Furaha of @furaha.moye is a multi-talented woman who wears many hats… She is an actress, model, singer, tap dancer and photographer. The beauty of all these things, she says, is how they all fit together. “I choose to believe that everything happens for a specific and finite reason.”

What did you, or do you do, for work?
Before I returned to NYC at the tender age of 50, I was a Custom Picture Framer. That journey started at the age of 23 in Atlanta, GA. I was fortunate to build a solid business; I was well respected as a framer and, as such, rewarded with amazing projects for framing from original art and artifacts to documents and photographs. You name it, I’d frame it. I opened my own shop in Atlanta on my birthday in 1987. My years of being a custom framer have impacted my senses of color, design and framing as it relates to photography. Framing was a very natural progression into acting, singing, dancing, fashion and photography. In my living room I have a 4’ X 7’ worktable complete with a 60” mat cutter and the necessary tools and samples, and I’m proud to share that the quality of my work is the same as it was when I had every piece of equipment in my shop that I needed to make the job easier, which only makes sense given that I’ve now been a Custom Picture Framer for 50 years!

What famous woman (alive or deceased) would you love to have dinner with?
After much consternation on how to answer: “What woman from history (alive or dead), would you love to have dinner with and why?”  I came to a stark realization; and that is I’m not able to narrow it down to just one.  So, as one privileged to be an Alembika Woman, it is clear to me that she represents a certain type of woman.  In my humble opinion, one is multi-faceted relative to talents, career, family, political persuasions, social responsibility, legacy, community and so much more.

My response then is that I’d love to have a Round Table of several women who have shaped the course of history by choices made in a single moment or over many hard fought and won victories over the course of storied careers that altered the trajectory of women at large in the 21st century.  They each make me think of the maxim: “To whom much is given, much is asked.”  

The women I respect and admire represent the diversity that was firmly entrenched before it was to become politically correct.  

  • Eleanor Roosevelt for her fight for human rights and her vision of the “First Lady’s “responsibilities in office.  
  • Kathryn Hepburn who was strong, independent, outspoken, headstrong, and clearly comfortable in her own skin long before it was chic to be so.
  • Cicely Tyson for her willingness to portray strong Black women on film at a time when Black women were largely invisible.  As beautiful as she was, she also had no objections to being seen “raw” on camera; the message being shared was much larger than her ego.  She performed in roles that would ultimately shape perception.
  • Michele Obama for her tenacity, strength, commitment to family, community, faith, and humanity.  From humble beginnings she had a vision, a dream and she pursued, persevered, and triumphed against all odds.  
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg for her inspiration to women worldwide to break gender barriers.  She herself fought those very battles to become the second woman, and the first Jewish woman to serve on the Supreme Court!

Though there are many others that come to mind, these five women all have similar qualities that defined them for themselves as well as for the world.  They were each strong, committed, and understood the value of being humane.  They each persisted in spite of the odds to realize the dreams, goals they intended.  They each persevered, especially when the courts of public opinion were quick to denounce them.  They each showed us that our dreams were not only real, possible, plausible, palpable and vital.  As a strong woman, I seek the stories of women who “thought outside the box,”; who were determined to push against the status quo to make a difference beyond the impact of their own personal realities.

What advice to you have for younger women?
“We are what we think.”

As an older woman, I’m now able to reflect on what it was like being a younger woman.  I can recall easily the choices that were made to satisfy the wishes or attitudes of those who were intimidated by my zest for life.  I can recall shrinking away or dimming my light to make someone else feel better; not even acknowledging the internal turmoil I was creating for myself.

In my humble opinion, the challenges in the 21st century unfortunately have not changed a lot from previous centuries.  I would say to younger women to live in the moment as that is really all there is.  I would tell them to follow their dreams, whether they are popular or not; they are YOUR dreams, YOUR choice.  I would tell them to accept their bodies as being beautiful at all ages and stages; to not buy into the trap of looking youthful forever.  There is beauty in every segment, decade of life and to realize getting older is a blessing rather than a curse.  I would encourage them to be their authentic selves, their honest selves in all aspects of their lives.  To seek happiness within themselves because that is where true happiness lives.  And finally, to let the pass go and not allow it to define your present or your future; that can lead to a lifetime of self-sabotage and regret.  

What I know now and understand finally at the age of 74 is that if I at first love myself I then have the capacity to love; to share love, to spread love and to be love.  Regardless of the madness swirling around us the one true thing is love. Embrace who you are and how you are and be all the awesome woman you were intended here to be!

What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
Now that’s a really tough question as I seldom don’t know what to do. Fortunately, I’ve been gifted with multiple talents and am ever finding things to do that are of major interest to me. There are times, though, that I choose to have nothing to do and that’s when I get comfortable in bed with my computer; the television is on, I’m editing my photographs in Lightroom and Photoshop and I have a bowl of Forbidden Chocolate ice cream waiting. Then it’s time to go to sleep and prepare for ADIP! Or… Another Day in Paradise.

What would you do if you had the whole day to yourself?
Fortunately, the majority of my days I have to myself. I’m healthy, single, retired, talented and blessed enough to be able to call New York City home. My days are typically filled with walking the streets of my city and taking pictures of everything that captures my attention, and later determining how many miles I logged that day. There are days I’m working on my repertoire as I prepare to do “open mike” sessions in my city (which, incidentally scares me to death). There are some days (usually rainy ones) when I’m frustrated, yet also determined to conquer learning to sew. On rare occasions I will spend the day binge-watching and working on my computer. There’s more I can find to do (like reading about spirituality) but I don’t want to bore you to tears or yawns so I’ll end here.

What is the best thing about being a woman?
For me the best things center around the importance of being strong-willed, intelligent, willing to take risks, standing strong in my beliefs, the ability to nurture and care for others, being happy and whole within myself, confidence, and being able to be a “girly girl” (you know…the makeup, the nails, the perfumes, the sexy lingerie). Self sufficiency, the ability to take charge when something needs to get done in a timely manner, and being true to my word, myself and getting it done. When appropriate to be sexy and/or sensual. Unafraid of intimacy where it’s safe and understanding when it is not. Intending to be productive, positive and optimistic; I see these things as being contagious. Supporting others and building them up are as important as building myself up. Finally I will say that determination given the culture is likely for me one of the most important facets of being a woman in a man’s world. Thank God that that’s changing a little bit at a time.

What is the one piece of clothing you cannot live without?
Oh, that’s real easy. My shapewear. One of the most interesting things about this aging process is how it impacts my body ever so gradually over the years. Now that I’m 72, there are concerns I never had to think about before and it is my intention to look great in my clothes in spite of these changes that I have no control over. The shapewear smooths everything out and supports me throughout the day so I’m able to concentrate on the important things while it provides me with the confidence that I look great in my clothes.

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  1. Dear Furaha
    I so enjoy seeing the picture of the group of Alembika women as they walk together wearing the clothes
    we all Love.
    You Furaha .. are an inspiration. You have a GIFT of
    being able to wear “any” outfit! You wear the clothes with such grace… and May I add ..ATTITUDE.
    Stay well… be happy..

  2. Loving the black and white stripe top she is wearing
    Is it for sale?? Cannot locate

    Ellen Shevitz

  3. Love her designs – inspired creative and strong – beautiful –

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