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Up Close and Artsy with Shanny Schmidt

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Up Close and Artsy with Shanny Schmidt

Shanny Schmidt: For those who do not know me or of my work, I am a self-taught artist and started painting about 5 years ago. I started painting as a way to relieve some of the stress and issues I was dealing with at the time. I needed a creative outlet, so I went to my local art store and purchased my first set of acrylic paints and a canvas. That first painting was beyond cathartic and spurred my creative side and I have been painting ever since.

Times of Youth: How would you describe your work to someone who has never known about it?

Shanny Schmidt: Before getting into art, I still had creative occupations. I studied opera throughout high school and performed as a singer throughout my twenties. Then in my late twenties and up till now, I am a private chef. Which is creative in many ways as well.

My style of art is varied much like my personality. I primarily love to paint portraits in all forms: people and animals. Pet portraits are how I earn my living, but painting highly stylized female subjects is one of my favorite subjects. I do a lot of reading, and study Buddhism, I often write down things I have read and insert them into my paintings. I draw a lot of my inspiration from my spirituality, and also from current events. Often in my paintings, the two find a connection. My animal and female portraits tend to be very bold in color and are strong characters. Most artists will tell you that the eyes are the most important because they are the windows to the soul. I agree that the eyes are very important, however to me, the mouth is the most important. Most often when you are looking at someone or speaking, you look at their mouth. So, I spend a lot of time perfecting the lips in my portraits.

Times of Youth: At what age did you start doing all this work? Has your family always been supportive of this choice of career?

Shanny Schmidt: To me, my greatest strength is also what annoys me with regards to my work. Since I am still developing and constantly learning, my artwork is so varied. Most artists are very recognizable as they usually focus on one thing or another. I focus on one thing for a couple months and then I change my style completely. I am learning to live with this and not beat myself up over it.

I am very lucky to have a family and partner who are 100% supportive of my art career. My partner is my #1 fan and is always understanding when I spend hours in my studio. She lets my spirit fly free and gives me plenty of space to grow, which is not always the case for some people in relationships.

Times of Youth: If not this, what else would you have taken up as your 2nd career of choice and why?
 

Shanny Schmidt: If I had a second career, I would be a gardener or a landscaper. It is seasonal where I live, in Northern Michigan. We have hard winters, but the beautiful spring and summer make up for it. I live for spring and working in my gardens. I always say I am happiest in the dirt.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how your experience has been in your current field so far.

Shanny Schmidt: So far my experiences in the art world have been positive. This past year I was granted a free one year artist in residency opportunity which has been lovely. I live in a small town which is progressive in many ways, but not artistically. Traverse City, Michigan, is a tourist town and the art is directed mainly at them. If anything is outside the box or to avant-garde, it is nearly impossible to find a shop or gallery here to represent you. I am hoping this will change and I hope to be a part of the change.

Times of Youth: On a scale of 1 – 10, how would you rate yourself as an artist, honestly?

Shanny Schmidt: I honestly would rate myself a 9 in passion and drive to becoming better at my craft. Ability…I would rate myself a 4. I humble myself every day when I look at all the talented artists around me. The great artists weren’t born great, they were great because they practiced.
I would say to anyone who is artistic, or an artist- one of the greatest struggles when you do what you love and try to earn a living at it is that struggle of trying to stay true to yourself. When your painting something and that little critical eye comes in and looks at your piece and tweaks or changes something because it is more “sellable”, this is the struggle. I struggle with this every day. Don’t bend to please others, just create what you love. In the end, you will feel un-compromised and the right buyer exists for everything.

Times of Youth: Where do you see yourself in next 5 years?

Shanny Schmidt: I try to focus on the now, but if I had to answer this, I hope to have made an impact on my community in a positive way within 5 years, perhaps help other artists, and of course being able to have my art pay a larger percentage of my bills would always be a plus.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how fans & followers can contact you to share their appreciation/feedback/suggestions.

Shanny Schmidt: Anyone interested in seeing more of my work can “like” me on Facebook at http:// shannyschmidtfineart.facebook my website is: www.artandcreate.com

Times of Youth is an International Youth Magazine read by the youth of more than 82 countries. Times of Youth brings the latest Youth Opportunities, News, Interviews, Fully Funded Scholarships, Paid Internships, Future Stars, Rising Stars, etc. For further details you can email us at: [email protected]

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Exclusive Interview of Fatima Lodhi

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Exclusive Interview of Fatima Lodhi on Times of Youth

I am a change activist, founder of “Dark is Divine”, Chairperson Women Empowerment of Rotaract District 3272 and Asia’s youngest anti-colorism and diversity advocate. –  Fatima Lodhi

For the past 5 years, I am not only working for the basic rights, inclusion and social acceptance of women with disabilities, but also those without disabilities. Back in 2013, I continued my struggle as an advocate of “Diversity”, to redefine the unrealistic concepts of beauty and by driving people out of the inferiority complexes. I have been doing so by conducting training’s and customized sessions, “The Skin We Live In”, for people belonging to different age brackets and backgrounds.

