Hi there! I am an award-winning professional vocalist (although that sounds entirely too snotty when I type it out), Radio Host, Burlesque Musical Director and Choreographer, and Voice Teacher and Obesity Awareness Advocate. I wear a lot of hats and have a crazy schedule, but I am fortunate enough to do all of the things that I truly love.
After living a life suffering from morbid obesity, I decided to have RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery on March 25, 2008 at Boston Medical Center with Dr. Donald Hess. I suffered from numerous co-morbidities: I had high blood pressure, GERD, sleep apnea, gout, PCOS, and I was pre-diabetic. I was in pain, had trouble breathing, and I felt like an old person in a thirty-something body. I knew I had to do something dramatic about my health, because I had tried (unsuccessfully) every other method of losing weight.
Weight loss surgery turned out to be the best decision I ever made, and it's changed my life in almost every way: my health, my professional life, my personal life, everything.
It's been over four years now since I've had surgery, and I've maintained a loss of over 150 lbs. I now work to help educate and inform people about the life-changing difference weight loss surgery can make for someone suffering with morbid obesity. I chronicled her entire weight loss journey on her YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/divataunia), and I dedicate my weekly radio program to weight loss surgery and bariatric and obesity related topics and information. My radio program can be heard every Monday night at 8:00pm EST at www.backstagepassradio.com.
Additionally, after losing my weight I was able to pursue a life-long goal of dancing. I also wanted to advocate for women of all shapes and sizes - beauty comes in all packages. I decided to combine these two goals and created a burlesque show that features large-scale song and dance numbers that I completely choreograph, direct, and produce. In one year, our group spread like wildfire! We sold out all three of our shows, and we now boast a cast and crew of over 50+ people: many of whom have had weight loss surgery or overcome other physical barriers. Not only do we get to dress in costume and prance around, but we're actively dancing and working out and the group has become a huge support group for all women and men of all shapes and sizes who want to perform, make music, dance, or just be silly. We have an open-door policy and welcome any member - regardless of their performance experience. We have professionals right alongside people who've never been onstage before in their life. And this group would never have existed had I not made a decision to change my life on March 25, 2008.
I've been fortunate enough to be featured on NH Chronicle Television, The Boston Globe, on ABC's "The Revolution" with Tim Gunn, and on various radio programs, and my music has been showcased around the world (www.divataunia.com).
I am also been an active music educator with over twenty years teaching experience in both the public and private sector, and word and performs with an educational rap company called Rhythm, Rhyme, Results (www.educationalrap.com), based out of Cambridge, MA. I also teaches private voice and piano instruction at The Real School of Music (MA) and North Main Music (NH).
Thanks so much for reading my story, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about my weight loss surgery experience or would like more information on obesity-related topics.