Drawing Dallas • 02.10.12

JaQuanFNL_2Lanky dreamboat LaQuan Brown is the ideal Valentine

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: LaQuan Brown, 18

Occupation: Student

Spotted at: Target Cityplace

At 6-feet-5, slender, romantic dreamboat LaQuan catches eyes everywhere he goes. A creamy blend of two cultures — his mother is of Dutch descent, his father is African-American — LaQuan certainly stands out in any crowd. His exotic and handsome look recently captured the attention of a modeling scout for Krave magazine, a fashion, lifestyle and entertainment publication for men of color; he was recently selected to model for an upcoming issue.

This intelligent and contemplative Scorpio was born in Oak Cliff and raised throughout Dallas. He enjoys outdoor sports of all kinds, including (predictably) basketball, but also running and taking contemplative walks. He’s also talented at freestyling, and can rap about any subject on the spur of the moment.

LaQuan’s career goal is to obtain a doctorate in psychology, and eventually become a therapist/counselor for at-risk teens.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas • 01.13.12

With a unique history and varied interests, life for Moses Herrera is an adventure

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

MosesFNL_3Name and age: Moses Herrera, 27

Occupation: Hotel industry strategy and revenue management/talent scout for an entertainment company

Spotted at: Hunky’s on the Strip
This handsome, outgoing New Orleans native is the eldest of four brothers, the offspring of an Italian mother and a Spanish father. A charismatic Libra, Moses spent 10 years living in Prague with his family, an experience that opened his eyes to other cultures and set the stage for his future travels.

Decadent past: He attended college at Johnson and Wells in Denver, majoring in marketing with a minor in leadership. His career brought him to NOLA when he attended Southern Decadence, which changed his life. Moses grew to love the circuit and was an active participant for many years. These days his work requires him to travel, he’s been to every state in the union, except Alaska. He also donates his time to fundraising for the youth program of the Montrose Counseling Center, and for 11 years has served on the board of the National Restaurant and Hotel Lodging Association’s Prostart Program, which teaches high school students about the hospitality industry.

Staying healthy: Moses enjoys working out, yoga, cycling, kayaking … and cooking. He has an affinity for Italian and Spanish dishes, which he loves to prepare for his friends. An avid thespian, he appeared in numerous musicals, including Grease, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and The Lion King. He shares his life with Coco, an American cocker spaniel.

Favorite quote: “Good, better, best, never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas 12.30.11

As the New Year begins, some things remain the same — like the reliable Mario Sulit, a fixture at Hunky’s for 15 years

MarioSFNL_3

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Mario Sulit, 52

Occupation: Manager at Hunky’s Old Fashioned
Hamburgers on the Strip

Spotted at: Hunky’s.

Will you have fries with that? This handsome and vivacious gentleman was born in El Salvador to a Filipino father and an Italian mother. He came to the U.S. at age 14 and has made Dallas his home for the past 30 years. Many people may know Mario from his 15 years behind the counter at Hunky’s at the corner of Throckmorton and Cedar Springs — a job he loves. Most of his customers feel like family, and he’s very grateful for them.

You might spot Mario riding around on his Honda Metropolitan Scooter, his signature vehicle. On rainy days he drives a black Jeep Wrangler, what he calls “the gayest car in the car universe.”

Namaste: Mario is obsessed with yoga, sometimes practicing up to 10 times a week. He is also a self-taught chef/home cook. His favorite cuisines are Italian and French.  He loves to travel and spend time with his friends and family. His immediate family is spread all over the place, so his vacations consist mainly of family visits.

Next stop: Peru!

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas • 11.25.11

As ‘Twilight’ returns, Skylar Brooks shows blood sucking can be a service

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Skylar Brooks, 24

Occupation: Testing coordinator, Resource Center Dallas, and shift manager, Starbucks

Spotted at: Exxon on the Run at Maple and Oak Lawn

A twinkle in her unbelievably pale blue eyes and an effervescent smile are the first things you notice about this fine Virgo. Born in Monroe, La., and raised in Euless and Bedford, the perpetually positive Skylar considers herself a clown and a jokester — smiles and laughter come to her quite freely. She came out at 16.

She loves the nightlife. Skylar loves to dance, and her freestyle moves on the floor have garnered her three “dance off” wins at Station 4. She also loves to sing, especially R&B (Brian McKnight is a favorite). She auditioned for American Idol last year, and while she didn’t get through, says she’s determined to try again. Her love of music and dance is hereditary: Her mother was on the drill team and danced ballet, and her father plays drums and the trumpet and loves to belt out a song.

