Updated: Aug 31
Producer, Coach, Podcaster, Author, and Speaker Loren Michaels Harris Has Dealt with Difficulties and Now Uplifts Others
Multitalented Loren Michaels Harris knows the power of self-love and self-acceptance. He has faced numerous challenges throughout his life but used them to grow and learn. He now helps others create more resilience and happiness, achieve work-life balance, become confident public speakers, or share their message.
Cover Model: Loren Michaels Harris Magazine
Editor: Sandy Rodriguez
Production Coordinator: Giovanna Salas
Photographer: Steven Means Makeup
Artist: Sandra Galdamez
Production Assistant: Markus Herrera
Sponsor: Rule Number 5
He is the winner of Heart Of Hollywood Magazine’s most recent Male Cover Model contest, selected by our readership through an online voting process. Originally from Michigan, he was brought to Los Angeles, California, for the cover shoot in Downtown LA. Heart Of Hollywood team members were excited to welcome Loren, and were honored to take him on a tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills.
How does it feel to be on the current cover of Heart Of Hollywood Magazine?
It feels incredible! I learned so much about myself and also about the level of support I now realize I have from those people within my close circle of influence! When I first learned of the Male Cover Model Competition, I had no interest whatsoever in entering. It was several months into the competition when Heart Of Hollywood Magazine founder Giovanna Salas blessed me with the back cover of the magazine in support of my television show Bathrobe Moments. Once the back cover became an opportunity, I thought to myself; “Hmmm… wouldn’t it be awesome to land the front and back of the same magazine at the same time?” I instantly knew I had to get into the competition and at least try. I was terrified!
Why would you be terrified? You’ve been on other magazine covers.
Yes, I have been on two covers prior to this one, and I have a forthcoming one in May of 2022. I was terrified not of the cover itself, but of the competition! I have always struggled with low self-esteem, and for most of my adult life, I’d say between the ages of 25 to 49, I pretty much avoided all mirrors. I never took pictures with people and certainly not of myself, and I also had been shaving my head and face daily, brushing my teeth several times daily, walking past windows and other reflective surfaces daily, and yet I would do anything within my power to not look at myself in any of these situations. I truly hated what I saw when I looked at myself.
Can you share a bit about that? Why did you struggle with low self-esteem, why were you avoiding your own reflection?
Of course! The element of my origin story that was truly responsible for my being able to do the work I do today was the fact that growing up I experienced having 22 mothers. This was due to having spent a number of years within the state foster care system.
You were in foster care? How did this happen to you?
Well, pretty much the same way it happens to the one quarter of a million kids that enter the foster system in the United States each and every year, through choices and situations that in most cases are beyond our control. For me, it was because the mother who had raised me since birth unexpectedly passed away. This was the woman who raised me after my birth mother decided that, with four other children and a recent divorce, raising a fifth would be too much. A few days after my adopted mom’s funeral, the state showed up and removed me from the home. Up until the moment the state entered my life, I had always had the name Larry Dixon. Yet they walked in and informed me that my real name was Harris and that I was not legally adopted. Therefore, I was a legal ward of the state.
So just like that, you were snatched away from the only family you had ever known?
Yep! Just like that!
Your Goalcast video has millions of views and hundreds of thousands of comments. How do you feel hen you see how many people your story has reached?
It feels quite healing, to tell you the truth. I find it healing because those numbers, the views and the comments, they both heal. Those numbers represent connection. When we see that others resonate with our pain, when others begin to share their stories of trauma, well…. it has proved quite cathartic for me. Before sharing my story on stage that night, the night Lost and Found was was recorded– this was the video that later went on to become the Goalcast video– I was so very lost, so troubled. I truly had zero idea of what my purpose in this world was.
Does that mean that today you know what your purpose in the world is?
Yes, I most certainly do know today what my purpose is in this world. My purpose is to rise each and every day, seeking to bring something of a positive nature into the world, something unique, something the world has never seen or experienced before! In order for me to accomplish this, it means I must rise each day and do something of a positive nature, something unique, something that I have never done before!
That sounds like a pretty tall order, Loren. Do you truly get out of bed each day with these goals in mind?
You bet I do! It’s actually a lot easier to achieve than one might at first believe. It can be quite difficult, I imagine, but only for those who are afraid or allergic to that power that lives within our true self.
