Svetlana Chernienko is a mental health advocate, a thriver, a mother, a self-confidence coach and an important LGBTQ+ ally. I knew her as an inspiring woman and I was always admiring her optimism and positivity and “feel-good” aura she was generating around her. Recently I was happily surprised when one day I received a love letter from Svetlana addressed to all the members of the LGBTQ+ community. And I realised how important it is to have allies like her.
Svetlana Chernienko is a Canadian and American model, actress, writer, choreographer, businesswoman. She is also an advocate for mental health, anti-bullying and domestic violence, member of the #Metoo movement, a supporter of the LGBTQ Foundation and Women’s Equal Rights Foundation as well as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Foundation.
Svetlana Chernienko lives in Montreal, Canada, with her 4 children. She is a descendant of Russians, Belorussians, American slaves, Native American Indians, Nigerians, and Brazilians. Professionally, Svetlana is an Actress, Model, Motivational Speaker, Dance Instructor and founder of Non-profit organization, ‘Welcome to my everyday’. Although she has accomplished much and, some may be surprised to find out that she gained these titles all while battling mental illness and physical abuse. As a child, Svetlana studied the classical poses of ballet, while at the same time learning about strength from her parents, who made sure to teach her how to overcome the hurdles that life may throw her way. Examples of how to do this were seen in her grandmother’s experience and survival during her time in a concentration camp. Svetlana’s father also demonstrated courage as a member of the United States Military, in which he received a Purple Heart. After his death in September of 2014, President Barack Obama personally sent Svetlana a letter, showing his gratitude for her father’s service.
As Svetlana got older, life brought many opportunities her way. She started her own company, found inspiration from her Makeup Artist mother, became an actress, and even worked with causes that supported the LGTB Community and PETA. However, as her life brought good moments, it also brought bad ones too. Like many women, Svetlana was a victim of domestic abuse. As a result, she spent more than 15 years, battling Generalized Anxiety Panic Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Depression. The abuse she suffered, is the same abuse that has unfortunately ended the lives of far too many others. As a true survivor, unwilling to let her circumstances steal her happiness, Svetlana began fighting for the better life she knew she and other women deserved. Using her family’s core values of integrity, decency, and honor, she began to rebuild her life. As a lover of travel, she visited West Africa, where she learned several tribal dances from Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. After living in West Africa for 2 years, she returned to North America and privately taught other women African dances. After reinventing her dance studio to cater more towards artists, mental health awareness and community, Svetlana now works to guide young women and mothers as they overcome abuse and mental illness. Now as a Mental Health Advocate and Domestic Abuse Survivor, she uses the same values that got her through her worst years and that she now instills in her own children, to help others to find victory in their battles. Svetlana’s mission is to erase the stigma of mental illness and build up her community so that no matter what they may be facing, they can find hope and rest easy knowing that they have the support needed to carry on.
Here is her heart-touching letter:
Dear LGBTQ+ Community,
I wish I was your mother, however I’m your proud to be your friend, sister, Motha and ally!
Through out my life growing up I always felt that I never fit in anywhere.
I was different and felt that I didn’t belong in many communities except yours. I was welcomed with open arms, unconditional love and acceptance.
I’m writing you all this letter of true love!
Over the years I’ve met so many of you that have gone through trauma, family members and friends turning their backs and abandoning some of you incredible individuals.
I’m sorry for the cruelties of this world and the pain it has brought to you by lack of compassion or the want from others to be open minded.
I feel a responsibility being an ally.
As a mother I teach my children better so that they don’t become the problems of your beautiful community or this world.
I teach them to be understanding, loving and kind.
I wish I could have been that mother to love you unconditionally, a sister you needed to listen or simply a true friend.
So I stand beside you, proud to be a part of your loving community with an abundance of love from my heart to you.
I love all of you .. you are my family!
Your motha, sister and friend,
Thank you for the beautiful and inspiring words.
To see more of her you can have a look here: