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In height of a surge in the pandemic, friends, family & committed people from all walks of life, came together & sat for portraits to showcase my Matters of the Heart 2022 headpiece collections.

The pandemic has provided an opportunity for reflection on spousal roles and the need for respectful sharing. This demand for equality, a firm tenet and underlying core of Matters of the Heart, has spurred acceptance of gender diversity and marriage. LGBTQ couples now have the same rights to see their unions made official, and can enjoy celebrating their love with traditional wedding ceremonies.

These strong, committed people have inspired my new collection, and I’m proud to showcase this beautiful diverse garden of humanity as models for the Erica Elizabeth Designs Matters of the Heart collections.

 

Larry & Juan

My name is Larry Dean Harris. I'm a playwright, a storyteller and have been told I'm an impresario. I've spent the last year of my life with this young man. Together, we've shared just about every emotion in the spectrum: sometimes all of them in one day. But my favorite is surprise. Often, with just a few words or a simple gesture, he fills my heart with that giddy, goofy + glorious feeling until it erupts with laughter, love and joy. .................................................................................... My name is Juan Espinosa. I work in the amazing field of physical therapy where I aim to help every patient become a better version of themselves. Along my journey I crossed paths with a man who shrunk the population of the world from billions of people to just us two just each time I look into his eyes. As I spend my life helping others become the best that they can be, here I am now with a man who is doing the same for me. .................................................................................. Larry is wearing the Victorious Crown & Juan is wearing the Byzantine Enchantment Crown

Matt & Joanne

Joanne DeCaro is an oral historian and PhD candidate studying criminology, law and society. She currently records the stories of men and women who have spent decades behind bars and have found their freedom after so long inside. She hears in these stories amazing tales of hope, transformation, and forgiveness, which reminds her that even in the absolute worst of circumstances the power of love, community, and support for each other. .................................................................................... Matthew Woodland is an electrician and from Arleta. Matthew and Joanne have been a couple for ten years and have been friends for 18 years. They value their long standing friendship above all else, and still try to make each other laugh every day. .................................................................................... Matt is my nephew & he is wearing the Moments in Time Crown. His brilliant partner Joanne is wearing the May Day Floral Silk Flower Crown. They are engaged to be married.

Sophie & Meghan

Sophie & Meghan are a loving couple who work in Addiction Recovery. Sofie is a therapist specializing in Addiction Therapy and Counseling & Meghan is working on getting her credentials. Sofie is the child of my life long friend. ............................................................................. Sophie is wearing the Millennium Star Tiara Meghan is wearing the Earthbound Misfit Crown

The Diaz Family

Jovany, Megan, Landon & Paige. Jovany is a proud veteran of the United States Marines & served our country during the First Gulf War. Jovany works for the county of Los Angeles for the department of auditor - controller in systems development and security. .............................................................................. Megan works assisting women's health program in innovation for Los Angeles County department of health services. She is my brilliant niece. ................................................................................. Landon loves dinosaurs, nature, reading & building things. Paige is fierce, independant & loves unicorns. ................................................................................. They are one of the millions of families that have had to navigate the Pandemic working with school children remotely at home. They did an amazing job! ................................................................................. Jovany is wearing the Europa Roman Coin Crown, Megan is wearing the Clementine Rose Gold Crown, Landon is wearing the Artemis Moon Tiara & Paige is wearing the Collector’s Item Crown.

Patricia K. Perry, M.D.

Living, loving and working in these turbulent times has been challenging, enlightening, and rewarding. It has tested our societal mettle and pushed our personal strength to the limit. The beauty in this situation is that it is making us grow— individually and collectively. At the end of it all, my hope is that we will end up with a more compassionate, loving and user friendly society. I think it’s possible to get there if we seek true balance within ourselves, give others the grace to find theirs and remain open to change. Patricia K. Perry, M.D. ........................................................................................... Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sitting for my shoot Pat. Your beautiful spirit made it so much fun.

David & Erica

In the past fifteen months I have been lovingly cared for and supported by my partner Erica, and by friends and co-workers, as I found myself facing emergency surgeries and the loss of part of my vision in one eye. Going through hard times together can bond us to one another more closely. Losses must be grieved to be sure, but they can also be a catalyst to embrace more fully what we do have and those we love. Those experiences can help us become more clear about what really matters to our hearts. ....................................................................................... I met this wonderful man while experiencing a landslide of loss in my life. The first time I saw him, he walked into a room of people with that big friendly smile of his, he sat next to me & I was afraid he would notice my blush. After 18 years I feel this way every day. We both enjoy the most routine rituals that send many people running. Things like new bars of soap in the shower, falling asleep & waking with coffee in the morning together. We are old fashioned & we don’t mind! .................................................................................. David is wearing the Aphrodite Seashell Crown & I am wearing the Rose of Sharon crown.

Jose & Leslie

Jose & Leslie have been married for 5 years but have been together since they were practically kids. They absolutely adore each other! ............................................................................................. Jose is a musician, Engineer, Mixer/Producer. He has just released his first album under Lui Salazar, "Expressions" & we love it! ............................................................................................ Leslie in the home building business & she works with buyers to help them realize & design details for their dream home. ............................................................................................. Jose is wearing the Bejeweled Desire Crown & Leslie is wearing the Marie de France Crown.