I get it, but some of our readers at this point may be thinking to themselves, “Hey, this guy is beginning to sound like a motivational speaker!” What would you say to that?
That’s a good one! I’m sorry for laughing a bit, but it’s so interesting because at the beginning of this career I truly thought that a motivational speaker was what I was destined to become in this world. Now, to hear you say that, well… it’s just a bit funny to me because I feel that there’s so much more than just speaking. I know today that my journey, what I refer to as my “souls’ thirstiness,” is steeped in the many promises that have been granted all of us who are willing to commit to our own scars.
What do you mean by “committing to our own scars”?
What I mean is, each and every scar, no matter what it’s from, no matter where it lives– on the inside or the outside of our bodies– every scar has a voice, every scar has a mission, every scar possesses clues to each of our individual superpowers. I understand now that forgiveness is a superpower, being of service to others is a superpower, getting back up after falling down is a superpower, making it through abuse, torment, tragedy, and trauma– this too is a superpower.
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Tell us about your event, The Power of WE Symposium. What is it about and how did it all begin?
The Power of WE Symposium is my way of never forgetting that I did not make it out of foster care alone, that although from the outside looking in it may appear that I was alone with that big horrible monster known as “The System”, that is not accurate. I was never totally alone. What I mean is, although I may have been alone in “real life” many times, I was never alone within my heart and within my mindset. It was within foster care that I began maximizing the power of the gift of remembering, remembering that it was not always this way, remembering that I had felt alone before, I had hurt inside before, I had cried myself to sleep before, but here I was again, still here, still alive and still able to fight through another day! I wanted The Power of WE to be a place, a culture, a movement. POW, as we call it, is a day of celebration where we bring in kids from some of the hardest-hit crime areas within cities around the nation. Thus far, we have celebrated youth leaders in both Chicago and in Atlanta. We are back in Chicago for a second event this coming April 28th, 2022.
How does the Power of WE Symposium benefit kids?
These kids experience a full day of celebrity treatment, a day where they are reminded by adult supporters that their voice matters, their dreams matter, they matter!
Wow! That sounds incredible, Loren. What’s the date again, for our readers?
April 28th in Chicago, at the beautiful Stan Mansion in Logan Square. Find more information at www.powerofwesymposium.com
Tell us a little about this new podcast venture you are embarking on with Nashville country recording artist Jax Young.
Sure. Jax and I met during 2021 and we instantly clicked! It’s ironic, as we are totally different in so many ways. He’s white, I’m black, he’s straight, I’m gay, he’s tall, I’m short… the list goes on and on. But we are similar in so many other ways that are important as well. We are both veterans, and we both truly are committed to representing the true story of today’s veteran. Jax and I are launching our new podcast, Licensed for Love: The Heartbeat in Relationship Conversation, the week of Valentine’s Day of this year.
That sounds exciting. What can we expect from this podcast, Loren?
Well, a ton of laughter and fun, that’s for sure, but also compelling guests with compelling stories, relationship tips from all over the globe, and several surprises I am not at liberty to talk about just yet. Trust me, though, it’s going to be historical!
Speaking of relationships, you’re married, correct?
I am! It was four wonderful years this past October 14th!
Let’s talk about getting married. Did you always hope to one day have the opportunity to marry as a gay man?
I believe that most LGBTQI+ community members dream or have dreamed at some point of one day finding that perfect mate, that soulmate we hear so much about in the hetero world. Honestly, though, I thought that I would die alone someday. I never thought that I would even meet anyone who would be interested in marrying me. I know today through the lens of years of therapy that this old mindset of mine was honed through much of the abuse and trauma I encountered along my journey within foster care and also within the 14 years that I was addicted to drugs. I was afraid, for most of my adult life, to even venture out and date. I simply assumed that no one in their right mind would even take a second look at someone who was so clearly damaged. That’s how I viewed my having had 22 mothers, that’s how I viewed myself due to all the various abuses. I was damaged beyond repair in my own mind.
How did you get beyond those limiting beliefs? After all, you are happily married today.
