DEBRA HOPKINS, FOUNDER
Debra Hopkins is the Founder, Creator, and President of Breaking the Chains Foundation. Stemming from an artistic background as a dancer, actress, writer, and producer, as well as a health/fitness professional. After Debra received a full-ride dance scholarship to Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, she toured as a professional dancer in various stage productions across the U.S. Falling in love with the fitness industry, Debra has taught nationally in various prominent fitness studios, as well as becoming the Health & Fitness Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. As a member of the American Council of Exercise Faculty, she continued her successful health/fitness career, designing and presenting workshops/seminars to other fitness professionals and working with elite Hollywood clients as well as Warner Brothers Studios and other Time-Warner entities.
Her passion for the arts continued as an award-winning writer and actress. Debra is a 3-time winner at the Action on Film International Film Festival for Female Action Performer of the Year, Best Supporting Actress in a Feature Film, and First Runner-up as Best New Writer for her screenplay, “Chained & Bound,” which currently has celebrity attachment. She also wrote, directed, and produced the award-winning short film, “Finding Alice,” which is in development into a book and CD package as well as a national outreach program for high schools and colleges.
Debra created “The Art Of” Campaign, a six-part series, distributed via the top celebrity social media site whosay.com, as an outreach to engage others to change the conversation of eating disorders through various art forms such as film, music, dance, nourishment, writing, and creation. Currently, she has created the Breaking the Chains Young Hollywood prevention campaign to inspire and encourage youth to recognize hurtful behavior and “turn it around before it starts.”
Debra believes recovery is possible and achievable aiding in a journey that feels alive, heart-felt and creative! She continues to work with like-minded creative individuals and organizations, developing artistic campaigns, programs, and events to unite in changing the stigma attached to eating disorders by changing the conversation so that recovery and self-discovery are always in sight, heart, and mind!
Debra has been married over 20 years to her husband Gerald and they have two sons – Gerad and Jacob.
Anabelle is a multi-award winning actress, writer, director, singer, producer and C.E.O of the production company Blue Boots Entertainment.
She has lived and worked in Berlin where she studied drama and acting under Rumanian theatre Icon Valentin Platareanu at Charlottenburg conservatory. After being discovered for TV by German director and business partner Thomas Jahn, her international career expanded rapidly; work driven moves to London, New York and Los Angeles. Internationally, Anabelle has gathered credits in both movies and TV, such as the Academy Award winning “The Lives of Others”, and many, many more.
As a writer and director in Berlin, Anabelle wrote/directed/starred in her first own short “White Cut” which premiered at the Cannes film festival, then following her double award winning adaptation/directorial Off-Broadway debut of “Macbeth” in the National Comedy Theatre in Manhattan and “What We did to Weinstein” at the American Theatre of Actors, starring Academy Award Winner David Asavanond.
After her move to LA, Anabelle, following the simple motto “Build it and they’ll come”, started her company Blue Boots Entertainment with her husband, Huntly Munro. She recently won best actress at the 2016 AOF Festival, as well as AOF winning produced shorts, “The Boy Who Cried Fish!”, written and directed by Daila Musaad and starring Jacob Hopkins and Breeda Wool, “Finding Alice”, written and directed by Debra Hopkins and starring Jillian Rose Reed and “Gaijin: Fish Out of Water”, written, directed by the Munro couple.
Anabelle recently launched Blue Boots sister entertainment company “HAT Productions” with partners Huntly Munro and Thomas Jahn. Her creative partnerships include producing and co-directing the comedy TV movie, “The Nerd Posse”
with Suzette Troche Stapp as well as joining the producing team of Debra Hopkin’s award-winning screenplay, “Chained and Bound”.
Being a proud board member of Breaking The Chains Foundation, Munro has also completed her 3 book series, “The Skeleton-Key Manifesto”, a groundbreaking in-depth guide and tool, which is a practical approach to healing from eating disorders, based on her own, true and auto-didactic recovery story.
