It’s impossible to describe this woman with one word. America’s Next Top Model Fan Favorite. Miss Black Virginia USA. Face of DiDomenico Design. Graphic Designer. TV and radio host. Public speaker. Creative Director of i-Fashion Magazine. And she says there is much more to come! Who is Midori Amae? Let’s find out.
Continuing from where we left off in Part 3…..
DC – Are you ready for the philosophy questions?
MA -Let’s do it!
DC – Here’s the premise. It comes from a book called “The Prophet.” A young man has lived in the city for twelve years and the time finally came where it’s time for him to go back to his native land. So, he’s leaving this place he’s been for twelve years and he’s going down to the boat dock to go back home. All of the people in the village there have become his family, his friends over that time and they’re basically begging him to stay, saying ‘please don’t go, you’re part of us now. Can you stay?’ and he basically says, ‘No. It’s my time. I’ve been here this long and it’s time for me to go’. So they realize that he’s going to leave and they end up asking him this. I’ll read it to you, just so you know it fully because this is the role you’ll be put it in.
MA -OK, great
DC – Here it is. When he says he’s leaving, they say: ‘Yet this we ask of you before you leave us. That you speak to us and give us of your truth and we will give it unto our children and they unto their children and they shall not perish. In your aloneness, you have watched with our days and in your wakefulness you have listened to the weeping and the laughter of our sleep. Now therefore disclose us to ourselves and tell us all that has been shown you of that which is between birth and death. And, he answered – the name of the village is Orpheles – he says, ‘people of Orpheles, what can I speak on which is now moving within your souls.’ So, this is it. He’s there. Before he leaves, they’re all like ‘well, just tell us, you know, about life and this and that’ and they’re just taking turns shouting out questions, so basically, you’re in this position. You’re leaving –
MA – This feels like when I was leaving Blacksburgh. Oh my gosh.
DC – Your friends and your family are there. You may never see them again…
MA – Sure, oh my gosh, this is so exciting. I love a challenge.
DC – So, the first one that they scream out to you is ‘Speak to us of love’
MA -Oh gosh. So fleeting and yet so vital. Most definitely one of those invisible powers that just moves and you don’t know it almost until it’s past you and it’s left you. And then you know what the void is, so sometimes that’s what it is. And sometimes it’s just being the happiest you can be and not even knowing why. That’s love for me. Ah, man. That’s a good question
DC – And what of marriage
MA – That’s a very good question. And what of marriage? I feel that marriage is so, this is not going to be super-philosophical or beautiful; it’s going to come out pretty messy. But, to me marriage is a very interesting social construct. We decided to spend the rest of our lives, and commit ourselves to one person. It’s really interesting to me how some people take it so seriously, and some people don’t. I think that’s one of the reasons why I’m afraid of marriage, just because of the unknown of what’s to come. I have two best friends who are both engaged right now and will be married within five or six months – hopefully. We’ve had this conversation so we’re coming at it from the outside looking in – there’s so much that has to happen and then so many sacrifices and compromises that come with it. I think that I’ll be ready for marriage when somebody loves me not just for who I am, not for Miss Black Virginia, Creative Director, BS – none of that. I want somebody who loves me for how I am. Who understands that I’m going to press snooze five times in the morning and that I need coffee first thing. Somebody who knows, I don’t like talking in the morning, like, I don’t want to be fully awake. Somebody who understands that I’m nerdy and geeky and I make really awesome impressions – like, great voices, and somebody who actually is cool with that. Once I find somebody who can love it and wants to see more of it and can, like, stand it, that’s when I feel like, ‘OK, we’re in it. That can be a thing’ The love’s there, I’m assuming. The love’s there, everything’s good, we’re stable enough to put two lives together. Once I find someone who really understands the inner workings of me, that’s when I realize, like, you’re somebody who, if you sort that out in yourself, you’re definitely a partner or companion. I need to make sure I can love the little things that get on people’s nerves. That’s what marriage is to me. Not trying to change, not trying to fix, but just loving those little things that make somebody up.
