Life With Lupus: Survivor Spotlight - Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf

For Lupus Awareness Month I'd like to take the focus off myself with the Life With Lupus series.

Instead, I wish to introduce others who fight a similar battle each day with a Survivor Spotlight series.

So in honor of Lupus Awareness Month and International Lupus Day on May 10th, ten interview questions with Lupus survivor and fashion model, Shakita Jones.

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

Shakita Jones - Life With Lupus

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Shakita before her Lupus diagnosis.Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: What type(s) of Lupus do you have?

Shakita Jones: SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus).

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A year later. What Shakita's Lupus flares look like.Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: Do you have other illnesses related to Lupus?

Shakita Jones: I have SLE, Sjögren's Syndrome, Raynauds.

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Shakita said, "My skin is hot to the touch and it burns and itch so badly nothing helps."Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

"I am so tired but I have responsibilities"

TJ Wolf: What's the hardest challenge you face daily living with Lupus?

Shakita Jones: The hardest challenge I face is putting on a brave face when I want to sometimes just crawl under my bed and never come out. Some days I am so tired but I have responsibilities. There are days where I physically and mentally cannot do anything but sleep for days.

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Shakita: "Nothing helps for long periods I should say."Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

"Promise to God"

TJ Wolf: What made you decide to share your Lupus story?

Shakita Jones: I made a promise to God to tell of his goodness throughout this ordeal. There were times I was in so much pain the only thing I could do is close my eyes and picture him telling me, "123 eyes on me". And I could feel the warm tears escape from my eyelids. My faith in a God I can not see but feel his presence every day all around me is what keeps me grounded. I told God to open up the doors for me to share my story cause I never want anyone to feel hopeless and lost like I once did when first diagnosed with Lupus.

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

Shakita Jones - Fashion Model

TJ Wolf: What drives your motivation and passion behind your fashion model journey?

Shakita Jones: What drives my motivation behind modeling is one to say haha to all my haters who told me I was too old to be a model <Shakita laughs>.

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

But the most important is I believe in myself and I love walking the runway, there is nothing like it. I want other warriors to know that Lupus only gets in the way if you allow it. I love conquering the challenges of overcoming any fear that will try to cripple me. And what people think once crippled me when I first was diagnosed. So now I don't mind blemishes.

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

Most Photographers photoshoot my blemishes, but it honestly takes away from who I am as a model. I don't live in shame and modeling is my passion. I hope to do well into my 90's. I hope to model for Beyoncé and Adidas...Nike...Gucci etc. I just love seeing myself blossom and being great.

"Because of you, I got out of bed today"

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: Do others let you know what a tremendous strength and role model you are to them to be a model with Lupus?

Shakita Jones: Yes, people reach out to me. I'll never forget when someone wrote to me and said because of you I got out of bed today. Now that is powerful!

I want to be there for those who don't know how to use their voice yet. I'm hoping they can take some of my hope and faith until they develop their own. It's in them. They just have to walk in it until it feels like their own.

God truly is answering my prayers by giving me such platforms as this one. So thank you for sharing my story.

"Any shoot right before sunset is beautiful"

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: What is your favorite shooting location?

Shakita Jones: I would have to say the city I live in has so many discoveries I never knew existed until I started modeling. My favorite place would be in La Jolla (San Diego). The water is so blue and clear and there are private beaches. I'm a beach girl so any shoot right before sunset is beautiful to me...before sunset you know because I'm allergic to the sun.

"Front cover"

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: Is there a magazine, advertisement, or other photoshoots you are particularly proud of or pleased with?

Shakita Jones: There are a few magazines that come to mind like Neuss. They published me and I was published twice in a magazine called Katana. Front cover for one of their magazines. There are others, but I can't recall.

.Oh and almost came in first place with jetsetmag.com model search 2020. I beat out 50,000 other models but came in second. Still proud. Pretty great for a Mother of a 26-year-old daughter, 2 sons who are 20 and 16 years old, and a grandson who is 5 years old.

What's Next?

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

TJ Wolf: What's next for Shakita Jones?

Shakita Jones: What's next? Let me just speak this into existence.

I want to work with Beyoncé's clothing line Ivy Park Collections, Adidas, Target, Nike, Gucci, Prada, etc., and be booked months in advance.

I also want to model and walk on the runway in Milan, Lagos, Paris, London, Tokyo, and Dubai with my 16-year-old son. We did Fashion Week together in 2019 and that was so special for both of us. You know I don't think there has ever been a mom and son duo. We can be the first. Don't worry the world will know our names.

TJ Wolf: Any final thoughts to share with our readers?

Shakita Jones: I have learned to love myself and appreciate the woman have become because I struggled with Lupus and my Mental Illness. I am thankful and appreciative for God choosing me to carry this cross and by no means is it easy. It has been bittersweet, but I pray to never forget the beautiful lessons I have learned because of these diseases, and if I bring glory to His name and help one person then it has all been worth it for me.

Life is good. My future is bright, and I am always hopeful even on my worst days. Hope in God and love for myself have never failed me.

Stay tuned and look for me in your favorite magazine.

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Shakita Jones/Shakita Jones

Thank You Shakita

I want to thank Shakita Jones for taking the time to conduct these interview questions with me for this very first Life With Lupus: Survivor Spotlight in honor of Lupus Awareness Month.

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About The Author - TJ Wolf

I have the deadly disease known as Lupus. The version of Lupus I have is the most common, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE). True to its name, SLE is a systemic condition throughout the body. In addition, I have Lupus Anti-Coagulant and Lupus Anti-Phospholipid which causes my Lupus to impact my blood.

So What Exactly Is Lupus?

In short and perhaps unscientific terms, SLE is my own immune system betraying me and deciding to wage war upon various systems in my body. My immune system incorrectly targets these systems as enemies and marks them as invaders. Then it targets my cells, tissues, and organs in those systems for destruction. This destruction begins with the inflammation and its other biochemical weapons and agents to kill cells and shut down organs. My Lupus likes to focus on vanquishing its own perceived axis of evil in the form of my circulatory, nervous, digestive, and musculoskeletal systems.

The Wolf Within Me

Lupus is currently not curable. My Rheumatologist uses the analogy that my immune system is a wild animal that we attempt to keep caged in remission with powerful and yet toxic medications. So of course given its “Lupus”, I associate a wolf as the wild animal within me. Frequently the caged wolf is still able to take a swipe at me from within the bars of a cage. And many times the wolf breaks free to wreak havoc on me until medications are increased or added to suppress it again. These events occur despite me taking all my medications daily as instructed. My wolf has its own plans for me it seems. And surprisingly enough, those plans may include me becoming a better person.

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My primary mission is to spread awareness about the disease Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) and many of its comorbidities. Given most physical activities cause me pain nowadays, I've taken on writing as a new hobby, form of therapy, and method to interact with others. You will find I also experiment with articles related to business and careers.

Atlanta, GA
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