In addition to indoor activities, she plays midfield and forward in a local soccer league, and basketball for fun. Skylar loves to travel, she has a special affinity for the Caribbean (Dominican Republic, Bahamas).

Enter love  “Three months in, I knew she was the one,” says Skylar of her fiancé, Shereen, whom she met through mutual friends 18 months ago; they have a wedding set in Vermont next June. Both of their families are excited for them.

Skylar’s goal is to become a surgical technician. Her motto: “I help people one blood draw at a time.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 25, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas

Former Houstonian Kerman Sykes calls Dallas home, but Jamaica looms large

SketchMARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Kerman Sykes, 23

Occupation: Student at UNT majoring in music education; part-time dancer at Zippers

Spotted at: Kroger on the Strip
Tall, handsome Kerman Sykes brings a little Caribbean breeze to the great state of Texas. Born in Huntsville to a Jamaican mother and American father, Kerman spent his early years in Kingston, Jamaica, until his family moved back to the States when he was 3.

Making music. His phenomenal natural singing talent has won him numerous regional and state choir championships and garnered him a full scholarship to Sam Houston for vocal/music. R&B and soul are favorites, and he is inspired by R. Kelly and Beyonce.

Sports play a big role in his life. Basketball is his sport of choice, and he has competed in the annual Sprite Basketball Tournament for the last several years. Kerman also spends time focusing on his fitness: He works out three times a week and it shows.

Kerman came out unexpectedly at age 15 when a girlfriend caught him in a precarious situation with the quarterback of his high school football team. If you have to come out, that’s a pretty spectacular way of doing it!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 28, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas: Cesar

Budding design student Cesar Augusto Fuerte blends his leather fetish with fashion underwear

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Cesar Augusto Fuerte, 22

Spotted at: Walmart Market on Central Expressway

Occupation: Full-time student, part-time fabric retail

This exquisite Taurus is a full-time student at UNT, studying fashion design and fashion merchandising with a minor in international business. Cesar demonstrated an early talent in art, with a knack for drawing and a keen eye for color. His interest in life drawing led him to consider another creative outlet, fashion design. Cesar’s long-term goal is to design men’s wear, concentrating on men’s underwear. Cesar already designs and sews his own underwear. He gets a secret thrill out of attending conservative events knowing that underneath his dress clothes, he’s wearing provocative skivvies.

The eldest of three brothers, Cesar emigrated from Michoacana, Mexico, with his family when he was very young. His youthful countenance and his friend’s constant referral to him as a “kid” inspired Cesar to play up that boy role and he often dresses up as a school boy or cub scout when he goes out on the town.

Cesar came out formally when he was 16. “Since I came to terms with my homosexuality, I’ve learned to appreciate all types of gay people.” He was in the talented and gifted program at a magnet high school, where his creativity was allowed to flourish. He was vice president of Gay and Lesbian Alliance of Denton in his junior year, and president his senior year.

He enjoys dancing and socializing. He is a member of the Fashionistas, a non-profit group that helps out up-and- coming designers with parties and charity events. He has also worked behind the scenes with DIFFA for several years as a stylist working with Jan Strimple.

Cesar, like the Emperor. Don’t let his boyish looks deceive you: This tantalizing young man is neither shy nor submissive. He enjoys the look and feel of leather, and finds something empowering about wearing it. He had a “leather and lace” party on his 21st birthday, attended by many of his friends wearing one or the other.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas • Digna

Singer and spokesmodel Digna Mederos balances multifarious interests in her life

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Digna Mederos, 26

Spotted at: 7-11 at Oak Lawn and Maple

Occupation: Marketing/promotions, spokesperson, brand ambassador, actress

This lovely Cuban-Mexican-American with the warm smile and long legs was born in Dallas and raised in neighboring Ennis. She was a gorgeous child with personality to boot and her Cuban father nourished her burgeoning interest in performing with ballet classes (since age 3), singing, dancing, voice and piano classes.

Her World, the Stage. Digna attended community college for commercial music, and then switched her study to music theory and dance at a performing arts school in Corona, Calif. Her student life was put on hold when she was chosen as one of the finalists in “La Academia,” a Big Brother/American Idol type program produced in Mexico by Azteca-America. Although she didn’t ultimately find herself in the final cast, the experience gave her a new perspective on the world of performing for television. You can also spot her in numerous local television commercials.

Digna has an incredible singing voice, honed from an early age. Her natural beauty and vocal chops won her the title of Miss Kaliente, after three nights of stiff competition. The competitors were selected from three categories: swimsuit, formalwear and talent. She borrowed a dress from a drag queen, who helped her adjust it to fit her. Her win was guaranteed when she sang “No Me Queda Mas,” one of Selena’s most popular songs.