DC – Speak to us of children
MA – Little devils. (laughs)
DC – Totally agree (laughs)
MA – Little, you know, devils. Blessings, for sure, and of course that’s the go to. That is a working interview. And you never know if you got the job, but you’re in it. You didn’t realize, but you’re in it. Whether it’s an accident, whether it’s a happy accident, whether it’s a planned, you know, sort of, parenthood, got it – whatever the situation is, it’s so hard to just say no to all that love. I feel like I know how I was raised and how I want to raise my kids. The love I’m going to give, how I just need to be there, all that stuff. You really don’t feel that way about somebody until you have kids, and realize – I know how much I’m going to love my kids but I can’t wait. I think about, like, ‘Oh my gosh, this one’s mine. What? They let me have a kid?’ I can’t wait, I’m going to be the best mom. I’m going to be goofy as hell, you know what I’m saying? Just playing with making forts and yes, we will paint on walls cause that’s what I do at my house. Yes, I think it’s growth, it’s learning, it’s a timed test that just keeps going and you never frigging know if you’re finished, right. You’re always making mistakes but you have to be flexible, you have to be able to ebb and flow and that’s something I’ve learned from my family and other families around me, like, really happy and cohesive families are able to move together, as a unit, that’s just what I’m seeing. It’s like, we have a setback but we’re going to be better than that, or we have made a great choice, so now what’s the next thing?, you know. You’re moving up together.
DC – Speak to us of giving.
MA – Giving. That’s awesome. Giving is life. That is what we’re supposed to be doing. It’s super cheesy, of course, and me and the pageant girls were like, that sounds like the perfect answer’ and I was like ‘no, I was doing this before you guys came along, thank you very much’. No, it’s really – it’s at the root of all love. You give yourself when you love somebody. When you’re in a marriage, like, you’re giving up something. You might sacrifice your side of the bed or the fact that you wanted to be 69 degrees, but I’m a clear 72, okay? Please, 72 degrees. You’re giving up those things. Kids? – you’re giving selflessness, you don’t own anything. That shirt not even yours because if the kid needs it, you’re going to give up your shirt for the kid. So, giving is at the root of all sorts of love and compassion. And if we keep doing that, I think we’ll see more love and compassion but I think it needs to be at the root of everyone’s heart when it comes to, you know, how we treat other people, how you go about your life, how you go about your business. Give to yourself, you know – you’ve got to self-love, self-care. Maybe it’s taking a longer lunch break or maybe you could just take a vacation or pursue the thing that you want to do but giving to yourself is also important. Just the act of giving, I think that makes me feel great.
DC – Speak to us of eating and drinking
MA – Alcohol? Stop! Eating and drinking – this is the sustenance, you know, of life. But, there’s no joy in it if there’s no joy in it. I love cooking and I love to eat. I love to taste, I love to experiment, I’ll eat really weird things from different countries, different cultures, because I always want to know more about food because we eat it all the time. If we – we’re always consuming stuff. I love this popcorn. It’s taken me fifteen popcorns to know that this one’s my favorite. Same thing with drinking. Over-consumption is a problem – maybe you can’t give too much, but you can love too much. You can do a lot of things with consumption, overly, you know, too much. I think that when it comes to eating and drinking, you watch yourself and you take a healthy amount and you’re fine.
DC – Speak to us of work
MA – Work. Labor and my life is something that, it can’t be avoided, therefore I have to make the most of it. I found a better job for myself, I moved my surroundings or I’m able to work from home so I feel better about going to work. I don’t like to make work hard – it’s already hard. The projects that I get on a daily basis are already too much but, if I let that get to me and let it get me down, or whatever, then it’s heavy on your shoulders. So I like to make my work light but having a strong work ethic is super key – it’s definitely important. So, I don’t take work too seriously but when I am working, I’m professional and about my business and I appreciate that, yeah, in other people
DC – Speak to us of joy and sorrow
MA – Necessary for life. That’s it in a nutshell. You will be sad. I use every sad moment to reflect on the fact that I’m breathing, I’m alive, and that I’m thankful enough. I prayed for the job that gave me the money to buy the food for me to burn in the dinner. I did that. You can’t be mad about burnt spaghetti, burned pasta, food and stuff. You can’t be mad about stuff like that, you have to let it roll off your back. For me, it was finding out, you know what, I’m thankful to even have this chicken to burn anyway. Let’s me know that next time not to put it on so high, turn the dial down a little bit and keep it moving. You have to have it, it’s just how you react to it.
DC – Speak to us of houses
MA – Dwellings. I don’t fixate on material things all the time and housing is another thing that – I don’t like having a lot of stuff in my place because it’s just weird to me, a whole bunch of stuff. I like to keep myself pretty minimal. When you come into my space, it’s pretty minimal. It’s just me. If I could have two or three desks, I probably would, different kinds of work in different places. That would be my favorite thing, oh yeah. When I got to my first place by myself, I felt a joy like I hadn’t known. It was mine. It was only a rental – it’s your space. I had to make it into, I had to make it into, it wasn’t perfect, it is not perfect, but I had to make it into my home so I could live and I could feel like everything else was going to be OK and I could get through the day. So, I don’t really, I’d only, you know, taken into account a lot, when I’m thinking about housing and, you know, you want to be safe and be in a nice place. Where I am now, it’s interesting – it’s not where I thought I would be and I love it, I grew to love it and I made it into my home. So, your house can be anything. it can be whether you’re in a car, I’ve been there before -I’ve had to spend nights in my car because I didn’t have a place to stay. I was homeless. It can be a one-bedroom in Alexandria It can be everything you need at that point. It’s never to be taken for granted because those things can come and go. They really do. I’m really thankful for the friends that gave me their couches, their dwellings – they knew I just needed a roof over my head. Thankful for the ability to have my own place, now. Definitely cherish that.
DC – Speak to us of clothes
MA – Girls are superficial. I’m tired. I would love to wear, you know, one thing all my life. Do not let the clothes make you into who you are, whatever you want to be. It’s really just another representation. It’s an outward representation of who you want to be at that point in time. It’s not who you are, right. So, I just came from my drag brunch – it was hilarious. The drag brunch – it wasn’t a regular drag brunch. It wasn’t my fine gentleman, dressed up like Queens. It was all my girls, dressed up as guys. Loved it. Loved it. Some of them I know in regular spaces where they’re dressed up in a dress and heels and hair curled up and make-up and whatever it is that’s them. It just goes to show you that your clothing doesn’t really make you who you are. It’s who you want to show at that point in time. And I’m always with people, like, ‘yeah, you know I dress a little some days’ because somebody else is picking out my outfit. Or somebody else put it all together, or I’m just having a good day today. But I like to remove that as much as possible when it comes to my judgement of a person, like just because you look dingy or you look edgy or you look super like you’re not wearing no clothes – I can’t judge you off of that. That’s what you chose to wear that time to represent yourself. Especially when it comes to orientation and stuff – that’s how you represent yourself. I’m super down for it – I play up my look all the time. I play up my masculine side, my feminine side, like, I wear different hair when I want to – I love it, I love that expression that you get with clothing. So I would definitely say use it. Wear what you want to wear. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, makes you feel like your most self at that point of time.
DC – Speak to us of buying and selling.
MA – Buy, buy, buy. I buy things and I hold onto them all the time. I don’t know why. I’ll have this for years. I got this at Christmas but I’ll have it for years. For some reason, I don’t sell, I don’t give away a lot of valuable things if I’ve had them for a long time. I put a lot of ownership when it comes to the life of an object. I’ve got this jacket from my grandmother. Where’s my big one? It might be in the car. I have this huge jacket from my grandmother, I’ve had it for about seven years. She saw me a couple of days ago; she said ‘why don’t you get a new jacket?’. I said, ‘No, I love this jacket.’ It has holes in it, but it’s sentimental value in it. So, I have a hard time selling things. They can definitely be used for means of negativity and the kind of coming in power in people selling stuff and buying and manipulating economy, but I seem to have a healthy balance. I don’t buy for myself, I’m not materialistic, I buy things, like I said, I’ll hold into it, I’ll keep on to it. I won’t need another pair of shoes for another four years. I won’t need another jacket for three years, three winters, you know, worth. There are some times when, if I want to spend money and buy for myself, I’ll spend it on an experience. I’d much rather spend my money that way. I’d much rather buy into experiences and memories rather than things. So, if you can, invest in memories
DC – Speak to us of crime and punishment
MA – Law and order. SVU. I’m so down for everyone following the rules – we have them so you should do that. I think that crime and punishment comes into play where if you know that you did wrong, you need to come up and just talk about it with them. We have to get through it somehow. You might as well be cooperative about it, you know what I’m saying? It’s so funny when my friends talk back about it, ‘I used to BB gun people’s houses and I used to egg cars’, I was like what? I was a goody because I knew that if I ever was face to face with a police officer who asked me, I was going to have to say ‘yes, I did that’. and I was going to have to do juvie time – all that BS. I could never bring myself, I was like, I can’t do that. I can’t bring myself to deface someone else’s property because on the flip side, I’m going to get yelled at, something’s going to happen. That’s always kept me on the straight and narrow for the most part. I didn’t have a beer untiI I was 21, I’m not going to lie.
You do the crime, you have to do the time. If we kind of have these notions of crime and punishment invested in us, embedded in us, excuse me, we would double-think what we are doing, if we actually understood the ramifications, if people got caught, maybe. Maybe we wouldn’t do it as much. It’s a very interesting balance. Very interesting. Sometimes it’s not balanced – we have to be prepared for that. Sometimes the punishment does not fit and that’s just, you gotta shrug that out and keep moving and take it for what it is.
DC – This is actually a follow-up from the book to that. After the retort to that he says but what of our laws?
MA – They’re fucked up sometimes. No, excuse my candor but sometimes you have to look at the situation and understand it for what it is. There are some things that can be changed but take a lot of time. I was at the woman’s march the other day and talking about initiatives and what can we do and everyone’s like, ‘I’m going to write to my senator’, and I’m like ‘Girl, write – yes, write to your senator’ Might take you a little while to get something changed. Maybe it’s starting a non-profit in something that helps people who are in a certain situation or prevents people from being in a certain situation where they might have to fall into a certain law, a certain code. It’s a shame that we have to have stuff like that to kind of save us from ourselves, but until we can realize as a people that this law is wrong, until enough of us who have the power to change it and do something about it, can come together and recognize there’s a problem, we’re still going to have a lot of complaints. This is what it is. Yeah
DC – Speak to us of freedom
MA – It’s a mental state of mind. It’s definitely mental. It’s funny. To me, it’s not about living in America. Living in America doesn’t make you free. It’s being able to live your life the way you see fit. And that’s hard to do – any race, any gender, any age, sometimes; it can be a daunting task. I only know of, and I say that because I don’t like to infer other people, but I only know and speak of my experiences because that’s just who I am, but sometimes it’s hard being a black woman, or being black, or being a woman or whatever. There’s a whole bunch of intersectionality that goes on in life and it can get sticky. It can get really, really interesting. Freedom is not free, as we know. You have to fight for it, you have to stand up for it, you have to protect it all the time. Somebody is going to want to infringe upon that, and they might not even know sometimes. They might not even know.
There’s so much political BS going on. We still fight for freedoms that people thought that we had a long time ago. No, no, no, no- there’s always going to be a struggle. There’s always going to be a fight because there’s always somebody who might, who’s going to think differently to you and that’s just what comes with the territory. So, it’s constantly changing for different interest groups Their amount of freedom, or their idea of freedom – mine is definitely, like, if I feel like I can wake up in the morning and be myself without prejudice, without judgement, without ramifications legally – if I can just be myself and I’m not breaking any laws, I should be free and I should feel free.
DC – Speak to us of reason and passion
MA – Reason and passion. I’m a very reasonable person, but I don’t think it relates to any passion that I have. I don’t think passion makes me reasonable or makes me less reasonable. I’d like to separate the two of them. I’m sure there’s a connection between the two and that would be interesting to find out and know about because that pairing’s interesting but I’ve always been the person that takes everything with a grain of salt; I do my own research, I need a source. That’s how I make my assessments, that’s how I’ able to make my split-second decisions about a person. I take my bias out when I’m looking at models and looking at photos for covers of magazines and stuff like that. There’s a lot of reason that goes into it; I’m experienced so I just know what looks good and I know what works. I’m able to translate that into a lot of different things in my life, even in relationships. I’m very reasonable and I know what works for me. I think I’m very reasonable, OK? I know what works for me, and I know how to get stuff done. If I want to get it done, I’ll get it done. I don’t feel like I’m outlandish when it comes to, you know my decision-making or anything like that; I look at all sides of the story and I try to make an educated decision. Passion on the other hand, guys talk with their penis, it’s like, no, passion’s all the heart. If you’re talking to me about dance, I’ll dance for twelve hours straight – let’s do it. It doesn’t matter, I’ll just do it. Passion is almost second nature so I don’t want to think about it too much. For design, I just get into my zone and then, at some point, I names all these files wrong; I was so excited about doing it I named every single file wrong. Passion kind of takes over a little bit. I try to use my passion within reason, but it doesn’t always work out that way – sometimes passion takes over a lot of the emotions, yeah
DC – Tell us of pain
MA – Inevitable, but it makes you stronger because of the way you deal with it. You know, your coping mechanism – that is just the way you chose to deal with that situation. To me, I choose not to be negative, I choose not to be put down when pain comes around or something doesn’t go my way. I think it’s the perspective that you have using that reasoning, figuring it out – look, OK, my grandfather passed away but he left me with so many memories, we have so many people here who are here because of him so we’ve got to keep it going. It may be swallowing the pride for somebody else, swallowing the pain for somebody else, so you can be strong for them but it’s going to happen. It shapes and it moulds you and it really does change who you are if you don’t channel it, if you don’t channel it in the right way, channel all the energy that comes out of it, all that frustration, the adrenalin, whatever it is, if you don’t use it correctly you’ll definitely find you can go down a slippery slope and you can just crash. You can nosedive. I think using that, using those experiences to your benefit; I’ve seen so many people come from painful situations where they were held hostage, lost their family member or battling some disease but they took that and chose to rise above it. That’s what I feel you should do, learn from it, grow from it, hopefully don’t make the same mistake or hopefully, you know, try not to be put in that situation. If it’s inevitable, you have to just embrace it as it comes and then move forward. Pain
DC – Speak to us of self-knowledge
MA – I didn’t come to know myself until last year, 2016. I think that’s definitely slow coming for me. I feel like a lot of people are trying to find themselves or whatever in college, and I don’t really believe in all that. I really believe that college is more for the learning experience, the environments that you’re in, all that stuff, having a good time. When it comes to self-knowledge, I feel like I didn’t know what I wanted in life, who I wanted to be until I was able to be. And that was a freedom sort of breakthrough for myself – once I felt like I could do anything, that’s when I found out I can do anything and there’s so many things that I wanted to do. And I think if I didn’t have those kind of breakthroughs, those relations, if I didn’t have those talks with myself, which sounds crazy nut, I sit around and I talk to myself. If I didn’t have those pep talks, or whatever, if I didn’t just talk it out, I wouldn’t be sane in the mind right now, and able to handle my emotions as they come, and then also give ,you know, positive feedback and give critique on myself.
