people. After you read our little chat, be sure to head to Shine The Light On to check out the merchandise for yourself.

Q: For those who aren’t familiar, tell us a little about you and how Shine the Light On came about?

Eli Brown: Shine the Light On is a clothing company that uses thought provoking designs to let people suffering from mental illness know they aren’t alone. People wear the clothes and become billboards, carrying the message with them. We work with non profits to partner and send this message throughout the communities who need to hear/see it.

We want to shift the conversation from reducing the stigma to acceptance and for every purchase we donate one educational program to help advance mental health in youth.

Q: As you have said, when we suffer certain traumas in our lives or carry certain secrets, we tend to feel we can’t talk to anyone about it because they won’t understand. Looking back, do you think now that you could have come forward earlier?

Eli Brown: Looking back now, having gone through sexual abuse I think I could have said something earlier and gotten help. It can be embarassing and difficult. As far as sexual abuse, there is a lot of shame and embarrassment. I was pretty uneducated on the symptoms of depression and anxiety so I thought it was normal freshman college issues. I went through sexual abuse at the age of 14 and kept it inside for years. At 18, 19, I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. That caused the mental struggles to grow.

Q: What advice would you give to anyone who is suffering in silence or struggling with their mental health?

Eli Brown: The best advice: Find a support network that will help you get assistance. Guidance counselor, teacher, health professional. Reach out so you can start to receive help. Telling one person or two people creates a support group of your own and will give you the courage to go forward to seek out professionals. A friend or family member, talking it out with them helps you to get guided and ready to talk to professionals.

Q: Movements like Shine the Light do help to erase some of the stigma that surrounds mental health issues but there is still lots of work to do. What would you say to loved ones of anyone who is struggling?

Eli Brown: The stigma around mental health is definitely decreasing. I can say that when it comes to the people who reach out to me, I can only listen with no judgement. Hear their pain and their story, and then help them to seek professional help. Validation and support are key.

Q: You’ve been open and honest about your own struggles and the things you have done to self medicate. We see so often that individuals get to the point of overdose and many times it ends tragically. Are there certain signs we can look for in the ones we love that could prevent things from going so far? There is a difference between experimenting as we grow up and abusing to escape. Is it a difference that can be caught in time?

Eli Brown: I do think it’s something that can be caught. It depends on whether people want to act upon it. Weight loss, sleeping in, suddenly pale complexion. There are tons of signs but sometimes it’s difficult to confront someone about it. I went from being a high performance athlete, playing tennis, getting up early, eating healthy  to not working out, not eating healthy… you may notice changes.

Q: I know you have some exciting things going on and coming up, can you tell us some of your future plans for Shine the Light On?

Eli Brown: One exciting thing is that we are going to start donating a significant part of proceeds to affordable housing for people who struggle with mental health and addiction. We have found that being able to afford a place to live can be difficult for those you are dealing with these issues and trying to seek help.

Another thing is that we will be launching in Europe. Mental health awareness is different in each city in the states and each country in Europe. The Royal family in the UK is on the leading edge in that. They are doing some ground breaking things for the people there and they have been open to doing what it takes to help.

Q: I ask this of everyone, What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Eli Brown: One thing I can’t live without is this little book I carry with me where I write daily activities, phone numbers, notes. I love writing stuff down. I keep all of my notes and numbers in there. And ice cream! I love ice cream so I’d definitely say that.

I wish that at meals people could live without their phones. I don’t what it is, it really bugs me. People are out on dates or together in groups and are on their phones instead of paying attention to each other. People should pay less attention to technology during intimate dinners or gatherings and more attention to the people who are present there in the moment.

Q: Since you are so open about your own story and have spoken about it at events, do you have any particular stories that have touched you in surprising or memorable ways?

Eli Brown: I think one of the main things that surprised me is how many people there are that are impacted by mental health. When I was going through it, I felt like I was alone and I’ve found out so many others are going through it. So many of the stories I hear are impactful. Always very, very impactful stories after I speak somewhere or meet people through my work.

Q: I LOVE the partnership of Social Good and fashion, would you consider doing clothing for other causes?

Eli Brown: Yeah, when we initially started that is something we discussed. I think as we go on we will continue to Shine the Light on other social causes that impact youth.

Q: Where can we find you and Shine the Light online to learn more and to order some items so we can proudly and stylishly support?

You can go to our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and visit the Website for more info on us, to find out where I’ll be speaking, where we will be featured, and of course to order our clothing.

Q: Since you are someone who had a vision and made a success of it, what advice would you give to those who have passions, dreams, and visions but are having a difficult time getting stared or haven’t been able to overcome certain fears that come along with pursuing them?

Eli Brown: One of the most difficult things to do is to stay focused and to stay tight on your vision.

There was too much feedback on what I was trying to do. I was getting sidetracked listening to eveyone else.

My biggest piece of advice is once you have that vision established, stay on that course until you start to see the vision becoming a reality.

Tommy: I want to thank Eli for sitting down with me for this interview and I definitely look forward to working with him more. I’m proud to be one of the brand ambassadors for Shine the Light On and would love to do something possibly for the LGBT community with them at some point in the future.

 

Make a Statement of Equality and Style with Gay Pride Bow Ties

When I think of style, class, and high profile events, I have always thought of bow ties. For some reason, they just give me the feeling and look of sophistication, so I have always included one in my outfits for any major event I attend in the past few years. Recently I met Jorge Santana, President of Gay Pride Bow Ties, and he shared with me that he would like people to think of equality when they see, wear, or think of his ties. The mission of his company is to unify people and make a difference in the world.

Gay Pride Bow Tieswere recently at Kansas City Pride, the PFLAG National Convention in Portland, and I’m sure quite a few same-sex weddings. I am so excited to wear mine this fall and winter for the formal events I know I’ll be attending.

John Raphael from the digital comedy series 'A Brit and a Yank'

The neat thing about these ties is that five dollars from each tie sold is donated to various non profits, depending on the style you purchase. This means you look good and do good at the same time!

Gay Pride Bow Ties are made of fine silk and are high quality pieces to add to any dapper guys wardrobe. With the various styles, there is sure to be one that fits your personality perfectly and there are even pre-made ties for those of us who just can’t get the hang of tying a perfect looking bow tie.

How many of us like to wear something that stands out and makes a statement? I’m sure most of us would love to have a special piece in our collection that will make us look sharp and grab attention wherever we go. Plus in the age of selfies, I must say, Gay Pride Bow Ties make for quite a picture and post! And trust me, they aren’t just for same-sex weddings, you can rock these classy ties at any wedding or event!

James Stapleton from the digital comedy series 'A Brit and a Yank'

When I asked Jorge about what he hopes for for the future of Gay Pride Bow Ties he responded, “The next step is to create the best bow tie for breast cancer and that for every $400 donated it will help 12 women battling breast cancer to get a wig. If people start purchasing the product and don’t care about the name Gay Pride Bow Ties, then we have done our part. We hope to create more bow ties like this in the future.“

How do you wear your pride? Pick one up for yourself and show the world.

You may recognize him.. had to show off mine as well.

Cool Effect Partners with Zero Waste Fashion Label LIVARI for a Social Good NYFW show

I was recently invited to the LIVARI fashion show for New York Fashion Week and introduced to this innovative fashion line. LIVARI recently partnered with our friends at Cool Effect and what a perfect partnership it is! Cool Effect has always been at the forefront in the battle against climate change and LIVARI is a new zero waste, women-led, women-designed label collaboration by actress and environmentalactivist, Alysia Reiner, celebrity stylist, Claudine DeSola, and designer and Women’s March organizer, Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs.

It was a high-engergy, high-fashion event complete with amazing music and friendly people willing to share all the information on the important topics at hand.

Here is the official press release and some photos from the show! I encourage you to follow Cool Effect and LIVARI on social media to keep up with all they do!

Cool Effect Partners with Zero WasteFashion Label LIVARI to Achieve Net Zero Emissions

LIVARI will Retire One Tonne of Carbon with Cool Effect for Every Purchase

San Francisco, CA, August 31, 2017–Cool Effectis excited to take a step into the world of sustainable fashion and is announcing a partnership with LIVARI, a new zero waste, women-led, women-designed label collaboration by actress and environmental activist, Alysia Reiner, celebrity stylist, Claudine DeSola, and designer and Women’s March organizer, Tabitha St. Bernard-Jacobs. Cool Effect –a non-profit supporting carbon reduction projects with consistent crowdfunding across the globe –is helping the Brooklyn, New York based LIVARI achieve net zero emissions.LIVARI is already ahead of the curve for sustainability practices in the production of their line. This includes use of responsible fabrics and materials, local printing and manufacturing, and using unique techniques for minimal waste such as using excess rust to hand dye silk and cotton, and replacing silk with cupro, which is a regenerated cellulose fiber derived from cotton linter. Ethically made production efforts aside, LIVARI is committed to doing even more to offset the production of the line and has retired 25 tonnes of carbon with Cool Effect to achieve net zero greenhouse emissions.

