PHOTOS BY MARISA NICODEMUS
“Coming together is the beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford
Styling done by Chico’s. Hair by Marios Salon. Makeup by Brittney Ann and India Peterson.
CHERYL L. KATES-BENMAN
Cheryl L. Kates-Benman Esq., is the current editor of Rochester Woman Online, where she assists content selection, working with the writing team, assisting with fashion show planning and coordination, working with vendors and clients on social media and creating photo shoots for covers nd inside spreads .
Kates writes a monthly column (Law and Hip Hop) and various other topics for the online magazine including current and relevant hot topics that are important in the greater Rochester community.
Ms. Kates is a runway and print ad model and is known in the community as the magazine’s “Diva #1”.
Kates is the also the former host of WAYO radio’s “Law and Hip Hop” show. She serves often as a “live” reporter for various agencies.
Ms. Kates was featured in the films: “23 Reasons 23 Years is Enough” and “Multiple Injuries: Thalidomide Survivor: Mark Gizewski and his “Campaign for Freedom”. The films won the documentary short awards of merit. An additional movie, “Felony Murder and Parole” was also produced. (Fossil Fern Productions). Recently, she played an extra in the movie The City.
She is also serving as a promoter with local clubs and artists. She is the CEO of Exotikos Art and serves as a consultant for Limitless Records.
Kates began her career as a brain injury trauma nurse. After an injury, she returned to school earning a Liberal Arts degree, a Bachelors in Political Science, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and her Juris Doctorate in Law from Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a criminal profiler certificate where she trainer under the renowned Pat Brown. Her law firm offers services to inmates dealing with parole matters state-wide.
In 2016 Kates was recognized by Thers.com receiving the Humanitarian award for her work with inmates and their families and domestic violence victims. Previously, she was given the Martin Luther King Drum of Justice Award.
We are very excited to have Diva 1 as a huge part of the Rochester Woman Online team, and now Syracuse and Buffalo!
JULIE M. MAY
My name is Julie and I am originally from a tiny town of Friendship, NY. Although I have lived in many places including Texas and Rhode Island, Rochester is my adopted home town.
I live in Greece with my fiancé Michael and our wayward yorkie named Baxter. Michael is a chef, so even though I don’t cook I eat really well.
I went to SUNY Brockport and earned a degree in Journalism so I have always loved to write. Articles, blogs, press releases, tv and radio commercials; I have been in marketing for more than 20 years so I’ve written a lot of copy. I also do a lot in digital marketing, creating websites, purchasing adwords and helping companies with their social media presence.
My daughter is 20 and is a sophomore at St. Bonaventure University where she is loving the college life.
On weekends, you’ll often find me binge-watching tv shows. I am currently really into the Handmaids Tale and I can’t wait for the new Game of Thrones season after watching all 7 seasons in a month. I am also a die-hard hockey fan and I love the Buffalo Sabres, who are terrible. My goal in life is to live long enough to see them win the Stanley Cup.
SUSAN ROOK D’ETTORRE
Susan Rook D’Ettorre is a resilience specialist and reinvention resource. She is a: thinker, observer, listener, writer, internet scholar, storyteller and life hacker.
Susan has been a journalist, television news anchor, public advocate, photographer, and writer. Susan has testified before Congress, been a panelist for a Presidential Debate, received an Honorary Doctorate, been alumni of the year for her university. She is most proud of her continuing volunteer work and anonymous support for causes she cares about.
Currently, Susan works with people to create a visual representation of their vision and then helps structure ways to make that vision a reality. Her business guides women to make vision boards and then use cutting-edge research to design habits to bring that vision into reality.
She is in Guinness Book of World Records for grape stomping at the I Love Lucy museum. She has the only collection of original art by comics artists featuring Plastic Man and cats. She loves music, baseball, and community. Susan is made entirely of energy and joy.
I wrote for Rochester Woman Magazine and joined the RWO team with their first issue in January of 2017. I have been writing the Healthy Woman column each month where I write about different alternative treatments for pain relief, stress relief, different styles of massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc. I also write Rochester Woman’s Secret Shopper column with my partner in crime and life, Michael Storti. We wanted to shine a light on different places for a date night.
In 2017, we had rules where there was no dinner, no movies, no bars (we may have done a few wineries), with the number one rule being no cell phones.
In 2018, we are focused on finding those small diners throughout Rochester that you may not even know existed and shining a light on them.
I also do the short video clips on the RWO Facebook page, and you may have run into me a time or two at the Rochester Woman Expos directing traffic.
What some people don’t know about me is that I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant and a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. I am the owner of Healing Massage Retreat Integrated Wellness Center which has brought together a group of therapists that are dedicated to whole body wellness.
HMR is a clinic that has a vision of being a one stop shop where clients/patients can get treated by multiple disciplines. A place where your care can be overseen by a whole wellness team under one roof to give the best care possible. We are excited to be expanding in May to bring more practices together.
20 SOMETHING COLUMNIST
“Connor Sokal is a college student at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, where she is studying Forensic Biology/Criminalistics. She currently has an internship at the Monroe Country Crime Laboratory. Connor is from Rochester, NY and has recently become involved in modeling in the Greater Rochester area.
She is a model for Rochester Woman Online, a model for AFS Collective, has been trained by MTF Models LLC. and does freelance modeling. She is also the spokes model for Rochester Woman Online. Along with modeling Connor volunteers, and is a member of multiple school clubs. When Connor’s time is not filled with school, modeling, researching and/or writing she can be found spending time with her loved ones.
Connor’s modeling portfolio can be found by entering the following website; https://firstname.lastname@example.org. She will also be sharing her completed columns for Rochester Woman Online on that website as well.”
If I was to describe myself, I’d use the word “big.”
Big Brains: Definitely not trying to be cocky, but I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Communication Design from Nazareth College in Rochester, New York- and Cum Laude to boot! I value education and always love learning about new things. Favorite subjects include art history, psychology, and literature.
Big Personality: I’m a typical Italian- I’ve never been much for being quiet. I’m boisterous and outgoing. I pride myself on being on the quirky side- I haven’t met anyone else who could be my long-lost twin yet. (Thank God!)
Big Fashionista: I am obsessed with beauty and fashion- particularly things that are on the darker and edgier side of things. My style icons include Morticia Addams, Lydia Deetz, Elvira, the Punk and Goth scene, and a lot more. After all, black is timeless, elegant, and magical- all of which, I’d like to be.
Big Hair: The mop of curls on my head is my trademark and its actually part of my branding! People tend to remember characteristics more than names so when it comes down to it, “I’m the One with the Hair.” They won’t forget me. 😉
FASHION EDITOR/SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERT
Hey Rochester! As part of your Rochester Women Online team; I love bringing you articles that are up to date in fashion, health and wellness! I am not a native New Yorker- as I grew up in Arizona and then went off to the University of Miami. In between that I lived in NYC trying to make it in the spotlight- however found my love and passion for design and fashion & headed back to Miami to get my degree in Fashion Marketing & Design. I quickly worked my way to become production assistant for several seasons of Miami Fashion Week & landed an amazing job working for Perry Elis Corporate offices.
I now reside in Rochester, and after working in media and advertising for over 7 years I now run I.D. Sociale; a media platform that not only helps small to mid size businesses take their social media to the next level but also focuses on providing features on health, wellness, and fashion.
When I am not busy running my own business and working as a stylist for W by Worth; I am a busy mom of 2 amazing little girls who keep me on my toes.
Let’s connect and be social!
My name is Otivia Fantigrossi. I was born and raised in Rochester NY. Currently I am the owner/ founder of my home based business, innerGwellness , in which I provide Reiki Therapy Services, Health and Wellness Consulting and Empowerment Advisement / Mentoring Services. I am also a co-host and videographer for a local radio show Rock the Roc with Juda and Uncle Slosh, 106.3 FM Rochester Free Radio.
In 2007 I decided to finish what I had started in 1985, after graduating from Hilton High School and obtain my college degree.
In 2009 and 2010 I joined the Rochester Americorps Volunteer Services Program where I had received the Certificate of National Service through Rochester Americorps and the President’s Volunteer Service Award for both terms of service.
I graduated from Monroe Community College in 2011 with an Associates Degree in Liberal Arts and Science , and began working on my Bachelors degree majoring in Health Science and a minoring in Psychology at the College at Brockport, State University of New York until 2013 when I transferred to Empire State College where I received my B.A. in Psychology and Human Development as well as receiving an award for Outstanding Adult Student for the Academic Year in 2015. I obtained my Reiki Practioner Certification through the Academy of Reiki Training Center for Reiki Wellness & Hypnosis in 2014. I accomplished all this as a single mother while working and raising my son Tony , who is on the Autism Spectrum,
and daughter Michelle who are now both adults.
Throughout my life my career path has been within the Human services field. I worked as a Direct Care Professional with several agencies that provided services for people with developmental disabilities for several years as well as working as a Domestic Violence Court Advocate for Alternatives for Battered Women, now known as Willow Center. After graduating with my B.A. Degree I worked as a Medicaid Service Coordinator for Arc of Monroe County , and then as a Health Home Case Manager for Monroe Plan for Medical Care.
spokeswoman / model/Real Woman Bradn ambassador
Like many, Stephanie Viriyakul moved to Rochester several years ago to raise her daughter and has yet to leave.
Walking runways since she was sixteen, but best known for her spokesmodel work for various companies you are sure to have in your home.
You’re most likely to spot her on our local runways or find her coaching Rochester’s up and coming talents from behind the scenes.
She’s looking forward to continuing to coach and share her experiences for those breaking into the business.
Mary has been in the “hair” business for over 30 years with Mario’s Salon. The Salon has been in Brighton for over 60 years, when her father started it. Mary was lucky enough to take it over 17years ago and is proud to be the third generation in the hair styling business.
They value having a family oriented, comfortable atmosphere. And Rochester Woman is proud to work exclusively with Mary and her team for all our styling needs!
Mary prides herself in staying current with all the new trends and products and writes the Hair Hype column monthly for RWO.