DC – Speak to us of teaching
MA – Oh, so enriching. Bad kids, good kids, whatever it is. That’s something I want to do when I’m older. I taught a Spanish class, I mentored some middle-schoolers. I coach now, which to me is teaching. But I know that my heart of service wants to give teaching a slice of that pie, and that might not come until later on in life when I feel as though I’ll have more to teach. I want to make sure that if I’m going to spread a word that it’s truthful, it’s honest, it’s relevant and it gives some sort of like experience points to whoever’s in the audience, right? So, I want to be able to share something of quality and I feel like that doesn’t come sometimes until later on in life or until you become an expert in something. I know that it’s very important for us to come back and teach the next group of people how to do it or help them through all the bumps and mistakes that you went through so they don’t have to. I know it’ll come eventually – it’s part of the pie but it’s not a big slice right now.
DC – Speak to us of friendship
MA – Once you find somebody you can tell your deepest, darkest secrets to, don’t pass it up. Don’t mess it up for the world. I’ve got two and I’m blessed with that and I have other friends who have even or eight best friends. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t know what you’re taking about. It’s so necessary for me. I remember having a moment in New York when I was feeling so lonely, I felt super lonely in a room full of models and designers, all that stuff, I kind of let it get to me. I was like, oh my gosh, this is way too much for me, it’s far beyond my scope. I can’t possibly do all these shows, or do this the right way or whatever and I came home after crushing it, somehow found it, crushing it, but I had a few vital phone conversations. After I came home, this is probably a year ago, I created this thing called Best Friend Weekend. Both my best friends, I’m blessed, we all like to hang out together, so we did this thing where we all bring ourselves and our spouses, whatever significant others, and we all do something together. So, I can selfishly recharge myself by their presence, by being around them and like, feeding into what they’re doing, what’s going on and stuff. I realized I was just neglecting that and it showed up so clearly in my performance, in my health, in my perspective on life because I didn’t have friends to bounce ideas off of, to kind of like let go of some of the steam and to divert me from thinking of all the stuff I’m doing, like, ‘how are you doing? what are you doing today? how’s your day? what’s going on in your life?’. You know, sharing those stories. It helps to listen, to think about the other stuff that’s going on in your life. I like the fact that I keep my friendship circle very guarded, but once you’re in, you’re in girl – we’re besties. It’s great, it’s great. In other friendships I’ve made along the way that haven’t reached best friend status, that are like, I call them ‘forever friends’, they are really close friends too, those are all necessary. I didn’t realize there were levels to friendship that were all necessary. You need someone you can just text like, ‘hey girl, you want to get a cup of coffee?’, and then maybe someone else where you’re like, ‘hey, I need to really talk, we’re having a bad day’, and there’s another friend who you can go out to an event with, ‘hey, you want to come along to this?. You know, there’s organizing meetings – maybe your other friends aren’t about that, but you just have one friend who’s there for that. It’s good to have different levels of friendship. That’s what I’ve learned.
DC – Speak of talking
MA – Oh gosh. So funny. I don’t like talking but if you’re going to do it, you must do it well, That’s the main, if you’re going to be in an arena where you have to speak, you must always speak truth and you must always you must always speak well or no one will care. That’s just what it is.
DC – What of time?
