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Sasha Bronner
Sasha Bronner is a Senior Reporter for The Huffington Post. She previously worked at United Talent Agency, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Vanity Fair. She graduated from Middlebury College with a degree in English and creative writing and still plans to one day write a novel with the first line Mama goes mad.

Entries by Sasha Bronner

Nancy Meyers Thinks We Should All Unplug A Little Bit More

(0) Comments | Posted October 6, 2015 | 3:59 PM

Nancy Meyers is known for bringing the unexpected. She's a pro at flipping the script. In "It's Complicated," the...

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When Your Son Thinks You're A Laptop, It's Time To Reassess

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 8:33 PM

Anne-Marie Slaughter has spent years in front of her computer. She has degrees from Princeton, Oxford and Harvard and was a professor at Princeton for many years. From 2009-2011, she was the first woman to serve as Director of Policy Planning for the United States Department of State....

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19 coisas sobre ser mulher para ensinar à minha sobrinha

(0) Comments | Posted October 5, 2015 | 5:34 PM

A vida é complicada. Seguem algumas dicas que podem ajudar.

Querida Elle,

Neste momento você ainda está dentro da barriga de sua mãe, mas isso não quer dizer que não estejamos todos nos preparando para sua chegada no mês que vem. Se você nascer quando está previsto, vai chegar em...

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Meet Two People Who Are Addressing The Cause Of Teen Stress

(0) Comments | Posted September 30, 2015 | 8:15 PM

Generation Z has more access to information, technology and entertainment than any group of humans before. But why are stress levels in these teens and college students higher than ever?

Musician Caroline Jones and best-selling author and leadership expert Stedman Graham have come together to offer a one-word answer: identity. And to explore this, they've taken this concept of the personal journey on tour. 

To help students discover their identities, Jones and Graham work with high school students to tackle questions including, "Who are you?", "What are your core beliefs?" and "What do you dream of doing?" Self-awareness is at the key of their message.

Next week, the two will embark upon their second year of the Live Somina Tour -- a full-day workshop for students that focuses on self-empowerment and the cultivation of identity through performing arts and character development.

This year, they will travel through 12 cities and reach approximately 65,000 high school students at 100 different schools along the way. The two-part program first features a mix of Jones’ acoustic music performances and her inspirational storytelling sessions, which help urge kids to pursue their talents and passions. This is followed by Graham’s identity workshop.

Jones, 25, studied classical music growing up and attended NYU before embarking upon a career as a singer-songwriter. She performs for students on stage with an acoustic guitar, banjo and piano. Graham has written 11 books about identity development and is convinced that a lack of identity and self-awareness is what’s behind youth stress today.

The two spoke with The Huffington Post about the growing beast that is technology, where the education system is failing and how kids can develop a stronger sense of self despite it.

The Huffington Post: Caroline, you started bringing your music to boarding schools, high schools and colleges about five years ago while you were still in college yourself. In what ways do you think your musical program has resonated with students who are around your age?

Caroline Jones: My show is acoustic -- it’s just me up there with my guitar, banjo, piano and some other instruments. I think it’s the artist in me, but I focus very heavily on storytelling in between songs. I talk about the inspiration behind my songs and my journey as an artist. I am a very spiritually and emotionally curious person. At a young age, I amassed this wealth of spiritual and philosophical knowledge that has helped me live a fulfilling and self-empowered life. I just can’t help but talk about that. It fulfills me and it seeps into my show.

If a kid asks me about stage fright and says he’s scared to perform in front of people, the answer is almost entirely emotional. It’s as much about technique and craft as it is about how do you get yourself to a place where you can be in deep feeling of the song -- independent of how other people are going to think about it (which you can’t control)? That’s more important than making sure you have good breathing technique.

This will be the second year of the Live Sonima Tour and this time around, you guys are going big. You have rented out bigger venues -- some which seat between 2,000 and 5,000 students. What are some of the biggest themes you touch on in your program?

Jones: In between our two sessions, Stedman and I talk on stage to tie everything together. We talk about topics like self-reliance, happiness and fulfillment, the true purpose of education and what education actually should do for you. Like how you can empower yourself to make your education work for your dreams and your goals -- instead of just thinking about what job to get when you finish your education.

Stedman Graham: The school system often teaches you how to take tests and repeat the information back. You get labeled with a grade and two weeks later, you forget the information. It’s limited learning for students. But it’s never too early to get students to decide what they love, what they are passionate about and what they want to focus on. You want to teach them how to focus on the self and create leadership skills around the self first. It’s hard to lead others if you can’t lead yourself first. 

Stedman, you have been teaching identity workshops to students for nearly 20 years now. What are the biggest changes have you noticed in teens over the past two decades, especially with rapid advances in technology?