SUZETTE TROCHE STAPP
Suzette Troche-Stapp aka “The Glitterguru” has been putting pixels through their paces since the early age of sixteen, “The Glitterguru” is a director, content creator, internationally published photographer, artist and author. In the digital imaging & web design world since its inception in the early 1980’s, she is widely recognized throughout her industry. Suzette was named one of the “Top 40 Photoshop Experts” by graphics tablet manufacturer Wacom, awarded the “Guru Award” for excellence in Photoshop by NAPP, and is a two-time nominee to the PhotoShop Hall Of Fame.
In 1995, her and her husband Henry Stapp began Red Channel Interactive, a digital agency delivering a broad range of services including websites, e-commerce, motion graphics, multimedia and graphic design. One of the first internet companies in Los Angeles, their clients included, Honda of America, Steadi Systems, Jerry Bruckheimer, Lollapalooza and many others. Their original digital content division also produced multi- award winning projects including one of the first original web series and online fashion magazines.
Suzette went on to write the award-winning book, “The Glitterguru on Photoshop: from Concept to Cool” which has now been published in three languages and was a best seller in China and Russia, she also penned a column called “Ask The Glitterguru” for over 5 years in PEI Digital Imaging Magazine. Now she is a internationally exhibited, award winning, celebrity photographer, who’s work has been published in countless magazines both in the US and overseas for decades. Several of her pieces reside in the permanent collection at “The Center Of Fine Art Photography.”
She is currently producing and directing content for short form new media and film. Stapp just finished directing and producing a pilot called “The Nerd Posse’ in partnership with Annabelle Munro, and the “Urchins Project” a Feature Film starring an A list young Hollywood cast at the funding stage. She is also on the producing team of Debra Hopkins’ award-winning screenplay, Chained and Bound. Current YouTube projects include Merit Leighton’s “KawaiiHappii,” and the animated series “Planeman” which is are currently in production overseas.
Suzette brings her many artistic skills to help further the “Breaking The Chains Foundation’s” mission.
Jennifer Oleff is an LA based artist, wife, mother, preschool owner, and art advocate. She has taught art to all ages, worked in the sign industry, owned a successful children’s mural business, and partnered with her husband to open the elite CHALK Preschools where art is a primary focus. CHALK recently partnered with the award winning My Gym brand to bring more awareness to the importance of healthy minds and bodies. Jennifer’s newest endeavor is called Platform44, a working studio in Beverly Hills. The intention is to bring a new energy to the art scene with an open view of how people create. She looks forward using the space to elevate and empower other creatives; allowing the space to be used for community engagement and likeminded
Jennifer primarily works with acrylic and has been on a journey through abstraction. The challenge is to silence the mind enough so that the what or the why don’t matter. It’s just about painting. Letting go of judgement is a lifelong process, one that requires continuous creation. Jennifer hopes that she can inspire others to find a creative outlet by sharing her process. Her art can be seen throughout Breaking the Chains Foundation’s “The Art Of” Campaign on Whosay. Jennifer continues to contribute her artistry and images to many areas of Breaking The Chains Foundation.
DANIELLE KELMAR, LCSW
Danielle Kelmar, LCSW, joined Breaking the Chains in 2014. As a clinician working with teens and adults, she specializes in eating disorders, anxiety and depression. After beginning her career as a clinician at St. Helena Hospital’s Eating Disorder unit, Danielle moved to California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, where in addition to her clinical duties she provided in-house training to residents and medical staff on how to identify eating disorders, and was a guest lecturer to the medical team. Danielle then transitioned into wellness coaching, working for Stanford University and a wellness startup Golantern.com. She also maintains a private practice and consulting firm dedicated to treating patients with eating disorders. She is a member of National Association of Social Workers, Academy of Eating Disorders, and International Eating Disorders Professionals.
Danielle believes a full recovery is possible, as she is living proof. She had an eating disorder in her teenage years and now lives a life without the loop spinning in her head. What she loves most about Breaking the Chains are the creative platforms and “art of campaigns” the foundation stands for. She wants to peel back the label and stigma around eating disorders, discuss openly like we do other diseases, and change the conversation. Helping individuals and families feel empowered instead of isolated is going to steer this process and Breaking the Chains will help drive this dynamic.
