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COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Cipriana Quann, Entrepreneur, Model and TedXTalk Speaker

COOL FACES OF BASTET NOIR: Meet Cipriana Quann, Entrepreneur, Model and TedXTalk Speaker

Trauma has its way of leaving imprints on people, little scars that tend to rip open and bleed all over you if left unattended. Something as hurtful as abuse, regardless of whether it morphs into an emotional or a physical one, can be quite damaging to one’s mental health as it has the potential to cripple you to the point of threatening your entire future, if you allow it. Throughout our lifetime each of us have either been a silent witness to one or have experienced it firsthand. Some have come of it as winners, while others have allowed themselves to be consumed by the pain and engulfed by the darkness. What separates these two is the ability to analyze these excruciating and oftentimes very trying experiences. To learn how to navigate and channel their power through self awareness in order to ultimately mold it into a shape that would equip us with the skills to deal with the seemingly insurmountable challenges. For some it takes a lot of therapy to do it, while others find therapy in sharing their stories with people who’ve been through similar traumas to make sure they don’t feel alone. Our latest Cool Face of Bastet Noir has experienced a great deal of trials and tribulations in her lifetime, but she has not allowed to be defined by them, rather her willingness to destigmatize such conversations. This had led her to use her newfound voice to lift others up and remove herself from a position of a victim, to rightfully claim the one of a leader.

Cipriana Quann is the co-founder and editor in chief of Urban Bush Babes. She has been featured in publications such as Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, WWD’s and New York Times. She is also a TedXTalk speaker and co-host of the “Chew on Something” podcast with her twin sister TK Wonder. Her work supports and encourages women of color to bring their unique experiences into the world, while expressing herself through vintage fashion and her unique sense of style. If you would like to know more about Cipriana’s inspiring story, then keep on reading. 

 Cipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for herCipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for her

Who is Cipriana Quann?

Hmm…I could say I am a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, creator and designer but as I get older I realize none of these labels could be my future or compare to what I am in this exact moment which is a human being, who is continually evolving and healing from past trauma that used to debilitate my life. A human being who was once a victim, now a survivor but not defined by the prior or the latter. A human being who is no longer ashamed of her past and is willing to share those experiences to help others release the shame, anger and pain. As well within those shared experiences cultivating a space of resonation in knowing others are not alone and there is way through if you are willing to do the emotional/physical work. I am a human being who is constantly changing and would not want it any other way because change means growth.

What’s your morning routine like?

Since a majority of my work has shifted to at home due over the years to the pandemic, my daily morning routine usually starts with a 5–10 minute Breathwork, a gratitude affirmation, 5 mile run with strength training, take a shower then get a bit of vitamin D with some green tea on my balcony before I reach for my phone, open my emails and work on projects.

Cipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for herCipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for her

From being featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Nederland to being a TEDxTalk Speaker, you’ve made remarkable strides towards pioneering for diversity and inclusion in all public spheres, not just fashion. Were there ever moments when you felt doubt or discouragement from the people around you, and if so, how did you overcome them?

First let me say, thank you for your kind words.

I have had moments of doubt from those who do not know me, which many times is natural for anyone to experience, so I have learned not to take those viewpoints to heart, it is family and loved ones who I fortunately have always felt validated, especially by my Mother, twin sister and partner. To be completely transparent, the biggest bouts of doubt and discouragement I had to overcome was within myself.

The act of overcoming was complete self transparency and an accumulation of beneficial habits and changes over the years as I addressed my wellness, fitness, and mental state. As I became more mindful of my past and accountable of the environment I created because of it, I was able to address what I needed to change in my present. The complete consciousness of seeing what you are capable through these accumulation of habits and changes gives you confidence to recognize your own strength and the voices of others who doubt you become inaudible to the voice within that believes in you. 

You’ve been part of many important projects and collaborated with so many inspiring people and organizations. Would there be one particular project you’ve worked on that left an everlasting impression?

My sister and I partnered with an organization called The Riley’s Way Foundation which empowers young students to use kindness and empathy to create meaningful connections and positive change. We were judges in their annual “Call For Kindness” competition where young leaders between the ages of 13–22 were invited to share a new or existing project idea that they are leading, taking on topics such as a pressing equity issue, social/justice matters, epidemiology/health, environmental/community programs or simply building meaningful connections within their school, locally or global areas based on the foundation of exemplifying kindness. As many as 35 youth-led projects received awards up to $3,000 each. Also a separate category considered 10 projects specifically focused on mental health.

