Tatiana Fernald is one of the most humble, selfless human beings I’ve ever encountered on this planet. An LA-based entrepreneur and philanthropist, she’s passionate about loving and positively changing humanity through programs, events, and online discussions on self-love, being a world-changer, and how to inform the public on global issues. Tatiana is the Artistic Director of Pageant 360 & the Go Impact Conference, an inner beauty conference and showcase. She’s also the co-founder of Millennial Minded, a media-driven organization with a passion for equipping millennials to change the world and stay informed on major global issues.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Tatiana about her entrepreneurial ventures, philanthropic efforts, and the unbreakable bond she has with Christ during our recent interview. Take a look.
Who is Tatiana?
Oh geez! That’s a loaded question for sure, haha. I would consider myself, first and foremost, a Christ-following entrepreneur. That’s the main thing I identify myself as. I make all my decisions—both personally and professionally—from the lens of wanting to please Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. Beyond that, I’m a very philanthropic person. I always want any and everything I do to be able to benefit other people in some way, shape, or form. Particularly, benefit those that are seen as less than, outcasts of society, or have not had the opportunity—within the world’s makeup—to have the love, joy, and understanding of who their Heavenly Father is.
I see that you’re involved in so many amazing things, and I’m curious to learn more about your current projects.
Millennial Minded—a project that I literally just started—was originally a women’s entrepreneur/empowerment blog. I’m one of the co-founders of that. The Lord put [Millennial Minded] on my heart—and my sister’s heart. We really want to be able to tap into the hearts and minds of millennials, and identify what the issues are that society has put—either blame, vicious stereotypes, or negative connotations—specifically on the millennial generation. We also want to be able to have a place that is open and media-driven, where we can have an honest and pure discussion on hot topics that would be considered controversial. [Topics] that might push someone’s buttons, but are really essential for understanding who we are as human beings. [We want to be] able to empathize with one another, form ideas, and play off of each other with how we can make this whole world a better place. That’s kind of the structure in what we’re trying to do with Millennial Minded. Hopefully, in the next few months, we’ll be able to have content out there that will really reflect where our heart is.
That’s so awesome. What about Pageant 360? Tell me more about that.
That’s my fun project, to say the least! One of my very best friends, Carly Hartman, founded it. The heart behind that is, there are so many programs and different avenues in the pageant world specifically. They say that [traditional pageants are all] about empowering and educating women. But really, it’s just feeding into the misogynistic and body-conscious world that we live in. [They base] their programs on how a woman appears, how she looks, how she gives off a certain energy or vibe, versus what she’s saying, what her passions are, how she’s impacting the world, and how she’s impacting the community. Pageant 360 was formed because of my girlfriend, Carly, who really wanted to fill that void for a lot of young women. [She wanted to] give a program that genuinely [promotes] inner beauty, self-love from the inside out and not the outside in, and [having the ability] to accomplish things that are not only geared toward making an impact and changing our world; but also [making an impact on] the people in your inner circle, and making relationships where you can mutually [encourage and strengthen] one another. That’s really what the heart is behind Pageant 360. To go 360 all around the world. To give young women the opportunity to learn how to love themselves, and make the world a better place.
When was Pageant 360 established?
Officially, Pageant 360’s first showcase was in August of 2014. Its formation was the February prior to the first event that we ever did, so it’s been about three years [as of next] February. It’s been amazing so far.
What’s the targeted age group for the pageant?
Pageant 360 is currently expanding. We actually went from doing one local pageant to going national, and we’re gonna have several nationwide in the next few years. Our first branch-out will be in Texas this upcoming year. Within the current set-up, the age range goes from 13-23. We’re really targeting the young girl who’s just developing the confidence and self-esteem she needs, both in school and within her personal passions/interests. [We’re also targeting] the young woman who has a sense of self, but maybe hasn’t been given the tools and tact to be able to do what she wants, know who she is, and [find] her identity in what she’s passionate about.
What has some of the winners of this pageant gone on to do?