MA – Fleeting. And it makes me obsess, when you said it, I kind of got tense, like ‘oh god’. I’m not a fan of it, and I try not to let it control me but it does. It really, everyone else is controlled by time therefore I am controlled by time. There is no way that I can create my own little deadlines, scheduling, stuff like that, without having to compromise on somebody else’s time or something like that. So it’s a horrible thing to barter with but we do it all the time, like ‘can you do this for me’, whatever. We don’t realise that we’re asking for someone’s time when we ask them to do something. Sometimes I don’t have the time because, not because I’m not physically capable, but I’m not mentally capable of breaking the stream of consciousness that I’m in right now or whatever it is to get your stuff together. I like to look at time as a mental, sort of, what am I thinking like, I’m thinking of it like a race track, track and field – you’re just running, running, running – that’s what time is to me. I look at things – like, you’ve got 100 meters and maybe in the first fifty meters looks like, you know, the morning, and then maybe the rest of my day goes really, really slow so I fit a bunch of things in there. I look at time in different aspects and I’m really realistic about it when I try to plan things out but, gosh, time just always seems to beat me. it always seems to get to the finish line before I am. I’m like, ‘How are you here? It’s already three in the morning!’, I’m still awake. Yeah, so time is an interesting concept for me. I wish we weren’t so dependent on the sun, the moon and the stars. I wish we were not so dependent on time. I wish I could just do things when I needed to do them when it felt right to do them, to release them at a certain time. It’s always a time game, always a time game, so, never take it for granted, for sure.
DC – Speak to us of good and evil
MA – I think I make a mention of good and evil at least once every other day. I say, I use my powers for good, not for evil – that what I say, I love it. There’s a time and a place for everything. The perfect example I give is, I have this – my friends laugh all the time – I have this face that I make if I’m interested in somebody, I give them the eye or whatever. I don’t do that with everybody, but there’s a time and a place. When I give the eye to somebody and I’m trying to get them to come over, that’s me using it for evil because I’m, ‘Ooh, yeah’. When I’m on TV and smiling, I’m using it for good, using the power for good. I love that reference because it’s so light, so funny but it means I don’t take too seriously how I approach my life, like. There’s a balance in everything. If I don’t eat well, that’s the evil side of my hunger, maybe it’s like, ‘god, just get some fries’ and I go out, get the fires and then the good part of me goes, ‘what did you do?’. But it’s all in balance. I got the fries because I had a great day of eating and I’ve had a great track record so far so it wasn’t that bad, it was an indulgence and I knew I was indulging in that side. So, if you are able to balance and maintain and cover those two sides, and really work them for your advantage, you can do that. that’s why they say, you know, have cheat days if you’re going to have a diet, because you have to indulge in the part of you that wants something sweet or something different. Good and evil go hand in hand. You got to balance it out.
DC – Speak to us of prayer
MA – So, I have a shirt that says #prayandslay, and to me it doesn’t literally mean ‘pray’. It means prepare yourself, meditate, think upon it, research, whatever it is that you want to do, find your place. And so, that’s my metaphor or translation for prayer. When it comes down to it, I pray all the time. I pray in the shower, I pray brushing my teeth, I pray walking into buildings, whatever, I pray about everything. Like I said, I pray, prayer is a conversation. Thank you so much for this and this and that. I don’t really think I ask for too much when it comes to those sort of prayers. In my time of need, I notice my prayers change to a more formal prayer, like, ‘OK, dear God. It’s me again. I’m here and I need you to help me’. That’s like, I’m in struggle prayer. But the little prayers of the day? That’s what makes me feel more connected to my spirituality I feel like, all of that is really is, more, it’s another way for me to prepare my mental. So, I’m talking to myself and I’m talking to everything in he universe that is around me. My God, my spirits, all those things that dwell around me. That’s what I’m praying to. I do believe that prayer is steady and that it’s helpful, I don’t think that you necessarily have to pray to anyone in particular; I don’t think you have to say it out loud, and that’s a prayer. A prayer is a wish, it’s a want, it’s a hope and that’s like the Webster dictionary sort of version of it. You can do that anywhere, anytime. I feel like you can pray to whomever you need to, to make yourself feel heard.
DC – Speak to us of pleasure
MA – There’s a word I’m thinking of, and I cannot……. it’s on the tip of my tongue. OK, I’m going to pass on it, because I have a feeling and another sentiment that I’m trying to express. I love pleasure, but for me, not too much. I have to be kind of stingy, frugal. Ah, frugal. I treat myself with pleasure and if it’s not organically there – for instance, I love my job, I love what I do, so there’s a lot of pleasure in researching paper for printing out for different events and different flyers. researching design techniques, organizing an entire marketing campaign. That’s fun for me, that the pleasure – that’s the love part of, you know, the balance of my life. I love these things. The passion and the pleasure. I have to kind of be careful in other areas where I don’t find pleasure, I have to treat myself with pleasures. So, if I’m at an event that I don’t really feel like being at, maybe, you know, I find someone in the room who’s interesting and I go talk to them. Because, conversing and learning other people’s stories – that gives me pleasure. Too much is too much, and I don’t know how I can do too much design work. maybe there’s just too many projects. That’s horrible. If I’m able to have my favorite coffee every once in a while because it’s super sweet for me and I don’t do it too much – that’s a small pleasure I may get for myself, that I’ll treat myself with. And I like that. Definitely in moderation. I’ve seen my list of things that make me happy and give me pleasure grow over the past couple of years. That’s awesome, it’s nice to try new things and to notice changes in my life. I didn’t like – this is so trivial – but I didn’t like cauliflower, I didn’t mind Brussel sprouts. Vegetables give me pleasure, I love vegetables, I don’t know why. I’m the only person who loves them. I love vegetables. Cooking give me a lot of pleasure, so I love cooking vegetables. That’s like a treat to myself. That sounds so stupid, I’m so lame. I just realized how lame it is. It’s great, it’s great. No, little things in life like that give me pleasure, so. I try to treat myself like that if I’m feeling bad or if I’m feeling down.
DC – Speak to us of beauty
MA – Since I feel like we reflect our inner beauty, I’d like to say that its a part of who you are. It’s on your inside, it comes from your heart with your passion and it’s kind of transposed into your actions. Then, of course, how you dress – there’s a lot of physical aspects but I think that to be a beautiful person is just being a kind, giving, compassionate, caring, loving kind of person on a daily basis. You see those people all the time. They have no care in the world; they just love life. You’re like, ‘what is it about you?’ You don’t even realize it but they’re inner beauty is beautiful regardless of however the outside is. I don’t even care about that, that’s not even how I categorize it but I’m like, I can tell she’s got a beautiful soul, she’s a beautiful person. That’s what really matter so me, I really hold that very strongly. Just because you look a certain way or you don’t look a certain way, doesn’t mean you’re any less beautiful. It’s really about your actions.
DC – Speak to us of religion
MA – Meh. I grew up in church and I understand the construct, I understand how it came together and what its purpose was. I feel like, right now, we’re finding more and more ways to manipulate it and to misuse it and therefore it’s turning some people away from a structured church. Religion itself is beautiful. I think it’s awesome to give your life even more of a purpose, even more of a meaning and I completely understand and relate to a lot of people when it comes to that. I’m also very much the person who say we’re all praying to the same person. We’re all, not even person – entity, space, air, wind, whatever it is. I think all our prayers are going up to the manifestation that we choose to believe in and that’s fine with me – I love that. You don’t have to do it in any sort of building, you don’t have to do it in any sort of hut, you can congregate amongst yourselves, amongst your friends wherever you are. You can be by yourself and feel full of religion and full of spirit and that’s OK, too. I think that sometimes people use it for evil and not for good and that kind of turns me off a lot. It’s one of those things, I don’t really do a lot of church functions, like, building church functions, but I loved singing in a choir that met every Wednesday and practiced on a Wednesday and we would do shows every once in a while and that, to me, made me feel more religious than being in a church or a mosque or a synagogue or whatever. That really was where I’m getting my spirit and I think it had to do with just singing because I love singing. And that’s what really makes me feel closest to a person, an entity, to a thing. I sing about it, for it, around it – that sort of stuff. SO, yeah, that’s – religion is fun, interesting. I’m actually really curious to see how our religious sort of minds kind of change in the ext couple of years when it comes to more people coming into the country when it comes to different cultures, different communities. Hopefully, I feel like since we’re all going to be one mixed race one day, maybe we’ll see, you know, mixtures in how we celebrate religion, religious holidays and stuff like that. ore compassion to other religions, adding to our national holiday list, that would be nice too. It’s very sensitive, very sensitive. it can definitely be helpful in helping people find themselves and their meaning and their purpose.
DC – Speak to us of death.
MA – Hmm. I think it’s the closing of one chapter and the opening of another. There’s a really funny joke, oh my, I so love this. It’s like, it’s two guys and you see them hanging out and they’re like slumming around and they’re like, ‘dude, I heard about this place called outside. It sounds super dope’ and the guy’s like, ‘No, man, I’m not going to do it. It’s scary. What happens? No one ever goes’ and he comes back and tells the story about it and I promise you, it’s two babies talking about being born and not even knowing who it was going to be. But the one guy is like, ‘You know what, I hear it’s coming, like, I’m just down for this. Let’s just do this. I’m down with taking this on board, whatever it is’ and the other one is like, ‘No man, I’m staying here forever, I don’t want to move’ and they’re babies, and I thought it was so funny because you don’t find that until the last frame of the comic strip that they’re in a belly. Well, duh, it’s what we’re doing now. We’re on the ride and we’re sitting around waiting for someone else to usher us into the next part of it. You don’t know what it is, you don’t when it will come or how or whatever, but, be ready. You know. Whatever that means to you. You want to bunker down for the apocalypse, girl, go ahead. If you want to get a life insurance policy, do that. I feel that if we prepare ourselves mentally to know that our lives are for a finite amount of time and should be used for a great purpose, you don’t really think about death. I used to obsess over it, I used to get really down about it, like, I don’t want to die, what will happen? All these questions when I was younger – I was at a lack of peace, you know. Once I found my life’s purpose is going to be to give to people and to serve, it’s like to do something that touches somebody else, I’m like, alright – at least, when it comes, I can say I did these things and I can say I helped, somehow, bring up the next generation. It’s definitely inevitable, it’ll take us all one day but hopefully we’ll go gracefully and willingly and accept that, yo know, the next chapter.