DR. GIA MARSON
Dr. Gia Marson is a psychologist, clinician, author and lecturer in private practice in Santa Monica, CA. She is the psychologist consultant for UCLA’s Medical Outpatient Feeding and Eating Disorders Program & was the Founder/Director of the UCLA CAPS Eating Disorder Program and a psychologist-member of the UCLA Athletic Care Committee. She has been a clinical supervisor for psychology interns and postdoctoral fellows, a clinician at The Renfrew Center & at The Monte Nido Treatment Center. Dr. Marson is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders, the Los Angeles Psychological Association and an advocate for Health at Every Size. She is co-creator of www.PsychologistSecrets.com, a hub for bringing the science of psychology into the light.
Dr. Marson has been a featured, expert contributor for NBC, for Maria Menounos’ book The Everygirl’s Guide to Life and was the host and co-writer of the University of California’s PSA on Eating Disorders. She lectures and writes about body image and eating disorders. Dr. Marson is an expert contributor to www.recoverywarriors.com.
She recognizes that as the seeds of recovery take hold — from inspirations of the mind, body, spirit, relationships, sports, music, dance and art — a fully connected and awakened self-emerges. Dr. Marson knows full recovery is possible because she has witnessed it throughout her career. She is thrilled to be a Board Member for the Breaking The Chains Foundation whose “Art of” campaign is devoted to changing the conversation about eating disorders, reducing stigma and encouraging self-love and self-respect.
Raja B. Marhaba is the Founder and President of The Jonathan Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities, Inc. Since 2001, inspired by her two sons, Omar and Jonathan, The Jonathan Foundation has provided families of children with various types of disabilities with information, resources, referrals, and direct advocacy services in both special education and regional center matters. Moreover, Raja has a strong relationship with Children of the Night, volunteering her professional advocacy services and launching the “Assessment Scholarship Program” in 2014. In addition, Raja is a licensed realtor, and co-owner of MarTec Construction, Inc., with her husband of over 30 years, Omar. Which has also been recognized as a woman-owned business since 2003, including many other awards.
She holds an Associate of Applied Science degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College in Business Administration, as well as a certification in Paralegal Studies with a Concentration in Litigation and Corporations from the University of California, Los Angeles, completing the Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) Program. Raja was selected and completed the first cohort of the federally-funded Special Education Advocate Training (SEAT) Program in 2006. She is also a member of the Education Panel & Committee for the Juvenile Division of the LA County Superior Court.
Raja’s active memberships include the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Granada Hills Rotary Club, National Women’s Business Enterprise and Women-Owned Small Businesses. Additionally, through her work with The Jonathan Foundation, she is one of several women recognized with the Enterprising Women of the Year Award in February 2016.
Alex is a Professional Choreographer, Director, Master Teacher, Performer, Coach, & Motivational Speaker. She has choreographed for clients & companies such as Nike, Nike NFL, Audi, Genentech, and The Young Americans, to name a few. She has also contributed choreography to the opening production for America’s Got Talent (NBC), and Alex was a Jazz coach to Karina Smirnoff & Apollo Ohno on Dancing With The Stars (ABC). Her performance credits include: Wipeout (ABC), Nike, Toyota, Tarbell, Cabi Clothing, Genentech, Dream Force, and as a company member of Interweave Dance Theatre, Doug Caldwell & Friends and The Young Americans. Teaching classes to hundreds of students at one time is one of her favorite ways to share, connect, educate & motivate young people from all over the world and she has been doing just this since 1999 as a faculty member to multiple international dance conventions including Dance Makers Inc, Velocity Dance Convention and Dance Excellence. Alex is also the co-founder of The Feedback Experience, a dance workshop taught to 100% live music.
As the Founder/Director of Escape Artists, a theatrical contemporary dance company, Alex premiered “Anonymous” at the end of 2013, which marked their first immersive and full-length theatrical production, featuring lead actor Gene Gabriel, and 16 professional dancers. The inspiration of this show came from a live dance piece & film Alex choreographed called “7 Chairs”, starring Kathryn McCormick.
Projects which bring attention, awareness & conversation to societal issues hold an important piece in Alex’s mission as an artist. This is why Alex feels incredibly honored and thrilled to have joined the Board of Breaking The Chains Foundation! Alex is an Eating Disorder survivor, having battled this illness for 17 years before finding and committing to a life of recovery- which she continues practicing every day.