The first official pageant winner was my sister, Sierra. Ending human trafficking was her platform. That was the thing she felt so strongly connected to as her world-changing platform. She’s actually gone on—on top of working with me with Millennial Minded—to be an advocate for ZOE International, an international organization that rescues children in human trafficking, and goes to communities in Thailand to help prevent further trafficking in those areas. ZOE International has a full-fledged orphanage, and they’re also planning another center here in Los Angeles. Sierra has done voice-overs for their programming, campaigns, and she’s helped in leading different fundraisers they’ve done. She’s also been a part of several events they’ve hosted to help fund raids, so [the organization] can go into brothels and places like that—in Thailand—to end human trafficking. So, she’s been very involved in that area after Pageant 360.
Last year’s teen winner, Roni Shasanmi, is actually in the process of becoming a recording artist. She specifically has the heart to make music a form of artistic expression for kids, teens, and young adults who are from more rural areas. The people who don’t have a lot of money or programs that would help develop their artistic expression. She’s going in and helping to start these programs, and creating community outreach through what she’s doing.
Karen Bailey, the current reigning winner of Pageant 360, is now editor-in-chief of an online publication. She’s also digging into the journalism side, and working towards using writing as a dialogue starter for politics, issues happening internationally around war & violence, and the ways we can help people around the world. Those are just a couple of examples of people who have won Pageant 360, and what they’re doing after the program. [The team and I are] all very supportive and involved in the events they’re doing.
WOW. That’s so inspiring to hear that they’re also doing such amazing things. You’re involved with some philanthropic projects as well, correct?
Yes, I’ve done a lot of philanthropic things. I come from a family where my mom’s college major was Peace, Justice & Conflict Resolution. With her background, I grew up being very much aware of the fact that we live in a broken world, with hurting people who are just misunderstood. So, I’m passionate about partaking in things that not only help people better express themselves, but also get the help they need in order to help others. I really feel that it’s a pay-it-forward effect, you know? If you make good on your passions, talents, and what you’ve been given, then you can help someone else do the same.
One project I’ve been really involved with is suicide hotlines—specifically in the LA County area—for teens and young adults. They help [suicidal people] change their minds about wanting to end their lives, and give them tools and resources to do something with their lives. I’ve had the opportunity to work with 200 people, roughly…helping them get to that place where they see the value in their lives. That’s been my passion project.
I know that we both live in the LA area, and the homeless community is pretty big out here. Do you play it part in helping the community as well?
I definitely—particularly last year—was involved with that. But I kind of refocused [my efforts on] people who are suicidal this year, as well as people involved with trafficking. The homeless community, I think, has been encompassed into all of that. There are so many people—that end up on the streets—who become victims of human trafficking, or deal with chronic depression and mental illness. [Some homeless people] want to kill themselves, so it’s very much a part of what I’m still doing. I did two different outreaches last year: One with Pageant 360 and one on my own. I helped the LA Mission out with what they’re doing at the Dream Center, as well as the New Friends Homeless Center with the work they’re doing. [New Friends Homeless Center] provides meals for the homeless in the community, and have inspirational talks and open discussions about how they can get back on their feet, get clean or get sober. They also put them through a recovery program so they can get back to being fully functional in society.
I’ll tell you this, Tatiana. You have truly inspired me throughout this conversation. You’re being such a light in this world, and I just love seeing women like you go out and be so selfless. You really care about what’s going on in the community, and that’s such a breath of fresh air.
What keeps you going?
Oh man. I would say, knowing that God loves His people. God created us all, and He loves us unconditionally. The only way that He can truly express His love is through people being His hands and feet, getting out there and truly doing His work…to keep it simple. For me, it’s just such a motivation and such a passion to be able to see people seeing the unconditional love of God through other people. You always hear the saying, “hurt people hurt people,” and I wanna switch that. I feel like that’s what my purpose is, to make [the point] that people who are loved on, love others. My whole passion through whatever I do is to always keep in mind that as long as I’m loving someone, helping people, and my heart is to see people healed and not see people broken, then I’m doing what my Heavenly Father would be pleased with. That’s what keeps me going.