By 14, Giselle Meza had been through the worst. Lured from her affluent, Oregon neighborhood to Europe by a woman she thought was her friend, Meza became a victim of sex trafficking. She was changed forever. “I think it kind of made me fearless,” the 44-year-old reflects today. At age 16, the fearless Meza moved forward with her life and to Paris to begin her modeling career. She landed covers of Vogue, Marie Claire and Elle, and her 17-year career took her through 58 countries.
Believe it or not, Jaclyn Stapp was bullied as a kid. The former beauty queen (Mrs. Florida America 2008 and Miss New York USA 2004) was often mistaken for a boy as a child, and the taunting was relentless. But after gaining more confidence – winning pageant crowns and marrying a rock star didn’t hurt – Stapp looks to give kids today a chance to overcome bullying and never face the torment she felt.
With the picturesque Coral Ridge Country Club golf course to her right and the sun lightly kissing her bare shoulders, Kiarra Roper is at home. The Connecticut native left the cold Northeast and made South Florida her slice of life seven years ago and hasn’t looked back since. Roper has become a fixture in the Fort Lauderdale business and philanthropic scenes, supporting local organizations, companies and charities.
if only Jamie Telchin’s grandmother could see him now. The 41-year-old president of develop- ment of LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels remembers visiting his grandmother in Century Village as a child and listening to her gush about Boca’s greatness. Fast forward 30 years. Telchin now stands in one of the penthouses of One Thousand Ocean, the oceanfront luxury condo building he was instrumental in developing.
Saskia Madison sometimes says “I’m fine” before she uses the restroom. Other times, though, she isn’t fine. The wife of former Miami Dolphins cornerback Sam Madison, Saskia has Crohn’s disease. An incurable inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s complicates every aspect of her life down to her lunch order – she requests salads without lettuce because her body is too reactive to the plant.
You know you’ve hit it big when you are selected to interview and sing “Happy Birthday” to LeBron James on camera. That’s what happened to Kavita Channe four years ago when she interviewed the NBA megastar on his 24th birthday, spurring a whirlwind sports talk and broadcast career for Channe.
Keep an eye on Romain Lang-Willar. He plans to become one of the nation’s top restaurateurs. The former vice president of Stéphane’s Steak and Seafood just might have what it takes. He does have a good example to follow – his father Stéphane Lang-Willar has more than 30 years of experience in the res- taurant industry and was at the helm of the first restaurant chain in France to go public.
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