DC – Very good. Tell me, tell us, what does the future hold for Midori Amae?
MA – SO, I’d like to move up to LA. I’d like to make that jump. _I should have done that before, but I think it will happen soon at the right time There’s a lot of things to come into play; that’s the next move, it’s just going. I’m also working on, oh gosh, so I’m doing a rebranding of my website which is super fun. Someone is going to help me out there with an awesome announcement in February. And then I’ll have a couple of things – I’m working on a blog and I’ve got t-shirts and stuff like that. Those sort of cool things. It’s really about building a tangible product to put alongside the workshops, the hosting, the design work, you know what I’m saying? So, you have personally of me, and this is why it’s meaningful, and this is how you use it or this is how it suits your life, whatever. Whether it’s a #prayandslay shirt or whether it’s a notebook for writing or your journaling – whatever it is, you know. I want to create more things to help everyday life. I feel like my workshop is just you come for two hours and then go home. You might practise a little bit more but you go home and you forget half of it. Maybe if you use a notebook, maybe you write it down, you feel a little bit more attached to it. Aside from that, more professional development which sounds so lame to me, but there’s a couple of organisations I want to join, a couple of professional, you know, sort of design organisations and stuff.I want to get a Master’s Degree. Yeah, I want to go back to school. There’s a lot of really cool things that all have their time, so, I go down the list of things I want to do and I’m like, just start with these three things because I’m going to be really busy and won’t have time for all that. I’m really kind of just planning it all out right now, trying to create a really great service project for May. It sounds super cheesy but it’s like, my birthday month and I’m like trying to do it, like, how can I make somebody give that. I’m working on a day of service, kind of orchestrate something to help some local charities, some local initiatives, highlight some really good work that people are doing all around us that we don’t pay attention to. This year, especially because of Miss Black Virginia, it’s very heavily focused on positivity and giving back and the stuff that I already am doing but I just have to highlight which is hard for me because I hate social media. I’m always having to post something, I’m like – no one really cares that I went to this thing, oh, here we go. You’ve got to get the buy-in, I guess. It’s really cool. It’s interesting, this next year; I’ve planted a lot of seeds and now they’re starting to grow. This is the year where I’ll see more growth and a little bit of harvest at the ned of the year, for sure. I think that’s one of my goals, to reap a lot of these benefits that I’ve been putting together for a while and to come up with the next move, wherever it is, you know. The next way to go
DC – Very good. It’s funny that you mention the social media. For everyone of us who wants to follow along on your journey, what do you recommend? Tell them where to go, what to do
MA – Of course, of course. I love getting on Facebook. It’s pretty cool, so Midori Amae on Facebook, I have a personal page and a like page because my personal page is at 5000 friends right now. Ridiculous. There’s a page for a Miss Black Virginia USA. If you want to look at that, it’s Miss Black Virginia USA. My website will be hosting all of the content from all of the channels…. midoriamae.strikingly.com and once I switch that over to the new branding, I’ll have a blog there and I’ll be posting very selectively from other channels.
It’s interesting the way this balances out. My Instagram is Miss Black VA, USA but it used to always be Midori Amae, so I’m like, oh gosh, for a year now I’ve had to change my name. I hate telling people ‘So, my Snap – oh man, that’s not my name any more. So, Miss Black VA, USA. And then, in a year, make sure you follow it when they change it back to Midori Amae’ Yeah, whatever. it’s all that fun stuff. But that’s where you can find me on Instagram – so Instagram and Facebook are my main channels. I’m on Twitter as well, Midori Amae. Everywhere else you can find me – it’s Midori Amae, whether it’s YouTube or Google+. Check in. MidoriAmae.strikingly.com is the best place to find me.
Did you miss any of the exclusive interview? Catch up here:
Keep up to date with Midori and all of her hijinx at her personal website. Upcoming events include:
- Hosting a modeling workshop in DC the first week in June (TBA)
- Miss Black USA Pageant (August) You can support Midori on her journey by donating or buying a tshirt
Photo Credit: Alex Smith