Interview with Lashone Garth: American, Elegant, and Champion for Disabled Veterans
By Author Tinzley Bradford “The Love Mama”
I am always intrigued when we stumble across triple threat people like the guest in this article. Lashone Garth is a Retired Veteran who has the title of Ms. American Elegance Lady 2016. With the recent Miss USA, Deshauna Barber who also actively serves in United States Army reserves, I wanted to jump right on this interview, and after speaking to Lashone….We can see why she’s so unstoppable! Enjoy our write up on this beauty!
BFM: Hello Lashone, thanks for joining us. This is a very exciting time for you right now. You a Retired Veteran and the current reigning Ms. American Elegance Lady 2016. What a combination. Please tell us more about you and how it all happened? Have you always pursued a career in modeling all while serving as a Veteran?
Thank you so much for having me. I guess I’ve always gravitated to the entertainment industry. Even as a young girl I loved acting. However, my path led me to the military and that was a great experience for me. However, once I retired, I was interested in doing something that I had never done before and I was at a point in my life where I felt I needed “something” to propel me forward. So, one day I was sitting on the couch with my husband and I was reading a story on Yahoo News and it featured a woman who was near my age and had lost a significant amount of weight and she competed in her state pageant and won. I looked at my husband and said “I’m going to do that” and so I did!
BFM: So you’re an actress, entrepreneur, and you have a 501 (3)c Non-profit organization for Veterans entitled “Blanket of Freedom.” Can you share more about your nonprofit?
“Blanket of Freedom” was birthed after discovering something about my own needs. I am a disabled Veteran living with mental illness. That is the main reason I started looking for things to do that I thought could help me cope with life every day. I am a 2-time suicide survivor and the only thing that has helped me is my participation in the arts. The traditional therapeutic options were not successful for me and so I begin to use acting and drama to help me and interestingly enough, it worked. My thoughts were that there had to be other veterans who had the same or similar experience, so I came up with the concept of using dramatic and expressive arts to help in the treatment of mental illness. With this program, Veterans can begin to explore their mental illness in a less confrontational way and even use skills they learn to create stories they can share through art which reduces the stigmatizing effect of seeking and being in treatment. BFM: Did you get hit on a lot being in the service and also being this beautiful model? Ha, I’m sure you did right, but we’d like to know how you kept it together and stayed focused?
It’s funny because simply being an attractive woman in the military gets you a lot of attention. I was a military police (MP), which was a traditionally male dominated field. However, I was an officer so I generally was given the respect I deserved. However, there were times when individuals tried to color outside the lines, but you just handle those situations as they come.
BFM: Do you receive a lot of support from family and friends? I know when you become popular and your brand is doing well sometimes people can become a little distant and many times, unfortunately, a little envious. Has this happened to you? If so how do you deal with it?
I was never a person who considered myself to have a lot of friends, but the ones I do have remain to this day. I’ve only had one instance where I had a friend who ended up being someone that was not looking out for my best interest and those are people you just learn and grow from. My family and husband are very supportive of what I do and because of that, I can continue to do what I do.
BFM: You’re a model and actress with credits in TV, theater, and movies. You’ve produced a television talk show entitled “Movie Wine Down” which is set to air on a network in the near future. Tell us more about that, what is it about?
“Movie Wine Down” is a talk show that reviews movies from the point of view of women. We do it while drinking wine! Think of “Siskel and Ebert” on steroids. It’s funny and talks about movies in layman’s terms. BFM: You and your husband both live in Atlanta. Has your husband always been supportive of your visions and a fan of your work and accomplishments? I ask because too many times, people just don’t get that full support they so deserve and it can hinder them from reaching their full potential.
My husband is awesome!!! I don’t know what I would do without him. He is literally my glue to keep everything together. He supports everything that I do and ensures that I’m taken care of every step of the way.
BFM: I write about relationships and dating and being settle-free, meaning not just settling for any old relationship. My goal is to empower women to make wiser dating choices and not end up in toxic abusive relationships. How were you able to weed out the guys who weren’t a good fit for you and what you were trying to accomplish? What are your views on settling in relationships?
It’s funny you ask this question because many of my friends and associates ask me this same question. The answer is I also had to work through some bad eggs to find the one. It’s all about growing, learning yourself and maturing. I think the issue with many women, or at least it was for me, we don’t understand our value and so we minimize what it is we bring to the table and therefore settle. A lot of it has to do with baggage we carry around from previous family issues or relationship issues and with each step, it makes us heavier and heavier, so we settle with whatever comes along. It was definitely a growing process for me and coming to a point where I was this completely vulnerable being, not afraid to let people see who I really was. It was at that point I was able to see clearly and the right man was able to see me.
BFM: Who inspires you?
That’s a really hard question because I’m inspired by different things at different times. I am inspired by perseverance, by truth, by pain, so many things go into what propels me forward and it’s never just one thing or one moment in time.
BFM: Have you ever wanted to just quit? What keeps you going?
Absolutely. I’m a 2-time suicide survivor…so I’ve wanted to do the ultimate “quit”. However, I have learned what my purpose is and if I quit, then that person that needed what I’ve been created to do won’t receive it and that means I’ve failed and I could never face the Creator with that on my heart.
BFM: As you continue to evolve, many times those who were once by your side tend to turn their backs on you. Has this ever happened to you? If so, how did you handle it?
Yes, as I mentioned before, I had one individual that fits into that category. What I did was move on. BFM: Do you have any up and coming artists under your production company? Do you work with a full team or are you solo?
Right now I am focusing on my non-profit. However, I do have some projects that I’m working on to include some plays and a possible reality show. BFM: So what’s next for you, what projects can we expect to see you involved in either current or in the near future?
I’m always doing plays. I love the theater. Also, as I mentioned, working on the reality show. BFM: What would you like your legacy to be? You’ve created this amazing image of yourself, not to mention you’re super talented. What do you want to be known for?
“There is always an opportunity to be great. Use every waking hour and moment of your life seeking greatness…and the best way to be great is giving of yourself in service to others. There is no greater joy or gift! I want people to remember me for my contribution to the world and not just my place in it!” BFM: It’s been a pleasure speaking to you and thanks for taking the time to let us in your world. Where can people find you to connect and stay in touch? How could people connect with you and contact you and work with you?
Thank you. It’s been my pleasure and honor.
Social Media Handles:
FB: LaShone Garth; LaShone Garth II; MsAELady2016
IMDB: http://www.imdb.me/lashonegarthNon-profit website: www.blanketoffreedom.org