We also held a virtual seminar with about 25 students from the foundation to discuss their future endeavors, mental wellness, stresses in their personal lives and tips on how they can manage that stress. Speaking with these incredible young students really reinforced the hope I have within our youth to make changes that will benefit and inspire the future of so many.

Cipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for herCipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for her

You host a podcast together with your twin sister TK Wonder called “Chew on Something” where you cover topics from all over the spectrum: from your thoughts on healing and forgiveness to cooking healthy treats alongside meaningful conversations. Is there a topic you’ve covered that you felt extremely passionate about, or are yet to introduce to the podcast?

Though our show is new and yes, we do cover a wide range of topics, one of the most meaningful and on going conversations would be our first and second episode, where my sister and I shared our experiences of surviving childhood sexual abuse for over a decade and releasing the shame, anger and pain that resulted from the trauma through forgiveness. We want to help shed the stigma of sexual abuse while sharing our journeys of healing from the trauma that resulted from the abuse, and providing a safe space where others can share their stores as well. 

Biggest setback in life and what you’ve learned from it?

One of my biggest setbacks would be in regards to the condition of my mental and physical health. In 2014 I was about 50 pounds heavier, I was just about to leave a five year physically and mentally abusive relationship, was not conscious of my addiction to sugar and why, pre-diabetic as would have temporary loss of vision in my left eye due to high intake of sugar, high blood pressure, consistently bloated, never addressed my past violent abusive childhood, no particular interest in working out since leaving my modeling career or knowledgeable about the food I was consuming, lethargic daily and not aware of the multifaceted layers of self-love.

What I realized is how my present life reflects what I learned. I am now in a loving, supportive and healthy relationship for almost 6 years, conscious of my addiction to sugar and why, addressing my past violent abusive childhood and in therapeutic activities to heal, for the past 5 years in a consistent 5–6 day workout plan due to the health benefits not aesthetics, knowledgable and care about the food I consume, no signs of pre-diabetes, healthy vision, normal blood pressure, energized and aware of the multifaceted layers of self-love.

My deteriorating health and weight lost was not about the physical aesthetics but lifestyle changes leading to the weight lost of all the distractions that were blocking my mental clarity of living in my truth and becoming my best self. I was still holding on to so much subconscious pain from my childhood and my life, environment and choices reflected that trauma.

Everyday is a chance to make small steps to improve your life. I am not perfect…no one is and that is what makes us human. I still have setbacks but the difference from then and now is I am aware of what was subconscious and constantly making choices that serve me, which seeps through all facets of my life. Every day is the chance to make better choices, to impact the future I envision for myself.

Cipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for herCipriana Quann is wearing The Christiana Dress custom-made for her

Books that changed your life

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

When God Was A Woman by Merlin Stone

Notes Of A Native Sun by James Baldwin

The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind And Body In The Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk.

The Book by Alan Watts

The Source of Self Regard by Toni Morrison

Holotropic Breathwork by Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof

The Biology of Belief by Bruce H. Lipton

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Blue Zones Solution by Dan Buettner

In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté, MD

Trauma; The Invisible Epidemic by Paul Conti, MD

Favorite female empowerment speech

My Mother. My mother is the epitome of empowerment and gave motivational speeches everyday when I was a young child. She was the first person to make me conscious in how I spoke to myself, that my inner voice should always be kind, patient and loving, I am and will always be deeply inspired by her. She not only showed empowerment through her speeches but by example. To witness what she has overcome while always implementing a foundation of support and encouragement weaved with positivity in everything she does, I was in awe in what she was capable of achieving (especially during racially strained times) while not letting others affect her spirit.

What’s in your Bastet Noir cart?

The Amoruso 3 Piece Set, The Christina Dress, The Tefi Dress, The Fiore Dress & The Toula Dress

Images by: Terry Gates @terrygates

If you liked Cipriana’s story, there’s plenty more to come. Just hit that sign up button to get in our inner circle of coolness and shop ethical and eco-friendly dresses!

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