Digna’s hobbies include attending art shows, tennis and Asian cuisine

(Korean, Thai and Vietnamese are her favorites).

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 16, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas

Cortney Guy makes one of the hottest Texas summers on record a little hotter — and we think that’s pretty cool

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

CortneyFNL_5

Name and age: Cortney Guy, 27

Spotted at: Kroger’s on the Strip

Occupation: CEO/founder fashion P.R. firm

Born in East Texas and raised in Mesquite, this handsome Gemini has a major in marketing/communications and a minor in graphic design. Entrepreneurial by nature, he is co-founder of a public relations company which specializes in branding up-and-coming fashion designers.

An “editorial beauty,” Cortney is comfortable in front of the camera as well and has been commercial, print and promotional modeling since age 15. A highlight of his career was when one of his photos taken by Marta Azevedo garnered international recognition. He considers himself “retired,” but he still models occasionally when a good opportunity arises.

Cortney loves the outdoors and when he’s not working you may find him rollerblading, rock climbing or simply cloud watching or star gazing. Eco-friendly by nature, he’s big on conserving, recycling and minimizing waste. A lover of the arts, he also enjoys all forms of live entertainment, including dancing and music.

Studious by nature, he excelled in school, but also competed in football and track. He has a teaching certificate and future career plans include teaching general communications.

Yo, big bro: Big Brother Cortney has been a member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters for several years, and he also has a god-daughter with whom he is very close. He wants to leave a legacy for children. He’s interested in instilling morals and values into the younger generation.

This down-to-earth and non-assuming gentleman considers himself “a country guy that lives in a big city.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 12, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Drawing Dallas

Cosmopolitan designer Douglas Allen is always a stranger, yet always at home

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Douglas Allen, 48

Spotted at: Carlisle and Knight, walking his beagle, Belle

Occupation: Designer

Dallas is the landing pad for this world-traveling designer, who splits his time between the Big D, San Francisco, Chicago and London. This grey-topped quadragenarian certainly doesn’t blend in with his heavy black frames set against thick salt-and-pepper hair.

Born in Alabama, at 14 Douglas moved with his family to Saudi Arabia — the first leg of a life-long journey that has led him across the globe and back, and continues today. He speaks Arabic, French, Italian and a bit of Swedish. His trek continues next month, when he leaves for Cartagena, Colombia, where he’s designing a home interior. As soon as it gets hot, he’s off to London.

Definitely a character, for three months in London he only wore pajamas. “I threw a proper English summer jacket over them when I went out. I got some interesting looks.”

Grey hares: Inspired by Bugs Bunny, Douglas’ musical instrument of choice is a ukulele. He began playing on a whim. His favorite tunes include “Aba Daba Honeymoon” (a turn-of-the-century musical composed by Arthur Fields) and Hawaiian medleys.

Social currency: Douglas doesn’t take much of an interest in money, fancy clothes or the trappings of excess. He uses what he calls “social currency,” a value that is unquantifiable. With roots everywhere and friends scattered all over the far-flung corners of the world, Douglas says, “I’m always a stranger, yet always home.”

His philosophy: “There is only one person, one power, one life, and each of us is a finger puppet on a big hand. Don’t freak out over the journey or circumstance of your finger puppet identity because in reality you are the big hand. Accept 100 percent where you are. Don’t resist. Accept and let go. That is the only way forward and out.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition June 17, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Drawing Dallas • 05.27.11

FidelFNL_3b
Fidel Cabrera-Pineda has gotta dance

MARK STOKES  | Illustrator
mark@markdrawsfunny.com

Name and age: Fidel Cabrera-Pineda, 23

Spotted: Taco Bell at North Central Expressway and Lemmon

Occupation: Hip-hop instructor/choreographer

This native of Laredo, Mexico, has resided in Dallas since age 2. Born under the sign of Cancer, tall, handsome Fidel is a self-taught dancer who began moving his feet to music almost from the time he first learned to walk. His mother showed him how to Cumbia at an impressionable age, and that inspired his lifelong interest in dance.

With a natural grace, an instinctive rhythm and a lot of hard work, Fidel has turned his love into a career, burning up dance floors all over Texas, both solo and as part of the FLS Dance Crew. His talent has garnered him three consecutive salsa championships. He is also sought after as a choreographer and creative director in the DFW area. His musical interests include jazz, soul and R&B.
You can watch him bust a move on his YouTube page, FID3LC, and follow him on Twitter @Sopadefide0.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 27, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas