Supporting Women’s Habitat 40th Anniversary

Directed by: Oana CR, To:Her / Produced by: Char San Pedro, 920 Films/Good To Be Good 
Featuring: Silvia Samsa, Victoria Roth, Munice Wright, Gia Dejulio, Cecilia Nuñez

On November 2nd, 1978, Women’s Habitat opened the doors to their emergency shelter. Within 2 weeks, they were full and have been ever since. Over the past 40 years, they have grown to expand their services to include supports and programming for women, children and youth at the community outreach centre in the heart of South Etobicoke. They have advocated for better laws, policies and services that respond to the needs of women and children who have experienced violence and oppression. They have created awareness and fought against systemic oppression. They have partnered with their community to deliver inclusive, client centred services and continue to work to break down barriers within our own walls.

In March 2018, Women’s Habitat hosted several events and initiatives to celebrate their accomplishments, reflect of its history and honour the women who have walked through their doors. Women’s Habitat is built on a foundation of committed community members, donors and supporters who for 40 years have championed their mission.

I am proud to be a loud and active advocate for Women’s Habitat. I encourage you to donate generously to help continue the work of the shelter and to contribute the fight against women’s violence.

Here’s to women’s strength, support and solidarity.



The encompassing definition of feminism is the support and advocacy of political, social and economic rights for women equal to those of men. This can also mean that we recognize feminism from different perspectives for different women regardless of race, sexual orientation, economic status, nationality, class, etc. When we operate from a space that supports and engages these ideals, we are free to encourage feminine values in our homes, the workforce and society. The core of its meaning denotes an inclusive ecosystem where women have real access to their choices, voicing their truth and living out their personal liberation unobstructed by repercussion or oppression.

Simply put, feminism is the belief for equality and humanity for ALL.

Female equality has come a long way – a real journey worth celebrating. But progress isn’t destined; it’s an outcome generated by our continued conscious efforts and determination. Whether propagating feminist terminology or not, there are people (many of them my heroes!) to salute for their dedication and leadership: Michelle Obama, Eleanor Roosevelt, Oprah, Gloria Steinem, Angelina Jolie, Audre Lorde, Maya Angelou, Malala Yousaf and other countless women championing their distinct purpose and fighting the good fight for gender justice.

Feminism has never had so much far-reaching support. It is not identified with “anti-male” judgment or female power rivalry. It does not have to be consigned to a pseudo-fashionable statement either. This slanders the development itself and can leave us caught in a discourse of misinterpretation, diverting us from improving our core goals. That is: humanity, equality, a place for everyone, especially women, to progress wholly. This requires a responsibility in learning what the issues are, understanding all the layers of a woman and how it impacts the woman’s ability to live a full life. It means opening our eyes, ears, minds and hearts to the discrimination, both subtle and overt, that women from every corner of the world face. It demands deep work in building social movements that are intersectional and not a one-size-fits-all formula because oppression is experienced in many ways (racism, bigotry, sexism, economic status, sexual orientation, violence, health issues, etc.) We are here to listen, be loud in what we believe in and work in bringing society closer to our highest ideals by advancing spaces for women’s meaningful participation.

We still exist in a time of great change, a time where many women are still systematically disadvantaged, living in the toughest of economic circumstances, suffering from abuse, violence and a lack of access to education and health. Our global progress requires thoughtful voices and multifaceted action for any efficacious impact to take flight. Feminism depends on a mind that demands freedom and collective activism from within so that we can dismantle harmful traditional narratives and reform the very systemic structures that oppress women. We need allies. If we want to shift our policies, our politics, and civil societies, we need to start cognitively and holistically, check our attitudes and help retool the system so that women who are the most vulnerable can be seen, heard and prosperous. Feminism is about women’s rights and equal power that benefits everyone.

Power and hope knows no gender. We all carry this within us. Women’s existence is a responsibility for all.

The world becomes a better place when we cultivate what makes us all truly human.

‘UNDIVIDED’ Campaign for Good To Be Good Foundation. Photographed by Tara Noelle. Glam by Kestra Goldman. Clothing by Skylar Yoo and Novella Royale


In Love With The Coco

For Kapuluan Coconut in Tulum. Shot by Lisa Jackson.

I have a very special relationship with the COCO. Coming from a Polynesian-Islander-South Asian background, coconut-anything (oil specifically) is an essential component of my lifestyle. You may think it’s merely this health trend but it has actually benefited people around the world for thousands of years. Coconut and its products are no strangers to people in the tropics and its culture, who have been using them for a very long time. Even when the ‘anti-saturated fat war’ waged in America, it never stopped Islanders from benefiting from the multi-faceted healing powers of this super fruit. Islanders have been using the purest forms of coconut (oil) to nourish, heal and enrich their bodies for ages. Consumed in moderation, coconuts can benefit your health by helping fight and prevent infection with its powerful natural anti fungal and anti septic properties. They’re highly nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals including iron, vitamin B, C, calcium, magnesium and selenium. In cooking and baking, they work as perfect alternatives to dairy products as it’s lactose free and vegan. Coconuts can be a staple fat source for any diet since it’s high in saturated fatty acids, lauric acid and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) which are easily burned as fuel by the body and helps boost metabolism. The best part is that it tastes and smells yummy on everything! When choosing a coconut brand, always opt for: organic, fair trade and cold-pressed. You deserve only the best. And the planet will thank you.

Most useful way to consume coconut? Coconut oil to moisturize skin. No parabens, no fragrances, no weird additives – just pure natural goodness and joy on the skin. 

Other ways to use coconut oil? Make up remover, pre and post sun lathers, oil pulling, hair conditioning.

Best thing about coconut oil? How truly versatile it is. Mother nature’s finest. 


Woman, A Poem.

Do not underestimate the thunderous words a woman isn’t afraid to speak.
Do not underestimate the powerful gentleness of a woman.
Do not underestimate the vulnerability of a woman’s cry.
Do not underestimate the strength of a woman when she is in pain.
Do not underestimate the smile of a woman.
Do not underestimate the confidence of a woman in a bikini, in a burqa, in a pantsuit, in ripped jeans, in second-hand clothes, in a saree.
Do not underestimate the woman who puts up with a lot of shit.
(Who takes none of it.)
Do not underestimate the love a woman gives, as grand as the ocean, beyond all faults.
Do not underestimate her steadfast intuition.
Do not underestimate the duality of fire and stillness that lives within her.
Do not underestimate the woman who can deal with change and uncertainty,
because she isn’t dependent on what she does or has
— but who she is.

Tara Noelle for Fortnight Lingerie



“Etobicoke’s Women’s Habitat launches winter campaign with powerful ad”

I am gratified to share with everyone our latest 920 Films x Good To Be Good project for our friends at Women’s Habitat. Directed by James O’Donnell, “Choices”, highlights the special bond between a mother and her child as they seek safety and assistance from Women’s Habitat. We are honoured to have created a vital piece to augment the awareness for women’s abuse and violence through the power of story telling.

Hunger, violence and homelessness never take breaks! Community shelters are in need of your support, especially this holiday season when it is cold and lonely for some, to ensure that these families and kids’ fundamental necessities are taken care of. We hope you contribute to this imperative cause and support WH whether it’s with the smallest or biggest of deeds. It’s always a good time to give abundantly. So please give generously to this vital cause. Greater than that, share love, warmth and time wherever you go.

Full press and video link from Inside Toronto News here:

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