Beauty, Health

Exclusive Interview: Dr. Larry Fan on Beauty and Plastic Surgery Trends

Dr. Larry fan is an esteemed and award-winning plastic surgeon in San Francisco where he founded his nationally recognized boutique medical practice, 77 Plastic Surgery. Dr. Fan leads his medical team with the inspiration of the “beauty that surrounds and resides within all of us.”

The Sophia News recently chatted with Dr. Larry Fan about beauty and plastic surgery trends and issues. This interview was inspired by Dr. Fan’s prominence in the world of cosmetic and plastic surgery. In the interview Dr. Fan shared his philosophy for helping people reach their realistic goals for beauty, and gain more self-confidence in the process.

Sophia News: Please describe your passion and career path towards becoming a plastic surgeon.

Dr. Fan: When I was in college I decided to be a doctor, I wanted to help people in choosing my career. I enjoy being a surgeon When I was 21 I broke my nose playing basketball and I did not think it was a big deal at the time but over the years my nose became very crooked and it became a big issue for me over time. My nose began to make me very self-conscious, when I was out and about I could see people staring at my face and I was very comfortable.

I ultimately decided to get my nose fixed and with that experience I learned what it means to be unhappy with your appearance. That lead me to plastic surgery. When I was in medical school I realized, I liked plastic surgery more than other parts of medicine. I wanted to work with my hands and be very active. I grew up being an athlete and this physical aspect of plastic surgery appealed to me greatly. I find it very fulfilling.

The impact of positivity it has on people’s self-esteem is very powerful and I know it firsthand.

SN: How would you describe your average patient?

LF: My average patient is that there is no average patient. The ages and cultural backgrounds all vary. The reasons for coming to me and wanting plastic surgery are many and everyone has a unique story. Demographically, my patients are 85% women, though I have a greater portion of men compared to other doctors.

The age varies from young women who want larger breasts in their 20s to women in their 70s. Being in San Francisco I have all ethnicities, a very diverse patient format. Many south Asian, Hispanic, all sorts.

SN: Do you find that standards of beauty and sexuality vary greatly between San Francisco and Los Angeles or across the country?

LF: First, I think across the USA, everybody wants to feel beautiful, younger, and geography does not have much an impact about it. It’s a timeless desire for women. There are some subtle differences in expectations and pace in San Francisco Bay Area than Los Angeles. In San Francisco, they are more discreet and favor more natural looking results, versus L.A. that wants more dramatic or extreme.

In San Francisco, the people don’t want others to notice the surgery procedures as much as perhaps other cities. In L.A., it’s more dramatic and more flashy and more noticeable. In Beverly Hills for example, the population is far more made up and beauty-conscious than in San Francisco. There is a noticeable cultural difference in terms of beauty and self-awareness between San Francisco and Los Angeles, which is reflected in subtle ways.

SN: What do you find most fulfilling as a plastic surgeon?

LF: Helping people feel better about themselves. What I love about my career is that I get to help people; that I have firsthand experience that improving your appearance can help you lead a fuller more confident life. I have patients who come in dissatisfied and struggling with self-confidence. Something as simple as helping a flight attendant who was bothered by the size of her ears. She came to me to help her reduce the size and took time and courage for her to do this. She was in her 70s. Once she saw the difference she shed tears and gave me a hug; telling me, “I can’t tell you how much this helps me, and it was something I was dealing with and struggling with my entire life.” I feel lucky to help people in a profound way.

SN: Do you see the future of breast augmentation change greatly in terms of technologies and implants?

LF: It’s one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the entire world. My patients generally have a challenging relationship with their breasts. This could mean desiring larger breasts, smaller breasts or changing their appearance or shape via a breast lift. Breast augmentation is a procedure that has been popular for a few decades and that over the years the procedure has become more refined and safer both medically and aesthetically. That means the implants have continually improved. Twenty years ago, there was a concern about leakage and safety of silicone. There were many studies and panels, and after five or ten years everyone agreed that silicone implants were safe and risks were dramatically reduced. Over the past ten years, new implants are more durable, hold their shape better, and appear more natural. The procedure is better and safer than ever as a result, though one must always remember there are risks associated with any surgical procedure.

In addition, our understanding of the variables involved with breast implant technologies is better than ever as a result of these studies. We can now, as a result of the knowledge, make precise pockets and calculations when inserting the implants; respecting the patient’s tissue and other variables that decrease the risk of problems in short and long term. Understanding the variables help with the safety and overall cosmetic results.

There will always be a level of risk since it is a surgical procedure, and I tell my patients, “you need to understand that getting breast implants is a lifetime choice.” I tell them, “there are risks and over the next ten years there is a small chance you may need a second procedure to replace the implants or for some other reason.”

In the last two years, there has been a small link between silicone breast implants and a rare form of lymphoma that has garnered media attention and it is something I tell my patients. I try to tell my patients that the chance is extremely low; I want people to be aware of all the risks.

SN: What level of consultation do you provide for married women and their husbands concerning expectations? Is it common for you to temper expectations?

LF: Many of our patients are married women. Typically, the husbands are involved at various levels. The most common scenario is that the women are doing the procedures for themselves. Typically, the husband is supportive and will say, “I think you are perfect and you don’t need anything, but if this is important to you then I am here to support you.”

At the same time, I tell all my women patients that it is important that you should only make changes to your body that you want and not do it for anyone else. When I do on occasion see that a woman feels pressured to undergo a procedure because of pressure by her husband, I will convey my input.

SN: Do you ever have patients who are celebrities or in the public eye? If so what types of special services do you offer them for privacy?

LF: I do get celebrities and public figures regularly. When people in the public eye come in we do provide a level of customized care for privacy and discretion. My team is experienced in providing privacy and special needs to all patients, not just celebrities. I value everyone’s privacy, regardless of whether or not a patient is a celebrity. I am comfortable with the needs of those in the public eye. For example, I have a famous millionaire who is a male patient, and we work with him and our assistants to give him a few special requests regarding services. We try to minimize waiting times and we are happy to help people with special needs such as hours of visit, security, and other things. We try to accommodate everyone’s special requests.

SN: What is the most challenging aspect of being a plastic surgeon today?