I am! I am very happily married to my everything! I was able to get beyond those limiting beliefs you mentioned by a slow but successful process which I today refer to as “reinventing blame.” Once I hit my fifties I realized that I was most likely not going to live another 50 years. Therefore, I most likely had more life behind me than in front of me. I was forced to finally become honest with myself and admit that I was afraid to die alone, that I did not want to watch the dance of romance and happiness from the sidelines of life any longer. I wanted to dance, and I wanted to dance with the same partner all the way across the finish line.
Loren Michaels Harris and husband Brian Rzepczynski at their wedding
Tell us about your husband, Dr. Brian Rzepczynski. He’s a relationship therapist, correct?
Yes, not only a relationship therapist, but also a licensed social worker. He also has a PhD in Human Sexuality. I always joke with people and say that I am married to the male version of Dr. Ruth! I am so grateful to my dear friend Tammi Williams, who was my counselor during my years of fighting to regain my life from the drugs and all that goes with that. Tammi mentioned that I should try out this certain social app for dating and offered to help me complete the profile building. It was not even one week after we had created the profile that I received a message from Brian. We messaged back and forth for a full afternoon and then agreed to meet the next day. That next day was one of the single most wonderful days of my life, only surpassed by the day I knocked on my birth mom’s door after 32 years of separation. Brian and I spent the day at my apartment, simply talking about anything and everything. I was working on my recording project, Turn It Around, at the time. I remember I actually sang for Brian that day, hoping to win his heart.
Well, did you? Did you win his heart that day?
I can 100% say that I did! I even went as far as to tell Brian as I walked him to his car; “I’m probably going to pursue you!” I remember the moment the words came rushing out of my mouth how he quickly looked up at me and just stared. I thought I was going to die due to the awkwardness of the silence. Brian simply looked me in directly In my eyes and said, “okay.” We have rarely been apart since that day, and I pray it remains that way for all eternity.
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What is your approach to making big-picture decisions?
That’s beautiful Loren, congratulations! So what can we expect in the year 2022 and beyond in regard to the LMH brand. You have quite a lot of irons in the fire currently. Is there anything you might be able to share with us?
Of course! There’s the new podcast with Jax Young, Licensed For Love which again, debuts in February of this year. There’s The Power of We Symposium on April 28th in Chicago.
I have a brand new coaching program that is launching this month, P3: The Journey Series. It’s going to get people who are 100% prepared to step within their Divine Purpose started along the true path. I can’t even begin to tell you just how excited I am for this program, it is truly going to change the way purpose is perceived!
I also plan on releasing my new book this year, Every Scar has A Voice. I’m thinking that this book will be that book for me, I mean that book that you’ve known all your life you would one day be forced to write. Yes, that book! I truly want nothing more than to bring as many people as possible to that threshold at the door of purpose. I want to do this within the time I have remaining here on earth. I want others to know what I now know, I want others to feel what I now feel, I want others to experience what I experience each and every day.
And what would that be, Loren?
I want people to know that we must honor our scars, the ones we can see as well as those scars we cannot see. Honoring our scars first and foremost provides immediate proof of healing. Once we have proof that healing is possible, we begin losing those limiting and false beliefs that force us into shame, disgrace, and low self-esteem. In a sense, we are then able to acknowledge our scars, and when we do that, we give our scars permission to begin beating to the tempo of our purpose within this world. Our scars are connected to our truths, our stories, our legacy and our hope for all that can possibly be. You’re probably wondering how I can be so sure of this. It’s simple, you and I are here right now, having this interview, talking about all the wonderful blessings within my life today in spite of all the trauma I’ve shared with you from along my journey, no? Yes, we are. Therefore, what more can I do but bless each situation that I never had control over, but still hurt me again and again.
I now can freely bless every person that ever abused me sexually, physically, verbally and mentally. I bless every lie that was ever told to me. I bless every betrayal, every disappointment, I bless it all. The reason why I would live every single moment of my journey over again if I had to is because everything I have just mentioned here has led me to this very moment with you, with the readers, with legacy. No matter what life offers us each day, we must respond with purpose In mind. When everything we think, everything we speak, everything we do is based on true meaning, it is then, in that very moment, that everything we are becomes meaningful to someone, somewhere in the universe. Live your life on purpose and you will leave a legacy of purpose! Be encouraged, beautiful people, be encouraged.
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