The partnership will officially kick-off at the debut of the inaugural collection on Wednesday, September13 at New York Fashion Week as part of Kia STYLE360.“I’ve been a long time personal supporter of Cool Effect, an organization committed to science, transparency, and to the idea that anyone, anywhere can join the battle against climate change,” said Alysia Reiner. “The fashion world isn’t exactly famous for being environmentally minded, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of people who are ready to fight for Earth. With so many shared values and goals, Cool Effect was an easy choice for LIVARI when looking for a partner to help us take action and reach net zero emissions. ”Cool Effect currently features 11 carbon reduction projects on its platform, with efforts ranging from protecting acres of forest in Peru to installing efficient cookstovesin Uganda. LIVARI has chosen to support a biogas digester projectin Bagepalli, India which converts cow dung into clean biogas. Support of this project contributesto a reduction in carbon pollution, air pollution, and water pollution while also helping with waste management, soil fertility, and forest conservation. By reducing methane emissions, LIVARI is helping fight climate change one retired tonne of carbon at a time.“Cool Effect allows conscious consumers to take immediate action to help the planet while still living their lives: going to work, buying new clothes, blow drying their hair, etc.,” said Marisa de Belloy, CEO of Cool Effect. “We’re thrilled about the partnership with LIVARI because fashion is a part of lifeandLIVARI shows consumers that it can be done in a sustainable and conscious way.”In addition to retiring carbon tonnes to cover the initial footprint of the line, LIVARI is also enabling itscustomers to directly fund the same clean biogas project by including a tax-deductible contribution of one tonne of carbon mitigation into the purchase price of alimited edition t-shirt featuring a custom design from distinguished artist Hodaya Louis. The LIVARI runway collection will be showcased at the Caravan Stylist Studio showroom at The Gregory Hotel in New York City beginning on September 14th, and will be available for purchase online at LIVARIclothing.com. Individuals can confidently purchase items that are net negative in terms of emissions.For more information on Cool Effect and how you can support a project today, visit CoolEffect.org.About Cool Effect™ :Cool Effect is a San Francisco Bay Area 501(c)(3) non-profit that allows individuals to create a tangible impact on climate change through a digital platform, providing consistent funding to the highest-quality carbon reducing projects around the world.Cool Effect was founded on the passionate belief that individual support of projects will create a cumulative effect that will reduce and prevent carbon pollution. Like the Butterfly Effect, The Ripple Effect, and others, a single action can have global impact. The organization’s mission is to ignite planet sized change. To learn more, please visit cooleffect.org or follow Cool Effect on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. About LIVARI: LIVARI is a zero waste womenswear label made ethically in New York. LIVARI disrupts industry norms with a community approach to design coupled with innovative shopping experiences that speak to the need for multi-functional clothing. The LIVARI woman is a consummate lover of thoughtful design.

Media Contact Demonstrate PR

Victoria Rainone 415.400.4214

CoolEffect@demonstratepr.com

 

Your 2017 Golden Globes Nominees

It’s that time again! Golden Globes and awards season. There are so many talented people nominated this year and I feel like we are really stepping up the game with the addition of competition from cable networks and online streaming but I don’t think we can count network TV out, ever. Just look at the amazing shows we enjoy. I’m hoping the trent of improvement continues and the trend of Social TV strengthens. I enjoy live tweeting with all of you during our favorite shows and especially throughout awards season.

I will be tweeting the Golden Globes tonight from red carpet and throughout the show using #etalkGLOBES from home but I will be headed to LA for Oscars and lots of other fun stuff this year. I hope you all continue to follow along and participate in the events and festivities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are our nominees for tonight. See you online!!

FILM:

Best Picture, Drama

Hacksaw Ridge

Hell or High Water

Lion

Manchester by the Sea

Moonlight

Best Actor, Drama

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea

Joe Edgerton – Loving

Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge

Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic

Denzel Washington – Fences

 Best Actress, Drama

Amy Adams – Arrival

Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane

Isabelle Huppert – Elle

Ruth Negga – Loving

Natalie Portman – Jackie

Best Picture, Comedy/Musical

20th Century Women

Florence Foster Jenkins

Deadpool

Sing Street

La La Land

Best Actor, Comedy/Musical

Colin Farrell – The Lobster

Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins

Jonah Hill – War Dogs

Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

Best Actress, Comedy/Musical

Annette Bening – 20th Century Women

Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply

Hailee Steinfeld – Edge of Seventeen

Emma Stone – La La Land

Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best Supporting Actor

Mahershala Ali – Moonlight

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water

Simon Helberg – Florence Foster Jenkins

Dev Patel – Lion

Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals

Best Supporting Actress

Viola Davis – Fences

Nicole Kidman – Lion

Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Director

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan - Manchester by the Sea

Original Score, Motion Picture

Moonlight

La La Land

Arrival

Lion

Hidden Figures

Best Foreign Language Film

Divines

Elle

Neruda

The Salesman

Toni Erdmann

Best Animated Film

Strings

Moana

My Life as a Zucchini

Sing

Zootopia

Best Screenplay

Damien Chazelle – La La Land

Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals

Barry Jenkins - Moonlight

Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

Best Original Song, Motion Picture

“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – Trolls

“City of Stars” – La La Land

“Faith” – Sing

“Gold” – Gold

“How Far I’ll Go” – Moana

TELEVISION:

Best Comedy/Musical

Atlanta

Black-ish

Mozart in the Jungle

Transparent

Veep

Best Drama

The Crown

Game of Thrones

Stranger Things

This is Us

Westworld

Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

American Crime

The Dresser

The Night Manager

The Night Of

The People vs. OJ Simpson

Best Actor, Drama

Matthew Rhys – The Americans

Billy Bob Thornton – Goliath

Rami Malek – Mr. Robot

Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul

Liev Schreiber – Ray Donovan

Best Actress, Drama

Caitriona Balfe – Outlander

Claire Foy – The Crown

Keri Russell – The Americans

Winona Ryder – Stranger Things

Evan Rachel Wood – Westworld

Best Actor, Comedy

Gael Garcia Bernal – Mozart in the Jungle

Anthony Anderson – Black-ish

Donald Glover – Atlanta

Nick Nolte – Graves

Jeffrey Tambor – Transparent

Best Actress, Comedy/Musical

Rachel Bloom – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Veep

Sarah Jessica Parker – Divorce

Issa Rae – Insecure

Gina Rodriguez – Jane the Virgin

Tracee Ellis Ross – Black-ish

Best Actor, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Riz Ahmed – The Night Of

Bryan Cranston – All the Way

John Turturro – The Night Of

Tom Hiddleston – The Night Manager

Courtney B. Vance – The People v. O.J. Simpson

Best Actress, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

Felicity Huffman – American Crime

Riley Keough – The Girlfriend Experience

Sarah Paulson – The People v. O.J. Simpson

Charlotte Rampling – London Spy

Kerry Washington – Confirmation

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Sterling K. Brown – The People v. O.J. Simpson

Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager

John Lithgow – The Crown

Christian Slater – Mr. Robot

John Travolta – The People v. O.J. Simpson

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Limited Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television

Olivia Colman – The Night Manager

Lena Headey – Game of Thrones

Chrissy Metz – The Is Us

Mandy Moore – This Is Us

Thandie Newton – Westworld

NYFW with DHL Exported, @xoxoLizza and Tommy Hilfiger and me!

This was one of my favorite looks from the Marcel Ostertag NYFW runway show

I don’t know about you, but I have always wanted to be a part of New York Fashion Week and this year, that dream came true in many ways. First, I was given the opportunity to attend the Tommy Hilfiger runway show with Vanity Fair AND also had the honor of being dressed by Hilfiger. Then, I was given a chance to be a part of my good friend Lizza Monet Morales’ live coverage of the Marcel Ostertag, Francesca Liberatore, and Nicholas K shows with DHL Exported.

For me, the excitement began weeks before Fashion Week even started when I went to Tommy Hilfiger in NYC to be styled by Jaime and meet with Heather from TH and Lily from Vanity Fair. Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good blazer and a comfortable but professional look. Of course, I totally fell in LOVE with this awesome blazer and we built a look around it that was a bit different from my normal look but taught me that I can go different while still being comfortable and looking good.

Shortly after that, my friend Lizza reached out to me to ask me to be part of her coverage of NYFW as a virtual member where I got to

Here's the look Tommy Hilfiger created for me

experience the runway shows of Marcel Ostertag, Nicholas K, and Francesca Liberatore. To me, this was a no brainer. Lizza is great at sharing her experiences virtually through Periscope. I was thrilled to be able to be part of even more runway shows, even if it was via social media.

I admire DHL Exported for highlighting up and coming designers during such a prestigious week for fashion. Every industry to think like that, imagine what a world it would be! I found that the designs were cutting edge, classy, exciting, and definitely worthy of the exposure!

I think being able to experience these shows from our homes, no matter where we live, how busy we are, or how cold it is out is extremely valuable for us as a culture and for the people who work so hard to bring new fashion to us each year. Hopefully, we can also figure out a way to be able to purchase our favorite looks for future runway shows. Imagine being able to buy clothes straight from the runway in the comfort of your own home?

I also think it is valuable to get to know the designers and with shows like Project Runway, we have seen that there is a desire to know more about the fashion industry and the people who live in that world.

Here is one of Lizza’s scopes from the Francesca Liberatore show:

Here’s Lizza’s coverage of the Nicholas K show:

And Lizza’s one-on-one with Marcel Ostertag:

AND here’s my scope from the Tommy Hilfiger show:

I can tell you that I have definitely been bitten by the Fashion Week bug and would LOVE to attend next year as well as experience LA Fashion Week. Here’s to fun, fashion, and film up next at the Oscars!