Volume 1 • Issue 1 • July 2014
We bring you Team Rise Inspire, stories of overcoming adversity, and super
A letter from Phil, welcoming you to Rise
Phil and Laina discuss modeling
when life turns hectic
NEW BEGINNINGS !
Brianne shares how she aims to
bring more high fashion to
THERE’S A FIRST TIME
Stacey puts together a concept
shoot with nothing more than
a simple idea and a hot glue
Alayna beats cancer but doesn’t
stop there. !
Brie goes from teacher to student
as she learns how to focus on
a path of learning, adapting,
All photos by Phil Hovey, unless
It all began with an idea.!
That is the answer I seem to give when people ask what
started Rise Inspire. The idea was to unite and inspire
those around me. It was winter of 2014 when Rise Inspire
started to take hold of me. !
So here we are, July 2014 and issue 1 is live. This issue
introduces you to our team: Stacey, Brianne and Laina.
The non-stop work has been absolutely intoxicating. From
planning shoots to their execution and the anticipation of
the big release….this has been a process worth celebrating. !
We are dedicating issue 1 to the celebration of our series
of ﬁrsts. We have our ﬁrst issue, our ﬁrst set of magazine
exclusive photo shoots, our ﬁrst shoots where we built
props and sets, our ﬁrst interviews…but more importantly,
our ﬁrst collective push to bringing about change. !
I’ve been involved in photography nearly my entire life and
I’ve always valued people’s stories. It seems when people
shoot with me, they share their stories all the same. I love
learning about why people want photos taken, why they
plan certain concepts and simply what they have gone
through during their lives. !
The big “ﬁrst” for me was taking my production totally on
the road after many years as studio photographer. Most of
my work has been created against the trademark grey
paper you see above.!
Often times, a photo shoot with me is the ﬁrst time people
get to celebrate the growth they’ve experienced because
of adversity in their lives. So, I got thinking…what if we
use those stories to help empower people’s photo shoots? !
And so began the movement to reach deeper inside and
shoot with purpose.!
We at Rise Inspire are dedicating ourselves to tell
your stories in a manner that brings your strength to
We aim to show your face with power, conﬁdence
For anyone who writes in, applies to model, or
reads our magazine:!
~ Phil !
This is your time to rise.!
Team RISE INSPIRE
Phil Hovey !
Rise Inspire has always
been about a small
group of people taking
on big things. The few
CAN outweigh the
Laina and I have been collaborating on this article for months now, only, we never
knew it. Laina was one of the ﬁrst people that Stacey and I shared our plans with and
Laina was the ﬁrst person to accept a spot on the team. It became a natural ﬁt with
her experiences as being cast for model jobs as “the outsider”. Hi fashion looks often
demand a super creative execution of style…yet when type cast as the perpetually
angry or disturbed girl, Laina gave second thoughts to various tasks she’d been asked
One of our many in depth conversations lead to us planning a role of stylized shoots in
studio featuring what we’d call creepy-beauty. The name says it all. We didn’t want to
scare oﬀ fans of beauty photography but we wanted to invite other non-traditional
style cues into our work.
Jumping back to winter of 2013,
Every session was built around a
The images were created outdoors
Laina and I took our ideas out on the
concept..and the set you’re viewing
on a hot summer day. There is a
road to more traditional photography
now was no diﬀerent.
sense of pride within in them as we
instructional seminars. Laina, being
did not stray away from the tradi-
labeled an “alternative model”, per-
We put our versatility to the test as
tions we forged together during all of
formed in top form.
we launched our “home-town hero
our studio shoots, lectures, and
shoot”. The locations you’re seeing
The lesson we learned, at the end of
are in towns that Laina knows very
the sessions…beauty portraits are
well from her childhood. They are
We made the outside world our stu-
beauty portraits. No matter who the
spots that hold meaning to her. So,
dio. And when it was done, we
model may be, versatility allows her
to end a small modeling hiatus…it
packed up, went home, and left our
to stand in the forefront of booking
seemed ﬁtting Laina return home to
imprint on the locations.
So, when life gets too hectic and
So when it came time to continue
Life gets hectic and life can be cruel.
times become too challenging…do
our shooting, Laina and I created
But, at the heart of Team Rise Inspire
this: remember where you’ve been
looks that never lost the emotion.
is the will to adapt, overcome, and
and take the chance to bring that to
be the change.
the outside world.
“at the heart
of Team Rise
Inspire is the
will to adapt,
Last summer my best friend competed in the Miss Texas pageant. As preparation,
she began modeling in the months leading up to the event. Each time I saw new
photographs of her, I would grow more and more envious. I absolutely loved the
work she was involved in and wished that I, too, could somehow get into the modeling industry. Unfortunately, I am not a pageant girl nor am I a 5'7" or taller, stickthin girl, two things that would allow me to get noticed by photographers. However,
I decided to not give up without trying. I found Phil’s website and got in contact
with him after admiring his work. After some correspondences, we agreed to get
together for a shoot and the rest is history! I have had so much fun this past year
modeling for Phil. We have created some beautiful and incredible images throughout our time together.
So when Phil brought up the idea of an online magazine to me I was more than
thrilled to be a part of it. One of the problems with the modeling industry is that it
focuses on unrealistic and, often times, unhealthy body-types. Phil, on the other
hand, gives anyone with a vision and a passion the chance to model. I think Rise
Inspire is not only a great way to show that any individual can achieve their dream
of modeling, but it also brings a more high fashion area of modeling to Connecticut. I am very excited to see what is to come in the future with this magazine and I
am very honored to be a part of this journey.
In mid-June, Phil and I met up for our ﬁrst summer shoot for 2014. It took place at
Gulf Beach in Milford, CT. I am a strong believer in pushing the conventional
boundaries so I decided to steer away from doing a typical swimwear shoot. Instead, I scoured the aisles of Savers, looking for the perfect outﬁt for a high-fashion, beach shoot. I ﬁnally came upon a size 14, vintage, purple dress priced at $6.99
and I was sold.
Let's be honest, you can't really go wrong with anything priced that low. So I
brought the garment home and took it to the sewing machine to reduce it 12 sizes
down. In addition to the purple dress, I also purchased a white, sheer robe for
$3.99, a black nightgown for $4.99, and a pink nightgown for $7.99, which also had
to be taken in. Altogether, this dramatic shoot cost me under $25.00! The best part
is that since the clothes cost so little, I wasn't worried about ruining them, thus
allowing me to wade through the ocean water, lay in the beach's sand, and walk
through a ﬁeld of overgrown grass.
When we scan the pages of the top fashion magazines, we are exposed to garments valued at more than our monthly rent, but the truth is, you don't have to
break your budget to achieve high-fashion images. Don't be afraid to search the
racks of second-hand stores or thrift shops and don't be afraid to try and make
alterations on your own. Worst case scenario is that you waste a few dollars on an
outﬁt you ruined while trying to alter its size. In the end, any type of shoot can be
accomplished as long as you are committed to putting in a little time and work of
There’s A First Time For Everything
Rise Inspire concept article
When I started off 2014, I never pictured myself co-founding what I already consider a successful online magazine.
Combined with the website, Facebook page and YouTube channel, it’s quite an undertaking, but I’m up for the challenge!
There’s a first time for everything, and this first issue of Rise Inspire Magazine certainly included a number of exciting
first experiences for me.
I wanted to go all out for my debut shoot, so when an idea came to mind in May, I ran with a concept
and theme of my choosing. Thus “Ocean Bride” was born. The goal was to create my own interpretation
of a beach wedding but also include a second look by changing only a few elements. It was something I
had never done before and jumped at the opportunity to make my own vision come to life.
I shared my idea with Phil, was thrilled that he loved it, and we got right to work planning details. We
set a target date and Phil was a great help with the location. I already had a pretty good idea of what I
was looking for, but found it useful to create a Pinterest board to narrow down the wardrobe, accessories, color scheme etc. for Phil and me to reference as needed. I think it’s really important to give
your photographer as clear of an idea as possible in regards to your vision so there’s less room for confusion leading up to the shoot.
I made a list of supplies I’d need, headed to the craft store (with coupons in hand) and started on my
props. That’s right; I made the bouquet, crown and veil in my pictures. Have hot glue gun, will craft. I
love the sense of satisfaction and pride I get from designing and creating something completely unique.
The crown actually took the longest since it was the first piece I made and was quite meticulous, followed by the bouquet and the veil.
