Have you heard that saying,”Jack of all trades, master of none”? Whoever penned that quote clearly had no idea who Raven Reed is. From professional hair and makeup artist, to designer, to pageant coach, to beauty queen, to founder of anti-bullying foundation Bullied Beautiful, Raven is surely a jack of trades, and she has shown to master her craft in every outlet.
I had the pleasure of meeting Raven recently, and I was blown away by her talent, energy, and character. Of course, the first thing that came to mind (after wondering, is there anything this girl can’t do?), was that I had to feature this young woman on Lady Code! Read on to be truly inspired by this 22-year-old beauty!
Favorite Color: I literally am so impartial because I love them all!! If I absolutely had to pick one, then of course it would be pink.
Favorite Book: Anything by Elin Hilderbrand
Favorite Workout: I get so bored easily so I’m constantly switching it up between: Kickboxing, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, Swimming, Outdoor Running, Biking, and TurboFire. My go-to exercise that never gets old will forever be weight lifting though.
Arts & Communication Degree
Certified Makeup Artist & Hair Stylist
Certified Spray Tanning Technician
Owner/Operator of Pageant Perfection by Raven Reed
Owner/Operator of Makeup by Raven
Owner/Operator of Raven Reed Cosmetics
Owner/Operator of Bullied Beautiful
Manager of Public Relations and Client Communications at Reed’s Salvage Corp.
Traveling, shopping, racing, cooking, exercising, frequenting the beach as much as possible, updating my education to stay frequent with industry trends (yes I actually enjoy this lol), and spending time with family, friends, and my adored pets
Congratulations on being Miss Northern Ohio United States 2014! Can you tell us how you got involved with pageantry?
I was introduced into the world of pageantry when I received a pamphlet in the mail for NAM. I tossed it in the trash on multiple occasions, but something always urged me to pull it out for a second, third, fourth, and fifth glance. Finally I decided I would just go ahead and give it a try. After four long years, tons of hard work, dedication, and determination I won the title of the National American Miss Ohio Teen 2009 (and did so competing against HUNDREDS of other competitors)! Vowing to never give up on that dream, or any other dream for that matter, I went on to win many other titles. Winning wasn’t the reason I continued to compete though. I continued to compete because of the valuable life lessons I learned, and the friends that I made. Pageantry taught me about: self-worth, community involvement, public speaking, interviewing first-hand, confidence, and poise (just to name a few).
What would you say to a woman who may be on the line about competing in a pageant?
JUST DO IT!! Seriously, what do you have to lose? You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, so give it a shot!
What is the most rewarding thing about pageants?
The thrill of being on stage in front of so many people while entrusting in yourself, your confidence, your self-worth, your individual beauty on both the inside and outside, and of course the experience in itself.
Let’s not forget about the friends (or family really) that you gain. The friendships I have acquired throughout the years far outweigh any crown that’s ever been placed on my head. Your reign only lasts a year and then you hang up your crown for good, friends however never have an expiry date. They truly last a lifetime.
Tell us about your platform:
As a person I choose to eat, sleep, and breathe my platform of “Living a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle”. The beauty of my platform is that it not only entails being physically fit, but mentally as well. This means I am hardly limited to what organizations I can and cannot work with, because almost every organization fits in somehow. There isn’t one cause that I believe is more important than another, so I found it vital to choose a platform that allows me to incorporate all of them. I promote this platform by traveling all over North America participating in numerous charity events that feature a health associated background, and also by working with my own foundation BULLIED BEAUTIFUL. So far I have accomplished over 100 events, throughout 10 different states/providences, within 3 different countries.
Regardless of where I am or what organization I am working with, I really strive to instill the impact that bullying has on individuals of all ages. Bullying took a hard toll on my life starting at the age of six and it still follows me to this day (please click on the BULLIED BEAUTIFUL Tab on http://www.ravenraereed.com to read my story). It has been proven that bullying leads to many mental and physically illnesses like: Low Self-Esteem, Depression, Chronic Fatigue, Psychiatric Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Suicide. So I ask you to please choose your words warmly and wisely, because they stick like needles in the hearts of others.
Have you ever experienced bullying?
I fell victim to bullying at a very young age: mainly because my father’s occupation as a “junkman” didn’t stand well amongst her catholic school community. I remember my 1st grade “Bring Your Parent To School Day” when it all started:
“When the teacher asked for a volunteer to go first I jumped up and down without hesitation in hopes to be that first person called. I was so proud of my dad. He was my world and my biggest hero. When I was chosen I ran to the front of the room and took a glance at my dad and urged him to make his way to the front as fast as possible. I was so excited, he literally could not have gotten up there fast enough. When I took that first glance at the back of the room where all the other parents stood, I knew from that second on my dad was different. My whole family for that fact was different. The other parents had on crisp suits and perfectly tailored clothing, then there was my dad with his holey overall’s, muddy work boots, and that floppy hat he always wears to keep his ears warm. When he finally made his way up to the front room I started my whole spiel. “This is my Dad, I usually just call him Dad, but other people like to call him Craig. He gets to drive around crain’s all day long and crush cars!! He even let’s me drive old junk cars if they still work and takes me for rides in his big semi!!” At that moment I couldn’t have been more proud. I sat through the rest of my classmates parent presentations, and before I knew it the bell rang for recess. My dad kissed me goodbye and he was headed right back to work. On the playground I patiently was waiting for my turn on the big slide when two little boys behind me tapped me on the shoulder. When I turned around two boys from my class were snickering, and then finally one of them finally spoke up. When he did, he started making fun of my dad and saying he “looks like a hobo,” another kid chimed in “yeah! doesn’t he have money to buy any pants without holes in them!” and the rest of the kids around me started up in a roar of laughter. I remember those tears falling from my face like it was yesterday. How dare they say that about him. How dare they make fun of the man that my whole world revolves around. From that point on I would forever be treated different by my peers. The verbal and physical abuse from my classmates would soon become an everyday norm. I was called a hilllbilly, a lowlife, a hobo, and poor just to name a few things. It seemed as if the schools community hated my family for no reason. The only people that really ever accepted us, were the families of the few friends my siblings and I had.”
“My dad coached every single sport that school had to offer, including: football, basketball, and volleyball – all of which were on a volunteer basis. I remember we would all pack up in the car when the school would have those Market Day Drives to help volunteer , and we would always help volunteer for any other activity the school hosted. We were always helping no matter what. We were never once given a thank you, or sign of appreciation. Instead, if my father would so much as park in the wrong spot or be late picking us up, he would be reprimanded and scolded. Some teachers would even single me out in front of the whole classroom, embarassing me to no end while doing so. One teacher even denied me access to the bathroom after countless times of me begging, to the point where I peed my pants. And I was in the fifth grade when this happend, so it was no accident. In sixth grade I was sent to the office by one teacher because my less than a 1/4 inch hooped earrings were against the school’s ‘code of conduct.’ I sat in that office all day until they could get ahold of one of my parents, because I refused to take them out. Meanwhile there were plenty of other girls in the school with similar earrings that got in no trouble at all. When they finally got ahold of my mother, she about flew off the handle that they would actually hold me from learning over something so silly. She then urged them to take one simple look to see that my ears were extremely infected, as I had already told them, and to acknowledge the fact that a cheap pair of stud earrings was the cause of it, which is why they had bought me those ones in the first place. While my mother was still on the phone the Vice Principal gave me a once over and then said “Fine. But I will inform that you she will be sent back to class with no belt on, because it has too many holes in it.” That was the breaking point. That was it. My parents could not believe they would rather me walk around school with my pants hanging off, simply because my belt had ‘too many holes in it’. Needless to say the next year I transferred schools.”
“When I transferred, I became a tiny fish in a big sea of cliques. My small class of twenty-five people turned into a class of over two-hundred. People weren’t very accepting, or fast to include me in on anything. Luckily I did make a friend almost right off the bat, her name was Brittany. She and I instantly hit it off, and from that point on she would become my lifelong sidekick – and she still is to this day! Other people would come and go from my life, but Brittany always seemed to remain constant. It was definitely a change for me though when I switched schools. I went from a place where they looked down upon my father and his occupation, to this place where my father was a highly respected man and the community looked up to him. But I always look at middle school as that awkward period in life for us all, like we were all trying to figure out where exactly we all fit in. I guess I just discredit that whole period of time, and all the things that were said and done to me. I felt it was just a ‘phase’ for us all, and other than a few heartbreaks and lost friendships it didn’t really seem to be too bad. I felt like I was finally starting to t fit in, and then high school hit me like a ton of bricks.”
“High school was undoubtedly the WORST years of my life, when they should have been the best, or at least that’s according to what they say right? Before I even got to high school I was already hated by pretty much the entire female student body. The reason for that was because I had made the Varsity Cheerleading squad as freshmen. It was the first time that had ever happened in my school’s history. The older girls hated me because they felt like I was over-stepping my territory bounds, and the younger girls hated me because they were simply jealous. I remember being at the annual “Meet the Team” cookout where they introduce all the football players and cheerleaders for that year. When they called my name and my grade, a group of senior parents sitting behind my parents were going on and on about how it must have been rigged and it was a disgrace I took a seniors spot on the team. I had people shove me into lockers, people calling me every word in the book, girls calling every weekend threating me and telling me just how ugly I was, they vandalized my locker, vandalized my car, and the list goes on and on. It got so bad to the point where I actually had to file a police report because things go so out of hand. People even would make fake facbook or myspace pages pretending to be me with the entire profile (especially the “about me” section being so hateful and mean. People just wanted to tear me down for any reason they could find.”
“I did become close with a few upper-classmen girls from the cheerleading squad, and they kept me under their wing and really looked out for me. But unfortunately they all graduated and then I really felt like I had no one, other than Brittany of course. Any person, with the exception of Brittany, that I ever opened my arms to and learned to trust just ended up hurting me in the end. Some girls would even be-friend me, to purposely hurt me. I just shut down. I closed almost everyone out other than my family. I went from being an awkard looking ‘lowlife’, according to what they said, to a self-absorbed rich b****. It was from one extreme to the other. I was living in a world where I could NOT win ”
The years passed and the bullying never seemed to stop. I morphed from and awkward and curious child to a beautiful and strong young woman. I quickly went from being a child to an adult as a result from all the bullying that I endured. I just decided to set myself apart from my class, with the exception with the few friends, and I chose to just focus on what was important in my life instead of worrying about what others had to say.
How did you first react to bullying?
At first I let it defeat me. I let it completely overcome my life and define who I was. I believed the awful things people said to me and let it alter my thoughts, actions, and essentially how I viewed my entire life.
How did you overcome bullying, and how has it made a difference in who you are today?
It was like one day I woke up and a bulb just went off in my head. I decided I was sick and tired of it. I looked at myself in mirror and just said ENOUGH!! Don’t feel sorry for yourself. Don’t pity yourself. Don’t let these people define your life or who you are as a person for one more second. So I did just that. Not that this made the bullying stop, but instead I just chose to use that negative energy as steam to power me forward in life. From that point on it was full steam ahead and the train wasn’t stopping until I reached each and every last goal and aspiration I set for myself.
Do you have any advice you can offer for our readers who may be bullied?
Talk about it! For years bullying was a topic comparable to taboo. It was like people just brushed it under the rug and pretended like it wasn’t going on. Although our nation has recently come a long way in bringing light to this epidemic, there is still so much father that we need to go. I didn’t talk about it. I was embarrassed and I kept it all in. I nearly drove myself insane by doing this. Thankfully I learned to grow thick skin and to use the negativity to obtain a positive end result. However, there are many people that never find this same strength from within themselves to be able to do the same. Truly realizing that these people’s words and actions don’t define you is a key to overcoming bullying. And remember, God gives his strongest warriors his toughest battles.
What can our readers do within their communities to get involved?
People always say to me “you don’t strike me as the type of person to get bullied,” and this is one of the BIGGEST issues. Bullying has no face, race, size, weight, social class, or persona. Bullying effects people of all ages, races, sizes, and demographics. I think once out society finally recognizes this fact, we will be one step closer to bringing a stop to this epidemic. Let YOUR story be heard. Tell everybody! Be a light of inspiration and hope to others that are going through the same thing.
Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
I see my businesses thriving, a marriage, a beautiful family, and LOTS of traveling all over the world. Hopefully somewhere along the way I am able to go on and win a national title for the Miss United States Organization!
Who is your role model and why?
Alice Paul. If it wasn’t for her, her trusty sidekick Lucy Burns, and all of the other women of the suffrage movement, women wouldn’t be where we are today. They opened the doors for women to be able to shatter the glass ceiling and achieve the unthinkable.
Keep up with Raven!
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/theofficialravenreed
Pageant Perfection Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pageantperfectionbyraven
Makeup by Raven Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/MakeupArtistryByRaven
Personal Website: www.ravenraereed.com
Business Website: www.pageantperfectionbyraven.com