Author, Actor, Comedian, Singer and Motivational Speaker, M.J. Dougherty is best known for his Amazon #1 Bestselling book, Life Lessons from a Total Failure, and from appearances on major TV Shows such as, “Dexter,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Rizzoli & Isles.” M.J. travels throughout the country talking with audiences of all ages about his life’s journey and how to deal with all that the world can throw your way. In addition to his acting and motivational talks, M.J. can frequently be found on stages around Los Angeles, or practically anywhere someone will listen, singing or cracking jokes.
A vocal supporter of LGBTQ issues, animal rights, and cancer research, M.J. is no stranger to partnering with charities. He found a great kindship with Breaking the Chains as he has suffered from numerous sever eating disorders in his lifetime and understands the shame and need to hide them. Expressing his true self was the only thing that helped M.J. accept his issues and start to move on from them. That is why he firmly believes in the mission statement of Breaking the Chains and wants to do his part to help as many people as possible learn the value of self-acceptance and love.
CELEBRITY BOARD MEMBERS
JILLIAN ROSE REED
Jillian is most recognized and beloved as Tamara in MTV’s “Awkward” and Simone on “Weeds.” She has appeared on several TV shows such as “Jessie,” “Ghost Girls,” “The Middle,” and much more. Her movie credits include lead roles in “Age of Dinosaurs” and “Supah Ninjas” among others. Presently, Jillian can be heard as the voice of Naomi on Disney’s animated tv series, Elena of Avalor.
Reed is one of the producers and lead actresses in Breaking the Chains Foundation’s first feature film in development, “Chained and Bound.” She had the starring role of Alice in Breaking the Chains’ first award-winning short film, “Finding Alice”, in which she will be joining on the journey of bringing the film as an outreach program to various high schools and colleges. Currently, Jillian is the host of a new show produced by Maker Studios called “Present Tense with Jillian Rose Reed” and Morgan Spurlock’s company, Warrior Poets. Every episode dives in head first to a different social issued facing Millennials.
Her ongoing support of Breaking The Chains includes featured pieces in several media outlets. She has participated in interviews and promos speaking out on behalf of Breaking the Chains, including Megan McCain’s “Take Part Live,” MTV ACT, Bello magazine, Glitter magazine, IAMM magazine, Pop Sugar, Whosay, Huffington Post and “The Del Weston Show” just to name a few.
In April, 2016 Jillian represented Breaking the Chains Foundation at the 20th Anniversary Erasing the Stigma Leadership Awards. Jillian’s personal approach, talent, charisma and giving heart have been at the forefront of Breaking the Chains,
encouraging and urging others to change the face of eating disorders by changing the conversation. She continues to reach out to her fans with this message via her own personal social media.
Carolyn Hennesy is not only a brilliant actress and writer, but a successful author and New York Times best seller for her tweens series, Pandora. She is most recognized as Diane Miller in ABC’s General Hospital as well as Barbara Coman in ABC’s Cougar Town, Rosalyn Harris in HBO’s True Blood and in Netflix’s Gilmore Girls. She has had several recurring roles in other tv shows including Disney’s Jesse and ABC’s Revenge, just to name a few. Her talent and versatility has also landed Carolyn many movies in lead roles, such as Dance-Off, The Wedding Do Over, St. Agatha, and the upcoming film, Soniquete.
Carolyn chooses to live by her own words, “There’s room at the top for everyone…at all times.” Not only does she believe this, but she treats others with such positivity and dignity where she takes nothing for granted.
Her ongoing support in other charities she chooses includes Lek Chailert’s Elephant Nature Park – Thailand, Los Angeles Zoo (GLAZA), Channel Islands Marine & Wildlife Institute, and Wildlife Alliance – Cambodia. As a valued board member of Breaking The Chains Foundation, Carolyn shared her personal insight as a writer and how it can be used as such a strong tool to bring forth the inner creativity that lies within each one of us. How writing can be a tool not only enchant others but inspire one’s own mind and soul to bring forth healing. She continues to be a strong force within the foundation, involved in upcoming BTCF projects as well as speaking out on the behalf of those suffering from eating disorders.