Darya

My name is Darya Teesewell. I am a woman of trans history who is retired from the Motion Picture Industry (I toiled behind the cameras) who is currently writing, enjoying her life and her incredible, supportive and talented family. I'm tall, sober and like burritos. ......................................................................................... Darya is wearing the Supernova Celestial Crown.

Marlene

The most talented & fascinating women in Los Angeles! (Former New Yorker) Writer, Storyteller, Performer, Adventurer, Producer. The very couture minded Marlene wears the Haute Milan birdcage veil.

Max, Gabby & Sophia

Max is a lovely partner to Gabby & a sweet father to Sophia. He is brilliant USC graduate & Senior Vice President at an equity firm. I might add that he is my nephew & was a wonderful little guy reading Harry Potter books at a very young age. ..................................................................................... From Gabby. I’m a new mom and watching my baby girl experience the world for the first time has been such a joy. It’s allowed me to be more mindful and present and truly appreciate the little pleasures in life. I’m so grateful to have this experience and be able to share it with all my loved ones ❤️ ................................................................................. Sofie is as sweet a child as she looks. She loves to smile, be held & stick her tongue out. .................................................................................. Max is wearing the Earthbound Misfit Celestial Crown, Gabby is wearing the Easy on the Eyes Crown & little Sophia is wearing the Artemis Petite Moon Tiara.

Lindsey & Dan

Lindsey & her man Dan. Two very creative people. If you read my post, you will know that I couldn’t produce my collection shoots without Lindsey. Lindsey is an extraordinary artist, humorist & one of my top persons. She & Dan met by blind date during the early days of the pandemic lockdown & navigated a relationship slowly but surely via Zoom and are now enjoying a flourishing & loving relationship. A true modern love story! ❤️ ...................................................................................... Lindsey is wearing the Butterfly Reserve Flower Crown & Dan is wearing the Delphine Grape Cluster Crown.

Miyo

I’m complicated, but my being is straightforward. I'm quiet, but my tribe hears me louder in silence. I'm indecisive, but my heart knows what it wants. I am a limited edition. ............................................................................................... Miyo is wearing the Savoir-Faire Crown

Terry

Terry was not able to attend our shoot as he had a family loss that prevented him from sitting for his portrait. Terry was missed so he gave me this lovely photo of himself & had Lindsey draw a crown on him. .................................................................................. Terry is Director of Neuroscience Operations at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. He is an amazing person who brings people together & is the best Spin Instructor in the world!

Brandee & Christian

My name is Brandee. I teach yoga and meditation and create sounds to open hearts, mine very much included. My heart opens up wide when I see someone’s body settle into relaxation, when I see a smile brighten a loved one’s face, when I talk to the supremely enlightened children in my circle of friends and family. My heart glows upon seeing raindrops against the windowpane, or light shining through the leaves of a luscious plant, or a silly animal playing around. There are many small moments that matter to my heart and they add up to making this life a pleasure. ......................................................................................... My name is Christian. I am a yoga teacher and musician. The mutual love from my partnership opens my heart out to the rest of the world, whether it is through sharing music that elicits a feeling of love, or respecting and admiring animals, or offering kindness to others. Receiving love gives me the opportunity to feel gratitude. ............................................................................................. Brandee is wearing the & Christian is wearing the Byzantine Enchantment Crown ............................................................................................... Christian (@dreamcometmusic) and Brandee (@beegyoga) run the studio @siestayoga and share sound baths through their project, @modularsoundbath.

Marina

My name is Marina Pacowski and I was born in France. I am a classical concert pianist and a jazz singer based in Los Angeles. I love the vibration and diversity of this city. I am Musician in Residence at the Philosophical Research Society where I curated and I host a monthly concert series “ Spirit and Music”. In this series I am sometimes on piano playing classical music and sometimes I am singing and scatting my heart off on some jazz standards. I invite a special guest every month and we are already at the 10th edition of it! We are looking for patrons, lovers of music, to help us develop our concert series further. I always have 1000 projects in mind, and currently I am recording my debut CD as a vocalist with world class musicians. I am very excited about that! I believe in those words: At the end of the day, the most important thing in life is to love and be loved in return. Marina .......................................................................................... Marina is wearing the Star Dancer Celestial crown stacked with the Mariposa Butterfly Headband.

Caitlin & Aaron

Caitlin is an EMT working in the film industry. Her parents are my dear friends & I have had to pleasure of watching Caitlin grow to be a fine woman since her birth. Caitlin & Aaron are engaged to be married. .................................................................................. Aaron is Cinematographer & entrepreneur of incredible things. Along with his family, they produce Mario’s Sharp Espresso & he is the creator of the Solo Cinebot, a remote camera system for the film industry. He & Caitlin never stop! ..................................................................................... Caitlin is wearing the Bejeweled Desire Crown & Aaron is wearing the Truly Devoted Tiara.

Thank you to all the wonderful people who sat for these images. It means so much to me that you came on your Sunday, all made up & sat in front of a camera which is not always easy to do.

Special thanks to Michael Hirabayashi for shooting the images, Lindsey Anne Francis for assistance on hair & makeup, David Haerle for helping organize & greet everyone & to Randy Kimmler for lending us the space.

With Love,

Erica

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