Having seen so many standard looking “round” seashell bouquets, I
wanted something different and I think the freeform shape succeeds in adding interest. I incorporated similar elements throughout, like the netting, seashells and “seaweed” greenery to tie in my
theme. I’m so happy with the final result, how they appeared in the
photos, and wouldn’t change a thing.
Searching for the perfect dress was honestly my biggest
challenge of the planning process. I spent hours looking
online at different styles, textures and colors. Worried I
wouldn’t find something better, I ordered a dress online in
a panic even though it wasn’t what I wanted, and later
returned it. I’m so glad that I did because a few days later I found the perfect dress in a store for under $40,
which goes to show that a shoot doesn’t have to cost
hundreds of dollars to be great.
It couldn’t have been more perfect if I had made it myself
and the style fit in so well with the theme. The white color worked with the bridal aspect, the open design gave a
knotted feel like the nautical netting, and it was also really organic which tied into the second more Bohemian
We used the bouquet and veil for Ocean Bride then
traded them for the crown and a funky wooden and
beaded belt for a free-spirited fashion look. We used
different jewelry and posing styles to distinguish between the two “characters”. I think of Ocean Bride
as a separate character because although she is considered free-spirited like the Boho Girl as we call
her, she’s a bride and the other is not.
We posed our bride at the edge of the water and on
flat rocks that created an aisle effect, while Boho
Girl scaled rocks and walked through water for a
more bold approach. It’s also important to mention it
was the first time I had an assistant on my shoot and
Nicole Mason was such an asset. She had some great
posing ideas for Boho Girl, helped with lighting and
took awesome behind the scenes footage which later
appeared in our “Making of Issue 1” YouTube video.
Our goal for Ocean Bride’s shoot was to not only create a
very surreal shoot based on the bride on the beach con-
cept but to also make it complete with a styled shoot.
A styled shoot is when photos of props and accessories
accompany the model/subject of your session.
Stacey took the concept to the fullest with her handmade
creation of Ocean Bride’s veil, bouquet and other wedding
The shoot felt very authentic as we had custom accessories to play oﬀ.
….and it all began with an idea.
My names Alayna O'Toole. I was diagnosed with stage 3
ing for days at a time. I would get fevers, be shivering
Hodgkin's Lymphoma June of 2009. I was experiencing
but sweating at the same time, having unbearable pains
sharp pains shooting from under my left breast up my
throughout my body. Being rushed to the closest hospi-
shoulder and down my back. I
tal only to be transferred back to All
was in tears as I told my
Children's. I had a fever one day
mother something was
and was rushed to Fawcett Memor-
wrong and needed to go to
ial Hospital and had to get a spinal
a hospital. We went to Faw-
tap which is a very painful Proce-
cett Memorial Hospital in
Port Charlotte Florida June
5Th and they took x-rays of
I was pretty out of it after awhile
my chest. As soon as they
because of all the medication but
got the x-rays back they
thought it was fascinating seeing
said we need to be taken by
my spinal ﬂuid. Another time I had
ambulance to All Children's
extremely painful stomach pains
Hospital in St. Petersburg
and was rushed to the hospital
once again and needed to get a
blood transfusion because I had a
He said he couldn't be sure
low blood count.
but I have a mass in my
chest that could be cancerous. We went to All Chil-
They gave me 2 bags of blood and
dren's Hospital and I stayed
in the middle of the second one
there from June 5th to June
they had to stop because I was
13th undergoing a lot of tests. I was diagnosed June 6th
getting a terrible fever. All Children's Hospital was a
and had a biopsy on a swollen lymph node in my neck
wonderful place and treated me very well. All of my
June 8th. June 11th I had a bone marrow biopsy and a
nurses were kind and caring and helped me through a
port placed in my chest. My ﬁrst in patient chemotherapy
lot. My mother was my rock though, never a day went by
was June 19th to June 22nd. I noticed my hair started
where she wasn't by my side helping me get through this
falling out in the shower and I sat down and cried for
every step of the way. I don't know what I would've done
what seemed like forever, just pulling out chunks of hair.
if I didn't have her with me. When I started losing my hair
I was very confused as to what was happening to me
my father who has always had long hair shaved his head
and why it was happening.
when I shaved my head for the ﬁrst time. There was a
point where I just didn't want to do it any more and
At ﬁrst it was kind of fascinating all the medicines and
wanted to give up. I couldn't stand getting sick all the
technology they use seeing how I wanted to go to school
time, feeling like I was going to die and getting pumped
in the medical ﬁeld, but after a little while I started get-
with chemicals everyday.
ting really sick, in and out of the hospital everyday, stay-
I wanted to give up and let it take its toll.
But I realized I was stronger than that.
That I needed to keep ﬁghting. Because
I'm a survivor and have overcame a lot of
terrible things growing up and if I can
overcome all of that I could get through
I wanted to give up and let it take its
In September 2010 my Oncologist
toll. But I realized I was stronger than
told me I was cancer free. I did it. I
that. That I needed to keep ﬁghting.
was in remission, but this isn't the
Because I'm a survivor and have
end. I need to go to the hospital
overcame a lot of terrible things
every 3 months to get CAT/PET
growing up and if I can overcome all
scans to make sure it doesn't come
of that I could get through this. With
back. I'm going to have to do this for
the support of my family and friends
the rest of my life in fear that I could
and the wonderful All Children's
get cancer again. But if it comes to
Hospital I got through it. I moved to
that I know I will get through it just
Connecticut February of 2010 and
like I've got through everything else
started going to Children's Medical
that I've battled in my years. I'm a
Center in Hartford.
Photos: Alayna personal Archives
“A lot of people have stories they are uncomfortable to tell because they are afraid of judgement” says school teacher Brie Morrone. But, what if telling your story can help others feel less alone?
We spent a day with Brie and conducted the ﬁrst ever Rise Inspire
video interview. Read on as Brie tells us about challenges, making
a stand and becoming a leader on an every day basis.
We live in an age where it is easy to share stories both good and
bad with people…and sometimes all it takes to share a tough story
is getting fed up with not feeling good enough yet wanting to “be a
better version of myself”. It sounds impossible, but small steps are
all it takes to ﬁnd that ﬁrst moment where the happiness outweighs the stress, sadness or sense of being disappointed with
oneself. Brie is open in the sharing of her story having overcome
the physical and emotional eﬀects of weight gain.
Now an avid runner and yoga enthusiast, Brie shares that it wasn’t
always that way. High school is a formative time for us all. Memories of not being able to run the infamous gym class mile stuck
with Brie over the years. As an adult, Brie reached a point where
she felt it was time to change. It was time to lose weight, get ﬁt
and rise above the fear of change.
She attributes the will to change to her gradual realization that
she’d fallen into being too comfortable with the ways things were.
As someone who always enjoyed dance, Brie took her realization
that she wanted more ﬁtness in her life and made it a goal. And like
many before her, Brie stresses that taking the ﬁrst step was the
toughest one. It is important to note that the plan itself is only a
small part of making progress. The steps we take to executing our
plan truly matter.
Brie has found an exceptional support group through her travels
and ﬁtness programs. Through repeating the steps to get up and
be mindful of her plan Brie found her way. Strangers became
friends. Sweat became evidence of frustrations leaving the body.
And feelings of being alone were replaced with knowledge that
other people struggled with similar problems. Small steps of
progress overcame many painful memories of doubt, struggle, and
feelings of being alone.
You see, no problem is too small or too insigniﬁcant to make us
doubt ourselves. As Brie says, success comes from “making sure
we’re working on our goals together”. It all comes from sharing our
story for that ﬁrst time.
Another common theme during our
Challenges are not easy to over-
time with Brie was the notion that
come, but they CAN be overcome.
progress and growth come from the
We live in an age where social media
relationships we make. Often times,
can help. Very open to sharing her
transitions are super diﬃcult times
story, Brie is a regular user of social
to stay positive.
media to let us follow her journey to
better health and happiness.
As a school teacher to 5th graders,
Brie stresses daily the need to make
Brie’s story inspired many people to
good life choices and surround
follow their wishes to seek out better
yourself with people who support
ﬁtness, or to try new yoga classes or
and motivate you each day. Again,
even to go ﬁnd a new trail to hike.
you’re never alone.
The point is that Brie realized that
Just like the ﬁtness studio, everyone
“this is what helps me, this is what
needs a team.
works for me and I want to share it”.
Simple things come back to those
As a team eﬀort, Rise Inspire took to
who become the change. It is a ﬁrm
the woods of upstate Connecticut to
belief of team Rise Inspire that what
create the photos you see here. We
you get back in life is directly related
wanted to give a very empowered
to what you put out.
look to the shoot. We wanted to
push past the common and jump
Brie is a true leader, healer and mo-
into the surreal.
tivator. The day we spent with her
showed us that no struggle is too
Since movement is a key part of
small to teach us how to grow. And
Brie’s growth and new sense of
no feat is too small to be celebrated
self…it seemed ﬁtting to let her
and cherished. As goals are meant
to be reached and not just set.
Dance in the woods, levitate at a
From dancing in the woods to being
tree, practice yoga in the stream and
the Brie-Hawk at the dam, Brie Mor-
ﬁnally become a super hero at the
rone showed us what it means to be
dam all played into the day.
mindful of every moment and ﬁnd
ways to tell your story.
“I look at myself as trying
to be the best version of
“this is what helps me, this is
what works for me and I want
to share it”
Photo By Melissa G
Well, there you have it! Issue 1 is a wrap. We’ve packed
Brianne and I have been pushing boundaries and creating diverse
so much into our debut issue. The creation process has
photo sets now for quite some time. Each shoot with Brianne re-
been so much fun. It has featured some truly iconic
sults in my learning that there is always more to create and always
moments for myself…and I am sure my crew would
more ideas to bring to life. She brings to Rise, a simple belief that
echo my sentiments.
we can do anything because we are a team. It was without a doubt
that Brianne would be part of what it means to unite and inspire
I want to give thanks to them all as this magazine would
those around us.
be nothing without each and every ounce of life force
given to Rise Inspire by the dedicated people I surround
Brie and Pete Morrone: Welcome To Team Rise Inspire
myself with daily.
Heather Beaumont: Your Time To Rise Has Arrived.
First I have to thank Stacey Mendyka for taking on this
great responsibility of building the magazine from
Luc Burns, Nicole Mason: Thank you for all the coverage and undy-
ground up with. Thank you for all the patience when I
say “It can’t be that diﬃcult…”. As my day-to-day manager of Rise Inspire, model, concept planner and photo
assistant, Rise Inspire’s success is directly linked to the
dedication that Stacey gives daily. From a simple shoot
to the building of an empire, Stacey, I am honored to see
you as my #1.
Laina has been part of the Rise Inspire crew long before
there was even a Rise Inspire. She brings to me countless ideas, stories and themes that make me want to
shoot more, study harder, and stand up stronger. Laina’s
shoots with me have been and will continue to be iconic
representations of the impossible brought to life.
And I couldn’t thank enough: My brother Tito: 2manwreckingcrew.
All our families, friends: We are loyal to the end. Much respect to
everyone who has taken a chance to step in front of my lens. And
thank you to those who allow us to tell your story. RISE UP!!!
We at Rise Inspire are dedicating ourselves to tell your stories in a
manner that brings your strength to the forefront.
We aim to show your face with power, conﬁdence and grace.
For anyone who writes in, applies to model, or reads our magazine:
This is your time to rise.
Find Us Online: www.riseinspire.com !
Join Our Fanpage: www.facebook.com/riseinspiremag!
Subscribe To Us On Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/mrphil4980 !
What does Rise Inspire seek for upcoming issues?
- Your Stories and Your Faces. Apply now to model, be
featured, or take part in a Rise Inspire shoot.
- Clothing lines, accessory makers, creative brands to
sponsor your own Rise Inspire collaboration.
Businesses to advertise in rise inspire.
- Event venues, restaurants or other places of business
that could host a Rise Inspire shoot and have your
Click Here To Apply Online ! !
Issue 2: Now In Production! Featuring
real stories of giving back to the
community, standing up to bullies, and
rising above what we fear the most!
All content is property of Rise Inspire Magazine and is under creative control herein by Rise Inspire team members. Images both still and moving created by Rise Inspire are protected as
original content and veriﬁable in a court of law. Unauthorized reproduction of any content contained within Rise Inspire’s network of magazine, web, social media and video hosting is
subject to legal intervention. Team Rise Inspire retains all rights to this and forthcoming publications recognized as ofﬁcial catalogued editions of Rise Inspire Magazine. This protects
copies both digital and print, images still and moving, as well as content auditory in nature. established 2014 www.riseinspire.com