6 mins read

Exclusive: Model and Activist Leilani Kristina!

Leilani Kristina

I hail from Kaneohe Hawaii born into a military family in which we relocated a great deal due to my Father being in the service. I am a mixed Blood Indigenous Woman. To be specific, American Indigenous (Cherokee, Lakota, Lenape, Shawnee, Pawnee, Lumbee, Chickahominy, Kiowa, Inuit), mixed race Melungeon from Appalachia via my Maternal Grandmother, African, Afro-Barbadian, Scots-Irish, Chamorro people of the Northern Mariana Islands, Mexican, Chinese, Sami, and Italian.

As far back as I can remember I loved dancing, loved music, and performing. I was fascinated by it. When I was 3 and 4 I would listen to my Mom’s records, tapes, CD’s, etc and would imagine myself as the performer and choreograph in my room. I listened to all kinds of music from Country, Pop, Rock, Hip Hop, R&B, jazz, everything. I particularly revered the sounds of Tina Turner, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Luther Vandross, Billie Holiday, Taylor Dayne, to name a few. Upon moving to the east coast of the United States I found a gymnastics and dance school originally seeking to become a gymnast until I saw a performance of the late Prince, on an awards show and that was it. That is what I wanted to do. From there I enrolled in dance classes. My training became derailed slightly when my health began to decline. By age 12 I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, requiring several throat, nose, and inner ear surgeries leaving me partially hearing impaired in my right ear. At age 14 I needed a tumor the circumference of a softball in my right chest wall that was thankfully benign. It took 6 months to fully recover. I continued back to dance shortly after a couple of times a week however at 15 I became a full-time pre-professional and professional at 16.

I performed, trained, competed in elite dance competitions, and taught daily, sometimes 12 hours a day. I trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Theater, Hip Hop, and Bellydance. By 19 I began auditioning in the Los Angeles markets. At age 21 I began my work in several theater productions as well as began auditioning in New York. It was regrettably at this time I encountered what would become my exploiter, later turned severe sexual harasser and a resentful stalker to the extent of completely putting a halt on any artistic endeavors. At the time I was partaking in Art School courses which were also put a stop to. After being exploited then initially stalked I eventually was able to only garner a restraining order that lasted 3 years.

However, this far from ended the extreme harassment and stalking of that perpetrator for many years and it was no help that the perpetrator doxed me, therefore, led to adjacent harassment/stalking. From this victimization, however, the trajectory my life took was to headlong into Survivor Leadership in activism especially in pertaining to minorities and the marginalized. I became first began as a volunteer in direct services for sex trafficking survivors youths especially in which I sporadically am involved into this day I am honored to say. I soon became affiliated with Gems Girls in New York, especially their Emerging Leadership Program and Shared Hope. Following I became a consultant with organizations such as The Human Trafficking hotline on several groundbreaking reports and projects, this led into interning as a Journalist with the now defunct youth advocacy media called NYAToday. It was through this media outlet I was honored to take part in multiple projects including collaborating with UN Youth Council, Mogul, Youth Under Ground, and was named an advisor on the board for the first-ever CARE App sounding the issue of HIV AIDS. My articles covered subjects ranging from Sexual Violence, Sex Trafficking, Politics, Genocide, Indigenous Rights, AI, and International Human Rights. Following this time period in my life, I went back into dance and was finally accepted as a model for the 2019 New York Fashion Show Melange. From there I began garnering various New York and New Jersey Fashion Week shows and was named not only a winner but also runner up in a COVID-friendly Fashion show in 2020 hosted by Fashion Coffee. It was in August 2020 I was signed to Model and Talent management at MMG New York.

In my work most recently I have taken part in the UN Women’s Forum for Gender Equality called Generation Equality Forum, in which commitments and collaborations were made for UN Women such as Survivors of all types of Gender-Based Violence to be a part of the forefront of not only policy but advocacy. I became an Expert with the A21 Campaign and a Summer trainee with Ballet Hispanico. My latest role is a Board of Director Member for a legal center that represents as well as provides resources for Sex Trafficking survivors and Sex Workers.

Website: https://msha.ke/lotuspua/

Instagram handle: Lotus_Pua

Tik Tok handle: LotusPua

Previous Story

Featured: Dr Optimiser’s new album!

Next Story

Crusoe Gongbay: The Traveling Athlete and Entrepreneur!