Graham: They have less control over their lives. They are not able to make good decisions about what they want to do in their lives. There’s so much information and so much confusion. They’re not as focused as they should be in school and I would say a lot of them just aren’t prepared to compete globally.

Jones: The Internet and the technological revolution of the past decade has made it so that information is no longer in the hands of a few people. Information and knowledge is power. Now everyone has the information literally at their fingertips at all times. We really need to make sure that our education system is preparing people to be innovative, creative and self-reliant. Those are the things that are going to make you successful. It’s not about memorizing information anymore.

Graham: Technology is changing everything. What they learn is not enough to prepare them for the jobs coming up. Things are constantly changing and courses and information become outdated quickly. It’s hard to keep up. They can be taught the basics in the traditional learning environment, but the basics just aren’t enough anymore.

How else do you think technology is affecting Generation Z?

Graham: The students come in with an entitlement attitude because they are empowered by the technology. They are empowered to think that they are ‘all that.’ But then the rude awakening comes when they can’t afford to go to college or they have to go back and live at home as adults. They have wasted a lot of time on their smartphones talking about nothing. There is a lack of focus. If you don’t know who you are, you can’t source the right information and apply it to your development -- so there’s no growth. The school system is set up for people to be average, not to be exceptional. It’s a cookie cutter.

Jones: I can say that this generation, more than any other generation, has an awareness and a hunger to empower themselves. I think people misread it as entitlement. Entitlement is a misunderstanding of power. And I think a lot of kids are ambitious and have big dreams. They have grown up in a world where all of the information in the world is at their fingertips. I think the reason that so many feel stressed or lost or overwhelmed is because they don’t have a strong sense of self to apply all of that to.

We are telling the kids that we know you have all this information, we know you’re overwhelmed and stressed and that you have people telling you what to do. But you need to have a core sense of yourself -- whether it’s a creative outlet like writing or sports or music or your own personal philosophy and beliefs. That’s why I call my program The Heart Is Smart. If you can just get in touch with your heart, yourself and identity, then almost anything is possible. There are infinite possibilities for what you can achieve.

What do you feel are the biggest causes of such high stress levels in high school students today?

Graham: There is so much information coming at you. A smartphone allows you to look at any movie or research anything you want at any time. You can Google anybody and find out who they are and what they’re doing. You never had that much access to information before. There’s so much noise. We aren’t focused on things that matter and we haven’t prioritized the things that are important. Our brains can’t handle so many things at a time.

Jones: Stress stems from a disconnect between who you are now and who you believe you should be. Self-love, fulfillment, passion, joy, creativity, excellence, effectiveness -- these states represent the opposite of stress. The best way to soothe stress is to evoke these positive emotions, and for me, music is that avenue.

Graham: It all comes down to having a stronger sense of identity. What we are trying to do is keep you focused on who you are and help you organize all of the things that are happening in your life. If you organize everything around you, you can empower yourself.

Jones: In the grand scheme of things, if we look at the previous generations, it’s actually a huge step forward that this generation even recognizes that stress is optional -- and can recognize that they’re stressed.

How are you able to get these really important themes across in a one-day workshop?

Graham: I try to give them some awareness, to raise their consciousness, to let them know it’s about self-development. It’s about what you do extra. It’s about excellence -- not only in school, but everywhere you go. Take charge of you and don’t fall into the habit of mimicking everything you see around you.

Jones: It reminds me of a Buddhist quote that talks about how you climb up a mountain to see the view from the top. When you climb down, you can’t see the view anymore -- but having seen it is infinitely beneficial because you’ll always have it in your mind. These kids have such impressionable minds. If they are able to be inspired, even for one day, by someone who knows who they are and is offering their gifts to the world, then I think that is really powerful. Even if it’s one hour or one moment where they felt really inspired and heard -- or we helped reveal something within them that they didn’t know they had -- that’s the lasting impression we are going for.

The Live Sonima Tour kicks off on Oct. 6 in Memphis, Tennessee. Other cities this fall include Beaufort, South Carolina; Charlotte, North Carolina; Miami and Daytona Beach,...

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8 Things You Shouldn't Say To People In Recovery

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 6:13 PM

Recovering from a drug or alcohol use disorder is deeply personal, but it also requires support. It can be hard for friends and family to know what words to use, what questions to ask and how best to address people who are working their way out of addiction.


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10 Ways To Feel Like A Local In Los Angeles

(0) Comments | Posted September 20, 2015 | 11:53 PM

The city of Los Angeles is home to 3.8 million people. It boasts a booming food scene, beautiful beaches and the heart and soul of Hollywood. Tourists pack themselves into open air vans daily and are driven around the city, soaking up the history and culture....