LF: I think one of the most challenging aspects is managing the expectations of my patients. As a surgeon, I want perfection, and so do my patients; whether it is the result, the care, or the appearance that someone has. And yet plastic surgery, like all surgery and all medicine, it is both an art and a science and there are factors that are out of my control or our control. It is impossible to guarantee any results. Complications and poor results are possible.

Patients have various levels of understanding and expectations of what they are going through. Especially people who are younger, they expect things to be perfect with no hardship, even if they are starting from a base of genetic appearance, their expectations are sometimes unrealistic.

For example, I do get women who are perfectly fit or beautiful who may have put some weight on and want to be a size zero when they are already fine. They want liposuction to work magic and make them meet an expectation of self-image that is not realistic. I spend a lot of time communicating the importance of realistic goals and expectations to them. Even when I spend a few hours with my patients about this, at the end of the procedure I can tell they may still be struggling with disappointment, and this is a challenging for me personally.

SN: Why do you think so few actresses are willing to admit they have had a cosmetic surgery procedure? 

LF: It is true that cosmetic surgery is far more accepted by society at large than by celebrity culture. More and more people are actually considering plastic surgery procedure. And yet if you look at cosmetic surgery from certain perspectives and traditions within the USA, there are people who are more moralizing, and there is a big divide culturally in American society where it is not accepted.

In Hollywood, beauty standards are all about entertainment and fantasy. For movie stars their cache is predicated on looking like goddesses and gods who cannot do anything wrong, who are naturally perfect and who do not need any medical intervention to maintain their appearances; hence the reluctance to discuss and admit to plastic surgery procedures. Hollywood perpetuates this fantasy of perfection and beauty, which is not real and not realistic. For an actress or actor, the appeal must be that their looks are effortless and God-given. This is an illusion. Plastic surgery puts a lie to this myth, this image of fantasy perfection. I imagine one day with the continuing popularity of cosmetic surgery procedures Hollywood’s attitude may evolve.

SN: Does philanthropy or charitable giving play any role in your work and career?

LF: Yes, philanthropy is important.

I performed emergency and elective reconstructive surgery for the indigent and underserved in the San Francisco Bay Area on a weekly basis for more than a decade (at a public hospital, San Mateo Medical Center). I stopped earlier this year because of the business of my practice and because taking call was talking too much time away from my family.


LAw, Legal

Exclusive Interview: Chuck Cady of Top Cleveland Court Reporters, Cady Reporting

Credit: Golden Press Releases

Chuck Cady has been the primary owner and operator of Cady Reporting since 1981. The Cleveland-based firm is a family business that has been a major part of cases across all areas of practice, big and small. Because of their longevity and dedication to customer service, Cady Reporting has become a staple of not only the Cleveland legal scene, but the Ohio legal scene.

Interviewology: What intrigued you about the field of court reporting?

Chuck Cady: Getting a ringside seat to what fascinates so many people– the goings-on of court cases.  You get a slice of so many aspects of life and education.

I: How long have you been with Cady Reporting?

CC: I began with its prior iterations in September of 1981.

I: Is there a specific aspect of business that you would say your firm does better than others?

CC: Like so many services, it can become easy to be commoditized.  I think the best way to stand out and that we stand out is being pleasant to work with and making people feel that we’ll happily go the extra mile to take care of their needs.

Credit: NNRC

I: What led you running your own firm, as opposed to working with another?

CC: Our buyout took place in January of 1999, and at that time I had been with the firm for 18 years, so it seemed like a natural transition.

I: How does acting as a court reporter for a specific field of law—say, criminal—vary from working in a different field—say, maritime law? 

CC: Because we deal in terminology in creating a written record, knowing the terms in a specific field is vital to making sure the transcript properly reflects the intended meaning.  And for the information to flow well to the fingers of a court reporter, it has to flow through the brain smoothly, with little or no hesitation.

Since you specifically asked about maritime law, one of my favorite examples of requiring familiarity with terminology is knowing the term fo’c’sle, pronounced “fokesul,” which is a shortened form of “forecastle,” a superstructure at or immediately aft of the bow of a vessel, used as a shelter for stores, machinery, etc., or as quarters for sailors.  That one can throw you for a loop, especially spoken with a thick Canadian accent. And that is a very big part of our challenge, understanding not just the terms spoken but many times with an accent involved.

Credit: Times Square Chronicles

I: Since you first became a certified court reporter, how has the field changed in regards to technology and culture?

CC: It has changed very much so.   In the past we needed our steno machine, paper, a Dictaphone, and a typewriter.  As with pretty much every field now, it required computerization, along with the necessary software for creating the transcript, as well as allowing attorneys to use a real-time feed if they choose, either in person or streamed remotely.  And our firm, like most others, couldn’t operate without a dedicated IT person for security and know-how.

I: You’ve referred to the firm as a family business. Do you think that connection has a direct influence on your quality of service? 

CC: Yes, it absolutely does.  Our name is on the door.  We need to back that up.

Credit: National Court Reporting Firms

I: What are some aspects about court reporting you think people misinterpret?

CC: That it’s an easy job merely because we’re sitting there quietly doing our job, (or, at least, we should be),  and, therefore, the pay doesn’t seem commensurate with the job skill. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  The completion rate in reporting schools is around 7%, and I feel one of the reasons is because people underestimate the skill involved.  They have no idea all the gears whirring away in the court reporter’s brain and sometimes their stomach as they strive to deal with a fast-speaking expert witness with a heavy accent, or just a very fast deposition where people are not aware of making a good record.

A pianist has the opportunity to practice his or her piece many times before a performance.  Imagine a pianist having to play the notes in front of an audience as the notes are streamed across their eyes, never having seen them before.  The court reporter has to do the very same thing with words streamed into their ears and transferred to their fingers and keyboard at a very high rate of speed, and no one tells us what they’re about to say before they say it.

I: What do you think it takes to be a good court reporter?

CC: Besides having the requisite skill level, it takes good attention to detail, which requires a high level of caring about the transcripts that you produce.  It also takes good people skills and discretion to know how to conduct yourself in a way as to do your job well without being intrusive.  Most reporters I know are total perfectionists; they fret over whether they should use a comma or a semicolon. As a sort of bottom line, I have yet to find a situation that doesn’t fall into one of the two basic vital categories for success: professionalism and communication.

Arts, Music

Colin Lane Explains the Iconic Photograph Behind the Strokes “Is This It”

Credit: Colin Lane

The jump between film and photography is a lateral one that many take one way or another. Colin Lane when to the University of Texas for film, a long way from his New England roots. When he made the transition to a photographic focus, being a band’s principle photographer had not been his goal—but between 2001 and 2006, he achieved just that.

Credit: The Guardian

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Colin Lane explains his most iconic photo, which coincidently, is arguably the most iconic album cover The Strokes ever had.

The Captivating Photo

One slender hand cloaked by a black, Chanel glove rests easily on the lower back of a nude woman, who leans forward and arches her back. The shot is a close composition, and reveals absolutely nothing seemingly “inappropriate” by any means. We see her shape and her smooth skin—nothing more. By simply describing the piece, one would have no idea just how erotic and eye-catching the photo truly is.

The iconic album cover. Credit: Colin Lane.

Though he had just spent the day at a fashion shoot, the photo was not among those taken in a professional setting. He was at his apartment, wanting to use up the rest of his Polaroids. The woman in the photo is not a renowned model (at least, we don’t know for sure, as the identity of the woman has never been revealed), she is his at-the-time girlfriend.

…when she slid the glove on and bent forward, I knew it was the perfect shot – simple, straightforward, graphic and just so sexy. When I developed it, I stuck it in my portfolio and thought nothing more of it.”

Photography for the Strokes

Fast forward a year or two to early 2001. Colin Lane has been commissioned by the Face, a fashion magazine popular between the 1980s to the mid-2000s, to photograph an up-and-coming band, The Strokes. It was Lane’s first commission, and it was The Strokes’ first real photoshoot. They snuck up to the roof of a building to get great shots of the band against the New York Skyline at sunset.

The Strokes. Credit: Colin Lane


A few weeks later, Lane was called upon again by the band to take a few more pictures and just hang out. Lane brought his portfolio on a whim, and out of sheer luck, their art director called and insist they find an album cover for their first album, Is This It. So, Lane handed it over, and the band picked the photo of Lane’s ex-girlfriend.

From then, until 2006, Colin Lane became their regular photographer. He toured with them, shot the lead singer’s wedding, and became friends with them. When things began to unravel between bandmates, Lane moved on to other acts—such as Kings of Leon, Beck, and many more, but Lane says, “nothing has ever compared to the Strokes.”

It’s a shame, because they were incredible: even when they were on top of the world, they never became jerks. To the end, they always were welcoming, intelligent and humble young guys who deserved their success.”

Popular song from The Strokes’ first album, Is this It.

To read the full interview, visit

Arts, Film

Sean Penn and His Controversial Debut Novel

Credit: Greg Williams

For over 35 years, Sean Penn has been a star people across America easily recognize. Be it a result of his five Oscar Nominations and two wins for Mystic River and Milk, his directorial ventures, his ties to actress Robin Wright, or perhaps a scandal, Sean Penn is a man who as truly established himself as a righteous force in Hollywood.  

With the screen being such a prominent part of our understanding of Penn, many did not expect the actor who portrayed stoner Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High a topical and experimental novel.

Credit: Images Dawn

A New Brand of Limelight

Bob Honey Who Just do Stuff is Sean Penn’s debut novel. The 176-page boook revolves around title character, Bob Honey, who partakes in a number of odd jobs from selling septic tanks to Jehovah’s Witnesses to assassinating the elderly. The plot is non-linear, the narrative is loose, and the satirical tone of the book has produced two realms of thought: some see the story-telling techniques as unique and comic, while others feel it is too undisciplined and a mess of incoherent writing.

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Penn discusses his ambitious work, as well as the transition from the world of film to the world of fiction. Feeling burnt out with the movie-making industry, Penn enjoys how writing a novel offered him “freedom from collaboration,” as he, “got to where [he] was not enjoying playing well with others as much as [he] used to.”

Credit: News 1130

However, similar to the story itself, the book did not have a traditional conception. Penn wanted to release the book before the election in 2016, but hadn’t realized how time consuming publishing truly is. As a result, he released an incomplete version on Audible.

Some compare the novel’s style to those of Terry Southern and Thomas Pynchon, complex and satirical writers of the 20 century, Penn insists the potential impact other writers may have had on him was never a conscious one.

The influence that a writer can have on you is that you get a sense of how somebody has a freedom with words or something, and makes you want to find freedom with your words… You find a voice like you find a character and it’s not from a movie—it’s from life. It’s not from a book—it’s from life.”

A Complex Novel for a Complex America

It is clear feelings on the book extend from one extreme to the other, but many can agree on one aspect: it is politically charged. “America’s a complex place that’s doing all it can to be without any complexity at all,” Penn says.

Though he vocally disapproves of our current president, when asked about a portion of the story that seems to refer to Donald Trump, Penn insists that “at the end of the day, the book isn’t about leadership in our country. It’s about the culture in our country,” and even if there are some controversial aspects of the story and that people dissect it and point fingers, ultimately, it is fiction.

My business is to be clear that what I leave behind is going to be in sync with what I intended to leave behind.”

To read the full interview, visit



Kathleen Turner: Hollywood, Luck, and Rage

Kathleen Turner is a woman that, nowadays, you may not recognize her name, but you recognize her face, and more likely than not, her raspy voice. Those who grew up in the 80s, however, know her for her many diverse roles in movies such as Body Heat, Peggy Sue Got Married, and The Jewel of the Nile.

Her battle with rheumatoid arthritis and an addiction to alcohol put an unfortunate left turn in her career. But even in the face of difficult circumstances, Kathleen Turner refused to quit her passion. Perhaps her screen-work is not what it once was, but she has had a long and vibrant career in theater over the past many years. In a recent interview with Vulture, Kathleen Turner reflects on her life and work, but not without her iconic “steel and sass” that made her so appealing in the 80s.

The interview begins with a clear example of that non-conventional, yet strangely appealing attitude. The interviewer begins by addressing the differences between Elizabeth Taylor’s depiction of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Kathleen Turner’s interpretation. With no hesitation, Turner claims that she “[doesn’t] think [Taylor] was very skilled,” and that she was “lucky she got to do the play…and show the humor in it…”

Kathleen Turner in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Credit: Mercury News.

