Kayla Kotsch is primarily an autism advocate who was recently named Worlds Miss United States Tourism 2022. She is also a writer, public speaker, and passionate about inclusion. Kayla was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and it has fundamentally shaped who she is today. She has overcome many obstacles in her 19 years; all due to the amount of advocacy she has received.
Kayla decided in 2019 that she wanted to make a change, a change for herself and for other people like her. She overcame substantial bullying sustained in school as well as being excluded from school events, etc. due to her autism diagnosis. She got tired of having no voice and took a stand to show people that she is different, not less. Now she strives to make a change on how people view autism, showing the wonderful things about autistic people, as well as advocating for a change in state and federal laws. Kayla has spoken within her school, community, and state advocating the need for change and acceptance. Today, not only does she work in her platform of autism awareness, but she has also taken on the platforms of Pet Partners and childhood cancer awareness.
Kayla’s goals for the future are to be able to one day start her own organization that will help those with disabilities learn to advocate for themselves and grow a career in the fashion industry. Being presented with opportunities and role models such as Avadora, Kayla is grateful for the recognition, the inclusion, and the feelings of acceptance. These opportunities only encourage her drive in advocating and in reaching her goal.
Award winning designer, Isabel Lopez launched the couture brand Isabel Original. Isabel got her start at a young age in her native Colombia then emigrated to the United States. The designs of Isabel Original have been on red carpets around the world including the runways of Boston, New York Fashion Week and featured in countless magazine editorials. Isabel brings to her fashion design broad experience including modeling, acting and serving as founder/director of Miss Columbia, New England. Isabel Original ready to wear collection remains true to the brands direction designing magnificent fashions that accentuate the natural curves of a woman’s body while capturing the spirit of elegance that permeates her brand. Isabel also launched Original Living Magazine, another facet of her brand, which gives her the opportunity to feature artists, including herself, on a platform to share their inspired work. www.originallivingmagazine.com.
Recipient of NAMI 2021 Multicultural award and named, “Shirley Chisholm Phenomenal Woman” by Senator Jesse Hamilton, Mayor Eric Adams, and City Council Member Laurie Cumbo. Dr. Elisa is a Clinical Social Worker and mental health expert and advocate. Dr. Elisa is a frequent media guest on Fox 5 NY and Hot 97.1 (Street Soldiers). Most recently featured in CSU Global, she has been featured in a variety of media outlets around the country, including CNN and Bloomberg News. Her direct advice has appeared in Real Health Magazine, Black Enterprise Magazine, Bergen Record, Amsterdam News and Voice of America. She has presented at conferences around the country to include National Urban League, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and Congressional Caucus.
Fashion photographer Priscilla Periut began her fashion career by photographing portraits at some of the most prestigious fashion shows in New York City. Based in Harrison, New Jersey her fashion runway portraits and editorials have made an impact in the fashion industry and are one of a kind. A classic, bold, and luxury style can be seen in her work. Priscilla is renowned for her creativity and collaborating with designers, models, make up artists and stylists in order to create elegant and bold looks.
Donna Sousa, Founder ,CEO & lead artist, of Makeover Artistry by Donna Sousa Productions is a Celebrity hair and makeup artist. Award Winning and Internationally published. She has had years of makeup artist training with well known makeup companies. Donna’s production company, “Makeover Artistry by Donna Sousa Productions” creates concepts, organizes venues, chooses the models, photographers, beauty team and works with designers, one on one, to realize their vision in private publications as well as on social media.
Donna’s interest in the beauty industry started when she was a child. She began styling her friends and families’ hair at the early age of nine. Her passion for doing makeup and hair is inspired by her desire to make people look and feel more beautiful .She accomplished her goal with great flair and talent.
She has been working tirelessly in the makeup and hair industry for decades never losing her enthusiasm for creating beauty. She serves as CEO of Makeover Artistry which she founded in 2000. She works with private clients at her studio that is located at the Salons at RGE in Warwick RI . After owning several salons, over the course of her career, she changed direction in her career path slightly. Donna established MakeoverArtistry by Donna Sousa to concentrate on her crafts as hairstylist, colorist , and makeup artist. She developed a luxury bridal business . She and her team of experts extensively work with brides helping their dreams reach reality for their wedding day. The luxury bridal portion of the company has been a great success. Among her many accomplishments include bringing her expertise to fashion weeks around the country,especially New York. She has done much of the same for her editorial productions and has worked with an array of well known designers.
Makeover Artistry’s Productions spearheads a project by first finding a location and venue. They then develop a concept for the editorial theme and choose which models and designers are best suited to realize her vision. She then finds the photographer, videographer, jeweler, accessories and depending on the project sometimes even a florist. Once this is done, then the production is ready to come to life. Her work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Vogue UK, Seventeen magazine, Red Silk Carpet International Publication, and the Red luxury life to name a few. Her work has appeared on many magazine covers as well. Donna has also been recognized for the Best of the Grammys 2018 for her work that was published in the Vogue blog. She has been in charge of NY Fashion Week back rooms for the creative side. Lead Makeup Director for several designers and genres of New York fashion week/worldwide including Couture, Society, EPN NY Fashion Week, plus many more …She served as lead artist for an array of designers including Patricia Fields , Cynthia Rowley, Adam lippes , DA by Daniel / Daniel Alexander, Yumi Katsura, Prashant Goyal, Elie Balleh, Glenkora Comte,Kent Stetson, Avadora Mimouni , Isabel Original, among others.
She has been part of RI Styleweek, Boston Fashion Week, Mass Fashion week, Society Fashion Week, New Orleans Fashion Week, New Hampshire Fashion Week, New England Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week & Couture Fashion Week.
Donna specializes in complete makeovers, weddings, photo shoots, television and film. She has worked for several magazine publications and continues to do so. Currently, she is executive artistic director of Aspiring Magazine, Creative director for EPN New York fashion week magazine, Key Makeup Artist and Director of Editorial Content For Original living magazine, Features editor for the Red Luxury Life magazine.
Donna is also an Award winning Bridal artist where she has had the honor of receiving the Hall of Fame Award for Excellence. Her list of magazine experience includes being Creative director for The Magazine Lifestyle Publication/ Creative director and director of content for The Wagner Group of magazines/including Bella Rose Bridal/ Inspirational lifestyle publications, Creative Director and lead artist @Bon Chance Worldwide. Artistic Director for Fashion and Fame magazine ,Creative editorial coordinator for Original Living Publication, Executive Creative Director and Editorial Producer for Aspiring Magazine and last but not least, Developer and CEO for Makeover Artistry by Donna Sousa Productions. As her career evolved she recognized she has a gift for connecting people. She is also a great motivator helping make people feel better about themselves. She has acted as a catalyst for many clients – expanding their careersthrough her vast connections.Kindness is her key to good leadership and helping others. While running teams, behind the scenes for NY Fashion Week she does her best to coordinate dozens of artists and models. She accomplishes this by always coming from a place of creative Patience while leading the artists to achieve the designer’s Inspirations. Additional Awards and Recognition include: Winner of Red Silk Carpet International Award for Best Makeup Artist & Best Creative Editorial Producer Couples Choice Awards 2013 thru 2021 (Wedding Wire) Brides Choice Awards 2013 thru 2021 ( The Knot) Hall of Fame Award Boston Fashion Awards