Author Archives: Marie Christine

About Christine Marie

I’m a PhD student and a tech-savvy, gingerbread mom with an MBA who thrives on child-like creativity, positivity, productivity & fun. I’m married to an extraordinary, eccentric genius from Istanbul who creates software, music, videos & photos. We live playfully in a fascinating world full of entrepreneurs, geeks, hackers, artists, producers, models & people trying to stir up trouble, break the status quo, live life to the fullest or make a difference in the world.

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Lola Blanc’s new single premiered in V Magazine!

Lola Blanc’s new single premiered in V Magazine!

The Established Songwriter And Alt-pop Artist Taps Into An Emotional History On Her New Track ||| “In an exclusive premiere, V is debuting a new track from alt-pop songstress Lola Blanc to vamp up your Tuesday. Lola’s new single “Don’t Say You Do” comes from her upcoming EP The Magic, and is a perfect ballad about distrust and dishonesty.”

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I was in a Vice documentary | Polygamist Mafia: Escaping The Kingston Clan

I was in a Vice documentary | Polygamist Mafia: Escaping The Kingston Clan

Although the mainstream Mormon church abandoned polygamy over 100 years ago, many splinter groups across Utah still practice plural marriage. One such group is the Kingston Clan, known to members as The Order. The Kingstons live in Salt Lake City and run their religion like a secretive business empire.

VICE meets Joe Robinson, a young man banished from The Order and trying to build a new life around his true passion: being a magician.”

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The Psychological Power of Storytelling

The Psychological Power of Storytelling

by Pam Rutledge | As I wrote in my last post “Transmedia Storytelling: The Reemergence of Fundamentals“, Transmedia storytelling is very exciting, but it isn’t new.  It is the ultimate mashup of ancient traditions and new communications models.

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Self-Portrait in a Skewed Mirror

Self-Portrait in a Skewed Mirror

by Carlin Flora | You’re more than the star and author of your own life story. You’re also the spin master. How you tell your tale reveals whether you see yourself as victim or victor, even when your story veers from the life you lived.

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I Will be a Featured Guest on “What Do You Think Utah?”

I Will be a Featured Guest on “What Do You Think Utah?”

They wrote “Christine has an amazing story that she will be sharing it with us on Wednesday, March 30th” and “The chances that you will be prosecuted for practicing polygamy in Utah are slim, unless you are committing some other crime too. But here’s the problem; institutional polygamy, as practiced by many groups here, is a closed system that is difficult to leave, especially for the women and the children of polygamy. You might want out, but no one is going to say, “Sure. Go ahead.”

Read the whole thing HERE

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Positive Psychology’s Happiness Research – A List of Some Key Studies

Positive Psychology’s Happiness Research – A List of Some Key Studies

The Science of Gratitude | University of Pennsylvania, 2005. One of the greatest contributing factors to overall happiness in life is how much gratitude we show. And a noticeable difference can be experienced with as little as three expressions each day (“Thank you for…”).

Trust, Morality, and Oxytocin. Claremont Graduate University, 2011. Based on research findings, psychologists believe humanity’s trust, empathy, and morality increase as their levels of oxytocin increase. Neuroeconomist Paul Zak explains the simple act of eight hugs a day can increase internal oxytocin levels and result in a happier you and a better world.

For a Better Day, Smile. | Michigan State University, 2011. People who smile as a result of cultivating positive thoughts can significantly and immediately improve their mood. Simply put, one easy way to improve your mood right now is to recall pleasant memories—and smile because of it.

The Dynamic Spread of Happiness | University of California, San Diego, 2008. In this significant study, people who were surrounded by happy people were more likely to become happy in the future. So if you want to discover more happiness in your life, make a point to surround yourself with joyful people.

Kindness Counts | University of British Columbia, 2012. In this study conducted at an elementary school, students who performed kind acts experienced significantly higher increases in peer acceptance. In other words, people who are kind to others are more well-liked. This contributes to their own personal popularity as they help other people.

People who Exercise on Work Days are Happier | University of Bristol, 2008. People’s moods significantly improve after exercising. They are also more productive and equipped to manage stress in their workday.

Is Volunteering a Public Health Intervention? | University of Exeter Medical School, 2013. Evidence suggests volunteering benefits mental health and even, survival. Donating time to causes you believe in not only improves well-being and overall life satisfaction, it is also linked to decreased depression and a lower risk of dying early.

Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness  | University of California Berkeley, 2008. This study suggests that how people spend their money may be at least as important as how much money they earn. Specifically, spending more of one’s income on others results in greater happiness. So go ahead, be generous. You’ll be glad you did.

Well-being not Wealth | Harvard Business School, 2009. While there does appear to be some correlation between happiness and income when basic needs are not yet met, people tend to overestimate the influence of wealth on happiness by 100%. Money does not lead to nearly as much happiness as people think it will.

Experiences, not Possessions, Leads to Greater Happiness | San Francisco State University, 2009. The study demonstrates that experiential purchases, such as a meal out or theater tickets, result in increased greater well-being than material possessions. These experiences tend to satisfy higher order needs, specifically the need for social connectedness and vitality—a feeling of being alive.

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Positive Psychology’s Character Strengths

Positive Psychology’s Character Strengths

WHAT IS POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY?

Traditional psychology is the study of mental illness: DARK
Positive psychology is the study of mental wellness: LIGHT

Positive psychology and happiness is an EXPLODING field, bursting out bestselling books for a reason.

Before we can be happy or successful, we need to first develop the ability to see that positive change is possible. Only once we learn to see the world through a more positive lens can we summon all our motivation, emotion, and intelligence to achieve our personal and professional goals.- Shawn Achor, Author -“Before Happiness”

A survivor journey with a Positive Psychology framework could benefit from a “guidemap” that incorporates the Positive Psychology character strengths.

STRENGTHS_INFOGRAPHIC FINAL ART_CharactersStrengths

The Six Classifications of Character Strengths

1. Wisdom and Knowledge

Cognitive strengths that entail the acquisition and use of knowledge

•Creativity
[originality, ingenuity]: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things;
includes artistic achievement but is not limited to it
•Curiosity
[interest, novelty-seeking, openness to experience]: Taking an interest in
ongoing experience forits own sake; finding subjects and topics fascinating; exploring and discovering
•Judgment
[critical thinking]: Thinking things through and examining them from all sides; not jumping to conclusions; being able to change one’s mind in light of evidence; weighing all evidence fairly
•Love of Learning
: Mastering new skills, topics, and bodies of knowledge, whether on one’s own or formally; obviously related to the strength of curiosity but goes beyond it to describe the tendency to add systematically to what one knows
•Perspective
[wisdom]: Being able to provide wise counsel to others; having ways of looking at the world that
make sense to oneself and to other people

2. Courage

Emotional strengths that involve the exercise of will to accomplish goals in the face of opposition, external or internal

•Bravery
[valor]: Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even
if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it
•Perseverance
[persistence, industriousness]: Finishing what one starts; persisting in a course of action in
spite of obstacles; “getting it out the door”; taking pleasure in completing tasks
•Honesty
[authenticity, integrity]: Speaking the truth but more broadly presenting oneself in a genuine way
and acting in a sincere way; being without pretense; taking responsibility for one’s feelings and actions
•Zest
[vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy]: Approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things
halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated

3.Humanity

Interpersonal strengths that involve tending and befriending others

•Love
: Valuing close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated; being close to people
•Kindness
[generosity, nurturance, care, compassion, altruistic love, “niceness”]: Doing favors and good deeds for others; helping them; taking care of them
•Social Intelligence
[emotional intelligence, personal intelligence]: Being aware of the motives and feelings of other people and oneself; knowing what to do to fit into different social situations; knowing what makes other people tick

4. Justice

Civic strengths that underlie healthy community life

•Teamwork
[citizenship, social responsibility, loyalty]: Working well as a member of a group or team; being loyal to the group; doing one’s share
•Fairness
: Treating all people the same according to notions of fairness and justice; not letting personal feelings bias decisions about others; giving everyone a fair chance.
•Leadership
: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the time maintain time good relations within the group; organizing group activities and seeing that they happen.

5. Temperance

Strengths that protect against excess

•Forgiveness
:Forgiving those who have done wrong; accepting the shortcomings of others; giving people a second chance; not being vengeful
•Humility
: Letting one’s accomplishments speak for themselves; not regarding oneself as more special than one is
•Prudence
: Being careful about one’s choices; not taking undue risks; not saying or doing things that might later be regretted
•Self-Regulation
[self-control]: Regulating what one feels and does; being disciplined; controlling one’s appetites and emotions

6. Transcendence

Strengths that forge connections to the larger universe and provide meaning

•Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence
[awe, wonder, elevation]: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of
life, from nature to art to mathematics toscience to everyday experience
•Gratitude
: Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen; taking time to express thanks
•Hope
[optimism, future-mindedness, future orientation]: Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it; believing that a good future is something that can be brought about
•Humor
[playfulness]: Liking to laugh and tease; bringing smiles to other people; seeing the light side; making (not necessarily telling) jokes
•Spirituality
[faith, purpose]: Having coherent beliefs about the higher purpose and meaning of the universe; knowing where one fits within the larger scheme; having beliefs about the meaning of life that shape conduct and provide comfort
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Lola Blanc co-starred in American Horror Story – starring Lady Gaga!

Lola Blanc co-starred in American Horror Story – starring Lady Gaga!

My daughter Lola, a singer/songwriter/writer/actor- co-starred as Ashley on the popular television series American Horror Story on FX. She was introduced to the show in the season finale, and of course, Lady Gaga is the star of it this season, so it was a big huge deal for Lola! I am so proud of her!

Lola Blanc on the set of American Horror Story

Lola Blanc on the set of American Horror Story

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Tim Has Been Awarded His Master’s Degree in International Comparative Education!

Tim Has Been Awarded His Master’s Degree in International Comparative Education!

Yesterday, Tim passed the oral defense of his Master’s Thesis at the University of Oslo in Norway, and is now officially a graduate with a master’s degree in International Comparative Education!

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The Journey Out: Women Who Escaped a Polygamist Mormon Cult Share Their Story

The Journey Out: Women Who Escaped a Polygamist Mormon Cult Share Their Story

Vice article | This ban (on toys), in part, is what inspired Christine Marie to plan a Christmas celebration, dubbed the First Christmas, in Short Creek. “People say there is a cloud over the town,” she told me. “I planned the First Christmas to bring happiness and help that gray cloud get dispersed by love.”

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I’m in the St. George News

I’m in the St. George News

St. George News / Children and families from Colorado City, Arizona, and Hildale — twin cities familiarly known as Short Creek — were treated to a holiday celebration called “The First Christmas,” so named because it was a first for many who are are former members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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KUTV Covered My Event: Christmas comes to Hildale for first time

KUTV Covered My Event:  Christmas comes to Hildale for first time

(KUTV) Wednesday afternoon hundreds of kids in Hildale experienced what’s being called the “First Christmas” in the Polygamist city since the 1980s.

Christine Marie from (Las Vegas), is the mastermind behind the holiday event.

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Tolga was on The Red Booth TV show!

Tolga was on The Red Booth TV show!

Red Booth host and star, Kimberly Quigley, interviewed Tolga about his fashion photography on her show. This episode aired on November 21st across SoCal and Las Vegas!

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The First Christmas! Short Creek is Going to See Some Joy!

The First Christmas! Short Creek is Going to See Some Joy!

On Dec. 16, Voices for Dignity and Mrs. Gingerbread are throwing a Christmas party and open house for people who left polygamy this year – and are able to experience their very first Christmas!

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Escaping Polygamy, Speaking on Polygamy & Human Trafficking on TV

Escaping Polygamy, Speaking on Polygamy & Human Trafficking on TV

This week, I am thrilled that I was invited to speak on two different television shows on the intersection of polygamy and human trafficking. This is my odd, narrow, highly-specialized area of expertise that historically only the most passionate activisits cared about, and I am happy that things are finally changing. As far as I know, I was the first person who left a (psuedo) polygamy situation that also qualified for services as a survivor of human trafficking. 