It is clear, in just a couple of questions, that Kathleen Turner does not care about appearing too crass or forward. Turner is unapologetically herself—a rare and beautiful attribute for stars in Hollywood, and more impactfully, women in Hollywood.

What else, aside from luck, has driven your career?


Where does that anger come from?

Injustice in the world.

How does rage show up in your work?

In my cabaret show I use this passage from Molly Ivins… “Beloveds, these are some bad, ugly, angry times. And I am so freaked out. Hatred has stolen the conversation. The poor are now voting against themselves. But politics is not about left or right. It’s about up and down. The few screwing the many.” She wrote that over ten years ago and it’s no less true today.”

Among social and political opinions, Turner discusses the injustices she faced even as a household name in Hollywood. Many of her male cohorts, such as Michael Douglas and Jack Nicholson, seemed to view Turner as a trophy to be won, an “unspoken assumption that women were property to be claimed,” she says. The presumptuous culture and vapid air led Turner to live her life away from Los Angeles.

Along with her sass and supposed difficulty to work with, Kathleen Turner feels that it is partially there not being a “Kathleen Turner type character” that caused Hollywood to turn away. While creatively, playing such a wide range of characters was exciting and rewarding, Hollywood “never put her work together” and it ultimately was not “good for her financially.”

Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas in Jewel of the Nile. Credit: The Ace Black Blog

Despite being one of the most popular actresses in Hollywood, Turner reveals that she never studied acting. Different acting techniques and method acting seem unnecessary to the legend, who says that if the information she needs on the character is not in the script, “it’s not a good enough script.” Even her master class is called “Practical Acting,” where Turner claims “You just shut up and do it.”

At an age where many actors and actresses turn away from the stage lights, Kathleen Turner is still going strong. She describes herself as a tree “where the trunk is strong enough, and the roots are deep enough, that [she] can branch out in any direction.” Branch out, Turner certainly does, and it seems that she will only continue to flourish in the years to come.

To read the full interview, visit


Exclusive Interview: Elder Law Attorney and Advocate, Mark Shalloway

Mark Shalloway is an Elder Law Attorney based out of West Palm Beach, Florida. His practice, Shalloway & Shalloway P.A. has been changing the lives of the elder and special needs communities in his areas for many years, but his work has had a national effect.

Mark G. Shalloway

As one of the first certified Elder Law Attorneys in the United States, Mark Shalloway is a vocal advocate for proper care of our more vulnerable populations, and has served on a number of elder care committees and boards as both a member and chairman. He works to protect, but also educate the public on how to properly prepare themselves and their families for these more difficult aspects of life.

Interviewology: Tell us a bit about your journey into the legal field.

Mark G. Shalloway: My journey would begin being the son of an attorney. Some of my earliest memories are sitting in a chair at Dad’s office, playing with equipment. Funny thing is, I thought Dad said he was in “lost school,” not law school.

I was never pressured or even encouraged to go into law, but I found it fascinating. As I got older, I found an appreciation of lawyers. They’re the brunt of many jokes, but they help with such a wide spectrum of important topics. I found a compelling calling to be a part of a profession that Dad was a part of, but one that is also so diverse.

What I do day to day is very different from others. My field is different from real estate, criminal defense, tax law, or any number of other fields. There are people with law degrees who hold a political office, or work in a corporation. My journey into law recognized that latitude. I liked that. As a young guy, I didn’t know what path I would take, but I wanted an area where I could chart my path.

I: What inspired you to specifically take on the field of elder law?

MS: I had attended a continuing legal education class. One day in particular, there were a group of panelists looking for people who wanted to serve as advocates for elder communities and homes. I wanted to be civically and socially engaged in my community, so this caught my attention and I got involved.

That experience spun off into folks facing a need to pay for care in those facilities. They weren’t then, but now nursing homes are priced at $10,000. Most of us in middle class cannot afford that. Elder care lawyers look into these problems to find ways to benefit others. That is the heart and soul of elder law.

There were not a lot of books or guides for elder law when I started, and no board certification. Lawyers came together across the country in the early 90s and built this legal field. Compared to others, elder law is a young field. I have the privilege of serving in the charter class of board certified elder attorneys.

The field grew from traditional wills and trusts, to death and tax planning. People come to me looking to help secure life for family after they are gone. Elder law shifted to incapacitation. It turned into, “What happens when I get sick, not die?” So, they have to look into estate planning documents. This deals with diseases like Alzheimer’s or stroke.

We repurposed these documents to help people at home in assisted living places. The middle-class people struggle paying for this added monthly cost—$3,000 to $10,000 a month—for dressing, bathing, helping. Since these people need an aid and not a doctor, it isn’t covered, and we have to look into how Medicaid can benefit these people. We had to learn how to full disclosure shelter these assets with elder law. We can’t shelter every asset, but with planning we can work something out so they can qualify for Medicaid and nursing home care and not be broke.

I: Was it always the plan to create your own firm?

MS: I would say I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I learned that with one of my first jobs. I was working at a commercial litigation firm, and I treasured that experience, but it was too stifling. Not only was it the wrong field of law, banking, but it was far too rigid. My undergraduate work was theater, so I wanted to shape and grow my law firm with the creative vision that I had. I would need to be partners in a firm where I could really influence others with personality and culture.

I: How did you come about forming Shalloway & Shalloway with your father?

MS: When I had my experience with that first firm, I reached out to Dad and said “Look, I love where I’m at, but I would either prefer my own firm or to find a firm and become partners. Dad, are you interested in forming Shalloway & Shalloway, P.A.?”

Dad worked as an attorney when specialization was rare. In his time, it was much more common to be a general practitioner. He would work in real estate one day, then criminality, then divorce. I started in late 80s, so specialization was starting to catch on. I didn’t know how specialized that would get, and we started together. Early on it was more diverse—I was doing more estate planning and he was more generalized—and as I quickly grew into more elder law, he scaled back anything that was diverse and we focused on elder/special needs law.

I: You’ve worked with a number of elder law committees and boards as a member and chairman. What is the main goal of these organizations?

MS: Each of these organizations fall in different domains. Some are professional bars that help with professional legal development. The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)—which I believe influenced me with ethical development, growth, and practice capacity—is made up of lawyers across the country that helped mature the field. I became the chairman in 2008, and I did a lot of travel working in different aspects of the field. I provided assistance to the group and the congress. It gave me a fascinating perspective on the federal level, and I was able to see how other states were working.

At same time, was I had local clients. I was working at Stetson, teaching elder law. In a little over 15 years, they have built up a master’s degree and elder law program for that school, and host nationally reputed special needs conference annually. This has had a profound influence on the special needs practice for clients under 65. We most recently extended to veterans’ benefits advocacy to educate the JAG (Judge Advocate General’s) corps.

Community service and engagement are constituencies we serve and understand, because they need long term care. We get involved in multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s communities to gain insight in order to better serve them. We learn and listen to what they go through, and teach what they need so we can advocate better for legislatures and congresses.



I: What are some misconceptions about elder law that you face in your career?

MS: Elder law is thought to be mostly wills and trusts work. I laugh when others say they are elder lawyers, but are specifically traditional, because elder law focuses on more than long term care planning. People not fluent in the field think it’s a new term for estate planning, but it’s nothing of the sort. It’s recognized by the bar, and it has national certifications and state certifications. There is a real distinction. It is more than a marketing word for wills and trusts, or estate planning.

Elder law is unique in that we define work by the client, not the subject. Divorce and real estate are both subjects, but elder law covers 13 different areas— from guardianship, living wills, and public benefits like Medicaid. We use wills and trusts, but we also use long term care facilities and taxes. I’ve tagged briefly number of subjects that fall under the umbrella. People don’t realize that the field covers over 12 areas.

Florida is known as retirement state, but we ironically only have a little more 100 certified elder law attorneys among the 100,000 attorneys in total. This is not the case for most other specialty areas. I find it ironic, given the amount of retirees.

I: How did you develop these free seminars you host on estate planning, and a number of other topics?

MS: It was organic in that it was out of need and awareness. Part of the reality of legal profession is that I am not organized as a non-profit, so getting law out helps, but education is more important. Speaking is done in many different venues. We speak a few times a month to create education and awareness. This creates an easy forum for someone who does not regularly work with lawyers.

There is intimidation and fear with booking with lawyer. If referred by someone else, that is a helpful resource, but if they need an elder law attorney, there is a lot of worry and fear. What we have found is that by offering the workshop, people can sit in audience anonymously, and the seminar serves as a  free, low-key sample consultation. They can sit in room, hear a lawyer speak, and understand personality. They are exposed to the subject matter and can understand if it will help. If it’s not right fit, they just leave. If they want more, they can follow up. You can go on internet, read articles, but you can learn much more if you show up to a seminar. If that’s all you need, you leave, but if you want more it’s easy to continue.

I: What does being ranked as one of the top elder law attorneys in the Palm Beach area mean to you?

MS: I work hard to try to establish what I call “objective credentials.” How does one measure what makes a good lawyer in the mind of client or referral source? I could stand on roof and say I’m good, but as a resource how does someone establish what makes a good lawyer? One standard of measure is bar certification. You have to maintain certification so knowledge is updated. Another is various reviews, where they give you a rating, or superlawyers, where other lawyers who have worked with you can give reviews. It is humbling. Reputation is easily damaged if you’re careless. I know I’ve got to earn it. It means the world to me. It comes from values my parents raised me on.

I: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

MS: Easily the gratitude that I am blessed to receive when I am able to help family or individual who is going through most difficult season of life. When families reach out they are middle, not rich, some are pro-bono, but most are middle class. The middle class fall through the cracks because they don’t fit the requirements for benefits, and they are not very rich. They work hard—they could be teachers, or doctors, or journalists, or other good, hard working people who have saved and are facing Alzheimer’s, stroke, Parkinson’s, or have a spouse or child with special needs. They can face these diseases for years—for the rest of their lives—and that can impoverish you. If we can do Medicaid planning, that can help.

We get thank you letters, and cookies, and pictures. I don’t know where else we could make a livelihood and still make such a positive impact. I love coming into work and making a difference— to shelter the asset so that a person in a home can pay for a private room, or duty aid, or have a van and wheelchair lift. To me, that is not wicked debauchery and self-indulgence, it’s being a human being. If you can have joy and the lift take you wherever you want, you can’t do if you’re paying $10,000 at nursing home. But if Medicaid and savings can do that for you, it gives you a little sunshine. That stuff gets us this gratitude.


Patrick Moore, Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, Discusses Life, Art, and Andy Warhol

The world of art seems elusive and exclusive to many, but Patrick Moore helps collapse that stigma with his fresh interview with The Sophia News.

If there’s one thing we learned from Andy Warhol Museum Director, Patrick Moore, it’s that life can take us in all sorts of directions. Working as museum director at the world’s largest collection of the late and great Andy Warhol wasn’t a realized dream of Mr. Moore initially.

Credit: The Warhol

Winding Road to the Warhol

Patrick Moore didn’t major in art history of anything of the sort. He got his degree from Carnegie Mellon in theater directing. His first gig was in a space in New Your City known as “The Kitchen,” which was highly influenced by artists in the area. Much of the world done at this location was centered around the AIDS crisis, and this led Mr. Moore to a non-profit—The Estate Project for Artists with Aids—where he eventually became director.

Though the work was impactful and important, it is the type of work that takes a toll, and Patrick Moore burned out. In need of a stark charge, he packed his bags and changed paths once more. In Los Angeles, Mr. Moore became a writer and producer for Yahoo!. It wasn’t until his husband wanted to discover on new horizons that The Warhol came into focus.

…we came upon the idea of Pittsburgh, which I had always loved from my college days.  It was then an obvious idea to get involved with The Warhol as Andy had always been my favorite artist and my background had been in the art world.”

Credit: The Warhol

Success in Pittsburgh

At the Warhol, Patrick Moore thrives. In an age where many feel that museums are dying, the Warhol is flourishing. It’s the careful balance of visual art, film, and music that makes the Warhol a “first day” attraction in Pittsburgh. The five unique floors delight Warhol curators and newcomers alike.

A large part of Andy Warhol’s platform—socially and work-based—was inclusion. Patrick Moore feels that is part of what makes the museum so successful, and what makes Warhol’s art consistently relevant for years to come.

He brought together every possible kind of person, both in his personal life, his creative environment of The Factory, and in his work itself.  These were people of differing economic backgrounds, sexualities, races, genders.  You name it.  It was the mix that made it interesting.  Uptown and downtown was just the start of it.  And The Warhol is the same… We have one of the most diverse staffs of any art museum in America… There’s space for lots of different people at The Warhol and that’s because of the richness of Warhol’s legacy.”

To learn more about Patrick Moore and the Warhol, read the full interview at The Sophia News.

Dance, Music

Exclusive Interview: Eva Conti, Accomplished Musician and Dancer

Credit: Janet Axelrod, Courtesty of Eva Conti, 2018

Eva Conti is a professional, touring musician who has traveled globally for her work– from Palm Beach, to Tel Aviv. She is proficient in a variety of instruments such as guitar and piano, but her primary instrument is the French Horn, in which she has a Masters degree from the Manhattan School of Music.

Ms. Conti is not only an gifted musician, but an incredible Flamenco dancer. Her ability as a dancer is another talent that has taken her across the world. When travelling more locally, she choreographs some of her own work and performs with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra.

Image result for eva conti french horn
Eva Conti. Credit: David Sussan, Courtesy of Eva Conti, 2018

Interviewology: Describe your evolution from music lover to performer. 

Eva Conti: Music was in the family. My mother was an amateur classical pianist and was always playing Chopin. My dad was a jazz bebop musician and performed with the big bands by the age of 16. In Korea during the war, he played a bit then came back to play the sax. He was disillusioned with some of his colleagues and chose another profession, then moved to Paterson, New Jersey. I grew up in Old Tappan. Our house was always loaded with musicians, even late at night. I grew up in that musical atmosphere, and was taught to play percussion and flute at a young age. I followed my older sister’s piano lessons and her trajectory into music. In high school, I picked up guitar, playing mostly Joni Mitchell. I started playing and singing in coffee houses in college at the University of Rhode Island, where I earned degrees in biology and classical guitar.

I was introduced to the French Horn in college and began playing it regularly. After completing college, I met David Jolly, a horn player of the Newport Classical Music Festival. It was an interesting time, and I started studying with him. I went for my Masters at the Manhattan School of Music for the horn. I played in lots of different venues and circumstances. The horn eventually became more a more prominent part of my life. Music became a calling, taking me over. I built my career studying and slowly getting more paid work in New York City, and moved to Israel. I was married to a musician in the Israel Philharmonic. I auditioned for the opera orchestra in Tel Aviv and got the job.

We toured together. It was a great time for me– touring the world. I later played with most of the orchestras in Tel Aviv and lived there four years.

That’s when I started to learn Flamenco as a diversion. In Tel Aviv, there were five Flamenco studios. The roots of the dance are Moorish, Jewish, Gypsy, and Indian. It’s a cultural blend. In Israel there is a cultural link, particularly with the intensity of the art. I took classes there and had a great teacher who taught me castanets. I had always been interested in Flamenco performers like Paco De Lucia. My mother’s mother is from Spain and my Mom’s dad is from Peru, so I have that background. I used to pretend to be a Flamcenco dancer as a kid.


I: What composers do you hold especially dear to your heart? 

EC: My tastes are rooted in Flamenco. Paco De Lucia was a major influence. The documentary Light & Shade shows what happened to him and how he became the greatest Flamenco guitarist. He was forced to practice ten hours per day by his father, and was the bread winner for his family. He had flawless technique, facility, and there is this relaxation that happens when he plays. It is very special. I try to take that into my performance as a horn player. Tensing up is a problem when playing any instrument. Relaxing is key to great performance. He was a great inspiration for me, watching him play.

For classical composers, I love experiencing Mahler’s symphony live as an audience member. The big orchestra pieces are very visceral for me. I enjoy playing them too. I enjoy clear, clean Mozart– like his string pieces. I love to hear that kind of performance.

For contemporary, for the Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival we are playing a piece that has never been recorded by John Addison, an English composer. I am excited about this piece. I love John Williams too. The element of fun with a new piece with no reference point. It is an enjoyable experience, enjoying the use of color, their influences from their time. I like the process of doing lesser known work or a new piece and hearing where it came from.

I: What do you have lined up for 2018?

The Palm Beach Chamber Music Festival. I also play in as a sub in several Broadway Productions, like the Lion King and Frozen.

I’m going to be dancing in March of 2019 with the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in South Florida– in Palm Beach Gardens, Stuart, and the Boca Symphonia for Sunday Concerts at the St. Andrew’s School.

I am also doing my own choreography for Flamenco. The evolution of it was an interesting process. After the fact, observing it, I realized my influences. The connection is very interesting. While I love playing for the ballet and seeing these pieces, I learn a little about classical training as a dancer versus more modern approaches to choreography. People like Martha Graham are doing their own thinking.

The thing about Flamnceo that has always kept my interest is that I love the tradition of it. There is plenty of fusion, now but I respect the experimental side of it. It may draw in audiences that you might not otherwise get.

New technologies like smartphone video help us capture more, but it also hurts the tradition.

When I stayed in Granada, it was a great experience. Lorca felt at the time that Flamenco was not respected enough, and Manuel de Falla, started a competition for singing at the Alhambra that still exists. I love the age and historicity of flamenco and how it can be molded to accept other influences. My teacher was a very traditional teacher– Jose Molina of the Jose Greco company in New York City.

My family and my husband are supportive of my career, because of the demands of travel. Flamenco’s tradition of oral and verbal transference of the tradition is very special.

I: If you could perform in one symphony hall which would it be?

EC: My favorite was the Musikverein in Vienna. I have not yet played in the Sydney Opera House, and I would love to play there. I did play in La Scala and Carnegie Hall and was blessed with those experiences. The Philadelphia Orchestra Hall is also lovely.

