Leilani Kristina – A Story of Drive, Tenacity and Resilience…
Written by Staff on 31 October 2021
Leilani Kristina is an accomplished survivor leader and an expert against Gender-Based Violence She has worked and collaborated with the United Nations, UN Women, interned as a journalist at NYATODAY, Mogul, the Human Trafficking Hotline, and Youth Underground among others. Leilani is also an accomplished performer mainly in the sector of classically based dance, theater, a brand ambassador, and an accomplished model in New York Fashion week mainly and also a signed model with MMG.
“I am a mixed blood indigenous millennial. I moved around a great deal due to being a military child thus originally hailing from Oahu, Hawaii specifically Kaneohe Bay. I didn’t always quite fit in but that has served me well in many respects. I began training then pre-professional dancing when I was 10 years old after I saw the late artist Prince perform on an awards show. That was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. It was the same when I heard Mariah Carey sing, I instinctively knew that would be one of my callings in life in some form. I remember as young as 3 and 4 listening to music for hours and choreographing moves in my room. Same with singing. I would do so in my room for hours. Working towards my dreams were put on hold when I became ill. I was 12 and diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, as well as severe asthma. By age 14 I had lost hearing in my right ear due repeated ear infections and scar tissue that formed, numerous ear and throat surgeries, and by 14 had developed what was discovered a benign tumor the size of a softball and ever growing in my chest. I still have the scar to this day. It took me over 6 months to recover in which I gradually made my way back to dance training, performing, etc.
Following that I officially turned pre- professional at age 16 and began student teaching classes along with the usual grueling schedule of being a dancer because I loved it so much and had such a drive for it despite being sick constantly due to my auto immune condition as well as asthma I kept up. This led me to begin auditioning in the major city markets of Los Angeles and New York by age 19. I began theater work by age 21. It was during this time I was perpetrated on by what would become my exploiter and resentfully driven stalker and harasser for many years in which a restraining order was issued against.
Flip forward to present day I am Survivor Leader holding the title of Expert against Gender-Based Violence specifically Sexual Violence, Commercial Exploitation (Human Trafficking), Violence Against Women as a whole, Stalking, Harassment, and Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples (Girls and Women especially.) I have worked with the UN Youth Council, UN Women at their Generation Equality Forum, formally an interning journalist with NYAToday, Mogul, Polaris Project, and Gems Girls based in New York City. I am a classically based dancer and singer with a background in theater mainly. I am a brand ambassador for brands such as Inkkas Global wear and Trees for the future. I am currently a signed talent with MMG based in New York. I have walked in fashion shows for Melange in 2019, annually for New York designer, Brooklyn, New Jersey Fashion Week, and won Fashion Coffee’s COVID friendly Fashion and Talent competition in Pride and runner up in the Pose category. I am currently on the Board of Directors of a law firm in Washington DC which represents Sex Trafficking Survivors as well as Sex Workers. I also am a freelance artist on the side with commissioned work experience.”
Please describe any unique characteristics or attributes of your company or its products and services that you feel would be newsworthy?
One unique characteristic is working with brands, shows, individuals that give back. Most any brand I work with almost always gives back. I love that piece about being an influencer, brand ambassador, model, dancer, etc. I also am quite drawn to being authentic because anything I do is authentic from the way I dress, what I say, do, post, write, perform, anything that reflects who I am. Being a multi-ethnic person has always been a blessing in being able to fit in many realms which has been most helpful in my work in Human Rights as well as being an equally proud survivor of abuses such as Exploitation, severe Resentful stalking, harassment, etc. has honestly not only made me strong but been a whole motivation on how not to treat people and approach the world. To be the direct opposite of all of that. I am an old soul which can relate to all kinds of people I feel from youths to elders. Above all I never compromise my faith and do not have a problem speaking on it as a Christian Jew. Those commandments are how I live my life and what I go by.
Who is your target audience?
To be forthright I believe anyone can appreciate the visibility of people like myself because there are innumerable of us out there. In the communities my people come from for example 4 in 5 of us has been or will be victimized by violence especially Gender-Based Violence…with little to no justice. I feel that is an outrage for anyone or has its place to be therefore everyone moved to action by. I can easily say anyone from 0 to 100 of every background is my target audience.
What separates you from your competition?
My drive, tenacity, resilience. My willingness to never throw in the towel so to speak but to rather recreate my life after trauma that many do not come out of. I believe there is always another way of being able to work towards your goals and dreams in life without compromising yourself in any way.
What motivated you to build your own brand?
I wanted to help people aside from being able to tell my story. I wanted to always do something that gave others a hand up in life, forget anything about.
Where do you see yourself/your company 5 years from now?
5 years from now I certainly would love to perform more in the arts and quality entertainment sectors as it was my first passion. I would love to be a part of an inclusionary movement in that aspect, I’d like to see even more doors open than even now. I’d like to see myself living back in Hawaii, traveling the globe freely doing what I love to do in all respects. I can also see myself being a part of the journalistic sector again for the good and well-being of people.
How would you want the readers to benefit from this article?
My hope is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what color or colors you are, how much you are discounted, what you have been through, what was done to you, or even have been against you, if you have faith in God and you can always flip the narrative of your life. There is a scripture that reads, “What was meant for evil God used it for good.” That is my hope for the article.
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