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New Article: Tolga & I on Sex Trafficking, Polygamy

New Article: Tolga & I on Sex Trafficking, Polygamy

By Scott Dickensheets | Multifaceted pair Tolga and Christine Marie Katas have embarked on their most important work yet: providing refuge and inspiration for escapees from sex trafficking.

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Lola Blanc Snake Shoot

Lola Blanc Snake Shoot Read More »

New Logo for my “Voices for Dignity” Charity

New Logo for my “Voices for Dignity” Charity

Voices For Dignity is an awareness and educational campaign I founded to help empower women, especially those who have suffered crimes of oppression and humiliation, such as human trafficking, patriarchal polygamy, cybershaming and more (read more about it HERE). Here is my new logo, along with a few variations. What do you think?

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Me: Speaking on Human Trafficking in Washington DC

Me: Speaking on Human Trafficking in Washington DC

I was fortunate to be invited to speak on a panel regarding cults and trafficking moderated by cult expert Steve Hassan. It was an incredible experience and great honor.  I explained my connection with polygamy and trafficking, and how religion can be a tool used to disguise human trafficking. It was the first time that I stood in front of a crowd, live, and share my past. The warm, wonderful crowd at the International Cultic Studies Association, to my shock, even gave me a standing ovation. I was overwhelmed.

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Galore Magazine Interviews Lola Blanc

Galore Magazine Interviews Lola Blanc

There’s something we need to get off our chests…we have a big girl crush on Lola Blanc. The rising pop diva is a fierce fashionista, free spirit, dynamite songwriter and we are just dying to party with the girl. Her latest single “Like Beyonce” isn’t a step-by-step guide to living the life of Beyonce Knowles, but rather a call to being a Queen B in your own right. We caught up to chat about New York Fashion Week, her unconventional dream date and girl power.

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I Grew Up Believing in a False Prophet

I Grew Up Believing in a False Prophet

VICE MAGAZINE by Lola Blanc | I was baptized into the the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints when I was eight years old. My parents were devout; they were married in the temple just three weeks after my mom returned from her mission. We went to church every Sunday, attended church events every week, and prayed together every night.

Once a month, members were invited to bear their testimonies in church, which meant going up to the microphone and sharing declarations of their faith. Good members would do this regularly, often crying when they spoke, overcome by the presence of the Holy Ghost. My parents always encouraged me and my brothers to go up. I was terrified. I couldn’t think of anything original to say, and I never cried, but it was expected so I did it.

As I got older, I started to wonder: Why can’t I cry? Why don’t I feel anything? I remember trying desperately to produce emotion as I watched my peers become overwhelmed with feeling during church camp. I willed tears to come out of my eyes. And for a moment, I thought I felt something—but it quickly dissolved, out of my grasp.

I believed that the church was true, but I didn’t feel what everyone else felt. I wanted to dress fabulously, not modestly. I wanted to hang out with boys and talk about boobs. Other parents considered me a bad influence on their kids, sometimes even excluding me from gatherings. And my mom was beautiful, vibrant, and ambitious, so she didn’t exactly fit in to the Midwestern LDS culture either.

My parents got divorced and my mom fell in love with a non-member, who she eventually slept with. Riddled with guilt, she confessed immediately, but the priesthood had her excommunicated anyway, as premarital sex is considered the worst sin you can commit next to murder. For three years she was not allowed to participate or speak in church—she essentially wore a big scarlet letter on her chest. Fitting in was harder for all of us after that.

When the humiliation of the repentance process was over, we moved to Utah. We’d been performing as ventriloquists together and I’d been writing songs; this was our shot at a new life.

Then we met Adam.

My mom and Adam (I’ve changed his name) met at an LDS singles’ dance. He looked strikingly similar to someone from a dream she’d had years before, she said. In Mormonism, it’s common to pray for and look for signs from God, so when she met this man she’d dreamed about after all that hard repentance work—a man who had something magnetic about him, something special—it seemed clear that it meant something. It had to be a sign.

