Stef Mandingo

Stef Mandingo

Founder, Keep It Cute

Summer 2021

Tell us – what excites you about your work?

I'm really excited to pilot this new group that really centers the wellness of young women with many of the same experiences as my own.  It's rare that there are healing and wellness spaces that are by and for system-impacted young trans women of color and trans youth involved in sex work.  We don't often have the resources to fund our own spaces to explore what that looks like on our terms, so I'm excited about all of the energy and creativity that each of our participants will bring into our spaces.


What feels rich and abundant in your work right now?

I think it feels rich and abundant to really have my leadership invested in as a up and coming black trans leader, I feel blessed to have the support of the Young Women's Freedom Center and years of their effort to help me cultivate all of the unique skills and ideas that have gotten me to a place where I can really bring my own passions to life in this program.


Who do you dedicate your work to?

I dedicate this work to the women who saw my brilliance and helped me invest in myself and my own wellness and to all the young trans women and girls who deserves to have all of the resources they need to invest in themselves in the same way.


I'm inspired by women like Amiyah Scott and Tokyo Stylez, some of the trans women in the public eye that I looked up to and are really possibility models of young girls that really show there are so many options out there for what success and happiness can look like for black trans women.  In terms of who I'm learning from, I'm learning a lot about community organizing and just showing up for myself and my community from my mentor, Luna Moreta Avila, who I met through my work at YWFC. I'm not much of a reader, but I learn a lot from my communities every day.


How can people reading this support the work you are doing?

Well we're still growing and piloting this program and want to provide as many new healing and wellness opportunities to our participants as possible, so if you are interested in investing in our work or offering in-kind donations of wellness opporunities, beauty supplies, or anything else that might support Keep It Cute, please reach out to us via email at keepitcutebayarea@gmail.com!


What is your own wellness practice? How do you find balance?

I think I'm learning every day that wellness has so many faces and it's about every piece of our lives.  I need to keep myself balanced physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually and for me, I'm learning to really balance all of those pieces and help young people like me do the same. I have a lot of different practices that keep me grounded and feeling confident everything that I am.  I meditate twice a week for at least an hour each time, and I also put a lot of care into how I look, how I dress, and how I show up in spaces to really give my the confidence to stand in my leadership and know how far I've come in life. 


Meet other grant recipients

Adrian-Xavier Scott

The Transistance Network

Angel Alicea

Black Inmate Commissary Fund

Ash "Lightning Woman" Frandsen

Indigenous Karuk and Yaruk Ceremonial Leader

Ash Canty

Sovereign Spirit Death Care

Ayesha Walker

Cofounder, CEO of BE-IMAGINATIVE

Bernadette Lim

Freedom Community Clinic

Betania Ridenour

Somatic Experience Practitioner

Brooke Rodriguez

Cofounder, The Grinding Stone Collective

C. Marie Long

Nature Center for Meditation

Chelsey Thomas

Sexuality Educator

Damon "Shuja" Johnson

Black Men Speak, Inc.

Dandelion Hill

Peer Support Space

Danny Fluker

Black Boys Om Inc

Ekua Adisa

Gender Expansive Liberationist Medicine Person

India Harville

Embraced Body

Jordan Daniel

Founder, Rising Hearts

Joseph Dupris

Assistant Professor of Linguistic and Ethnic Studies, University of Colorado Boulder

Joshua Biron

Anishinaabe Cultural Specialist, Anishaable Agriculture

Julia Mallory

Founder, Black Mermaids

Karen Faulkner

Yoga Instructor

Katherin Canton

Cofounder, Toj + Tijax

Kelsey Daniels

The Dream Experiment

Kiesha Battles

I Am Yoga CLT

Kristie Cabrera

Occupational Therapist

Kristina Jones

Guardian Lane

Krysta Venora

Founder, Pink Opal Magic

Laura Yohualtlahuiz Rios-Ramirez

Lotus Do

Founder, Financial Liberation Movement

Louis Mitchell

Reverend, Activist

Mangda Sengvanhpheng

Founder, BACII

Margaret Andersen

TouchBot Pleasure Tech

Megan (Pumehana) Cabral

Founder, Queer Kanaka

Micaela Zamora

Community Aid

Natasha Thomas

Black Creative Healing

Oceana Sawyer

End of Life Doula

Paulina Almarosa

Founder, Latinx Grief

Queen Hollins

Earthlodge Center

Raeanne Madison

Founder, Postpartum Healing Lodge

Raegan Robinson

Yoga Instructor

Raquel Savage

Founder, Zepp Wellness

Roshni Kavate

Grief Healer

Sally Ortiz Castro

Transgenerational counselor, Acupuncturist and Reiki practitioner

Stef Mandingo

Founder, Keep It Cute

Tejal Patel

Tejal Yoga

Tomas Ramirez

Executive Director, Semillas y Raices

Tristan Katz

Founder, Tristan Katz Creative

Veronica Agard

Founder, Ancestors in Training

Xā Carter

Founder, Xude Yoga

Zami Tinashe Hyemingway

Spiritus Wellness

Zel Amanzi

Rest In Power Yoga + Reiki

Ready to make a change, for good?

Get in touch