I have been a TEDxSpeaker thrice and I am the first Pakistani who has taken a bold stand against ‘Colorism’ & ‘Perfect Body Image’ notion by launching “Dark is Divine”- the first anti-colorism campaign from Pakistan, working on a global level, which aims to redefine the unrealistic standards of beauty that have been set by the society, by countering colorism & ‘Perfect Body Image Syndrome’.

I have developed Pakistan’s first manual on “Diversity” and have also written stories for kids on the same topic. My efforts were recognized as my name was recently added to the list of “Women Rights Activist” on Wikipedia along with many strong women across the world. I have also received “Women Excellency Award”, “Young Women Leader’s Award” and have been interviewed by and featured in different newspapers & magazines across the globe in appreciation and for the propagation of my work under “Dark is Divine”. Being an anti-colorism and diversity advocate, I have been featured in newspapers with Nandita Das, an Indian Bollywood actress. I was also selected as “Woman of The Week” by a U.K based Radio.

Times of Youth: Could you define ‘colorism’ for our readers? And what exactly is ‘pigmentocracy’?

Colorism is one of the words for a kind of discrimination that exists where light skin color is given more preference, is considered appealing and is more acceptable as compared to dark skin color. Colorism exists within the same race.

Whereas the word pigmentocracy is concerned, it defines the societies in which wealth and social status are judged by the skin color. There are many pigmentocracies across the globe, which have some stereotyped characteristic that claims that the light-skinned people have the uppermost social status. Whereas the brown-skinned, has middle positions, and lastly the black-skinned are at the lowest of the social ladder.

Times of Youth: How does it feel to be the first female from your country to support this cause?

It feels really great to be the first person who has taken a bold stand against Colorism by launching a proper anti-colorism campaign which is not only working in Pakistan but also across the globe!

Times of Youth: ‘Dark is Divine’, being your initiative against colorism, has been lauded well so far. Could elaborate more on its objectives and achievements?

Dark is Divine is the first anti-colorism campaign from Pakistan, working globally through a local action. A campaign that aims to transform Asia into a region where dark skin color is embraced with good grace as light-skin color, to the point where the skin color, body shape & body size of a woman ultimately have no importance. The campaign envisions a society in which equal treatment is given to everyone, irrespective of the color of their skin, size, and shape of their bodies & height, by redefining the so-called Beauty standards and the ‘Perfect body image’ that have been defined biasedly by the society.

Dark Is Divine believes that beauty cream advertisements unfairly assert that if women are light-skinned, they are flourishing. These advertisements teach young girls that their self-confidence and success depends on the structure, shape, and height of their bodies and especially on the lightness of their skin. Such unfair advertisements are responsible for emphasizing negative stereotypes, creating social inequalities and inferiority complexes that lead to depression and segregation from society. Instead, Dark is Divine celebrates the full spectrum of beauty.

Dark Is Divine aims to free the society of the mindset that beauty is color, shape & size bound. We do this by conducting sessions on diversity at the school level in order to help the younger generations internalize the idea that discrimination on the basis of skin color or personal appearance is morally wrong. Dark Is Divine has already conducted many awareness sessions through print and electronic media to spread awareness of the existence of colorism and Perfect Body Syndrome and to acknowledge that we, as a society, have to confront colorism honestly to eradicate it completely. Dark is Divine now has its own manual on “Diversity” and “Positive Body Image”.

Times of Youth:  So, what are your current endeavors with regards to activism?

We are conducting training sessions on “Inclusive Education” & “Diversity”.

Times of Youth: You were given the honor to speak about your cause at TEDx. Tell us more about it and how that went.

I have spoken thrice, at TEDx, and it has been an amazing experience. The response I received was tremendous and overwhelming. People, especially girls, could relate to the story that I shared during the Talk about “Dark is Divine”.

Q) Things we’d like to know about you-

  • The most native thing about you: My Smile
  • What makes you extremely happy? Making everyone feel beautiful!
  • Best de-stressor: Chocolates
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, it would be: Punctuality.
  • Times of Youth: At the end of it all, what is your real goal in life in terms of career?

I believe I don’t need any degree or any specific post for bringing a change that I want to bring; I want to make this world an accommodating place where respect for all is the must.

Times of Youth: Of all the awards you received so far, which has been the best and your biggest moment of pride?

The moment I got to know that my name was added in the List of Women Rights activists on Wikipedia, as the first Pakistani to address Colorism. In that list, I was the only activist after Malala Yousafzai under the heading of Pakistan! This achievement was more important than any other award for me!

Times of Youth: Considering the massive amount of time and efforts you put in, has your family been supportive of all the social work you do?

Luckily, I have got a very supportive family who is always there for me, especially when it comes to all my social work. I remember discussing the campaign with my parents, before launching it and they were all supportive and said “Go ahead”; one interesting thing that I would like to add over here is that the name “Dark is Divine” was actually suggested by my father!

Times of Youth: Do tell us one incident which totally changed your life/perspective.

I remember the day I was giving an interview regarding my campaign “Dark is Divine” to a state channel and there I also shared my story of discrimination that how I was discriminated on the basis of my skin color and when I was done with the interview, I received a text message from an old friend of mine, saying that today I feel embarrassed to call you my friend, I can’t even tell anyone that you are my friend, and its only because you made fun of yourself and those around by sharing your story of discrimination on a state television. That day I realize that this is the reason why there are so many stories that are still untold because we don’t support our people, our girls!

Q) What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following-

  • Color: Diversity
  • Parents: Love
  • Study: Basics
  • Youth: Enthusiasts
  • Nation: Pride
  • Life: Goes on…

Times of Youth: According to you, what changes or other implementations should be made regarding women empowerment across the globe to truly empower women?

According to me “Empowerment” is such a vague term and is somehow misunderstood throughout the globe. When we talk about empowerment, we first need to realize that the same techniques of empowerment cannot be implemented on all the women. The notion of Empowerment differs from one society to another, from one woman to another. Empowerment to a woman who has faced a lot of discrimination throughout her life would be totally a different thing as compared to the woman who has not faced even a single problem throughout her life. If we start realizing this, the change would be witnessed there and then!

Times of Youth: We honestly believe that you have the power to bring a rational change in the world. If given a chance, what would you like to do to make this world place a better place?

If I get a chance, I would make sure that “Celebrating Diversity” becomes part of our cultures which would then be compulsory for us to practice.

Times of Youth: Any message to the youth via Times Of Youth?

Beauty comes in no predefined shade, shape or size!

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Exclusive Interview of Bhuvan Bam (BB Ki Vines)

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Exclusive Interview of Bhuvan Bam (BB Ki Vines)



Bhuvan Bam: I am Bhuvan Bam from New Delhi, India and the owner/performer at BB Ki Vines. I make funny videos on the internet and aim to spread smiles all over the world.

Times of Youth: Since BB is a short form of your own name, is there any other special reason why you prefer to call your vines by that? Why didn’t you choose some funky name?

Bhuvan Bam: No special reason as such. All my friends call me either ‘Bam’ or ‘BB’. People easily connect to that name and personally, I think it sounds cute. Haha!

Times of Youth: When did you decide that comedy and vine making was your calling?

Bhuvan Bam: I’ve been quite an entertainer since my school days. I thought of Vine making a year ago when I randomly created a video and it was appreciated by people.

Times of Youth: What was the first reaction of your family members when they heard your decision about being a comedian?

Bhuvan Bam: Interestingly, I am not a comedian. Music is my profession and passion. All my earnings are through my live performances and original songs. Yes, my parents were a bit skeptical about me creating comical videos but as long as they see me happy doing that, they’re okay with it.

Times of Youth: Which was your first funny video? How was the response to it?

Bhuvan Bam: My first video was ‘The Chakhna Issue’ which I uploaded in 2014. Not many people have seen it as I did not upload it to my page. It had got 10-15 views back then.

Bhuvan Bam BB ki Vines on Times of Youth

Times of Youth: We noticed that you have several of your videos which in a way make fun of parents. How do your parents react to that?

Bhuvan Bam: My parents are quite cool with it though they don’t relate themselves with any character.

Times of Youth: You prefer to feature your own self in various characters for your videos unless really needed, why is that so?

Bhuvan Bam: I have always felt comfortable working on my own. Frankly, I don’t like when someone tries to change my ideas/concepts. It changes and hinders my style of working. In future, I’d sure love to collab with other artists.

Times of Youth: Did any person ever take grave offense to any of your videos, and for what? Conversely, what has been the most genuine compliment you ever received?

Bhuvan Bam: Not really. Some people do tell me that my content is 18+ but that doesn’t stop me from doing what I do. Everyone has their own perception. The people who love my work in a massive majority so I don’t mind a bit of negativity.

Times of Youth: Your most watched video being of the “Doctor Sehgal” series, has there ever been any real Dr. Sehgal in your life to make fun of? Did you personally come across any doctor by that name who expressed his displeasure?

Bhuvan Bam: Dr. Sehgal is actually a real doctor whose clinic is right next to my house. I’ve had many funny experiences with him but he is nowhere similar to the on-screen Dr. Sehgal. I have just used his name and I feel guilty. Haha!

Times of Youth: Your independence day special vine, “A Lost Neighbour”, made in collaboration with a group of cross country viners was very well received. How was your experience while shooting it and the consequent reviews?

Bhuvan Bam: I was approached by Karachi Vynz just a week before. We talked over the Indo-Pak concept and finally decided to release it on the Independence Day. It was a bit tough shooting the video as everything was done through Whatsapp or Skype. But in the end, it came out well and was accepted very positively by viewers across the globe.

Rapid Fire Round:

  • Winter or Summer? Winters always!
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook
  • Coffee or tea? Coffee
  • Money or fame? Money
  • Adventurous or cautious? Cautious
  • Meat or veggies? Meat
  • Classic or modern? Classic
  • Cars or bikes? Bikes
  • Night or Morning? Depends on what’s need to be done. But night.

Times of Youth: Comedians, we hear, especially internet and social media sensation like you are, have a bumpy ride in terms of making a living. How has your journey been so far?

Bhuvan Bam: As I mentioned above, all my earnings come through my Live Musical Performances and Original Songs. I haven’t yet earned anything through Comedy.

Times of Youth: Any particular work of yours which is the closest to your heart?

Bhuvan Bam: This year, Our government has imposed many illogical bans in the country. In March 2015, I released my original song ‘Ban-Chod’ which was a reply to such bans. This song reached lakh views in just a day and was amongst the ‘Most Popular Video on Youtube’ for a week.

Times of Youth:  So which are your new projects that we should watch out for?

Bhuvan Bam: This year I’ll be releasing another original song. Also, on the comical front, there are many collaborations in process.

Times of Youth: What makes you come up with so many ideas with such enormous potential to crack up the audiences?

Bhuvan Bam: I observe the people around me. Their actions and reactions help a lot in creating ideas for my videos.

Times of Youth: Tell us something funny.

Bhuvan Bam: My mom right now thinks that I’m talking to my girlfriend

Bhuvan Bam BB ki Vines on Times of Youth

Times of Youth: Has your work ever been criticized? How did you handle it?

Bhuvan Bam: Criticism is very important. Of course, I have been criticised and I have learnt to take it positively.

Times of Youth: Plagiarism, nowadays, is commonplace. Have you ever been its victim? What do you want to say to those who steal ideas to be famous?

Bhuvan Bam: Stealing ideas is very easy. People should realise that a lot of hard work is put in the making of a video. To all those reading this, Stay Original.

Times of Youth: What has been your most unforgettable experience in your journey of spreading smiles?

Bhuvan Bam: Every day is a special one. A lot of people message me saying that after a long day at work/college they watch my videos. Feels great to be a reason behind so many smiles.

Times of Youth: What advice would you give to the young upcoming comedians who still have a long way to go?

Bhuvan Bam: Make sure your content is good. Quantity doesn’t matter, Quality does! and of course, Stay Original.

Times of Youth: Do tell us how your fans can contact you to share their appreciation and feedback.

Bhuvan Bam: My fans can contact me directly through my facebook page. Or they can mail me at [email protected]

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Exclusive Interviews

Exclusive Interview of Shahlyla Baloch

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Exclusive Interview of Shahlyla Baloch on Times of Youth

“Have been criticized many times but that never stopped me from playing. I respect everyone’s way of thinking and I think they have the right to say anything they want to.” – Shahlyla Baloch

Times of Youth: For those who don’t know about you, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Shahlyla Baloch: My name is Shahlyla Baloch. I’m from Balochistan, Pakistan. I play for Balochistan United WF which is the current champion women football team of Pakistan. I started playing football when I was 7 years old and I received the FIFA’s youngest players award at the age of 7. I have been awarded as the best player of Pakistan thrice i.e. 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Times of Youth: Women in your country are mostly kitchen- and home-bound. What made you take up football as a profession instead?

Shahlyla Baloch: The concept of women being in the kitchen is a bit to old. The image of women in Pakistan is totally different now, they are deriving education and developing in every sector of life.

Times of Youth: Did you face any obstacles in your journey to becoming a professional footballer? If yes, what were they?

Shahlyla Baloch: I had, I am and I think I will be facing a lot of obstacles, but my aim is very articulate and I’m focused about what I have to do and how I am going to cross all barriers.

Times of Youth: Which player has been your inspiration all along?

Shahlyla Baloch: Maradona and Messi.

Times of Youth: In the International female football circuit, is there any specific female footballer you like and why?

Shahlyla Baloch: Abby Wemback, because she’s a scorer and the way she scores goals with headers and everything is just amazing!

Times of Youth: What makes you motivated every morning to train so hard?

Shahlyla Baloch: Every day I wake up and commit myself to become a better player because football is something I love and I want to be best at it.

LIFESTYLE

  • You’re addicted to: Football and makeup
  • The fragrance you wear often: Chanel
  • Favorite dressing style: Shorts and shirt.

Times of Youth: Defence or Attack? What’s your inherent style and why?

Shahlyla Baloch: Attack, because I love scoring goals!

Times of Youth: Since your mother is already in the Federation and your sister in the manager of the team, has it affected your game at all? Was it good or bad? And why?

Shahlyla Baloch: No, that has nothing to do with my game. When I’m on the field nothing else matters to me except performing good and winning!

Times of Youth: You recently joined the Sun Club in the Maldives where you received professional training. Tell us more about it.

Shahlyla Baloch: I was offered to play with the Sun team for a league. It’s a great experience. I will be here for a month, we will have 6 matches in total. Let’s hope for the best!

Times of Youth: Did you ever expect, when you started out at first, that you’d get this far?

Shahlyla Baloch: I always wanted to play for the national team of Pakistan and I must say I’m very lucky that I’ve been a part of it since the team came into existence. I always dreamed to play for an international club and I would like to say that dreams do come true!

Times of Youth: Being a National Champion in Pakistan, what is your biggest dream as a professional footballer?

Shahlyla Baloch: My dream is to play internationally for the women’s club of Barcelona.

FETISHES

  • The oldest item in your closet? Cleats
  • A thing of extravagance? cleats, jerseys, and makeup!
  • Homeground or elsewhere? Homeground
  • Game or money? Game

Times of Youth: What do you believe are your key strengths as an international level footballer?

Shahlyla Baloch: Dribbling and heading.

Times of Youth: On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate yourself as a sportsperson?

Shahlyla Baloch: I’m not sure. How about you rate me?

Times of Youth: Can you describe a time when your game was criticized? What was your first reaction and how did you cope?

Shahlyla Baloch: Have been criticized many times but that never stopped me from playing. I respect everyone’s way of thinking and I think they have the right to say anything they want to. I train hard to overcome my weak points and that’s how I overcome criticism.

What is the first word that comes to your mind when you read the following-

  • Love: Football
  • Parents: Role models
  • Football: Life
  • Youth: Future
  • Nation: Pride
  • Marriage: Waste of time

Times of Youth: In Pakistan, what’s the status of women football as compared to abroad?

Shahlyla Baloch: It’s very low as compared with the international standards.

Times of Youth: Do you think that there should be any motivational women’s sports based movie made in Pakistan (similar to Bollywood counterparts) to further motivate the women of the country and open more avenues for women sports’ development?

Shahlyla Baloch: Yes I definitely think there should be!

JUST YOU

  • What makes you extremely happy? Playing football
  • The most motivating thing about you? I never give up
  • Best de-stressor? Watching the sunset on the beach.
  • If you could change one thing about yourself, it would be? My temper

Times of Youth: According to you, is PFF is paying adequate attention towards women football and what has it done for its upliftment in recent years?

Shahlyla Baloch: Yes it is! We have been participating in all the SAFF championships and we played our first Friendlies last year.

Times of Youth: Considering you have a background of a football-loving family already if any other aspiring female in Pakistan wants to play professional football, what would you advise her?

Shahlyla Baloch: I would tell her to work hard and never give up always think that the mission is supreme!

Times of Youth: Any message to your followers and admirers via Times of Youth?

Shahlyla Baloch: I’m humbled and filled with gratitude for my fans and loved ones for their tremendous support and for keeping my moral high. Never lose hope, today’s youth is tomorrow’s future. Keep dreaming and you’ll always keep achieving.

Interview by Rohayl Varind

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