You guys may know Bre Scullark as a gorgeous alumn from America's Next Top Model. After our conversation with Bre she revealed what she's focused on today and that's bringing peace and healing to urban communities and NYC prisons through yoga. She talked to us about her practice, her work, her recently released documentary, and yes, her effortless beauty routine.
You have a dedicated yoga practice. How did you get into it and how do you manage to stay committed.
I took my first yoga class in 2008. I would practice from time to time but I began a serious practice in 2011. Yoga has helped me through break-ups, job loss, depression and anxiety. I have always had a special place in my heart for yoga.
I try to keep a balance of church, staying physically active and mediation every week. Im not perfect but I have a plan in place. That triangle is my sanity.
Any other self-care practices to keep you balanced?
I have a strong network of spiritual friends. I check in with someone often. I also try to volunteer somewhere to get out of self when my schedule permits.
Yoga can often be seen as a practice for the privileged so we admire your initiatives to bring yoga to underserved communities and the prison system. I'd love to know more about Urban Peace Squad and Liberation Prison Yoga.
I'm teaching on Riker's Island and Manhattan Detention Center. I teach yoga to Men, Women and Transgender Women. In 2014, I spoke the the female inmates on Riker's Island as a part of a line up of motivational speakers. I loved the energy on the "inside". Many of the women there were from my neighborhood. I knew I wanted to support their journey back to life and at the time I was working on my yoga certification. Once certified, I found an organization that offered yoga to inmates and joined immediately. The founder of Liberation Prison Yoga paved the way for me to create outlets for re=entry. [That's one of the main] missions of Urban Peace Squad.
I've heard you mention how little outdoor time prisoners on Rikers Island have and how amazed you are when they choose to give up that small amount of time to practice with you. Can you bring us into that practice a bit.
All of the inmates are invited to join class. Sometimes our class conflicts with their recreational time or clinic appointments. I am always grateful to any student who steps on the mat. It shows tremendous courage and determination to sit with themselves in the midst of their circumstances.
[I always have to remember] safety first; to keep communication open with C.O's assigned to the unit; to respect my students; keep them safe - emotionally and physically and to keep the integrity of the yoga practice, specifically TRAUMA YOGA.
Sometimes I am afraid but I remember I am here to be of service. That gets me out of myself. I remember co-teaching a unit for sexual assault and child molesters. I was terrified. I followed the founder of LPY and focused on providing peace without judgement. After class, I screamed and cried- I was so happy! I felt like I was capable of doing anything without holding hate in my heart.
Is there anything that surprises you about the practice?
Watching people who have never done yoga fall in love with sitting with themselves regardless of the noise and lack of privacy in jail.
You've worn many hats- now film maker! How did the documentary "A Girl Can Dream" come to be?
I wanted to document Urban Peace Squad. We were traveling to different urban communities and introducing yoga and meditation to the people who may not have the resources to practice. For example, [in] Camden, NJ our students were so grateful to have a space to open up and release anything that no longer served them. We came to them. We met them where they were because where they are from does not mean they are undeserving of peace.
My best friend, Marquis Martin is the Creative Director of the film. His mentee, Harry Montas is the director of cinematography. The three of us are from urban neighborhoods (born and raised) [so] we combined moments that were common in community. Noise, violence, liquor stores, children and poverty....
In the midst of chaos, we show peace.
Where can we find and view the film?
We're offering free screenings in each borough [of NYC] however we are still in film festivals so we can't make the film public yet.
We won Best Short Film in the Harlem International Film Festival.
Congrats Bre! We'll have to update you all on where to catch the doc when it becomes more widely available.
OK you know that we have to ask a few beauty questions because we love your short haircut and glowing skin. Tell us about your skincare and haircare routines.
The more I evolve, the deeper my appreciation grows for simplicity. I want to SEE me. My hair was such a distraction. Too much make up is a distraction. I need to see my truth. I love steam rooms! I exfoliate my skin while in the steam room. I love Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Shampoo/Conditioner and Moisturizer for my curls. I use lots of shea butter on my skin. That and tea tree oil.
Any favorites from Vivrant Beauty?
I am sooo ready to try Lip Bar! I hear so many great things about the brand and I am definitely a fan of lip colors that pop.
Anything catch your eye or that you have questions about?
YOU! You have always stood out to me. A young African- American woman owning her own beauty business. Thank you for celebrating black beauty. Whats next?
Ok, now I'm blushing. The admiration is clearly mutual!
Last question because our vivrant beauties have the best taste- tell us about your local Harlem favorites (yoga studios, coffee shops, brow bars, you name it).
The Mist 116th and Chai Wali are my faves!