DJ, Survivor, Mentor, New York City
I was introduced to Cynthia by another WOW WOMAN (Lyana Fernandez) Her endorsement ran something like "you must meet the woman who I think is a perfect epitome of a WOW WOMAN. You two will click!!". I am open to any and all suggestions of course, so I researched some more. This woman...my head started spinning with everything I was discovering (and there is much more that I didn't even know about, see Q 21 below). We finally met in West Village, and I just fell in love with her smile, and contagious positive energy and of course a no-nonsense attitude that accompanied her view of the world and self. Cynthia, you see, is also known as a reverend Cynthia, as DJ CherishTheLuv, and also as an inspirational cancer survivor whose smile has recently been featured on a billboard in Times Square, Times Square, every couple of minutes, 720 times a day for the month of October - breast cancer awareness month. So New Yorkers, here is your reason to visit 43rd and Broadway. I am absolutely delighted that I got to meet this woman and frankly I'm excited to read her take on what she would do differently in life, and what were some of her most cherished wins as well as advice for other women. A dose of "luv" for you all.
Cynthia Cherish Malaran, aka Rev & DJ CherishTheLuv
2. Where is your hometown?
Conceived, born and raised in the East Village, NYC
3. What is your profession/career/title/self-label/designation?
I am many, many things—a radio/tv host, a teacher, a designer, an audio/visual creative, a professional DJ, a minister, an author, a native New Yorker, and most importantly a survivor; of TBI, breast cancer, and domestic violence.
I am currently the official DJ for Whole Foods NYC. I DJ for celebrities, corporations, and private events. I am currently Resident DJ at Heritage Radio Network, Nile Rodgers We Are Family Foundation, Urban Vegan Kitchen, WTF Work Train Fight, and for a Brooklyn performance called “Saggy Boobs.” Check out my radio show podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher: “Wedding Cake” and “Primary Food” and watch my food travel show on YouTube, called “The Veggie Hunter."
Lastly, as a reverend, I write and perform memorable and laughter-filled wedding ceremonies, vow-renewal ceremonies, and memorials for loved ones. I also plan and help execute surprise wedding proposals in NYC and beyond.
I am also the best aunt.
4. What was the journey like to get where you are (career wise)? When was the mental shift to start the journey?
I started off as a visual artist. Designer. Photographer. Master retoucher. I used to retouch for huge corporate clients, and the New York Fireman’s calendar, putting abs on bodies with flab. Then after a head injury, long story, and much time off, I gravitated towards music, as it was the only form of therapy that helped me recover from my post-concussive syndrome and memory loss. Yes, I know what amnesia is like.
5. What did you study in school?
I have a degree in Advertising and Graphic Design from the School of Visual Arts.
I also received my Holistic Health Coaching certification from Institute for Integrative Nutrition.
6. How is your life different from what you pictured at 20?
At age 20, I thought I would be a Creative Director somewhere cool. Turns out I am not in the visual arts any more, at least not day to day, but I still am someplace cool—I’m up in Times Square on the billboard underneath the New Year’s Eve ball drop! For entire month of October 2017, you can see me pop up 720 times a day on the screen, as Pfizer’s DJ spokesperson, surviving cancer via music and creativity!
7. Biggest accomplishment since making the (physical/mental) move?
I would say seeing myself up in Times Square is a huge accomplishment, but I think the biggest, rather, most important accomplishment is the overall using of my creativity to inspire, move, educate, and heal others. I love getting people to dance for hours. If they were having a bad day, with me at the DJ booth, they aren’t anymore.
8. What was biggest disappointment and plan to overcome it?
I have not had any disappointments. Maybe that’s just my resilient nature, but nothing has been a disappointment. Well, maybe certain people have been, but then I realize I expected things from them that were unrealistic. I often have tried to help people when they were not ready, or even asking for help.
9. Knowing what we know now in current political climate, can women be "all that we can be" in today's world? What is the way forward, as you see it for "feminist values"?
I truly feel that women will not be all we can be as a collective until we somehow shift this patriarchal, often toxically so, society into one that honors women. Patriarchal thinking runs so deep, most of us females do not even realize it. I didn’t, myself, until something profound happened to me while going through chemotherapy. A very devout family member suggested to me unfairly that perhaps I “got cancer” because I do not pray to God. Immediately I knew what she said was irrational. However, that night, I was bothered and could not relax, thinking, oh no, what if she is right?
So, I sat on my sofa, closed my eyes, and pictured the God I knew, the omnipotent He… and I started praying in my head to be healed, “Dear God…”
I opened my eyes and realized how wrong it felt… to be praying to a He… to fix my She. In that moment, I realized no male energy could know how to fix these breasts. And so ended my patriarchal thinking, and instead of praying to God, I ignited the divine healing from within me. We all can do this. Once we know we can.
10. Advice for other women?
LISTEN TO YOUR WOMANLY WISDOM, that womens' intuition, that has been passed down to you from every womb to womb before you. This means examining why you’re praying to a “He/Him” God energy, for your womanly healing. Conjuring a male energy while I was healing from breast cancer felt wrong on so many levels.
Be good with being just you, solo. Single doesn’t have to mean alone, and it doesn’t have to mean shame. You are better off single than shacked up with a terrible partner. There are four ways we can be an individual:
Alone, Lonely, Solo and Independent. Choose wisely, label yourself better, now that you know you have these choices.
11. Where in the world do you feel “tallest” (i.e. where is your happy place)?
Literally in Times Square, 60 feet tall. Though the month of October!
But my happy place is anywhere there is calmness, peace, ripe fruit, and a cool breeze with some warm sun. A gorgeous snorkel-able beach is the cherry on top. So, I guess in short, the answer is Hawaii. LOL
12. What extra-curricular activities/hobbies are you most proud of? Why?
Teaching DJing to young girls, boys, teens and young adults is very important for me. I have brought DJing to an orphanage in Ecuador, to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, to Rikers Island… I have taught DJing, but actually what I have been doing is teaching young people how to speak up and express themselves, under the guise of DJing. I firmly believe that when young people learn to be loud and control it, learning how to express themselves, especially girls, I believe this could help them speak up in the future. To ask for a raise. To say “No.’ This could save a marriage. It could save a life. I don’t necessarily feel pride from this, I just feel happy to be able to teach via a modality I love.
13. What do you want to be when you grow up? Future goals/challenges?
When I grow up, I want to be a happy and satisfied old woman. But in the near future, I want to become a professional public speaker, an inspirational well-paid philanthropic media mogul.
14. What fears are you still hoping to overcome?
I thought long about this. I have no fears for myself. I have outgrown imagining the worst. I am here. Now.
15. Anything you'd do differently (if you had another go at life)?
I would not eat that thing that I knew might give me food poising. Because it did. See how important listening to that woman’s intuition is?
I used to think that I would do things differently so that I would have a child, but now that I was touched by cancer, I have granted myself freedom to travel around the world to teach kids. I feel like I have hundreds of children.
16. What inspires you?
Challenges inspire me. This video Pfizer made about me DJing inspires me to keep doing exactly what I am doing.
17. What are you hopeful about?
I am hopeful that this white supremacy reality and oppression of people of color and other-than-cis folk can change. I hope I can help change this current racist and toxic masculine vibe we have going on in this country.
18. What are some ingredients to a good life?
Creative expression, networking, forgiving, honesty, time, space, great food, hurt noone, italian custom tailored clothing, travel, solo time, laughter, and furry loved ones.
19. What are you reading now? (what books do you gift most and what are your favourite reads?)
I am writing two books and reading my own writing over and over and over again. Does that count? I am also reading The Art of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein. Hello, Kleenex!
20. Who is a “WOW Woman” in your life who inspires you (and why)?
Both of my grandmothers are WOW women. Although I never really got to spend time with them, they both passed too soon, I know that they were both businesswomen, which in that era, in the Philippines, is truly impressive. My Mom rocks, too!
21. Where can others find you/your work (links to websites, blogs, etc.)?
So Many Links!
My Website: djcherishtheluv.com
Wonderment & Co.
Be a guest on my shows, Primary Food, and Wedding Cake, on Heritage Radio Network