My mother is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. She’s brilliant, funny, and incredibly loving. But she has trust issues. Not the kind where you don’t trust people—that’s my thing. My mom can’t help but trust everyone. Since faith takes precedence over facts in Mormonism, and trusting the prophet is imperative, it’s already conducive to a certain kind of blindness. By the time she met Adam, her judgment was considerably clouded.

The church believes that Joseph Smith used magic stones to translate the Book of Mormon from ancient golden plates which were given to him by an angel. As the story goes, one section of that book—known as the Sealed Portion—contained profound revelations and was hidden from the world, to resurface in the last days. And that’s tricky. Because if one dude can show up out of nowhere and become a prophet by translating mysterious scripture that nobody really gets to see, why can’t some other dude show up with the Sealed Portion?

Adam was open about the fact that he was a former polygamist who’d once convinced his community that he was a prophet. Now he was a single man who frequented Mormon dances. Then he met my mom. They started spending time together, and with the help of others who claimed to be believers, he began convincing her that the Sealed Portion had been revealed to him to translate, thus ushering in the end of days. He had samples. He claimed the church knew. Eventually, he succeeded in making her believe that he was the new, true prophet of God.

I remember feeling uneasy about him at first. By that point I was all too familiar with the range of evil and extraordinary men who were drawn to my mother’s trusting nature. There was a constant stream of stalkers, scholars, and sociopaths trying to fight their way into her life. So when Adam came along, I was wary. But I was still only 12. He won my heart by complimenting my singing and buying me things like Gushers and Doritos. Snacks were a big deal in our household.

I ended up believing in him entirely by accident. I was looking through my mom’s computer when I found some emails he’d sent her: He told her she was chosen by God to do his work in these end times. End times—as in the second coming of Christ. As I read on, it dawned on me: Adam was a prophet.

And finally, after feeling so little for so long, I was moved to tears. It suddenly made sense. Of course I had never fit in—because my family was special, destined for something great. The church had made me feel unfit, unimportant. But this was important.

I told my mom what I’d seen. She explained everything, and for a little while, it was bliss. At Adam’s direction, I started building an Angelfire website for a foundation he was creating to help the needy as a part of God’s plan. I caught glimpses of the Sealed Portion on the computer. And best of all, he told my mom that her greatest purpose in life was her kids. Specifically, me. I was going to change the world, he said. When she relayed this to me, I thought I’d burst with pride.

He began having revelations. First, my mom was to become his spiritual wife (read: sex). Then we needed to sell our extra possessions and give the money to the poor via the foundation. We had a big yard sale; she sold the wedding dress she’d been saving for when she got remarried.

Read the Rest of the Article Here on Vice Magazine

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Lola Blanc Recommends Living “Like Beyonce” On Her Latest Pop Anthem

Lola Blanc Recommends Living “Like Beyonce” On Her Latest Pop Anthem

Lola Blanc has been making waves on the underground pop scene for a while now with catchy tunes like “Bad Tattoo” and “Shangri-La,” but the Los Angeles-based diva is still probably best known for penning Britney SpearsSmurfs 2 soundtrack contribution “Ooh La La.” That might change with the release of her new single “Like Beyonce.” Produced by 10k Islands, the cute bop suggests we can all learn a little something from Queen Bey’s confidence and ambition.

“We’ll be going all out act like we’re made and gettin’ paid for rockin’ a chain,” Lola chirps in the chorus. “We’ll throw it all down, breaking the bank — we ain’t afraid to live like Beyonce eh eh eh.” There are also lyrics about cruising Rodeo drive in a borrowed camino and faking it until you make it. I feel like Kesha, Lady Gaga and Lolene (remember her?) covered familiar territory early on in their careers but the 27-year-old has enough personality and style to make it her own.

 

http://www.idolator.com/7579969/lola-blanc-like-beyonce?utm_source=sc-tw&utm_medium=ref&utm_campaign=lolablanc

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Live ‘Like Beyoncé’ On Lola Blanc’s Irresistible Pop Anthem

Live ‘Like Beyoncé’ On Lola Blanc’s Irresistible Pop Anthem

Bullet Magazine:  You don’t have to be Beyoncé to live like Beyoncé, Lola Blanc tells us of her new track.

“‘Like Beyoncé’ is about being super poor but not caring because you know you’re going to run shit anyway,” the one time child ventriloquist…

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Answers to Questions About Prophet or Predator

Answers to Questions About Prophet or Predator

Thank you for visiting my page. If you write to me, I will write back!

I hope you came to this site because you were disturbed by what you saw and thought, “This couldn’t be true.”  Your instincts were right.

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Perez Hilton Gives Props to Lola’s New Song Coconuts

Perez Hilton Gives Props to Lola’s New Song Coconuts

Lola released a new song called, Coconuts, thanks to Perez Hilton, the famous celebrity blogger (and adorable single father!).

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My New Obession: Sami Culture

My New Obession: Sami Culture

My son Tim is here visiting from Norway where he is in grad school. He came with his lovely Norwegian girlfriend Karin. Karin told me about Sami – the reindeer herders – and now I am obsessed with it! (And no, I haven’t seen Frozen yet.)

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Heartfelt Lessons from the Tragedy in Isla Vista

Heartfelt Lessons from the Tragedy in Isla Vista

I visited Isla Vista this week. My brother-in-law (aka “little brother”) lives in Isa Vista and is also attending UCSB, where six students were recently killed due to the rage of a frustrated young man who had mental health problems and was angry at women. We panicked all night because we couldn’t reach our little brother. The killings happened just a couple blocks from his home. We called, texted, facebooked, Skyped, emailed. All night. No word. We were terrified. As it turned out, he and a friend had stayed home to watched movies. He heard the gunshots, but he was fine.

(Click each photo to see it larger)

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Little brother in a tree where he goes to think

I am also enrolled in a university that is based in Santa Barbara.

I also know what it’s like to be at the receiving end of misogyny and slut-shaming, from personal interactions with misogynists without a conscience, to my former religion, my work, to social media, and even from reputable corporations like Discovery Networks, Investigation Discovery, History Channel and others. (A couple years ago I shared a story from my past of surviving trauma that was orchestrated by a criminal mastermind, but they turned it into one of those “stupid woman caused it herself and deserved what she got” stories. It wasn’t fair and it wasn’t right, but the media is accountable to no one.) The media is absolutely part of the problem, and this is why I am now pursuing my PhD in Media Psychology at a university in Santa Barbara.

Needless to say, I felt a connection with this tragedy and this town, and I wish I could find a way to use media make the world a safer place for women. For everyone.

So a few days ago, my husband and I went to visit Isla Vista. Little brother showed Tolga and I the memorials. We both had a lump in our throats.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

This is where it all started. This was the home of 22-year old Elliot Rodger, the UCSB student who expressed his rage against the women who rejected him by slaughtering people, then taking his own life.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Messages were still there. Through heart-felt words, flowers, chalk writings and candles, people expressed their love for those who lost their lives here.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

You’re in our hearts forever.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

No one was in a hurry to take all the special remembrances away. Someone put a box of chalk there for people to express their feelings. No one stole it.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

 What they did do, however, was move items from the memorial sites into the UCSB library to create a CD of digital images of the memories, messages and notes. Someone politely left a letter explaining it all on a page covered by a sheet protector, weighted down by two candles.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

This is the street outside of the apartment building where Elliot Rodger lived.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

The street on Isla Vista where Rodger plowed through people and sprayed businesses with bullets.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Above – the sidewalk outside the IV Deli Mart where Rodger left more casualties

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

A happy face balloon with a graduation hat. Perhaps it was a message for one of the students about to graduate?

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Outside IV Deli Mart. Beautiful signs of life, and of lives so loved.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Messages about gun control still reign prominent.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

So much anguish, so much to say.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

The recovery message is profound. “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that” MLK

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

The names of the deceased are held in place by a Teddy Bear

– a poignant reminder of innocence amidst the pain and sorrow.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

A love note or message of caring is tucked into the bear’s shirt. I wanted to read it,

but somehow I felt unworthy.

The community mourned Katherine Cooper, Christopher Martinez, Veronika Weiss, Weihan Wang, George Chen, and Cheng Yuan Hong, and celebrated the incredible lives they lived.  Read about them HERE.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Emily Lindin, the founder of the UnSlut Project, wrote “In Killer’s World, Victims are Blamed.” It got picked up by CNN, and this young lady is my new hero. She wrote that Rodgers “is the product of a culture that condones and in many cases endorses the belief that if you are a ‘nice guy’ — or a ‘supreme gentleman’ as Rodger described himself — you are somehow entitled to sex with women.”

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

“After the killings, the extent of misogyny in this community was revealed in the creation of a Facebook page called ‘Elliot Rodger Is an American Hero,’ with the advice for everyone to ‘share your thoughts and pay your respects to Elliot Rodger here. Also, view this final message from our beloved hero,’  which links to his videotaped rant, with commenters expressing solidarity with his desire for revenge against women. The page has since been taken down.” Emily Lindin

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

On a piece of cardboard supported by a bike stand, someone wrote,

“Those we love don’t go away,

They walk beside us every day

Unseen, unheard, but always near,

Still loved, still missed and very dear.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal,

Love leaves a memory no one can steal.”

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

The community is rallying for the victims’ families and the survivors.  This donation box is in the IV Deli Mart, where Christopher Michaels-Martinez lost his life.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

The community, still reeling in disbelief, tries to carry on.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

There’s a message to learn that we all hope does not fade away after the flowers are gone. We have an opportunity  to honor the victims, the survivors and the families by making all this make a difference.

Will it be about gun control, mental health, respecting women, victim blaming or something else? Emily Lindin thinks the conversation needs to be about misogyny.

“But as we move forward and try to make sense of what happened, it’s our responsibility to start productive, respectful conversations about the misogyny behind Rodger’s actions,” she wrote.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

As I walked back to the car, I saw a homeless man and another man being comforted by a college co-ed. I got the impression the man was a witness the night it happened.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

They were perfect strangers, but she stopped walking her dog to comfort him in his time of need. He cried and she listened.

Whoever she is, she is a saint.

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Click the photo to see it larger. Photo by C.M. Katas

Maybe she cried and he listened too.

Maybe that is how we can make beautiful meaning come from this tragedy. Maybe that’s how we can change the world:

Listening when people cry, and then hugging instead of hating.

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Photo by Simon Astaire. Taken from Channel 4 News http://bit.ly/1mxMhYT

 Just like the fathers of Elliot Rodger, the killer, and his victim, Chris Martinez.

Hugging instead of hating. Loving instead of blaming.

#notallmen

#yesallwomen

Photo taken from http://bit.ly/1mxMhYT

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Isla_Vista_killings

http://time.com/2933821/elliot-rodger-peter-isla-vista-shooting/

http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/Photos-Isla-Vista-Santa-Barbara-Rampage-Shooting-Fathers-Meet-Rodger-Martinez-263291921.html

 

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Magical Family Time in Santa Barbara

Magical Family Time in Santa Barbara

We had a magical time when Tolga’s family came to visit. The Butterfly Grove, the pacific ocean, the city, and of course, Isla Vista & UCSB.

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Pinup & Retro

Pinup & Retro

I did the photography as well as the artwork. I love doing “vintage ads.”

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Happy Pink Surprise Birthday Party to Me. In a Mansion!!

Happy Pink Surprise Birthday Party to Me.  In a Mansion!!

My family and friends threw me the best surprise birthday party on the planet earth!  It was all decked out in pink and it was held at a mansion. There was no detail that was not thought out in advance. To say that I was shocked and overwhelmed was an understatement!!

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My Daughter Called “Retro Pop Princess” by Ryan Seacrest

My Daughter Called “Retro Pop Princess” by Ryan Seacrest

Rising pop star Lola Blanc is blowing minds with the trippy music video for her single, “Bad Tattoo,” and RyanSeacrest.com has the exclusive premiere.

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Photo Series: Mystical Hues

Photo Series: Mystical Hues

Model: Ashley Ellwood.  Normally Ashley is a photographer, but to humor me and let me practice, she let me style her and photograph her.  This is what I came up with.

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Visiting Gold Point & Other Nevada Ghost Towns

Visiting Gold Point & Other Nevada Ghost Towns

Over the weekend , Tolga and I went on a customer appreciation trip to several ghost towns, sponsored by Land Rover, Las Vegas. Our job was to photograph.

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Why does age have to stop us from being playful?

Why does age have to stop us from being playful?

I hesitated posting these because I worried what people would think since people my age don’t normally do this kind of thing.

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Building My Own Photography Portfolio

Building My Own Photography Portfolio

Here are some photos of my work with females. I love feminine, fantasy & dramatic photography, as you will see.

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Photos of Kristyn Decker

Photos of Kristyn Decker

Here are some photos we took of my friend Kristyn Decker, an escapee from the life of polygamy, but more importantly, a sweet, strong, and wonderful person.

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Modeling Photos of Kollene Snow

Modeling Photos of Kollene Snow

Here are some photos we did of the stunningly gorgeous, sweet and sassy Kollene Snow. 

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Modeling Portfolio of Willy Steed

Modeling Portfolio of Willy Steed

Here is a modeling portfolio I put together for Willy Steed.  (Actually, there are a few fun photos in here as well.)

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My Daughter Lola Featured in Dysfunktion Magazine

My Daughter Lola Featured in Dysfunktion Magazine

Lola, my pop star daughter, was recently featured in yet another cool, hip magazine.

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Book Cover – Front and Back

Book Cover – Front and Back

Here is a book cover I was honored to design for Kristyn Decker.  We took the photos as well.

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Feminine Millinery Brochure

Feminine Millinery Brochure

Brochure for Louisa Voisine Millinery for her to take with her to her pre-Emmy event.

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My Comment About Polygamy & Anthropology

My Comment About Polygamy & Anthropology

There was an article posted today in the SLTrib called – ‘Sister Wives’ episode draws fiery reaction, name calling .

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On ‘Sister Wives’ TV Show

On ‘Sister Wives’ TV Show

A few months ago, I participated in a public debate on polygamy at UNLV with Kristyn Decker, Kollene Snow and Willy Steed.  On the other side was the Brown family of TLC’s “Sister Wives” fame. The debate was filmed for the TV show “Sister Wives.”

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Tolga Featured in Radiant Inc Magazine

Tolga Featured in Radiant Inc Magazine

Radiant Inc is an über-cool fashion magazine that just did a fashion editorial of Tolga’s work and included a feature about him as a photographer.

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Lola’s New Lyric Video for Bad Tattoo

Lola’s New Lyric Video for Bad Tattoo

Here’s the new lyric video for “Bad Tattoo.” Pretty cool, check it out!

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Emerson Came Home from His Mission!!

Emerson Came Home from His Mission!!

After two long years living the life of a missionary, my sweet baby son finally came home. It seemed like an eternity to me.

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Our Work, Willy Steed Transformation on 20/20

Our Work, Willy Steed Transformation on 20/20

Our friend and (now) model Willy Steed, a former FLDS young man who escaped a life of polygamy and abuse, was featured on ABC’s 20/20 – and they credited us with helping him transform!

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My Girl Lola on OMG! Insider TV for Writing Britney Song

My Girl Lola on OMG! Insider TV for Writing Britney Song

So Lola was featured on CBS – OMG! Insider, right after Entertainment Tonight!  The host described Lola as “the woman behind Britney’s Spears’ new hit!” 

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My Sister Pam Got Married!

My Sister Pam Got Married!

What a happy piece of family news to report! My sister Pam married her best friend, Joe Afton, 

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Lola Featured in Afterglow Magazine

Lola Featured in Afterglow Magazine

Lola Blanc was featured in a really cool issue of Afterglow Magazine alongside other Hollywood IT girls like Janel Parrish, Audrey Kitching, Kerli, etc. 

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