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The Votes Are In

Heart Of Hollywood Magazine’s Catrina Cover Model Contest Winner

Readers voted for the model they wanted to see on the cover of this issue, and the beautiful Denice Marie Paskovski won. She is now a two-time cover girl for our publication, as she was in our special summer issue as well earlier this year.

Catrina: Denice Marie Paskovski

Photographer: Claudia Hoag

What personal connection do you feel toward Día de Muertos and why did you decide to compete in this cover model contest?

My personal connection to this day begins with my birth. I was born three months premature. Quite extraordinarily, I was born into this world on November 2nd.

Expanding upon that, I grew up with a Catholic education. In Catholism, November 1st is known as All Saints Day, whilst November 2nd is known as All Souls’ Day. The tradition for November 2nd is to attend Divine Liturgy. Mass is held for our departed loved ones, with the names of departed family and friends being read during Divine Liturgy. That is the extent of All Souls’ Day. It was very solemn and sad. We shed tears as we heard the names of our loved ones, read one by one, pulling at our hearts, while longing for them to be here again. We felt immense sadness.

However, in stark contrast, I found that Hispanic culture had a much more extensive, beautiful, joyful, deeper meaning in remembering the souls of our loved ones who have gone before us. Día de Muertos, I found, is more about life, really, rather than death. In American culture, families just go and place flowers on graves, bow our heads in prayer, and that is the extent of it. Again, this is very solemn, whereas Día de Muertos is celebratory, happy, and actually a celebration of life! I have embraced it throughout my life, along with Hispanic culture, language, and traditions, since the beginning of high school.


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What was your experience growing up and what influenced your perspective on life and shaped your identity?

I grew up in a small coal mining town in Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania. Everyone worked very hard for a living. It was an immigrant community full of people who brought different cultures, heritages, and traditions with them. Life was brittle in a coal mining town. Accidental deaths deep in the mines beneath were a constant part of daily life. When the coal mining whistle screamed, it meant death. Thus, the fear was who had died whenever the whistle wailed. We felt the loss of life and mourned as a community. So, death became very close to me from a tender, young age. It was part of life in a coal mining town. However, it shaped me and my identity that death was a normal part of life. I gained a healthy perspective. Life begins, we are born, and our lives come to an end on this earth but continue on. We all just transition going back to the universe and our true home. In that sense, growing up under the fragile life of a coal mining town shaped my perspective that life continues. This is the cultural beauty that I found in Día de Muertos. It is a celebration, just as life itself is a celebration. Having the honor of being a catrina is an embodiment of this for me.

What role does music play in your life, and are there any particular genres or artists that hold a special place in your heart?

Things and thoughts come from the head, but music comes from the heart. Music is a universal language. It transcends language barriers.

Catrina: Denice Marie Paskovski

Photographer: Claudia Hoag

Music was very integral in my life. Studying music and learning at least one musical instrument was mandatory. Two hours of practice every day was also compulsory. In addition, in the Byzantine Eastern Rite, the entire Divine Liturgy is sung in both high Silvanic Chant and half in English, with the only instrument being our voices. Though this, I fell in love with music. I would go on to perform as a Soprano One with The Johnstown Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Maestro Istvan Yari of Vienna. I later performed Opera in Oahu, Hawaii, and needless to say I developed a passion for Operatic music. My love of music would take me to the stage and to regional theater performing musicals. My most memorable performance was in Cabaret as the lead Kit Kat Girl.

The genres and artists that hold a profound place in my heart are:

OPERA: Sara Brightman, the great Andrea Bocelli, Italian-Australian Patrizio Buanne, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. My most beloved opera is Phantom of The Opera.

CLASSICAL: Hungarian composer, virtuoso, pianist, conductor, and teacher of the Romantic Period: Franz List. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, in particular the 21st Concertto. German Composer Johan Pachelbel, in particular his harpsichord arrangements. Gregorian chants, the Slovenian chants of my heritage in the Byzantine Eastern Rite, and I must mention polka music. I have fond memories of polka being listened to every Sunday.

FOLK MUSIC: Joan Baez, as well as Peter, Paul, and Mary. Spanish and Hispanic folk music: Jota, fandango, bolero, zambra, paso doble, madeira, mariachi and flamenco/

In what ways do you believe that embracing diversity in the modeling industry can positively impact society as a whole?

When designers, models, and industry professionals from diverse backgrounds come together, it sparks a creative synergy that leads to fresh concepts and groundbreaking designs. This collaborative and inclusive environment drives innovation, propelling the industry forward.

Catrina: Denice Marie Paskovski

Catrín: Halas Wilbourn

Photographer: Claudia Hoag

One of the most compelling arguments for inclusivity and diversity in fashion is the importance of representation. Fashion is a powerful medium that allows individuals to express their identities and tell their unique stories. By featuring a diverse range of models, designers, and cultural influences, the fashion industry can empower marginalized communities and challenge preconceived notions of beauty and style. The fashion industry has long perpetuated narrow beauty standards, often favoring a limited range of body types and appearances. However, embracing inclusivity and diversity challenges these unrealistic ideals and promotes body positivity. By featuring models of different sizes, shapes, and abilities, the industry can redefine beauty standards and promote a more inclusive and realistic portrayal of diverse bodies. The shift towards inclusivity not only benefits individuals who have been traditionally marginalized, but also has a positive impact on society as a whole. It encourages body acceptance, reducing the prevalence of body image issues and promoting a healthier relationship with one’s body. By celebrating diversity, the fashion industry can promote self-love, self-acceptance, and a more inclusive definition of beauty.

Women, and men, come in all beautiful shapes, ages, sizes, and ethnicities. I believe this must be reflected not only on the runway but in every aspect of the industry.

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The views, information, and opinions published in this magazine or our blog are the sole responsibility of our contributors or interview subjects. Heart of Hollywood Magazine is not liable for any statements made, or information provided, by its contributors or sources.

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