Arts, Film

Hollywood Legend Rob Reiner Looks Back on an Epic Career

Nowadays, when people think of legends of Hollywood, they think of people like J.J. Abrams, Lady Gaga, or maybe even Steven Spielberg. Rob Reiner is not a name that is readily on the tongues of youths listing off their favorite celebrities, but what they don’t realize is without Rob Reiner, many of their favorite classics wouldn’t exist.

One of the Most Notable Filmmakers in History

Perhaps All in the Family doesn’t ring a bell for those looking into Reiner’s work, but movies like The Princess Bride, Miss Congeniality, and When Harry Met Sally… certainly do. These accolades alone are enough to establish Reiner as one of the most iconic men in Hollywood, but his credentials as director and producer also include Stand By Me, Misery, A Few Good Men, and so much more. His work has not only shaped Hollywood, but cinema as well.

Rob Reiner, renowned actor, director, and producer. Credit: Brian Ach/Invision/AP

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Rob Reiner talks about his legacy in the industry and some favorite memories of his film work, but with an abashed and humble attitude that surprises, coming from someone who has been in the limelight for 50 years. It almost seems hard for him to imagine that his films have made such an impact on the world. However, when the interviewer suggests this may be due to the fact that Hollywood doesn’t make films like his anymore, Reiner agrees.

It’s a different time now and studios are making big event pictures and franchises and sometimes an R-rated comedy. So everybody who wants to make movies about people, politics or relationships has to find independent financing, and that’s what I do with Castle Rock Entertainment.”

Reiner expresses that big production companies are wanting more and more to make millions of dollars, but he entered the business “to express [himself] and tell stories, not just churn out a product.”

Learning with Harry and Sally

As a man who has worked on so many unique and exciting projects, Rob Reiner has learned a thing or two about the industry and life itself. One bout of knowledge he recalls is illustrated in the iconic “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in When Harry Met Sally…

While working on the film, a friend of his mentioned the fact that females fake orgasms, and when he asked his collaborator, Nora Ephron, she easily confirmed the fact.

Men don’t know about this, we have to put that in the movie!” Reiner said.

The well-known line, delivered by Reiner’s mother, Estelle Reiner, was a product of the main actor, Billy Crystal.

More than a Film Executive

Rob Reiner has told a number of classic stories the world has grown to cherish, but many of his recent passion projects are in the political spectrum. On top of being one of the most renowned Hollywood executives, Rob Reiner is a celebrity philanthropist. His work includes the founding of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which pushed for the legalization of same-sex marriage in California. As a man strongly against smoking, Reiner campaigned for higher taxes on cigarettes in his state. The money was transferred to prenatal care and childhood programs. His most recent project is in the realm of gun-violence.

With a longstanding career that has stood the test of time, and advocacy that has truly made an impact on society, Rob Reiner has shaped much of the world we know today. From simple things like silly film references, to the political landscape of California, Rob Reiner is a film executive who has truly made a difference.

Beauty, Health

Exclusive Interview: Dr. Angelo Thrower, Pioneering Miami Skin Care Doctor and Entrepreneur

Dr. Angelo Thrower is a leading physician in Miami, Florida who specializes in skin, body and hair care for people of color and of diverse ethnicities. His work has revolutionized treatment procedures for ethnic skin, and his practice, the MedSpa, has enforced this newfound knowledge with state-of-the-art procedures. The MedSpa focuses on individualized treatments not only for certain skin types, but the specific plights these skin types face.

Dr. Angelo Thrower

Between running business, operating a skin-care line, and acting as one of the Miami Heat’s specialists for over 25 years, Dr. Thrower has his hands full. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Thrower reveals how he got into the business, what inspires him, and the impact he hopes to make (and currently makes) on the world of ethnic skin care.

Interviewology: What inspired you to get into the business of skin care?

Dr. Angelo Thrower: I was a medical student at the University of Miami in 1985. We had 180 students in our class, and six or eight were of darker skin. I was part of a true minority. The school would invite black doctors who practice in the area to give us talks. We would get general surgeons, OBGYNs and other specialists. During that time, I asked the question: What does our community need? I had intended to go into thoracic surgery. The doctors who came in as guest speakers, especially the African American ones, all said “We don’t have any dermatologists.” At the time, I had no interest in it, but I decided to look at the field.

I remember my time as a student well and with fondness. One of the things that struck me in the medical library was that all the Dermatology textbooks featured white people. There was no interest to identify skin conditions in people with other skin hues or people of other skin color. That piqued my interest dramatically. I kept asking questions and the professors would tell me there is no difference among people with different skin color. I would study the cases and visit underprivileged clinics at Jackson Memorial hospital and see the opposite is true, for example, with atopic dermatitis. This condition can look different in darker skin and the treatment and management of this condition in people of darker skin can be very different.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation seemed always associated with Atopic Dermatitis in darker skin and Ointment base medications were much more effective than creams and lotions. I would see major differences that contradicted the textbooks and the assumed knowledge of doctors at that time.

With African Americans, Caribbean Islanders and people of darker skin tones, there are other special considerations that Caucasians do not have. I started looking at medications prescribed to Caucasians people. For example, Psoriasis a condition can affect the scalp, may require a topical medication, but it’s typically the wrong vehicle for black people. For blacks who only wash their hair every 7-10 days, the traditional treatment, which would be an alcohol vehicle, would create great difficulties and could possibly worsen the condition. Black hair and scalp requires oils and ointments for good health. Whereas for whites who wash their hair every day to remove oils, the alcohol vehicle medications are tolerable.

I started ordering books from England to get a broader and global understanding of dermatological conditions and treatments for darker skinned peoples. These books gave me a better knowledge and more awareness for this field as it relates to people of African descent.

I soon realized there were as many cultural misunderstandings and biases that contributed to medical misunderstandings and lack of proper treatment and solutions for people of color. Minoxidil is prescribed for Alopecia but once again it is alcohol or foam based. I realized I had to take that medication and put it in a moisturizing vehicle to treat people of color. I developed the Minoxidil in a scalp friendly formula that moisturizes the scalp while delivering the medication. The product is called ThroGrower.

Now we have a product that has proven efficacy and is compatible with dark skin dermatological needs and their lifestyle.

I: What inspired you during your education, residency, and formative years that made you want to open your own practice?