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9 Things I Learned During A Year Of First Dates

(2) Comments | Posted September 18, 2015 | 3:11 PM

I met my boyfriend online one year ago. Our first date was at a Russian restaurant in West Hollywood that has since closed. He showed up in an Uber even though we only ended up having one drink -- we talked for four hours instead.

Looking back on my year...

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19 Things I Want To Teach My Niece About Being A Woman

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 5:52 PM

Dear Elle,

You are still inside your mom’s belly right now but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t all busy preparing for your arrival next month. If you are born on time, you will be here in exactly 41 days.

Your mommy and daddy have a...

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Why 'The Diary Of A Teenage Girl' Is The Year's Most Important Film About Sex

(2) Comments | Posted September 10, 2015 | 3:25 PM

Teenagers are pretty pumped to have sex. It's the reason they go to parties, the subject of every locker room conversation and definitely the most important goal they have before reaching high school graduation. At least this is the case for the boys, right?

That's the prevailing...

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Por que Laird Hamilton, um dos melhores surfistas do mundo, se nega a competir

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2015 | 6:42 PM

“É muito difícil avaliar o surfe porque o surfe é uma arte.”
Sasha Bronner Editora sênior, Los Angeles.

Em 2000, Laird Hamilton pegou a onda mais perigosa do mundo. Ela tinha a altura de um edifício de sete andares. Ele tinha 36 anos. As pessoas ficaram malucas.

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Yes, One Book Can Change Your Life, Even In Prison

(0) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 7:12 PM

Reginald Dwayne Betts Jr. goes by the name Dwayne. But for the majority of the nine years he spent in prison, he gave himself the name Shahid. It means "the witness" in Arabic.

At 16, Betts pled guilty to carjacking in Virginia and was in prison until...

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The Steps One Homeless Teen Took To Get A Full Ride To Yale

(0) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 12:06 PM

Viviana Andazola Marquez ranks getting into Yale as the single proudest moment of her life. Her frank personal statement about growing up homeless was published by The New York Times as part of a collection of college essays about money. Being selected was as much a symbol for her as it...

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Why One Of The Best Athletes In The World Refuses To Compete

(2) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 6:07 PM

In 2000, Laird Hamilton infamously surfed the most dangerous wave in the world. It was as tall as a seven-story building. He was 36 years old. Everybody flipped out.

It's just one example of how Hamilton has continued to disrupt the surfing world for over...

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Conoce a la pareja gay que está ayudando a cambiar lo que significa ser embajador de EEUU

(1) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 6:13 AM

El diseñador Michael Smith y su pareja James Costos, con quien lleva ya quince años de relación, están acostumbrados al foco de las cámaras dentro de sus casas de Los Ángeles y de Palm Springs. Smith tiene un reconocido caché en el...

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Meet The Same-Sex Couple Who's Helping To Change What It Means To Be An American Ambassador

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 6:02 PM

Designer Michael Smith and his partner of 15 years, James Costos, are used to being photographed in their Los Angeles and Palm Springs homes. Smith's cachet in the architectural world is expansive -- but their move to Spain two years ago has put...

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Queer Rock Camp Is About More Than Music. It's About Identity.

(0) Comments | Posted August 3, 2015 | 5:40 PM

Editor's Note: The following story includes genderqueer subjects who identify with and use third person plural pronouns.  

It’s late June in Long Beach, California. Bass lines and drum counts echo through the halls of Temple Israel, where the teens inside learn to play rock music -- some...

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Why I'm Letting Go Of My Immune Disorder

(23) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 8:34 AM

hospital gown

"All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on." -Henry Ellis

I'm letting go of you, body. I'm letting go of the welts and the bumps, the bruising from needles. I'm letting go of shallow breaths, fuzzy...

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20 cosas que he aprendido al ser hija de una "madre soltera"

(4) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 1:00 AM

mom sasha

Cuando oigo el término "madre soltera" no pienso en mi madre. Ella es una viuda. Mi padre murió de cáncer de pulmón a los 44 años. Mi madre tenía 39 años, yo dos, mi hermano cinco y mis hermanastros del primer matrimonio de mi padre...

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Leaving Her Ultra-Orthodox Past Meant More Than Losing Her Family. It Meant Redefining Her Womanhood.

(1) Comments | Posted July 22, 2015 | 6:33 PM


Leah Vincent separated from her deeply religious family as a 16-year-old over the course of two phone calls. She had been sent to New York City to work as a secretary and to fend for herself. Her family had cast her out.

Vincent’s harrowing 2014...

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An Eating Disorder Nearly Took Her Life. Yoga Helped Her Reclaim It.

(0) Comments | Posted July 10, 2015 | 9:04 PM

In 2005, when she was only 15, Chelsea Roff woke up in a wheelchair in the psychiatric unit of a hospital in Texas.

‘Woke up’ is the wrong term. She was conscious for the month she had already spent at Children's Medical Center Dallas, but to this...

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