Entrepreneur, Author, and Filmmaker in Washington, DC
My name is Alyscia Cunningham and I am an entrepreneur, author, filmmaker and photographer. I was born in Tacoma, Washington, where my father served in the Army for several years. My two older brothers and I are first generation Americans, my parents being from the Caribbean island of Trinidad & Tobago.
After my mom suffered a stroke, my family and I moved from Germany to Corona Queens, New York, where my maternal grandparents relocated from Trinidad. One of the biggest attributes I've gained from her mother is her determination. I cannot recall a day that she ever used her stroke as an excuse. Paralysis on the left side of her body didn't stop her from doing anything on her own. This determined characteristic was instilled in me at a very young age because of my mother's example.
I've always attributed my father's positive affirmations about my strength and beauty, to the work I've produced. Without my fathers' influence my journey in loving myself as who I am, despite the media's portrayal of beauty, would have been a very difficult road. In spite of the experiences I faced, which created me to question beauty, my fathers' words were a huge encouraged when it came to appreciating my authenticity.
Through film and photography I challenge beauty standards. I promote our natural beauty because I believe the media does a good job of focusing on our insecurities and the bombardment of ads in the media proclaiming that their appearance without enhancements is inadequate or faulty. My portraits are unaltered by Photoshop and reveal women as they are naturally, without the façade they put on for others.
Professionally, I also owner of Uprising Builders, LLC. As an artist I've contributed to National Geographic, Discovery Channel, America Online and the Smithsonian Institution. After publication of my book, Feminine Transitions: A Photography Celebration of Natural beauty I continue to contribute to social-change with my upcoming book and documentary film, I Am More Than My Hair: My Outward Appearance Does Not Define Me.
I am the Chapter Leader of Moms-In-Film (MIF) Washington DC Metro, the VP of the MD Chapter of American Mothers Inc (AMI), and one of the FrontLine Voices for Stop the Beauty Madness, a campaign focused on changing the dynamics of beauty globally.
My work has been featured in The HuffingtonPost, Cosmopolitan, Ashton Kutcher’s A Plus.com and Proud2BMe. My goal is to continue producing documentary films as well as direct and produce theatrical films.