AT: I had a gap year where I did a lot of wound healing research. I was able to spend time at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, GA. I became friends with J. Graham Smith, President of the Academy of Dermatology at the time. He was aware of my special interest in black skin. I could express my opinion throughout the entire time of my externship there. In August, I spent most of my time reading text books on Black Skin versus White Skin disorders, atlas after atlases on the same and researching on the same. Dr. Smith expressed to me his desire to admit me into his program. He told me not to apply to any other dermatology program in the country.

I later went to George Washington University Medical center in Washington D.C., doing my residency continuing my research and reading everything I could about black dermatology. Realizing I was in Washington and the home of Howard University, a historically black college and medical center, I looked through the faculty and discovered John A. Kenny, the father of black dermatology. I would spend my weekends sitting on his front porch with him for hours as he gave me a better understanding of my studies and his experiences. He inspired me to continue my thrust for knowledge and awareness for dermatology in black skin. At this point I realized I was on a mission and nothing was going to stop me. Later, Dr. Smith from The Medical College of Georgia called me on the phone and told me my spot as a resident was taken and not available, dramatically altering my path and upsetting my plans.

But that put me on a different path. I returned home to South Florida. I took odd jobs working in a nursing home, working for insurance companies, working in pre-op at hospitals, but I had the Black dermatology bug burning in me during this time.

I had already read and studied most of the available information and was very confident and competent to fulfill my dream against all odds.

I decided to publish an ad in the local Black newspaper called The Miami Times. It read: “Do you suffer from acne, dark spots, shaving bumps, bumps on the neck, dry scalp, or skin discoloration? These are the most common problems black people face. That ad brought in many people, including Dwight Lauderdale, a TV anchor for local news on Channel 10. He then in turned me to Dr. Stuart Leeds, the former Miami Heat Podiatrist, who told me, “If you were a stock, I would buy you now.” I was introduced to the then-trainer of the Miami Heat, Mr. Ron Culp, and they started allowing me to address the Dermatological needs of the players and the organization. I concentrated on the areas I knew I was an expert in. I stayed within my niche.

I: Please describe what you find most rewarding in your practice with regards to helping people with their appearances.

AT: Because of the longevity of my practice, I still get tremendous joy when patients come in and you can tell they were struggling with certain dermatological conditions and a certain expectation of me and we are able to put together an integrative medical approach just for them. I show them how to take care of their skin. I begin by teaching them how to determine their skin type to make the right selection of products for them. I create a topical treatment program and when necessary add energy devices such as our laser machine for skin rejuvenation and many other services.

I: Which MedSpa procedure is the most gratifying for you to preform? Why?

AT: Our MedSpa offers many different types of services, from chemical peels and acne surgery to microdermabrasion and mole removal, hair removal, stretch mark repair— but the real star of the MedSpa is circumferential fat reduction, skin tightening, and cellulite removal. This procedure for the reduction of fat has been nothing short of a miracle. No dieting, no pills, no exercising, and no down time, no anesthesiology. The machine melts fat naturally, the fat is vacuumed to the to the surface of the skin and the body absorbs it immediately and we see dramatic results.

I: How do you see your role as the creator of a new line of skin care products? Do you consider yourself an entrepreneur as well as a doctor?

AT: By nature, because of the large volume of inventory and different industry-related vendors I communicate with on a daily basis along with my experience, in the early 2000s. I had the opportunity to distribute my skin care products in Walmart across the USA. That put me into a major entrepreneurial place as a professional. The three books I authored— Black Skin Care for the Practicing Professional, Skin Care: How to Save Your Skin, and Basic Care for Naturally Textured Hair—opening my own hair salon, Hair Mystique, and running my dermatology clinic, I am more of an entrepreneur. But when I am in the examination room with a patient I am totally in a physician mindset. When I leave the room, I am an entrepreneur.

I: Describe how your practice is influenced by the aesthetics of Miami and its unique populace. 

AT: Miami, outside of the Caribbean Islands, is the perfect location for my practice because of the many different types of cultures we have. Our patients are all considered “ethnic”. You don’t have to be black to be considered a minority in the USA. Miami offers a wide variety of different shades of the same skin— black, brown, African, Latino, Caribbean.

I: When did you know you wanted to create your own skin-care line? What was the inspiration? 

AT: Every single product I have created, approximately 40, was based on a patient’s need. The most basic questions from patients are “What should I wash my face with?” for example, and it got me to think and develop a specific type of product for dark and ethnic skin types. Once I understood how to teach people to determine their skin type (oily, dry, combination), I was able to realize I could take this lack of product knowledge as an opportunity to make one holistic compatible regimen of products to match a patient’s true skin type. I came up with a variety of products and made every ingredient in each product compatible and designed specifically for each skin type. If you have dry skin, oily skin, the ingredients in will take care of your needs.

I: How long did it take you to develop the Skin Type Specific line products?

AT: Every product I have, my patients are very tolerant, I would make fifty sample bottles and give away samples, get feedback. The process can take up to 5 years or longer.

I work closely with patients and the chemists to develop the right product and the right ingredients.

I: Being one of the physicians for the Miami Heat must be vastly different from being a skin care doctor. How do you balance these two professions?

AT: First, working with the Miami Heat organization I have the honor of working with other top physicians in their field. Working with other top professionals will always make your job easier. I work with the entire organization. Our training staff, lead by our head trainer Mr. Jay Sabol, is the best in the business in making sure our players always receive top notch care. There is no turnover. Our medical support team is constant most of our medical staff has over 20 years together with The Miami Heat. We are a team that takes care of the team.

I: What is the one piece of skin-care advice you give to all your clients?

AT: Stop and think.

I: Do you have any new, exciting products or services you hope to offer within the next year?

AT: I am now in my eighth year of finalizing a formula that is scalp-friendly for all ethnic hair types for alopecia. One of my mentors in medical school, Guinter Khan, is the original creator of minoxidil. Since working with him, I have had a desire and drive to make that formula more appropriate for black people. I now have that formula rock solid with a patent pending in ten different countries, and we are dispensing it and promoting now.

It’s called Throw Grower, with a stem cell root stimulator, called Redensyl. The base is scalp friendly because it contains aloe butter and argon oil. It is a perfect vehicle for ethnic hair types. The results are dramatic.