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Angel of Mercy - Shonda Laurelee Mackey | Grand Junction, Co PDF Print E-mail
Angels - Interviews
Written by Khalid "Bless Theangels" Bey | Editor in Chief | As Seen in the NY Times Bestseller: Rat Bastards   
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In a recently opened Café V, a coffee shop that offers vegetarian cuisine, seated is the beautiful Shonda Lauralee Mackey from Florence, Colorado. Same as in the pages of Angels Playpen, beauty is surrounded by art. Artists converse, unquestionably questioning everything their eyes and minds witness, accepting the truth at some point which leads a depth most people never reach. It’s what makes an artist an artist. English and French Canadian, the picture of her as she sits in that Grand Junction coffee shop paints itself as she runs through our intimate interview.



“I was bullied a lot and the outcast of school really,” Shonda says of her childhood. “In high school I pretty much kept to myself and worked out a ton! [I] got really into music during those times.” Nowadays modeling has brought with it some fundamental changes in her. “I think my mindset has changed the most,” she states thoughtfully, “I used to see the world as ‘oh god I have to hurry and get in college and follow the mainstream path, be unhappy and slave away at a regular job’.” Death to mainstream I shout internally, knowing she is headed into prided Angels Playpen territory; self-realization. “Instead I do what I love and what I’m passionate about and helping others around me as much as I can. Life’s not about the next dollar or your possessions, those are all borrowed and never really owned, but about making every minute count and being happy while you’re here on earth and helping others to enjoy life as well.”



Grand Junction is where she now calls home; it’s where she gets to enjoy a plethora of outdoor activities. “Everything from snowboarding to hiking, biking and swimming.” When she isn’t enjoying the feel of wind on her face and sun on her skin in her home state, she loves to visit Hawaii and the Caribbean and looks forward to one day traversing the rest of the world. “I just got back from driving the whole Oregon Coast,” she excitedly says of other cities she loves to party and dine in. “Anywhere along the coast that has amazing fresh seafood! I love to party in the Caribbean; Paradise Island was a lot of fun.”



Beauty, ever so subjective, changes it's definition within each individual. “Beauty,” begins Shonda, defining beauty for herself, “is more in the soul. You can be as pretty as you want on the outside, but on the inside you’re a horrible heartless human being with no sense of humility or compassion for another person. When your heart is good and you feel others pain around you and you want and are willing to help anyone and hurt no one; when how your hair and makeup looks has no sense of comparison to how much of your heart and inner-beauty you protrude.” Protruding beauty, physical especially, can be superficially rewarding and an advantage in everyday living. “I would say yes,” in accordance Shonda remarks, “but I wouldn’t say it’s all positive feedback. Every day I have people looking for my smallest flaw or tearing apart my photos however they can.” She admits her beauty helps with acquiring modeling gigs, “but at the same time can cause a lot of people to treat you lowly because they somehow feel less of themselves.”



Beauty is an attraction based concept, and to Shonda, when looking at a man, what’s most attractive is his ability to be positive, no one wants to be around someone who is always negative. “I think guys who make huge scenes and try to always be the center of attention is unattractive,” she maintains. “’Insecurity is never good.” But how many of us are truly secure in ourselves? “I always stand for what I believe in and let nothing and no one stop me,” she says, so secure in her identity. “I’ll be here to make sure that you do too! And always push you and encourage you to do what you’re passionate about and never follow in anyone’s footsteps! Make your own!” Sounding much like a cheerleader, I suddenly feel like with someone like her around, one would be brave enough to challenge the status quo, escape the trappings of everyday living and live a life of fulfillment. I like her.



Not only is she a beautiful girl, she also happens to be adorned in beauty. Without tattoos myself, a fear of needles could be the source of reason, I am nevertheless a fan of all art. Mix with that the human form, preferably a woman’s and the vision is incomparable. I ask only about her first tattoo and it's meaning. “It’s the cross on my back,” she answers. “I just turned eighteen and really wanted one but dad said I couldn’t till I moved out. So I waited till it was winter and I would be wearing long sleeves all the time and took my own drawing down and got it photocopied and put on. I got it because of my beliefs.” The cross looks suspended in flesh, afloat almost, centered perfectly; symbolically.



I inquire about her own fears, at which point she stumbles a bit, unsure of an immediate answer. Finally she responds, “I think to see those I love in pain.” Empathy washes over me, most would hate to lose those they love, which itself is selfish in nature as it’s your pain you wish to avoid and not theirs. Shonda’s aspiration to help as many people as possible rivals her love of music and arts, she could talk about both endlessly. To combat negativity, her dogs uplift, positive reinforcement motivates and “seeing the people that I have helped in the past and present” regularly brings joy to her heart. “Happiness and positivity in and out,” she demands as requirements to an aspired higher standard of living. “I need to find joy in every little thing and really work on getting my life to where I want to be.”



Shonda seems passionate about everything that matters to her. “Living everyday and leaving an imprint that will still live on after I’m gone,” she arduously announces. “Music and art is where my heart lies.” even if music and art has a unrelenting grip in her heart, modeling came as a desire to “show things to the world” and offers the opportunity to continuously express herself, “always creating, reinventing and showing the world what I can dream up.” She is even passionate about brands with whom she’d like to work with. “Any independent, not run-of-the-mill line,” she declares. “But I would love to work with Pin Up Girl Clothing, Lux De Ville and Black Milk.” She takes her modeling a day at a time, but would “love to start gracing some covers and get in some music videos.” It’s her passion for modeling and what she portrays that she feels will eventually aid in her success.



The same independent brands she’d love to work with are the same with which she chooses to shop with. “I hate buying things twenty other people have,” she says. “Independent designers are the way to go.” Her style may change from day-to-day, covering country to Goth to pin-up, according to our tatted angel; it’s all about knowing what you want. And from what I can tell, Shonda just wants to give beauty to the world and help out as many people as she can along the journey. Shooting guns most of her life, keeping your target in sight while you take your shot comes naturally. “Not everyone will follow the same path so take your own,” she advises, “and own it for all its got and that’s when you will make it.” See, she is always thinking about her fellow man… Ooops I mean angel.




Model Mayhem

Photography: Michael Jonathan